“Open your eyes with waking light.”
Back on Day 2, you got a baseline, i.e., you checked how you were doing in several areas of your life (physical, cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal). How are you doing in these areas at the end of the month (i.e., after abstaining for almost a month):
Brain: Are you anxious, irritable, sad, hopeless, distractable, 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?
Many people who take this break from alcohol find the experience eye-opening, if not life changing. They weren’t even aware that there was a problem in some of these areas, until they saw the improvement. But sometimes, it takes the symptoms recurring (e.g., if you lapse into over-drinking down the road) before people realize the connection to drinking.
Some are so impressed with the benefits, that they have no desire to start drinking again. This is totally your choice. There are also many folks who “almost abs” (i.e., they abstain maybe 95% of the time, but indulge rarely, and usually in small quantities, e.g., a drink or two).
For those of you who would like to indulge in moderate drinking, these tips can help keep alcohol a small, but enjoyable part of life:
Track: Tracking drinks over time is an important tool in keeping a handle on consumption. Just being aware of how much you are drinking is often enough to keep folks on track.
Avoid pressing the start button: For many people, it is easier to not drink at all than to drink a little bit, because alcohol lowers inhibitions. Spacing drinks too close together raises the blood alcohol content past .055%, causing inhibitions to lift. Well before slurring or stumbling, judgment is impaired, and it gets easier to say yes to another drink. Rationalizations come way too easily after a couple of drinks.
Find your stop button: Pacing is crucial. There are tips in MM steps of change, along with a drinking diary that is well worth keeping when you first dip your toes back into drinking. Don’t dive back into drinking; rather, dip your toes in the water, e.g.,like SBRS’sPost 30 Thirty).
Surf urges: We’ve touched on this a few times, but remember: Urges rarely last longer than 30 minutes. If you can “surf” the urge (observe it without acting) you can usually ride it out.
If you need support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Moderation Management (MM).
Post Submitted By: Donna