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Day 2 – Get a Baseline

“Forever is composed of nows.” -Emily Dickinson

Many people can benefit from a break from alcohol. You may notice subtle health issues you never connected to alcohol. Get a baseline of your physical and mental status today, so you can compare later this month, to see how taking a break helped.

Brain: Are you anxious, irritable, sad, hopeless, distractible, restless, arrogant, impulsive, depressed, easily defeated, or low energy (dishes piling up, take-out too often)?

Sleep: Do you need alcohol to get to sleep? Do you wake in the middle of the night? If you use something like a FitBit, do you notice a difference in how you sleep when you drink?

Physical: How does your stomach feel? Any irritation in upper or lower tummy (e.g., heartburn)? Gas or bloating? Allergies?

Appearance: Are there dark circles or bags under your eyes? Skin blotchy or dry?

Interpersonal: How are you getting along with your loved ones? Are you less patient the day after you drink? Do you over-react? Less predictable?

This month is about seeing what happens in these areas when taking a break from alcohol.

If something pushes your buttons, and you find yourself really wanting a drink, try “urge surfing.” Harm-reduction pioneer G Alan Marlatt noted that urges for substance-use rarely last longer than 30 minutes. If you can “surf” the urge – observe it without acting – you can usually ride it out. Try it: When you notice an urge to drink come up, don’t slap it down. Watch it. Mentally pick it up and turn it around, looking at it. Listen to what the urge tells you, without acting on it. See how you feel one hour from now. Did the urge subside like a wave? Was the need to act on it as urgent as it seemed to be at the peak of it?

This month is an experiment to see if taking a break from alcohol helps you achieve more of your goals. Many people find it to be a very worthwhile investment. And many are surprised at what the break did and didn’t do for them. See what it can do for you.

This post was submitted by MM Forum’s