Gayle Macdonald is a teacher, sobriety coach, addiction therapist and founder and owner of Sober Bliss. View profile
I quit drinking in March 2018, after many years of being stuck in an endless cycle of guilt, shame and regret. That wonderful day when I finally said goodbye to alcohol was the best decision I have ever made and I have since helped many other women break free from the hold that alcohol had over their lives. Choosing to live alcohol free truly is a transformational and empowering experience, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Alcohol is really bad for us
You don’t need to read the report co-written by professor David Nutt that was published in the Lancet, to know that alcohol is bad for us. The article states that there is no safe level of alcohol which makes sense. Alcohol is a poison and if you have ever suffered the effects of a hangover, drunken behavior, heart wrenching shame, guilt and anxiety because of your drinking, then it stands to reason that when you no longer imbibe this toxic substance, you begin to feel better as the benefits of alcohol free living begin to emerge.
The benefits of quitting drinking
Some of the most talked about benefits of quitting drinking are:
- Better sleep
- Clearer skin
- More energy
- Weight loss
- More focus and concentration
- More time
- More money
- Improved relationships
However it is the emotional benefits which are the most transformational and empowering:
- A feeling that you can do anything
- Decrease in anxiety
- Freedom from thinking about drinking
- A return to self
- Increased self confidence
- A feeling of freedom and liberation
- A lightness in spirit and mind
How to quit drinking
Become aware of your current situation
Mindfulness and awareness are the first steps in removing alcohol from your life. In order to make changes in our life we need to be clear about where we are first. Be super curious and honest here.
How is your drinking affecting you?
How much money are you spending on alcohol?
How does alcohol make you feel, before, during and after drinking?
Why are you drinking?
How is alcohol serving you?
What do you want to achieve by drinking?
It is also important not to feel bad about your answers, yes of course there will be feelings and emotions that are triggered by your findings, but do not beat yourself up. Use what you discover to motivate you to take the steps towards change. Your drinking behavior is not who you are.
Get clear on your why
Having a strong, deep and meaningful reason to change your relationship with alcohol will help you to get started and stay on your path.
Why do you want to do this?
What do want to achieve?
How do you want to feel?
What do you want to do?
Really listening to your body, mind and spirit will help you to connect with your true self and make the reason for quitting drinking deep and true. Once you know deep down why you are taking this step, and I mean really feel it, then there will be no need for struggle and willpower.
Create a vision for your alcohol free life
Once you have a reason for quitting drinking, think about how your life will be when you are finally living alcohol free. What will your life look, taste, smell, sound and feel like? Really connect to these emotions, especially when you find the going tricky. When you connect to yourself and your deeper why, you find the strength and courage to keep going.
Go a step further and visualize your future self living your alcohol free dream life or create a vision board full of positive quotes and images that represent your alcohol free life in all its glory! Come back to this vision often and connect to the emotions that the vision evokes. As, the saying goes, if you can dream it (and feel it) you can live it.
Make a commitment to yourself
Every day commit to this new way of living. You know alcohol does not serve you. Say a prayer, repeat positive affirmations, connect to your dreams and the emotions that come with living free, clean and healthy.
Focus on what you are gaining, always.
Focus on what you are gaining instead of what you think you are missing out on. If you find yourself romanticizing that glass of wine, play the movie forward, focus on what you will gain by not giving in to your craving. No hangovers, better sleep, a feeling of achievement and complete freedom, are just some of the benefits we mentioned above.
Love and honor yourself physically and emotionally
Make your self-care a priority. Walk in nature, meditate, do yoga, pause and breathe deeply, eat well, sleep lots, do things that light you up and fill you with joy, journal, exercise, cry, connect. These activities and strategies will form part of your sober tool kit and will help you through difficult situations or when you find yourself suffering cravings.
Listen to your body and your spirit and do the right thing, the things that nourish your body and soul. Every. Single. Day.
Ask for help when you need it
If you find yourself struggling, or if you feel alone, reach out. Phone a trusted friend, connect to other sober folk in your area, or join a support group. There will always be someone there to listen or to offer words of comfort and encouragement. Don’t wait until things get too much. The moment you feel you need help, that is when you should ask for it.
Alcohol is a poison that seeps into every level of our being. If you have been drinking for a long time, it can be hard to imagine a life without it. But, it is possible to break free from the hold that alcohol has over your life. Not only is it possible, it is the most profound act of self-care and self-love. When you find freedom from drinking, your whole world will open up. It is as if you are seeing things for the first time. It is truly a powerful transformational experience and will empower you to finally live your life how you have always dreamed.
Short Article Review
- Alcohol affects every part of our life and the lives of our loved ones.
- There is no safe level of alcohol.
- Understand your current situation. If alcohol is making you unhappy, or getting in the way of you living the life you want, then now is the time to let go.
- Dig deep, understand why you want to have a break from alcohol and connect to this reason often.
- Create a vision for your alcohol free life and really connect to what it means to you. How do you want to feel?
- Be kind to yourself and show yourself love and kindness every day.
- Start to build a sober toolbox full of techniques, activities and strategies that can help you overcome cravings and stay on your path.
- Ask for help if you are struggling or need some extra support.
Quitting drinking can be difficult, but with the right tools and support, breaking free from alcohol is the most liberating and empowering choice you will ever make.
If you are physically dependent on alcohol, then stopping abruptly can be very dangerous. Please consult your doctor before going alcohol free if you are concerned or worried.
The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about any medical condition.
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