The New Year is a great time to think about what we want for our lives and to set goals for ourselves. Sometimes we choose resolutions we can easily stick to. Other times, we choose the ones that we’re sure to forget by the first week of February. And often, it’s no big deal if we do.
But sometimes, sticking to a resolution can lead to significant improvements in one’s quality of life. For many people who are addicted to alcohol, not drinking can be as difficult as it is necessary to have the life they want.
If you have decided to quit drinking, the tips below might help you keep that New Year’s resolution.
1. Write down your resolution
When making resolutions, the first step is always to declare your commitment. Writing it down helps to solidify your resolve. Take it a step further and write down why you want to stop drinking and what benefits you hope to reap. Reading this back to yourself later will help bolster that commitment if you ever find yourself tempted to give up or give in.
2. Replace your alcohol stash with healthy alternatives
If you get rid of the alcohol in your home or your office, you’ll be less likely to give in during moments of weakness. If you switch to something healthier, such as a tasty tea or a minty gum, it might help ease the anxiety of “what now” and make it easier to commit to getting rid of the alcohol.
3. Announce your intentions to stop drinking
Let the people around you know your intentions so they can help support you. If you need to avoid the locations where you used to drink, your friends and loved ones should understand. And if they don’t, you’ll want to know that, too. Announcing your intentions is a good way to get a clear understanding of who supports you and who is best avoided as you get your bearings as a non-drinker.
4. Practice self-care
As you set out to live a life without alcohol, try to incorporate acts of self-care into your daily life. If you eat well, exercise, get sufficient sleep, and do things that bring you joy, it can help you focus on living a healthy lifestyle rather than focusing on the absence of alcohol.
5. Plan ahead so you are not tempted to drink
If you spend some time making notes about your old drinking patterns, such as when you typically drank and what precipitated your drinking (especially when you’d planned not to), you’ll be able to keep an eye out for triggers and plan around possible temptations. For instance, if you always drank when you went out to dinner, maybe you can limit your dinners out to only doing so with people who support your resolution to stop drinking.
6. Keep a log to track your sobriety
As you begin to live your life without alcohol, write down your experiences in the process. Log your accomplishments (a baseball game without beer or a family dinner without wine) as well as your struggles (hanging out with your old drinking friends). This will help you learn about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to living an alcohol-free life.
7. Seek support for your drinking problem
When we have buddies to support us in our resolutions, we’re more likely to keep them. This is just as true for resolving to not drink as it is for getting to the gym regularly. Spend time with people who support you as a non-drinker. And if they’re non-drinkers themselves, that’s even better. Even just having someone to call when you’re feeling tempted to drink can be a big help when it comes to keeping your New Year’s resolution.
8. Be gentle with yourself if you drink
Remember that making a change in your life does not have to be all or nothing. Although the New Year is a great time to make resolutions, it’s also a time when we tend to expect perfection from ourselves. And when perfection eludes us, we tend to consider it a failure. If you do give in and have a drink, consider it a bump in the road and part of the learning process. Every single day is a new chance to recommit to your resolution.
If you are still drinking, we can help.
Get help. You have options. There are treatment centers, 12-step programs, clinical studies, and all kinds of other programs that help people just like you quit drinking every day. If you’ve tried everything, and if you keep slipping in your resolve, reach out and ask for help. You don’t have to do this alone. Give us a call at (858) 784-7867.