In this article, Maz Compton shares her personal journey with alcohol and how she found joy and empowerment in her journey of sobriety. As a dynamic and charismatic TV and radio host, Maz has lived her life with authenticity and vigour, but her relationship with alcohol was a different story. Her last drink on New Year’s Eve 2014 marked a turning point in her life. Since then, she has become a passionate advocate for living a life without alcohol, hosting candid conversations about the benefits of sobriety.
Through intentional self-assessment, she discovered that she was overwhelmed and controlled by alcohol and decided to take a month-long break from drinking. That month turned into eight years of sobriety so far, during which Maz has discovered strategies and practices that have helped her maintain her sobriety.
Whether you’re seeking inspiration and guidance to cut down on your drinking, or curious about sobriety, this article can offer something for you. By sharing her experiences and practices, Maz hopes to help those looking to explore the possibilities of sobriety and find joy and empowerment in living a life without alcohol.
Note: Remember everyone’s journey is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or health habits, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide you with personalised advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.
The Three-Step Sober Plan
Hi, my name is Maz Compton, and in 2014 I Googled ‘am I an alcoholic?’ You see I was drinking a lot, what’s a lot? A bottle of wine after work, plenty of beers on the weekend, you know, like most people in their mid-thirties, right? Well, at some point, that year I realised everything on my calendar, and there was a lot on my calendar, was based around drinking. Social events, work drinks, weekends, mid-week, it all required me to drink, and I kind of didn’t want to drink anymore. And even when I didn’t have something to do that involved drinking, I would go to the Bottle Shop and get a bottle of Savvy B and a Pinot just in case. It turns out, that Google search wasn’t helpful at all. I did however discover through some self-assessment that I was feeling overwhelmed and controlled by alcohol. I drank, I didn’t want to, but I had no idea how I could stop.
Eventually I decided to take a month away from drinking to reassess my relationship with alcohol, which was a very different reason to why I had taken a month off here and there over the previous decade. This time I was intentional about discovering what my life could look like without alcohol playing the leading lady, and guess what? I haven’t had a drink since. After reflecting on my 8 years of sobriety, I’d like to share some strategies that have helped me and that might be useful for anyone who wants to cut down on their drinking and explore the possibilities of sobriety.
1. Articulate why you want to stop drinking for a while
Start with why. There are plenty of opportunities in a year to take a break from drinking, and all those opportunities serve a wonderful purpose. However, some people who drink as often as I was drinking, can sometimes bargain with their boundaries. By that I mean, some folks can tap into a month without alcohol to ‘prove’ to themselves that drinking isn’t problematic. The common and super normal thought process being, ‘if I can take a month away from drinking, then it’s not an issue for me.’ There are some holes in this theory, the main one being, taking some time away from alcohol to prove it’s not problematic isn’t the same as making space to discover your sober self. Your reason needs to be rock solid. By articulating a clear why, you are already setting yourself up for a month of self-discovery without alcohol, rather than a month of white knuckling and painful avoidance. When it comes to reframing our relationship with alcohol, the discovery of what life looks like without alcohol needs to be your key intention. It is crucial to articulate a clear reason for your sobriety, to set an intention.
Here are some thought starters that helped me:
- I am trying sobriety because alcohol isn’t working for me
- I am trying sobriety to experience a hangover free week/weekend
- I am trying sobriety to see if it improves my health
- I am trying sobriety to see if I can explore new ways to cope with my life
2. Drill down a sober response
When you stop drinking for a little or a long time, be prepared for the questions, so many questions. The main one being, ‘what happened?’ or just a flat out ‘why aren’t you drinking?’. I wish when I stopped drinking for a month that I was more prepared for this line of questioning, so here are some tips that have worked for me. Have a pre-planned response and keep it simple. Usually what can happen when our sober choice is questioned, we feel the need to over-explain and reason our choice, but the reality is, this is your empowered choice, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. I call it a rock-solid sober response. Some go-to sober responses that you may find useful are:
- I’m taking a break from drinking for health reasons
- Drinking wasn’t working for me so I’m trying out sobriety.
- Alcohol was effecting my sleep.
Once you have communicated your sober response, stop talking! You don’t need to justify yourself, elaborate or go into intimate details about last weekend’s bender; you can simply end the conversation with a simple, I’m going to get a water, would you like anything?
3. Re-jig your social schedule
When you have a week or so away from the usual dose of alcohol you will notice you get tired earlier and potentially wake up earlier too, feeling refreshed of course! As your circadian rhythm recalibrates, you might seize this opportunity to take a look at your social calendar and do some re-jigging. For example, although I was still required to attend boozy events during my month-long experiment without alcohol, I gave myself permission to leave at 8pm, as the sun was setting, it felt like an ideal time to excuse myself and I would plan for the early morning.
The other thing I did was I got up early and went for a walk in the morning, usually as the sun was rising or I would book into a morning gym class, having a morning plan kept me accountable to honouring my early to bed, early to rise sober schedule.
Finally, I decided to change the way I hung out with my friends and opted for breakfast and brunch dates, over long lunches and dinners where alcohol could easily be considered, it felt more socially acceptable to not order drinks in the mid-morning. So have a think about who you want to hang out with in sobriety and ask them to come on an early walk with you or a breakfast date. You will start to absolutely love waking up refreshed, hangover free and ready to win the day.
Life will continue to be big and confusing, sobriety won’t stop the rollercoaster, but what sobriety offers you is the opportunity to be your most grounded and true self, it will give you a clear head so you can show up to the roller coaster and ride it with your hands in the air.
About Last Drinks
Maz Compton, has written a powerful new book aimed at helping people redefine their relationship with alcohol. To combat today’s alcohol-at-everything culture, Maz dives into the stories of people from all walks of life who have been there, done that, and quit alcohol for a happier and healthier lifestyle. Last Drinks is a personal and practical guide to sobriety, offering advice, tips, and inspiration for those looking to redefine their relationship with alcohol and improve their health, relationships, and quality of life.
For more tips about going sober, and to read Maz’s entire sober story plus those of many others including household names Yumi Stynes, Action Alexa, David Campbell & Osher Gunsberg, you can order her new book Last Drinks: How to Drink Less & Be Your Best which includes a 30-day sober plan. Special HSM discount 8.5% off at Booktopia. Click here to redeem or learn more www.mazcompton.com.
Want a sneak peek? Check out Chapter One of Maz’s book Last Drinks if you’re curious.
You can also subscribe to my podcast Last Drinks.
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T&Cs: Ends 11.59pm, 31-July-2023. Offer applied at checkout and cannot be used with any other. Only on ISBN: 9781394184231.