Just like any habit that you break, you’re going to feel an absence in your life. You’re going to notice the inability to do what you used to do, even if it was your choice to break the habit. For instance, if you’re used to biting your nails when you’re anxious, you may feel the tension of not wanting to bite your nails and needing to find an alternative way to cope with anxious feelings. And the same is true with drinking. If you’re used to drinking alcohol on Friday nights, what kind of experience can you have instead?
First, you should know that making the decision to quit drinking alcohol is an incredibly smart one. Despite the social expectations to drink, alcohol is nothing but dangerous. It creates car accidents, liver disease, contributes to crime, and can get in the way of relationships. There’s a good chance that if you’re in recovery, you know that your decision was a positive one. Now, the question is, what do you do with your free time? How do you celebrate your achievements, birthdays, and promotions at work? How do you connect with others if not through drinking?
Here are some alternatives for drinking that you may want to consider:
Learn to replace alcohol with another drink. You may want to have a chosen drink that you use to take the place of alcohol. This might be soda or coffee or sparkling water. Pick one and stick with it so that you’ll know what to say, especially if/when you’re caught off guard. The most common choice among many recovering addicts seems to be coffee. Although this has its benefits, caffeine is also an addictive substance, and a person may be replacing one addiction with another.
When in social situations, make sure to have a drink in your hand. This might be water, soda, or another non-alcoholic drink. By doing this, around you won’t be tempted to offer to get you a glass of wine or beer. At the same time, you won’t be tempted yourself.
Choose a special place to go or activity to do. Sometimes, for those in recovery going to an event where alcohol is being served may feel like too much of a trigger. Instead, choose a place that you enjoy where you will feel comfortable. This might be going to the movies more often, exercising on a regular basis, or visiting your favorite neighborhood park. Having a special place to go can be used as a reward each week you’re sober, as a comforting place to find relaxation and ease, or as a place to escape from the everyday stress of early recovery.
Throw a sober party every once in awhile. Everyone wants to have fun. The trick in recovery is learning to do so without the use of alcohol or drugs. You might invite your friends, family, and significant other to an event in which there is no alcohol. Simply enjoy each other’s company. You might have games ready to play, movies to watch, or a live band for dancing.
If you’ve ended the habit of alcohol abuse, the above is a list of alternative ways to enjoy, celebrate, and appreciate life without the use of alcohol or drugs.
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