When you’re addicted to something, that addiction takes over your life. It decides what you buy, what you eat, where you go, and who you spend time with. For many people, it becomes a stronger motivation than love or even physical hunger. Alcohol addiction is particularly difficult to escape because it is such an established and normal part of society. Recovering from alcoholism is about more than just not drinking anymore. You have to take your entire life back.
Many people find it easier to walk away from the life they led as alcoholics and start fresh somewhere else to recover, but you may not have that option. If you need to keep your job and can’t or don’t want to move out of your home, the trick to leaving your old lifestyle behind is to refresh your life without turning it upside down. If you’ve been struggling with temptation, cravings, and the urge to go back to your old ways, we’re here today with ten helpful tips to scrub alcohol out of your life, your thoughts, and your lifestyle.
1) Get Rid of Every Bottle to Halt the Alcohol Addiction
It may seem obvious, you may have heard it a dozen times, but even a single bottle in your home, car, or office can be the difference between sobriety and an accidental relapse. These are reminders of your alcoholic lifestyle and they need to go. This is especially dangerous if, during the height of your addiction, you began hiding bottles. Search high and low, pull off furniture cushions and check under the seats of your car.
Consider giving full bottles to friends as gifts and selling your collection of decorative empties on e-Bay if you don’t want to simply throw everything out.
2) Clean the House
What does your house smell like? Every home slowly takes on the odors of its residents and the lifestyles lived inside. When you have been living with alcoholism, your house probably smells (ever so faintly) like a bar. Which means it’s time to clean house.
Clean from top to bottom, wiping down everything from the highest shelf to the lowest baseboard. Wash your bedding, towels, and most of your clothing on ‘hot’ and steam clean the carpets and upholstered furniture. This will remove those lingering particles and significantly change the smell of your home. Consider incense or a diffuser for a purposeful new scent.
3) Replace Your Glassware
You got rid of your bottles, but what about your wine glasses, tumblers, cocktail shakers, swizzle sticks, and other ‘barware’? These are also reminders of an alcoholic lifestyle and while you don’t have to use them for alcohol, they will make you think about it at the worst possible time. Like the bottle collection, decide whether you’re going to give away or sell your glassware. Then go out and buy some normal water and juice glasses if you’re suddenly short on cups.
4) Clean Your Car
Even if you never drove drunk (though many have) your car played a part in your alcoholic lifestyle and therefore also needs to be cleared and refreshed. Do a thorough check for any lingering bottles or things that could even remind you of drinking. From napkins and matchbooks from your old haunts to that empty beer box being used as a car trash can, get rid of it all. Then use a combination of Windex, Armorall, and fabric spray to clean your car as thoroughly as you did your home.
5) Buy New Clothes
Clothes have a surprising amount of emotional and memory connection to what you have done while wearing them. Many recovering addicts don’t realize that by wearing a shirt they used to wear to the bar, they are reminding themselves of hundreds of hours spent drinking and hanging out. Go through your closet and remove anything that reminds you of drinking, that you did a lot of drinking in, or that you would consider a great bar outfit. Pack it away, give it to a friend, or donate it to charity.
The good news is that now you have an excuse to completely reinvent your wardrobe. Use this as an opportunity to take yourself shopping. Spend some of the money that would have gone to your weekly alcohol intake on a few newly flattering outfits to wear making new memories.
Alcohol Addiction Center in Fresno, California
For those of you counting along, you already know that this has only been the first half of our two-part article. Please join us next time for the second half where we’ll cover tips 6 through 10 including how to eat, what to do with all your new free time, and how to deal with temptation when it does eventually rear its ugly head. Until next time, we wish you strength.
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction and you need help, First Steps Recovery is ready to listen. Please call us today for a free assessment and information on what steps you should take on the road to lasting recovery.