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How to take a break from alcohol

 

For many, alcohol is a go-to substance to ease stress, relieve boredom, promote relaxation, or as a social lubricant. In many cultures, having a drink after work, with dinner, with a friend, or with a group is a perfectly acceptable (and sometimes expected) behaviour. But once you piece together all those drinks in all those settings, the amount you’re consuming might surprise and alarm you, and the effect on your health may be dangerous.

Taking a break from alcohol can give your body a much-needed rest from breaking down those toxins, and your mental health can also benefit.

Here are a few strategies for taking a break from alcohol.

Work out the ‘why’

Establish what your motivation for taking a break from alcohol is. It may be something like health, money, family, or relationships. Having a firm motivator is important to remind you of why you’re taking a break and the benefits that will follow.

Make a plan and keep yourself accountable

You may have a goal in mind for how long you want to kick the booze. It may be a month, six months, or indefinitely. Either way, it’s a great idea to write down a plan for how you’re going to replace alcohol in your routine, and what you’ll do in scenarios where you know you’ll be tempted.

Taking up a hobby such as sport or painting can be a healthy replacement for your 6pm drink and planning ahead for social occasions will mean you’re better prepared for temptations. If you feel like you’re going to cave in, always go back to your plan.

Find supporters and avoid peer pressure

If your circle of friends or family are regular drinkers, they may question your decision to take a break, and even tempt you to forget the whole idea. Peer pressure is a big factor that contributes to people’s decision to drink more quantities of alcohol more often than they ordinarily would.

It’s a great idea to find a friend or a few people to get on board with your choice and help support you through it. These individuals may also come to your assistance in social drinking settings or when you’re getting the third degree from others.

If you know your circle includes people that will pressure or question you, driving you to reconsider things, arm yourself with a handful of firm answers and statements for when you’re confronted, and stick to your guns!

 

Pay attention to how you feel

Taking a break from alcohol can have many health benefits for both body and mind. Pay particular attention to how you’re feeling and when you notice improvements such as more energy, less anxiety and depression, improved skin health, better sleep, and healthy weight loss.

The more you take stock of these benefits, the better equipped you are to keep going.

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