So, you have decided you are going to give up alcohol for the rest of 2019? Or, maybe you are thinking about doing so? If so, this guide reveals all of the information you need…
You’ve decided to give up alcohol… now what?
This will depend on you, and what it is that you set out to achieve. If you started the process with clear cut goals, then you have a good place to begin. If not, or your goals have changed, then you may feel a little lost.
A good place to start is by thinking back to what made you decide to give up in the first place. People give up alcohol for a number of reasons, from giving their bodies a much-needed break and chance to repair, to trying to control an urge that is having a detrimental effect on their health, wellbeing, and relationships.
Next, it is important to focus on the positives: how has your life changed since you gave up drinking? Do you have more energy, better relationships, and are you more focused at work? Hopefully the answer is yes to all of these. Also look at the activities or communities you took part in when deciding how to stop drinking. What other positives came out of these? Are they things you want to continue with? Giving up drinking doesn’t have to be a forever thing for everybody. If you can focus on the positive aspects that removing alcohol from your life, even for a limited period, has provided you with, then you can reassess your relationship with the drink. This may allow you to enjoy the odd beer, cider or spirit, but while still staying in control, rather than letting the need control you.
Support that is out there
Help is vital if you are going to have a good chance of succeeding. One of the reasons that many people stop trying is because they feel like they are fighting, and losing, the battle alone. You don’t need to feel this way. There is help out there.
Many people are dissuaded from looking for help in giving up alcohol because they only have knowledge of the professional services that exist for those with serious alcohol-related problems. Many of these services are excellent, and provide support, guidance, including medical, where it is most needed. Check out http://silvermistrecovery.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/making_friends_in_recovery_for_sober_adults_guide.pdf. Silvermist Recovery talk about how to make friends when in recovery. Resources like this can be so useful, helping you in all aspects of your quest to stop drinking.
However, they are not the only services that are available if you want support and advice on how to stop drinking. There are community groups that focus on individuals wanting to make a change, and give up drinking to stop it becoming a problem, or who just need to take a break. These types of groups focus on supporting you in making healthier choices, breaking bad habits and replacing drinking with better habits and activities. They are focused on peer support, sharing the good and the bad experiences and on trying new ways of approaching a very old problem. There is no drink shaming involved, no professional with a clipboard, just like-minded people who want you to succeed as much as you do. As well as groups such as this, try to get family and friends involved, explain what you are trying to achieve and why. You might just be surprised at the level of support you get.
Understanding your habits
Drinking, like biting your nails, is a bad habit. If you can break the habit, you can stop the behaviour. Most habits have triggers, and if you can recognise these, then you are on the right path to breaking the habit. A good place to start is by thinking about when you drink and why. Is there a set time of day, or a place that you go to that you associate specifically with drinking? Are there moods or activities that automatically make you reach for the cider? Whether you drink when you are bored, lonely, stressed, tired, had a hard day at work, or to get you up on the dance floor, you need to recognise these triggers.
Now you need to think of other ways that you can approach these trigger points that don’t involve alcohol. It is an essential step in how to give up alcohol, as it will help you to set up new, healthier habits. So, if you’re stressed, instead of reaching for a can, phone a friend, write down everything that is bothering you, or go for a run. Doing this creates new associations. Now all that is left to do is set a date to stop and put your bad habit-breaking new associations into practice.
Exciting new drinks to try
One of the problems when you are finding out about how to stop drinking is simply what to drink instead. Options can seem, well, very boring. But with a little imagination, they don’t need to be. Think of those lovely cocktails that you have on holiday, other than alcohol, what do they all have in common? The answer is you like the taste. You can recreate the wonders of the cocktail without the damaging effects of the alcohol, and better still, you can even make your own creations. The ‘mocktail’ as it is better known is one of the tastiest answers to how to give up alcohol. Head to https://thetakeout.com/recipe-mocktails-non-alcoholic-drink-ideas-1829979048 for some ideas on the best mocktails to try.
You can begin with just a few basic ingredients such as sparkling water, flavoured soda, distilled syrups (fruit and herb flavoured) and fresh juices. Non-alcoholic sangria is probably one of the easiest to start with, as it is a variation on iced tea with cinnamon, fresh fruit, sugar and pomegranate juice, topped off with carbonated water just before serving. Ok, so you might not be able to get this in your local pub, but if they want to keep your custom, they are likely to try out a few new non-alcoholic ideas for you.