“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives” Viktor E. Frank
You don’t need to have an alcohol use disorder (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders) to benefit from a break from alcohol. You may notice subtle health issues you never connected to alcohol. Get a baseline today, so you can compare later this month, to see what alcohol is or isn’t doing to/for you:
Brain: Are you anxious, irritable, too perky, sad, hopeless, distractible, restless, grandiose, impulsive, depressed, easily defeated, low energy (trash won’t take itself out)?
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?
Vanity: Are there dark circles or bags under your eyes? How does your skin look (color, dryness, tone)?
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?
Hang in there and see what happens later this month in these areas.
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?
Hang in there. This month is an experiment, to see if taking a break from alcohol helps you achieve some of your goals. Many people find it to be a very worthwhile investment.
This post was submitted by MM Forum’s Donna