Stepping away from alcohol is one of the biggest and most rewarding decisions you can make in life. It can be a daunting journey in the beginning, but once you attain a life without alcohol, you’ll find it is extremely rewarding. Kicking alcohol away for good can be a struggle as life around us gets in the way. Our social life is often filled with people who drink and it’s up to us to find ways of socializing without feeling the need to drink. Changing the way you think and approach both alcohol and your life without it doesn’t happen instantly. However, you can take several steps, bit by bit, to make the process easier.
How Can I Be Free From Alcohol?
On your journey to becoming alcohol-free, it’s almost guaranteed you will be put into a difficult situation at some point. It could be that someone is trying to persuade you into drinking, or you have a sudden desire to have a drink out of stress. Having a way to cope or avoid these situations entirely can prevent you from having to start all over. These strategies can range from changing the people you hang around with to carrying a red plastic cup around at a party to avoid potential questions.
A few practical tips for staying AF (Alcohol Free) are:
- Avoid keeping alcohol in the house. Keeping alcohol at home, in an easy-to-access place, makes it easy to justify pouring yourself a glass. You could have a bad day and decide you need a ‘pick me up’ or figure that you deserve a ‘treat’ after accomplishing a minor task.
- Develop an exercise routine. Exercise not only keeps us physically and mentally healthy, but it also gives you stability when you create goals for yourself. They can be simple weight-loss goals or more challenging fitness goals such as running a marathon.
- Be the designated driver if you do go out. If you are comfortable being around people who are drinking, becoming the designated driver for yourself and your friends makes it easier to abstain from drinking when you are around alcohol.
- Find an alcohol-free substitute drink. Finding a drink that you can have instead of alcohol can limit the craving you might feel for it. You don’t have to totally restrict yourself to water or soft drinks either as there are tons of different non-alcoholic beverages served in restaurants and bars.
- Carry a plastic red cup at parties. Although it’s best to stay away from alcohol-tempting situations such as parties completely, if you don’t want to give up partying or find yourself attending one and don’t want to drink, carrying around a cup can prevent people from persuading you to drink.
- Create a morning routine. With fewer hangovers, you’ll have more time in the morning to do things. Having a routine that you like and can perform daily can help you consistently stay motivated when changing your lifestyle.
There are many small ways that you can handle tough situations when you are transitioning to an alcohol-free lifestyle. Whether these strategies work for you is something that you’ll have to try out on your own.
Build a Recovery Support Community
Many things influence and trigger our desire for alcohol. Socialization is a major factor in why many people drink. That’s why who you surround yourself with while you are recovering matters so much to the overall process. Supportive people who recognize that you are attempting to better yourself positively will bring you a long way on the road to being alcohol-free. With the internet at your fingers, finding people who don’t drink or are comfortable doing alcohol-free activities is easier than you think.
Your social life and how you approach it when transitioning to an alcohol-free lifestyle are important. Many people drink for social reasons. It could be that you feel uncomfortable or anxious in social situations or you find it somehow easier to be social when drinking. Finding a way to be social without alcohol will make your swap to living alcohol-free much easier. There are tons of activities that you can do without frequenting drinking establishments. Traveling, hiking, games, festivals, and much more are all ways you can be social. If you can find an activity that you enjoy doing, you will likely run across communities of awesome people who enjoy the same activities you do.
Try New Things
Whether you’re the adventurous type or the stay-at-home type, trying new things or returning to things that you once enjoyed before alcohol can improve your overall mood. Hobbies and activities that are alcohol-free and the communities connected to them are all great ways that can distract you from alcohol. A big part of quitting alcohol is understanding that you don’t need it to have fun in your life. Communities of innovative and creative people are out there all over the world waiting for you to have time to go explore them.
Don’t Rush a Lifestyle Change
Changing your lifestyle for the better takes time. You can’t wake up one morning and become the dream version of you — no one can. It’s important to keep your goals in mind and slowly go about changing your life one step at a time. A quick change to your lifestyle can easily fall apart if you are overzealous and when dealing with something like alcohol — it could even be life-threatening. Changing small parts of your life and keeping them consistent as you get closer and closer to your sobriety goals is important in maintaining a healthy, long-lasting lifestyle.
Finding inspiration and knowing where you want to take your life is an important factor in your sobriety goals. If you better your life without alcohol, why would you need it in the first place?
Although you might use alcohol as a coping tool, your life without alcohol can be much better than with it. To start, find inspiration and set goals on where you want your life to take you within as little as a year to as long as two decades — it’s for you to decide. Going to college or living overseas — nothing is impossible if you have the will and dedication to pull through with your goals.
Self-Reflect on Why You Want to Live AF
As important as it is to keep moving forward with your alcohol-free goals, self-reflecting on why you started drinking in the first place can be beneficial. If there’s a specific reason that caused you to start drinking, you may need to work through whatever may have caused it in the beginning.
Failing to understand how you started drinking can lead to potentially harmful compulsive behaviors as you start to change your life for the better. It could result in relapses or swapping alcohol for another harmful addiction. After you have worked through or at least understand what brought you to drink in the first place, it becomes easier to develop strategies against emotional triggers. It may not be easy exploring yourself and the answer that you find might not be what you had hoped for or expected but knowing who you are lets you make changes moving forward that fit your character while living an alcohol-free life.
Attend Therapy or Join a Support Group
The process of changing your life in any capacity is one filled with many obstacles. Transitioning to an alcohol-free lifestyle is no different. That’s why finding someone you can rely on and talk to is important. Therapy and support groups offer ways for you to not be alone in your struggle with alcohol. There is no ‘simple fix’ when it comes to getting over an addiction.
You may find yourself changing in ways that you didn’t expect or understand. People who have undergone similar situations in their fight against alcohol share and help people overcome their own difficulties all the time in these communities. You are not alone in your fight against alcoholism. Many people use alcohol as a hiding place to suppress their emotional distress. Letting someone in on how you feel can relieve your burden.
Attending therapy or a support group can also help you reflect on what caused you to drink in the first place. Self-reflection can be a troubling idea for some people. If you don’t feel confident in looking back and coping with how you felt at that time now, therapy and support groups can help. Even having that one best friend you can confide in who will support you is better than going through something as difficult and life-altering as recovery.
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How can I be free from alcohol?
If this is a question you came here seeking an answer to, you are on the right track. Finding strategies to help you overcome the difficulty in dropping an addiction is one of the first steps to dealing with it and making it a complete lifestyle change. This is only the start of a life-long journey that you can lead wherever you want to go. The only limiting factor is how much dedication you have to change your life for the better.