After years of reports that moderate drinking was heart smart, it now turns out that No Amount of Alcohol Is Good for Your Heart and Any Amount of Drinking Is Bad for You. With nearly 1 in 5 Americans using alcohol to cope with pandemic stress and binge drinking increasing in the UK, and Canada as well, it’s a good thing that there are so many new online support groups and alcohol-free month-long challenges to help motivate people to stop drinking when they decide it’s time.
Whether you are doing a one-month detox to try out some dry time, or have decided to go sober for good, month-long alcohol-free challenges are a great way to maintain focus throughout the year. In our Boom Rethink the Drink community we follow Dry January with A Tuned In February and then celebrate sober momentum with a Momentous March. Whether it is your first, second, or fiftieth month alcohol-free, joining our ongoing conversation about the ups and downs by blogging within our private space, will encourage you to find and celebrate the solutions that work for you.
Tune in to the reasons that you chose AF and tune out the voices (internal or external) who tell you that alcohol is needed for a joyous, full life.
Here are stories that two of our members recently shared to inspire you to tune in to living life alcohol-free
YES YOU CAN.
I wanted to say to anyone who is still wondering “can I do it?” “can I stop drinking?” Yes, you can!
I was so lost in the shame, the feeling of “this is ridiculous, you must stop”. I was playing the Russian roulette of drinking thinking that I could avoid the dangerous consequences, and yet at the same time knowing I couldn’t, and what a terrible chance I was taking. It took a very serious health scare for me, and a visit to the emergency ward, to push away that lingering power of the allure of the drink and remove all doubt that no compromising could be done without serious risk to my health. I actually hesitated to go to emergency because I was more afraid to be found out as a problem drinker than anything else.
“they will certainly do a blood test and see you had more to drink than you should, and what if your husband is with you when they talk about those results”
The good news is that it seems I will be fine, for the moment, and I have been given a chance to repair, to a certain extent, the damage that has been done over the years. But it is 100% clear to me that I cannot take the risk ever again and I will not drink ever again. It won’t be easy, but it is so much easier now that it is clear, and for this, I am very thankful.
Everything that you read in our BOOM community can help you understand how you can and why you should stop drinking. For me, learning all the science behind how I even ended up with this challenge, helped me so much to prepare and be ready and willing to stop. So, the intellectual part was covered– the work was then on the body and soul to be able to muster through the challenge of such a change. That’s where all the words of wisdom, inspiration, and support really help. I never thought I would be able to be one of those people writing from the other side saying that it IS possible and it IS so much better….and yet, thanks to this community, here I am and you can be too
A New Chapter
I first discovered the Boom Rethink the Drink Community back in October 2020, early in my first real attempt to quit drinking. I was feeling lonely and sad. Hearing from real people in BOOM who were going through (or had gone through) the same thing was comforting and inspiring to me.
I managed to go alcohol-free for about two months when I first found BOOM. Then I suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about drinking. I was terrified that this would be forever – and to be honest, when I made the choice to go alcohol-free, I hoped I’d one day be able to drink again. I talked to my husband about my desire to buy a bottle of wine and he talked me out of it with a reminder. I’d also tried to quit smoking several times in the past, and that “just one” always sent my back to where I’d started.
I knew what he said was true, but I still couldn’t shake the urge to drink. One day, I gave in and as predicted, I was quickly back to my old daily habit.
A couple of months ago, I decided I wanted to try again. This time, I made a doctor’s appointment to discuss the lifestyle changes I wanted to make. During my last quit, I met with a counselor for the first time and realized that my biggest trigger was anxiety. Drinking quieted the anxious thoughts and feelings of overwhelm at first. But over the years, it made it so much worse. I decided to try treatment with an antidepressant and it’s made a HUGE difference for me.
I spent the last couple of weeks in December preparing for Dry January. Last time, I didn’t have a plan. This time, I created one inspired by this Boom article: If You’re Trying to Stop Drinking Start With a Plan and Share It
I’ve also been really interested in posts about neurogenesis and neuroplasticity ( How I Became Alcohol-Free – Thoughts on Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis ), so a big part of my plan is changing my routine from the start. One of my goals has been to re-establish a creative practice. Before, when I stopped drinking, I hoped my creativity and motivation would magically return. It did not. This time, I’m trying to retrain my brain by making art a part of my new morning routine. It was hard at first, but it’s getting easier and I’m starting to look forward to my morning pages with curiosity. What will I draw today?
A New Chapter:
My Plan to Choose Creativity, Learning, and Adventure
(Instead of Alcohol and Smoking)
1. What I want to achieve:
-Nurture my most authentic, creative, and healthy self
-Pursue starting a family
2. My triggers:
-Time of day: 4:30-6 p.m.
-Situations: driving past shops on my way home from work; stopping by the grocery store on the way home; first arriving home-Emotions: anxiety; work stress; irritability; loneliness
-Other: replaying uncomfortable memories; imagining stressful conversations and events that haven’t actually occurred
3. How I’m going to do it:
-A.M.: morning pages (draw something, anything every morning); eat breakfast
-P.M.: late afternoon snack; avoid the grocery store on the way home; listen to a recovery podcast during my evening commute; make a cup of tea or other AF drink and read, meditate, or draw when I first arrive home; make dinner earlier
4. In case of emergency:
-Read or post on Boom
-Observe and write down what I’m feeling
5. Milestones and rewards:
I’m a little wary about looking so far ahead after reading folks’ advice to take it one day at a time. But I do like the idea of promising myself a special treat. We’ll see if this works for me.
-3 Days: Night off from cooking! Order takeout.
-1 Week: Ice cream outing – to the fancy place!
-1 Month: Go out to the movies-3 Months: Fancy dinner out, my pick!
-6 Months: Take a weekend trip
-1 Year: Book a big trip.
6. If the plan gets screwed:
-Take time to reflect on why
-Re-evaluate the plan
If you are still white-knuckling it through every day after Dry January, that’s okay: do whatever you need to do to make it through. However, some of you may start to feel a sense of nostalgia for your old drinking life. You may feel like the odd one out if your social network mainly consists of drinkers. You may feel empowered:
“I made it a whole month Alcohol-free! Now I can moderate.”
Fading Affect Bias is something that we all struggle with when moving away from a destructive habit. The further we move toward the positive goal we’ve set, the more faded the memory of the pain of the negative routine becomes. Here are some thoughts from members of BOOM on tried and failed attempts at moderate drinking after a period of going sober 4 Great Posts to Help You Answer the Moderate Drinking Question. If you really want to try spending some time alcohol-free, whether just one month here and there, or long term, if you really want to follow this road less traveled, stick around.
Join me for today and every day with a tuned-in attitude to loving life sober. We are there every day, every week, every month of the year with an active posting community, regular Zoom meetings, and this February we’ve added a song challenge, and a fitness accountability group. Start here How to Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday Alcohol-Free
Join us for a Tuned in February and beyond.
Daily Interactive Posts from inside our Boom Community for A Full Month Alcohol-Free – Open Here
And 30 posts for 30 days to help you Quit Drinking from our Boozemusings blog
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using
community support 24-7 or sign up and sign in here
Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”