I've had some well documented experience with alcohol.
I used to really like to drink.
May 12th, 2020 will mark 6 years dry.
Today, January 8th, 2020 I had a few follow up strategy calls with clients. Each of them had a wide array of questions, from the best way to tackle starting exercising, to how to get enough water, to how to enjoy more veggies. One question that always comes up...what about alcohol?
Ok, here are my 5 Tips based on what worked for me over time.
NOTE - the last tip is geared toward those that can control their drinking and is NOT something I do (nor should anyone with alcohol issues).
1. Stay out of Bars
Temporarily avoid social situations that revolve around alcohol. This may be hard, this may cause you to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) - but - the results and the feeling of accomplishment will squash that FOMO fast. If you go to a bar every weekend, find a different activity. Take up running, go hiking, try camping, spend the money you would've spent on drinks on delicious, healthy food for you and loved ones. If you drink at home, do the same thing. Instead of finding stress relief from alcohol, find other things to occupy your body and mind. You'll feel soooo much better for having done so.
2. Use the Decoy! Get a Lime
Order seltzer with a lime. This is the simplest trick in the book, and it works! If someone asks to buy the next round, tell them you want water because you're spacing out your drinks. Yep - you're lying....responsibly.
3. Be a Great Conversationalist
There are a couple of things people love to talk about, and for almost everybody, the top of that list is themselves. I love to ask questions and talk to people to see what makes them tick. I learn something new everyday about business, investment, music, nutrition, the military, art and a lot more by just asking questions. You don't need to go with the over used, "What do you do?" line, but you can. I usually ask people what they do for fun. Adults usually double-take at this question - it's just so common to talk about work, etc. that by changing gears by asking about fun, you'll open up an entirely different avenue of conversation - and many times people will passionately talk about something they haven't talked about in a while...and you'll learn about something new. People will actually look forward to talking with you again...and they'll never notice you're not drinking (just like how you forgot this post was about alcohol while reading this).
4. Be straight up
I do this most of the time now when I'm pressed to explain why I don't drink. It takes guts, and can be uncomfortable at first - but the more you own it, the more empowered you become. For me it's simple - I was alcoholic, it was messing my life up and I just can't do it anymore. I've drank enough for 10 men in 100 lifetimes. I don't need anymore. Do I get tempted - yes, but less and less. Sure, on occasion I long for the warm feeling of a drink, but I know the consequences of it. It's a pretty quick thought, and it's gone. I also find that talking about it and being open helps me deal with it, and keep at it. So - I share stories of the wild nights and crazy hangovers from my 20s and early 30s - but I don't miss it one bit. I'm straight up, no chaser, about that.
5. Have a drink
If you have to, and you're responsible with alcohol and you understand the consequences of having one or two drinks (inflammation, possible hangover, dehydration, slowing weight loss and lean mass gains, reduced judgement, estrogen production...should I keep going?)..well then, go ahead and have one, or a couple...BUT NO MORE! If you NEED to have more - reassess your needs, your wants and your goals. Look at the 'why'. Why are you using alcohol? Do you want to stop? CAN you stop? Be honest with yourself.
Okay, that's it. I hope this helps. Use these tools - reduce alcohol intake - get results - live a better (not perfect) life.