Starting a journey can be difficult, but choosing to go alcohol-free can be especially challenging. Particularly in our society, alcohol seems to be around us everywhere in every way. Making a change to living without it can seem like a daunting, and even overwhelming, task.
Fortunately, anything can be accomplished if you simply know the steps. While living alcohol-free might seem intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. If you want to commit to a healthier lifestyle and give up alcohol altogether, then you’ve come to the right place. To help you get started on your non-alcoholic journey, we put together a quick guide with six steps for going alcohol-free.
1. List your reasons.
The first step in going alcohol-free is identifying why you want to make the change in the first place. Perhaps you feel you’ve been drinking too much. Or, you’re worried about the health risks associated with alcohol. Maybe you just want to invest your time and money into something more productive. Keep these ideas in mind, then make a physical list of your reasons for giving up alcohol. These reasons will keep you on track and focused when things seem overwhelming.
2. Build support.
Next, create a support network of friends or family members who will be there with you throughout the process. You don’t want these people to be your drinking buddies. Instead, you want them to be trustworthy people in your life who will support your decision, hold you accountable and encourage you when things feel challenging. No difficult feat is accomplished alone, so make sure you build a team of supporters who will be there every step of the way.
3. Set goals.
You know what they say: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well, neither was giving up alcohol. Instead of trying to immediately quit everything, set goals. For example, first try giving up alcohol for one full month. This is a smaller, easier goal than “never drinking again.” After the first month, go for a second, then a third, then try living alcohol-free for one full year. Soon enough, you won’t even remember the last time you wanted a drink.
4. Develop hobbies.
Depending on how often you typically drink alcohol, chances are you might need to find new ways to spend your time. Now is the perfect opportunity to develop hobbies! A busy schedule is the best way to keep yourself occupied so you don’t have any down time to want to drink. Check in your community or with friends or family members to see what clubs and activities are available for you to get involved in. With a packed schedule, you’ll be too busy to even think about drinking.
5. Prepare emotionally.
While every person is different, giving up alcohol is not an easy transition. There will be tough days. There will be days when all you want to do is relax after work by going to the bar with friends. This is why emotional preparation is vital to successfully living alcohol-free. Promise yourself that whether the day is good or bad, you will stay committed to your goals. Review your reasons for going-alcohol free, reach out to your support network or find a different activity to help you fight temptations.
6. Get back up.
On those tough days, there will inevitably be a moment or two when you mess up and have a drink. During these times, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, focus on the next day, the next opportunity and the next chance you have to get back up. This lifestyle shift is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Whenever you have a minor setback, shake it off and keep moving forward. You will be glad you did.
It’s never easy to start a new journey, but it is worth it. If you want to make the change to an alcohol-free lifestyle, keep these six steps in mind for a happy, healthy transition.