a couple sitting by a lake surrounded by dramatic mountains to represent living your life sober the way you want to

Putting your energy into alcohol vs putting your energy into life

Jo explains how, when you stop drinking and as you learn to navigate your way through life sober, you start to put less and less energy into thinking or worrying about alcohol and more and more energy into living your life the way you want to.
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musical instruments in beer garden to represent enjoying pub gigs sober

Surrounded by pints and wine

So, today I went with my boyfriend to a pub garden about an hour’s drive away. He’s in a band (he plays sax and blues harmonica) and they were playing an afternoon gig. Jo describes what it's like to go to a gig completely sober compared to when you're drinking and reassures you that it's possible to have fun and enjoy yourself.
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lion cub rubbing against male lion's face to represent the power of belief when we stop drinking

Stop drinking your way

Today I read an online conversation between someone who wants to stop drinking and is researching the best way to do this: Jo explains that it's important to use the power of belief to help you stop drinking in the way that's best for you.
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row of uniformed men saluting to represent the importance of acknowledging our strengths when we stop drinking

Step 6 of the 12 Step Programme - defects of character

Jo explores the strengths and weaknesses of Step 6 of the 12 Step Programme and suggests that for people who've developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and who don’t believe great things about themselves already, focusing on their “defects” could be damaging to their self-confidence and morale.
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a spade embedded in dry brown soil to represent the importance of self-exploration when we stop drinking

Step 5 of the 12 Step Programme - Admit your wrongs

Jo explores the strengths and weakness of Step 5 in the 12 Step Programme and suggests that reducing feelings of guilt and shame and developing a healthy relationship with yourself is important when you want to change an embedded drinking habit.
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a woman with arms in the air facing the sun to represent the importance of connecting with the natural world when we stop drinking

Step 3 of the 12 Step Programme - Surrender your will

Jo explores the benefits and problems with Step 3 of the 12 Step Programme and suggests that it can be helpful to recognise your place and connectedness to the world or universe around you when you want to stop drinking but that surrendering your will might be a less-than-helpful concept.
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a dramatic night sky scene showing the power of a storm to represent the power within us to stop drinking and change habits

Step 2 of the 12 Step Programme - A higher power or power within?

Jo explores Step 2 of the 12 Step Programme and suggests that it could be problematic for some people to believe that only a power greater than, or outside of them, can help them make the changes necessary to live life sober. She suggests there is a need to have different approaches that work for different people.
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steps leading through sunlit woodland to represent stages to changing a drinking habit

Five stages to changing a drinking habit

Jo explains the process you go through when you stop drinking and learn to live life sober. Having an understanding of this process gives you more confidence, control and power which all helps you to manage things better and makes it less likely you'll slip up and revert back to old habits.
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a booted foot squelching into a muddy puddle to represent going the reward of going through struggle to get to happy sobriety

Struggling through mud

Sometimes we have to struggle through mud to get to dry land: Jo explains how life sober can be enhanced by the struggle with alcohol that's gone before. We don't have to regret our past when we can appreciate how it's contributed to a better quality present.
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diagram of a comfort circle showing the benefits of stepping outside it and socialising sober

How to socialise sober

I’ve just spent the last week going out and about in the daytimes and the evenings with friends, family and strangers. I’ve visited historic buildings, and restaurants. I’ve gone on mountain walks, treasure hunts and kayaked across lakes. Jo describes how you can do all these things sober, with a smile on your face and laughter in your ears.
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sandy feet on a beach to represent the freedom of stopping drinking

Sober in the beer garden

Jo explains how it's okay to be sober and feel unhappy and bored in certain situations - learning to live life without alcohol is also about learning to yes to the situations that are going to entertain, stimulate and be good for you and no to the ones that don't. Sometimes you just have to sit with boredom and discomfort and discover it's not the end of the world.
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view of spanish countryside representing sober holiday fun

Sober holiday fun

I’m coming to the end of a holiday with my partner and my son and have just been reflecting on what a wonderful time we’ve had and how much messier and traumatic it would have been if I’d been drinking: Jo describes how much better holidays are when you're enjoying them sober
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shopping trolley showing a week's shopping without alcohol

Smug shopping

Just returned home from the supermarket with three big bags full of shopping. Total cost was €120 and not a drop of alcohol anywhere.When I was drinking, this weekly shop would have included at least four bottles of wine and a bottle of gin: Jo describes the beauty of sober shopping.
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person at top of mountain with beautiful view of colourful sky to represent the rewards of stopping drinking

Shifting boxes

I remember the days when brushing my teeth in the morning was a massive chore I had to overcome. When preparing and eating a breakfast was a chore I had to overcome. When making a phone-call was a chore I had to overcome: Jo describes about how much easier life is when you've stopped drinking.
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an escalator from the bottom looking upwards to suggest struggle involved in stopping drinking

Fancy walking up a down escalator for the rest of your life?

Imagine an escalator going down and you're walking up that escalator, trying to reach the top but never getting there because each step you take, you stay in the same place. Choosing the right metaphor to describe stopping drinking and being sober helps you to stay motivated and positive in the face of challenges.
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woman smiling confidently at the camera with bright flowers in her hair to represent sober confidence

Reclaim your self-confidence

Amongst other things, by getting sober, you reclaim your self-confidence.So many people tell me that the biggest surprise about being sober is how much they enjoy socialising: Jo celebrates how much your self confidence returns when you've stopped drinking for long enough
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lamp with shoots of blue electric light to represent having power over alcohol

Step 1 of the 12 Step Programme - Power LESS or Power FULL

I woke up this morning with a clear head. With excitement and energy, looking forward to what the day was going to bring. I felt totally in control: Jo questions whether it's more helpful to consider yourself power-less or power-full in your relationship with alcohol.
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a woman relaxing on a duvet with cup of herbal tea to represent feeling good at the end of a sober day

There's no better feeling

Jo returns home, tired, achey and zonked from a super-active day out. A day out with anxiety, nerves, excitement, physical activity, fun, sight-seeing, walking, chatting, shopping and train journeys. She describes the joy of experiencing everything sober and being totally connected with your body and mind...
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the back of a woman in an art gallery looking at three paintings to show the importance of painting a positive picture of life sober

Here's how to make life easier if you want to stop drinking

So, you’ve decided you want to stop drinking. Or, you’ve recently stopped drinking and want to stay sober. Jo explains that the picture you paint or the story you tell yourself about what living life sober is like is the reality you'll bring to life...
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calendar with date circled to represent setting dates for stopping drinking

Taking a break vs stopping completely

Jo responds to a story about completing a 30 Day Sober Challenge and ending up on a 2 month binge afterwards. She offers some insights about what it's like to stop drinking completely and why you have to be careful if you set yourself sober time targets.
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spanish mountain view

Learning to speak Spanish

Jo describes how her confidence with speaking Spanish has grown in the last six months and points out the similarities between learning a new language and learning to live life sober. She explains the importance of practice when you're learning any new skill.
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male lion representing courage

Sobriety gives you courage

Jo describes how living life sober helps you to get in touch with the real, authentic you and helps you to find the courage to face your fears. It opens doors to your potential and possibility.
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table set for dinner with beautiful crockery to represent sober meals

Sober meal vs drunken meal

Jo describes some of the differences between going out for a meal when drinking and going out for a meal when sober and describes how much better an experience it is when you're sober.
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An umpire representing rules

A sign you have an unhealthy relationship with drink: you have RULES!

Jo suggests that one of the signs that you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol is that you have rules and patterns to your drinking. It doesn't have to be about the amount or regularity of your drinking, it can be about the energy, time and thought you give it.
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dramatic lightning in a stormy sky

JFDI

Jo describes being caught in the eye of a storm and suggests that when we're putting something off, the idea of doing it is usually much worse than the reality of doing it. JFDI gives you permission to get on with things and make the changes you need to make.
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sheep in a field

Sheep at the bottom of the garden

Jo talks about the importance of noticing and celebrating the things that make you feel positive, the things that you're grateful for. Developing a gratitude habit helps you to stay happier, motivated and strong.
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person jumping joyfully on beach in sunset to represent relief and joy

Relief

Jo describes the relief you can feel, when you've been sober for a while, that you're no longer the person you used to be when you were drinking and offers reassurance that this is the stage you get to when you stick with it.
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lightbulb to represent how practice gives you power

It's not failure, it's practice

Jo advocates a healthy and more motivating way of approaching any occasions when you might slip up and reach for alcohol even though you've decided you want to stop drinking.
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crowd partying to represent not being alone

You are not alone

Jo reassures you that, if you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, you're not alone and explains that, the more you get chatting to other people about your story, you'd be surprised by the amount of people who are willing to open up and share their own stories about problems with alcohol.
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woman with hot water bottle representing comfort and wellbeing

Instant gratification vs wellbeing

Jo explains how you have a choice between instant gratification (with booze) or overall wellbeing further into the future and describes a situation where she chose instant gratification and booze and had to live with the consequences.
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