Many people are able to drink without serious consequences, but there is a significant part of the population that struggles with sobriety. Many people rely on alcohol as a coping strategy. Others develop an actual physical addiction to alcohol. Common signs of alcoholism include:
- An inability to drink in moderation
- Overspending on alcohol
- Craving alcohol
- Neglecting personal and work responsibilities due to alcohol consumption
Work, personal relationships, physical health and psychological health can all be negatively affected by drinking alcohol in excess. Increase the odds of staying sober with these useful tips:
- Remove all alcohol from your home. Anyone that’s ever been on a diet knows that any food in the house that tastes good will eventually be eaten. The same goes for alcohol. If you enjoy drinking, you’ll eventually break down and drink it if it’s in the house.
- Avoid situations that make it easy to drink. Opportunity can equal disaster. Be careful about meeting coworkers at a bar after work. Parties can be another danger zone. Consider taking a date to a location that doesn’t serve alcohol. Be wary of where you spend your time if you want to stay sober.
- Re-evaluate your social circle. Spending time with your long-time drinking buddies can be a huge mistake. Do you have friends that always drink on the weekends? Does someone in your family drink frequently?
- While many people will be supportive of your decision not to drink, there may be some that won’t. You might have to shuffle the people in your life if staying sober is a priority.
- Find a group of people that share your challenge. There are many groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, that provide support to those who have chosen to stay sober. These groups can be a great place to build friendships with those going through the same struggle.
- Exercise. A good workout can clear your head, burn off stress, and reset your brain and your perspective. Exercise benefits you in many ways.
- Get help with any mental health issues. Mental health issues can make sobriety much more challenging. Get the help you need to deal with any mental health issues you might be facing.
- Find a hobby that you love and do it! Spend time on an enjoyable activity as often as possible. A positive mood makes it easier to avoid drinking. What do you like to do? What would you like to try?
- Deal with urges effectively. It’s important to have a plan when the urge to drink arises. There’s no way to avoid the urge to drink completely. What are you going to do when it happens?
- Call a friend?
- Call a sponsor?
- Go for a run?
- Reduce the stress in your life. Stress is uncomfortable. When we’re uncomfortable, we tend to do whatever needs to be done to make ourselves comfortable again. Stress can’t be avoided completely but reducing the amount of stress you experience can help reduce the urge to drink.
- Address any physical pain. Pain, like stress, is another form of discomfort. And let’s face it, alcohol is pretty effective at reducing pain. See your doctor and deal with any injuries or long-term pain your body might be suffering.
These tips can help with maintaining sobriety, but the initial steps of becoming sober might require the assistance of health professionals. If alcohol is a serious issue for you, it is likely to be an ongoing struggle for the rest of your life. It’s a battle best fought one day at a time. Alcoholism is a serious disease that requires immediate attention. Get the necessary help you require. You’ll be glad you did.
To Your Success,
Happy hours can be a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work. You bond with your coworkers, talk about your day, and listen to some upbeat music. On the other hand, if you make such activities a regular routine, you could be taking in more alcohol and empty calories than you want.
Plus, you may be training yourself to think that consumption is the only way to relax. You can’t remove all the stress from daily life, but you can learn to deal with it without creating more troubles. Start with these ideas for relaxing without alcohol or food.
Calorie-Free Ways to Relax on Your Own:
- Breathe deeply. Pause and take a few calming breaths. Inhale from down in your diaphragm instead of up in your chest. Lengthen your exhalations to match your inhalations. Focus on the air as it moves in and out of your nostrils.
- Meditate and pray. Sit down for a few moments and connect with yourself and the divine. Observe your thoughts without judging them. Give thanks for your blessings.
- Engage in visualization. Close your eyes and imagine something that makes you feel happy and inspired. Picture yourself surrounded by family and friends or excelling at a task that you find fulfilling.
- Draw a bath. Fill your tub with warm water and enjoy a luxurious soak. Buy fragrant bath salts or make your own. Set out fluffy towels, candles, and other accessories of your choice.
- Stretch your body. Make it a habit to stand up about every half hour when you’re working at your desk. Place your hands on your lower spine for support, and do a slight backbend. Rise up tall, and reach your hands down to the floor, bending your knees if necessary.
- Take a walk. Stroll around the block or hike the trails at your local park. Pick a quiet time of day and explore new routes.
- Appreciate nature. Scientific studies prove that nature has the power to soothe us. Head outdoors or watch videos about sandy beaches and ancient forests.
- Learn progressive relaxation. Experiment with progressive muscle relaxation. Start with your hands, squeezing each muscle group as you breathe in, and releasing as you breathe out. Continue across the rest of your body.
Calorie-Free Ways to Relax with Others:
- Practice yoga. Yoga cultivates community as well as stress relief and physical fitness. Bring a friend with you to your next class. Invite others to join you for breakfast afterwards.
- Play sports. As long as you avoid extreme competition, sports can be relaxing. Schedule a game of tennis or darts.
- Go dancing. Take listening to music a step further by getting out on the dance floor. Sign up for rumba lessons or spend your next date night at a club with a live band.
- Pet your dog. Remember your animal companions too. Studies show that talking to them actually tends to be less stressful than interacting with humans because we don’t worry about being judged.
- Talk it over. On the other hand, your fellow humans are probably going to have more insights into how to deal with your love life or conflicts at work. Call a friend when you need to vent or discover a different perspective on whatever is on your mind.
- Laugh it up. Humor makes our struggles easier to bear. Spend time with others who encourage you to see the funny aspects of parenthood or practicing law.
Whether you’re on your own or surrounded by friends, you can banish stress safely and effectively. Learning to relax without alcohol or food will help you to stay slim and peaceful.
Did you find these suggestions helpful? If you would like to add to the conversation or have a suggestion, please comment below.
To Your Success,
A few days ago, I provided helpful tips which should help if you are struggling with anxiety and Alcoholism. Stress and anxiety often go hand in hand, so let’s examine how the role stress plays in this addiction.
Alcohol and stress have a complicated relationship. An occasional drink can help you to feel happier and more relaxed. On the other hand, heavy and prolonged consumption increases your risk for anxiety, depression, and other undesirable consequences.
Much of this is due to how alcohol affects your brain. When you’re healthy, your body deals with stress by increasing hormones like cortisol that prepare you for action, and then quickly restoring the usual levels once the challenge has passed.
Relying on alcohol disrupts this balance. Your stress responses become less efficient, and you may build up tolerance, so you have to drink more to achieve the same effects. Meanwhile, your drinking may create additional sources of tension. You may develop mental and physical health issues, and your drinking may interfere with your relationships and career.
You can break the cycle if stress is making you drink more, and your drinking is causing more stress. Try these tips and reach out to your doctor and your loved ones if you need more support.
Tips for Dealing with Stress:
- Think positive. Pay attention to the wonderful things that happen each day. Remember that hardships are temporary. Try to find the humor in difficult situations.
- Plan ahead. Identify potential obstacles before they occur. It’s easier to stay calm when you recognize your options and have a plan of action to pursue.
- Focus on solutions. Devote your energy to overcoming a challenge rather than complaining about it. Concentrate on the things you can change. Find ways to turn setbacks into opportunities for learning and growth.
- Eat healthy. Self-care makes you more resilient. Nourish your body and mind with a balanced diet rich in whole foods and fiber. Limit your intake of sugar, salt, and empty calories.
- Sleep well. High quality sleep promotes healing. Go to bed at the same time each night so you’ll wake up feeling alert and refreshed.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity reduces stress hormones and lifts your spirits. Enjoy a variety of workouts so you’ll stay motivated while you build up your strength and condition your heart.
- Live mindfully. Meditation and deep breathing can help you calm uncomfortable emotions and racing thoughts. Practice on your own or browse for instructional videos and apps online.
Tips for Drinking in Moderation:
- Set limits. Decide how many drinks you’ll have before you get started. That way you’re less likely to overindulge. You may also want to schedule alcohol-free days or weeks.
- Slow down. Pace yourself by sipping your wine. Stay hydrated with a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.
- Eat a snack. Alcohol enters your bloodstream more gradually when you have food in your stomach. You still need to drink responsibly, but a snack gives you some extra protection.
- Resist peer pressure. Do you find yourself drinking more when you’re around some of your friends or coworkers? Create strategies for dealing with such triggers, like suggesting activities that don’t involve alcohol.
- Avoid binge drinking. There’s a big difference between having one drink a day for a week and having 7 drinks in one evening. Stick to the conventional guidelines for no more than 1 or 2 drinks a day.
- Ask for help. Moderate drinking is safe for most adults, but you may need to give up alcohol if you have certain medical conditions. Talk with your doctor about the appropriate decision for you.
Positive thinking, relaxation practices, and self-care are more effective than alcohol when it comes to handling stress. If you think your drinking may be affecting your health and wellbeing, call a community hotline or ask your doctor about resources that can help you get back on track.
September is National Recovery Month. SAMSHA is a US government website with a huge list of helpful resources. Get started today. Help is available 24/7 by calling or texting the Crisis Hotline : 988
You your success,
Did you know September is National Recovery Month?In honor of this, I’d like to use it as a platform to bring more awareness to the continue struggle with Alcoholism that so many of my clients face.
Are you, or someone you love struggling to quit drinking? Does quitting seemed like a monumental endeavor that you will never accomplish? What if you took it day by day, and celebrate the small victories? This month, I hope to share strategies and tips with my fellow readers. I work with clients who struggle with this and many other addictions. I have witnessed first hand, the devastating effects this addiction has on family, friends and loved ones. So let’s dive in.
An estimated 6.5 million adults took part in Dry January in 2021. If you’ve missed out on making it one of your new year’s resolutions, you can still celebrate a similar occasion any time of year. While some adults need to avoid alcohol completely, others may prefer a more gradual approach. For them, a British charity group helped start a movement in 2014 to quit drinking for a month after the winter holidays. Many participants say that it has helped them to transform their relationship with alcohol.
Look at what a month without margaritas, or your drink of choice can do for you.
Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol for a Month
Clinical research on Dry January is very limited, but the initial results are promising. Even short-term abstinence can have positive effects on your overall health and wellbeing.
- Sleep well. You’ll probably wake up feeling more refreshed. Alcohol interferes with the quality of your sleep, so this is one of the most common and quickest results.
- Feel healthier. There can be significant health benefits. One study found that a month off alcohol decreased blood pressure by 5% and lowered diabetes risk by 30%. There were also large decreases in blood growth factors linked to certain cancers.
- Lose weight. It’s easy to lose track of how many calories you drink. You may wind up slimmer without even trying to eat less.
- Drink more responsibly. The big question is whether a month without alcohol will lead to lasting changes. According to one survey, Dry January participants drank less frequently and drank less per day for months afterwards.
Tips for Quitting or Cutting Back on Drinking
As you might expect, Dry January fans use many of the same methods that can help anyone to curb their alcohol consumption. Listed below are a few examples of proven strategies.
- Pick a date. Having specific goals and a timeline will help you to feel more committed and accountable. Maybe you’ll want to join the crowd in January, or maybe another month is more feasible for you.
- Cope with triggers. Be prepared for situations that tend to make you want to drink. Suggest going to a movie instead of visiting a bar on date nights. Relax after work with a walk in the park rather than sitting down with a glass of wine.
- Seek support. Ask others for the help you need. Let your family and friends know what you’re doing and what they can do to make it easier.
- Manage peer pressure. Rehearse how you’ll respond in situations where others may encourage you to drink. If someone refuses to respect your choices, you may want to limit your interactions with them at least temporarily.
- Prepare for relapses. What if you give in to temptation at a wedding or a barbecue? Learn from the experience and give yourself credit for getting back on track the next day.
- Stay busy. You’re less likely to miss alcohol if you keep your mind and body occupied with other activities. Spend more time at the gym or working on hobbies. Take a course at your local community college or volunteer at a food bank.
- Practice self-care. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to try other healthy lifestyle changes. Eat more vegetables and start a daily self-care practice.
- See your doctor. Quitting alcohol for a month is safe for most adults. However, if you’re dependent on alcohol, you’ll need medical care to help. Your doctor can help you understand your options and provide you with resources.
Giving up drinking for a month could be the start of a healthier relationship with alcohol. Let it encourage you to drink in moderation or seek professional help if alcohol is disrupting your relationships and the quality of your life. For more information on recovery, please visit this US Government Website
To Your Success,