Drinking; it’s one of the most common ways to unwind and an activity many people spend their free time engaging in, but not a particularly healthy habit to have. The question arises of how much drinking is overdoing it, and what are the benefits of cutting alcohol from your life, even temporarily?
Casual drinking is nothing to be concerned about, but if you find that you’ve gotten to a point where most of your life is either spent hungover or under the influence, a break from drinking could be very beneficial. If you are developing a dependency on alcohol, feel you need it to relax or have a good time, drink by yourself, or revolve socializing around drinking, it’s in your best interest to go on a cleanse.
Easier said than done; we have prepared some tips that will help ease you into life without booze.
Focus on the benefits
The benefits of taking a drinking break are phenomenal for both the body and mind, even if the break is for as short as a month. Alcohol tends to make you feel great in the moment, with painful and health-harming after effects. With cutting alcohol from your life, you should see improvements in your life all across the board, such as:
- Better quality of sleep
- Increased energy levels
- Clearer skin
- Decreased calorie intake
- Reduced blood pressure
- Money saved
- Improved liver function
The longer the break from alcohol, the more these benefits will be felt, along with alternative benefits. The longer without alcohol, the easier it will be to realize you don’t need to be consuming it in mass amounts in order to enjoy yourself. This leads to an overall decline in future alcohol consumption, improving mental and physical health for years to come, even if taking up drinking again.
Shift how your time is spent
If you’re looking to take a break from consuming alcohol successfully, you will need a new way to spend this now freed up time, previously spent drinking. If you and your friends like to spend your Friday nights at happy hour taking full advantage of the discounted drinks, suggest another way to spend time together. Perhaps you go out to the movies, bowling, for a hike, on a road trip, or take a class together like dancing or cooking. Keeping yourself busy with exciting hobbies will keep your mind off of drinking, as you will be having too much fun to think about or need it.
In order to successfully keep yourself from drinking, removing all temptations from your life is essential. Beginning with removing all alcohol from your house, therefore having no choice but to remain sober, while home at least. A great way to cope with the absence of alcohol while still rewarding yourself with a tasty beverage is by making mocktails, all the ingredients in cocktails without the alcohol. Mocktail versions of drinks can be created based off any of your favorite alcoholic drinks, such as margaritas, mimosas, mojitos, and more. Mocktails are perfect to bring to social events where other people will be drinking so that you have your own drink to sip on and won’t be questioned or pressured by other guests.
Unwind in other ways
If you use alcohol as a way to de-stress after a long day, try out another relaxation method that is healthier for you both mentally and physically! Listening to music, practicing yoga or meditation, enjoying a hot tub or bath, going for a walk, spending time with friends or family, or getting a massage are all great relaxation options that can be achieved with little money or effort. Practicing these other relaxation methods will help you to realize you don’t actually need that drink as badly as you think!
Set goals for limiting the amount you drink and establish ways to reward yourself when you reach these goals. While money is being saved by not purchasing alcohol, think about saving this money to spend on something you’ve been wanting. This way you have extra motivation for you to continue your alcohol cleanse, on top of not waking up with a hangover, and the other health benefits. Maintaining goals and acknowledging what you want to accomplish throughout this cleanse will make the process much easier and more worthwhile.
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Recovery, a drug and alcohol recovery center. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years with a new emphasis on recovery. Before his ventures into healthcare, Matthew graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After Duke Matthew went on to work for the Boston Consulting Group before he realized his true passion lies within Recovery. His vision is to save a million lives in 100 years with a unique approach to recovery that creates a supportive environment through trust, treatment, and intervention.