“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates, Greek philosopher
Life-limiting: Giving up alcohol will give you more time, more money, more freedom and improved health. There is evidence that shows young people are shunning booze more than ever and many are showing that you don’t need booze to have a fulfilling life.
Boring: I worried about this a lot before I gave up and in the early days. I thought that, somehow, not being a drinker would diminish who I was as a person. I often drank alcohol to feel more confident, or seem interesting. But being drunk isn’t the same as being interesting. In my experience, drunk people are often less interesting, and often just annoying when they’ve had too much. (I include myself in that!)
For everyone: I know a lot of people who find quitting entirely a real challenge and prefer the route of moderation or mindful drinking. That is fine as long as you can manage it. Find what works for you. If you desperately want to give up but are really struggling then do consider seeking professional and/or medical help.
Easy: I have written a lot about how it took me a little time and a few goes to stop entirely. It was hard because I was breaking a habit and changing my mindset.
Be nice to yourself and persevere; the improvements you’ll see are great motivators to keep going. When I started, I made a commitment to take each day as it came rather than setting bigger goals and I am certain that breaking it down made it more straight-forward.
A social death-knell: You might be worried about this. I was. I didn’t stop going on nights out entirely but I did want to protect my newly-found sobriety. In some cases I bailed early or became selective about which drinking situations to go to.
It was about understanding triggers, my resilience and not being too ambitious too early. I guess that’s my biggest piece of advice to you when you’re starting out on this journey. And remember: when you’ve been on one night out/party the others that follow get much easier – and enjoyable!
A quick fix: Deciding to be alcohol-free takes effort, a change in habits and resolve. We live in a world that glamourises drinking through corporate sponsorships, marketing campaigns and retail. Keep the reasons why you’ve stopped close to you, and remind yourself of them often.
The solution: Being alcohol free gives you a more solid foundation to work from because you are not using booze as a coping mechanism for whatever life throws at you. Giving up alcohol helped me focus on what I wanted from my career and it crystallised my future plans.
It won’t solve all your problems but it will make them easier to deal with because you’re more aware and able to move through these challenges in a clear-headed way.
Good luck if you’re starting and keep going if you’re already on the road! Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts!