Advice for Days 30-100

First off, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS! You've done the first month, and it's by far the most physically gruelling.

By now, I hope, you're sleeping like a baby, and your energy levels are improving. Maybe, now there are no hangovers, you're learning to love mornings again?

You probably haven't lost much weight yet (sugar cravings, anyone?), but I bet you LOOK different. Bright eyed, dewy skinned, less puffy.

Maybe the cravings are getting a bit better too - probably just as powerful, but less frequent. Once a day, rather than all day.

By now you're detoxed. Your liver is doing high fives and thanking you profusely. You are all sparkly and clean.

But now, I'm afraid, the hard work begins.....

Because days 30-100 are all about introspection. Endless naval gazing. The asking of all those big questions like how did I end up in this mess? Who am I (without alcohol)? Who was I (before alcohol)? Where do I want to be? How the hell do I get there?

If, like me, you're British, then the idea of any form of self analysis is anathema. My response to any big LIFE questions was "Pass the bottle!"

It is horribly uncomfortable for all of us life-avoiders, but it's inevitable when you strip your comfort blankets away, and you'll come out the other side a stronger, better and more aware person.

(For more about how this all feels, from when I was going through it, click here)

The other big theme of days 30-100 is learning to deal with fear and anxiety.

Up to day 30, you're so far down in the trenches, and the cravings come so thick and fast, that it's difficult to see any pattern.

But now you'll start to see that there are some major triggers, and the biggies are fear and anxiety.

We get so used to dealing with these uncomfortable emotions by blotting them out that we forget how to cope with them. And if you spend long enough avoiding coping with fear, you find - eventually - that you've completely lost your courage.

Days 30-100 are about tackling fear and anxiety (and all the other nasty emotions like envy, self doubt, boredom, etc) without any props, but in doing so you will, slowly, slowly find your courage returning, and - with it - your self respect.

(For more on this, from my Day 77, click here)

So, once you've done all the introspection and all the dealing with bad stuff sober, you also have to cope with other people.

It's normal for the first month to hunker down and not go out much. And if people ask you about your 'not drinking' you can shrug off the question easily - you're detoxing/having a month off/Dry January etc.

But, eventually, you have to start socialising again.

This one takes a while. I still don't have quite the same level of anticipation about social events, but it's gradually coming back.

My advice, and it's controversial, for the early days is to fake it till you make it. The last thing you need when you're still feeling fragile is to have someone grilling you about why you can't have 'just one.'

So I suggest you lie (I'm driving/on antibiotics/detoxing) or fake (drink virgin cocktails, let them fill your wine glass and don't touch it) for a while.

I realise that this is not ideal, but the truth is society is really screwed up about alcohol, and we non drinkers are made to feel like the ones with the problem, not the addicts still quaffing away.

For more on how to cope with, and actually enjoy, partying sober read: Sober Mummy's Party Survival Guide.

Over the next sixty days, you'll find that you get fewer and fewer cravings, but when they do hit they're almost harder to deal with because they're from left field. You're not expecting them.

This phase really is a rollercoaster. You'll have wonderful, pink cloudy days of real euphoria, and some days of despair. That's perfectly normal.

It's known as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), and you can read more about it here.

It's all a bit like my favourite children's book: We're Going on a Bear Hunt:

You can't go over it, you can't go under it, you've got to go through it.

But, after all those ups and downs and insides and outsides you'll find yourself gradually shedding off all those ugly duckling feathers, and one day you'll catch your reflection in the pond and you'll think "Why, I'm a swan!"

By Day 100 it won't be so hard anymore. And you'll be braver, slimmer, nicer, a better parent. Your life will be easier, more fulfilled, and going somewhere.

So keep at it. One day at a time. Baby steps....

SM x


  1. Today marks 30 days booze free for me. Funny enough, I got to your blog after stumbling across your audiobook while looking for any self help... sober living books. Lol I’m listening to your audiobook right now!!! Thanks so much for sharing your journey. Happy to be part of it 💖

  2. I have been sober for almost 4 years now. The physical cravings last about 7 - 10 days then its all in the mind...I combatted the repeated thoughts by repeating the following mantra everytime I thought of alcohol. Note I use alcohol and not "drink" - its from my NLP expereince... "I dont use alcohol as I value the state of my health, wealth and all my relationships both now and in the future". I said this in my head for about 6 months every time I thought of alcohol. Plus look into the dopamine receptor overgrowth theory that was proven last year, The new dopamine receptors never die off. Alcohol compulsion causes more to develop (as do opaites,barbituates, amphetamine, and cocaine). I use amino acids that are dopagenic precousor elements. As a result I do not crave ever. Yet I know some sober for decades who stii have cravings. If one has bipolar or suspect bipolar DO NOT USE amino acids (sports supplements used by athletes and bodybuiders) Also SMART RECOVERY is a very good support group and meetingas are held nationwide...seasrch smart recovery

  3. Saw you on Lorraine today and realised I am you! (the old you). I am counting this as day 1. I have downloaded your book to my kindle and have only put it down to look at your blog. This is going to be a nightmare for me, I drink apron 4 times/week but I cannot remember the last time I went a week without drinking. Even when I am ill, like now with the flu. The wine witch is well and truly in my head and I need to get rid of her! I don't want my children thinking its normal to drink. I am not setting my self any rules saying I will never drink again as that is too much pressure for me but I know I have to change, starting from now. I think your book will help. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Hello
    Your blog and your book are great. Thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest. I have just finished 28 days sober and there are times when I am doing it at an hour at a time. Why is this so difficult? How did I end up like this?
    But thanks to you and your inspiring and erudite description of how it is, you make being sober is the new black!
    Up to now I hated the idea of being teetotal. Alcoholics were big cranky ugly men who gathered around to tell stories which sounded bitter while drinking endless cups of sugary tea.
    I certainly didn't want to join that miserable gang!
    After reading your work I am now able to focus on what I CAN do!
    Thank you and may God and the Universe continue to bless you and yours. Good luck with the healing process, you so deserve it. You are a true star and long may you shine

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  6. Hello again,
    This may seem as if I am looking for attention but I have just celebrated over 30 days alcohol free so I treated myself to an Orla Kiely duvet cover given that I am sleeping so well now!
    Besides, it wasn't cheap so it'll remind me of what I have done and encourage me to continue.
    Now I wish I could sort out the chocolate binge eating that I seem to have adopted.
    One step at a time.....
    I suppose....

  7. I'm at day 41 and couldn't have done it without reading The Sober Diaries, so thank you so much for sharing your amazing, funny and truthful story. I'm still not sleeping brilliantly but really hoping that bit will improve soon - Thank you once again and bring on the next milestone and chapter.

    1. I am on day 31 doing well apart from sleeping, i just can't get to sleep! Would appreciate any tips!!

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  9. Noooooo !
    I knew it was too soo inviting a friend for a meal when I was just at my 14 days no alcohol.
    I feel so guilty... I cannot believe I have to start counting from 0 ���� it could have been day 15 ��

  10. At day 41, I think I may be in the PAWS phase. (The wall?)So many amazing changes...mornings are fresh, head is clear, skin is vibrant,awesome to be sober at end of night watching my drunken friends stumble and slur etc...but anxiety is creeping back in as I am starting to see some of the issues that escalated my drinking. Numbing myself is so very tempting. Knowing there is information and others out there struggling gives me hope and inspires me to push through the discomfort.

    1. I know this blog post from Elizabeth is from 2018, but today, 11.1.20, is my Day 45. I'm glad I came upon this post, because today sucks. Hello PAWS. I am so anxious and feeling so down - I live in a small apartment with my husband and our 22-yr old stepson, who has recently moved in with us. I am going INSANE - too many people in my personal space, no where to get away to recharge, the neighbors upstairs are noisy 24/7 (do they spend the day dragging bodies around the place, or dropping bowling balls?), people on all sides just crowding in. No peace, rarely quiet. I realize that this is why I drank to excess - to drown all of this out. I feel it all so acutely now - I would say I'm hyper aware. I am NOT going to give in and drink, I would just hate myself tomorrow, and I do love the good sleep, waking up early, improved appearance, etc, but wow days like today are so rough.
      It just helps to get it out. I'm currently reading Clare's book and am so grateful for it. I know I'll read it every so often as I continue on this journey. I just now joined the blog so my posts are coming really late in the game, I know. But it's all relevant and I know a lot of you out there can say, "I've been there." My husband has never been a problem drinker and is not sensitive to his surroundings like I am, so I can't really talk to him about this stuff and expect him to know what I'm going through. He's super supportive of what I'm doing, but I wish I had someone here physically who's been there, to whom I could talk. But this blog is the next best thing - glad I joined, albeit belatedly!

    2. I am currently in the same situation. I am fighting the cravings with every ounce of strength i have left. 45 days dry today. Im not sure why its so bad today. Overworked maybe? Idk. Hood luck too you. Ill keep you in prayers. In the mean time i hope someone, ANYONE will keep me in theirs lol

    3. Hello 11/2/20 -- I wanted you to know that you are seen and heard! Today (11/4/20) is my day 45. Between Covid, work challenges, and the election (U.S.) I so want something to numb / provide release and all the tea in the world just won't cut it. Yet oddly enough I realize it doesn't actually mean I want alcohol. I have done stints of not drinking before, but am hoping that this will be the time that sticks. Here's to staying strong through the current challenges!

    4. Yes, I am also feeling the same. Day 40 today and I have felt myself feeling so fed up. In the past I would have been putting on that brave face to the outside world and then drinking the feelings away on a night but sitting with these feelings is hard. Its hard feeling these feelings but to be fair I havent allowed myself to for most of my adult life. I am accepting that some days are "one of those days" the saying is there for a reason and I am not going to be too hard on myself because it just doesn't solve anything. I am finding sitting and dwelling on things of the past isnt helping either so hence me sitting in my home office reading this and its helping so much xx We can all do this and its so lovely reading through the blogs and the comments. Much Love SJ x

  11. Glad to see I'm not alone even after reading the fabulous book. I also have 3 young kids, left a good job, stay at home mum & privileged lifestyle. I've tried moderate drinking, but there's always that ONE drink that makes you topple. Last night I joined husband at friends to watch the rugby - and I drank. I woke up as I normally do at night to go for a pee and "fainted". I hit the floor so hard it woke up my husband....I'm still in pain but more in shock, how did I let it get so bad? Time to stop before it becomes even more dangerous.

  12. Hello on day one again did a few stunts of 21,20, 19 days but let the oh we have friends stayor nobody will no or. Feel so great what wii a glass do a glass t a botto 2 bottles so here I am again 💯❤️🌈

  13. Hallo from South Africa. Today is Day 7. I have cultivated the ‘wine connoisseur’ ever since my marriage started going south, through divorce and retrenchment (both in 2013) and ever since. I realized that my habit was not a healthy one, and wondered how on earth I would stop when I found your wonderful book. It gives me hope and inspiration. Thank you. Oh, I also joined a gym and bought a juicer.

  14. I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to Clare for her book. I’ve not had a d48nk since February. Last evening was a milestone when I was offered a bottle of bubbles (not the ones for a bath!!) for completing some accounts and when they said “you do drink don’t you” I paused, rallied and said “actually no I don’t anymore .” Que shocked faces, then ok I’ll get you some flowers.
    So the thank you is for your honesty and the belief that others can do it too also giving the confidence to say NO .
    Much love and thanks. Vannessa xx

  15. Hi started reading your book about 1 week ago and I am on day 31. So many things I can relate to, the sleep pattern and hiding the bottles, nice to know I am not alone or as I though a bad person or at least a failure. Many more days to go but I know I will make it. I am starting to feel a bit weepy now, just had a bit of a bubble quietly at my desk because my husband made light of my day 30 achievement.
    Love and strength to everyone xxx

  16. Hi Clare, loving the book have it hard back and on kindle. First time on the blog. I am on day 45 - had been trying to moderate for years without success then a light switch just clicked in my head and I haven't drunk since. It's not been easy and tbh not much support but am used to being the odd one as I am also a vegetarian. Am mainlining fruit so I guess that's my sugar and also find Becks Blue helpful and Nosecco - appreciate that is not for everyone. Main thing that helps me sleep at night and de stress a bit is herbal sleeping tablets with Valerian. Sominex (green packet) are good, just knowing that I will go to sleep at some point helps. Have brain fog at the moment though.

  17. Help!! I am on day 47, it was so hard not to drink for the first 21 days but has been getting easier ever since. I've handled the sugar cravings, work and life stress and even took the plunge and went out last weekend with no problems or temptation to drink. Yesterday I got a promotion to a role I am so passionate about doing, it means more money, better hours and a permanent contract, I am over the moon and I just want to drink to celebrate! My work colleagues are all encouraging me to have a drink this weekend, I deserve it etc etc and I really want to. I know it is such a bad idea and I will be gutted if I drink but I am thinking along the lines of its only one weekend....

    1. Dont do it!! You have come so far, you have managed up until now and you are nearly at the 50 day mark, please dont ruin your progress xx

  18. Hello,
    I have just finished reading your book, and really enjoyed it.
    A lot of what you said has stuck a cord with me.
    I am on day 31 , January 1st 2019 will take me to 100 days and that is my goal to begin with.
    My only problem at the moment is getting to sleep at night, i just cannot drop off! Hoping this will change soon.
    Also going on an all inclusive holiday to Greece next week which be my first big test!

  19. Does anyone suffer from restless leg syndrome? I thought giving up booze would help but it's almost as bad as ever, I'm 40 days sober

    1. See your GP or talk to your pharmacist. Magnesium tablets maybe helpful

    2. YES! I too thought that giving up the alcohol would help but it didn't. I now take two drugs that help: Gabapentin and Requip. The Gabapentin helps with the RLS and coincidentally helps with alcohol cravings. By the way, don't take Melatonin. It exacerbates RLS.

  20. This has bought tears to my eyes. I’m 28 days alcohol free, yesterday was a bad day and I nearly crumbled. But I got through it. This has given me hope that the future is definitely brighter.

  21. Liebe Clare, ich bin so dankbar für das Buch! Du bist einmalig, super, toll! Ich komme aus Deutschland, ich habe noch keinen Guten Blog in Deutsch gefunden.Hier wird zwar von englisch nach deutsch übersetzt, aber können die Leute auf deinem Blog meine Sprache lesen? Ich bin so glücklich, den Absprung geschafft zu haben, durch dein Buch. Ich bin bei Tag 9. Es geht mir gut. Die Weinhexe kommt gar nicht so oft. Ich bin auf alkoholfreies Bier, danke dir, gekommen, das hilft. Ich habe aber sonst alles, von Kopfschmerzen, Schlaflosigkeit, Schwitzen, Verstopfung, Müdigkeit. Ich weiß es geht vorüber. Gibt es einen Tipp, ob andere es lesen können was ich schreibe? Herzliche Grüße von June

  22. I will hit 30 days in 2 hours and 12 minutes time. Thank you for your book which has helped me get this far and this post which will help me through my first dinner party tomorrow night xx

  23. Claire, I believe that you have saved my life, or at least, you have played a major role in my fledgling sobriety. Today marks 38 days alcohol free. That's slightly more than a month but it feels as if it's been at least six. Giving up alcohol has been the most difficult thing I've done in my life.

    I stopped drinking September 1 with the help of the online community SoberSis (the 21-day reset). I went 23 days without drinking and felt quite proud of myself. I hadn't gone that long without a drink since I was 15, except for two pregnancies. I just turned 69, so that is a long time to numb the pain or quiet the anxieties with wine, vodka, tequila, or bourbon. Wine ... oh I loved wine, and my wine witch was quite an active and vocal little companion.

    I started listening to Sober Diaries on Audiobook sometime during my first week or so alcohol free. I listened over and over, rewinding and replaying pertinent (or funny) parts. You became my best friend. You helped me when I really wanted to follow the soft siren call of the wine witch.

    After I'd successfully completed the 21 day reset, I figured I was detoxed and cured of my bottle of wine a day habit and could now drink responsibly and moderately. Wrong! I had that first delicious sip and sank into my chair smiling and basking in the warm glow as the dopamine said Oh Thank You! I'll make you feel wonderful! And I did feel wonderful. EXCEPT I was not able to stop at one glass. I finished that bottle and opened another. I repeated that scenario several times over the following 1 1/2 weeks until October 9, when I had my last bottle of delicious red wine ... and no more.

    I detoxed again ... and now, when I think of having a drink, I remember the consequences. I imagine the next morning and decide that I do not want that nasty hangover. I do not want to slog through the day in the low-grade alcohol fog that's been my companion for oh so many years. Thank you for helping me through the past 2 1/2 months and helping me to get to Day #38 without alcohol.

    I haven't lost the weight (darn it!) which was, in fact, the reason I wanted to cut back on drinking in the first place. While I was enjoying my bottle of red a night, I was also binge eating. I was quite disappointed to go 3 weeks without drinking and not lose an ounce. How is that fair? Then I listened to your explanations and I relaxed a bit about it. Now that I no longer have the desire to drink, I suppose I'll focus on stopping the night-time snacking.

    Again, Clare, thank you for helping me along this difficult journey. I'm now on my third listen of your book and I think I'll buy the book so I can bookmark key passages. You truly are a God-send.

  24. So NYE of 2020 brought about also the realisation alcohol was no longer my friend. I had as ever got too drunk and ended up face planting the pavement smashing my front tooth and with bad grazes on my nose and chin. This resulted in my own humiliation but also my friends increasing concern. I'd had a very successful career up to my DUI which was actually and ironically the morning after genuine mistake having been at a friends. The result being I lost my licence and my dignity. For a year I survived free lancing but this give me more opportunities to drink but in the day time. Having spilt from my long term partner and children (on his side) within months of being made redundant and prior to my DUI I had lost my dignity. The lies that unfolded on his behalf left me reeling and moving out. But I wasn't coping and despite getting a house mate when I should have moved home I didn't. I had no self respect and lurched from one crisis to another and various unsuitable men. I stole my housemates alcohol and filled it with water on occasion. My desire to drink although surviving was beyond control, I was on self distruct and nothing else mattered other than that drink. Normally wine in the evening. Then I met my current partner who to be honest has been so patient its untrue. But still that didn't stop my need for that sneaky glass of wine. The fact I could complete my MA not working and gain two pets and a loving partner did not take away the demons in my head. We are still together and are working at it, but NYE 2020 raised the issue further. Something had to be done. Two weeks in to not drinking any tips or advice would be appreciated.

  25. After turning 40 in November, combined with endless amounts of gin, champagne and wine as gifts, getting through Christmas, then a holiday in Thailand, I literally felt like I had been on a session for three months. As soon as the free bar ended on my flight home I made a decision to not drink for a good while, well at least until I had a special event. I checked my diary and there was at least one a week where I could easily use the excuse to ‘have a glass of vino’. I had listened to your audiobook before my holiday so I was fully prepared to go for it. Here I am six weeks later! I’ve overcome several social events, saved myself hangovers, as well as uber fares and I’m very pleased to say I’ve lost half a stone, and 5 inches of my wine belly, and a few inches everywhere else. Having all this energy and motivation means I’m frequenting the gym, using my gym equipment at home and my body composition is generally looking a lot more attractive then I did on holiday. Thank you so much for inspiring me to stop making excuses because of an up coming event. I got engaged on holiday so I have two years to become the best version of myself. I really didn’t want to leave it to the last minute and risk feeling miserable for not feeling great! I’m feeling very positive about this change so hopefully it will continue ;-)

    1. I've just stopped a couple of weeks ago, on my 40th birthday too and I'm feeling super positive and empowered. Hope still going well :)

  26. Day 39, just finished your very wonderful book. This is my first and only time at getting sober, and reading the comments about going through the hard stuff (crawling) only to go back and do it again seals the deal for me. I've read a lot of quit-lit in the last 39 days and yours was the best, hands down. Love the tone, love the journey. I'm so excited to have found you.


  27. Late to the party but......
    ....Day 29 here, so just getting ready for the 30-100 days!
    I read your book during my first week of being AF and honestly.....THANK YOU!!!! Unless Ive been pregnant..Ive never come this far!! Your book is amazingly relatable and supportive!!! I keep dipping back in and out of it! Haha even got my highlighters out too!!!
    So glad a stumbled across your book, just at the right time!!!

  28. Thank you-for your book and your blog. I finished your book tonight, and searched for your blog. Opening this site this evening was the first time anyone has congratulated me on my success of not drinking- today is day 51. Ive spent much of the last three years trying to control and understand why I am not able to drink "normally". 51 days ago I admitted I had to give it up for good, after a particularly heavy weekend of drinking and putting myself in a situation which could have ended much much worse than it did. I haven't really had much difficulty so far, but I am fearful at times. I joined Soberistas, but have spent more time listening to podcasts and reading self help books. I have not attended AA, but have considered it, though feel I am honestly working through the steps. I am spending a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what it was I enjoyed in my pre-alcohol days, and when I changed, and how I arrived where I am.
    I'm ever so glad to have stumbled upon you. You do make a difference. Thank you.

  29. Today is day 80. My first 2 weeks were withdrawal hell, but I stuck with it. I put an app on my phone, Day Count, where you can count up or count down days to or from something. I open the app on days that I have the urge to drink. I stare at the number of days. It reminds we that I don't really feel like starting this process over. After the initial 2 weeks, I really haven't had a super difficult time. I did stuff my face with ice cream for about 2 months (worth it, hahaha!). Your book helped me decided to take the leap. I have thought about getting sober for the last year or so, but never decided to actually do it. I don't know if I well ever drink again, I didn't put that pressure on myself, I guess I wanted to see how it would go. I'm not sure if I can be a "normal drinker". I like drinking. I like how it calms me. But, I also like, sleeping, feeling awake in the mornings, having energy, having a better memory, more alert, much less bloated. This is a long way of saying, THANK YOU.

  30. Today is day 45 and my first Boxing Day without a hangover that I can remember..... I started off thinking 'maybe I'll have a glass on Christmas Day. It's Christmas after all....' however, as the big day approached, the thought of drinking became scary. After 6 weeks off, how would I feel the next day, etc, etc. So I decided not to. Prosseco was my poison of choice, so I sought out an alcohol-free alternative. After trying a few, I've settled on Belle & Co (brut & rose). I still feel like I'm joining in, but without the after effects.
    I'm reading your book - laughed, cried and like you had a wine witch. She's quiet, now and I intend her to stay that way. Thank you Clare. I found you in time..... xx