It can be difficult for a person to transition out of a whiskey-diet lifestyle to one where you cut out alcohol entirely. Whether it is due to you deciding to make healthier choices in life or from addiction, you now have to not only quit drinking but also figure out what to do with yourself now that you’re sober.
So, what can you do without a mixed drink to accompany you?
Well, quite a bit more than you would think. For most folks who spend their leisure time out at the bar or with a few friends that like to imbibe, it can often feel difficult and perplexing when they try to occupy their time without alcohol. The truth is, however, being intoxicated actually limits you from more activities than it allows.
In this article, we will discuss exactly what you can do to enjoy your free time and how to do so responsibly without the urge of a double shot!
Things to Look Out For
When we first start out going dry for health reasons, dietary benefits, or to rid ourselves of an addictive lifestyle, we have to understand that there are certain behavioral patterns that will hold us back.
Imagine trying to eat healthy around a bunch of people tearing into your favorite junk food and possibly patronizing you for looking to improve your diet. It can make consistency difficult to almost impossible.
To make sure that we stick to positive lifestyles changes, let’s go over some of the things we are going to need to do to achieve this goal successfully.
I know, it comes across as cruel and very rude, but the truth is that these people will be a hindrance, especially at first.
The reason you get on with these folks so well in the first place is likely due to similar hobbies and sometimes when the drink stops flowing, you both find that you actually don’t have very much in common. This person may actually prove detrimental to you abstaining as well, as they want their drinking buddy back.
Or perhaps they are very supportive and totally understand why you don’t want to drink. Does that make it any easier when you are around them and other friends who are tossing back shots while you are sipping on your third water?
They also may have their own struggles with drinking and that codependency makes it hard to empathize with you while you are looking to make a serious lifestyle change.
This doesn’t mean you have to cut out your entire social circle forever. But in the beginning, it is vital that you stick to your guns.
Look Out for Drinking ‘Triggers’
Anyone who has quit smoking knows the term ‘trigger’ all too well. Essentially, anything you typically associate with drinking should be kept to a minimum in your life.
So if you watch a show that is centered on people going out and getting absolutely hammered, recognize that this likely won’t benefit you going forward.
If there are foods you like that compliment your favorite wine or whiskey, maybe steer clear for a few weeks. If you find that drinking has become an emotional crutch that you use to alleviate stress, anxiety, or feelings of emptiness, look towards other activities like meditation, yoga, or exercise that are more positive substitutes.
A lot of times when we quit one addiction, finding a more positive thing to obsess over can help replace all that time we would otherwise spend missing our former dependency.
Ways to Have Fun Without Alcohol
We tend to overthink things when we move towards a new direction in our life and that is especially true when we remove alcohol from our liquid diet.
This will not only help you move forward but probably benefit you mentally and physically!
Say you use to enjoy drawing or painting. Go to your local art store and blow all that money you’ve saved from not going to the bar on pencils, canvases, easels, and acrylic paints!
Perhaps you use to excel at sewing. Bust out your needle and thread and try your hand at a quilt, or knit a blanket.
These are pretty specific examples, but if you had a hobby you use to enjoy, especially as a child, why not give it a fresh look?
One of the great things about quitting alcohol is that you don’t feel like your head is made of cement every morning and that the sun isn’t your personal nemesis. This improvement in your physical wellbeing should be taken advantage of! Go for walks, start jogging, get a gym membership, start rock climbing, buy a bicycle, chase the mailman, whatever works.
This doesn’t mean you have to go out and workout for six hours a day, but small steps like a daily walk can lead to improved happiness and give you time to collect your thoughts.
Go See a Show
When was the last time you went to a concert, live show, theatre, or play? Booze is an expensive habit and the money you are saving can be better spent going to a nearby live event. For some people that can mean going to a heavy metal concert and inadvertently beating up half the people around them in a mosh.
For others, that can be as simple as catching a movie or checking out a local museum.
The truth of the matter is that drinking is a time suck and will leech away the few precious hours we get to ourselves every day. When we get rid of it, we suddenly realize that we have quite a bit of extra time than we may have previously assumed.
Enjoy it, go check out a local event you never had a chance to see or take a weekend trip to the city if you are more rural.
Check Out a Library or Bookstore
We could all benefit from a bit more reading and there are probably more than a few nearby places that you have yet to check out.
Some of us are more favorable towards books than others, but whether it is a cookbook or a two-thousand-page fantasy epic, there is probably something for you. You don’t have to be a speed reader to get in a few books a year at the least, and sometimes a little time spent in silence can prove to be soothing.
To complement this, since you are getting up before noon anyway, bring a book to a local coffee shop and enjoy the ambiance. It can get you into a social setting that doesn’t include tequila shots and you can spend the time being productive while you wake up.
I know travel can sound a bit expensive and incredibly cliche, but trust me, I’m not your rich friend that is telling you to purchase a ticket to Rome on a whim. You don’t have to blow a few thousand dollars to experience something new, but if you want to, go ahead!
Check out attractions or cities in your state or just outside of it and spend your days off in a new place that you haven’t been.
There are few things more spiritually refreshing than new experiences, and even just a fifty-mile trip upstate can prove mentally nourishing. Quitting drinking is a new chapter in anyone’s life, so fill those empty internal pages with unfamiliar cities and exciting new opportunities!
Learn a Skill
So you tried your old hobbies and you found that you actually hate painting now, despite your adoration for Bob Ross. Fantastic, that gives you a chance to find something new to excel at!
Maybe you hate painting but have always wanted to take a crack at pottery or ballroom dancing. Go for it!
Do these sound a bit too generic for you? No sweat, learn to break a guy’s arm off with Brazilian Jujitsu, grab a few fellow fantasy lover and make a Dungeons and Dragons group, start raising falcons, we aren’t judging.
We live in an age where we have a few billion terabytes of information at our fingertips and no shortage of local classes to benefit from, so go out there and learn to pluck the meanest banjo in the county!
There are few things in life more difficult than changing your lifestyle for the better, especially if your negative patterns stem from addiction. Thankfully, there are support groups, plenty of literature, and a couple of million people that have gone through exactly what you have.
So the next time you get the urge to have a stiff drink, practice a few of these methods to avoid going back to old habits!