Focusing on Abstinence Hurts Your Chance for Sober Success

This post was written and saved as a draft in March 2022. I shut down my computer and began moving from Oregon to North Carolina. I have since decided to be brave and shut down Pink Cloud Coaching. This blog will continue in some capacity. Please stand by. 

The traditional and even more modern-day approaches use counting the days you don’t drink, and abstinence is the primary way to measure sober success. If your success is whether you drink or not, then one drink erases all progress. Any feelings of success are lost, and the sober clock starts from zero.

Often, this triggers a mindset of all or nothing. Our thoughts become, what the hell, I might as well take advantage of the break. Until you inevitably feel so shitty about yourself that you start over with a pang of failure accompanied by an essence of doubt.

But and this is a big BUT

When your intention is to become the woman of your dreams and practice making conscious choices for sustainable change, your energy and focus are on what you want, not what you don’t.

If your success is measured considering all of the conscious choices you make that create a life full of meaning and purpose, and if you drink while making progress on many fronts, the drink’s impact could be very inconsequential. It doesn’t impact you on an identity level. It doesn’t wipe away all of your “sober days.”

Making conscious choices for sustainable change keeps you connected to self-determined activities that support your progress. For instance, you still get up in the morning at a time that sets you up for success. You haven’t stopped making your bed. Your diet of ensuring you get three servings of greens is still on point. You’re future-focused and goal-oriented. Everything is still the same except you drank.

The idea is to have your whole life sprinkled with moments of sober success, not just based on whether you drink or not. The more you become the ideal person you wish to be, the more you edge out the need to misuse alcohol, and the less likely you will fall prey to all or nothing thinking.

First, by making these conscious choices for a sustainable change, you are becoming more and more the woman of your dreams, naturally and intentionally.

Second, every time you make these conscious choices for a sustainable change, you are signaling that you are in charge and you’re not who you were.

These are all examples of making conscious choices for sustainable change. It’s part of my process whenever I make a significant change in life. I used this process when I quit smoking in the nineties, stopped drinking in 2003, lost 60 pounds in 2021, wrote my first book, Wholly Sober, in thirty days, and even helped me progress through a broken heart after the loss of loved ones.

Think about strength in numbers.

The number of repetitions builds muscle.

The number of threads strengthens the rope.

The number of people standing together strengthens a movement.

The number of conscious choices you make daily

will strengthen your resolve.

Don’t focus on abstinence but on soulful sustenance that addresses the whole you.

It works to help you stay focused on what matters most, YOU and the life of your dreams. We have one shot to get the most out of our one wild and curious life.

Please don’t spend another moment trying to strong-arm your way into doing or being what you SHOULD. Instead, love yourself along the way to becoming.

Create a list of different activities that signal you are transitioning. If you email me, I’d be happy to share a quick worksheet you can use to help.

Wishing you well in the adventure of living a Pink Cloud Life!




Teresa Rodden