When I was considering taking a break from drinking a little voice in my head (you know the one – negative, whining, annoying) gave me all the reasons why that would be a bad idea.
They went something like this …
How will you unwind? Life is busy and stressful, and your mind is constantly whirring with thoughts. Isn’t having a drink the best way to unwind? How will you take the edge off without it?
How will you socialise? Drinking is part of most of your social activities and a lot of your friends like to drink. Will you be the sad sack in the corner sipping a water while everyone else has a great time around you?
What will you say to people and what will they think? What will you say to people when they ask why you’re not drinking? And what will they think? You don’t want people thinking you’re an alcoholic – because you’re not – and you don’t want to be labelled as someone with an ‘alcohol problem’.
It turns out that the fears I had are very common among people who are looking to take a break from drinking and they’re ones that I often work through with my one-on-one coaching clients.
Much to my surprise, and relief, my fears were actually unfounded.
The reality was:
Unwinding without wine: I found many ways to unwind and de-stress without drinking. And the realisation that drinking was actually adding to my stress instead of helping it, further reinforced my decision to stop using wine to unwind. Now I exercise, read, write, meditate, paint and talk things through with loved ones. Much healthier and no hangovers.
Socialising is still fun (in fact more so): I’ve written a few times about how socialising without drinking is not only possible, it’s now preferable for me. I can be in the moment, enjoy what is happening around me and have a good time without drinking. Who knew? Also, the rise in so many great alcohol-free drinks really helps me to feel that I’m not missing out.
How I explain why I’m not drinking: It turns out that telling people that you’re taking a break from drinking isn’t as big a deal as you may think. When I first went alcohol-free I told people that I wasn’t drinking and while they were interested – and often a little surprised! – conversation quickly moved on. I’ve written a blog about what I say when asked why I’m not drinking.
What people think: Another surprise was that explaining to people that I’ve chosen to take a break from drinking has opened up some very positive conversations about drinking. I’m sure that there are some people who think it’s a drastic measure to take but no one has said that directly to me. Instead people are curious about my decision and it’s led to some conversations where people have discussed their own concerns about drinking.
Thinking of taking a break?
So if you’re thinking of taking a break I recommend you put your fears aside and give it a go.
It’s definitely worth getting curious about why you drink and what part alcohol is playing in your life.
And if you need support (including tools and strategies) feel free to book in for a free discussion call to see how I can support you.