If you enjoy a glass of wine on the weekdays with your dinner, or a gin and tonic during date night, you might have had the urge to keep pouring all night long. If you’ve noticed that this has become a reoccurring theme, you might be re-evaluating your drinking patterns. Serious health problems can develop from drinking an excessive amount, such as depression, liver disease and heart disease. Not only that but it can cause instant problems such as low self-esteem and a decrease in productivity. When you are deciding if a sober lifestyle might be right for you, you could have a lot of questions and apprehensions.
If you enjoy alcohol on a regular basis, cutting it out completely can be a major life change – so it’s important to ask the right questions upfront. CEO and founder of OYNB, Ruari Fairbairns has shared the 7 questions you need to ask yourself before going alcohol-free.
1. How do I get over FOMO when I stop drinking?
FOMO – fear of missing out – can be a barrier between alcohol and staying sober, especially if you’re in your 20s and 30s. Many of us worry that giving up drinking means that our social life will take a beating. This is because people might think you’re boring, but that doesn’t happen, and it can instead, positively impact your social life. It’s important to be open and honest with your friends about your decision to go sober, this is part of the personal growth stage. If they are a true friend, they will support you instead of tearing you down. Always remember that people’s reactions say more about them and their own relationship with drinking.
2. How do I deal with alcohol cravings?
Alcohol cravings are a natural part of the process, don’t mistake the feeling for weakness. Your cravings are personal to you and can be brought on by triggers such as being tired, feeling upset or just being around friends who drink. You can deal with them in a way that suits you. Drink alcohol-free alternatives, there is a huge selection available now and many bars offer a good variety, having a few sips of your favourite tipple without the booze will reduce your cravings. You could also practise deep breathing; controlled breathing can separate yourself from the cravings which will bring you to a grounded space.
3. Do I really need to go sober?
There is no one definition of someone that needs to go sober and is struggling with alcohol. The deciding factor comes down to you and how you feel about your own consumption. Ask yourself, is alcohol impacting the life I want to live? If yes, it is time to explore your options. Programmes such as OYNB are filled with likeminded members, empowering people to break down old habits and build new ones. It’s not always about eliminating alcohol entirely but creating a positive mindset which lets you take back control and make clear decisions.
4. How do I say ‘no’?
There will be a time in the start of your journey when someone will offer you a drink and you struggle to say no. You need to start practising holding your own and declining politely with a ‘no thanks’. A simple statement with confidence will make it clear that you’re not drinking. Try your alternatives and if that doesn’t work, exit the situation early.
5. What happens if I have a drink?
If you do give into temptation, don’t give yourself a hard time – simply just restart your plan. The key to having success with sobriety, is to notice how you respond to setbacks. All you can do is reflect on what caused temptation and learn from it. If every time you slip it becomes a learning curve, then you are consistently taking steps forward to your desired outcome of being alcohol-free.