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How do I stay sober?

What does sober mean? 

Dictionary definition: abstaining from drinking alcohol or taking intoxicating drugs: refraining from the use of addictive substances.

Sobriety is about more than just not drinking alcohol, it’s about finding new sources of enjoyment in a community that supports you as you reorient your life with more purpose and hope. 

The phrase sober curious is one that is being used increasingly frequently. 

Sober curiosity is the idea to question the reasons why you drink alcohol, rather than mindlessly sipping.

Sober-curious is not sobriety. There is a distinction. Sobriety is not drinking any alcohol at all. 

How to stay sober

What is the hardest part about staying sober?

Sobriety takes time and effort – there’s no quick fix.

Even with family and friends supporting you, staying sober isn’t easy. It is a lifelong process. But, it’s possible, fulfilling and worth it if you’ll put the effort in. 

You’ll probably have heard about the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous programme. A programme that we adopt and use at Livingstone House too. 

We recommend a professional, expert-led programme for anyone trying to be sober. But, the following list of tips are also great advice are a great starting point: 

9 tips for staying sober

1. Sober October

Going sober for October is a popular challenge to abstain from alcohol for an entire month. 

Turn it into an opportunity to raise money for something you care about – extra motivation to stay sober and be sponsored to raise money for a charity. 

2. ‘I Am Sober’ app

I Am Sober is a free sobriety app. Track your sober days, build new habits and get motivation to keep going by connecting with a wide network of people all aiming for the same goal of sobriety. 

3. Be realistic

Everyone has difficult periods that can lead to greater temptation. Be realistic about the challenge of being sober.

4. Recognise your triggers

Identify what triggers you to want to drink alcohol or use drugs. Is it stress, anger or anxiety? Maybe your triggers are environmental, like being around certain people and places. 

5. Know your limits

Especially around busy periods like birthdays and Christmas. Set realistic expectations for your time and for other people to know your boundaries. Practice saying no to events and activities where you think you’ll be tempted. 

6. Reach out to your support network

Your friends and family want you to stay sober and safe. Stay in touch with people, either by phone or face-to-face. Make a list of people you can call and keep your list with you at all times, so that when you’re feeling tired, lonely, stressed or tempted you’ve got someone to talk to. 

7. Have a dry house

Empty your house of alcohol, drugs and harmful substances. 

8. Practice being thankful

Count your blessings. Write down what you’re thankful for. Expressing thanks and focusing on positives will help to lift your spirits and change your mindset. 

9. Livingstone House programme

We at Livingstone House provide a family environment for people to get help with their addiction, using a 12 Step Programme, in conjunction with any alternative therapies that support recovery. This includes providing detoxification for addictive substances in a controlled and medically supervised environment. 

The unexpected joy of being sober 

Try not to worry about what has happened in life so far, or what could happen. Celebrate and be proud of your achievements. You can even enjoy being sober… 

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober is a non-judgemental book filled with facts to help you reduce your alcohol intake: 

This inspirational, aspirational and highly relatable narrative champions the benefits of sobriety with a three-pronged approach combining the author’s personal experience, factual reportage and contributions from expert sources and self-help advice for anyone who wants to reduce their alcohol intake or eliminate it completely.

We’ve compiled our own list of the joys of sobriety too: 

  • Better mental health: The less you fill your body with harmful chemicals the more you’ll notice your mental focus and mental clarity improving. 
  • Better sleep: When you’re sober your body is in its natural state. Your body clock will get into a better, more regular rhythm. 
  • Better skin: Better and clearer skin is one of the most noticeable changes in most people who stop abusing alcohol.
  • More energy: Alcohol is a depressant, which makes you feel tired and slow. Without the constant effect of alcohol on your body, you have a lot more energy.
  • Social connection and relationships: The health of your relationships and your ability to show up and be there for friends and family improves with sobriety. Relationships are stronger when you’re healthier and happier. You are able to connect better with people when they aren’t worrying about your relationship with alcohol – they can have an equal friendship with you. 
  • Hopeful future: With sobriety comes the opportunity for a more positive outlook on the future. Get inspired by a story from a former Livingstone House client who now lists ambitions and ideas in his future, thanks to tackling a history of substance abuse. 


If you are concerned about someone you know who may be struggling with staying sober, or need some support as they are abusing alcohol, please get in touch and ask for help.

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If you or someone you care about needs urgent help now, you can:
Call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment
Call NHS 111
Contact your mental health crisis team (if you have one)
Call Samaritans free on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
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