Oh the early days of going alcohol free. It feels like someone has booby trapped your entire life. Buses pass with alcohol advertisements wrapped around them. You run to the grocery store for bread and they are having a wine tasting. You order a book and a wine voucher comes with it. Will you ever stop thinking about drinking?
It Gets Better
First off, to reassure you – you will stop thinking about drinking. Right now you are hyper aware and hyper sensitive to it. All those advertisements, events and temptations were always there. You just didn’t notice because you were immersed in that culture. There’s anxiety that comes along with going alcohol free and anxiety heightens your senses. So right now, you’re a bit jumpy and that is normal.
Your awareness of just how much alcohol is pushed at us is a good thing. In fact, feel free to get fired up and angry about it. Why is poison being pushed at us around every bend? Why isn’t anyone peddling kale or kombucha with the same fervor? Use your awareness to see just how much society and media were influencing your choices.
Thinking About Drinking
Thinking about drinking does eventually become a non-issue. In fact, it becomes such a non-issue that you don’t even consider it for occasions where people might typically drink. I had someone bring wine over to share with friends during Thanksgiving this year. They ended up having to take it back home with them when I realized that we actually no longer even own a corkscrew to open up the wine!
When Does It Stop
You’ll stop thinking about drinking as you replace your previous beliefs and experiences with new ones that are no longer associated with alcohol. Give yourself a full year to experience everything alcohol free for the first time – holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Let your brain replace what it knew with what is now. Once that happens, your thinking about drinking will cease.
It Becomes Automatic
The great thing, is that at a certain point, not thinking about drinking also becomes automatic. I don’t notice the wine pairing suggestions on my menu anymore. Beers and BBQ’s aren’t synonymous to me. I couldn’t tell you what the latest signature drink is or even how much a mixed drink would cost you at the bar. Not only is not drinking and not thinking about drinking automatic – alcohol just doesn’t hold any importance in my life. I don’t waste brain space on it because as far as I’m concerned, I’m not missing out on anything at all!