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Hope is not a Strategy

Why “hope” is not a strategy for staying sober – and a Wish is not a Plan

When we first make the decision to quit drinking alcohol for good we HOPE that we will be able to resist temptation, to continue to go about our days and that we can just “hold on” and stay sober.

We HOPE that our partner, our relatives and friends will be totally on board with our decision and do everything to help us stay sober. And then we’re somewhat surprised when this is often not what happens.

We HOPE that we will be comfortable meeting our friends in a bar and watch them drinking alcohol while we try to feel content sipping on our non-alcoholic beverage, but the reality often is resentment of them for being able to drink while we can’t, and anger at ourselves that we are in this situation.

The indisputable fact is that hope is not a strategy you should count on when you are quitting alcohol. You DO have to make planned changes in order to resist temptation and keep yourself on the sober pathway while you are adjusting to your new way of life.

A strategy is a plan to move us through the temptations and here are a couple of my early recovery strategies that may help you:


Family and friends – you need to realise that, despite what you may wish for, not everyone will be helpful for your recovery. You will need to pick and choose who you socialise with and likely make changes about where you meet them. Having a strategy means that you get to choose the time of day and place for your catch ups – switch to breakfast/brunch or coffee catch ups rather than “drinks” or dinners and avoid having lunch in venues that serve alcohol.

Continue meeting friends in a bar? This is especially hard if most of your socialising took place here. The aim of learning to live your life sober is not to cut yourself off from every social situation, but to be able to cope emotionally when alcohol surrounds you. Perhaps in your very early stages of recovery it’s best to avoid situations where alcohol is prominent.

New activities:

Let’s face it, it can be disheartening after we quit drinking and come to terms with exactly how much time we actually spent drinking and didn’t do stuff that we should have been doing.

But it won’t do you any good to dwell on this. Instead, start thinking about what activities you can do to fill this void, then making them happen!