How to deal with stress without alcohol


OK so my major trigger when comes to booze is stress and overwhelm. Had another incident this weekend where I needed relief from a really stressful situation and my brain was screaming wine! I feel like I need a list to refer to in these moments because when the stress hits, my brain short circuits and my prefrontal cortex (the part of my brain that wants the best for me) basically does a runner.

So here is my handy list of things you could do when you feel like the world is caving in AND are going to explode and all you want is a drink to prevent yourself from spontaneous combustion:

(Kindly note that this list is for me and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, also if a similar list exists I apologise in advance. I promise this came straight out of my head but I don’t live in a vacuum so may have inadvertently picked some ideas up elsewhere. )

  1. Go back to bed and hide under the duvet. I know, this sounds like so grown up! Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I’ve used this one a couple of times with great success, it does get tricky if you have kids because they eventually find you and then think you are playing hide and seek.
  2. Go to your room and scream into a pillow, this one also works well but our walls are quite thin so I think the neighbours have heard me a couple if times. Who cares right?
  3. Go for a run or fast-paced walk. This is excellent to burn off all the stress and bad energy. This also has the added bonus of putting some space between you and whatever is causing the upset. Before you get your running shoes on you have to make sure someone is at home to look after the kids (this is probably why I don’t use this one very much;)
  4. Have a dance party. If you are feeling really angry then play Rage against the machine or something similar really loudly and sing along. “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me, fuck you I won’t do what you tell me, Motherfuckkkkkeeeerrrr!” I love this one, but I have scared our postman away on one occasion. He still can’t look me in the eye. Also if you have children best to only use this one when they are in school;)
  5. Get your Eckhart Tolle on. Put on your headphones on and put an audiobook or youtube clip of Tolle on full volume. You can’t stay stressed of angry when you listen to the soothing tones of Eckhart’s voice.
  6. Sniff something. Nope nothing illegal over here, just take a big whiff or diffuse some lavender oil. When you stimulate your other senses you can jolt yourself out of the stress response by bringing yourself back to your sense perceptions.
  7. Write it down. Journal the fuck out of your journal, if you rip the paper and break the pen in the process then so be it. Just get all the negativity out on paper. You will feel so much better and lighter afterwards.
  8. Kickboxing, go do a kickboxing class or dvd. Amazing amount of stress relief in that.
  9. Do the work. (Byron Katie) This one may need to wait till you are calm. Do a worksheet on the person or situation that is causing the upset and set yourself free.
  10. Talk to someone. Your sponsor, a sober friend or family member. Sometimes we need connection in those moments (This is a very difficult one for me to do)

Please add any other suggestions you may have to the list. Bear in mind this needs to be accessible for someone to do when they are VERY REVVED UP and HIGHLY STRESSED.

52 thoughts on “How to deal with stress without alcohol

  1. Yes! Run and hide! Duck and Cover! Do anything but take a drink!

    My favorite suggestion was the dance party one. I was laughing out loud with that.

    I heard a share once that when someone told his sponsor over the phone he wanted to take a drink, the sponsor told him to throw a rock through a store front window. That way, he’d go to jail instead of drinking…It’s true though. Sobriety first and FOREMOST. Always.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. This list is great! I’ve done number 1 a few times over the last week. As an addition to number 2 you could also punch the crap out of your pillow after screaming into it or drop kick it around the room a few times. It’s so funny you scared the postie LOL! 😀 I hope your anger has passed and you’re feeling much better now. Hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bwaahahaaaa! Make my day! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Yep to the “Motherfuckeeeeeerrr!!!! I won’t do what you tell me!” And yep to the screaming and not caring.
    I would add:
    Do what a woman who loves herself would do.
    Be happy that you quit, all the mess would be sooooo much worse if you had not. 🙂
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eat something. When I am hungry I can become completely overwhelmed and unable to cope with even small stress.
    In these times I need sugar. I often have a Coke or an energy bar.It changes everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent list – esp the shouty one 😉

    Would add four square breathing – very helpful in situations where you can’t escape. (Breathe in, hold, breathe out, hold, all for a count of four.) also means you can’t talk and say something you later regret!! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a great list – love the fact that you are not afraid to scare the postman/alarm the neighbors/run and hide all to take care of yourself first :). So refreshing to hear that not everyone can “zen out” to get over every craving – these tantrums can come on so overwhelmingly fast and can’t always be reasoned away. Calling bullshit on my addict voice can at least put a pause on the dreaded mind spiral. I’m going to add these to my tools and make a playlist for my phone heavy on 80’s punk and heavy metal. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love it!! I have done the “go back to bed” one on more than one occasion – it’s great! Fast walk or run is great too! Some other ones for me are: Long hot shower (or bath with bath salts), baking or cooking (I find this calming, maybe I’m weird. You could always smash some eggs or bang some pots and pans together to vent anger haha), sitting outside drinking a cold root beer or gingerale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I’ve been rediscovering baking, and it taps into something primal. I baked bread every week for years, and then quit when I moved to sea level and the bread turned to rock. I’m now gluten-free and so baking has a new challenge. I love the challenge and am remembering how grounding it is.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Have you tried any of the recipes on the detoxinista website? I’m not gluten free but I know that a lot of her recipes are gluten free, and any recipes that I have tried from that site have been fantastic! It’s amazing how much altitude affects baking! Are you still at sea level?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Not a stupid question at all! It’s the air pressure that affects it. The higher the altitude, the lower the air pressure. Low air pressure affects baking by making cakes and stuff rise quicker and lose moister faster – this can create large uneven air bubbles or pockets in baking, rough textured (or worse -> fallen) cakes. You have to adjust sugars and fats, sometimes even eggs and flours in recipes. Most recipes are made for sea level baking, so it’s usually the higher altitude folks who have to adjust the recipes, but if you’re used to baking at a higher altitude then the adjustment can go the other way too.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Eckhart usually fixes me! My husband can’t understand it, he thinks his voice is irritating but I love it. Byron Katie is another. Great Post Miss Coffee xx


  9. Love it, I love a bubble bath when I’m stressed, candles and a soak. Stress is a major trigger for me too. Laughing imagining you singing and scaring the potty away! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m with you on the get back to bed! Unapologetically! Flannel sheets. Darkness. Warmth if it’s winter. Retreat.

    Yes also to essential oils. I started with lavender and currently I’m craving grapefruit, so that’s what I carry around these days.

    Holly over at Hip Sobriety swears, swears, and swears by kundalini meditation/yoga for situations of intense stress. I think she says it saved her. Here’s one:


  11. When I’m in a state of overwhelm (these days: constantly) the only thing that helps is some frantic tidying up the mess the little people leave behind (insert inapproriate joke here) or just walking REAL fast with loud music on. Yes, there may be some Rage against the machine but more likely Peaches or some gangstarap that will make me feel superior and cool in my upper middle class neighbourhood. And eating. But the stuffing of the face usually gives me more anxiety when the cheeing is over. You’re a very funny and clever woman by the way, have I told you that lately? You kick ass.


  12. Great list!!!! Not much to add except: Add Epsom salt to the bath. It’s very calming because magnesium is absorbed through the skin, which is calming. Also, the supplement GABA is great for it’s calming effects. xoxo!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s a great list. Alcohol is not my thing but when I want to generally destroy myself in other ways all the things you said, help. I also like consulting Jesus or other spiritual reading, dry skin brushing, deconstructing the source of the stress (i.e.: this person is suffering from a bad case of idicocracy and they can’t help themselves), deep breathing or emailing my coda sponsor. I was in a long term relationship with cigarettes and we had to break up…so that’s hard but generally worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s