Journaling Created Long Term Success in My Alcohol Free Journey
I wanted to talk to you about something that I started doing right when I quit drinking. It was a huge part of my success when I quit drinking. This ONE thing was journaling. Now, I hope you didn’t just roll your eyes when I said that, but if you did, I understand. I feel like I heard the journaling tip so much whenever I was looking for the “big secret” to achieve big change in my life. Hear me out, though, journaling really did help me SO MUCH when I first quit drinking (and well into my first alcohol free year). It wasn’t a HUGE production either. I got my journaling done in just 5 minutes each day. Let me tell you how I did it and why it worked.
Here’s the deal, before I quit drinking, I had wanted so badly to establish a morning routine. In that morning routine, I had always pictured I would do a gratitude journal each day. I hear so many self help gurus talk about it, and I wanted to do it, but I was pretty busy being a drinker instead.
Do you know how hard it is to get a morning routine set when you’re consistently drinking?? It’s really hard. When I was a drinker, my mornings were mostly dedicated to sleeping in so I could try and get myself over a mild hangover each day. I would set my alarm for a few minutes earlier each night so I could get up to do my journal, but when the alarm went off, I’d just push back the time because sleep was what my hungover self required.
When I committed to a 30 day break from drinking, though, I committed to starting a morning routine that consisted journaling. I broke my journaling down to TWO parts that were crucial to my success in my 30 day alcohol free challenge and beyond.
Practicing Daily Gratitudes
Each day, I would sit down at my journal and I would start the day by writing down three things that I was grateful for from the day before. I quickly found out that finding things to be grateful for each day became hard because I was being VERY broad with what I wrote down. I would write down, “I’m grateful for my husband.” “I’m grateful for my kids.” It was all very surface level, and suddenly I didn’t have anything to write down.
To solve this problem, I started getting more specific. Throughout each day, I would look for little moment that I could be grateful for just so I’d have something to write down. This kept me on the lookout for great things happening around me. Well, you know what happens when you start looking for things to be grateful for?? You start finding things. Then it starts to happen more and more. I’d see a heron flying over as I drove to work, and I’d remember how awesome it was and that would go in my gratitude journal. My son would tell a funny joke, and I’d remember that moment so it could go in my gratitude journal. A student would hug me so hard that I felt like they were squeezing my guts out. That would go in my gratitude journal.
The more amazing things I started to see, the more amazing things would come to me. My daily gratitudes were TRANSFORMING my mindset to see ALL the amazing things in my life that had nothing to do with drinking. Suddenly, I saw all these tiny miracles happening each day. This took me out of the mindset of “Oh my gosh! I’m not drinking. It’s so hard! I don’t like this!”, and put me into the mindset of seeing all the amazing opportunities around me.
Now, beyond having my mindset changed, my daily gratitude journal gave me a place to celebrate all of my wins on my alcohol free journey. You see, I didn’t tell very many people that I had decided to take a break from drinking, so my journal got to hear all about it! When I had a hangover free weekend – it went in the gratitude journal! When I got through a craving without having a drink, it went in the gratitude journal. I LIVED for writing down my successes in my journal. This made me work harder for more successes.
Uh oh! I think I just felt you roll your eyes and almost close this blog post when you read daily affirmations. Trust me! Really truly! I KNOW that daily affirmations sound strange, and if you’re anything like me you think of that Saturday Night Live Skit from the early 90’s (“I’m good enough! I’m smart enough! And Gosh darn it! People like me!”). I assure you, though, that even though daily affirmations sound strange, they really do work.
After I wrote down my daily gratitudes each morning, I would write down 5 affirmations. As I wrote each one down, I also said it out loud. By doing these two things, I was able to retrain my brain to believe my daily affirmations.
So how do you write down your daily affirmations so they are the most effective? Believe it or not, there is a good, better, and best way to do it. Let’s go with the best way.
- Think of a BIG GOAL you want to achieve. Now create an affirmation for that goal.
- Write down your affirmations as if they have already happened. For example, if you were like me when I started my break from alcohol, I didn’t believe I could do it, but each day I wrote down, “I do not drink.” As if it were a tru fact already.
- After you write down each affirmation, say it with confidence. Don’t worry. This does get easier.
- Do your daily affirmations each day!
Everyday, that you do this, you are RETRAINING your brain to believe new truths about yourself. Maybe you think you’ll be super boring without drinking. Then make one of your affirmations, “I am super fun when I don’t drink.” Just think of a few areas where you want to see improvement in your life and create a sentence about that area where you have already become a total boss in the area. Want to get out of debt? Make your affirmation, “I spend my money wisely and am debt free.”
Need some help figuring out what affirmations to say each day in regards to quitting or taking a break from drinking? Download my 10 Mantras that Helped Me Become Alcohol Free right here.
Any questions about starting a gratitude journal and doing daily affirmations? Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you asap. Ready to start journaling but you aren’t quite sure where to start? I’ve taken the guesswork out of it by creating a journal for you. This is my 30 Day Journal, but actually has 90 days worth of journal entries. If you’re ready to get started, just click here to start supporting your alcohol free journey with your journal today.