We’re now midway through the month and many who
enthusiastically pledged to do ‘Dry January’ are finding that their resolve is
on the wane. As a soberista of thirteen
months standing, I thought I’d share my top two tips to help with not drinking
alcohol. I could write much more about
how to stay on the wagon – and the many benefits of it – but my aim here is to give
a couple of simple suggestions that are easy to remember so that you can easily
draw upon them this weekend or any time in the weeks ahead, whether you’re
going out or staying in.
[Huge caveat: if you
feel your drinking is a problem then please don’t take my advice – go to see
your GP or a specialist for help. There
is support out there, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the US and the UK]
Choose a soft alternative that you like in advance
of the ‘What are you drinking?’ question.
Finding an alternative to the alcoholic
drinks available is a big stumbling block for many. It’s easy to feel uninspired or like a child
allowed to stay up for an adult party, clutching a glass of fizzy pop. But a bit of advance planning can help: what
non-alcoholic drink would feel like a treat? (Bitter lemon is now my go-to if neither pop
nor coffee feel like they’ll cut it). If
you’re staying in then try browsing the supermarket shelves for something that
catches your eye and tempts your palate – then stock up on a few bottles. If you’re going out then have a choice mentally
lined up ready for the opening ‘What are you drinking?’ – this will help with
tip two as well.
Tell yourself you can switch back to alcohol
after the first drink if you really want to.
A lot of talk in AA and other twelve-step
programmes is about taking things ‘one day at a time’. Not drinking only for today seems much less
intimidating than contemplating a teetotal lifetime. We can take this down a step further too: tell
yourself that just the first drink has to be non-alcoholic. Lines such as ‘I’ll just have a water for now
– I’m so thirsty!’ and ‘Can I get a coffee?
Think I need some caffeine to help keep me awake this evening!’ are
great ways to take pressure off yourself by making the choices seem less urgent,
less of a commitment. You’re
super-casually getting a regular drink because you’re thirsty, that’s all. (The same lines also seem divert the peer
pressure that unfortunately can sometimes accompany the decision not to drink
Make the first drink non-alcoholic, then
see how you feel after that. So often I’ve
found that the ‘How am I going to get through this evening without booze? / I really want a “proper” drink tonight –
boo hiss poor me!’ feelings subside once the opening decision making has
passed. It’s like once you get over the
first hurdle then you soon get to the part where you feel okay about not
drinking and even begin to see the benefits.
And as with so many things, the more you practise getting over that
hurdle, the easier it becomes. I hope
that these two tips help you with that.
Let me know how you get on! Did the tips work for you? Get in touch and tell me. There’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or the A Life Of One’s Own
Facebook page. And of course you can
also email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).