Are you using January or "Dry January" as a time to take a step back and reexamine your drinking? We share how taking small steps (or even big ones) can help you rethink your relationship with alcohol.
The Doctors note giving up or cutting back on drinking can help your health in so many ways, including your sleep, liver enzyme levels, mental acuity (problem-solving, decision making, learning, concentration and, creativity), mood, social interactions, and productivity.
The New York Times spoke to health experts who suggested these tips for rethinking how you use alcohol or how to give it up.
Pay closer attention - Track when you drink and get honest with yourself about why, how often, and how much. Is it a drink with dinner or a bottle of wine -- plus a meal? Pandemic stress is a given, but now that's been nearly a year, could your quarantine drinking be a part of a larger drinking issue? Learn about the red flags you're drinking too much in order to cope with COVID-19.
Try an alcohol cleanse - If you are giving yourself a period of time to not drink, the experts urge you to get rid of the alcohol in your home and anything else that might tempt you to drink -- this also includes anything digital or on social media that might tempt you.
Fill your alcohol void with something healthier - Drinking is very social and can be a lot of fun, and if you are quitting or pausing it is vital to find new social outlets and activities to take the alcohol's place. Instead of drinking, The Doctors suggest taking up a hobby, taking on a new exercise challenge, a cooking class, perfecting a new recipe, reading more, cleaning and organizing your home, making time for more COVID-safe social meet-ups with friends and loved ones. Also, "Dry January" does not mean you still can't indulge with a drink, just make it non-alcoholic. Check out these recipes for 3 tasty mocktails!
Reach out to the community for support - Having others to help with your alcohol use is vital for so many, especially if you are getting sober. Consider groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, SheRecovers, and Eight Step Recovery.
The experts note that sobriety -- and whether to give up on drinking altogether or to simply take a short pause -- is different for everyone and there is no all-encompassing approach that will work for everyone. For many people. getting sober and staying sober takes multiple attempts and will require various tools.
Need more addiction resources and tools? Please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.