Thinking of Ditching Alcohol? How to Make a Plan That Works for You - 3 minutes read

To stop drinking beer, or any alcoholic drink, you first need to understand your relationship with drinking. From there, you may need social support, consistent self-care, and new routines that can help redirect your mind.

Drinking is largely accepted as a social activity and a way to cope with stress. It might even be a remedy for insomnia or anxiety.

Yet, alcohol generally doesn’t do much to relieve these concerns long-term. It also comes with some significant downsides.

As such, you might wonder if it’s time for a break. And you’re not alone. From month long sobriety challenges to the #SoberCurious movement, more and more people are taking a closer look at the role alcohol plays in their lives.

Whether you’re looking to cut back or take an indefinite break, these tips can help you create a plan that works for you.

Alcohol can affect your health in many ways. Even drinking moderately can leave you feeling groggy, foggy, or hungover. The more you drink, the more likely you notice other health effects, too, like:

disrupted sleep

digestive issues

memory problems

increased anxiety, depression, and irritability

disagreements and other conflict with loved ones

Over time, these effects can begin to pile up.

Maybe you don’t think you depend on alcohol, exactly, but you still wonder whether you might be drinking too much.

Say you don’t have any cravings when you go without drinking. All the same, “a quick drink” often turns into three or four drinks. When you’re having a good time, you find it hard to stop, especially in the company of friends having the same amount.

Maybe your concerns center around your reasons for drinking rather than the amount. Plenty of people use alcohol to numb emotional pain or face stressful situations more easily. It’s common to drink to lighten tension on a first date or before a difficult conversation.

But when it’s hard to face challenges without alcohol, it’s worth considering whether drinking prevents you from finding more helpful ways of managing emotions.

You might know you want to give up alcohol entirely. But maybe you’re not sure about quitting completely and don’t want to hold yourself to that goal.

That’s absolutely OK. What’s most important is taking a look at your drinking habits and finding a way to cut back that works for you.

It’s possible to develop a better relationship with alcohol and make more mindful, informed choices about drinking without total sobriety.

Alcohol in your house can tempt you when you’re trying to quit. If you feel like having a drink, knowing you’ll have to go out and make a purchase can deter you long enough to find a good distraction.

Keep nonalcoholic beverages on hand for yourself and others. You don’t have to offer alcohol to be a good host. Let guests bring their own alcohol — and take it with them when they leave.

If you live with roommates, consider asking them to keep their alcohol out of sight instead of in shared open spaces.

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