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Latest Articles
2023-07-03 9:00
Drinking Habits
Popular
Wine Belly: What Is It and How Do I Get Rid of It?
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Are you concerned that your nightly glass of red might be contributing to that growing bulge around your midsection? You're not alone! Let's dive right into the science and discover the truth behind the wine belly.

9 min read

Begin Your Adventure With Reframe!

Considering giving alcohol the boot? The Reframe app is here to help you! Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), our app serves as a trusted buddy, helping you reevaluate the place alcohol holds in your life by using cutting-edge neuroscience research. Our approach has helped countless people worldwide in redefining their relationship with alcohol. You can do it, and we're here to support you!

Reframe’s mission is to provide you with the right insight and tools, not just to get by with less alcohol, but to genuinely thrive. We share daily nuggets of wisdom rooted in neuroscience research that unravel the science around alcohol. Our integrated Toolkit is filled with useful resources and activities to help you tackle any hurdles.

When you join, you’ll have access to a global community walking the same path through our 24/7 Forum chat, where you can draw motivation from folks worldwide who are eager to share their stories and advice. Plus, our accredited coaches are always available for personalized advice and guidance.

We're always introducing new features to our app to optimize your experience. Say hello to Melody, our latest in-app chatbot. Built with the help of the latest AI technology, she’s ready to guide you towards a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we roll out engaging challenges like Dry January Challenge, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. Participate alongside fellow Reframers or go at it alone — the choice is yours!

Try the Reframe app for an entire week at no cost! You've got nothing to lose — and a world to gain. Are you eager to take the reins and discover what life is like without alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

Read Full Article  →

Quick, what word goes with “belly” if we’re talking about the effects of alcohol? For most of us, “beer belly!” is probably our automatic response. But did you know that your beloved glass of chardonnay or cabernet could also be contributing to an ever-growing waistline? We aren’t talking about a “beer belly” — women and men who drink wine might get a “wine belly” instead. The “wine belly” — sometimes humorously called a “grape gut” — isn't just an urban legend: it's rooted in science. Let’s talk about what it is and how to get rid of wine belly fat.

Meet the Wine Belly

Does drinking alcohol cause belly fat? The term “wine belly” typically refers to the belly fat that some people accumulate after regularly consuming wine or other types of alcohol. While the name might suggest that this phenomenon is exclusive to wine drinkers, it actually applies to anyone who drinks frequently. And yes, even your beloved craft beers or sophisticated cocktails can lead to the same result of alcohol belly. So in the end, the wine belly and the beer belly are both essentially “booze bellies” under different names. But we want to know how to lose alcohol belly.

Belly Fat Facts

But what exactly is belly fat? And what does an alcohol belly look like? In scientific terms, belly fat is so-called visceral fat located deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your organs. It's different from subcutaneous fat, which is just under the skin and can be pinched. The bad news? Visceral fat is associated with an increased risk of health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. 

The Science Behind the Wine Belly

Why does alcohol, especially wine, contribute to this belly fat? And how does wine make you gain weight? The answer lies in how the body processes alcohol. When we sip our favorite merlot or cabernet sauvignon, our bodies prioritize metabolizing the alcohol first, before anything else. Why? Because the body perceives alcohol as a toxin and wants to eliminate it ASAP, other metabolic processes are pushed to the sidelines. The downside of this biological rush is that the other calories we consume end up being stored as fat instead of being burned for energy. This is what contributes to the alcohol belly fat that many of us may want to lose. 

Sneaky Calories

Does wine cause weight gain? It definitely can be a factor, and we can start by looking at its calories. Now, you might argue that wine doesn't have that many calories. While it's true that wine isn't calorically dense like fast food, it's easy to overlook how much we’re drinking. An average glass of wine holds about 120-150 calories, with some reaching up to 200 calories. So sure, we’re not talking the levels of an entire pizza or box of donuts here, but if we’re drinking multiple glasses a day, those calories can add up quickly

It's not just the calories from alcohol — wine also contains residual sugars that can add to your caloric intake. And let's not forget the late-night cheese platter that often accompanies wine and adds an extra calorie punch: alcohol tends to stimulate our appetite, which causes us to consume more calories than we would sober and leads to weight gain.

Genes and Wine Belly

You might have noticed that some of your friends can drink like a fish and not develop a wine belly, while others aren't so fortunate. This discrepancy is often due to genetic differences.

Our genetic makeup plays a significant role in determining where we store fat. Some people are predisposed to store more fat in their abdominal region, leading to a more prominent wine belly.

Hormones and Fat Storage

Our body’s hormones also play a crucial role in fat storage. Unfortunately for wine lovers, alcohol consumption can interfere with these hormones.

Insulin is a key player in our metabolism, regulating blood sugar levels. High alcohol consumption can lead to insulin resistance, leading to higher blood sugar and increased fat storage — especially around the midsection.

Moreover, men are more likely to store fat abdominally than women, leading to the classic "beer belly" or "wine belly." Women, on the other hand, are more likely to store fat in their hips and thighs. However, after menopause, women's fat storage patterns become more similar to men's due to hormonal changes — and their wine bellies can reflect that change. To get rid of alcohol belly, women, especially post-menopausal women, can use some of the same strategies as their male counterparts. To combat alcohol belly, women who have already gone through menopause can consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but that can come with its own issues, so talk to your doctor first.   

Yeast and the Wine Belly

Another part of the story has to do with yeast: the microscopic fungus that plays an instrumental role in the winemaking process. Its main job is fermentation, converting the sugars in grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide. 

While yeast doesn’t make us store belly fat, it expands the stomach as we digest wine, making the belly puff out more.

Illustration A person's silhouette with a protruding belly, symbolizing a wine belly

Deflating the Wine Belly

What’s the best way to lose alcohol belly? If you've realized that your wine habit may be contributing to your wine belly, don't panic! There are several strategies for how to get rid of alcohol belly you can adopt to tackle this issue. 

  • Practice moderation. One of the most effective ways to prevent a wine belly is to moderate your drinking. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Choose your drinks wisely. All wines are not created equal when it comes to calories. dry wines, like cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and chardonnay, have fewer calories than sweeter wines. Being mindful of the kind of wine you choose can help control your calorie intake.

  • Engage in regular physical activity. Regular exercise can help reduce belly fat. Consider integrating activities like walking, cycling, or yoga into your daily routine.
  • Eat a balanced diet. A diet rich in whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, can help you manage your weight and reduce the risk of developing a wine belly. Try to limit processed foods, which are often high in added sugars and unhealthy fats.

Quick, what word goes with “belly” if we’re talking about the effects of alcohol? For most of us, “beer belly!” is probably our automatic response. But did you know that your beloved glass of chardonnay or cabernet could also be contributing to an ever-growing waistline? We aren’t talking about a “beer belly” — women and men who drink wine might get a “wine belly” instead. The “wine belly” — sometimes humorously called a “grape gut” — isn't just an urban legend: it's rooted in science. Let’s talk about what it is and how to get rid of wine belly fat.

Meet the Wine Belly

Does drinking alcohol cause belly fat? The term “wine belly” typically refers to the belly fat that some people accumulate after regularly consuming wine or other types of alcohol. While the name might suggest that this phenomenon is exclusive to wine drinkers, it actually applies to anyone who drinks frequently. And yes, even your beloved craft beers or sophisticated cocktails can lead to the same result of alcohol belly. So in the end, the wine belly and the beer belly are both essentially “booze bellies” under different names. But we want to know how to lose alcohol belly.

Belly Fat Facts

But what exactly is belly fat? And what does an alcohol belly look like? In scientific terms, belly fat is so-called visceral fat located deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your organs. It's different from subcutaneous fat, which is just under the skin and can be pinched. The bad news? Visceral fat is associated with an increased risk of health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. 

The Science Behind the Wine Belly

Why does alcohol, especially wine, contribute to this belly fat? And how does wine make you gain weight? The answer lies in how the body processes alcohol. When we sip our favorite merlot or cabernet sauvignon, our bodies prioritize metabolizing the alcohol first, before anything else. Why? Because the body perceives alcohol as a toxin and wants to eliminate it ASAP, other metabolic processes are pushed to the sidelines. The downside of this biological rush is that the other calories we consume end up being stored as fat instead of being burned for energy. This is what contributes to the alcohol belly fat that many of us may want to lose. 

Sneaky Calories

Does wine cause weight gain? It definitely can be a factor, and we can start by looking at its calories. Now, you might argue that wine doesn't have that many calories. While it's true that wine isn't calorically dense like fast food, it's easy to overlook how much we’re drinking. An average glass of wine holds about 120-150 calories, with some reaching up to 200 calories. So sure, we’re not talking the levels of an entire pizza or box of donuts here, but if we’re drinking multiple glasses a day, those calories can add up quickly

It's not just the calories from alcohol — wine also contains residual sugars that can add to your caloric intake. And let's not forget the late-night cheese platter that often accompanies wine and adds an extra calorie punch: alcohol tends to stimulate our appetite, which causes us to consume more calories than we would sober and leads to weight gain.

Genes and Wine Belly

You might have noticed that some of your friends can drink like a fish and not develop a wine belly, while others aren't so fortunate. This discrepancy is often due to genetic differences.

Our genetic makeup plays a significant role in determining where we store fat. Some people are predisposed to store more fat in their abdominal region, leading to a more prominent wine belly.

Hormones and Fat Storage

Our body’s hormones also play a crucial role in fat storage. Unfortunately for wine lovers, alcohol consumption can interfere with these hormones.

Insulin is a key player in our metabolism, regulating blood sugar levels. High alcohol consumption can lead to insulin resistance, leading to higher blood sugar and increased fat storage — especially around the midsection.

Moreover, men are more likely to store fat abdominally than women, leading to the classic "beer belly" or "wine belly." Women, on the other hand, are more likely to store fat in their hips and thighs. However, after menopause, women's fat storage patterns become more similar to men's due to hormonal changes — and their wine bellies can reflect that change. To get rid of alcohol belly, women, especially post-menopausal women, can use some of the same strategies as their male counterparts. To combat alcohol belly, women who have already gone through menopause can consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but that can come with its own issues, so talk to your doctor first.   

Yeast and the Wine Belly

Another part of the story has to do with yeast: the microscopic fungus that plays an instrumental role in the winemaking process. Its main job is fermentation, converting the sugars in grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide. 

While yeast doesn’t make us store belly fat, it expands the stomach as we digest wine, making the belly puff out more.

Illustration A person's silhouette with a protruding belly, symbolizing a wine belly

Deflating the Wine Belly

What’s the best way to lose alcohol belly? If you've realized that your wine habit may be contributing to your wine belly, don't panic! There are several strategies for how to get rid of alcohol belly you can adopt to tackle this issue. 

  • Practice moderation. One of the most effective ways to prevent a wine belly is to moderate your drinking. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Choose your drinks wisely. All wines are not created equal when it comes to calories. dry wines, like cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and chardonnay, have fewer calories than sweeter wines. Being mindful of the kind of wine you choose can help control your calorie intake.

  • Engage in regular physical activity. Regular exercise can help reduce belly fat. Consider integrating activities like walking, cycling, or yoga into your daily routine.
  • Eat a balanced diet. A diet rich in whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, can help you manage your weight and reduce the risk of developing a wine belly. Try to limit processed foods, which are often high in added sugars and unhealthy fats.
Drinking Habits
Popular
2023-02-21 9:00
Drinking Habits
Popular
The Benefits of Quitting or Cutting Back on Alcohol
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How hard is it to quit drinking? Many individuals struggle with cutting back on alcohol consumption or quitting drinking altogether. Although the task may seem daunting, it is possible to achieve an alcohol-free lifestyle and reap the many rewards that come along with it, including reduced health complications, sustained weight loss, and healthier replacements for drinking. Through support available on the Reframe app and self-care, anyone can form a healthier relationship with alcohol - or even abstain - if they want to.

7 min read

Our Approach at Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

Read Full Article  →

Whether we’re aware of it or not, alcohol’s presence is everywhere. We live in a society that normalizes binge drinking and popping a bottle for every occasion. This means alcohol at birthday parties, at weddings, at graduation celebrations … there’s no escaping it!

However, social norms around alcohol are undergoing a subtle shift. We’ve seen this with the rise of Dry January, as well as with all of the celebrities who are speaking out about their own sobriety journeys. It’s becoming more normalized to question whether alcohol really serves us.

Perhaps you’ve been sober curious for a while, or you’d just like to cut back on your alcohol intake. Whatever your goal is, there are several benefits of quitting alcohol (or if you are not ready, cutting back on alcohol) — physical, emotional, and social. Here are a few to expect. 

Benefit #1: Improved Physical Health

We’re well aware of what alcohol can do to our bodies, especially if we’ve ever been hungover. While we’ve likely experienced short-term effects such as hangovers, there are several long-term health risks that increase when we consume alcohol to excess.

When we drink too much alcohol in the long run, this can lead to liver dysfunction, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, weakened immunity, and even a greater risk of developing certain cancers.

The dangers of excess alcohol consumption have even become a global public health issue. The World Health Organization attributes 5.1% of the global burden of disease to alcohol consumption. And over 3 million alcohol-related deaths (or 5.3% of all deaths) occur worldwide each year.

When we significantly cut back on alcohol — or quit drinking altogether — we dramatically lower our risk of a variety of ailments. In fact, a 2018 study found that participants who underwent a short-term period of sobriety lost weight, had improved blood pressure, and contained fewer cancer-related growth factors in their blood.

Benefit #2: Better Mental Health

Anyone who’s ever experienced “hangxiety” can attest — the mental health effects brought about by alcohol can be agonizing! Not only this, but those of us who already struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues can experience an increase in our symptoms once alcohol’s effects wear off. This can keep us stuck in an endless cycle in which we drink to feel better, then feel worse, and so on.

Though alcohol can bring about temporary stress relief, in the long run, it’s throwing many of our hormones and neurotransmitters out of balance. This can cause mental health challenges, or exacerbate existing issues.

When we quit or cut back on alcohol, we remove its influence over our brain chemistry, and thus, allow our bodies to return to their baseline.

In the beginning this can be challenging, as we must turn to healthier coping mechanisms to avoid a return to previous alcohol use. However, over time, when we stop relying on alcohol to boost our moods, we can get the same benefits through healthier activities.

For example, we can meditate, walk in nature, play board games with friends, sweat in an exercise class, or dance it out to live music. The list is endless when we look consciously for opportunities to entertain ourselves or relax without alcohol.

A diagram showing alcohol increasing anxiety levels, causing stress and negative emotions

Benefit #3: A Healthier Complexion

All too often, we don’t think of alcohol as an issue when it comes to our looks. But overindulging in alcohol can influence our external appearance in many ways. Now, we should be clear — there’s nothing vain about wanting to improve our appearance!

We may have noticed drier skin after a night of heavy drinking. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes greater urine production. We become dehydrated more quickly when we’re drinking, and this can manifest externally through dry, dull skin.

Drinking too much alcohol can also make our eyes puffy. When we’re losing water through our urine, the body retains water in certain areas to compensate. One of these is under the eyes. Alcohol can also lead to sleep deprivation (which we’ll chat more about in the next section), contributing to puffy, bloodshot eyes.

If we’ve lacked that desired “glow” for a while, alcohol can definitely be to blame! When we reduce or remove it, we ensure that our skin stays more hydrated. And thus, our complexion will improve.

Benefit #4: Higher Energy Levels

Who doesn’t want more energy?! Between our many responsibilities between home, work, and social commitments, it can feel like we’re always running on low battery. Now, throw alcohol into the mix, and this can deplete us even further. 

But how?

Alcohol is a natural depressant, meaning it slows our nervous systems down. In the hours following alcohol consumption, we may feel relaxed, lethargic, and even a little drowsy. Many people think this can help them fall asleep faster and sleep better, but science suggests this is false.

Alcohol actually impacts the quality and quantity of our sleep by interfering with our sleep cycles. Throughout an average night, we’ll go through four to six sleep cycles. One important part of the sleep cycle is REM, or rapid eye movement sleep. It helps us consolidate memories and regulate our emotions, so when we miss out on REM sleep, we’re more irritable and mentally foggy the next day. 

When we consume alcohol, it can also cause fragmented sleep, waking us up several times throughout the night. This can make us feel sluggish and fatigued the following day. 

Once we quit drinking, or cut back significantly, we can experience improvements in our overall sleep quality (and quantity!). As a result, we’ll have much more energy — physically and emotionally.

Benefit #5: Improved Physical Fitness 

Alcoholic beverages are high in calories (a typical margarita has a whopping 700!). This typically comes from much of the added sugar — whether that’s through soda, juice, or flavored syrups.

When we drink high-calorie alcoholic beverages, our body prioritizes processing and getting rid of the alcohol before anything else. That means the extra sugar gets stored as fat, leading to weight gain. We can do all the crunches and bench presses we want. But as long as alcohol still plays a big role in our lives, we won’t be able to achieve the optimal results of our efforts.

However, when we take alcohol out of the picture, or reduce its presence in our lives, we recalibrate our metabolism. This can make it easier to lose or maintain our weight, and we’ll also notice more changes in our fitness levels when we exercise.

Furthermore, alcohol can also impact the digestive system, making it harder for our bodies to absorb certain key nutrients. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can inflame the gut lining and lead to intestinal permeability. This can put us at greater risk for nutrient deficiencies, even if we’re already eating a very healthy diet.

By cutting back on (or quitting) alcohol, we can promote gut healing, which, alongside a nutrient-dense diet, can help us take in all of the essential vitamins and minerals we need to maintain our health and fitness.

Benefit #6: Healthier Relationships

Unhealthy drinking habits can be a huge strain on our relationships. Perhaps we’ve said something we later regretted, missed out on an important event, or simply didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to support a loved one in need.

Alcohol can make us moody and unreliable, and can also make our communication less effective. This can lead to friends and family members becoming frustrated with us, and we may find ourselves in more arguments after a bout of heavy drinking.

Relationships require effort, and if alcohol is impacting our ability to be present with those who matter to us, then we must question the role it’s currently playing in our lives.

When we start cutting back or quitting, we take back the power to be the loyal friend or parent that our loved ones need. This can also improve our own well-being by reducing the amount of shame or regret we feel over our actions.

And the good news is, we can still enjoy time with our friends and loved ones in an alcohol-free fashion! This can look like finding alternative ways of fun — like taking a scenic sunset hike or enjoying a delicious brunch with some alcohol-free mocktails. Those who truly care about us will support our decision to cut back or quit.

Benefit #7: Fewer Memory Issues

Whether we can’t remember specific details from the night before, or experienced a full-on blackout, alcohol can impair our memory in the short term. (And can lead to long-term memory impairment, as well.)

When we consume alcohol, it disrupts our ability to encode new information. (It’s the classic “in one ear and out the other” phenomenon.) We may have trouble remembering things, like people’s names or where we placed one of our belongings. New information that we take in while we consume alcohol misses its chance of entering our long-term memory because of the disruption in the memory formation process.

And as we discussed earlier, alcohol also interferes with our REM sleep, which is essential for memory consolidation. When we reduce our alcohol intake, or quit altogether, our overall sleep can improve, which means that our memory will be much stronger.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, alcohol’s presence is everywhere. We live in a society that normalizes binge drinking and popping a bottle for every occasion. This means alcohol at birthday parties, at weddings, at graduation celebrations … there’s no escaping it!

However, social norms around alcohol are undergoing a subtle shift. We’ve seen this with the rise of Dry January, as well as with all of the celebrities who are speaking out about their own sobriety journeys. It’s becoming more normalized to question whether alcohol really serves us.

Perhaps you’ve been sober curious for a while, or you’d just like to cut back on your alcohol intake. Whatever your goal is, there are several benefits of quitting alcohol (or if you are not ready, cutting back on alcohol) — physical, emotional, and social. Here are a few to expect. 

Benefit #1: Improved Physical Health

We’re well aware of what alcohol can do to our bodies, especially if we’ve ever been hungover. While we’ve likely experienced short-term effects such as hangovers, there are several long-term health risks that increase when we consume alcohol to excess.

When we drink too much alcohol in the long run, this can lead to liver dysfunction, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, weakened immunity, and even a greater risk of developing certain cancers.

The dangers of excess alcohol consumption have even become a global public health issue. The World Health Organization attributes 5.1% of the global burden of disease to alcohol consumption. And over 3 million alcohol-related deaths (or 5.3% of all deaths) occur worldwide each year.

When we significantly cut back on alcohol — or quit drinking altogether — we dramatically lower our risk of a variety of ailments. In fact, a 2018 study found that participants who underwent a short-term period of sobriety lost weight, had improved blood pressure, and contained fewer cancer-related growth factors in their blood.

Benefit #2: Better Mental Health

Anyone who’s ever experienced “hangxiety” can attest — the mental health effects brought about by alcohol can be agonizing! Not only this, but those of us who already struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues can experience an increase in our symptoms once alcohol’s effects wear off. This can keep us stuck in an endless cycle in which we drink to feel better, then feel worse, and so on.

Though alcohol can bring about temporary stress relief, in the long run, it’s throwing many of our hormones and neurotransmitters out of balance. This can cause mental health challenges, or exacerbate existing issues.

When we quit or cut back on alcohol, we remove its influence over our brain chemistry, and thus, allow our bodies to return to their baseline.

In the beginning this can be challenging, as we must turn to healthier coping mechanisms to avoid a return to previous alcohol use. However, over time, when we stop relying on alcohol to boost our moods, we can get the same benefits through healthier activities.

For example, we can meditate, walk in nature, play board games with friends, sweat in an exercise class, or dance it out to live music. The list is endless when we look consciously for opportunities to entertain ourselves or relax without alcohol.

A diagram showing alcohol increasing anxiety levels, causing stress and negative emotions

Benefit #3: A Healthier Complexion

All too often, we don’t think of alcohol as an issue when it comes to our looks. But overindulging in alcohol can influence our external appearance in many ways. Now, we should be clear — there’s nothing vain about wanting to improve our appearance!

We may have noticed drier skin after a night of heavy drinking. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes greater urine production. We become dehydrated more quickly when we’re drinking, and this can manifest externally through dry, dull skin.

Drinking too much alcohol can also make our eyes puffy. When we’re losing water through our urine, the body retains water in certain areas to compensate. One of these is under the eyes. Alcohol can also lead to sleep deprivation (which we’ll chat more about in the next section), contributing to puffy, bloodshot eyes.

If we’ve lacked that desired “glow” for a while, alcohol can definitely be to blame! When we reduce or remove it, we ensure that our skin stays more hydrated. And thus, our complexion will improve.

Benefit #4: Higher Energy Levels

Who doesn’t want more energy?! Between our many responsibilities between home, work, and social commitments, it can feel like we’re always running on low battery. Now, throw alcohol into the mix, and this can deplete us even further. 

But how?

Alcohol is a natural depressant, meaning it slows our nervous systems down. In the hours following alcohol consumption, we may feel relaxed, lethargic, and even a little drowsy. Many people think this can help them fall asleep faster and sleep better, but science suggests this is false.

Alcohol actually impacts the quality and quantity of our sleep by interfering with our sleep cycles. Throughout an average night, we’ll go through four to six sleep cycles. One important part of the sleep cycle is REM, or rapid eye movement sleep. It helps us consolidate memories and regulate our emotions, so when we miss out on REM sleep, we’re more irritable and mentally foggy the next day. 

When we consume alcohol, it can also cause fragmented sleep, waking us up several times throughout the night. This can make us feel sluggish and fatigued the following day. 

Once we quit drinking, or cut back significantly, we can experience improvements in our overall sleep quality (and quantity!). As a result, we’ll have much more energy — physically and emotionally.

Benefit #5: Improved Physical Fitness 

Alcoholic beverages are high in calories (a typical margarita has a whopping 700!). This typically comes from much of the added sugar — whether that’s through soda, juice, or flavored syrups.

When we drink high-calorie alcoholic beverages, our body prioritizes processing and getting rid of the alcohol before anything else. That means the extra sugar gets stored as fat, leading to weight gain. We can do all the crunches and bench presses we want. But as long as alcohol still plays a big role in our lives, we won’t be able to achieve the optimal results of our efforts.

However, when we take alcohol out of the picture, or reduce its presence in our lives, we recalibrate our metabolism. This can make it easier to lose or maintain our weight, and we’ll also notice more changes in our fitness levels when we exercise.

Furthermore, alcohol can also impact the digestive system, making it harder for our bodies to absorb certain key nutrients. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can inflame the gut lining and lead to intestinal permeability. This can put us at greater risk for nutrient deficiencies, even if we’re already eating a very healthy diet.

By cutting back on (or quitting) alcohol, we can promote gut healing, which, alongside a nutrient-dense diet, can help us take in all of the essential vitamins and minerals we need to maintain our health and fitness.

Benefit #6: Healthier Relationships

Unhealthy drinking habits can be a huge strain on our relationships. Perhaps we’ve said something we later regretted, missed out on an important event, or simply didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to support a loved one in need.

Alcohol can make us moody and unreliable, and can also make our communication less effective. This can lead to friends and family members becoming frustrated with us, and we may find ourselves in more arguments after a bout of heavy drinking.

Relationships require effort, and if alcohol is impacting our ability to be present with those who matter to us, then we must question the role it’s currently playing in our lives.

When we start cutting back or quitting, we take back the power to be the loyal friend or parent that our loved ones need. This can also improve our own well-being by reducing the amount of shame or regret we feel over our actions.

And the good news is, we can still enjoy time with our friends and loved ones in an alcohol-free fashion! This can look like finding alternative ways of fun — like taking a scenic sunset hike or enjoying a delicious brunch with some alcohol-free mocktails. Those who truly care about us will support our decision to cut back or quit.

Benefit #7: Fewer Memory Issues

Whether we can’t remember specific details from the night before, or experienced a full-on blackout, alcohol can impair our memory in the short term. (And can lead to long-term memory impairment, as well.)

When we consume alcohol, it disrupts our ability to encode new information. (It’s the classic “in one ear and out the other” phenomenon.) We may have trouble remembering things, like people’s names or where we placed one of our belongings. New information that we take in while we consume alcohol misses its chance of entering our long-term memory because of the disruption in the memory formation process.

And as we discussed earlier, alcohol also interferes with our REM sleep, which is essential for memory consolidation. When we reduce our alcohol intake, or quit altogether, our overall sleep can improve, which means that our memory will be much stronger.

Drinking Less
Drinking Habits
Quit Drinking
Alcohol and Health
Popular
2023-01-20 9:00
Drinking Habits
Popular
6 Small (Yet Effective) Steps To Help You Change Your Drinking Habits
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Taking the stairs, stretching after long periods of sitting, drinking plenty of water — these are all small yet powerful habits we can turn to for better health. While we aren’t likely to see drastic improvements in our well-being overnight with new habits, actions like these compound over time and lead to profound changes.

14 min read
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Taking the stairs, stretching after long periods of sitting, drinking plenty of water — these are all small yet powerful habits we can turn to for better health. While we aren’t likely to see drastic improvements in our well-being overnight with new habits, actions like these compound over time and lead to profound changes.

So, how does alcohol tie in with all of this? Can we apply the same idea when changing our drinking habits?

You bet!

When we take incremental steps to cut back on alcohol, and when we stick to our drinking goals over time, we can improve our well-being in many ways. Let’s chat about how we can implement realistic drinking habits, and then discuss potential changes we can make to drink less alcohol.

The Importance of Changing Your Drinking Habits

Here at Reframe, we’re all about science, not stigma. We want to give you the knowledge to change your life for the better, and this starts with understanding how alcohol impacts every area of your life.

We’re well aware of alcohol’s damaging long-term impact — from an increased risk of health issues like liver disease to mental health challenges like depression and anxiety to relationship conflicts.

Cutting back on our drinking reduces our chances of adverse outcomes like these, and gives us the clarity we need to replace negative habits with better ones.

Whether we’re talking about our health, work, or personal relationships, a steady stream of positive behaviors can help promote long-term growth and development. And when we’re implementing new habits and behaviors, the best way to make lasting changes is to start small, have a plan, and above all, be patient with ourselves.

Okay, this sounds great… but how do we find the motivation to change? Especially if we’re still struggling with our alcohol intake?

These are important questions to consider, because we need both the motivation and the ability to create these habits, as these two components work together to form the foundation of positive change.

Motivation gives us the drive to take action, while ability allows us to follow through on our goals and put them into practice. It is essential to understand what motivates us and what challenges we might face along the way. For instance, what motivates you to change? Is it a desire to reduce your disease risk? To feel happier? To be more present with your loved ones? Start considering your biggest reasons to change, as these can be helpful in sustaining your motivation.

The next step to changing our drinking habits is identifying any obstacles that could prevent our success. Do we have major triggers? Do we have a hard time sticking to our limits in social settings? By gaining this knowledge, we can devise strategies for overcoming any barriers that may arise, so we can move forward confidently and achieve our goals. With motivation and the ability to work in tandem, nothing can stand in our way — even when it comes to drinking less.

How to Be Realistic When Changing Your Drinking Habits

Asking too much of ourselves too soon is a surefire recipe for overwhelm. In the context of alcohol reduction, for example, we might set an ambitious goal of cutting back to two drinks per week, even though we’re currently a two-glasses-of-wine-before-bed person. Though this ambitious goal sounds good in theory, we have to give ourselves time to gradually cut back.

Instead of trying to change too quickly, we can find a small and sustainable habit to replace our current drinking behaviors. Perhaps we might try swapping out a glass of wine for a mocktail once a week. Once our bodies have adapted to this adjustment, then we can make the swap another day, and so on, until we’ve reached our goal of drinking twice per week.

Over time, our brains will get used to having the mocktail every evening. In fact, by practicing habit change within the same context — like changing our drink before bed — we’re more likely to make it stick.

6 Tips for Changing Your Drinking Habits

We understand why changing our drinking habits is important, and how we can go about doing so in a realistic manner. Now, let's dive into six tips you can implement today to change your drinking habits.

Tip #1: Limit time in bars.

Spending too much time in bars is not great for cutting back, especially if we’re still new to this lifestyle.

For many, bars can be a trigger for excessive drinking — there’s the social pressure, the desire to “loosen up,” and the loud music that can push us to make risky drinking decisions. (Science has actually made a link between party music and alcohol misuse.)

Though we don’t have to avoid bars completely, it’s important to limit our time in them.

If a friend invites us to a happy hour, we can suggest an alternative activity, like grabbing coffee or taking a hike. In the instances where we do go to events at bars, we can plan to leave early.

Tip #2: Skip drinking alone.

When we become accustomed to drinking alone, it’s easier and more tempting to rely on alcohol to help us cope with difficult situations. A lot of this is because when we drink alone, there’s no one to hold us accountable to our limits.

However, this can make us drink more than we’re comfortable with, and later lead to feelings of shame and guilt.

If drinking alone is an issue for us, we can first identify the reasons we drink alone. Are we feeling lonely, stressed, or anxious? Finding healthier ways to cope with these emotions can reduce the urge to drink alone.

We can also seek out social activities and hobbies that we enjoy. Joining a club, group, or class that interests us can give us a sense of purpose and help us connect with people who share our goals and values.

Furthermore, if drinking alone is an issue for us, we can make a plan. This can look like deciding ahead of time what we will do instead of drinking alone when the urge strikes. This could be going for a walk, calling a friend, or engaging in another activity that we enjoy. Over time, our brain will pick up on loneliness cues, and push us to engage in behaviors that will help us combat it.

Tips for changing drinking habits - 6 effective ways to cut down on alcohol consumption
Tip #3: Find comfort elsewhere.

It may be tempting to drink for solace when feeling down or upset. Still, it is important to remember that alcohol is actually a depressant — it slows our brains and bodies down — and can exacerbate negative emotions. Instead of turning to alcohol for comfort or relief, we should focus on finding other ways to cope with complicated feelings, such as turning to a relaxing activity or talking to friends and family.

Not only will this help us avoid the potentially dangerous consequences of excessive drinking, but it will also allow us to enjoy the positive effects of drinking in moderation and celebrate life's moments with greater presence.

Tip #4: Disrupt existing drinking routines.

Let’s face it. Our bodies crave regularity, and routines around drinking are no exception.

We may have our favorite drinking routines:

  • A pre-dinner cocktail
  • A few beers with the game on the weekend
  • A glass of wine after a long day at work

It can be easy to drink on autopilot when we find ourselves in certain situations. Our bodies associate a certain event (i.e., dinner time) with a drink, and thus, we end up mixing ourselves a margarita without putting much thought into why we’re doing so.

One simple tactic to reduce our alcohol consumption is setting goals for how much we will drink throughout the week. Whether this means pre-planning our drinks, scheduling days off from drinking altogether, or limiting ourselves to just two glasses of wine per night, finding specific, achievable numbers can make all the difference.

Tip #5: Track your progress.

Many people are unaware of just how many alcoholic drinks they consume on a daily or weekly basis. Whether it's an occasional glass of wine with dinner or our regular night out at the bar with friends, it can be challenging to keep track of the total number and size of our drinks.

Another vital step is to keep track of how much we’re actually drinking with the Reframe app and be conscious of it every time we reach for another glass.

Having our limits written down can also play a big role in accountability, as we’ll be more likely to stick to goals when they’re physically listed out.

Along with setting drinking limits, it's also essential to find alternate ways to deal with stress and pressure as they come up throughout the week. Stress is part of being human, and though we can’t always control what’s happening around us, we can dial into self-care when we need it.

There are a lot of ways to handle stress without turning to alcohol! Consider meditation, yoga, exercise, reading... whatever works best! Making these a part of our routine, rather than heading straight for the bottle, will make a world of difference in managing those high-pressure moments without upping our overall intake.

Tip #6: Opt for lower-proof options.

Alcohol is a standard part of many social events, and we may find ourselves consuming drinks without knowing how much alcohol is in them. With high-proof alcohol such as gin, vodka, or whiskey often the drink of choice, many drinkers are at risk of serious health problems due to heavy consumption. And with binge drinking on the rise, it’s easy to overconsume high-proof beverages, especially when peer pressure is involved.

Thankfully, there are many ways to enjoy mixed drinks without these high levels of alcohol. For example, we could use seltzer water as a mixer instead of other types of alcohol. Additionally, by spacing out our drinks with non-alcoholic beverages and avoiding drinking to quench our thirst, we can reduce our overall alcohol intake and stay healthy and safe.

Finally, we can choose to drink mocktails after we’ve reached our alcoholic beverage limits. It can often feel awkward to be the only one at a social event without a drink in our hands, so mocktails can allow us to partake while sticking to our alcohol reduction goals.

Key Takeaways

Drinking less alcohol can bring many positive changes to our lives — improvements in our physical health, our mood, our relationships, and so much more. We can use the six steps we discussed today to begin swapping unhealthy drinking habits for healthier ones.

And above all, remember that your alcohol reduction journey doesn’t have to be confusing.

Reframe has an alcohol tracking system that comes in handy. Using this, you can stay on top of your intake and make more informed decisions about how much you drink. Download Reframe and try out our 1-week free trial today. We'll see you soon!

Taking the stairs, stretching after long periods of sitting, drinking plenty of water — these are all small yet powerful habits we can turn to for better health. While we aren’t likely to see drastic improvements in our well-being overnight with new habits, actions like these compound over time and lead to profound changes.

So, how does alcohol tie in with all of this? Can we apply the same idea when changing our drinking habits?

You bet!

When we take incremental steps to cut back on alcohol, and when we stick to our drinking goals over time, we can improve our well-being in many ways. Let’s chat about how we can implement realistic drinking habits, and then discuss potential changes we can make to drink less alcohol.

The Importance of Changing Your Drinking Habits

Here at Reframe, we’re all about science, not stigma. We want to give you the knowledge to change your life for the better, and this starts with understanding how alcohol impacts every area of your life.

We’re well aware of alcohol’s damaging long-term impact — from an increased risk of health issues like liver disease to mental health challenges like depression and anxiety to relationship conflicts.

Cutting back on our drinking reduces our chances of adverse outcomes like these, and gives us the clarity we need to replace negative habits with better ones.

Whether we’re talking about our health, work, or personal relationships, a steady stream of positive behaviors can help promote long-term growth and development. And when we’re implementing new habits and behaviors, the best way to make lasting changes is to start small, have a plan, and above all, be patient with ourselves.

Okay, this sounds great… but how do we find the motivation to change? Especially if we’re still struggling with our alcohol intake?

These are important questions to consider, because we need both the motivation and the ability to create these habits, as these two components work together to form the foundation of positive change.

Motivation gives us the drive to take action, while ability allows us to follow through on our goals and put them into practice. It is essential to understand what motivates us and what challenges we might face along the way. For instance, what motivates you to change? Is it a desire to reduce your disease risk? To feel happier? To be more present with your loved ones? Start considering your biggest reasons to change, as these can be helpful in sustaining your motivation.

The next step to changing our drinking habits is identifying any obstacles that could prevent our success. Do we have major triggers? Do we have a hard time sticking to our limits in social settings? By gaining this knowledge, we can devise strategies for overcoming any barriers that may arise, so we can move forward confidently and achieve our goals. With motivation and the ability to work in tandem, nothing can stand in our way — even when it comes to drinking less.

How to Be Realistic When Changing Your Drinking Habits

Asking too much of ourselves too soon is a surefire recipe for overwhelm. In the context of alcohol reduction, for example, we might set an ambitious goal of cutting back to two drinks per week, even though we’re currently a two-glasses-of-wine-before-bed person. Though this ambitious goal sounds good in theory, we have to give ourselves time to gradually cut back.

Instead of trying to change too quickly, we can find a small and sustainable habit to replace our current drinking behaviors. Perhaps we might try swapping out a glass of wine for a mocktail once a week. Once our bodies have adapted to this adjustment, then we can make the swap another day, and so on, until we’ve reached our goal of drinking twice per week.

Over time, our brains will get used to having the mocktail every evening. In fact, by practicing habit change within the same context — like changing our drink before bed — we’re more likely to make it stick.

6 Tips for Changing Your Drinking Habits

We understand why changing our drinking habits is important, and how we can go about doing so in a realistic manner. Now, let's dive into six tips you can implement today to change your drinking habits.

Tip #1: Limit time in bars.

Spending too much time in bars is not great for cutting back, especially if we’re still new to this lifestyle.

For many, bars can be a trigger for excessive drinking — there’s the social pressure, the desire to “loosen up,” and the loud music that can push us to make risky drinking decisions. (Science has actually made a link between party music and alcohol misuse.)

Though we don’t have to avoid bars completely, it’s important to limit our time in them.

If a friend invites us to a happy hour, we can suggest an alternative activity, like grabbing coffee or taking a hike. In the instances where we do go to events at bars, we can plan to leave early.

Tip #2: Skip drinking alone.

When we become accustomed to drinking alone, it’s easier and more tempting to rely on alcohol to help us cope with difficult situations. A lot of this is because when we drink alone, there’s no one to hold us accountable to our limits.

However, this can make us drink more than we’re comfortable with, and later lead to feelings of shame and guilt.

If drinking alone is an issue for us, we can first identify the reasons we drink alone. Are we feeling lonely, stressed, or anxious? Finding healthier ways to cope with these emotions can reduce the urge to drink alone.

We can also seek out social activities and hobbies that we enjoy. Joining a club, group, or class that interests us can give us a sense of purpose and help us connect with people who share our goals and values.

Furthermore, if drinking alone is an issue for us, we can make a plan. This can look like deciding ahead of time what we will do instead of drinking alone when the urge strikes. This could be going for a walk, calling a friend, or engaging in another activity that we enjoy. Over time, our brain will pick up on loneliness cues, and push us to engage in behaviors that will help us combat it.

Tips for changing drinking habits - 6 effective ways to cut down on alcohol consumption
Tip #3: Find comfort elsewhere.

It may be tempting to drink for solace when feeling down or upset. Still, it is important to remember that alcohol is actually a depressant — it slows our brains and bodies down — and can exacerbate negative emotions. Instead of turning to alcohol for comfort or relief, we should focus on finding other ways to cope with complicated feelings, such as turning to a relaxing activity or talking to friends and family.

Not only will this help us avoid the potentially dangerous consequences of excessive drinking, but it will also allow us to enjoy the positive effects of drinking in moderation and celebrate life's moments with greater presence.

Tip #4: Disrupt existing drinking routines.

Let’s face it. Our bodies crave regularity, and routines around drinking are no exception.

We may have our favorite drinking routines:

  • A pre-dinner cocktail
  • A few beers with the game on the weekend
  • A glass of wine after a long day at work

It can be easy to drink on autopilot when we find ourselves in certain situations. Our bodies associate a certain event (i.e., dinner time) with a drink, and thus, we end up mixing ourselves a margarita without putting much thought into why we’re doing so.

One simple tactic to reduce our alcohol consumption is setting goals for how much we will drink throughout the week. Whether this means pre-planning our drinks, scheduling days off from drinking altogether, or limiting ourselves to just two glasses of wine per night, finding specific, achievable numbers can make all the difference.

Tip #5: Track your progress.

Many people are unaware of just how many alcoholic drinks they consume on a daily or weekly basis. Whether it's an occasional glass of wine with dinner or our regular night out at the bar with friends, it can be challenging to keep track of the total number and size of our drinks.

Another vital step is to keep track of how much we’re actually drinking with the Reframe app and be conscious of it every time we reach for another glass.

Having our limits written down can also play a big role in accountability, as we’ll be more likely to stick to goals when they’re physically listed out.

Along with setting drinking limits, it's also essential to find alternate ways to deal with stress and pressure as they come up throughout the week. Stress is part of being human, and though we can’t always control what’s happening around us, we can dial into self-care when we need it.

There are a lot of ways to handle stress without turning to alcohol! Consider meditation, yoga, exercise, reading... whatever works best! Making these a part of our routine, rather than heading straight for the bottle, will make a world of difference in managing those high-pressure moments without upping our overall intake.

Tip #6: Opt for lower-proof options.

Alcohol is a standard part of many social events, and we may find ourselves consuming drinks without knowing how much alcohol is in them. With high-proof alcohol such as gin, vodka, or whiskey often the drink of choice, many drinkers are at risk of serious health problems due to heavy consumption. And with binge drinking on the rise, it’s easy to overconsume high-proof beverages, especially when peer pressure is involved.

Thankfully, there are many ways to enjoy mixed drinks without these high levels of alcohol. For example, we could use seltzer water as a mixer instead of other types of alcohol. Additionally, by spacing out our drinks with non-alcoholic beverages and avoiding drinking to quench our thirst, we can reduce our overall alcohol intake and stay healthy and safe.

Finally, we can choose to drink mocktails after we’ve reached our alcoholic beverage limits. It can often feel awkward to be the only one at a social event without a drink in our hands, so mocktails can allow us to partake while sticking to our alcohol reduction goals.

Key Takeaways

Drinking less alcohol can bring many positive changes to our lives — improvements in our physical health, our mood, our relationships, and so much more. We can use the six steps we discussed today to begin swapping unhealthy drinking habits for healthier ones.

And above all, remember that your alcohol reduction journey doesn’t have to be confusing.

Reframe has an alcohol tracking system that comes in handy. Using this, you can stay on top of your intake and make more informed decisions about how much you drink. Download Reframe and try out our 1-week free trial today. We'll see you soon!

Drinking Habits
Drinking Less
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2022-09-05 9:00
Drinking Habits
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Motivational Tips for Changing Your Relationship With Alcohol
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Ready to reframe your relationship with alcohol? Our latest blog is packed with creative and unique action steps designed to boost your motivation and enrich your life. Get ready to unleash your best self, from fitness to social connections and beyond!

27 min read

Join Reframe To Find Daily Motivation for Your Journey!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

Read Full Article  →

When we think about making a change in our lives, whether it's modifying our relationship with alcohol or picking up a new hobby, the driving force often boils down to one word: motivation. But what is it about motivation that makes us lace up our shoes for a morning jog or reach for a sparkling water instead of a glass of wine?

When it comes to changing our relationship with alcohol, finding the motivation to change is all about learning to see it differently. We often give booze way more credit than it deserves, and the more we question its supposed benefits as a social lubricant or a way to relax, the more we find that there are many healthier — and more effective! — options out there. Let’s boost our motivation to experiment with reducing the role of alcohol in our lives and building a life that reflects our true desires and potential.

The Science of Motivation

The brain drives all of our actions as it constantly evaluates rewards and consequences. When we decide to do something, it’s often a result of our brain calculating potential outcomes and benefits.

  • Dopamine, the reward molecule. This neurotransmitter plays a pivotal role in our motivation. When we anticipate a rewarding experience, dopamine is released, pushing us towards action. It's our brain's way of saying, "This feels good; let's keep going!"
  • The prefrontal cortex and goal setting. Just behind our forehead, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for decision-making and setting goals. It lets us envision a future reward and plan steps to achieve it.

External vs. Internal Motivation

There are two primary sources of motivation:

  • External motivation. This is driven by external rewards or threats. Think of getting a bonus for performing well or facing a deadline that sparks a flurry of activity.
  • Internal motivation. This springs from within, often linked to personal satisfaction or passion. For example, pursuing a hobby because it makes you happy, not because someone's rewarding you for it.

For lasting change — especially in personal journeys such as altering alcohol consumption — a mix of both kinds of motivation can be beneficial. External motivations (like a health scare or societal pressure) might kickstart the journey. We know that excessive alcohol can damage the liver, heart, and pancreas. It can also weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to diseases. And while alcohol might seem like a social lubricant, dependence can strain relationships and hinder personal growth — an effect that might have become painfully clear to us. All of these external motivations can help us get started.

However, for sustained change, internal motivation (like feeling healthier, clearer, or more in tune with ourselves) often takes the lead.

Harnessing Motivation To Change

Wondering where to draw motivation from? It’s a blend of understanding the benefits of change and believing in one's ability to achieve it. Here’s what science says about getting motivated:

  • Immediate benefits. Cutting back on alcohol can lead to better sleep, more energy, clearer skin, and improved cognitive function in as little as just a few days or weeks.
  • Long-term rewards. Over time, we decrease our risk of certain cancers, liver diseases, and increase our mental well-being.
  • Personal growth. Without alcohol as a crutch, many of us find we can address underlying emotions and experiences head-on, leading to personal development and stronger relationships.
  • Awaken our true energy. Alcohol can sap our energy and disrupt the sleep cycle. Imagine the zest and vigor you'll have when you greet each day feeling truly refreshed!
  • The wallet wins. Every time we choose not to buy a drink, we are saving up for authentically rewarding experiences — and those savings can add up quickly!

Motivational Tips for Your Journey

If you're ready to change your relationship with alcohol, here's a list of science-backed steps to guide you:

1. Set Clear Goals and Chart Your Changes 

Whether it’s cutting back or quitting altogether, define what success looks like for you. Setting goals isn’t just about writing a wish on paper — it's about giving direction to your actions and decisions. 

According to Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than those who don't. The reason? Research shows that the act of writing triggers the brain's reticular activating system (RAS), attuning you to achieving your goal.

Goal Setting Steps
  1. Specificity is key. Instead of vaguely thinking, "I want to drink less," specify it. For instance, "I will only have two glasses of wine per week." This gives your intention weight and clarity.
  2. Break it down. Big goals can be daunting. If your ultimate goal is to be alcohol-free, break it into phases. Maybe you aim for alcohol-free weekdays first. Then, slowly expand that until you're alcohol-free for a whole month.
  3. Visualize the rewards. Take a moment to think about the positive changes and benefits you'll experience. Visualization is a science-backed way to amplify dopamine release and propel you forward.
Charting Tips

Once you’re on your way, start a journal documenting the positive changes you notice. This isn't merely for memories — it's about reinforcing the positive effects of your decision. From skin improvements to better digestion or sharper focus, seeing these benefits in writing can be a massive motivator! Here are some fun ways to chart your journey:

  1. Photo diary. Take a selfie every week. Over time, observe the changes — brighter eyes, clearer skin, and perhaps even a more genuine smile.
  2. Mood mapping. Dedicate a few minutes each evening to jot down your mood, noting any triggers or high points from the day. Over time, you'll likely see patterns, like improved moods and better stress management.
  3. Progress journal. This isn't just about logging alcohol-free days. Document sleep quality, energy levels, and even cognitive clarity. You'll be amazed to see how these elements improve over time.
  4. Achievement alerts. Set up alerts on your phone to celebrate milestones. Whether it's a week, a month, 90 days, or a year alcohol-free, every milestone deserves recognition.
  5. Visual aids. Create a colorful calendar dedicated to your alcohol journey. Mark alcohol-free days with a special sticker or symbol. Watching the pattern grow can be surprisingly motivating.
  6. Digital buddies. In today's tech-savvy age, apps can help monitor and reduce alcohol intake. Consider tools like Reframe to keep you on track!

Setting clear goals and tracking changes help structure your alcohol-free journey — and they enrich it. By witnessing firsthand your improvements and celebrating your little victories, you'll be more motivated and committed to this transformative path. 

2. Discover New Tastes 

Have you ever wondered why, after a period of drinking the same beverage, it starts to taste bland or not as exciting? That's our taste buds and brain in action! Alcohol, especially when consumed regularly, can dull our taste buds’ sensitivity. Additionally, the brain's reward system becomes accustomed to the pleasurable sensations alcohol provides, driving it to seek novelty — the same old thing inevitably gets boring.

When we decide to cut back or quit alcohol, we’re not just removing something from our life — instead, we’re adding a plethora of flavors, textures, and experiences we might have previously overlooked. Embracing the myriad of available beverages fills the void left by alcohol and enhances your sensory experiences, making every sip a delight.

Embarking on a Flavor Adventure

As you step back from alcohol, the world of flavors unfolds in front of you. Here are some tips for exploring the world of non-alcoholic beverages — you might just find your new favorite drink!

  1. Worldly beverages. Begin a world tour through beverages. Try Turkish tea, Japanese matcha, or African rooibos. These drinks come with rich histories, traditions, and unique preparation methods that make the experience about more than just sipping.
  2. Mocktail magic. Dive into the world of mocktails, non-alcoholic versions of popular cocktails that can be just as complex and refreshing. Plus, crafting them can become a fun, culinary hobby.
  3. DIY flavored water. Infuse your water with fresh fruits, herbs, and spices. Try combinations like cucumber-mint, strawberry-basil, or orange-rosemary. It's a hydrating and delightful way to treat your taste buds.
  4. Brew it up. Explore different brewing methods for coffee and teas. From the French press, cold brew, to the AeroPress for coffee, or the Chinese Gongfu style for tea, each method brings out unique flavors from the same bean or leaf.
  5. Taste-testing party. Host a tasting evening with friends where everyone brings a non-alcoholic drink from a different culture. It’s a fun way to discover new favorites and learn about the world.
3. Reignite Passion Projects

Alcohol can eat up free time (and that’s an understatement!). While it might feel like it sparks inspiration, scientific research indicates that consistent alcohol consumption hinders our cognitive processes, including creativity. Regular alcohol use tends to reduce our brain's ability to think divergently, which is crucial for imaginative activities and problem-solving.

By reducing or eliminating alcohol, we can harness a clearer mind, allowing latent or forgotten passions to resurface with renewed vigor. From book clubs to hiking groups or pottery classes, immersing ourselves in environments that foster genuine connections without the need for a drink can be a powerful motivator.

Steps To Awaken Your Inner Enthusiast

Rekindle old hobbies or start new ones with the time and energy you once dedicated to drinking:

  1. Rediscovery dive. Spend an afternoon going through old boxes, journals, or photo albums. Follow the trail of past hobbies or projects you were passionate about but left behind.
  2. Skill share. Join local workshops or online platforms like "Skillshare" to learn a new craft or skill. Whether it's pottery, digital art, or creative writing, there's a world waiting to be explored.
  3. Create a “project corner.” Dedicate a space in your home for your passion projects. This physical space acts as both motivation and a reminder to spend time doing what you love.
  4. Collaborate. Connect with like-minded individuals — join a community choir, a local theater group, or a knitting club. Working with others can reignite the flames of passion.
  5. Document the journey. Start a blog or Instagram page dedicated to your hobby. Documenting and sharing your progress not only keeps you accountable but also connects you with a community that appreciates your craft.
  6. Set mini milestones. If you’re painting, set a goal to complete a piece every month; if writing, aim for a chapter every week. Celebrate these milestones to maintain momentum.
  7. Rotate and reflect. Every few months, take a moment to reflect. If a hobby feels stale, it's okay to rotate it out for another. The goal is joy and fulfillment, not pressure.

Passion projects aren't just hobbies — they're an extension of ourselves. Alcohol, while once thought to be a muse, can often mute our creative spirit. By reigniting these projects, we don't just fill the void left by alcohol, but we also enrich our lives, adding layers of meaning, purpose, and joy.

Tips for modifying alcohol relationship
4. Travel Triumphantly

Travel is often associated with new experiences, including culinary and beverage exploration. But here's an interesting fact: regular alcohol consumption can limit our brain's ability to form new memories — a phenomenon called "neurogenesis suppression." When we abstain or reduce alcohol while traveling, we not only have clearer memories of our adventures, but we also tend to engage more deeply with our surroundings.

Moreover, alcohol can disturb our sleep patterns. Jet lag, a common travel companion, is exacerbated by alcohol, making it harder for the body to adjust to new time zones.

Exploring the World With Clarity

Traveling triumphantly isn't about ticking off every landmark in your tour guide; it’s about immersing yourself deeply into new environments, forming vivid memories, and truly experiencing a place with all of your senses:

  1. Memory map. Carry a travel journal with you. Jot down your daily experiences, emotions, and observations to enhance your memories and create a precious keepsake.
  2. Local beverage exploration. Opt for non-alcoholic local beverages. Try a Moroccan mint tea, a Thai iced tea, or an Italian espresso! Dive into the authentic flavors of a region without the haze of alcohol.
  3. Active adventures. Instead of the usual touristy spots, find activities that get your body moving. Hike that mountain trail, rent a bicycle, or join a local dance class. These memorable experiences often don't revolve around alcohol!
  4. Cultural connect. Attend local workshops, craft sessions, or cooking classes. When your travel revolves around learning and connecting, alcohol naturally takes a backseat.
  5. Dawn patrol. Wake up early to catch the sunrise. Not only is this a magical experience, but early mornings also give you a few moments of beauty before the day's chaos begins.
  6. Photo challenge. Set a theme for each day of your trip, such as "shadows," "color," or "motion." Click pictures based on the theme, making you more observant and immersed in your surroundings.

When you return from a booze-free adventure, you carry back stories and experiences, not just souvenirs. So tie those laces and set out on a journey where every moment is treasured, every experience is lucid, and every memory is crystal clear. You don’t even have to go far — be a home-town tourist if you don’t have the time or funds to go away. Safe travels! 

5. Flourish With Fitness

Alcohol adds empty calories, depletes the body of essential nutrients, and can put a damper on our fitness goals by affecting protein synthesis and reducing endurance levels. As you reduce your intake, channel that energy into a fitness goal, like a 5k run, a new yoga pose, or hitting a personal best in the gym.

Breaking free or cutting back on alcohol propels your fitness journey, ensuring that every squat, sprint, or stretch delivers optimal results.

Steps To Energize Your Fitness Journey

Embracing fitness in the absence of alcohol gives your body better tools and materials to sculpt a masterpiece. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  1. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals can transform your fitness regime. For instance, instead of "I want to get fit," try "I want to run 5 kilometers in under 30 minutes by December."
  2. Make it fun. Who said fitness can't be fun? Join a dance class, try rock climbing, or even trampoline workouts. The aim is to enjoy the process.
  3. Group dynamics. Group workouts or joining fitness communities can be highly motivating. The camaraderie and collective energy often push you further than solo sessions.
  4. Track progress. Use fitness apps or a good old diary to track your workouts, improvements, and how you feel after each session. Over time, this record will serve as a massive motivational tool.
  5. Celebrate milestones. Reached your goal of 50 push-ups? Or jogged without a break for 20 minutes? Celebrate these milestones! Find a new workout outfit, gadget, or a massage.
  6. Stay informed. Dedicate some time each week to read or watch something related to fitness. Knowledge keeps the motivation flame burning!
6. Stay Connected

It's a widely held belief that alcohol acts as a social lubricant, breaking the ice at gatherings. While it might momentarily ease social anxiety, chronic alcohol consumption can have a counterproductive effect on our interpersonal relationships. Scientifically speaking, alcohol can numb our emotional processing, creating barriers in understanding and empathizing with others. Over time, social interactions might become superficial or strained due to impaired judgment or actions under the influence.

However, being connected isn't just about being present at social events or being the life of the party. It's about the quality of interactions, the depth of conversations, and the warmth of emotions exchanged — all of which are much easier without booze.

Ways To Cultivate Authentic Connections

Here are some ways to build connections that last and enrich your life:

  1. Mindful meet-ups. Organize get-togethers where the focus is on conversation or an activity rather than on drinking. This could be a game night, a book club discussion, or even a cooking evening.
  2. Digital detox. Dedicate a day or a few hours every week to disconnect from electronic devices. Use this time to engage in face-to-face conversations, ensuring quality time with loved ones.
  3. Skill swap. Pair up with a friend and teach each other a skill or hobby. This could be painting, a musical instrument, or even a new sport. Learning together strengthens bonds!
  4. Reach out regularly. Make it a point to call or message someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Reignite old friendships and keep in touch once you do.
  5. Join community groups. Engage with your local community by joining interesting clubs or organizations to make new connections while grounding yourself within a supportive community.
  6. Active listening. When in conversation, practice active listening — fully concentrating, understanding, and responding to the other person. It’s a simple yet powerful way to deepen connections.
7. Educate Yourself

Our brain, remarkable and ever-evolving, thrives on learning. Neuroplasticity — the brain's ability to reorganize itself — is at its peak when we engage in new learning experiences. On the contrary, chronic alcohol consumption has been linked to diminished cognitive functions and can impede our brain's capability to form new neural pathways.

When we step back from alcohol, our brain flourishes, grows, and grasps new knowledge efficiently. Every nugget of information, every new skill, every fresh perspective adds an enriching, enlightening, fun layer to our personality.

How To Empower Yourself Through Learning

Here are some ways to get started:

  1. Book-a-week challenge. Set a goal to read a new book every week or month, depending on your pace. Dive into genres or topics you've never explored to broaden your horizons.
  2. Online courses. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Khan Academy offer a plethora of courses. From learning a new language to understanding the intricacies of quantum physics, there's a world to discover.
  3. Podcast power. Incorporate educational podcasts into your routine. Listen during commutes, workouts, or even chores. It’s a seamless way to gain knowledge while multitasking.
  4. DIY projects. Engage in hands-on learning. Build a garden bed, knit a sweater, or even try your hand at pottery. The satisfaction of creating something boosts the learning curve.
  5. Trivia nights. Organize or attend trivia nights. It's a fun way to test your knowledge and learn from others.
  6. Document the learning journey. Create a learning diary or blog. Share your experiences, the challenges you face, and your successes. It not only serves as motivation but also helps in revising and reflecting.

Building a New Life

Motivation drives our actions. By understanding the science behind it and being mindful of what motivates us, we can harness its power to make meaningful, lasting changes in our lives. 

Revamping your relationship with alcohol is a journey that takes effort, dedication, and a touch of creativity. But, with science as your guide and the right tools in hand, you can shape a healthier, brighter, and more fulfilling life for yourself. Here's to a vibrant new chapter!

When we think about making a change in our lives, whether it's modifying our relationship with alcohol or picking up a new hobby, the driving force often boils down to one word: motivation. But what is it about motivation that makes us lace up our shoes for a morning jog or reach for a sparkling water instead of a glass of wine?

When it comes to changing our relationship with alcohol, finding the motivation to change is all about learning to see it differently. We often give booze way more credit than it deserves, and the more we question its supposed benefits as a social lubricant or a way to relax, the more we find that there are many healthier — and more effective! — options out there. Let’s boost our motivation to experiment with reducing the role of alcohol in our lives and building a life that reflects our true desires and potential.

The Science of Motivation

The brain drives all of our actions as it constantly evaluates rewards and consequences. When we decide to do something, it’s often a result of our brain calculating potential outcomes and benefits.

  • Dopamine, the reward molecule. This neurotransmitter plays a pivotal role in our motivation. When we anticipate a rewarding experience, dopamine is released, pushing us towards action. It's our brain's way of saying, "This feels good; let's keep going!"
  • The prefrontal cortex and goal setting. Just behind our forehead, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for decision-making and setting goals. It lets us envision a future reward and plan steps to achieve it.

External vs. Internal Motivation

There are two primary sources of motivation:

  • External motivation. This is driven by external rewards or threats. Think of getting a bonus for performing well or facing a deadline that sparks a flurry of activity.
  • Internal motivation. This springs from within, often linked to personal satisfaction or passion. For example, pursuing a hobby because it makes you happy, not because someone's rewarding you for it.

For lasting change — especially in personal journeys such as altering alcohol consumption — a mix of both kinds of motivation can be beneficial. External motivations (like a health scare or societal pressure) might kickstart the journey. We know that excessive alcohol can damage the liver, heart, and pancreas. It can also weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to diseases. And while alcohol might seem like a social lubricant, dependence can strain relationships and hinder personal growth — an effect that might have become painfully clear to us. All of these external motivations can help us get started.

However, for sustained change, internal motivation (like feeling healthier, clearer, or more in tune with ourselves) often takes the lead.

Harnessing Motivation To Change

Wondering where to draw motivation from? It’s a blend of understanding the benefits of change and believing in one's ability to achieve it. Here’s what science says about getting motivated:

  • Immediate benefits. Cutting back on alcohol can lead to better sleep, more energy, clearer skin, and improved cognitive function in as little as just a few days or weeks.
  • Long-term rewards. Over time, we decrease our risk of certain cancers, liver diseases, and increase our mental well-being.
  • Personal growth. Without alcohol as a crutch, many of us find we can address underlying emotions and experiences head-on, leading to personal development and stronger relationships.
  • Awaken our true energy. Alcohol can sap our energy and disrupt the sleep cycle. Imagine the zest and vigor you'll have when you greet each day feeling truly refreshed!
  • The wallet wins. Every time we choose not to buy a drink, we are saving up for authentically rewarding experiences — and those savings can add up quickly!

Motivational Tips for Your Journey

If you're ready to change your relationship with alcohol, here's a list of science-backed steps to guide you:

1. Set Clear Goals and Chart Your Changes 

Whether it’s cutting back or quitting altogether, define what success looks like for you. Setting goals isn’t just about writing a wish on paper — it's about giving direction to your actions and decisions. 

According to Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than those who don't. The reason? Research shows that the act of writing triggers the brain's reticular activating system (RAS), attuning you to achieving your goal.

Goal Setting Steps
  1. Specificity is key. Instead of vaguely thinking, "I want to drink less," specify it. For instance, "I will only have two glasses of wine per week." This gives your intention weight and clarity.
  2. Break it down. Big goals can be daunting. If your ultimate goal is to be alcohol-free, break it into phases. Maybe you aim for alcohol-free weekdays first. Then, slowly expand that until you're alcohol-free for a whole month.
  3. Visualize the rewards. Take a moment to think about the positive changes and benefits you'll experience. Visualization is a science-backed way to amplify dopamine release and propel you forward.
Charting Tips

Once you’re on your way, start a journal documenting the positive changes you notice. This isn't merely for memories — it's about reinforcing the positive effects of your decision. From skin improvements to better digestion or sharper focus, seeing these benefits in writing can be a massive motivator! Here are some fun ways to chart your journey:

  1. Photo diary. Take a selfie every week. Over time, observe the changes — brighter eyes, clearer skin, and perhaps even a more genuine smile.
  2. Mood mapping. Dedicate a few minutes each evening to jot down your mood, noting any triggers or high points from the day. Over time, you'll likely see patterns, like improved moods and better stress management.
  3. Progress journal. This isn't just about logging alcohol-free days. Document sleep quality, energy levels, and even cognitive clarity. You'll be amazed to see how these elements improve over time.
  4. Achievement alerts. Set up alerts on your phone to celebrate milestones. Whether it's a week, a month, 90 days, or a year alcohol-free, every milestone deserves recognition.
  5. Visual aids. Create a colorful calendar dedicated to your alcohol journey. Mark alcohol-free days with a special sticker or symbol. Watching the pattern grow can be surprisingly motivating.
  6. Digital buddies. In today's tech-savvy age, apps can help monitor and reduce alcohol intake. Consider tools like Reframe to keep you on track!

Setting clear goals and tracking changes help structure your alcohol-free journey — and they enrich it. By witnessing firsthand your improvements and celebrating your little victories, you'll be more motivated and committed to this transformative path. 

2. Discover New Tastes 

Have you ever wondered why, after a period of drinking the same beverage, it starts to taste bland or not as exciting? That's our taste buds and brain in action! Alcohol, especially when consumed regularly, can dull our taste buds’ sensitivity. Additionally, the brain's reward system becomes accustomed to the pleasurable sensations alcohol provides, driving it to seek novelty — the same old thing inevitably gets boring.

When we decide to cut back or quit alcohol, we’re not just removing something from our life — instead, we’re adding a plethora of flavors, textures, and experiences we might have previously overlooked. Embracing the myriad of available beverages fills the void left by alcohol and enhances your sensory experiences, making every sip a delight.

Embarking on a Flavor Adventure

As you step back from alcohol, the world of flavors unfolds in front of you. Here are some tips for exploring the world of non-alcoholic beverages — you might just find your new favorite drink!

  1. Worldly beverages. Begin a world tour through beverages. Try Turkish tea, Japanese matcha, or African rooibos. These drinks come with rich histories, traditions, and unique preparation methods that make the experience about more than just sipping.
  2. Mocktail magic. Dive into the world of mocktails, non-alcoholic versions of popular cocktails that can be just as complex and refreshing. Plus, crafting them can become a fun, culinary hobby.
  3. DIY flavored water. Infuse your water with fresh fruits, herbs, and spices. Try combinations like cucumber-mint, strawberry-basil, or orange-rosemary. It's a hydrating and delightful way to treat your taste buds.
  4. Brew it up. Explore different brewing methods for coffee and teas. From the French press, cold brew, to the AeroPress for coffee, or the Chinese Gongfu style for tea, each method brings out unique flavors from the same bean or leaf.
  5. Taste-testing party. Host a tasting evening with friends where everyone brings a non-alcoholic drink from a different culture. It’s a fun way to discover new favorites and learn about the world.
3. Reignite Passion Projects

Alcohol can eat up free time (and that’s an understatement!). While it might feel like it sparks inspiration, scientific research indicates that consistent alcohol consumption hinders our cognitive processes, including creativity. Regular alcohol use tends to reduce our brain's ability to think divergently, which is crucial for imaginative activities and problem-solving.

By reducing or eliminating alcohol, we can harness a clearer mind, allowing latent or forgotten passions to resurface with renewed vigor. From book clubs to hiking groups or pottery classes, immersing ourselves in environments that foster genuine connections without the need for a drink can be a powerful motivator.

Steps To Awaken Your Inner Enthusiast

Rekindle old hobbies or start new ones with the time and energy you once dedicated to drinking:

  1. Rediscovery dive. Spend an afternoon going through old boxes, journals, or photo albums. Follow the trail of past hobbies or projects you were passionate about but left behind.
  2. Skill share. Join local workshops or online platforms like "Skillshare" to learn a new craft or skill. Whether it's pottery, digital art, or creative writing, there's a world waiting to be explored.
  3. Create a “project corner.” Dedicate a space in your home for your passion projects. This physical space acts as both motivation and a reminder to spend time doing what you love.
  4. Collaborate. Connect with like-minded individuals — join a community choir, a local theater group, or a knitting club. Working with others can reignite the flames of passion.
  5. Document the journey. Start a blog or Instagram page dedicated to your hobby. Documenting and sharing your progress not only keeps you accountable but also connects you with a community that appreciates your craft.
  6. Set mini milestones. If you’re painting, set a goal to complete a piece every month; if writing, aim for a chapter every week. Celebrate these milestones to maintain momentum.
  7. Rotate and reflect. Every few months, take a moment to reflect. If a hobby feels stale, it's okay to rotate it out for another. The goal is joy and fulfillment, not pressure.

Passion projects aren't just hobbies — they're an extension of ourselves. Alcohol, while once thought to be a muse, can often mute our creative spirit. By reigniting these projects, we don't just fill the void left by alcohol, but we also enrich our lives, adding layers of meaning, purpose, and joy.

Tips for modifying alcohol relationship
4. Travel Triumphantly

Travel is often associated with new experiences, including culinary and beverage exploration. But here's an interesting fact: regular alcohol consumption can limit our brain's ability to form new memories — a phenomenon called "neurogenesis suppression." When we abstain or reduce alcohol while traveling, we not only have clearer memories of our adventures, but we also tend to engage more deeply with our surroundings.

Moreover, alcohol can disturb our sleep patterns. Jet lag, a common travel companion, is exacerbated by alcohol, making it harder for the body to adjust to new time zones.

Exploring the World With Clarity

Traveling triumphantly isn't about ticking off every landmark in your tour guide; it’s about immersing yourself deeply into new environments, forming vivid memories, and truly experiencing a place with all of your senses:

  1. Memory map. Carry a travel journal with you. Jot down your daily experiences, emotions, and observations to enhance your memories and create a precious keepsake.
  2. Local beverage exploration. Opt for non-alcoholic local beverages. Try a Moroccan mint tea, a Thai iced tea, or an Italian espresso! Dive into the authentic flavors of a region without the haze of alcohol.
  3. Active adventures. Instead of the usual touristy spots, find activities that get your body moving. Hike that mountain trail, rent a bicycle, or join a local dance class. These memorable experiences often don't revolve around alcohol!
  4. Cultural connect. Attend local workshops, craft sessions, or cooking classes. When your travel revolves around learning and connecting, alcohol naturally takes a backseat.
  5. Dawn patrol. Wake up early to catch the sunrise. Not only is this a magical experience, but early mornings also give you a few moments of beauty before the day's chaos begins.
  6. Photo challenge. Set a theme for each day of your trip, such as "shadows," "color," or "motion." Click pictures based on the theme, making you more observant and immersed in your surroundings.

When you return from a booze-free adventure, you carry back stories and experiences, not just souvenirs. So tie those laces and set out on a journey where every moment is treasured, every experience is lucid, and every memory is crystal clear. You don’t even have to go far — be a home-town tourist if you don’t have the time or funds to go away. Safe travels! 

5. Flourish With Fitness

Alcohol adds empty calories, depletes the body of essential nutrients, and can put a damper on our fitness goals by affecting protein synthesis and reducing endurance levels. As you reduce your intake, channel that energy into a fitness goal, like a 5k run, a new yoga pose, or hitting a personal best in the gym.

Breaking free or cutting back on alcohol propels your fitness journey, ensuring that every squat, sprint, or stretch delivers optimal results.

Steps To Energize Your Fitness Journey

Embracing fitness in the absence of alcohol gives your body better tools and materials to sculpt a masterpiece. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  1. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals can transform your fitness regime. For instance, instead of "I want to get fit," try "I want to run 5 kilometers in under 30 minutes by December."
  2. Make it fun. Who said fitness can't be fun? Join a dance class, try rock climbing, or even trampoline workouts. The aim is to enjoy the process.
  3. Group dynamics. Group workouts or joining fitness communities can be highly motivating. The camaraderie and collective energy often push you further than solo sessions.
  4. Track progress. Use fitness apps or a good old diary to track your workouts, improvements, and how you feel after each session. Over time, this record will serve as a massive motivational tool.
  5. Celebrate milestones. Reached your goal of 50 push-ups? Or jogged without a break for 20 minutes? Celebrate these milestones! Find a new workout outfit, gadget, or a massage.
  6. Stay informed. Dedicate some time each week to read or watch something related to fitness. Knowledge keeps the motivation flame burning!
6. Stay Connected

It's a widely held belief that alcohol acts as a social lubricant, breaking the ice at gatherings. While it might momentarily ease social anxiety, chronic alcohol consumption can have a counterproductive effect on our interpersonal relationships. Scientifically speaking, alcohol can numb our emotional processing, creating barriers in understanding and empathizing with others. Over time, social interactions might become superficial or strained due to impaired judgment or actions under the influence.

However, being connected isn't just about being present at social events or being the life of the party. It's about the quality of interactions, the depth of conversations, and the warmth of emotions exchanged — all of which are much easier without booze.

Ways To Cultivate Authentic Connections

Here are some ways to build connections that last and enrich your life:

  1. Mindful meet-ups. Organize get-togethers where the focus is on conversation or an activity rather than on drinking. This could be a game night, a book club discussion, or even a cooking evening.
  2. Digital detox. Dedicate a day or a few hours every week to disconnect from electronic devices. Use this time to engage in face-to-face conversations, ensuring quality time with loved ones.
  3. Skill swap. Pair up with a friend and teach each other a skill or hobby. This could be painting, a musical instrument, or even a new sport. Learning together strengthens bonds!
  4. Reach out regularly. Make it a point to call or message someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Reignite old friendships and keep in touch once you do.
  5. Join community groups. Engage with your local community by joining interesting clubs or organizations to make new connections while grounding yourself within a supportive community.
  6. Active listening. When in conversation, practice active listening — fully concentrating, understanding, and responding to the other person. It’s a simple yet powerful way to deepen connections.
7. Educate Yourself

Our brain, remarkable and ever-evolving, thrives on learning. Neuroplasticity — the brain's ability to reorganize itself — is at its peak when we engage in new learning experiences. On the contrary, chronic alcohol consumption has been linked to diminished cognitive functions and can impede our brain's capability to form new neural pathways.

When we step back from alcohol, our brain flourishes, grows, and grasps new knowledge efficiently. Every nugget of information, every new skill, every fresh perspective adds an enriching, enlightening, fun layer to our personality.

How To Empower Yourself Through Learning

Here are some ways to get started:

  1. Book-a-week challenge. Set a goal to read a new book every week or month, depending on your pace. Dive into genres or topics you've never explored to broaden your horizons.
  2. Online courses. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Khan Academy offer a plethora of courses. From learning a new language to understanding the intricacies of quantum physics, there's a world to discover.
  3. Podcast power. Incorporate educational podcasts into your routine. Listen during commutes, workouts, or even chores. It’s a seamless way to gain knowledge while multitasking.
  4. DIY projects. Engage in hands-on learning. Build a garden bed, knit a sweater, or even try your hand at pottery. The satisfaction of creating something boosts the learning curve.
  5. Trivia nights. Organize or attend trivia nights. It's a fun way to test your knowledge and learn from others.
  6. Document the learning journey. Create a learning diary or blog. Share your experiences, the challenges you face, and your successes. It not only serves as motivation but also helps in revising and reflecting.

Building a New Life

Motivation drives our actions. By understanding the science behind it and being mindful of what motivates us, we can harness its power to make meaningful, lasting changes in our lives. 

Revamping your relationship with alcohol is a journey that takes effort, dedication, and a touch of creativity. But, with science as your guide and the right tools in hand, you can shape a healthier, brighter, and more fulfilling life for yourself. Here's to a vibrant new chapter!

Drinking Habits
Drinking Less
Quit Drinking
Popular
2022-06-13 9:00
Alcohol and Health
Popular
Alcohol-Induced Night Sweats: What They Are and How To Stop Them
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Night sweats after drinking: they happen to many of us, but they can be frustrating. So why does drinking alcohol cause night sweats? And what can we do about them? Let’s take a look at the science.

17 min read

Improve Your Overall Well-Being With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today! 

Read Full Article  →

Alcohol has many adverse effects on our bodies and minds. There are the short-term discomforts like hangovers and “hangxiety,” as well as long-term effects on our physical and mental health. Today, we're discussing an issue that falls somewhere between the two: night sweats related to alcohol use.

How does alcohol use lead to night sweats? And what steps can be taken to prevent them? In this post, we’ll explore the causes of night sweats related to alcohol use and discuss how cutting back on or quitting alcohol can help.

What Are Night Sweats?

First, let's define night sweats. Night sweats are episodes of excessive sweating that occur during sleep, often leading to damp or soaked sheets and clothing. While occasional night sweats are normal, persistent night sweats can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or lifestyle factor, such as sweating at night after drinking.

Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system, leading to a range of physical and psychological effects. When we consume alcohol, it can cause our bodies to become dehydrated, leading to increased thirst and a need to urinate more frequently. These effects can contribute to night sweats, as our bodies attempt to regulate our temperature and maintain proper hydration levels during sleep.

In addition to dehydration, alcohol use can also lead to changes in our body's hormones and neurotransmitters, which can impact our sleep patterns and contribute to sweating at night after drinking. For example, alcohol can increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can disrupt our sleep and lead to night sweats. It can also decrease the production of the hormone vasopressin, which regulates our body's fluid balance, leading to dehydration and increased thirst.

Night sweats are one of the many signals that we’re drinking too much. If we heed the warning signs early on, we can prevent this issue from persisting or leading to other health challenges.

Diagram about the symptoms of night sweats

What Are the Negative Effects of Alcohol-Induced Night Sweats?

Night sweats related to alcohol use can have negative consequences for both our physical and psychological health. Here are a few of the potential negative consequences of alcohol night sweats:

  • Dehydration. As we mentioned above, alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to increased thirst and a need to urinate more frequently. Night sweats can worsen dehydration, leading to further complications such as dry mouth, headache, and fatigue.
  • Disrupted sleep. Night sweats can lead to poor quality sleep and daytime fatigue. This can impact our ability to concentrate, make decisions, and perform everyday tasks.
  • Increased risk of infections. Night sweats can increase the risk of infections, particularly in people with weakened immune systems. This is because the damp sheets and clothing can create a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, increasing the risk of skin infections, respiratory infections, and other illnesses.
  • Emotional distress. Night sweats can be emotionally distressing, particularly if they occur frequently or disrupt our sleep. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological problems.

Preventing Alcohol Night Sweats

So, how can we prevent night sweats related to alcohol use? The most effective solution is to cut back on or quit drinking alcohol altogether. By reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, our bodies can rehydrate, and regulating our fluid balance more effectively, and reducing the likelihood of night sweats.

Deciding to cut back or quit drinking alcohol can be difficult, but it's a powerful step towards improving your physical and mental health. Whether you are looking to reduce your alcohol consumption or quit altogether, there are steps you can take.

Set Clear Goals and Make a Plan

The first step in cutting back or quitting alcohol is to set clear goals and make a plan. This might involve setting limits on the amount and frequency of alcohol you consume, or it could mean committing to abstaining from alcohol altogether. Whatever your goals, it's important to be specific and measurable. For example, instead of saying "I want to drink less," you might set a goal to only have one drink per day, or to go alcohol-free for a month.

Once you have set your goals, make a plan to achieve them. This might involve finding alternative, alcohol-free ways to socialize or manage stress, such as taking up a new hobby or joining a sober social group. You might also consider enlisting the support of friends or family members who can help you stay accountable to your goals.

Find Alternative Coping Strategies

Many people turn to alcohol as a way of coping with stress or difficult emotions. If you’re trying to cut back or quit drinking, it's important to find alternative coping strategies to manage these feelings in a healthy way. This might involve learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation, or finding physical activities that release tension and boost your mood, such as yoga or running.

You might also consider seeking support from a mental health professional, who can help you develop coping strategies and address any underlying emotional or psychological issues that may be contributing to your alcohol use. With the right support and strategies in place, you can manage your emotions in a healthy way and reduce your dependence on alcohol.

Create a Supportive Environment

Finally, it's important to create a supportive environment that can help you achieve your goals. This might involve avoiding situations or people that trigger your desire to drink, or finding friends and social groups who are supportive of your decision to cut back or quit drinking. You might also consider finding a support group or seeking counseling to connect with others who are on a similar journey.

In addition to creating a supportive environment, take care of yourself in other ways that can improve your overall health and well-being: get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and practice good sleep hygiene. By taking care of your body and mind, you can reduce the impact of alcohol on your physical and psychological health, and enjoy greater success in cutting back or quitting alcohol.

Alcohol has many adverse effects on our bodies and minds. There are the short-term discomforts like hangovers and “hangxiety,” as well as long-term effects on our physical and mental health. Today, we're discussing an issue that falls somewhere between the two: night sweats related to alcohol use.

How does alcohol use lead to night sweats? And what steps can be taken to prevent them? In this post, we’ll explore the causes of night sweats related to alcohol use and discuss how cutting back on or quitting alcohol can help.

What Are Night Sweats?

First, let's define night sweats. Night sweats are episodes of excessive sweating that occur during sleep, often leading to damp or soaked sheets and clothing. While occasional night sweats are normal, persistent night sweats can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or lifestyle factor, such as sweating at night after drinking.

Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system, leading to a range of physical and psychological effects. When we consume alcohol, it can cause our bodies to become dehydrated, leading to increased thirst and a need to urinate more frequently. These effects can contribute to night sweats, as our bodies attempt to regulate our temperature and maintain proper hydration levels during sleep.

In addition to dehydration, alcohol use can also lead to changes in our body's hormones and neurotransmitters, which can impact our sleep patterns and contribute to sweating at night after drinking. For example, alcohol can increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can disrupt our sleep and lead to night sweats. It can also decrease the production of the hormone vasopressin, which regulates our body's fluid balance, leading to dehydration and increased thirst.

Night sweats are one of the many signals that we’re drinking too much. If we heed the warning signs early on, we can prevent this issue from persisting or leading to other health challenges.

Diagram about the symptoms of night sweats

What Are the Negative Effects of Alcohol-Induced Night Sweats?

Night sweats related to alcohol use can have negative consequences for both our physical and psychological health. Here are a few of the potential negative consequences of alcohol night sweats:

  • Dehydration. As we mentioned above, alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to increased thirst and a need to urinate more frequently. Night sweats can worsen dehydration, leading to further complications such as dry mouth, headache, and fatigue.
  • Disrupted sleep. Night sweats can lead to poor quality sleep and daytime fatigue. This can impact our ability to concentrate, make decisions, and perform everyday tasks.
  • Increased risk of infections. Night sweats can increase the risk of infections, particularly in people with weakened immune systems. This is because the damp sheets and clothing can create a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, increasing the risk of skin infections, respiratory infections, and other illnesses.
  • Emotional distress. Night sweats can be emotionally distressing, particularly if they occur frequently or disrupt our sleep. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological problems.

Preventing Alcohol Night Sweats

So, how can we prevent night sweats related to alcohol use? The most effective solution is to cut back on or quit drinking alcohol altogether. By reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, our bodies can rehydrate, and regulating our fluid balance more effectively, and reducing the likelihood of night sweats.

Deciding to cut back or quit drinking alcohol can be difficult, but it's a powerful step towards improving your physical and mental health. Whether you are looking to reduce your alcohol consumption or quit altogether, there are steps you can take.

Set Clear Goals and Make a Plan

The first step in cutting back or quitting alcohol is to set clear goals and make a plan. This might involve setting limits on the amount and frequency of alcohol you consume, or it could mean committing to abstaining from alcohol altogether. Whatever your goals, it's important to be specific and measurable. For example, instead of saying "I want to drink less," you might set a goal to only have one drink per day, or to go alcohol-free for a month.

Once you have set your goals, make a plan to achieve them. This might involve finding alternative, alcohol-free ways to socialize or manage stress, such as taking up a new hobby or joining a sober social group. You might also consider enlisting the support of friends or family members who can help you stay accountable to your goals.

Find Alternative Coping Strategies

Many people turn to alcohol as a way of coping with stress or difficult emotions. If you’re trying to cut back or quit drinking, it's important to find alternative coping strategies to manage these feelings in a healthy way. This might involve learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation, or finding physical activities that release tension and boost your mood, such as yoga or running.

You might also consider seeking support from a mental health professional, who can help you develop coping strategies and address any underlying emotional or psychological issues that may be contributing to your alcohol use. With the right support and strategies in place, you can manage your emotions in a healthy way and reduce your dependence on alcohol.

Create a Supportive Environment

Finally, it's important to create a supportive environment that can help you achieve your goals. This might involve avoiding situations or people that trigger your desire to drink, or finding friends and social groups who are supportive of your decision to cut back or quit drinking. You might also consider finding a support group or seeking counseling to connect with others who are on a similar journey.

In addition to creating a supportive environment, take care of yourself in other ways that can improve your overall health and well-being: get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and practice good sleep hygiene. By taking care of your body and mind, you can reduce the impact of alcohol on your physical and psychological health, and enjoy greater success in cutting back or quitting alcohol.

Alcohol and Health
Drinking Habits
Popular
2024-01-23 9:00
Quit Drinking
What Is Cocaethylene, and How Dangerous It Is?
This is some text inside of a div block.

Thinking of taking cocaine while drinking alcohol? Find out how this can be extremely dangerous.

20 min read

Ready To Remove the Dangers of Cocaethylene? Reframe Can Help You Start!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today! 

Read Full Article  →

You’re out with friends, a few drinks in and dancing the night away. At first you felt great, but now the euphoric alcohol effects are beginning to wear off. You’re starting to feel a little tired, ready for the night to end. But as you get ready to leave, someone offers you a “super easy” way to keep the night going and make it even better. 

They say that just with a little cocaine, you’ll be feeling great and ready for the rest of the night. Beyond the regular risks of cocaine use, what is the risk of mixing cocaine and alcohol?

In this blog, we’ll explore what happens when we use alcohol, cocaine, and both of them together. Let’s dig into the dangers of mixing alcohol and cocaine and learn some tips for staying safe and gaining control of our substance use.

What Is Alcohol? 

The “alcohol” we consume in beer, wine, or other spirits is chemically known as “ethanol.” It’s produced during the fermentation process, where yeast breaks down sugar and produces ethanol as a byproduct. Alcohol has psychoactive effects, meaning that it can change our brain function and affect our mood, thoughts, awareness, feelings, and movements. 

A sad person thinking

Our first sips of alcohol may make us feel happy and more awake. For this reason, many people think of alcohol as a stimulant that “gets the party started.” However, alcohol is actually a depressant, meaning it slows things down in our brains. This effect takes longer to notice, but it always kicks in. Ever feel tired or foggy after a few drinks? That’s the depressant effect at work. As a depressant, alcohol can decrease our inhibitions and cause us to feel relaxed or sedated. 

How Does Alcohol Affect Us? 

There are both short and long-term consequences of drinking alcohol. Let’s begin with a review of how alcohol can affect our body and mind in the short and long-term. 

Short-Term Effects

In the short-term, alcohol impacts our body, behavior, and mood. As a depressant, alcohol slows down our body and mind and we might lose control of our impulses or motor function. This reduced functionality shows up throughout our body in different ways.

  • Physical effects include impaired motor coordination, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, poor balance, dehydration, nausea, vomiting or passing out.
  • Behavioral changes may leave us feeling sociable, excited, or disinhibited. We may also start acting loud and boisterous or engage in risky decision-making.
  • Mood changes can swing rapidly from happy and elevated to sad and depressed to angry and aggressive.

Long-Term Effects

In the long-term, alcohol can rewire the connections in our brain and cause chronic changes in our physical, mental, and social health.

  • Physical symptoms of long-term alcohol use include a weakened immune system, liver damage, elevated blood pressure, irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), insomnia, brain damage, or gastrointestinal dysfunction.  
  • Mental health suffers dramatically from long-term alcohol use. We may experience depression, anxiety, or memory problems, and we are at an increased risk for behavioral disorders like schizophrenia or psychosis.
  • Social health can deteriorate as our behavior and mental health isolate us from healthy social circles. We may also find that the connections we make while intoxicated are not as strong or authentic without our “beer goggles.”

Chemical Effects

Neurotransmitters are a crucial element of our brain’s communication system. They trigger and regulate all of our thoughts and actions. There are two main neurotransmitters altered by alcohol — dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Dopamine is known as the “reward” neurotransmitter, so a temporary increase in dopamine makes us feel euphoric. Have you ever achieved a goal and felt a rush of satisfaction and joy? You can thank dopamine for that! When alcohol dumps dopamine into our brain, we get a rush of energy and excitement that mimics a stimulant effect — that’s our brain telling us “I want more!”

Despite this dopamine rush, alcohol mostly acts as a depressant, meaning it slows the nervous system down. GABA is our primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and is responsible for slowing down brain activity. Alcohol increases the effectiveness of GABA in our brain, which gives it more power to slow down various processes. This can result in slower thinking, poor coordination, or motor impairments.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant, native to western South America. It was first used by the Inca Empire as a local anesthetic, due to its numbing effects. In the late 19th century, chemists isolated the psychoactive component of coca (known as “cocaine”). It quickly left medical settings and became popular for recreational use. It was even a key ingredient in the original recipe for Coca-Cola!

As a stimulant, cocaine targets the reward system of the brain, specifically by affecting dopamine — just like alcohol. When we consume cocaine, dopamine floods the brain. Cocaine also blocks the process that recycles and clears the brain of excess dopamine. This surplus allows dopamine to communicate with more parts of the brain, amplifying the “reward” effect.

At the same time, cocaine increases the functionality of two stimulating neurotransmitters called epinephrine and norepinephrine, leading to a rise in heart rate and blood pressure. Just like alcohol, chronic cocaine use can stress out the heart and cause permanent damage or a decrease in functionality. 

What Does Cocaine Do?

Cocaine is highly addictive and well-known in the media for its stimulating effects. Meanwhile, its harms and dangers are often overlooked. Let’s break down what cocaine actually does to us.

  • Physical changes. Cocaine elevates blood pressure, increases body temperature, reduces appetite, increases heart rate, increases respiratory rates, and increases restlessness. 
  • Mood changes. Cocaine induces feelings of happiness, euphoria, energy, awareness, sociability, and sensitivity to stimuli (touch, sound, and sight). 
  • Behavioral changes. At first, cocaine can make us feel energetic, motivated, and focused, like everything in our brain is just moving faster. However, cocaine doesn’t discriminate between which parts of the brain it speeds up; it also increases risky or erratic behaviors such as violence, irritability, panic, insomnia, or paranoia. 
  • Cocaine comedown. As the effects of cocaine wear off, we can experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, headaches, exhaustion, body aches, sweating, or confusion. 

These effects can vary wildly depending on the person, the dose, and whether or not it is used in combination with other drugs. Because of this, it is widely considered to be dangerous and risky to use.

Legal and Safety Issues

It’s important to note that it is illegal to possess, sell, transport, and produce cocaine in most parts of the world (except for a few areas in South America). In the United States, cocaine is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substance Act, which means it has a high potential for abuse, although it does have legitimate medical uses as a local anesthetic for some eye, ear, and throat surgeries.

Recent reports indicate cocaine is increasingly being contaminated by fentanyl, an incredibly dangerous opioid that is lethal in very small amounts. Overdose deaths from fentanyl have increased five-fold in the last 20 years. Cocaine is one of the most common drugs mixed with fentanyl and overdose deaths from this combo are 50 times higher than they were in 2010.

Never trust unregulated drugs, as they may contain fentanyl.Naloxone is an over-the-counter overdose treatment medication that can be purchased by anyone and used in emergency situations. Many states and cities also distribute fentanyl test strips along with other addiction treatment resources. If you start to notice signs of a fentanyl overdose, call emergency services.

Consuming Alcohol and Cocaine Together: Cocaethylene  

It might seem that the effects of alcohol (a depressant) and cocaine (a stimulant) would cancel each other out. However, this isn't the case: the combination creates a more powerful and dangerous effect than either substance alone. When alcohol and cocaine are in the system at the same time, a byproduct is produced in the liver called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene is a psychoactive agent that mimics the effects of cocaine but is longer lasting with more extreme symptoms. 

How Does Cocaethylene Affect Us?

Cocaethylene is a byproduct of concurrent alcohol and cocaine metabolism. The liver processes alcohol by breaking it down with specific enzymes. When these enzymes meet cocaine, they produce the byproduct known as cocaethylene.

Cocaethylene amplifies and extends the effects of both alcohol and cocaine. Research indicates that it takes the body twice as long to metabolize cocaethylene compared to alcohol or cocaine alone, giving it longer-lasting effects.

  • Physical effects. Mixing alcohol and cocaine can lead to extreme physical changes, such as increased body temperature, high blood pressure, slowed breathing, dehydration, loss of coordination, and elevated or irregular heart rate.
  • Behavioral changes. Long- and short-term use of cocaethylene can decrease our inhibitions, inspire violent or aggressive behavior, and increase our risk of experiencing panic attacks, paranoia, or psychosis. 
  • Mood alterations. We may feel intense euphoria and happiness at first, then swing dramatically to feel anxious, depressed, or angry.

  • Neurotransmitter changes. Cocaethylene increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine by blocking the process that balances their levels. This imbalance is responsible for the extremity of cocaethylene’s effects.

The effects of cocaethylene are pretty dramatic — but how long do they last? And are they really as serious as they seem?

How Long Does Cocaethylene Stay In Our Systems? 

The “half-life” of a drug is the amount of time the body takes to reduce the substance by one-half. The half-life of cocaine is about one hour, but the effects of cocaine last for only 20-90 minutes depending on administration route.

Unfortunately, there is less research conducted on cocaethylene than on cocaine alone, but it is estimated the half-life is double that of cocaine — roughly 2 hours — resulting in longer-lasting effects. It’s important to note that the half-life of drugs are estimated averages and that there are individual differences in drug metabolism, such as weight, gender, overall health, diet, and genetics.

What Are The Dangers of Cocaethylene?

Because of the extreme changes cocaethylene induces, consuming alcohol and cocaine simultaneously is more dangerous than either substance on its own. The presence of cocaethylene in the system significantly increases the likelihood of sudden death — in fact, sudden death is 18-times more likely than when using cocaine alone.

Cocaethylene is particularly dangerous because it targets the following essential organs:

  • The heart. Cocaethylene makes the heart work harder. Research has found that cocaethylene is ten times more toxic to our heart than cocaine alone. This means that cocaethylene increases our risk of cardiovascular events that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

  • The liver. Alcohol is notorious for causing liver damage, and mixing it with cocaine can create even more problems. Over time, toxins from cocaethylene build up in the liver and can lead to liver damage, disease, or failure.

  • The brain. The competing neurological effects of alcohol as a depressant and cocaine as a stimulant can wreak havoc in the brain, leading to seizures, aneurysms, or swelling of the brain in severe cases.

How To Stop Cocaine and Alcohol Use?

Cocaine and alcohol are both highly addictive drugs. Treating alcohol or cocaine misuse can be challenging, and trying to stop them both at the same time is even more difficult. Luckily, there is hope! Research shows that if we use these substances together, long-term sobriety is more achievable if they are also treated together.

Here are some of the best ways to stop the use of cocaethylene:

  1. Detox. The first step to stopping use of alcohol and cocaine combined is to detox — let your body eliminate the substances. Before detoxing alcohol and cocaine, it’s important to understand the risks associated with each withdrawal process. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and lead to fatal seizures. Stopping cocaine does not cause any inherent risks to life, but the withdrawal symptoms can be intensely unpleasant. Consult with a healthcare professional and make a plan — there are medications that can help, and doctors can prescribe them from the comfort of a televisit.
  2. Therapy. Once you’ve passed the detox phase, therapy can be an effective tool in the process of stopping use of cocaine and alcohol. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a research-based practice proven to help people overcome substance misuse. Other effective types of therapy include contingency management, motivational interviewing, or family therapy.
  3. Groups. Quitting polysubstance use such as alcohol and cocaine can be achieved with peer support groups such as Alcohol Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous. These support groups provide a group of peers working towards a common goal, sharing stories and offering encouragement. 

Quitting both alcohol and cocaine can be difficult, but there are ways to make the process easier. There is always hope, and there are many resources available to make the journey more manageable. A whole new life awaits in sobriety!

You’re out with friends, a few drinks in and dancing the night away. At first you felt great, but now the euphoric alcohol effects are beginning to wear off. You’re starting to feel a little tired, ready for the night to end. But as you get ready to leave, someone offers you a “super easy” way to keep the night going and make it even better. 

They say that just with a little cocaine, you’ll be feeling great and ready for the rest of the night. Beyond the regular risks of cocaine use, what is the risk of mixing cocaine and alcohol?

In this blog, we’ll explore what happens when we use alcohol, cocaine, and both of them together. Let’s dig into the dangers of mixing alcohol and cocaine and learn some tips for staying safe and gaining control of our substance use.

What Is Alcohol? 

The “alcohol” we consume in beer, wine, or other spirits is chemically known as “ethanol.” It’s produced during the fermentation process, where yeast breaks down sugar and produces ethanol as a byproduct. Alcohol has psychoactive effects, meaning that it can change our brain function and affect our mood, thoughts, awareness, feelings, and movements. 

A sad person thinking

Our first sips of alcohol may make us feel happy and more awake. For this reason, many people think of alcohol as a stimulant that “gets the party started.” However, alcohol is actually a depressant, meaning it slows things down in our brains. This effect takes longer to notice, but it always kicks in. Ever feel tired or foggy after a few drinks? That’s the depressant effect at work. As a depressant, alcohol can decrease our inhibitions and cause us to feel relaxed or sedated. 

How Does Alcohol Affect Us? 

There are both short and long-term consequences of drinking alcohol. Let’s begin with a review of how alcohol can affect our body and mind in the short and long-term. 

Short-Term Effects

In the short-term, alcohol impacts our body, behavior, and mood. As a depressant, alcohol slows down our body and mind and we might lose control of our impulses or motor function. This reduced functionality shows up throughout our body in different ways.

  • Physical effects include impaired motor coordination, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, poor balance, dehydration, nausea, vomiting or passing out.
  • Behavioral changes may leave us feeling sociable, excited, or disinhibited. We may also start acting loud and boisterous or engage in risky decision-making.
  • Mood changes can swing rapidly from happy and elevated to sad and depressed to angry and aggressive.

Long-Term Effects

In the long-term, alcohol can rewire the connections in our brain and cause chronic changes in our physical, mental, and social health.

  • Physical symptoms of long-term alcohol use include a weakened immune system, liver damage, elevated blood pressure, irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), insomnia, brain damage, or gastrointestinal dysfunction.  
  • Mental health suffers dramatically from long-term alcohol use. We may experience depression, anxiety, or memory problems, and we are at an increased risk for behavioral disorders like schizophrenia or psychosis.
  • Social health can deteriorate as our behavior and mental health isolate us from healthy social circles. We may also find that the connections we make while intoxicated are not as strong or authentic without our “beer goggles.”

Chemical Effects

Neurotransmitters are a crucial element of our brain’s communication system. They trigger and regulate all of our thoughts and actions. There are two main neurotransmitters altered by alcohol — dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Dopamine is known as the “reward” neurotransmitter, so a temporary increase in dopamine makes us feel euphoric. Have you ever achieved a goal and felt a rush of satisfaction and joy? You can thank dopamine for that! When alcohol dumps dopamine into our brain, we get a rush of energy and excitement that mimics a stimulant effect — that’s our brain telling us “I want more!”

Despite this dopamine rush, alcohol mostly acts as a depressant, meaning it slows the nervous system down. GABA is our primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and is responsible for slowing down brain activity. Alcohol increases the effectiveness of GABA in our brain, which gives it more power to slow down various processes. This can result in slower thinking, poor coordination, or motor impairments.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant, native to western South America. It was first used by the Inca Empire as a local anesthetic, due to its numbing effects. In the late 19th century, chemists isolated the psychoactive component of coca (known as “cocaine”). It quickly left medical settings and became popular for recreational use. It was even a key ingredient in the original recipe for Coca-Cola!

As a stimulant, cocaine targets the reward system of the brain, specifically by affecting dopamine — just like alcohol. When we consume cocaine, dopamine floods the brain. Cocaine also blocks the process that recycles and clears the brain of excess dopamine. This surplus allows dopamine to communicate with more parts of the brain, amplifying the “reward” effect.

At the same time, cocaine increases the functionality of two stimulating neurotransmitters called epinephrine and norepinephrine, leading to a rise in heart rate and blood pressure. Just like alcohol, chronic cocaine use can stress out the heart and cause permanent damage or a decrease in functionality. 

What Does Cocaine Do?

Cocaine is highly addictive and well-known in the media for its stimulating effects. Meanwhile, its harms and dangers are often overlooked. Let’s break down what cocaine actually does to us.

  • Physical changes. Cocaine elevates blood pressure, increases body temperature, reduces appetite, increases heart rate, increases respiratory rates, and increases restlessness. 
  • Mood changes. Cocaine induces feelings of happiness, euphoria, energy, awareness, sociability, and sensitivity to stimuli (touch, sound, and sight). 
  • Behavioral changes. At first, cocaine can make us feel energetic, motivated, and focused, like everything in our brain is just moving faster. However, cocaine doesn’t discriminate between which parts of the brain it speeds up; it also increases risky or erratic behaviors such as violence, irritability, panic, insomnia, or paranoia. 
  • Cocaine comedown. As the effects of cocaine wear off, we can experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, headaches, exhaustion, body aches, sweating, or confusion. 

These effects can vary wildly depending on the person, the dose, and whether or not it is used in combination with other drugs. Because of this, it is widely considered to be dangerous and risky to use.

Legal and Safety Issues

It’s important to note that it is illegal to possess, sell, transport, and produce cocaine in most parts of the world (except for a few areas in South America). In the United States, cocaine is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substance Act, which means it has a high potential for abuse, although it does have legitimate medical uses as a local anesthetic for some eye, ear, and throat surgeries.

Recent reports indicate cocaine is increasingly being contaminated by fentanyl, an incredibly dangerous opioid that is lethal in very small amounts. Overdose deaths from fentanyl have increased five-fold in the last 20 years. Cocaine is one of the most common drugs mixed with fentanyl and overdose deaths from this combo are 50 times higher than they were in 2010.

Never trust unregulated drugs, as they may contain fentanyl.Naloxone is an over-the-counter overdose treatment medication that can be purchased by anyone and used in emergency situations. Many states and cities also distribute fentanyl test strips along with other addiction treatment resources. If you start to notice signs of a fentanyl overdose, call emergency services.

Consuming Alcohol and Cocaine Together: Cocaethylene  

It might seem that the effects of alcohol (a depressant) and cocaine (a stimulant) would cancel each other out. However, this isn't the case: the combination creates a more powerful and dangerous effect than either substance alone. When alcohol and cocaine are in the system at the same time, a byproduct is produced in the liver called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene is a psychoactive agent that mimics the effects of cocaine but is longer lasting with more extreme symptoms. 

How Does Cocaethylene Affect Us?

Cocaethylene is a byproduct of concurrent alcohol and cocaine metabolism. The liver processes alcohol by breaking it down with specific enzymes. When these enzymes meet cocaine, they produce the byproduct known as cocaethylene.

Cocaethylene amplifies and extends the effects of both alcohol and cocaine. Research indicates that it takes the body twice as long to metabolize cocaethylene compared to alcohol or cocaine alone, giving it longer-lasting effects.

  • Physical effects. Mixing alcohol and cocaine can lead to extreme physical changes, such as increased body temperature, high blood pressure, slowed breathing, dehydration, loss of coordination, and elevated or irregular heart rate.
  • Behavioral changes. Long- and short-term use of cocaethylene can decrease our inhibitions, inspire violent or aggressive behavior, and increase our risk of experiencing panic attacks, paranoia, or psychosis. 
  • Mood alterations. We may feel intense euphoria and happiness at first, then swing dramatically to feel anxious, depressed, or angry.

  • Neurotransmitter changes. Cocaethylene increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine by blocking the process that balances their levels. This imbalance is responsible for the extremity of cocaethylene’s effects.

The effects of cocaethylene are pretty dramatic — but how long do they last? And are they really as serious as they seem?

How Long Does Cocaethylene Stay In Our Systems? 

The “half-life” of a drug is the amount of time the body takes to reduce the substance by one-half. The half-life of cocaine is about one hour, but the effects of cocaine last for only 20-90 minutes depending on administration route.

Unfortunately, there is less research conducted on cocaethylene than on cocaine alone, but it is estimated the half-life is double that of cocaine — roughly 2 hours — resulting in longer-lasting effects. It’s important to note that the half-life of drugs are estimated averages and that there are individual differences in drug metabolism, such as weight, gender, overall health, diet, and genetics.

What Are The Dangers of Cocaethylene?

Because of the extreme changes cocaethylene induces, consuming alcohol and cocaine simultaneously is more dangerous than either substance on its own. The presence of cocaethylene in the system significantly increases the likelihood of sudden death — in fact, sudden death is 18-times more likely than when using cocaine alone.

Cocaethylene is particularly dangerous because it targets the following essential organs:

  • The heart. Cocaethylene makes the heart work harder. Research has found that cocaethylene is ten times more toxic to our heart than cocaine alone. This means that cocaethylene increases our risk of cardiovascular events that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

  • The liver. Alcohol is notorious for causing liver damage, and mixing it with cocaine can create even more problems. Over time, toxins from cocaethylene build up in the liver and can lead to liver damage, disease, or failure.

  • The brain. The competing neurological effects of alcohol as a depressant and cocaine as a stimulant can wreak havoc in the brain, leading to seizures, aneurysms, or swelling of the brain in severe cases.

How To Stop Cocaine and Alcohol Use?

Cocaine and alcohol are both highly addictive drugs. Treating alcohol or cocaine misuse can be challenging, and trying to stop them both at the same time is even more difficult. Luckily, there is hope! Research shows that if we use these substances together, long-term sobriety is more achievable if they are also treated together.

Here are some of the best ways to stop the use of cocaethylene:

  1. Detox. The first step to stopping use of alcohol and cocaine combined is to detox — let your body eliminate the substances. Before detoxing alcohol and cocaine, it’s important to understand the risks associated with each withdrawal process. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and lead to fatal seizures. Stopping cocaine does not cause any inherent risks to life, but the withdrawal symptoms can be intensely unpleasant. Consult with a healthcare professional and make a plan — there are medications that can help, and doctors can prescribe them from the comfort of a televisit.
  2. Therapy. Once you’ve passed the detox phase, therapy can be an effective tool in the process of stopping use of cocaine and alcohol. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a research-based practice proven to help people overcome substance misuse. Other effective types of therapy include contingency management, motivational interviewing, or family therapy.
  3. Groups. Quitting polysubstance use such as alcohol and cocaine can be achieved with peer support groups such as Alcohol Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous. These support groups provide a group of peers working towards a common goal, sharing stories and offering encouragement. 

Quitting both alcohol and cocaine can be difficult, but there are ways to make the process easier. There is always hope, and there are many resources available to make the journey more manageable. A whole new life awaits in sobriety!

Quit Drinking
Drinking Habits
2023-07-12 9:00
Quit Drinking
How Cutting Alcohol Helps Us Lose Weight
This is some text inside of a div block.

Drinking alcohol interferes with our metabolism and keeps our body from burning fat. When we stop drinking alcohol and consuming its empty calories, our body can return to its normal metabolic function, which can help us shed weight.

9 min read

Become a Healthier Version of You With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

Read Full Article  →

They’re everywhere: tips, tricks, diets, and pills for losing weight. But how many of them encourage reducing or eliminating alcohol from our diet entirely?

We probably know that drinking alcohol can make us gain weight. After all, there’s a reason the terms “beer belly” and “wine belly” exist. So, if alcohol can cause us to gain weight, then cutting back on alcohol or cutting it out entirely can probably help us lose weight, right? Let’s dive in.

How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

Before we look at how alcohol helps us lose weight, it’s helpful to know the many different ways alcohol can cause us to gain weight — from affecting our hormones and sleep quality to causing us to feel hungry.

However, one of the most significant ways alcohol causes weight gain is by interfering with our metabolism. In fact, heavy drinkers and binge drinkers are at a higher risk for obesity due to the metabolic changes that occur when our body is frequently metabolizing alcohol.

Simply put: alcohol keeps our body from burning fat. So every time we drink, we’re essentially shutting down our metabolism, which causes a build up of fat that leads to weight gain.

Here’s how it works: alcohol isn’t processed in the same way we digest other drinks or food. Because alcohol is a toxin, our liver and digestive system have to work extra hard to eliminate it from our body. This prevents our body from accessing all of our other stored macronutrients, such as carbs, proteins, and fat. Even if we have a nutritious meal with an alcoholic beverage, our body struggles to absorb those nutrients because of how hard it works to eliminate alcohol. In other words, our body prioritizes processing alcohol over other nutrients, leading us to store fat.

Furthermore, alcohol is loaded with calories, but they’re considered “empty calories” — they contain little to no beneficial nutrients or minerals. For instance, a standard glass of wine contains approximately 125 calories, and a bottle of beer has about 155 calories. That’s the equivalent of eating a small slice of pizza or a handful of chips!

How Cutting Alcohol Can Lead to Weight Loss

When we stop drinking alcohol and consuming empty calories, our body can return to its normal metabolic function and start burning fat. In the first few days after we stop drinking alcohol, we might notice a quick drop in weight. This is usually just water weight.

But studies suggest that long-term abstention from alcohol can lead to further reductions in calories and fat, thus helping with overall weight reduction. One study noted that participants who abstained from alcohol for one month experienced a significant reduction in their weight.

Apart from restoring metabolic function and eliminating empty calories, cutting out alcohol also has numerous health benefits that can contribute to weight loss. Here are some:

  • Improved sleep. Alcohol negatively impacts our sleep, interfering with the restorative rest our body needs to function optimally. Research shows that sustained sleep deprivation or low quality sleep increases our body’s level of stress hormones, making it more difficult to burn fat. Furthermore, inadequate sleep can lead to hormonal changes that increase our appetite. So cutting out alcohol not only enhances our quality of sleep, but it can improve our ability to burn fat and help us resist that extra snack.
  • Less sugar. A lot of alcoholic beverages, particularly cocktails and mixers, are high in added sugar, which is terrible for our health. For instance, consuming 8 ounces of red wine or champagne will give us around 2-3 grams of sugar — half the amount of sugar recommended for an entire day! But it’s not just the sugar in our drinks we have to worry about. Drinking alcohol can lead to lower blood sugar levels, causing us to crave something sweet. Excessive sugar consumption has both short-term and long-term effects on our health, from causing fatigue and weight gain to heart disease and diabetes.
  • Reduced cravings. Similarly, since alcohol lowers our blood sugar levels, it causes us to feel hungry, even if we’re full. Interestingly, research shows that alcohol stimulates the same neurons in our brain that are triggered when our body goes into starvation mode — which is why we tend to wolf down junk food like pizza and fries, which can make us gain weight over time. Cutting out alcohol essentially keeps these cravings from occurring.
  • Increased energy. Eliminating alcohol can do wonders for our energy levels. As we’ve noted, regular drinking can affect the quality of our sleep, leaving us tired and sluggish throughout the day. Even if we wanted to exercise, our body probably wouldn’t fare well, as alcohol consumption shrinks our aerobic capacity and endurance. By cutting out alcohol, we’re giving our body a natural energy boost that makes it easier for us to be physically active.

While cutting alcohol can certainly help us lose weight, it’s not a magic wand for weight loss. It’s equally important to eat a healthy diet and stay physically active. But when we do stop drinking, both of those things become a little easier!

If you want to stop drinking and start losing weight, Reframe can help. We not only help you cut back on your alcohol consumption, but equip you with everything you need to become the healthiest possible version of you.

They’re everywhere: tips, tricks, diets, and pills for losing weight. But how many of them encourage reducing or eliminating alcohol from our diet entirely?

We probably know that drinking alcohol can make us gain weight. After all, there’s a reason the terms “beer belly” and “wine belly” exist. So, if alcohol can cause us to gain weight, then cutting back on alcohol or cutting it out entirely can probably help us lose weight, right? Let’s dive in.

How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

Before we look at how alcohol helps us lose weight, it’s helpful to know the many different ways alcohol can cause us to gain weight — from affecting our hormones and sleep quality to causing us to feel hungry.

However, one of the most significant ways alcohol causes weight gain is by interfering with our metabolism. In fact, heavy drinkers and binge drinkers are at a higher risk for obesity due to the metabolic changes that occur when our body is frequently metabolizing alcohol.

Simply put: alcohol keeps our body from burning fat. So every time we drink, we’re essentially shutting down our metabolism, which causes a build up of fat that leads to weight gain.

Here’s how it works: alcohol isn’t processed in the same way we digest other drinks or food. Because alcohol is a toxin, our liver and digestive system have to work extra hard to eliminate it from our body. This prevents our body from accessing all of our other stored macronutrients, such as carbs, proteins, and fat. Even if we have a nutritious meal with an alcoholic beverage, our body struggles to absorb those nutrients because of how hard it works to eliminate alcohol. In other words, our body prioritizes processing alcohol over other nutrients, leading us to store fat.

Furthermore, alcohol is loaded with calories, but they’re considered “empty calories” — they contain little to no beneficial nutrients or minerals. For instance, a standard glass of wine contains approximately 125 calories, and a bottle of beer has about 155 calories. That’s the equivalent of eating a small slice of pizza or a handful of chips!

How Cutting Alcohol Can Lead to Weight Loss

When we stop drinking alcohol and consuming empty calories, our body can return to its normal metabolic function and start burning fat. In the first few days after we stop drinking alcohol, we might notice a quick drop in weight. This is usually just water weight.

But studies suggest that long-term abstention from alcohol can lead to further reductions in calories and fat, thus helping with overall weight reduction. One study noted that participants who abstained from alcohol for one month experienced a significant reduction in their weight.

Apart from restoring metabolic function and eliminating empty calories, cutting out alcohol also has numerous health benefits that can contribute to weight loss. Here are some:

  • Improved sleep. Alcohol negatively impacts our sleep, interfering with the restorative rest our body needs to function optimally. Research shows that sustained sleep deprivation or low quality sleep increases our body’s level of stress hormones, making it more difficult to burn fat. Furthermore, inadequate sleep can lead to hormonal changes that increase our appetite. So cutting out alcohol not only enhances our quality of sleep, but it can improve our ability to burn fat and help us resist that extra snack.
  • Less sugar. A lot of alcoholic beverages, particularly cocktails and mixers, are high in added sugar, which is terrible for our health. For instance, consuming 8 ounces of red wine or champagne will give us around 2-3 grams of sugar — half the amount of sugar recommended for an entire day! But it’s not just the sugar in our drinks we have to worry about. Drinking alcohol can lead to lower blood sugar levels, causing us to crave something sweet. Excessive sugar consumption has both short-term and long-term effects on our health, from causing fatigue and weight gain to heart disease and diabetes.
  • Reduced cravings. Similarly, since alcohol lowers our blood sugar levels, it causes us to feel hungry, even if we’re full. Interestingly, research shows that alcohol stimulates the same neurons in our brain that are triggered when our body goes into starvation mode — which is why we tend to wolf down junk food like pizza and fries, which can make us gain weight over time. Cutting out alcohol essentially keeps these cravings from occurring.
  • Increased energy. Eliminating alcohol can do wonders for our energy levels. As we’ve noted, regular drinking can affect the quality of our sleep, leaving us tired and sluggish throughout the day. Even if we wanted to exercise, our body probably wouldn’t fare well, as alcohol consumption shrinks our aerobic capacity and endurance. By cutting out alcohol, we’re giving our body a natural energy boost that makes it easier for us to be physically active.

While cutting alcohol can certainly help us lose weight, it’s not a magic wand for weight loss. It’s equally important to eat a healthy diet and stay physically active. But when we do stop drinking, both of those things become a little easier!

If you want to stop drinking and start losing weight, Reframe can help. We not only help you cut back on your alcohol consumption, but equip you with everything you need to become the healthiest possible version of you.

Quit Drinking
Drinking Habits
2023-06-16 9:00
Quit Drinking
How To Stop Drinking
This is some text inside of a div block.

Looking to say goodbye to the booze for good? We’ve got all the tips you need to make this transition successfully.

7 min read
Read Full Article  →

You’re at a party, the energy is pulsing around you, and the drinks are flowing generously. Despite your initial intention to abstain, you find yourself instinctively reaching for that enticing glass of wine. This narrative is familiar to most of us, but when drinking more than we intend starts to become a pattern, it’s crucial to take a deeper look into our relationship with alcohol.

How, exactly, do we stop drinking and ultimately stick to our alcohol-free lifestyle for good? Read on for some actionable, science-backed tips!

Understanding Our Relationship with Alcohol

First, we need to dig beneath the surface to understand why we're drawn to drinking. Alcohol has deeply permeated our societal rituals: it’s used as an icebreaker at parties, a relaxant after a long day, or even as a coping mechanism for life's hurdles. Recognizing this can be uncomfortable but illuminating. Are we reaching for the bottle to deal with stress, loneliness, or perhaps boredom? Maybe it's a social routine we've slipped into, or we might be wrestling with more profound issues such as anxiety or depression. By asking ourselves these tough questions, we can map out the intricacies of our relationship with alcohol — a critical foundation for the journey towards sobriety.

Setting Clear Goals

With a better understanding of our motivations, we can move forward to set clear, achievable goals. These are unique to each person. For some, it could mean reducing the number of drinks consumed each week; for others, it could mean striving for complete abstinence. Regardless of our specific goal, the key here is to be realistic yet ambitious. Every small step we take towards these goals is a personal victory, and we must acknowledge it as such.

Building a Support System

When we've got people in our corner, the fight becomes less daunting. Support systems act as our safety net, always there to catch us when we stumble and lift us when we're down. This network can include friends and family, support groups, or professionals like therapists or counselors. You can even tap into support 24/7 via Reframe’s anonymous Forum. Here, you'll find like-minded people who understand, support, and respect your decision to stop drinking. This is not a journey we need to undertake alone; having allies along the way can be a real game-changer.

Finding Healthy Alternatives

Let's face it: sometimes we drink out of sheer habit. Maybe it’s the end of a grueling day, and we automatically reach for a drink to unwind, or we’re cooking dinner and sipping some wine. Breaking these patterns by finding a healthier alternative can be immensely helpful. This could be anything that brings us joy and relaxation, from brewing a calming cup of herbal tea, immersing ourselves in a good book, practicing meditation, or taking a refreshing evening walk. By replacing old routines with new, healthier ones, we can gradually change our automatic response to stress and fatigue.

Mental Health Matters

Acknowledging and addressing underlying mental health issues that may contribute to our drinking is an essential component of this journey. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, has proven effective in treating alcohol misuse by altering the way we perceive drinking. Moreover, mindfulness and meditation techniques can help us manage our stress and emotions better, reducing our urge to use alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Celebrating Progress

As we venture along this path, it's crucial to recognize and celebrate each milestone, no matter how small. Progress isn't linear; there might be hurdles and setbacks along the way. But what defines us is not the number of times we fall, but the number of times we get back up. Our consistent effort and resilience shape our journey, not the detours or delays we may experience as we go.

The Takeaway

Moving towards a life without alcohol can feel like sailing through uncharted waters. We might encounter storms of temptation and currents of doubt, but it's important to remember that we have the strength and the courage to navigate this trip successfully. Change is possible! We have the power to redefine our relationship with alcohol, one day at a time.

So the next time you find yourself at that lively party, instead of mindlessly reaching for a glass of wine, take a moment. Remember the journey you’ve committed to and the progress you’ve made.

The road towards sobriety isn’t easy, but it's worth every step. As J.P. Morgan famously said, "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that we are not going to stay where we are." So, let's take that first step together.

Ditch the Alcohol for Good With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

You’re at a party, the energy is pulsing around you, and the drinks are flowing generously. Despite your initial intention to abstain, you find yourself instinctively reaching for that enticing glass of wine. This narrative is familiar to most of us, but when drinking more than we intend starts to become a pattern, it’s crucial to take a deeper look into our relationship with alcohol.

How, exactly, do we stop drinking and ultimately stick to our alcohol-free lifestyle for good? Read on for some actionable, science-backed tips!

Understanding Our Relationship with Alcohol

First, we need to dig beneath the surface to understand why we're drawn to drinking. Alcohol has deeply permeated our societal rituals: it’s used as an icebreaker at parties, a relaxant after a long day, or even as a coping mechanism for life's hurdles. Recognizing this can be uncomfortable but illuminating. Are we reaching for the bottle to deal with stress, loneliness, or perhaps boredom? Maybe it's a social routine we've slipped into, or we might be wrestling with more profound issues such as anxiety or depression. By asking ourselves these tough questions, we can map out the intricacies of our relationship with alcohol — a critical foundation for the journey towards sobriety.

Setting Clear Goals

With a better understanding of our motivations, we can move forward to set clear, achievable goals. These are unique to each person. For some, it could mean reducing the number of drinks consumed each week; for others, it could mean striving for complete abstinence. Regardless of our specific goal, the key here is to be realistic yet ambitious. Every small step we take towards these goals is a personal victory, and we must acknowledge it as such.

Building a Support System

When we've got people in our corner, the fight becomes less daunting. Support systems act as our safety net, always there to catch us when we stumble and lift us when we're down. This network can include friends and family, support groups, or professionals like therapists or counselors. You can even tap into support 24/7 via Reframe’s anonymous Forum. Here, you'll find like-minded people who understand, support, and respect your decision to stop drinking. This is not a journey we need to undertake alone; having allies along the way can be a real game-changer.

Finding Healthy Alternatives

Let's face it: sometimes we drink out of sheer habit. Maybe it’s the end of a grueling day, and we automatically reach for a drink to unwind, or we’re cooking dinner and sipping some wine. Breaking these patterns by finding a healthier alternative can be immensely helpful. This could be anything that brings us joy and relaxation, from brewing a calming cup of herbal tea, immersing ourselves in a good book, practicing meditation, or taking a refreshing evening walk. By replacing old routines with new, healthier ones, we can gradually change our automatic response to stress and fatigue.

Mental Health Matters

Acknowledging and addressing underlying mental health issues that may contribute to our drinking is an essential component of this journey. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, has proven effective in treating alcohol misuse by altering the way we perceive drinking. Moreover, mindfulness and meditation techniques can help us manage our stress and emotions better, reducing our urge to use alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Celebrating Progress

As we venture along this path, it's crucial to recognize and celebrate each milestone, no matter how small. Progress isn't linear; there might be hurdles and setbacks along the way. But what defines us is not the number of times we fall, but the number of times we get back up. Our consistent effort and resilience shape our journey, not the detours or delays we may experience as we go.

The Takeaway

Moving towards a life without alcohol can feel like sailing through uncharted waters. We might encounter storms of temptation and currents of doubt, but it's important to remember that we have the strength and the courage to navigate this trip successfully. Change is possible! We have the power to redefine our relationship with alcohol, one day at a time.

So the next time you find yourself at that lively party, instead of mindlessly reaching for a glass of wine, take a moment. Remember the journey you’ve committed to and the progress you’ve made.

The road towards sobriety isn’t easy, but it's worth every step. As J.P. Morgan famously said, "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that we are not going to stay where we are." So, let's take that first step together.

Ditch the Alcohol for Good With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

Quit Drinking
Drinking Habits
2021-11-12 14:19
Quit Drinking
Alcohol-Free Living: 8 Tips To Help You Stay Sober
This is some text inside of a div block.

How can we stay sober over the long haul? Explore 8 strategies that can help you maintain an alcohol-free lifestyle.

17 min read

Stay Sober With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today! 

Read Full Article  →

Saying goodbye to alcohol is no easy feat. Learning to navigate life without drinking can be a time-consuming process, full of triumphs and setbacks.

But it’s one thing to stop drinking — and quite another to stay sober. In fact, staying sober can often be more challenging than simply stopping. So how can you do it? 

In this post, we’ll explore 8 strategies to help set you up for success. We’ll also look at the benefits of sobriety, and what you can look forward to gaining from it. Let’s dive in!

Tip 1: Identify Your Personal Triggers

One of the biggest parts of staying sober is identifying and understanding your triggers. If we know what causes us to drink, we’ll have an easier time resisting the urge. The more conscious we can become, the better equipped we’ll be to stay sober. Keep in mind that triggers can be both external and internal. External triggers include people, places, things, and situations that elicit thoughts or cravings for alcohol. Internal triggers are the particular feelings, thoughts, or emotions we associate with drinking. 

Spend some time identifying and writing about your triggers. For instance, we might be triggered when we dine at a certain restaurant or hang out with a certain friend. Or we might have an urge to drink when we’re upset or angry. Identifying our triggers is a crucial first step.

Tip 2: Make a Plan

Once we identify our triggers, we can create a plan to tackle them. We might not always be able to avoid triggers, but we can plan how we can conquer them. For instance, perhaps our plan involves practicing mindfulness whenever we’re feeling emotionally charged. Or maybe we make it a point to no longer go to a particular restaurant or neighborhood. It can be particularly helpful to make a list of things you can do to help yourself stay on track whenever you are triggered, such as calling a friend, practicing diaphragmatic breathing, exercising, or turning to a non-alcoholic beverage

We might also list the activities that bring us joy, such as a hobby, sport, or spending time with certain people. This might sound simple, but the more time we invest in creating a prevention plan, the more successful we’ll be at staying sober. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 

Tip 3: Find New Activities

Finding new activities and building new habits can go a long way in helping us to stay sober. For many of us, drinking has been a big part of our social life. That’s why it’s so important to explore new interests and find new ways to socialize. For instance, maybe we join an intramural sports team or take a class in a subject that interests us, like photography or cooking. Perhaps we join a book club or start volunteering at a local organization. 

Exposing ourselves to new things not only helps fill the time we might have spent drinking, but also helps connect us with like-minded individuals. Plus, these activities serve as positive, healthy outlets for our energy and emotions. The more activities we try, the more we’ll grow! And the more options we have, the easier it becomes to choose something other than alcohol. 

Tip 4: Create a Support Network

We weren’t meant to go through life alone. And when it comes to achieving our goals and staying sober, a support network is incredibly important. In fact, research has shown that social support is a key factor in helping people stay sober. Our social network can include family members, friends, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or a therapist. 

As we create a support network, we’ll have a team of people cheering us on and ready to help us when we’re struggling or experiencing cravings. They can also hold us accountable and help us navigate sobriety fatigue — or the overall exhaustion that may occur as a result of the emotional and physical stress of staying sober. Remember: it’s ok to lean on others — we all need people in our corner!

Tips for staying sober: 8 ways to maintain sobriety

Tip 5: Practice Self-Care

Self-care is vital for everyone, but it’s especially important for helping us stay sober. If we’re not taking care of ourselves, we’re more susceptible to stress and have a harder time making healthy choices and staying on track. Self-care can look different for everyone, but might include things like exercising regularly, making time for recreational activities and hobbies, eating well-balanced meals, getting good quality sleep, or practicing relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation or yoga.

It’s most important to find something that you enjoy doing, look forward to doing, and that acts as a “reward” to help replace that dopamine hit from alcohol. Keep in mind that part of practicing self-care is celebrating wins, both big and small. For instance, we might treat ourselves to a meal from our favorite restaurant when we successfully navigate a trigger in a healthy way. 

Tip 6: Cultivate Gratitude 

One of the most helpful skills we can develop in an alcohol-free lifestyle is gratitude for everything we have — both big and small. Gratitude offers numerous benefits for our emotional, mental, and even physical well-being. In fact, studies have found that grateful people enjoy better mental health, lower stress, and a better quality of life

We can start cultivating gratitude by writing down at least three things every day that we’re grateful for, even if they’re just bullet points. The things we list can be small in importance, such as “I’m grateful for the warm cup of coffee I had this morning,” or they can be big, such as “I’m grateful that my sister gave birth to a healthy baby girl.” We might even consider creating a “gratitude journal” and making it a point to write in it before we go to bed each night. Over time, we’re bound to reap the benefits!

Tip 7: Help Others and Give Back

Another healthy practice that can help us stay sober is to help others and give back. In fact, research has shown that giving is a powerful pathway toward increased joy and happiness. Giving actually activates our brain’s reward center, releasing endorphins that lead to that “helper’s high” (a much healthier alternative than a temporary dopamine “hit” from alcohol!).

We can give in numerous ways, such as volunteering at a local organization or donating to a particular cause. Even the simple act of complimenting someone can release our brain’s “feel good” chemicals. Helping others truly is a win-win: it helps them and it helps us!

Tip 8: Celebrate Milestones

There’s a reason that the 12-step sobriety program encourages the celebration of milestones. In fact, it’s customary to receive plastic chips as people progress to the one-year mark, at which time they receive a bronze coin. Acknowledging and celebrating our efforts to stay sober can motivate us to keep going. They also allow us to see how far we’ve come — and that’s worth celebrating! 

Celebrating milestones can look different for everyone, as there are many ways to celebrate. Maybe it means enjoying a meal out at a fancy restaurant with close friends and family. Or maybe it means booking a long weekend trip somewhere. The point is to acknowledge the progress we’ve made by doing something that brings us joy. 

The Benefits of Being Sober

In addition to the eight concrete tips above, reflecting on the many benefits of staying sober can also be helpful, further encouraging us to stay stober. With that in mind, here are five reasons living alcohol-free is so beneficial:

  1. Improved mental health: Alcohol alters our brain chemistry, disrupting the balance of neurotransmitters (like GABA, glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin), which regulate our mood and emotions. Over time, frequent alcohol use can trap us in a vicious cycle as we drink to cope with worsening mental health symptoms. Without alcohol, our brain restores its natural balance. The result? More emotional stability, less stress, and renewed resilience!

  2. Better sleep: Alcohol may make us fall asleep faster, but it inhibits our REM sleep — the sleep stage associated with deep, restorative rest. This disruption can leave us feeling groggy, unfocused, and fatigued. By staying sober, we’re helping ensure we get the quality sleep we need to function well. Sleep is vital to nearly every aspect of our health — from our mood and memory to our immune system and metabolism. 

  3. Stronger heart: Alcohol can take a toll on our heart, which literally keeps us alive. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can lead to several heart-related problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). Staying sober can minimize our risk for all these conditions, reducing strain and promoting longevity. 

  4. Reduced cancer risk: Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the same category as tobacco and asbestos. It’s associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver cancer. A sober lifestyle reduces this risk and allows our bodies to heal from any alcohol-induced damage. 

  5. Better relationships: Alcohol often seeps into our social lives, affecting relationships with our partner, friends, or family. Relationships are hard enough on their own, but alcohol can cause added strain, leading to tension and misunderstandings. By staying sober, we can foster more genuine, meaningful connections. Our relationships come to be built on understanding and mutual respect, rather than on superficial bonds that alcohol often promotes. It’s truly amazing how much our relationships improve when we say goodbye to alcohol!

While these are just some of the benefits of bidding alcohol adieu, they can be helpful to keep in mind as we continue our alcohol-free journey and learn how to stay sober. 

The Bottom Line

Especially if alcohol played a significant part in our life, staying sober after quitting drinking can be difficult. But it’s not impossible! Identifying our triggers, crafting a prevention plan, and creating a support network can make a world of difference, as can practicing self-care and engaging in new activities. Remember: sobriety is a process, and setbacks are common. Over time, however, as we grow, heal, and reap the benefits, it will become easier to maintain an alcohol-free lifestyle. 

If you want to learn more about how to stay sober, consider trying Reframe. We’re a science-backed app that has helped millions of people quit drinking and enhance their well-being.

Saying goodbye to alcohol is no easy feat. Learning to navigate life without drinking can be a time-consuming process, full of triumphs and setbacks.

But it’s one thing to stop drinking — and quite another to stay sober. In fact, staying sober can often be more challenging than simply stopping. So how can you do it? 

In this post, we’ll explore 8 strategies to help set you up for success. We’ll also look at the benefits of sobriety, and what you can look forward to gaining from it. Let’s dive in!

Tip 1: Identify Your Personal Triggers

One of the biggest parts of staying sober is identifying and understanding your triggers. If we know what causes us to drink, we’ll have an easier time resisting the urge. The more conscious we can become, the better equipped we’ll be to stay sober. Keep in mind that triggers can be both external and internal. External triggers include people, places, things, and situations that elicit thoughts or cravings for alcohol. Internal triggers are the particular feelings, thoughts, or emotions we associate with drinking. 

Spend some time identifying and writing about your triggers. For instance, we might be triggered when we dine at a certain restaurant or hang out with a certain friend. Or we might have an urge to drink when we’re upset or angry. Identifying our triggers is a crucial first step.

Tip 2: Make a Plan

Once we identify our triggers, we can create a plan to tackle them. We might not always be able to avoid triggers, but we can plan how we can conquer them. For instance, perhaps our plan involves practicing mindfulness whenever we’re feeling emotionally charged. Or maybe we make it a point to no longer go to a particular restaurant or neighborhood. It can be particularly helpful to make a list of things you can do to help yourself stay on track whenever you are triggered, such as calling a friend, practicing diaphragmatic breathing, exercising, or turning to a non-alcoholic beverage

We might also list the activities that bring us joy, such as a hobby, sport, or spending time with certain people. This might sound simple, but the more time we invest in creating a prevention plan, the more successful we’ll be at staying sober. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 

Tip 3: Find New Activities

Finding new activities and building new habits can go a long way in helping us to stay sober. For many of us, drinking has been a big part of our social life. That’s why it’s so important to explore new interests and find new ways to socialize. For instance, maybe we join an intramural sports team or take a class in a subject that interests us, like photography or cooking. Perhaps we join a book club or start volunteering at a local organization. 

Exposing ourselves to new things not only helps fill the time we might have spent drinking, but also helps connect us with like-minded individuals. Plus, these activities serve as positive, healthy outlets for our energy and emotions. The more activities we try, the more we’ll grow! And the more options we have, the easier it becomes to choose something other than alcohol. 

Tip 4: Create a Support Network

We weren’t meant to go through life alone. And when it comes to achieving our goals and staying sober, a support network is incredibly important. In fact, research has shown that social support is a key factor in helping people stay sober. Our social network can include family members, friends, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or a therapist. 

As we create a support network, we’ll have a team of people cheering us on and ready to help us when we’re struggling or experiencing cravings. They can also hold us accountable and help us navigate sobriety fatigue — or the overall exhaustion that may occur as a result of the emotional and physical stress of staying sober. Remember: it’s ok to lean on others — we all need people in our corner!

Tips for staying sober: 8 ways to maintain sobriety

Tip 5: Practice Self-Care

Self-care is vital for everyone, but it’s especially important for helping us stay sober. If we’re not taking care of ourselves, we’re more susceptible to stress and have a harder time making healthy choices and staying on track. Self-care can look different for everyone, but might include things like exercising regularly, making time for recreational activities and hobbies, eating well-balanced meals, getting good quality sleep, or practicing relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation or yoga.

It’s most important to find something that you enjoy doing, look forward to doing, and that acts as a “reward” to help replace that dopamine hit from alcohol. Keep in mind that part of practicing self-care is celebrating wins, both big and small. For instance, we might treat ourselves to a meal from our favorite restaurant when we successfully navigate a trigger in a healthy way. 

Tip 6: Cultivate Gratitude 

One of the most helpful skills we can develop in an alcohol-free lifestyle is gratitude for everything we have — both big and small. Gratitude offers numerous benefits for our emotional, mental, and even physical well-being. In fact, studies have found that grateful people enjoy better mental health, lower stress, and a better quality of life

We can start cultivating gratitude by writing down at least three things every day that we’re grateful for, even if they’re just bullet points. The things we list can be small in importance, such as “I’m grateful for the warm cup of coffee I had this morning,” or they can be big, such as “I’m grateful that my sister gave birth to a healthy baby girl.” We might even consider creating a “gratitude journal” and making it a point to write in it before we go to bed each night. Over time, we’re bound to reap the benefits!

Tip 7: Help Others and Give Back

Another healthy practice that can help us stay sober is to help others and give back. In fact, research has shown that giving is a powerful pathway toward increased joy and happiness. Giving actually activates our brain’s reward center, releasing endorphins that lead to that “helper’s high” (a much healthier alternative than a temporary dopamine “hit” from alcohol!).

We can give in numerous ways, such as volunteering at a local organization or donating to a particular cause. Even the simple act of complimenting someone can release our brain’s “feel good” chemicals. Helping others truly is a win-win: it helps them and it helps us!

Tip 8: Celebrate Milestones

There’s a reason that the 12-step sobriety program encourages the celebration of milestones. In fact, it’s customary to receive plastic chips as people progress to the one-year mark, at which time they receive a bronze coin. Acknowledging and celebrating our efforts to stay sober can motivate us to keep going. They also allow us to see how far we’ve come — and that’s worth celebrating! 

Celebrating milestones can look different for everyone, as there are many ways to celebrate. Maybe it means enjoying a meal out at a fancy restaurant with close friends and family. Or maybe it means booking a long weekend trip somewhere. The point is to acknowledge the progress we’ve made by doing something that brings us joy. 

The Benefits of Being Sober

In addition to the eight concrete tips above, reflecting on the many benefits of staying sober can also be helpful, further encouraging us to stay stober. With that in mind, here are five reasons living alcohol-free is so beneficial:

  1. Improved mental health: Alcohol alters our brain chemistry, disrupting the balance of neurotransmitters (like GABA, glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin), which regulate our mood and emotions. Over time, frequent alcohol use can trap us in a vicious cycle as we drink to cope with worsening mental health symptoms. Without alcohol, our brain restores its natural balance. The result? More emotional stability, less stress, and renewed resilience!

  2. Better sleep: Alcohol may make us fall asleep faster, but it inhibits our REM sleep — the sleep stage associated with deep, restorative rest. This disruption can leave us feeling groggy, unfocused, and fatigued. By staying sober, we’re helping ensure we get the quality sleep we need to function well. Sleep is vital to nearly every aspect of our health — from our mood and memory to our immune system and metabolism. 

  3. Stronger heart: Alcohol can take a toll on our heart, which literally keeps us alive. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can lead to several heart-related problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). Staying sober can minimize our risk for all these conditions, reducing strain and promoting longevity. 

  4. Reduced cancer risk: Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the same category as tobacco and asbestos. It’s associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver cancer. A sober lifestyle reduces this risk and allows our bodies to heal from any alcohol-induced damage. 

  5. Better relationships: Alcohol often seeps into our social lives, affecting relationships with our partner, friends, or family. Relationships are hard enough on their own, but alcohol can cause added strain, leading to tension and misunderstandings. By staying sober, we can foster more genuine, meaningful connections. Our relationships come to be built on understanding and mutual respect, rather than on superficial bonds that alcohol often promotes. It’s truly amazing how much our relationships improve when we say goodbye to alcohol!

While these are just some of the benefits of bidding alcohol adieu, they can be helpful to keep in mind as we continue our alcohol-free journey and learn how to stay sober. 

The Bottom Line

Especially if alcohol played a significant part in our life, staying sober after quitting drinking can be difficult. But it’s not impossible! Identifying our triggers, crafting a prevention plan, and creating a support network can make a world of difference, as can practicing self-care and engaging in new activities. Remember: sobriety is a process, and setbacks are common. Over time, however, as we grow, heal, and reap the benefits, it will become easier to maintain an alcohol-free lifestyle. 

If you want to learn more about how to stay sober, consider trying Reframe. We’re a science-backed app that has helped millions of people quit drinking and enhance their well-being.

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