I was going to title this, some things that helped me give up alcohol. But, this journey is not about giving something up. I feel very strongly that if I held onto to the mindset that I am giving something up, I would never be free.
I had to completely change the way I viewed drinking alcohol. It would relax and numb me out briefly, but then I would be chasing that feeling for the rest of night. Drinking alcohol gave me approximately twenty minutes of pleasure before I was either trying to moderate or drinking too much. Then, if I drank too much, I would feel sick, guilty, hungover and sleep deprived. If I tried to moderate, I would just feel deprived.
Here are some of the things that helped me to stop drinking:
Change the way I view alcohol. Alcohol is a poisonous addictive drug. It can increase your risk of developing cancer. It negatively effects sleep, slows down motor control causing slurring and imbalance, takes away inhibitions, and causes illness.
Accountability. This is huge!! I posted on Facebook and made a pledge not to drink for one year. There are many ways to hold yourself accountable, you need to find a way that is good for you. Also, telling my son was important because I want to be the best role model I can be and to teach him that a life without alcohol can be beautiful.
Books. I read voraciously. Quit lit, fiction, non-fiction, self-help, you name it. Some books that have helped me on this journey are: Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter, Why We Sleep Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Mathew Walker, PhD, The Sober Diaries How One Woman stopped drinking and Started Living by Clare Pooley, Kick the Drink Easily by Jason Vale, Stop Drinking Now by Allen Carr, Perfectly Imperfect The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice by Baron Baptiste, The Power of Meaning Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness by Emily Esfahani Smith, Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, PhD, and Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Yoga. Yoga has helped me heal. In the beginning when the teacher would ask the class to set their intention, mine was always to heal. Yoga is not about touching your toes, it teaches you to make a mind body connection. It helped me feel strong, to get out of my own head and connect with my breath.
Moving my body. Yoga might not be for you. Do whatever exercise makes you feel good. Walk, run, hike, swim, bike, or try Zumba. Replacing booze with exercise is a win win.
Getting outside. I feel so much better when I am in nature. Even if it’s really cold, just stepping outside for a few minutes and listening to the sounds around me is peaceful. Going for a long walk, even better.
Trying new things. I have tried ring making, pottery, Thai massage, sound healing, traveling, writing a blog, restorative yoga, and guitar to name a few.
Rest. It takes a long time to heal from the negative effects that alcohol has on the body. Be kind to yourself and take rest when you need it.
Self-care. I have become a self-care, wellness fanatic. Some of my favorite ways to practice self- care are baths with Epson salts and essential oils, drinking tea, juicing, writing in my journal, dry brushing, massages, and all forms of restorative yoga.
Mindfulness. I have tried different apps, yoga workshops and reiki. I love them all. It depends on my mood. But really you can practice mindfulness anytime, focusing on the sounds around you.
Treats. I have saved a lot of money on booze and I regularly treat myself. Massages, fancy teas, cupcakes, workshops, classes, books, really good chocolate, clothes, and travel.
Forgiveness. I had to forgive the girl/woman I was. I do not believe we need to apologize to every person we ever hurt while we were drinking, but we most definitely need to forgive ourselves.
Getting Help. There is a huge non-drinking community on line. People are waking up to the fact that alcohol is really bad for us. Hip Sobriety, Sober School, One Year No Beer and Soberistas are just a few that have really helped me.