With spring popping up all around us, it’s always startling for me to glimpse the mountaintops and still see snow on them. Such a contrast. Of course, life is full of contrasts. It’s why we can be so thankful to not be drinking anymore yet still feel unfulfilled. We’re no longer getting that rush we did from drinking – so where do we find our thrills now? Can we be content alcohol free?
Content Alcohol Free?
Many of us drink because we’re either searching for the high that drinking brings us or we use it to numb the anxiety and unease we carry around. We look forward to the anticipation and the knowledge that a drink will allow us to let go of everything. We think that our contentment comes from that first sip. So why do we start to feel better just thinking of drinking?
When you start to get a craving and are anticipating a drink – be aware.
What are you feeling right now? Why are you craving a drink?
Are you stressed? Tired? Hungry? Anxious? Are you feeling depressed? Lonely? Happy?
Rarely do we drink because of a physical need for alcohol. Our reasons are usually because of an emotional or environmental trigger. Paying attention to those triggers and recognizing that there isn’t a physical need for a drink can go a long way towards being content alcohol free.
Think About It
Once you’ve identified why you want to drink, think about how you felt drinking. When did you start to feel good? Personally, I started to feel really good and happy (even giddy) when I was pouring the wine or getting it out of the cupboard. So for me it wasn’t even the alcohol that was making me content – it was the idea of it. The idea of the reward that awaited me. That was the moment that I knew I could be content alcohol free – when I accepted that the idea of the reward was what was satisfying me. Now I needed to find a better reward system.
Alcohol itself does give you a high and that release of endorphins does trigger our internal reward system. I needed to find ways to trigger that release in a healthy way. How could I push that contentment button without ingesting a poison? What else causes that rush?
Identifying the emotional triggers helped me to find rewards that met those emotional needs. If I’m tired, I take a nap or at least sit and read a book. If I’m happy, stressed or anxious, exercise is my go-to. If I’m hungry, I eat. That sounds crazy but often I’d have a drink instead. Rather than trying to mask my needs with a drink, I’ve learned to listen to my body and give it what it needs.
Another huge reason we drink is cultural. It’s what we associate with socializing. Weddings and baby showers, football and golf, happy hour or business dinners – they all usually have a bar tab attached to them in our minds. Can we be content alcohol free at these functions as well? Without a doubt – yes.
Our enjoyment at these events has nothing to do with the beverages. It’s the people we’re connecting with that spark our joy. So get a drink in your hand – (I picked a cranberry and Sprite in the early days to avoid questions) – and go immerse yourself in conversation, friendship and all the good feelings that come with spending time with our people. I guarantee you’ll leave feeling way more content than you ever did when drinking!
Find Out More
Learn more about how to be content alcohol free. Start reading the first 40 pages of This Naked Mind for free right now!