If you struggle to moderate your alcohol consumption and drinking has become less about fun, and more about regrets and feeling ill, then read on.
With the holidays just around the corner, the next few weeks can turn into a nightmare for the many who have no off-switch, and who perpetually wind up despising themselves after yet another boozy blowout.
To all of those people, I say this: becoming alcohol-free is not as scary as you might think. Here are my top tips for breaking that habit:
1. Get tough. (Because you are!)
Don’t buy into the notion that you must accept defeat, that you have no control over alcohol, and that you need to grit your teeth to make it through each day simply to remain on the wagon. Make up your mind that YOU are in control, YOU choose to open the bottle, so equally it's YOU who can make the choice to not drink.
2. Remind yourself that the internal voice saying fix a drink is your ADDICTION TALKING.
And the longer you choose to NOT give in, the quieter and more submissive that voice will become.
3. Get busy with your new booze-free life.
Attempting to continue with life as it was before you chose to quit drinking is a disaster waiting to happen. You'll inevitably bump into reminders and old habits at every turn, and the voice inside will be impossible to ignore. Break your routine, and try something new. Work out the time of day when you'll crave alcohol the most, and ensure you're distracted at that time. Get into a new hobby, meet a friend in a new place for a coffee, go for a run, take a long soak in the bath with candles and bubbles ... whatever might make you feel happy and keeps you busy, DO IT.
4. Decide to listen to yourself.
You know what a struggle you have with controlling alcohol, and now that you’ve made this great decision to ditch the demon drink, things should start to improve—that is, until your friend/husband/wife/sister tells you that you're over-reacting, you should lighten up and grab a beer. DON’T LISTEN! We live in an alcohol-centric society and as a non-drinker, you will encounter people who regard you as a party-pooper for staying off the sauce.
5. Take note—it’s a GOOD thing to be in control of your life and your health.
Staggering around, slurring your words, looking awful in the morning, damaging your liver, acting like an idiot ... none of these things amount to being cool. Stay resolute, and prepare your answers before anyone starts hassling you to join in with their drinking. Stock up on delicious, alcohol-free alternatives, too, so you get to enjoy a tasty beverage at social events.
6. Be bold and trust.
Take a leap of faith and believe me when I tell you this: you’ll never regret getting on top of your alcohol dependency. Forget worrying about whether or not you are "an alcoholic" and don’t waste a second thinking you’ll have no fun as a non-drinker.
7. Remember this: Life is what you make it, and tomorrow never comes.
If you want to regain control of your life and you KNOW that alcohol plays too central a role in it, the ONLY way to find some relief is to quit drinking, and to DO IT TODAY. If you had told me a few years ago that I'd one day be alcohol-free and loving life like never before, I would have never believed you in a million years. But living without the falseness of alcohol makes life a great, big adventure—and it’s yours for the taking.
This holiday season, do it differently: quit alcohol, take control, and discover who you truly are. You won’t regret it.