I wanted to talk about three strategies that helped me when I first quit drinking. These strategies helped me so much that I was successful in turning my 30-day break from drinking into a lifetime break from drinking.
Two years ago, I was STUCK. Every morning I would wake up and tell myself I’m not going to drink today. Then, the evening would come and I would cave on the promises I had made to myself in the morning. I would choose to drink. Then, the next morning, I would wake up feeling miserable and disappointed. These three strategies made it so much easier when I finally decided that enough was enough.
I suggest breaking quitting drinking into bite-size pieces. I hear from so many people that it can feel super overwhelming to say: “I’m going to quit drinking forever!” I totally understand that because that’s how I was quitting.
I was in a spot where I was drinking moderately on the weekdays, and heavily on the weekends. If you would have told me, “Hey, a year from now, you will have been alcohol free for one year.” there is no way I would have believed you. Believe me, when I say that I know how overwhelming it can feel to decide to take a break from drinking, let alone say, I’m going to quit drinking forever. To make it easier, I suggest that you to break it into bite size pieces.
You can choose a one-day break, a seven-day break, 15 days, 30 days. The choice is yours, whatever feels a little bit challenging but also doable.
I chose 30 days, and it definitely felt like the right amount of “challenging”. I’ll be one hundred percent honest with you, it actually felt a little overwhelming, BUT I wanted to do 30 days because I knew that 30 days would get me past those initial first few days. And then it would give me MORE time to “practice” being alcohol free. Having a few alcohol free weekends definitely felt like a challenge, too, but again, I wanted that extra “practice”.
You really can choose any amount of time that feels the most doable (yet a little challenging) for you. Here’s the thing with taking a “bite-size” break. You get to be in control of those 30 days and you get to decide what’s happening after those 30 days. You can say: “I’m going to do 30 days!” After that, I’m going to be more in control of my drinking and watch my drinking habits.”
Or you can do what I did. I went through my first 30 days, and then I upped that and I decided to go to 60 days. After 60 days, I decided to challenge myself and keep going for 100 days. Once I had one hundred days, I challenged myself to go for a full year. Not too long after the hundred days, I knew that I just wasn’t ever drinking again.
I honestly don’t think I would have been confident enough to quit forever, if I wouldn’t have started with a 30 Day break first.
You can decide to quit drinking for thirty days, but if you don’t work on your mindset, you will still feel stuck at the end of your 30 days. At the end of those thirty days, if you decide to go back to drinking, you will fall right back into your old habits. However, if you work on your mindset the whole time, you will actually be creating NEW habits and NEW pathways in your brain.. You’re retraining your brain to have new beliefs about yourself.
My belief about myself before I quit drinking was, “I’m a drinker. I’m a person who likes to drink. I’m a person who always seems to drink a little bit too much.” These were the beliefs in my head. These were the truths I was forming. One thing I did to help change these beliefs about myself, was starting daily affirmations. Every single day I would write, “I do not drink!” Then, I would also say this phrase about five times. I still do this almost everyday, but for the first hundred days of not drinking, I never missed doing my affirtmations.
The first time I wrote it down, I didn’t believe it at all. I was like: “Yeah, whatever”. Slowly but surely, though, I started believing it. It made me start forming a new truth about myself as a non-drinker. Also, it was easier to turn down a drink when someone offered one to me. If a friend was like, “Hey, do you want a drink?” It was SO much easier for me to say, “Oh no, sorry, I don’t drink.”
If you’re new to being alcohol free, get yourself some daily affirmations that you can say. If you need some daily affirmations, click here and you can download ten mantras that I used during my time when I first quit drinking.
Another way to work on your mindset, is to start a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal gave me a place to celebrate my wins in my first few days, weeks, and months of being alcohol free. When I first quit drinking, I didn’t tell very many people I was taking this break.
A Gratitude journal gave me a place to be grateful for waking up without a hangover. To be grateful for making it through my first weekend with no drinking and then making it through two weeks without drinking. My gratitude journal was a special place for me to celebrate.
When you’re new to being alcohol free, I want you to go out and gather as much knowledge as you can. Go find a podcast that resonates with you. Podcasts are sometimes new to people, but they are so simple. Just go into whatever podcast app you have on your phone and search, “Sober curious”, “sober”, “hangover free”, or “quit drinking”. Then listen to a few of the podcast options that come up, until you find one that you REALLY love.
It was really important to hear other people’s stories about quitting drinking. Hearing somebody else’s story made me realize that if they could do it, I could do it too. Podcasts gave this to me.
I also searched on Instagram for people that inspired me that had done the same journey that I was currently on. And now you can go on TikTok, too. Just search various hashtags on these platforms. Here’s some hashtags to try: #sober #quitdrinking #alcoholfree #sobertiktok There’s a world of people out there, and they are all SO inspiring. I’m actually over on TikTok, and I love sharing my story there. My name on TikTok is no_more_wasted_days (I’m on Instagram, too, with the same name.)
Along with hearing other people’s stories, I want you to get out there and start researching the impacts that alcohol has on our mental and physical health. I had no idea that alcohol was so bad for me. I thought alcohol was actually good for you in moderation. Now, I wasn’t really moderating very well, but it gave me an excuse to go ahead and drink because I read an article once that said one glass of wine is good for you. So I figured 3 glasses wasn’t that bad either.
Then I found out that alcohol is a carcinogen and it’s poison. That’s why your body gets a hangover. All of these things were huge eye openers to me. Learning about them made me feel empowered.
It also turns out that alcohol was a huge cause of my anxiety that was starting to creep up and become more and more. I thought the daily anxiety I was starting to experience was just because I was getting old. It turns out that alcohol was a HUGE culprit in my anxiety. Quitting drinking made it so my brain was more balanced. It didn’t have a foreign chemical coming into my body that it didn’t know how to process correctly. Instead, I was clear minded and clear headed.
Those are little things I learned by going out and gathering as much knowledge as I could. I listened to audiobooks. I searched on Google. I listened to podcasts. Get out and find all of the knowledge you can!
I hope these strategies help you in your alcohol free journey. If they do, be sure to share this blog post with others that might need it, and leave a comment to tell me which strategy you’re going to use first.