Dry January: How to take a break from alcohol so you’ll actually stick with it

Thursday, May 26, 2022
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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. Many people claim to use alcohol as a method to relax or deal with the stress that they encounter in everyday life. Many people do not find them to be a satisfactory substitute for an alcoholic beverage. This is because they do not produce the same sensations that drinking alcohol does.

How much alcohol is unhealthy?

A note on drinking level terms used in this Core article: The 2020-2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines states that for adults who choose to drink alcohol, women should have 1 drink or less in a day and men should have 2 drinks or less in a day.

All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. Gratitudeitself is correlated with lower levels of stress and depression, as well as improvements in sleepand reductions in materialism. Not only can massage reduce stress, it can also bring you closer to your partner. You can even DIY a couples’ massage at home with powerful results. After completing a three-week massage courseas part of a small study at Northumbria University, couples reported long-term benefits like decreased stress, better coping, and higher relationship satisfaction.

Have questions about treatment? We’re available to talk or text at any time.

Looking for a fun date night activity away from the bar? Just one 30-minute massagesession can reduce stress hormones, lower heart rate, and curb high blood pressure. Research showsthat taking music lessons might even improve mental health, promote cognitive function, and foster connections with others. Fortunately, there are tons of fun things to do without alcohol, including activities that can actually improve your health, while reducing stress. Excessive drinking has numerous impacts on your body and mind, ranging from mild to severe. Learn which signs to look out for, and how to care for your well-being.

  • Drinking kava has been common practice for centuries there and is part of ceremonial, cultural, and social occasions.
  • By switching to zero-proof or non-alcoholic drinks, you’re cutting out most of the negative effects of alcohol consumption, including the hangover.
  • Instead of criticizing yourself for having a hard time or slipping up and having a drink, remember that no one’s perfect.
  • Excessive drinking has numerous impacts on your body and mind, ranging from mild to severe.
  • Satisfying hobbies can distract you from wanting to drink, but they also help you relax — something everyone needs to do.

Maybe you’ve never had any interest in logging your innermost thoughts, but journaling can be a great tool to track your feelings as you work on quitting alcohol. Try hiking, cycling, dancing, or roller-skating for enjoyable ways to stay active. If you turn to alcohol to manage emotional distress, the added overwhelm can prompt the urge to drink, making success seem even more out of reach.

Belinda Gordon-Battle is a licensed clinical therapist and life consultant based in Miami who provides therapeutic services globally. The compensation we receive from advertisers does not influence the recommendations or advice our editorial team provides in our articles or otherwise impact any of the editorial content on Forbes Health. There’s nothing like the feeling you get after crushing a sweat-dripping, muscles-screaming-at-you workout. Whether you’re the kind of person who loves the intensity of a HIIT spin class or you prefer to hit the yoga mat for a vinyasa flow, you get a rush when you’re…

Natural Alternatives to Alcohol’s Buzz

You can also easily order these concoctions at restaurants or social gatherings in a pinch. Other flavor options could include rosemary with ginger ale or thyme and lemon-lime soda. If you like the taste of soda but want to cut back on the sugar, drinking club soda with flavored syrup is another option. The best part about this is you can adjust the ratio of club soda and syrup to suit your taste preferences, depending on how sweet you like it.

what to replace alcohol with

Meditation is an excellent way to deal with stress and promote feelings of relaxation. You can simply practice meditation on your own or learn effective treatments for alcohol use disorders meditation from a therapist or other reliable instructor. Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and increase feelings of relaxation.

Find activities that are mentally and emotionally nourishing and bring you joy, and identify ways to connect socially with friends, says Witkiewitz. You might reach for alcohol when you’re really just thirsty, says Crews. Drink a cup of soothing tea or a tall glass of water before you imbibe—once your thirst is quenched, you may not feel the need for as much—or any—alcohol.

Get the best in health and wellness

People who are dependent on alcohol, or have other medical or mental health problems, should stop drinking completely. Information provided on Forbes Health is for educational purposes only. Your health and wellness is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. For personal advice, please consult with a medical professional.

what to replace alcohol with

And for fancier occasions, you can sip on alcohol-removed chardonnay from Fre Wines. Another genuine substitute is the non-alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc by Surely. If drinking red, white, or sparkling wine is one of your nightly rituals, here are some delicious alternatives. Spice up your soda water with a few common herbs that you probably already have in your kitchen, such as mint, rosemary, or thyme.

Ways Psychologists Plan to Stay Happy and Healthy This Winter

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. Maybe you don’t think you depend on alcohol, exactly, but you still wonder whether you might be drinking too much. People drink for a variety of reasons, Koskinen notes, but “stress-management and social connections” tend to top her clients’ lists. Progressive muscle relaxation combines diaphragmatic breathing with the release of muscle tension. It is often used in treatment to help individuals deal with stress.

What is considered an alcoholic?

For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week.

So, if you are ‘sober curious’ and looking for an alcohol alternative, make sure to try kava. We have a range of kava products, including medium grind kava root, micronized kava, kava concentrate, and kava mints to fit your every relaxation need. While the dominant drinking culture in many parts of the world may revolve around alcohol, this is not the case everywhere.

Short bursts of exercise may offer big health benefits

It’s important to remember that when you quit drinking and depending on the severity of your alcohol addiction, it’s possible that you may experience withdrawal symptoms. To ensure that you are well cared for during the time that you’re experiencing these withdrawal symptoms, it’s strongly recommended that you commit to an alcohol detox program. The reason for this is that alcohol detox will ensure that you have the help that you need as you experience these symptoms.

Ketamine has been explored as a treatment for depression and other conditions. Now, researchers say it may be helpful for alcohol use disorder. When you stop drinking, you might find yourself dealing with cravings for alcohol. Learn why this common response happens and how to cope with it. Here are 8 ways to turn down a drink, regardless of your reasons. If loneliness triggers the desire to drink, you might look into ways to connect with distant friends or explore ways to build new friendships.

Maybe try taking a dance class or going for a nature walk. Anything that gets you moving and raises your heart rate will work. Just be sure to find something you enjoy, so you’ll be more likely to stick with it in the long run. Get helpful tips and guidance alcohol withdrawal symptoms causes, timeline & treatment for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

Take some time to explore your relationship with alcohol

Kombucha is available at most health food stores and even some grocery stores. Be sure to look for brands that are low in sugar because sometimes kombucha can be highly sweetened, which is something to be aware of if you’re trying to avoid sugar. Kombucha is also a great alternative alcoholics anonymous if you are looking for drinks that give you a buzz without alcohol’s side effects but still have some mood-altering properties. It’s always wise to check with your doctor — she should be able to help you decide whether it is best for you to cut back or to abstain.

If you usually meet friends for a drink after work, consider going for a walk or meeting them for a hangout in the park or another alcohol-free space. Check out apps like Meetup to find other people interested in alcohol-free activities. Depending on where you live, you might be able to visit a sober bar and socialize without alcohol. Building new relationships with people who also choose to avoid alcohol can have a lot of benefit. Exercise boosts serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and a quick shot of both will make the happy chemicals release, and you won’t want to drink. Not feeding the habit comes down in part to changing the ways you enable or encourage drinking.

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