For most of my adult life, drinking has been a part of it.
My parents do it. My friends do it. It’s part of society.
Until recently I have never looked at alcohol as an issue. It was just the thing you did when you were in social situations or celebrating a moment or relaxing after a long day or just because it’s Thursday?
However earlier this year I decided I was going to give myself a break and not touch the stuff for 30 days.
That felt like a good benchmark to start with.
The initial feeling is a mixture of empowerment and confusion. I would feel confident saying no to a drink but then be lost as to what to have instead?
Social situations were more anxiety provoking than exciting as I knew that the question of WHY would be coming fast and strong.
Association and triggers were the hardest thing to overcome. You are wired to see a bar and think DRINK. You go for dinner with your friends, DRINK. You get home, make dinner and think DRINK.
There is however a lot of positives to come from bucking the trend.
You feel more alive.
Your energy levels are consistently high and you feel that you are compounding your health each day.
Drinking felt like 5 steps forward during the week and 4 steps back at the weekend. When you stop, you just keep moving forward.
You save A LOT of money.
Not just on the booze itself but the other silly purchases you make when you had a few. (Taxis, take away, Amazon, shots, Pablo)
You have so much more focus.
You sleep 1000% better.
You lose weight.
You realise how amazing having a sober Sunday is.
You realise who your real friends are.
I got fitter and wanted to exercise more.
The people that push drinks on you are usually the ones that have the problem.
Reaching the 100 day milestone was a huge achievement.
It felt great, like a badge of honor I could walk around with.
I realise looking back that it doesn’t take long for your brain to be rewired to the new way of thinking/doing/being in booze related situations.
They say it takes 66 days to form a new habit. I would agree.
The challenge isn’t to stop yourself from picking up a drink, it’s to be strong minded enough to know when to say no to others, resist the temptation of peer pressure and ignoring society to do what works for YOU.
What helped me during the last 100 days is finding things to do that don’t involve alcohol and planning them into your diary.
Long walks, markets, day trips, galleries, brunches, exercise.
Finding non alcoholic equivalents is a game changer.
Telling people prior to seeing them – the accountability is powerful and they won’t ask the question when you see them.
Have a ‘go to’ drink ready for when you are out. Ginger ale was my favourite.
Know when it’s time to leave. People will change after 3 drinks anyway.
It’s okay to say your goodbyes and get out. Believe me when I say, they won’t miss you and you won’t miss the night.
Be confident when you say ‘I don’t drink’ – Don’t explain it, don’t justify it, don’t add a fluffy story to it. Just say I don’t drink, I will have a Soda and lime please (Smile)
Put the mini milestones in your calendar. 1 week, 1 month, 2 months, 100 days, 6 months.
The liberating feeling of making the right choice for you can’t be beaten. It’s truly the best decision I have made this year.
If you want to learn more about ways in which you can drop the drink then feel free to drop me a message — firstname.lastname@example.org