If you’re trying to take a break from drinking, try these 6 strategies

You’re not alone in your decision to quit drinking. abstain from the habit of drinking, whether it be for 30 days or more, There are advantages. But for many, the challenges are just beginning.

Here are six strategies and tips to set you up for success.

Think about why you decided to quit alcohol. Consider starting a journal to get the process started.Rachel Kazez, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Therapist All Along, I’ll start with some basic questions to give you a little perspective.

These are all simple questions, but your answers may surprise you when you start pondering. “I think the magic is in taking a step back and looking at your relationship with alcohol,” says Aaron White of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health. He says there are some questions to ask yourself.

There are no right or wrong answers, no judgments. Given that alcohol is so ubiquitous in our culture, some people drink out of habit and don’t have time to pay attention to its effects.

If you’re in the habit of having a glass of wine or beer at 6 p.m. every night, White says, consider alternatives to drinking.

“Do yoga, go for a walk, or watch something interesting,” says White. “In other words, instead of simply removing a behavior, replace it with something healthier and more sustainable,” says White.

A dry month can reorganize your social calendar. “We decided to look for social events that had other options,” says listener Elizabeth Greener.

Think about a hobby or activity you enjoyed in the past (perhaps a tennis racket duster). Or start something new. Take a dance class, paint, go ice skating or try curling. Then find a friend to go with. If you don’t drink, you may feel a little lonely.

3. Notice mood changes

Some people notice a big change when they stop drinking. “Everything just got better,” says Blair Benson. She says her skin tone has improved and her puffiness has decreased. Her anecdote is consistent with research findings that about 850 people voluntarily abstained from alcohol during her month. Finally, 82% said they felt a sense of accomplishment. 62% reported that they ‘slept well’ and about half reported that they lost weight. Many of the participants said they had more energy, which matched listener Sarah Black Sadler’s experience. “I definitely have more energy,” Sadler said. “The biggest thing I’ve realized is that you don’t need alcohol to have a good time with your friends.”

When it comes to health effects, it has long been clear that heavy drinking takes its toll, but evidence is now emerging that even moderate drinkers benefit from abstaining from alcohol. There’s early evidence that even taking a one-month break from fairly low levels of consumption reduces the strain on your liver,” says White.

What many people don’t realize is that alcohol has toxic effects on the body.When it breaks down, it produces a byproduct called acetaldehyde. liver falls out [acetaldehyde] It’s very fast, but it’s toxic and over time it damages the liver,” says White.

“Alcohol happens to be a poison that we enjoy,” says White. A moderate amount is fine. That is, a woman has no more than one drink a day for her, and a man has no more than two drinks a day for him.

4. Resist peer pressure!

One of the things many listeners who have tried to take a break from dry January, or alcohol, have told us is that their friends really “didn’t get it.” , why, why,” told us that people had been asked. Listeners said they felt compelled to make excuses.

Kazez tells his friends to speak up. She says, “Hey, January’s been dry, isn’t it,” and she gives her reasons for taking a break. If your friend isn’t supportive, it may be time to evaluate your friendship. Because really, true friends should be supportive.

5. Watch your mental health

What do you notice about your mood, anxiety level? When you have an alcohol craving, ask yourself, “What do I really want right now?” “Often, it’s not literally alcohol that you want,” Kazez says. Maybe”

“Alcohol was certainly a numbing agent,” said listener Mark Bowers. “When I drink, I’m like this world,” he says. , says she feels more present and more grounded. “I’m more in tune with my kids,” he says.

The irony of alcohol is that we often drink it to make us feel relaxed and reduce anxiety. “You might drink at night to relieve anxiety, and as a result feel more anxious the next night, which motivates you to drink again,” says White. And as the anxiety returns by the day, it’s likely to get more intense and people will drink more: “Wine she had a glass, but I didn’t want it.” It is no longer possible to obtain the same effect as [for]says listener Ash Weber. [it was a] Intolerance increases, requiring more than two glasses to feel warm and fuzzy.

6. Review your drinking habits

Temporary abstinence may become a bigger issue as we approach the end of the month: Is my drinking level healthy?

“Some may find they need to stop,” White says.

As I reported, alcohol use disorders fall along a spectrum. This is not a binary yes or no. Is there a problem or not? Minor, moderate, or severe problems may occur. And there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting help.there is wide range of options — from residential “detox” programs to cognitive-behavioral therapy to drugs like naltrexone. drink less, or Acamprosate which can help people stay dry.

Here it is resource Navigate through all kinds of help and treatment options out there.

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