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.
One of the most positive changes that happened to me when I took a 30-day break from alcohol was how all of my relationships changed.
When I decided to take a break from drinking, I was very worried about how my relationships would change.
Would it be hard to hang out with my friends?
What would my family think?
Would it be hard to handle my kids?
I hear from a lot of moms: “Oh, I need a glass of wine. So I can kick back and relax when my kids are driving me bonkers.”
Let’s be real, no matter how awesome your kids are, they still drive us all bonkers. I was definitely concerned that I would not be as patient with my kids if I didn’t have a little wine to chill me out.
Also, I was worried, what about my husband? How would our relationship change?
A 30-day break from alcohol was actually my husband’s idea. I wasn’t very excited about his idea to take a break from drinking. We were each other’s drinking buddies and that’s what I knew. I was actually a little concerned about how we’d get along without drinking. To my surprise, we actually got along so much better without alcohol.
When my husband and I were both drinking, there was a lot of pressure to start drinking each day, and have a happy hour at home. We would both be working on something on our own, and, then one of us would suggest, “Hey, would you like a drink?”
Then without fail, we’d be having a happy hour instead of working. We were each other’s biggest enablers. These little “at home happy hours” were making it so we weren’t hitting the goals we set for ourselves. I honestly didn’t see this issue until I took a break from drinking.
Our relationship feels so much easier now. It’s much more relaxed now, and no one is forcing anyone to drink. We don’t each have that internal battle of if we should drink and if we should bother the other person to have a drink with us. We also aren’t having an external struggle anymore where one of us wants to drink, but the other doesn’t so it causes tension.
I was SO worried that I would be more impatient with my kids without drinking. I felt like drinking made me fun and playful, and without a glass of wine, I’d just be the mom that was constantly short with my kids. I was SO wrong!
When I took a break from drinking, I saw that I was actually more patient with my kids. I used to always become so relaxed after one or two glasses of wine, but then after that I just became tired and irritable. Now, without drinking, my energy holds out a little longer each day so I am able to stay calm with my kids while we’re having dinner as a family and cleaning up the kitchen.
I also noticed that I had more of myself to give to my kids without alcohol. Now, when I hang out with my kids, I’m really there for my kids. I’m present with my kids. It’s family time! There is no longer struggle within myself of wanting to sit and enjoy my drink or chatting with my kids or playing a game with them.
My weekends are no longer filled with hangovers anymore. This is something that is HUGE for me. I used to have hangovers so often on the weekend. I would try to hide it from my kids and still have fun weekend adventures, but I was still SO irritable and tired the whole time.
Now, I am alert and ready to go on the weekend. If we have an adventure planned, I know that I will be ready for the day, and I will not be brought down by a hangover.
To say I was worried that my relationships with my friends would suffer when I quit drinking is an understatement. I was SO worried that my friends wouldn’t be accepting of this change or would question it. I’ll be honest, some friends didn’t quite get it, but those friends were not my close friends. My close friends were all super supportive, and I now see that they are getting a better version of me.
When I was drinking, there were a lot of times when I’d say: “Oh yeah, I’ll meet you.” Then I’d be hoping they’d cancel because I was hungover or I didn’t want to go because I wanted to stay at my own house and drink.
There were so many times that I wouldn’t want to go to a friend’s house for dinner or a party. My reason for this was that I knew I couldn’t drink as much as I wanted to because I’d have to drive home.
There were a lot of times where I wasn’t giving my full self to my friends and my family. Alcohol was masking my true self. I was also that friend that would be so fun at a party until I had drank too much and I was just the super drunk person. I wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation anymore, or I’d just pass out.
Now my friends, family, kids, and husband get the best version of me. The REAL version of me.
My quitting drinking started as a 30-day break from alcohol. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it in the beginning. I honestly thought that I would quit drinking for 30 days and then return back to drinking afterward but with more control. That was my initial plan. However, my 30-day break was so eye opening to me that I decided to quit all together. My 30-day break allowed me to see how much more amazing my life was without alcohol!
If you are questioning your own break from alcohol, I urge you to take a 30-day break, too.
A 30-day break from alcohol changed my life. I honestly didn’t expect it to be so positive but it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself!
Are you ready for your own 30-day break from alcohol so you can take a moment to step back and evaluate your own relationship with drinking?
You can join my 30 day alcohol free challenge for some extra support and accountability. I help you get started with a 30 Day challenge and then you have year long access to me, weekly group zoom chats, and a private group of others doing the same challenge.
Just click the link below to get all the information and get started as soon as TODAY!
When I quit drinking, my fingers were crossed that I would lose weight. I mean, I was drinking A LOT of calories. Now, you may be shocked to hear that I only lost about 5 lbs. However, I lost a ton of bloat in my midsection. Losing this bloat made me lose inches from my waist and this meant that clothes started fitting better, and overall I looked a felt a lot better in my own skin.
Besides losing my belly bloat, I also noticed a change in my face. It’s like my face was swollen from drinking and I didn’t even notice it until I quit drinking. I lost so much puffiness in my face. Along with that, my skin became brighter and clearer.
Lastly, my eyes became brighter. When I was drinking regularly, my eyes always looked tired and puffy. When I quit drinking, I lost the puffiness and my eyes became brighter and whiter.
My husband and I LOVED to drink together. We had so much fun when we’d drink together. However, as we’d drink more, we’d bicker with each other over silly things. A lot of this bickering would turn into me being so upset with my husband that I would end up grumpy and mad at him for the rest of the evening. I would wake up in the morning and remember I was mad at him, but I couldn’t remember why I was mad at him. It was the worst feeling ever.
These days, my husband and I bicker a LOT less. When we do have a disagreement, it is resolved quickly, and rarely does it turn into us being so upset that we are mad at each other for the whole evening. PLUS, now if I do go to be upset, I wake up in the morning and remember why I was upset so we can actually talk about it.
No more arguments that we can’t remember why and how they started.
I hear so many moms say that drinking makes them a more patient mom, and I totally understand because that is how I used to feel, too. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, either. The first few days (and into the second week) that I was alcohol free, I was CRABBY with my kids. They’d be arguing with each other, and I’d think, “That’s it! I need a drink so I can chill out and not yell at them.” But I’d just drink a fizzy water and let the feeling pass.
I found that after the initial urge would pass, I would feel okay, and as the evening would carry on, I’d feel so much better. I used to be so irritated with my kids by the end of dinnertime and especially by bedtime. Now, I have so much more patience with them. I actually sit and enjoy their dinner conversation. Plus, I genuinely listen (and remember) our dinner conversation each evening because I am not drunk.
I used to sleep terribly! I’d wake up almost every night with my heart beating fast and my mind racing. I’d lay in bed and try deep breathing techniques, but I’d still be awake with my mind racing. I would get up and got to the restroom, drink some water and then lay back down and try to still my mind, but it just wouldn’t work. Instead, I would just toss and turn all night and then finally get out of bed when my alarm went off.
I thought that this was just part of aging. Maybe I was peri-menopausal? My doctor told me I was too young for that, but maybe she was wrong? Maybe my thyroid was out of whack? My doctor checked that, though, and it was fine.
It was actually all a cause of drinking. I would drink most evenings, and yes, the alcohol helped me fall asleep. However, the alcohol would convert to sugar in the evening, and when my body would metabolize it I would wake up. I would be hungover and out of sorts. My mind was so tired, but the the sugar from the alcohol was making me stay awake. It was a terrible cycle.
These days, my body is actually on it’s natural cycle. I fall asleep easily and I RARELY wake up in the middle of the night. On the rare occasion that I do wake up in the middle of the night, I fall back asleep very quickly.
I’m embarrassed to say this now, but I used to spend so many of my Monday’s teaching super hungover! I’d drink most of the day on Sunday . . . You know the drill – Mimosas, then day drinking with some beer, and then wine with dinner. I would chug ALL the water in the evening and take to ibuprofen before I went to bed and cross my fingers that I’d wake up without a hangover.
I was never that lucky, though, instead I would wake up hungover. I’d pop some more ibuprofen, chug more water. I’d workout in hopes to sweat some of the toxins out. Choke down a breakfast and get myself to work.
I would literally drag myself through the day, just counting down the minutes before I could go home. When I was drinking, NO ONE was getting the best parts of me. I would chalk my Monday tiredness up to it just being Monday, but I knew the truth. Alcohol was stealing my energy.
These days, I show up at work on Monday’s feeling well rested. I’m happy and excited for the start of a new week. Monday’s are actually my most productive days now because I use my weekends a combination of rest and relaxation AND crossing projects off of my to-do list. I go into Monday’s feeling ready to conquer the world now!
This was probably the most surprising thing that happened to me when I quit drinking. My creativity level went up! My brain was no longer living in an alcohol induced fog. Instead it was running on all cylinders.
From writing to crafting to parenting. My brain is able to work to find creative ways to do things. I had always been a creative person, and when I was drinking I honestly thought still was creative, but alcohol is tricky. It makes you live in a life with a faint veil over you. That veil has been there long enough that you stop noticing the cloudiness.
It was difficult in the beginning to take a break from alcohol, but when I did, I was so surprised when the veil of alcohol was lifted. I was suddenly living my life at FULL capacity and when my brain came up with an idea, I had more creativity on how to make that idea a reality.
My weekends used to be all about laying on the couch recovering from a hangover, or trying to do things with my kids while having an awful hangover (that’s the worst isn’t it).
The weekend would come to an end and I would look around my disaster of a house, and I’d tell myself, “Just make it through your Monday, and everything will start falling into place.” I was in constant “survival mode” with the organization of my life because I never had the energy to get ahead in our household chores. It was NOT a fun place to be.
These days, our weekends look so much different. Gone are the days of nursing a hangover and instead our weekends are full of FUN and PRODUCTIVITY. Without a hangover or a night of drinking. Now we have time for something fun and we get ahead of our household chores, and even do some extra chores in there, too.
Monday mornings are no longer fueled by thoughts like, “Just make it through today.” Instead I go into Monday’s feeling well rested and prepared for the week ahead. It is an AMAZING feeling!
I know that the idea of taking a break from alcohol can feel super overwhelming. So I put together a list of 10 Mantras I used (and still do) when I took a break from alcohol. Click HERE to download your 10 Mantras today.
The thought of socializing without alcohol can be SO overwhelming. I get it. My social anxiety was actually one of the reasons I put off even trying to quit for so long. Here’ the thing, though, I was actually surprised at how easy sober socializing turned out to be. (It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but it really was easier than I had thought it would be.)
If you are in the beginning of your alcohol free journey, I’ve put together 5 tips that can help you when you venture out to your first social event.
GO OUT WITH A “Drinking” PLAN – Before you head out for an evening of sober socializing, go out with a plan. Will you be at a social situation where everyone will be social drinking? (Hopefully, not if you’re early on in your journey, but sometimes it happens.). Bring non-alcoholic beverages for yourself. Bring MORE than you thing you’ll need, too, because I often find that I drink more of my NA drinks when I’m out with people that are drinking (or even people that aren’t drinking). I guess I still hold onto and sip on my non alcoholic drink as a way to calm my party jitters.
My favorite NA drinks are – flavored club soda, Kombucha (the GTS brand and Brew Doctor are SO yummy, a super fancy lemonade, and I also like NA beer every once in a while.)
VISUALIZE THE EVENING – Practice before you head out by visualizing the WHOLE evening. By mentally playing through the whole evening, your brain actually feels like it has already experienced the event so you are more prepared for success.
To visualize the evening, sit somewhere quiet and start playing through the whole evening. Picture yourself getting ready for the night. Then picture arriving at the event. Where will you go first? Will you check out the food or will you go around the perimeter of the crowd to see who all is there? Who will you talk to first? What will you talk to them about? Picture yourself doing all these things with a smile on and carrying yourself with confidence. Then picture that someone asks you what you’d like to drink. How will you answer them. Play through the rest of the party or event in your mind and then picture yourself saying goodbye and leaving feeling so proud of yourself for staying alcohol free.
PLAN AN ACTIVITY NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOHOL – If you are in control of choosing the activity, make a plan that does not include drinking. Now, I know that sometimes this is hard because if you were like me when I first quit drinking I was suddenly realizing that all the activities I enjoyed seemed to include alcohol so you may need to branch out a little. Also, sometimes it’s not about the activity, BUT the time of day you go, so planning a lunch with someone is an easier time to avoid drinking. Here are some activities you could try that don’t put alcohol front and center and eliminate peer pressure:
Hiking, going to an exercise class, going to a museum, meet for a cup of coffee, go to a crafting night or host your own, go for a scenic drive, etc.
REHEARSE WHAT YOU’LL SAY – At some point someone is going to ask you to have a drink. Before heading out, rehearse how you’ll answer. Now, I may lose you here, but this seriously works. Practice in a mirror. Just pretend you’re in middle school again and lip syncing to you favorite song (Was that only me??). Back to what I was saying, look in the mirror and practice saying, “No, thanks. I’m not drinking tonight.” Or even bolder, “No, thanks. I actually quit drinking.” Now, if you go with the bold route, you are going to need to rehearse what you say next. When they ask, “Why?” I go with something along the lines of, “I took a break from drinking, and actually found out that I really enjoy life without drinking alcohol. I know it seems crazy, but I’ve figured out that alcohol just wasn’t working for me.” After that, they either ask me more about it or leave it be. 90% of the time, they leave it be.
BE CONFIDENT – Before I go to any social event (or even just hang out with friends I used to drink with), I work to pump myself up beforehand. I think of ALL the things I have accomplished since I quit drinking. I remember that drinking has actually changed my physical appearance – my skin and eyes are brighter, and I’ve lost some inches off my waist. I also remember that without drinking I will have a cleared head so I can communicate more easily and even tell better jokes. When I remind myself of all these things, it gives me a confidence boost, and when I’m feeling confident, it’s easier for me to stay on track with my alcohol free life.
I hope these tips help you the next time you’re headed out with friends. Which tip do you think you’ll use first? What is a tip you have for socializing without alcohol that you would add to the list.