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2023-05-27 9:00
Quit Drinking
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10 Benefits of an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle
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Wondering what benefits you can expect when you go alcohol-free? In this blog post, we'll cover 10 specific benefits.

28 min read

Start Your Journey 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!

Read Full Article  →

Ever felt like there’s a better version of you, just waiting to emerge? That your full potential is just a choice away? We often look for life-altering changes in grand gestures, extreme diets, or challenging workouts. But what if the secret to unveiling your best self was in one simple choice: to drink less or not at all?

Bidding adieu to booze might just be the best decision you ever make. We’re not saying you’ll turn into a superhero, but, hey, no more alcohol might just be the cape you never knew you needed. What is sober living, and what’s so great about it? Let’s find out!

Booze and the Body

A woman sitting on the grass with a water bottle

Before diving further into the myriad of benefits of sobriety, let's demystify what alcohol does to our systems. This information lets us make decisions that serve our well-being in the best possible ways.

  • Liver. The liver tirelessly works to process whatever we throw at it, including alcohol. But chronically overwhelming it with excessive alcohol can lead to an array of issues, from fatty liver and alcoholic hepatitis to more severe conditions like fibrosis and cirrhosis.
  • Gut. Those unsettling post-drinking stomach sensations aren't just in your head. Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and disturb the balance of acids. This may manifest as heartburn, acid reflux, or over prolonged periods, even ulcers.
  • Heart. While there's some discussion around moderate drinking and heart health, going overboard is clearly detrimental. Overconsumption can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and other cardiovascular issues.
  • Bone density. Consistent alcohol consumption can interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium — an essential component for bone health. In the long run, this raises the risk of conditions like osteoporosis.
  • Cognition. That fleeting post-drink brain fog is just the tip of the iceberg. Chronic use can have lasting effects on memory, concentration, and even lead to decreased brain volume.
  • Emotions. While the mood-lifting effects of alcohol can be enticing, they're often short-lived. Over time, excessive drinking can imbalance the brain’s neurotransmitters, potentially leading to mood disorders.
  • Pancreas. The pancreas, vital for digestion, gets strained by alcohol, leading it to produce toxic substances. This can result in inflammation, known as pancreatitis.
  • Immune system. Regular drinking can dull our immune system’s responses, making us more susceptible not only to common ailments but also to more severe conditions.

The Turnaround

Armed with this knowledge, the benefits of reducing alcohol or pursuing a sober lifestyle become even more pronounced. Choices that prioritize our health and well-being might be among the best decisions we ever make.

Going sober or cutting back is more than just saying no to a drink. It’s saying yes to a myriad of life’s fantastic offerings. Ready to explore?

Body Benefits of Sober Living

1. Brain Power Unleashed

Remember when you could multitask like a champ or solve problems in a snap? Alcohol might be dimming that mental sparkle. If your brain were like a smartphone, alcohol could be that pesky app running in the background, draining the battery. But ditching the booze? It’s like deleting that app. 

Studies have shown that while alcohol can impair cognitive function, sobriety can sharpen our memory, focus, and learning capability. Embrace it and prepare to have your mental faculties firing on all cylinders. It’s like giving your brain a swanky upgrade without the tech fuss! Here’s what happens in more detail:

  • Memory mastery. While alcohol can fog up the windows of our memories, sobriety starts the process of window cleaning! Over time, short-term recall becomes more vivid, and long-term memories are accessed with greater ease. 
  • Improved focus and concentration. Without booze’s dampening effects, our attention span expands. Tasks that once seemed daunting or that required significant effort can now be approached with sharper focus. Imagine reading a book and getting lost in its world without needing to re-read paragraphs!
  • Cognitive agility. Our ability to think quickly, switch between tasks, and adapt to new information or situations gets better when liberated from the restraints of alcohol, allowing for faster problem-solving and better decision-making.
  • Enhanced learning capabilities. The brain's plasticity — its ability to adapt and change — gets a boost post-alcohol, making it easier to acquire new skills or learn new languages. Picking up that guitar or signing up for a course in Italian? Your alcohol-free brain is your greatest ally!
  • Neuroprotection and growth. Research has indicated that sobriety potentially promotes the growth of new neurons in certain parts of the brain, a process known as neurogenesis. This growth can contribute to improved cognitive functions and resistance to neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Clarity and self-awareness. Above all, the absence of alcohol offers an unclouded view of ourselves and the world. This clarity fosters introspection, allowing us to better understand our motivations, desires, and emotions.

To boost your brain further in sobriety, try this:

  • Mindful practices. Activities like meditation and mindfulness can enhance cognitive benefits, fostering clarity and focus.
  • Brain training. Engage in puzzles, games, or apps designed to challenge and train different parts of your brain.
  • Staying social. Engaging in stimulating conversations and maintaining strong social connections can be a boon for cognitive health.

2. Sleep and Sober Living: Dive Deep Into Dreamland

Alcohol might promise you a lullaby, but it’s often out of tune. Opting for less booze ensures you not only fall asleep but stay in the dreamy depths and get more quality shut-eye. The body’s overnight alcohol metabolization causes more frequent awakenings, whether we remember them or not. This results in a night of fragmented, interrupted sleep, depriving us of the continuous rest our body truly needs.

Here’s what happens when our bodies have a chance to truly rest:

  • Consistency in sleep patterns. A primary benefit of reduced alcohol consumption is the stabilization of the body's internal clock. With consistent sleep patterns, our body starts to sync with its natural circadian rhythms, making sleep more restorative.
  • Vivid dreamscapes. As sobriety ensures uninterrupted REM cycles, many report experiencing more vivid and memorable dreams. This can be an exciting playground for creativity and introspection.
  • A refreshed morning. Waking up after an alcohol-free night can feel like a revelation. With deeper, more consistent sleep, mornings become a time of true awakening rather than a groggy challenge. Expect to feel more energetic, alert, and happy.
  • Long-term health benefits. Chronic sleep disruption has been linked to various health issues, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and weakened immune function. By improving your sleep by reducing your alcohol intake, you're taking a proactive step towards overall better health.

Sleep tips for the newly sober:

  • Establish a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time daily (even on the weekends) helps regulate your internal clock.
  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Consider blackout curtains, comfortable bedding, and perhaps a white noise machine.
  • Mindful relaxation. Engage in calming pre-sleep rituals such as reading, meditating, or practicing gentle yoga.

3. Sober Living: A Fortress of Immunity

Your immune system? It's kind of a big deal. Regular alcohol consumption can weaken it. But reducing alcohol can give it the boost it needs to fend off illnesses better. Take that, cold season! Here’s how a sober lifestyle can improve our immunity:

  • Pathogen protection. Without the burden of alcohol, the immune system runs more smoothly, and it can more efficiently identify and eliminate pathogens. 
  • Optimized cellular repair. One of the immune system's remarkable abilities is repairing damaged cells and facilitating the removal of old or malfunctioning ones. Getting booze out of the way enhances this repair mechanism, ensuring that potential threats like precancerous cells are addressed promptly.
  • Better barriers. The skin and mucous membranes act as our body's physical barriers against pathogens. Improved hydration and overall health post-alcohol mean these barriers are more effective in preventing the entry of harmful invaders.
  • Reduction in inflammation. While inflammation is a natural immune response, chronic inflammation can spell trouble. Kicking alcohol to the curb can help lower systemic inflammation, ensuring the immune system knows how to pick its battles and isn’t constantly on high alert. 
  • Strengthened vaccine responses. A robust immune system responds better to vaccinations, providing better protection against disease.
  • Bolstered respiratory health. The respiratory system, another crucial line of defense against airborne pathogens, also benefits. With improved ciliary function (the tiny hair-like structures in our airways), the body becomes more adept at clearing mucus and pathogens.

There are a few basic ways to maximize sobriety’s immune system benefits:

  • Diversify your diet. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can further augment the immune system's function.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking ample water supports cellular functions and helps in detoxifying the body.
  • Engage in regular exercise. Physical activity can stimulate the immune system, aiding in the efficient circulation of immune cells.

Look and Feel Your Best

4. Get Your Glow Back With Sober Living

Why let alcohol rain on your radiant parade? A sober lifestyle can mean well-hydrated, clearer skin, leading to fewer breakouts and that elusive glow! Don't be surprised if people think you've discovered the fountain of youth. Here’s how going alcohol-free can improve our skin:

  • Enhanced hydration. As we reduce or eliminate alcohol, the skin begins to retain moisture better, giving it a plumper, more youthful appearance. Think of it as quenching your skin's thirst from within!
  • Reduction in inflammation. Without the inflammatory effects of alcohol, skin redness, puffiness, and irritation begin to subside. This results in a more even skin tone and texture.
  • Improved nutrient absorption. Post-alcohol, the body's ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals improves. This is especially true for Vitamin A, which plays a critical role in skin cell production and repair. With optimum levels of vitamin A, the skin gets a natural boost, enhancing its overall health and appearance.
  • Collagen boost. Collagen is the primary structural protein in our skin, responsible for its elasticity and firmness. As we step away from alcohol, collagen synthesis turns up, leading to reduced fine lines and a more supple skin texture.
  • Fewer breakouts. Alcohol can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to breakouts. Sobriety can help balance these hormone levels, leading to fewer unwelcome guests on the face. Plus, without alcohol enlarging pores and increasing oil production, the skin is less prone to acne.
  • Natural glow. Better blood circulation is another perk of ditching the booze. With enhanced circulation, the skin receives a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients, leading to a natural, rosy glow. It's like letting your skin breathe a sigh of relief.

To maximize your skin health post-alcohol:

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water supports skin hydration, amplifying its natural radiance.
  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Incorporate foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. Think berries, nuts, salmon, and leafy greens.
  • Develop a skin routine. Ensure a regular skincare routine tailored to your skin type. Cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen are fundamental steps.
10 Benefits of an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

5. The Scales Are Tipping … in Your Favor!

Wave goodbye to those sneaky alcohol calories. As you let go of the booze, you might just find those jeans fitting a bit more loosely. Many people find that after they say goodbye to alcohol, they shed a few extra pounds without even trying. It’s not just about the numbers, though  — it’s about feeling good in your own skin.

6. Out-Zoom the Zoomers Through Sober Living

Remember when you were a kid, running around with a bottomless energy supply? Sobriety is like plugging into that old vitality and recharging your batteries. Without the tiring effects of alcohol, you may find yourself with a zest for life again. Who knew adulting could feel this sprightly? Here’s how going sober can unleash your natural energy:

  • Rhythm restoration. Alcohol is notorious for disrupting our body's natural circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. As we cut out alcohol, these rhythms start to stabilize, ensuring quality sleep and a refreshed, energetic morning.
  • Better oxygen utilization. Without alcohol in our system, our lungs and cardiovascular system operate more efficiently, delivering oxygen-rich blood to our muscles and organs. This can lead to enhanced physical stamina and increased energy levels during the day.
  • Enhanced nutrient absorption. As the gut heals from the abrasive effects of alcohol, nutrient absorption from food improves, ensuring a consistent energy supply.
  • Hormonal harmony. Alcohol can disrupt several hormonal pathways, including those related to stress and energy production. Sobriety helps restore this balance, ensuring optimal hormonal function.

7. Sober Living: Steadier Seas, Happier Days

Why let alcohol rock your emotional boat? Keeping it at bay can mean smoother sailing. It's all about those feel-good vibes:

  • Emotional regulation and mood stability. Alcohol can put us on an emotional rollercoaster. Once we step away, the brain begins to recalibrate the balance of neurotransmitters, leading to more stable moods and better emotional regulation. 
  • More optimism. Alcohol is a depressant that can play havoc with our emotions. A sober lifestyle can lead to steadier moods and a more optimistic outlook on life. 

A Life of Meaning and Opportunity

Finally, going booze-free allows us to pursue our life goals and passions and to create a life of meaning. It also gives us a chance to establish a better quality of life without booze draining our resources.

8. Sober Living and Genuine Connections 

Bonding without booze means getting real with people. It means heart-to-heart talks without the morning-after cringe. True stories, real laughs, zero facepalms. Interactions minus the booze can mean deeper, more genuine connections. It’s like upgrading your social game. More meaningful chats, fewer "did I really say that?" moments. Let's explore the profound transformation that awaits:

  • The art of authenticity. Without the haze of alcohol, conversations become clearer, more heartfelt, and genuine. You start to engage with people on a deeper level, understanding their emotions and sharing yours without any reservations.
  • Improved emotional intelligence. Sobriety fosters self-awareness, allowing you to better gauge and understand not only your emotions but also the emotions of those around you. This heightened emotional intelligence paves the way for more compassionate, empathetic interactions.
  • Rediscovering old bonds. Sobriety often leads to mending bridges. It offers a chance to reconnect with friends or family members, revitalizing relationships that might have been strained during drinking days.
  • Building trust. Consistency and reliability are cornerstones of trust. By remaining present and accountable in your relationships, you lay a foundation of trust that can grow and flourish.
  • Cultivating deeper friendships. Sobriety can lead to the blossoming of friendships that are rooted in shared interests, mutual respect, and understanding, rather than just shared drinking experiences.
  • Enhanced listening skills. With a clear mind, you become a more attentive listener, truly hearing and understanding what others have to say, leading to more meaningful conversations.
  • Vulnerability as a strength. Without alcohol as a shield, you learn the power of vulnerability. Opening up about your feelings, struggles, and triumphs can lead to profound connections and mutual support.
  • Clarity in conflict. Without the influence of alcohol, conflicts or disagreements can be approached with a clear mind, fostering understanding and resolutions that strengthen relationships.

Here are a few tips for fostering meaningful connections in sobriety:

  • Engage in group activities. Join clubs or groups that align with your interests, providing opportunities to meet like-minded individuals. Build your own sober living community!
  • Communicate openly. Let your loved ones know about your decision to embrace sobriety and the reasons behind it. Their understanding and support can be invaluable.
  • Plan sober social events with your sober living community. From board game nights to picnics, there are countless ways to socialize without alcohol.

9. Monetary Benefits of Sober Living: A Wallet Bursting at the Seams

You know those fancy drinks with the tiny umbrellas? Pricey, right? Those cocktails and beers add up! Cut back on alcohol, and you might just find yourself with a more jingle in your pocket. 

Think of all the nifty things you could invest in instead. Spa day? New hobby? Tropical getaway? The possibilities are endless!

10. Discover Your New Passion Project in Sobriety

All this time not spent on nursing hangovers? That’s opportunity knocking! You might discover talents you never knew you had! From knitting to karaoke, the world's your playground. When the haze of alcohol dissipates, the world bursts forth in vibrant color, presenting a myriad of opportunities previously overshadowed or overlooked. Saying goodbye to alcohol is like greeting a sunrise of possibilities. Consider the renaissance that awaits you:

  • Time on your side. Free from the hours spent drinking and nursing hangovers, you suddenly have pockets of time. This is your canvas. Whether it's pursuing a long-forgotten hobby or trying something entirely new, the world is teeming with activities awaiting your participation.
  • Enhanced creativity. With a clear mind, creativity flourishes. You might find yourself doodling, writing, painting, or even inventing. Don’t be surprised if solutions to old problems start popping up or if you begin seeing the world from a fresh perspective.
  • Physical feats. Perhaps you've always wanted to run a marathon or take up rock climbing. As your body regains its strength and vitality, challenging physical activities become more attainable and enjoyable.
  • Travel with a twist. Traveling sober offers a completely different experience. Without the distraction of looking for the next bar or dealing with hangovers, you can truly immerse yourself in a new culture, savor local delicacies, and create lasting memories.
  • Giving back. Sobriety might ignite a spark to give back to the community. From volunteering at local shelters to joining global missions, the world is full of opportunities to make a difference.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit. That business idea you shelved because you were too busy with nightlife? It's time to dust it off! Sobriety can provide the clarity and determination needed to embark on entrepreneurial adventures.

Try these tips to embrace new opportunities in sobriety:

  • Stay curious. Adopt a learner's mindset. Approach the world with wonder and curiosity.
  • Start small. You don’t need to dive into everything at once. Pick one activity and stick your toe in before giving it your all. Then pick your next activity!
  • Celebrate milestones. Every new skill acquired or project completed is a victory. Celebrate them!

A New Life Awaits!

So, are you ready to embrace a life of sobriety? One with better sleep, a healthier brain, better immunity, glowing skin, more energy, more meaningful friendships, an opportunity to explore your passions, and some extra cash to boot? No matter which benefit you're most excited about, they're all hits. 

At its core, sobriety isn't really about losing alcohol. It's about gaining depth, warmth, and authenticity to our connections. Embracing sobriety isn't just about leaving alcohol behind — it's about stepping into a world brimming with possibility. Seize it!

Ever felt like there’s a better version of you, just waiting to emerge? That your full potential is just a choice away? We often look for life-altering changes in grand gestures, extreme diets, or challenging workouts. But what if the secret to unveiling your best self was in one simple choice: to drink less or not at all?

Bidding adieu to booze might just be the best decision you ever make. We’re not saying you’ll turn into a superhero, but, hey, no more alcohol might just be the cape you never knew you needed. What is sober living, and what’s so great about it? Let’s find out!

Booze and the Body

A woman sitting on the grass with a water bottle

Before diving further into the myriad of benefits of sobriety, let's demystify what alcohol does to our systems. This information lets us make decisions that serve our well-being in the best possible ways.

  • Liver. The liver tirelessly works to process whatever we throw at it, including alcohol. But chronically overwhelming it with excessive alcohol can lead to an array of issues, from fatty liver and alcoholic hepatitis to more severe conditions like fibrosis and cirrhosis.
  • Gut. Those unsettling post-drinking stomach sensations aren't just in your head. Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and disturb the balance of acids. This may manifest as heartburn, acid reflux, or over prolonged periods, even ulcers.
  • Heart. While there's some discussion around moderate drinking and heart health, going overboard is clearly detrimental. Overconsumption can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and other cardiovascular issues.
  • Bone density. Consistent alcohol consumption can interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium — an essential component for bone health. In the long run, this raises the risk of conditions like osteoporosis.
  • Cognition. That fleeting post-drink brain fog is just the tip of the iceberg. Chronic use can have lasting effects on memory, concentration, and even lead to decreased brain volume.
  • Emotions. While the mood-lifting effects of alcohol can be enticing, they're often short-lived. Over time, excessive drinking can imbalance the brain’s neurotransmitters, potentially leading to mood disorders.
  • Pancreas. The pancreas, vital for digestion, gets strained by alcohol, leading it to produce toxic substances. This can result in inflammation, known as pancreatitis.
  • Immune system. Regular drinking can dull our immune system’s responses, making us more susceptible not only to common ailments but also to more severe conditions.

The Turnaround

Armed with this knowledge, the benefits of reducing alcohol or pursuing a sober lifestyle become even more pronounced. Choices that prioritize our health and well-being might be among the best decisions we ever make.

Going sober or cutting back is more than just saying no to a drink. It’s saying yes to a myriad of life’s fantastic offerings. Ready to explore?

Body Benefits of Sober Living

1. Brain Power Unleashed

Remember when you could multitask like a champ or solve problems in a snap? Alcohol might be dimming that mental sparkle. If your brain were like a smartphone, alcohol could be that pesky app running in the background, draining the battery. But ditching the booze? It’s like deleting that app. 

Studies have shown that while alcohol can impair cognitive function, sobriety can sharpen our memory, focus, and learning capability. Embrace it and prepare to have your mental faculties firing on all cylinders. It’s like giving your brain a swanky upgrade without the tech fuss! Here’s what happens in more detail:

  • Memory mastery. While alcohol can fog up the windows of our memories, sobriety starts the process of window cleaning! Over time, short-term recall becomes more vivid, and long-term memories are accessed with greater ease. 
  • Improved focus and concentration. Without booze’s dampening effects, our attention span expands. Tasks that once seemed daunting or that required significant effort can now be approached with sharper focus. Imagine reading a book and getting lost in its world without needing to re-read paragraphs!
  • Cognitive agility. Our ability to think quickly, switch between tasks, and adapt to new information or situations gets better when liberated from the restraints of alcohol, allowing for faster problem-solving and better decision-making.
  • Enhanced learning capabilities. The brain's plasticity — its ability to adapt and change — gets a boost post-alcohol, making it easier to acquire new skills or learn new languages. Picking up that guitar or signing up for a course in Italian? Your alcohol-free brain is your greatest ally!
  • Neuroprotection and growth. Research has indicated that sobriety potentially promotes the growth of new neurons in certain parts of the brain, a process known as neurogenesis. This growth can contribute to improved cognitive functions and resistance to neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Clarity and self-awareness. Above all, the absence of alcohol offers an unclouded view of ourselves and the world. This clarity fosters introspection, allowing us to better understand our motivations, desires, and emotions.

To boost your brain further in sobriety, try this:

  • Mindful practices. Activities like meditation and mindfulness can enhance cognitive benefits, fostering clarity and focus.
  • Brain training. Engage in puzzles, games, or apps designed to challenge and train different parts of your brain.
  • Staying social. Engaging in stimulating conversations and maintaining strong social connections can be a boon for cognitive health.

2. Sleep and Sober Living: Dive Deep Into Dreamland

Alcohol might promise you a lullaby, but it’s often out of tune. Opting for less booze ensures you not only fall asleep but stay in the dreamy depths and get more quality shut-eye. The body’s overnight alcohol metabolization causes more frequent awakenings, whether we remember them or not. This results in a night of fragmented, interrupted sleep, depriving us of the continuous rest our body truly needs.

Here’s what happens when our bodies have a chance to truly rest:

  • Consistency in sleep patterns. A primary benefit of reduced alcohol consumption is the stabilization of the body's internal clock. With consistent sleep patterns, our body starts to sync with its natural circadian rhythms, making sleep more restorative.
  • Vivid dreamscapes. As sobriety ensures uninterrupted REM cycles, many report experiencing more vivid and memorable dreams. This can be an exciting playground for creativity and introspection.
  • A refreshed morning. Waking up after an alcohol-free night can feel like a revelation. With deeper, more consistent sleep, mornings become a time of true awakening rather than a groggy challenge. Expect to feel more energetic, alert, and happy.
  • Long-term health benefits. Chronic sleep disruption has been linked to various health issues, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and weakened immune function. By improving your sleep by reducing your alcohol intake, you're taking a proactive step towards overall better health.

Sleep tips for the newly sober:

  • Establish a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time daily (even on the weekends) helps regulate your internal clock.
  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Consider blackout curtains, comfortable bedding, and perhaps a white noise machine.
  • Mindful relaxation. Engage in calming pre-sleep rituals such as reading, meditating, or practicing gentle yoga.

3. Sober Living: A Fortress of Immunity

Your immune system? It's kind of a big deal. Regular alcohol consumption can weaken it. But reducing alcohol can give it the boost it needs to fend off illnesses better. Take that, cold season! Here’s how a sober lifestyle can improve our immunity:

  • Pathogen protection. Without the burden of alcohol, the immune system runs more smoothly, and it can more efficiently identify and eliminate pathogens. 
  • Optimized cellular repair. One of the immune system's remarkable abilities is repairing damaged cells and facilitating the removal of old or malfunctioning ones. Getting booze out of the way enhances this repair mechanism, ensuring that potential threats like precancerous cells are addressed promptly.
  • Better barriers. The skin and mucous membranes act as our body's physical barriers against pathogens. Improved hydration and overall health post-alcohol mean these barriers are more effective in preventing the entry of harmful invaders.
  • Reduction in inflammation. While inflammation is a natural immune response, chronic inflammation can spell trouble. Kicking alcohol to the curb can help lower systemic inflammation, ensuring the immune system knows how to pick its battles and isn’t constantly on high alert. 
  • Strengthened vaccine responses. A robust immune system responds better to vaccinations, providing better protection against disease.
  • Bolstered respiratory health. The respiratory system, another crucial line of defense against airborne pathogens, also benefits. With improved ciliary function (the tiny hair-like structures in our airways), the body becomes more adept at clearing mucus and pathogens.

There are a few basic ways to maximize sobriety’s immune system benefits:

  • Diversify your diet. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can further augment the immune system's function.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking ample water supports cellular functions and helps in detoxifying the body.
  • Engage in regular exercise. Physical activity can stimulate the immune system, aiding in the efficient circulation of immune cells.

Look and Feel Your Best

4. Get Your Glow Back With Sober Living

Why let alcohol rain on your radiant parade? A sober lifestyle can mean well-hydrated, clearer skin, leading to fewer breakouts and that elusive glow! Don't be surprised if people think you've discovered the fountain of youth. Here’s how going alcohol-free can improve our skin:

  • Enhanced hydration. As we reduce or eliminate alcohol, the skin begins to retain moisture better, giving it a plumper, more youthful appearance. Think of it as quenching your skin's thirst from within!
  • Reduction in inflammation. Without the inflammatory effects of alcohol, skin redness, puffiness, and irritation begin to subside. This results in a more even skin tone and texture.
  • Improved nutrient absorption. Post-alcohol, the body's ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals improves. This is especially true for Vitamin A, which plays a critical role in skin cell production and repair. With optimum levels of vitamin A, the skin gets a natural boost, enhancing its overall health and appearance.
  • Collagen boost. Collagen is the primary structural protein in our skin, responsible for its elasticity and firmness. As we step away from alcohol, collagen synthesis turns up, leading to reduced fine lines and a more supple skin texture.
  • Fewer breakouts. Alcohol can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to breakouts. Sobriety can help balance these hormone levels, leading to fewer unwelcome guests on the face. Plus, without alcohol enlarging pores and increasing oil production, the skin is less prone to acne.
  • Natural glow. Better blood circulation is another perk of ditching the booze. With enhanced circulation, the skin receives a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients, leading to a natural, rosy glow. It's like letting your skin breathe a sigh of relief.

To maximize your skin health post-alcohol:

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water supports skin hydration, amplifying its natural radiance.
  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Incorporate foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. Think berries, nuts, salmon, and leafy greens.
  • Develop a skin routine. Ensure a regular skincare routine tailored to your skin type. Cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen are fundamental steps.
10 Benefits of an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

5. The Scales Are Tipping … in Your Favor!

Wave goodbye to those sneaky alcohol calories. As you let go of the booze, you might just find those jeans fitting a bit more loosely. Many people find that after they say goodbye to alcohol, they shed a few extra pounds without even trying. It’s not just about the numbers, though  — it’s about feeling good in your own skin.

6. Out-Zoom the Zoomers Through Sober Living

Remember when you were a kid, running around with a bottomless energy supply? Sobriety is like plugging into that old vitality and recharging your batteries. Without the tiring effects of alcohol, you may find yourself with a zest for life again. Who knew adulting could feel this sprightly? Here’s how going sober can unleash your natural energy:

  • Rhythm restoration. Alcohol is notorious for disrupting our body's natural circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. As we cut out alcohol, these rhythms start to stabilize, ensuring quality sleep and a refreshed, energetic morning.
  • Better oxygen utilization. Without alcohol in our system, our lungs and cardiovascular system operate more efficiently, delivering oxygen-rich blood to our muscles and organs. This can lead to enhanced physical stamina and increased energy levels during the day.
  • Enhanced nutrient absorption. As the gut heals from the abrasive effects of alcohol, nutrient absorption from food improves, ensuring a consistent energy supply.
  • Hormonal harmony. Alcohol can disrupt several hormonal pathways, including those related to stress and energy production. Sobriety helps restore this balance, ensuring optimal hormonal function.

7. Sober Living: Steadier Seas, Happier Days

Why let alcohol rock your emotional boat? Keeping it at bay can mean smoother sailing. It's all about those feel-good vibes:

  • Emotional regulation and mood stability. Alcohol can put us on an emotional rollercoaster. Once we step away, the brain begins to recalibrate the balance of neurotransmitters, leading to more stable moods and better emotional regulation. 
  • More optimism. Alcohol is a depressant that can play havoc with our emotions. A sober lifestyle can lead to steadier moods and a more optimistic outlook on life. 

A Life of Meaning and Opportunity

Finally, going booze-free allows us to pursue our life goals and passions and to create a life of meaning. It also gives us a chance to establish a better quality of life without booze draining our resources.

8. Sober Living and Genuine Connections 

Bonding without booze means getting real with people. It means heart-to-heart talks without the morning-after cringe. True stories, real laughs, zero facepalms. Interactions minus the booze can mean deeper, more genuine connections. It’s like upgrading your social game. More meaningful chats, fewer "did I really say that?" moments. Let's explore the profound transformation that awaits:

  • The art of authenticity. Without the haze of alcohol, conversations become clearer, more heartfelt, and genuine. You start to engage with people on a deeper level, understanding their emotions and sharing yours without any reservations.
  • Improved emotional intelligence. Sobriety fosters self-awareness, allowing you to better gauge and understand not only your emotions but also the emotions of those around you. This heightened emotional intelligence paves the way for more compassionate, empathetic interactions.
  • Rediscovering old bonds. Sobriety often leads to mending bridges. It offers a chance to reconnect with friends or family members, revitalizing relationships that might have been strained during drinking days.
  • Building trust. Consistency and reliability are cornerstones of trust. By remaining present and accountable in your relationships, you lay a foundation of trust that can grow and flourish.
  • Cultivating deeper friendships. Sobriety can lead to the blossoming of friendships that are rooted in shared interests, mutual respect, and understanding, rather than just shared drinking experiences.
  • Enhanced listening skills. With a clear mind, you become a more attentive listener, truly hearing and understanding what others have to say, leading to more meaningful conversations.
  • Vulnerability as a strength. Without alcohol as a shield, you learn the power of vulnerability. Opening up about your feelings, struggles, and triumphs can lead to profound connections and mutual support.
  • Clarity in conflict. Without the influence of alcohol, conflicts or disagreements can be approached with a clear mind, fostering understanding and resolutions that strengthen relationships.

Here are a few tips for fostering meaningful connections in sobriety:

  • Engage in group activities. Join clubs or groups that align with your interests, providing opportunities to meet like-minded individuals. Build your own sober living community!
  • Communicate openly. Let your loved ones know about your decision to embrace sobriety and the reasons behind it. Their understanding and support can be invaluable.
  • Plan sober social events with your sober living community. From board game nights to picnics, there are countless ways to socialize without alcohol.

9. Monetary Benefits of Sober Living: A Wallet Bursting at the Seams

You know those fancy drinks with the tiny umbrellas? Pricey, right? Those cocktails and beers add up! Cut back on alcohol, and you might just find yourself with a more jingle in your pocket. 

Think of all the nifty things you could invest in instead. Spa day? New hobby? Tropical getaway? The possibilities are endless!

10. Discover Your New Passion Project in Sobriety

All this time not spent on nursing hangovers? That’s opportunity knocking! You might discover talents you never knew you had! From knitting to karaoke, the world's your playground. When the haze of alcohol dissipates, the world bursts forth in vibrant color, presenting a myriad of opportunities previously overshadowed or overlooked. Saying goodbye to alcohol is like greeting a sunrise of possibilities. Consider the renaissance that awaits you:

  • Time on your side. Free from the hours spent drinking and nursing hangovers, you suddenly have pockets of time. This is your canvas. Whether it's pursuing a long-forgotten hobby or trying something entirely new, the world is teeming with activities awaiting your participation.
  • Enhanced creativity. With a clear mind, creativity flourishes. You might find yourself doodling, writing, painting, or even inventing. Don’t be surprised if solutions to old problems start popping up or if you begin seeing the world from a fresh perspective.
  • Physical feats. Perhaps you've always wanted to run a marathon or take up rock climbing. As your body regains its strength and vitality, challenging physical activities become more attainable and enjoyable.
  • Travel with a twist. Traveling sober offers a completely different experience. Without the distraction of looking for the next bar or dealing with hangovers, you can truly immerse yourself in a new culture, savor local delicacies, and create lasting memories.
  • Giving back. Sobriety might ignite a spark to give back to the community. From volunteering at local shelters to joining global missions, the world is full of opportunities to make a difference.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit. That business idea you shelved because you were too busy with nightlife? It's time to dust it off! Sobriety can provide the clarity and determination needed to embark on entrepreneurial adventures.

Try these tips to embrace new opportunities in sobriety:

  • Stay curious. Adopt a learner's mindset. Approach the world with wonder and curiosity.
  • Start small. You don’t need to dive into everything at once. Pick one activity and stick your toe in before giving it your all. Then pick your next activity!
  • Celebrate milestones. Every new skill acquired or project completed is a victory. Celebrate them!

A New Life Awaits!

So, are you ready to embrace a life of sobriety? One with better sleep, a healthier brain, better immunity, glowing skin, more energy, more meaningful friendships, an opportunity to explore your passions, and some extra cash to boot? No matter which benefit you're most excited about, they're all hits. 

At its core, sobriety isn't really about losing alcohol. It's about gaining depth, warmth, and authenticity to our connections. Embracing sobriety isn't just about leaving alcohol behind — it's about stepping into a world brimming with possibility. Seize it!

Quit Drinking
Popular
2022-11-14 9:00
Quit Drinking
Popular
What To Expect When You Quit Drinking: A Timeline
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What exactly happens to your mind, body, and overall lifestyle when you ditch the booze? Read on to find out!

15 min read

How Can Reframe Help You Quit Drinking Alcohol?

Choosing to quit or limit alcohol consumption is a personal decision that comes with so many physical, mental, and emotional benefits. As the days, weeks, and months progress in your timeline after making this change, you’ll learn how to embrace this journey and enjoy the improvement in your overall well-being. Remember that it is crucial to listen to your body and seek professional support if necessary, especially if you are struggling with alcohol addiction.

The Reframe app is not a treatment method for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), so consult with a medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan if heavy drinking is causing a significant impact on your life. What Reframe can offer, however, is an opportunity to start cutting back on your alcohol intake with the goal of eliminating it altogether in the long run.

What do you get with a subscription to the Reframe app? We provide you with daily readings on the neuroscience of alcohol along with helpful activities like mindfulness exercises and journal prompts. You also gain access to a 24/7 Forum chat where you can connect with your peers from around the world. There are also daily Zoom check-in meetings where people just like you are sharing their stories for mutual encouragement and support.

If you want to take your learning to the next level, we also have a comprehensive suite of courses on dozens of wellness-related topics. Finally, you can track your drinks, emotions, mood, and appetite with our helpful tracking tools. 

The best part is that the Reframe app is free for 7 days, so there’s no risk to try it out! Download the Reframe app today and get started on your journey towards better living. We want you to discover life beyond drinking and start thriving again. We’ve helped millions of people drink less or stop drinking alcohol and we would love to help you do the same!

Read Full Article  →

It's a familiar scene — you're out with friends having a fabulous time, and the drinks are flowing. But the consequences of indulging in alcohol can be undesirable: money lost, weight gained, and judgment impaired, just to name a few of the short-term effects of drinking. That’s not even considering the long-term effects like increased risk of at least seven types of cancer! It's no wonder that a growing number of people consider abstaining from alcohol to lead a healthier life. But what exactly happens when you stop drinking? Read on to explore the various stages of alcohol withdrawal and the general alcohol withdrawal timeline, and discover the unexpected benefits you may experience along your timeline.

The First 12 Hours — Acute Withdrawal

The alcohol withdrawal symptoms timeline starts within the first 12 hours after your last drink. Your body begins to process and eliminate alcohol from your system. As your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) decreases, you may start to experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include:

  • Anxiety. As your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol, you may feel anxious or restless.
  • Tremors. You might experience shaking or trembling, particularly in your hands.
  • Sweating. Your body may try to regulate its temperature by producing more sweat.
  • Nausea. As your digestive system processes the remaining alcohol, you may feel nauseous or even vomit.
  • Headaches. Dehydration and changes in blood flow can cause headaches during the initial withdrawal period.
  • Insomnia. Difficulty falling or staying asleep is common during the first few hours after stopping drinking.

It's essential to stay hydrated during this time, as dehydration can exacerbate these symptoms.

12-24 Hours: Initial Recovery

As you approach the 24-hour mark, your body continues to stabilize and it starts to recover from the effects of alcohol. During this time, you may notice the following changes:

  • Improved hydration. As you drink more water and your body processes the remaining alcohol, your hydration levels will improve, helping to alleviate headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
  • Decreased inflammation. Alcohol can cause inflammation in the body, and as it leaves your system, you may notice a reduction in inflammation-related symptoms, such as joint pain or skin redness.
  • Improved digestion. Your digestive system will start to recover from the effects of alcohol, leading to a decrease in nausea and a potential improvement in appetite.
  • Increased energy levels. As your body begins to recover, you may start to feel more energetic and less fatigued.
  • Mood stabilization. As your brain chemistry adjusts to the absence of alcohol, you may experience improvements in mood and a decrease in anxiety levels.

It's important to note that the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption, individual body chemistry, and overall health.

48-72 Hours: Deeper Detox

Between 48 and 72 hours after your last drink, your body continues to detoxify and if you have been continuing to have withdrawal symptoms, they may peak during this period. You may experience intense cravings for alcohol, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.

In some cases, individuals who have been heavily dependent on alcohol may experience severe withdrawal symptoms known as delirium tremens (DTs). Delirium tremens typically occurs within 48 to 72 hours after the last drink but can appear up to 10 days after stopping alcohol consumption. Symptoms of DTs include severe confusion, hallucinations, fever, seizures, and agitation. This condition can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional when deciding to quit drinking, especially for those with a history of heavy alcohol use, to ensure a safe and monitored withdrawal process.

On the positive side, your body is working hard to repair itself. Your liver function begins to improve, and your blood sugar levels start to stabilize. Your sleep patterns may also start to return to normal, allowing you to feel more rested and alert during the day.

4-6 Days: Stabilization

By days 4 to 6 after quitting alcohol, most of the major physical withdrawal symptoms of the early alcohol withdrawal stages should start to subside. Your cravings for alcohol may still be present, but they should be less intense. Your mood should begin to stabilize, and your anxiety levels may decrease.

During this time, your body continues to repair itself. Your liver function should continue to improve, and your immune system may start to strengthen. This can help your body fight off infections and illnesses more effectively.

Additionally, your brain begins to recover from the effects of alcohol. Your cognitive function, memory, and concentration should start to improve. You may also notice an increase in your energy levels and a decrease in fatigue.

One Week In: Improved Sleep and Energy Levels

Alcohol consumption often affects the quality of our sleep. While it may have been helping us to fall asleep, it basically wrecked the quality of our rest after we lost consciousness. After a week of not drinking, you will probably notice that your sleep pattern is beginning to normalize. This improved sleep — both in terms of quality and duration — will have a domino effect on other areas of your life. As your body undergoes restorative processes during sleep, you will start to feel more energized throughout the day. Better energy levels result in increased productivity and an overall sense of well-being.

Two Weeks In: Decreased Sugar Cravings and Weight Loss

Alcoholic beverages are notorious for being high in calories and sugar content. Chances are, when you consume alcohol, you are also prone to binging on unhealthy snacks. In removing alcohol from your diet, you can save yourself so many empty calories and you can also curb unhealthy food cravings. Two weeks after quitting alcohol, many people start to notice a decrease in sugar cravings and some even start experiencing weight loss. Additionally, the liver starts to process carbohydrates more effectively, helping lower blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

One Month In: Improved Liver Health and Reduced Health Risks

After quitting alcohol for a month, one of the most striking benefits is the healing that occurs within the liver. The liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol, and heavy drinking can result in fatty liver, inflammation, or worse — potentially cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver tissue, or even liver cancer. A month's break from alcohol allows the liver to start repairing itself, thereby improving liver enzyme levels and reducing inflammation.

During the one-month mark, you will also notice a significant decrease in various health risks associated with alcohol consumption. For example, the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and liver disease reduces as the body starts to heal itself.

Liver Functions That Improve After an Alcohol-Free Month

Three Months In: Healthier Skin and Strengthened Immune System

As you continue your journey of abstinence, your skin's appearance will improve. This is due to several factors: your body rehydrates, there's better blood circulation, and alcohol no longer hinders nutrient absorption. Given time and patience, you may be pleasantly surprised at your newfound radiant complexion.

A robust immune system is critical for fighting infections and staying healthy. Chronic alcohol use has been known to weaken the immune system, making you susceptible to illnesses. After three months of not drinking, your immune system starts to strengthen as the impact of alcohol on white blood cells diminishes.

Six Months In: Mental Health Improvements

Quitting alcohol has profound effects on your mental health, too. After six months without alcohol, many people report an increase in clarity, focus, and memory function. Moreover, studies have shown that continuous alcohol consumption may increase the risk of anxiety and depression. As you take control of your alcohol intake and refrain from drinking, mood improvements and stress management become more manageable, leading to better overall mental health.

One Year In: Reduced Inflammation and Healthier Heart

Inflammation in the body can cause various health issues, including chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, and even some cancers. After a year of not drinking, the body's inflammation markers significantly reduce, helping bolster your overall health.

Lastly, a healthier heart is something to celebrate one year into your alcohol-free journey. Drinking alcohol excessively can increase blood pressure, weaken heart muscles, and increase the risk of heart diseases. A year without alcohol does wonders in reducing these risks, providing a healthier you for years to come.

Additional Impacts in the Year: Relationships and Finances

When you stop drinking, it’s not just about the benefits for you — your relationships can also get a much-needed boost from the fresh attention and energy you can start investing in them again. Whether it’s reconnecting with a loved one like a spouse or significant other, spending more quality time with your kids, or reestablishing meaningful contact with friends and family, quitting drinking can have some great benefits for our relationships.

If you find yourself struggling with relationships after you stop drinking, then you may want to seek out the support of a professional counselor or therapist. They can help you figure out how to handle the personal and relational issues that you’re experiencing. We know this can be a scary step, but the benefits can really outweigh the initial discomfort of reaching out!

As you consider quitting alcohol, we also encourage you to think about all the money you’ve spent on alcohol in the past week, month, and year. It’s probably a lot more than you realize, or than you want to admit. You’re not alone in this! The good news is that you’ll start saving money as soon as you stop drinking. 

Not only will you have more money, but you’ll also have a lot more time to spend on the things that you love doing. This newfound free time can be disorienting for some people after they quit drinking because they might actually feel bored, and this can be challenging if cravings come back. Take some time now to think about and write down what you’ll use your extra money and time for when you stop drinking, and this will help set you up for success later.

Your body, mind, relationships, and bank account all stand to gain so much by quitting alcohol, so we commend you for thinking about taking this important step!

It's a familiar scene — you're out with friends having a fabulous time, and the drinks are flowing. But the consequences of indulging in alcohol can be undesirable: money lost, weight gained, and judgment impaired, just to name a few of the short-term effects of drinking. That’s not even considering the long-term effects like increased risk of at least seven types of cancer! It's no wonder that a growing number of people consider abstaining from alcohol to lead a healthier life. But what exactly happens when you stop drinking? Read on to explore the various stages of alcohol withdrawal and the general alcohol withdrawal timeline, and discover the unexpected benefits you may experience along your timeline.

The First 12 Hours — Acute Withdrawal

The alcohol withdrawal symptoms timeline starts within the first 12 hours after your last drink. Your body begins to process and eliminate alcohol from your system. As your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) decreases, you may start to experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include:

  • Anxiety. As your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol, you may feel anxious or restless.
  • Tremors. You might experience shaking or trembling, particularly in your hands.
  • Sweating. Your body may try to regulate its temperature by producing more sweat.
  • Nausea. As your digestive system processes the remaining alcohol, you may feel nauseous or even vomit.
  • Headaches. Dehydration and changes in blood flow can cause headaches during the initial withdrawal period.
  • Insomnia. Difficulty falling or staying asleep is common during the first few hours after stopping drinking.

It's essential to stay hydrated during this time, as dehydration can exacerbate these symptoms.

12-24 Hours: Initial Recovery

As you approach the 24-hour mark, your body continues to stabilize and it starts to recover from the effects of alcohol. During this time, you may notice the following changes:

  • Improved hydration. As you drink more water and your body processes the remaining alcohol, your hydration levels will improve, helping to alleviate headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
  • Decreased inflammation. Alcohol can cause inflammation in the body, and as it leaves your system, you may notice a reduction in inflammation-related symptoms, such as joint pain or skin redness.
  • Improved digestion. Your digestive system will start to recover from the effects of alcohol, leading to a decrease in nausea and a potential improvement in appetite.
  • Increased energy levels. As your body begins to recover, you may start to feel more energetic and less fatigued.
  • Mood stabilization. As your brain chemistry adjusts to the absence of alcohol, you may experience improvements in mood and a decrease in anxiety levels.

It's important to note that the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption, individual body chemistry, and overall health.

48-72 Hours: Deeper Detox

Between 48 and 72 hours after your last drink, your body continues to detoxify and if you have been continuing to have withdrawal symptoms, they may peak during this period. You may experience intense cravings for alcohol, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.

In some cases, individuals who have been heavily dependent on alcohol may experience severe withdrawal symptoms known as delirium tremens (DTs). Delirium tremens typically occurs within 48 to 72 hours after the last drink but can appear up to 10 days after stopping alcohol consumption. Symptoms of DTs include severe confusion, hallucinations, fever, seizures, and agitation. This condition can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional when deciding to quit drinking, especially for those with a history of heavy alcohol use, to ensure a safe and monitored withdrawal process.

On the positive side, your body is working hard to repair itself. Your liver function begins to improve, and your blood sugar levels start to stabilize. Your sleep patterns may also start to return to normal, allowing you to feel more rested and alert during the day.

4-6 Days: Stabilization

By days 4 to 6 after quitting alcohol, most of the major physical withdrawal symptoms of the early alcohol withdrawal stages should start to subside. Your cravings for alcohol may still be present, but they should be less intense. Your mood should begin to stabilize, and your anxiety levels may decrease.

During this time, your body continues to repair itself. Your liver function should continue to improve, and your immune system may start to strengthen. This can help your body fight off infections and illnesses more effectively.

Additionally, your brain begins to recover from the effects of alcohol. Your cognitive function, memory, and concentration should start to improve. You may also notice an increase in your energy levels and a decrease in fatigue.

One Week In: Improved Sleep and Energy Levels

Alcohol consumption often affects the quality of our sleep. While it may have been helping us to fall asleep, it basically wrecked the quality of our rest after we lost consciousness. After a week of not drinking, you will probably notice that your sleep pattern is beginning to normalize. This improved sleep — both in terms of quality and duration — will have a domino effect on other areas of your life. As your body undergoes restorative processes during sleep, you will start to feel more energized throughout the day. Better energy levels result in increased productivity and an overall sense of well-being.

Two Weeks In: Decreased Sugar Cravings and Weight Loss

Alcoholic beverages are notorious for being high in calories and sugar content. Chances are, when you consume alcohol, you are also prone to binging on unhealthy snacks. In removing alcohol from your diet, you can save yourself so many empty calories and you can also curb unhealthy food cravings. Two weeks after quitting alcohol, many people start to notice a decrease in sugar cravings and some even start experiencing weight loss. Additionally, the liver starts to process carbohydrates more effectively, helping lower blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

One Month In: Improved Liver Health and Reduced Health Risks

After quitting alcohol for a month, one of the most striking benefits is the healing that occurs within the liver. The liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol, and heavy drinking can result in fatty liver, inflammation, or worse — potentially cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver tissue, or even liver cancer. A month's break from alcohol allows the liver to start repairing itself, thereby improving liver enzyme levels and reducing inflammation.

During the one-month mark, you will also notice a significant decrease in various health risks associated with alcohol consumption. For example, the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and liver disease reduces as the body starts to heal itself.

Liver Functions That Improve After an Alcohol-Free Month

Three Months In: Healthier Skin and Strengthened Immune System

As you continue your journey of abstinence, your skin's appearance will improve. This is due to several factors: your body rehydrates, there's better blood circulation, and alcohol no longer hinders nutrient absorption. Given time and patience, you may be pleasantly surprised at your newfound radiant complexion.

A robust immune system is critical for fighting infections and staying healthy. Chronic alcohol use has been known to weaken the immune system, making you susceptible to illnesses. After three months of not drinking, your immune system starts to strengthen as the impact of alcohol on white blood cells diminishes.

Six Months In: Mental Health Improvements

Quitting alcohol has profound effects on your mental health, too. After six months without alcohol, many people report an increase in clarity, focus, and memory function. Moreover, studies have shown that continuous alcohol consumption may increase the risk of anxiety and depression. As you take control of your alcohol intake and refrain from drinking, mood improvements and stress management become more manageable, leading to better overall mental health.

One Year In: Reduced Inflammation and Healthier Heart

Inflammation in the body can cause various health issues, including chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, and even some cancers. After a year of not drinking, the body's inflammation markers significantly reduce, helping bolster your overall health.

Lastly, a healthier heart is something to celebrate one year into your alcohol-free journey. Drinking alcohol excessively can increase blood pressure, weaken heart muscles, and increase the risk of heart diseases. A year without alcohol does wonders in reducing these risks, providing a healthier you for years to come.

Additional Impacts in the Year: Relationships and Finances

When you stop drinking, it’s not just about the benefits for you — your relationships can also get a much-needed boost from the fresh attention and energy you can start investing in them again. Whether it’s reconnecting with a loved one like a spouse or significant other, spending more quality time with your kids, or reestablishing meaningful contact with friends and family, quitting drinking can have some great benefits for our relationships.

If you find yourself struggling with relationships after you stop drinking, then you may want to seek out the support of a professional counselor or therapist. They can help you figure out how to handle the personal and relational issues that you’re experiencing. We know this can be a scary step, but the benefits can really outweigh the initial discomfort of reaching out!

As you consider quitting alcohol, we also encourage you to think about all the money you’ve spent on alcohol in the past week, month, and year. It’s probably a lot more than you realize, or than you want to admit. You’re not alone in this! The good news is that you’ll start saving money as soon as you stop drinking. 

Not only will you have more money, but you’ll also have a lot more time to spend on the things that you love doing. This newfound free time can be disorienting for some people after they quit drinking because they might actually feel bored, and this can be challenging if cravings come back. Take some time now to think about and write down what you’ll use your extra money and time for when you stop drinking, and this will help set you up for success later.

Your body, mind, relationships, and bank account all stand to gain so much by quitting alcohol, so we commend you for thinking about taking this important step!

Quit Drinking
Popular
2022-11-07 9:00
Quit Drinking
Popular
How Soon After Quitting Alcohol Will I Lose Weight?
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Wondering how ditching alcohol can help your weight loss journey? From metabolic marvels to radiant rewards, discover how quickly quitting can reshape your health in our latest blog.

21 min read

Ready To Leave Alcohol Behind and Watch the Weight Drop? Reframe Is Here To Help!

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 millions 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 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've marked your calendar, taken a deep breath, and decided to quit or cut back on alcohol. It's a brave step forward, and your body is already cheering you on from the inside out. Among the many questions circling your mind, one stands out: will I lose weight if I stop drinking?

The short answer is that it’s very likely — losing weight after quitting alcohol is one of the perks. What happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol is nothing short of amazing, and alcohol often goes unremembered when we think about weight management. But while kicking it to the curb can definitely help you on your weight loss journey, there’s more to it. You might be wondering, how soon will I lose weight after quitting alcohol? How long will it take for hormones to balance after quitting alcohol? What is the connection between alcohol and water retention? And how much weight can you lose by not drinking alcohol? Let's find out!

Why Alcohol Packs on the Pounds

First, let’s explore the three main reasons alcohol contributes to weight gain:

1. The Caloric Content Breakdown: Know Your Drinks!

Ever heard of the term "empty calories"? Alcohol is the textbook definition. It doesn’t offer nutritional benefits, but it sure does contribute to our daily calorie count. And while we're at it, let's not forget the mixers — those sneaky add-ins pile up quickly!

  • Wine facts. A standard glass of wine (5 oz) can have around 125 calories. Whether it's red or white, those little sips throughout an evening can accumulate. Think about it: two glasses during dinner, and you're looking at 250 calories — the equivalent of a Dove ice cream bar!
  • Beer basics. Beer, often referred to as "liquid bread," is another diet saboteur. A standard 12 oz can packs about 154 calories, and if you're reaching for a third can while watching a game, you've just downed the caloric equivalent of a slice of pizza!
  • Sneaky spirits. Spirits can be a bit tricky. A shot (1.5 oz) of vodka or whiskey contains roughly 100 calories. Seems minimal, right? But remember, when we pair them with mixers like sodas or sugary juices, the calorie count skyrockets.
  • Messy mixers. Let's consider a popular choice — gin and tonic. While gin has about 97 calories per shot, tonic water adds around 83 calories for a typical 8 oz serving. That's nearly 180 calories in a single drink! And let's not even get started on those creamy, dreamy cocktails — they're a dessert in a glass!
2. Appetite Amplifier: Those Notorious Munchies

Ever had that sudden craving for midnight snacks post your vino or cocktail hours? It's not just you — there's science behind it!

Alcohol can also stimulate appetite, making you reach for that extra slice of pizza or those deliciously crispy fries you promised yourself you'd resist. Here’s how:

  • Messing with brain signals. Alcohol stimulates certain chemicals in the brain that make us feel hungrier than usual. Specifically, alcohol can influence ghrelin — the hunger hormone that tells our brain, "Hey, time to eat!" After a few drinks, that cheese platter or those late-night nachos start seeming irresistibly delicious.
  • Disrupting the satiety signal. Just as alcohol boosts our hunger signals, it also dulls the signals that tell us we're full. Leptin, our satiety hormone, gets sidelined, making it easy to overeat without realizing it.
  • The next day nibble. It's not just about the immediate aftermath! Some people feel exceptionally hungry the day after drinking. This can be the body's way of trying to recover and restore energy levels.
"Why Do I Crave Junk?"

Ever wondered why it's not a salad you’re craving but something greasy or cheesy? Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and impairs our judgment, making us more likely to give in to less-healthy cravings. Plus, fatty foods might momentarily feel like they're absorbing or countering the alcohol (even though they're not truly helping in the ways we think they are).

3. Metabolic Maze: How Alcohol Cuts in Line

What’s happening inside when you're sipping on that cocktail or glass of wine? Here’s the scoop:

How Alcohol Contributes to Weight Gain

So, When Will the Weight Drop?

The timeline can vary. Expecting rapid weight loss after quitting alcohol is probably unrealistic, but with patience you’re likely to see results soon enough! Here's a general idea:

The First Week: Unwrapping the Early Benefits

Embarking on our alcohol-free journey can be both exhilarating and anxiety-provoking. As days unfold and we progress through that very first week, our body starts its behind-the-scenes magic. Let's delve into what we might expect during this initial phase when it comes to weight loss:

  • Bye-bye bloat. Bloating is one of the causes of temporary weight gain after drinking alcohol, and a reduction in booze will likely help your belly “deflate.” Alcohol can cause water retention, especially around the abdomen. As you cut back, your body begins to release this extra water. So if you feel that your jeans are a tad more comfortable or that your reflection looks a bit less puffy, you're not imagining things — it's your body giving you a thumbs up! (If you’re wondering how to get rid of water retention after drinking alcohol faster, one of the best things to do is keep yourself well-hydrated — it might feel counterintuitive, but it works!)
  • Sleep deep. Alcohol can make us drowsy, but it often disrupts the quality of our sleep. Within just a few days of cutting back, many people notice they fall asleep more quickly and wake up feeling more refreshed. This quality sleep feels great — and it can also play a role in weight management. When we’re well-rested, we’re less likely to reach for high-calorie, sugary pick-me-ups the next day.
  • Energy elevation. Without alcohol’s sedative effects, you might find a surge in your energy levels. This boost can naturally lead you to be more active. You may find yourself taking a brisk walk in the park, having an impromptu dance session in your living room, or even just feeling less lethargic throughout the day. (No after-lunch energy dip? Sounds great!)
  • Mood and mental clarity. Though this isn't directly related to weight, it's worth mentioning. As your body adjusts, you might experience a brighter mood and clearer thinking. Without drinking’s foggy aftermath, you might feel sharper, more vibrant, and ready to hit the gym!

Remember, everyone's body is unique, and reactions can differ. While these are general observations many experience in the first week, listen to your own body and its signals. Whether you're taking small steps or big leaps, each day is a stride toward better well-being. Keep going, and cherish every victory, no matter how small!

After One Month: A Milestone of Marvels

Congratulations on reaching the one-month mark! That’s no small feat. As the days accumulate into weeks and you hit that 30-day milestone, your body continues its transformative journey. Curious about the changes brewing within? Let's dive into the wonders of a month sans alcohol.

  • Stabilized sugar levels. Alcohol can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, which can lead to cravings and irregular eating patterns. After a month without alcohol, those roller-coaster blood sugar rides begin to stabilize. This can mean fewer unexpected hunger pangs and a more consistent appetite.
  • Liver love. The liver is incredibly resilient, with a fantastic ability to repair itself. By this point, it’s likely that your liver has started to shed the excess fat it may have accumulated due to alcohol. This cleansing process enhances its efficiency and health, aiding in better digestion and metabolism.
  • Fat loss facilitation. Does alcohol stop fat burning? It certainly can! As your metabolism starts to stabilize and function optimally without the interference of alcohol, the body becomes more efficient at burning fat. Combined with healthier food choices and better sleep, there might be a more noticeable shift in your weight and body composition.
  • Improved cardiovascular health. A month without alcohol benefits your heart and blood vessels. Alcohol is known to raise blood pressure; abstaining can lead to an improvement. This not only means a healthier heart, but it can also reduce the risk of long-term cardiovascular diseases. Improved cardiovascular health can indirectly contribute to weight loss through several mechanisms:
    1. Increased exercise capacity. A healthier heart and vascular system increase our capacity for aerobic exercise. Longer or more intense workouts burn more calories, aiding in weight loss.
    2. Efficient oxygen and nutrient delivery. A strong cardiovascular system ensures efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to various body tissues, including muscles. When muscles receive adequate oxygen, they can function optimally during workouts, leading to better performance and increased calorie burn.
    3. Improved metabolism. Cardiovascular health is closely linked with metabolic processes. A healthy heart can aid in the efficient burning of calories and fat. Moreover, regular cardiovascular exercise can shift our body composition to favor muscle mass. Muscles, as metabolically active tissues, burn more calories even at rest, which can aid in weight loss and maintenance.
    4. Enhanced motivation and energy levels. A healthy heart can lead to better circulation and increased energy levels. This can motivate us to be more active throughout the day, leading to a higher overall calorie expenditure.
    5. Reduced inflammation. Good cardiovascular health is associated with reduced inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to weight gain and obesity; reducing inflammation might make it easier to manage or reduce weight.
  • Enhanced hydration. Without alcohol’s dehydrating effects, our fluid balance improves. Proper hydration supports every cell and function in the body, from skin health to kidney function and a healthy metabolism.

Ongoing Benefits: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Hitting longer milestones in your alcohol-free journey is truly a gift that keeps on giving. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the benefits compound. Here’s what you might find as you unwrap the ongoing benefits of your commitment:

  • Sustained weight management. With alcohol out of the picture, you might find it easier to maintain your desired weight. Your metabolic processes are more consistent, and those previously alcohol-induced munchies might no longer ambush your diet. The cumulative effect of all the positive changes can lead to more sustainable weight management practices.
  • Muscle matters. Without the interference of alcohol, your muscle recovery post-workouts could improve. Over time, this means better strength, endurance, and muscle tone. Whether you’re lifting weights or just carrying the groceries, you might feel stronger and more resilient.
  • Digestive delight. Your digestive system is a complex machine that prefers stability. Remove the wrench of alcohol, and over time, you might experience less bloating, more regular bowel movements, and better nutrient absorption.
  • Stronger immune system. Alcohol can suppress the immune system. With prolonged abstinence, your body's defenses can become more robust, potentially leading to fewer illnesses and better overall health.
  • Emotional equilibrium. Without the mood swings induced by alcohol, you might find a more consistent emotional landscape. A steadier mood can lead to improved relationships, better decision-making around food choices, and an enhanced quality of life.
  • Pocketbook perks. While not a physical or mental benefit, the financial changes are worth mentioning. The savings from not purchasing alcohol can add up over time, offering you the chance to invest in other wellness endeavors or experiences.

As you stay alcohol-free, the long-term benefits compound. Reduced calorie intake, better sleep, more energy for physical activity, and a more efficiently working metabolism can all contribute to weight loss over time!

Factors Influencing Weight Loss

Everyone's body is different, so your individual results can vary based on these factors:

  • Daily calorie intake. If you substitute sugary drinks for alcohol, you might not see weight loss. Opt for sparkling water with a splash of juice for flavor, not a soda.
  • Activity level. Engaging in regular physical activity can help boost weight loss.
  • Metabolism. Age, genetics, and other factors influence how quickly or slowly you shed weight.

7 Action Steps To Support Weight Loss After Quitting Alcohol

Finally, here are seven tips to help kickstart your weight loss journey post-booze!

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. It not only helps with detoxification, but it also keeps you full, reducing the chance of overeating.
  • Sleep well. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. Proper rest can regulate hormones that manage appetite and weight.
  • Plan your meals. Prepare balanced meals with lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of veggies. This can help prevent impulsive, unhealthy eating choices.
  • Stay active. Find an exercise you love. It could be walking, swimming, dancing, or even gardening. Just move!
  • Mindful eating. Pay attention to what you eat. Savor each bite, and you might find yourself eating less but enjoying more.
  • Limit sugary drinks. Just because it's not alcohol doesn't mean it's calorie-free. Watch out for sodas, sweetened teas, and fancy coffees. If a drink tastes like a delicious dessert, you should probably save it for special occasions.
  • Stay accountable. Share your goal with a friend or join a support group. Celebrate your small victories together.

Your Journey to Better Health

Quitting or cutting back on alcohol is a commendable step toward improved health and well-being. Weight loss can be an added bonus, among other health benefits. Be patient with yourself, stay consistent, and remember that every body is different. You're already on a fantastic journey — keep going! 

You've marked your calendar, taken a deep breath, and decided to quit or cut back on alcohol. It's a brave step forward, and your body is already cheering you on from the inside out. Among the many questions circling your mind, one stands out: will I lose weight if I stop drinking?

The short answer is that it’s very likely — losing weight after quitting alcohol is one of the perks. What happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol is nothing short of amazing, and alcohol often goes unremembered when we think about weight management. But while kicking it to the curb can definitely help you on your weight loss journey, there’s more to it. You might be wondering, how soon will I lose weight after quitting alcohol? How long will it take for hormones to balance after quitting alcohol? What is the connection between alcohol and water retention? And how much weight can you lose by not drinking alcohol? Let's find out!

Why Alcohol Packs on the Pounds

First, let’s explore the three main reasons alcohol contributes to weight gain:

1. The Caloric Content Breakdown: Know Your Drinks!

Ever heard of the term "empty calories"? Alcohol is the textbook definition. It doesn’t offer nutritional benefits, but it sure does contribute to our daily calorie count. And while we're at it, let's not forget the mixers — those sneaky add-ins pile up quickly!

  • Wine facts. A standard glass of wine (5 oz) can have around 125 calories. Whether it's red or white, those little sips throughout an evening can accumulate. Think about it: two glasses during dinner, and you're looking at 250 calories — the equivalent of a Dove ice cream bar!
  • Beer basics. Beer, often referred to as "liquid bread," is another diet saboteur. A standard 12 oz can packs about 154 calories, and if you're reaching for a third can while watching a game, you've just downed the caloric equivalent of a slice of pizza!
  • Sneaky spirits. Spirits can be a bit tricky. A shot (1.5 oz) of vodka or whiskey contains roughly 100 calories. Seems minimal, right? But remember, when we pair them with mixers like sodas or sugary juices, the calorie count skyrockets.
  • Messy mixers. Let's consider a popular choice — gin and tonic. While gin has about 97 calories per shot, tonic water adds around 83 calories for a typical 8 oz serving. That's nearly 180 calories in a single drink! And let's not even get started on those creamy, dreamy cocktails — they're a dessert in a glass!
2. Appetite Amplifier: Those Notorious Munchies

Ever had that sudden craving for midnight snacks post your vino or cocktail hours? It's not just you — there's science behind it!

Alcohol can also stimulate appetite, making you reach for that extra slice of pizza or those deliciously crispy fries you promised yourself you'd resist. Here’s how:

  • Messing with brain signals. Alcohol stimulates certain chemicals in the brain that make us feel hungrier than usual. Specifically, alcohol can influence ghrelin — the hunger hormone that tells our brain, "Hey, time to eat!" After a few drinks, that cheese platter or those late-night nachos start seeming irresistibly delicious.
  • Disrupting the satiety signal. Just as alcohol boosts our hunger signals, it also dulls the signals that tell us we're full. Leptin, our satiety hormone, gets sidelined, making it easy to overeat without realizing it.
  • The next day nibble. It's not just about the immediate aftermath! Some people feel exceptionally hungry the day after drinking. This can be the body's way of trying to recover and restore energy levels.
"Why Do I Crave Junk?"

Ever wondered why it's not a salad you’re craving but something greasy or cheesy? Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and impairs our judgment, making us more likely to give in to less-healthy cravings. Plus, fatty foods might momentarily feel like they're absorbing or countering the alcohol (even though they're not truly helping in the ways we think they are).

3. Metabolic Maze: How Alcohol Cuts in Line

What’s happening inside when you're sipping on that cocktail or glass of wine? Here’s the scoop:

How Alcohol Contributes to Weight Gain

So, When Will the Weight Drop?

The timeline can vary. Expecting rapid weight loss after quitting alcohol is probably unrealistic, but with patience you’re likely to see results soon enough! Here's a general idea:

The First Week: Unwrapping the Early Benefits

Embarking on our alcohol-free journey can be both exhilarating and anxiety-provoking. As days unfold and we progress through that very first week, our body starts its behind-the-scenes magic. Let's delve into what we might expect during this initial phase when it comes to weight loss:

  • Bye-bye bloat. Bloating is one of the causes of temporary weight gain after drinking alcohol, and a reduction in booze will likely help your belly “deflate.” Alcohol can cause water retention, especially around the abdomen. As you cut back, your body begins to release this extra water. So if you feel that your jeans are a tad more comfortable or that your reflection looks a bit less puffy, you're not imagining things — it's your body giving you a thumbs up! (If you’re wondering how to get rid of water retention after drinking alcohol faster, one of the best things to do is keep yourself well-hydrated — it might feel counterintuitive, but it works!)
  • Sleep deep. Alcohol can make us drowsy, but it often disrupts the quality of our sleep. Within just a few days of cutting back, many people notice they fall asleep more quickly and wake up feeling more refreshed. This quality sleep feels great — and it can also play a role in weight management. When we’re well-rested, we’re less likely to reach for high-calorie, sugary pick-me-ups the next day.
  • Energy elevation. Without alcohol’s sedative effects, you might find a surge in your energy levels. This boost can naturally lead you to be more active. You may find yourself taking a brisk walk in the park, having an impromptu dance session in your living room, or even just feeling less lethargic throughout the day. (No after-lunch energy dip? Sounds great!)
  • Mood and mental clarity. Though this isn't directly related to weight, it's worth mentioning. As your body adjusts, you might experience a brighter mood and clearer thinking. Without drinking’s foggy aftermath, you might feel sharper, more vibrant, and ready to hit the gym!

Remember, everyone's body is unique, and reactions can differ. While these are general observations many experience in the first week, listen to your own body and its signals. Whether you're taking small steps or big leaps, each day is a stride toward better well-being. Keep going, and cherish every victory, no matter how small!

After One Month: A Milestone of Marvels

Congratulations on reaching the one-month mark! That’s no small feat. As the days accumulate into weeks and you hit that 30-day milestone, your body continues its transformative journey. Curious about the changes brewing within? Let's dive into the wonders of a month sans alcohol.

  • Stabilized sugar levels. Alcohol can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, which can lead to cravings and irregular eating patterns. After a month without alcohol, those roller-coaster blood sugar rides begin to stabilize. This can mean fewer unexpected hunger pangs and a more consistent appetite.
  • Liver love. The liver is incredibly resilient, with a fantastic ability to repair itself. By this point, it’s likely that your liver has started to shed the excess fat it may have accumulated due to alcohol. This cleansing process enhances its efficiency and health, aiding in better digestion and metabolism.
  • Fat loss facilitation. Does alcohol stop fat burning? It certainly can! As your metabolism starts to stabilize and function optimally without the interference of alcohol, the body becomes more efficient at burning fat. Combined with healthier food choices and better sleep, there might be a more noticeable shift in your weight and body composition.
  • Improved cardiovascular health. A month without alcohol benefits your heart and blood vessels. Alcohol is known to raise blood pressure; abstaining can lead to an improvement. This not only means a healthier heart, but it can also reduce the risk of long-term cardiovascular diseases. Improved cardiovascular health can indirectly contribute to weight loss through several mechanisms:
    1. Increased exercise capacity. A healthier heart and vascular system increase our capacity for aerobic exercise. Longer or more intense workouts burn more calories, aiding in weight loss.
    2. Efficient oxygen and nutrient delivery. A strong cardiovascular system ensures efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to various body tissues, including muscles. When muscles receive adequate oxygen, they can function optimally during workouts, leading to better performance and increased calorie burn.
    3. Improved metabolism. Cardiovascular health is closely linked with metabolic processes. A healthy heart can aid in the efficient burning of calories and fat. Moreover, regular cardiovascular exercise can shift our body composition to favor muscle mass. Muscles, as metabolically active tissues, burn more calories even at rest, which can aid in weight loss and maintenance.
    4. Enhanced motivation and energy levels. A healthy heart can lead to better circulation and increased energy levels. This can motivate us to be more active throughout the day, leading to a higher overall calorie expenditure.
    5. Reduced inflammation. Good cardiovascular health is associated with reduced inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to weight gain and obesity; reducing inflammation might make it easier to manage or reduce weight.
  • Enhanced hydration. Without alcohol’s dehydrating effects, our fluid balance improves. Proper hydration supports every cell and function in the body, from skin health to kidney function and a healthy metabolism.

Ongoing Benefits: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Hitting longer milestones in your alcohol-free journey is truly a gift that keeps on giving. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the benefits compound. Here’s what you might find as you unwrap the ongoing benefits of your commitment:

  • Sustained weight management. With alcohol out of the picture, you might find it easier to maintain your desired weight. Your metabolic processes are more consistent, and those previously alcohol-induced munchies might no longer ambush your diet. The cumulative effect of all the positive changes can lead to more sustainable weight management practices.
  • Muscle matters. Without the interference of alcohol, your muscle recovery post-workouts could improve. Over time, this means better strength, endurance, and muscle tone. Whether you’re lifting weights or just carrying the groceries, you might feel stronger and more resilient.
  • Digestive delight. Your digestive system is a complex machine that prefers stability. Remove the wrench of alcohol, and over time, you might experience less bloating, more regular bowel movements, and better nutrient absorption.
  • Stronger immune system. Alcohol can suppress the immune system. With prolonged abstinence, your body's defenses can become more robust, potentially leading to fewer illnesses and better overall health.
  • Emotional equilibrium. Without the mood swings induced by alcohol, you might find a more consistent emotional landscape. A steadier mood can lead to improved relationships, better decision-making around food choices, and an enhanced quality of life.
  • Pocketbook perks. While not a physical or mental benefit, the financial changes are worth mentioning. The savings from not purchasing alcohol can add up over time, offering you the chance to invest in other wellness endeavors or experiences.

As you stay alcohol-free, the long-term benefits compound. Reduced calorie intake, better sleep, more energy for physical activity, and a more efficiently working metabolism can all contribute to weight loss over time!

Factors Influencing Weight Loss

Everyone's body is different, so your individual results can vary based on these factors:

  • Daily calorie intake. If you substitute sugary drinks for alcohol, you might not see weight loss. Opt for sparkling water with a splash of juice for flavor, not a soda.
  • Activity level. Engaging in regular physical activity can help boost weight loss.
  • Metabolism. Age, genetics, and other factors influence how quickly or slowly you shed weight.

7 Action Steps To Support Weight Loss After Quitting Alcohol

Finally, here are seven tips to help kickstart your weight loss journey post-booze!

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. It not only helps with detoxification, but it also keeps you full, reducing the chance of overeating.
  • Sleep well. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. Proper rest can regulate hormones that manage appetite and weight.
  • Plan your meals. Prepare balanced meals with lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of veggies. This can help prevent impulsive, unhealthy eating choices.
  • Stay active. Find an exercise you love. It could be walking, swimming, dancing, or even gardening. Just move!
  • Mindful eating. Pay attention to what you eat. Savor each bite, and you might find yourself eating less but enjoying more.
  • Limit sugary drinks. Just because it's not alcohol doesn't mean it's calorie-free. Watch out for sodas, sweetened teas, and fancy coffees. If a drink tastes like a delicious dessert, you should probably save it for special occasions.
  • Stay accountable. Share your goal with a friend or join a support group. Celebrate your small victories together.

Your Journey to Better Health

Quitting or cutting back on alcohol is a commendable step toward improved health and well-being. Weight loss can be an added bonus, among other health benefits. Be patient with yourself, stay consistent, and remember that every body is different. You're already on a fantastic journey — keep going! 

Quit Drinking
Popular
2024-06-17 9:00
Quit Drinking
New and Emerging Treatments in Alcoholism Recovery: Digital Tools and Holistic Approaches
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Explore the latest advancements in alcoholism recovery, including digital tools like mobile apps and holistic approaches such as mindfulness and yoga, which provide comprehensive support for individuals seeking sobriety.

8 min read

Reframe Your Self-Worth

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 millions 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! 

Read Full Article  →

Recovering from alcoholism is a multifaceted journey that involves more than just abstaining from alcohol. It’s about rebuilding a healthier lifestyle, addressing underlying issues, and finding supportive resources. In recent years, there have been significant advancements in treatments for alcoholism recovery, including the emergence of digital tools and holistic approaches. This article delves into these innovative methods, exploring how they can aid in the recovery process.

Digital Tools for Alcoholism Recovery

New and Emerging Treatments in Alcoholism Recovery, Digital Tools and Holistic Approaches

1. Mobile Apps and Online Platforms

Digital tools have revolutionized the way individuals approach alcoholism recovery. Mobile apps and online platforms offer accessible, convenient, and personalized support for those looking to reduce or quit alcohol consumption.

Reframe App

One notable example is the Reframe App, which provides a comprehensive program to help users cut back on drinking. The app combines daily readings, activities, and a toolkit to manage cravings and stress, offering a science-backed approach to reducing alcohol consumption.

2. Telehealth and Virtual Counseling

Telehealth services and virtual counseling have become increasingly popular, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These services provide individuals with access to professional support from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual counseling sessions can be scheduled at convenient times, making it easier for individuals to maintain regular therapy sessions.

3. Online Support Communities

Online support communities, such as forums and social media groups, offer a platform for individuals to share their experiences and receive encouragement from others on a similar journey. These communities can be a valuable source of support, providing a sense of belonging and understanding.

Sobergrid

Sobergrid is a digital sobriety community that offers round-the-clock support for those seeking to cut back or quit drinking. The app harnesses the power of social networking to help users on their alcohol recovery journey.

Holistic Approaches to Alcoholism Recovery

Holistic approaches to alcoholism recovery focus on treating the whole person, addressing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of well-being. These methods often complement traditional treatments, offering a more comprehensive approach to recovery.

1. Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices have been shown to reduce stress, improve mental health, and enhance self-awareness. These practices can help individuals manage cravings and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that incorporates mindfulness meditation to help individuals manage stress, pain, and illness. It has been adapted to support those in recovery from alcoholism by promoting relaxation and emotional regulation.

2. Yoga and Physical Exercise

Yoga and physical exercise are powerful tools for supporting recovery. They promote physical health, reduce stress, and improve mood. Engaging in regular physical activity can also help repair the damage caused by long-term alcohol use.

3. Nutritional Therapy

A balanced diet is crucial for those recovering from alcoholism, as it helps replenish nutrients that may have been depleted by excessive alcohol consumption. Nutritional therapy focuses on providing the body with the essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.

4. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including addiction. Acupuncture can help reduce withdrawal symptoms, manage cravings, and promote overall well-being.

5. Nature-Based Therapies

Spending time in nature has been shown to have numerous benefits for mental and physical health. Nature-based therapies, such as wilderness therapy and eco-therapy, use outdoor activities to promote healing and recovery.

Nature-Based Approaches

Nature-based approaches, as discussed in Exploring Spirituality in Recovery, can include activities like hiking, gardening, or simply spending time in a natural setting. These activities help individuals reconnect with themselves and the world around them, fostering a sense of peace and well-being.

Combining Digital Tools and Holistic Approaches

Combining digital tools with holistic approaches can provide a well-rounded support system for those in recovery. For example, using a mobile app like Reframe to track progress and manage cravings, while also incorporating mindfulness practices and physical exercise, can create a comprehensive recovery plan.

Personalizing Recovery Plans

Personalization is key to successful recovery. Each individual’s journey is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. By combining various tools and approaches, individuals can create a personalized recovery plan that addresses their specific needs and goals.

Conclusion

New and emerging treatments in alcoholism recovery, including digital tools and holistic approaches, offer promising options for individuals seeking to build healthier drinking habits. By leveraging the power of technology and incorporating holistic practices, those in recovery can find the support they need to achieve lasting change.

Recovering from alcoholism is a multifaceted journey that involves more than just abstaining from alcohol. It’s about rebuilding a healthier lifestyle, addressing underlying issues, and finding supportive resources. In recent years, there have been significant advancements in treatments for alcoholism recovery, including the emergence of digital tools and holistic approaches. This article delves into these innovative methods, exploring how they can aid in the recovery process.

Digital Tools for Alcoholism Recovery

New and Emerging Treatments in Alcoholism Recovery, Digital Tools and Holistic Approaches

1. Mobile Apps and Online Platforms

Digital tools have revolutionized the way individuals approach alcoholism recovery. Mobile apps and online platforms offer accessible, convenient, and personalized support for those looking to reduce or quit alcohol consumption.

Reframe App

One notable example is the Reframe App, which provides a comprehensive program to help users cut back on drinking. The app combines daily readings, activities, and a toolkit to manage cravings and stress, offering a science-backed approach to reducing alcohol consumption.

2. Telehealth and Virtual Counseling

Telehealth services and virtual counseling have become increasingly popular, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These services provide individuals with access to professional support from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual counseling sessions can be scheduled at convenient times, making it easier for individuals to maintain regular therapy sessions.

3. Online Support Communities

Online support communities, such as forums and social media groups, offer a platform for individuals to share their experiences and receive encouragement from others on a similar journey. These communities can be a valuable source of support, providing a sense of belonging and understanding.

Sobergrid

Sobergrid is a digital sobriety community that offers round-the-clock support for those seeking to cut back or quit drinking. The app harnesses the power of social networking to help users on their alcohol recovery journey.

Holistic Approaches to Alcoholism Recovery

Holistic approaches to alcoholism recovery focus on treating the whole person, addressing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of well-being. These methods often complement traditional treatments, offering a more comprehensive approach to recovery.

1. Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices have been shown to reduce stress, improve mental health, and enhance self-awareness. These practices can help individuals manage cravings and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that incorporates mindfulness meditation to help individuals manage stress, pain, and illness. It has been adapted to support those in recovery from alcoholism by promoting relaxation and emotional regulation.

2. Yoga and Physical Exercise

Yoga and physical exercise are powerful tools for supporting recovery. They promote physical health, reduce stress, and improve mood. Engaging in regular physical activity can also help repair the damage caused by long-term alcohol use.

3. Nutritional Therapy

A balanced diet is crucial for those recovering from alcoholism, as it helps replenish nutrients that may have been depleted by excessive alcohol consumption. Nutritional therapy focuses on providing the body with the essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.

4. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including addiction. Acupuncture can help reduce withdrawal symptoms, manage cravings, and promote overall well-being.

5. Nature-Based Therapies

Spending time in nature has been shown to have numerous benefits for mental and physical health. Nature-based therapies, such as wilderness therapy and eco-therapy, use outdoor activities to promote healing and recovery.

Nature-Based Approaches

Nature-based approaches, as discussed in Exploring Spirituality in Recovery, can include activities like hiking, gardening, or simply spending time in a natural setting. These activities help individuals reconnect with themselves and the world around them, fostering a sense of peace and well-being.

Combining Digital Tools and Holistic Approaches

Combining digital tools with holistic approaches can provide a well-rounded support system for those in recovery. For example, using a mobile app like Reframe to track progress and manage cravings, while also incorporating mindfulness practices and physical exercise, can create a comprehensive recovery plan.

Personalizing Recovery Plans

Personalization is key to successful recovery. Each individual’s journey is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. By combining various tools and approaches, individuals can create a personalized recovery plan that addresses their specific needs and goals.

Conclusion

New and emerging treatments in alcoholism recovery, including digital tools and holistic approaches, offer promising options for individuals seeking to build healthier drinking habits. By leveraging the power of technology and incorporating holistic practices, those in recovery can find the support they need to achieve lasting change.

Quit Drinking
2024-06-17 9:00
Quit Drinking
Hobbies for Recovery From Alcohol Use Disorder
This is some text inside of a div block.

Exploring hobbies during recovery is integral for self-discovery. Check out our latest blog for more info on the benefits of developing hobbies and how to get started.

23 min read

Explore a Life Beyond Drinking 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 millions 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!

Read Full Article  →

The world of drinking, when we’re in it, can seem like that’s all there is to life. The roller coaster of drinking and partying — and the group of people we may be riding it with — can create an illusion of a happy and fulfilled life. 

When we quit drinking, that facade fades away. Recovery can leave us feeling alone and empty. Although it may be uncomfortable and nerve-racking at first, this empty space gives us the opportunity to discover and expand our lives — by exploring our passions and interests. But before we get into some of the ways we can fill up our leisure time, let’s get a better idea of how drinking can rob us of our time and energy.

“Alcohol Is Taking Up My Time” — Recovery and Exploring a Life Beyond Drinking

A man knitting on a couch with a laptop beside him

Alcohol dependence is characterized by the inability to quit drinking despite negative consequences. It can cause us to prioritize drinking over other vital aspects of our lives, including our work, personal relationships, and health.

When we begin recovery and quit drinking, we might find that much of our time is freed up because we’re no longer spending most of it consuming alcohol, suffering from hangovers, or just thinking about drinking. For those of us who aren’t used to leisure time, we may find ourselves bored, lost, lonely, or all of the above.

And if friends or family recommend we “find a hobby” or “explore our passions,” what do we do? Where do we even begin? What activities could we can try? Let’s see what’s out there.

Hobbies To Try During Recovery From AUD

Different Types of Recovery Activities

Sure, we might get the usual suggestions — “What about reading your way through all of Charles Dickens or Harry Potter (for the third time)? Maybe take up baking?  How about hiking? If those  don’t hold much appeal, there’s a whole lot more to explore.

1. Physical Activities

Enjoyable physical activities are beneficial for our mental as well as physical health — just consider all the possibilities!  

  • Exercise. There are so many different ways we can move our body — high-intensity options like running, kickboxing, and weightlifting, and lower-intensity activities like yoga, Pilates, and swimming. 
  • Sports. Sports are a great way to get in movement without it feeling like “exercise.” Gather a group of friends for a tennis match, a game of soccer, or volleyball at the beach. For something more low-key, how about some hoops, a round of golf, or a few swings in the batting cage. 
  • Outdoor activities. Outdoor fun can do wonders for our health, physical and mental. Enjoy nature on a hike or bike ride. Or, try your hand at gardening.

2. Creative Pursuits

Creative pursuits promote self-discovery, and the options we can pursue are virtually endless.

  • Visual arts. For those of us who’ve never had a paint brush in our hand, this is a good time to get out the watercolors and try a still life or landscape. Afraid to explore the visual arts? Remember, even Rembrandt didn’t start out as a master. Art is just a form of expression: so, grab a friend and sketch each other, get into photography, or create vision boards. In other words, have fun!
  • Writing. Writing is another form of expression that can be therapeutic; it can also help us document how we’re feeling at any given time. And we can try different kinds of writing — fiction, nonfiction, journaling, poetry?
  • Crafting. These hands-on activities can help keep our hands and minds busy. We can take up knitting, weaving, woodworking, pottery, you name it!

3. Mindfulness and Relaxation Practices

Reducing stress is beneficial for all phases of our life but even more so during recovery. Stress can commonly be a trigger for drinking, so mindfulness practices like those noted here can be especially helpful in preventing relapses.

  • Meditation or breathing exercises. Even positive practices such as meditation can be a “hobby.” We can learn new strategies to calm our mind by trying different meditation methods such as tai chi or sound baths. 
  • Yoga or stretching. Gentle movement is a way to stay active and help us relax. Join a studio for guided flows or try some poses at home before bedtime to get a more restful night of sleep. 

4. Learning and Education

We don’t typically think of learning as a hobby, but why not? Learning is best if it’s lifelong — so just think of all the things that have piqued our interest and we now have time for?

  • Learning a language. Try learning the language of a foreign country you’ve always wanted to visit. Or consider tackling one that wasn’t among the limited options in high school. 
  • Playing an instrument. Dust off the keyboard to see if you’ve still got it, or try something completely new. Next time your friends come over, you can have live music to jam to.
  • Cooking or baking. Learn to make your favorite meal from a restaurant at home or bake a cake to celebrate a friend. 

5. Community Engagement

Community activities are a great way to increase our social engagement while doing things we’re interested in. Here’s a list of options to consider for starters.

  • Volunteering. Volunteer work helps us explore our interests while giving back to the community. It can also help us find a sense of purpose.
  • Joining clubs or groups. Local clubs and groups offer a more structured way to meet new people. Join a book club in the neighborhood or start a new group with friends and schedule weekly activities everyone enjoys.
  • Participating in support groups or recovery meetings. Participating in support groups may not seem like a hobby, but it can be a great way to enhance our social life. We can develop skills for our recovery and develop our social support network at the same time.

So, we now have a list of hobbies to choose from — but how important is it, really, to find activities to keep our mind and body busy?

Is Developing Hobbies When Recovering From Addiction Important?

Developing hobbies during recovery from alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder (AUD), also commonly referred to as alcohol “addiction,” goes well beyond just occupying time: hobbies can be  integral aspects of recovery. The benefits are many.

  • Healthy distraction. Hobbies play a major role in recovery by taking our mind off thoughts of drinking. Alcohol affects our emotions, and drinking often becomes the quick and easy go-to solution for distracting ourselves from negative experiences or uncomfortable emotions. Finding healthy distractions can help us develop more positive coping mechanisms and prevent relapses.
  • Stress relief and relaxation. Hobbies are activities that can bring us joy. As we enjoy pursuing them, we can reduce our overall stress levels and decrease our urge to drink. 
  • Learning new skills. Not everything in our life needs to be about learning and growth, but just by participating in things we enjoy, we can develop new skills. They may be physical skills related to a hobby, strategies to navigate challenges, or social skills and teamwork experience.
  • Increasing social interaction. Exploring our interests opens the door to opportunities to interact socially with others. Try a yoga class and invite someone to grab a bite after. Who knows? We may meet our best friend who has the same exercise-to-treat pipeline that we love. The social aspect of participating in hobbies can motivate us to continue delving into our interests and expand our social circle of support. 
  • Boosting self-esteem and confidence. We don’t have to be the best at something, but participating in different activities can still be a boost to our self-esteem and confidence. Whether we completed our 100th spin class, made our first usable ceramic bowl, or won a pickleball game against a friend, these small wins encourage us to continue our recovery, even when things get tough. 

Now that we understand the importance of finding hobbies, and we have many options to choose from, what else should we keep in mind when pursuing a hobby?

What To Consider When Choosing Recovery Activities

When choosing an activity, it’s also important to keep several key considerations in mind.

  • Personal interests. With a rise in interest in long-distance running, all of your friends may suddenly be interested in training for the next marathon. You might be pressured to join in, but if it’s not something that interests you, it may not be enjoyable for you. It’s okay to have hobbies different from our friends’ favorite activities, and it’s also common to meet new people who have interests in common with us.
  • Physical abilities and limitations. It’s important to keep in mind our own physical abilities and limitations. This doesn’t mean we can’t try something outside our comfort zone. But keeping our physical abilities in mind can help us set realistic goals and narrow the options so we can focus on what makes us feel happy and fulfilled.
  • Budget constraints. Some hobbies can get quite expensive, but that doesn’t mean we should write them off. We can find creative ways to do what we love while still staying within our budget. For example, a fees for a weekly Pilates class at a studio can add up fast. Instead, why not gather a group of friends and take an online Pilates class at home?
  • Time and availability. As much as we’d love to do something we love all day, other priorities — like family and work — may come first. Identifying how much leisure time we have without impacting other priorities in our life can help us “schedule in” time for our new activities. Sometimes we can get caught up in our daily routines, so setting aside time for hobbies can help us find a good balance.
  • Accessibility of resources and facilities. We may love surfing, but if we’re in a landlocked area, it may not be an option. Acknowledging our access to resources and facilities can help us make the tweaks necessary so we can participate in the activities we enjoy. For example, if surfing outdoors isn’t an option, we can try swimming, skateboarding, or maybe even find an indoor surfing facility. 

Now that we may have narrowed down our list to an activity we want to try, how can we give it a fair chance?

Strategies for Incorporating Sober Hobbies Into Your Lifestyle

Quitting alcohol is no easy feat. Recovery can come with physical discomfort and emotional distress that can make it hard to feel motivated enough to try new activities. Sure, the one yoga class was fun, but it may have taken a lot for us to get out there. How can we keep going? Some ways we can incorporate hobbies and interests into our recovery lifestyle include the following strategies.

  • Setting realistic goals and expectations. Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym every day just to find yourself canceling your membership after the first two weeks? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Setting realistic goals can help us stay consistent. If we don’t have the mental or physical energy to go to a yoga class every week, start with once every two weeks. 
  • Stay consistent. It’s okay to not love something we try. However, it’s important to give it a fair chance, especially during recovery. It’s not easy to figure out what we may enjoy, especially if we spent most of our time in the past drinking and recovering from drinking. Although we may be occupied with school or work, it’s important to set aside time to engage in our own interests.
  • Find accountability partners. Finding an accountability partner or mentor can motivate us to show up even when things get tough in our recovery.  Sometimes we may need a push to get there, but we may find ourselves feeling much better after the fact.
  • Celebrate progress and milestones. Especially when our social media feeds are flooded with other people’s bigger and better achievements, it can be all too easy to look past our own seemingly small wins. Celebrating our accomplishments, whether mastering a new yoga pose or baking our first cheesecake without the top cracking, can remind us of our good efforts and serve as a well-deserved pat on the back.
  • Adapt hobbies to different stages of recovery. Different stages of recovery come with different challenges. We may not feel quite up to a chosen activity yet, but we can modify our plans and still start to explore our passions. For example, we may be totally committed to learning a new language and want to enroll in a class right away. However, it’s possible we may not have the physical energy during withdrawal or the time to take classes in person. But we can start by downloading an app to get a grasp of the basics, then move on to an online course and eventually to in-person classes. 

We may take all these steps, but obstacles and setbacks can still occur. How can we overcome them?

Overcoming Challenges in Pursuing Hobbies During Recovery From Addiction

Recovery experiences can make even everyday activities challenging at times. Even though hobbies can seem like just an add-on to our life, they can be crucial during recovery. Here are some ways we can stay consistent in pursuing our interests during challenging times.

  • Deal with cravings and triggers. As we sever our dependence on alcohol, cravings and triggers to drink are common occurrences. Understanding what these triggers are can help us better navigate them and allow us to focus our time and energy on more positive activities.
  • Manage time and energy. When we quit alcohol, it’s a big adjustment physically and emotionally. By managing our time and energy, we can set realistic goals for exploring hobbies while we develop a balanced lifestyle.
  • Cope with setbacks and failures. Setbacks are a frequent part of recovery. Understanding that they can be a part of the process and learning from them can help us continue on the path to recovery. It may be difficult to get up and show up to our weekly yoga class after a relapse, but staying consistent with the things we enjoy doing gives us something to look forward to. 
  • Seek professional support. Recovery isn’t an easy process, but we don’t have to go it alone. With professional treatment, we can develop strategies to manage our triggers and emotions as we focus on developing a healthier and more fulfilling life.

As we continue to heal our relationship with alcohol and learn more about ourselves in the process, we’ll be able to enrich our lives through hobbies and passions. 

Starting a New Chapter

You don’t have to wait until you’re fully recovered to start putting your time into things you love doing. In fact, developing hobbies during recovery is beneficial in distracting you from drinking and helping you connect with others. It’s difficult to know where to begin, especially with the fatigue that commonly accompanies recovery. But a hobby can be anything you enjoy, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Self-discovery is a major component of recovery, making it an ideal time to explore your passions! 

The world of drinking, when we’re in it, can seem like that’s all there is to life. The roller coaster of drinking and partying — and the group of people we may be riding it with — can create an illusion of a happy and fulfilled life. 

When we quit drinking, that facade fades away. Recovery can leave us feeling alone and empty. Although it may be uncomfortable and nerve-racking at first, this empty space gives us the opportunity to discover and expand our lives — by exploring our passions and interests. But before we get into some of the ways we can fill up our leisure time, let’s get a better idea of how drinking can rob us of our time and energy.

“Alcohol Is Taking Up My Time” — Recovery and Exploring a Life Beyond Drinking

A man knitting on a couch with a laptop beside him

Alcohol dependence is characterized by the inability to quit drinking despite negative consequences. It can cause us to prioritize drinking over other vital aspects of our lives, including our work, personal relationships, and health.

When we begin recovery and quit drinking, we might find that much of our time is freed up because we’re no longer spending most of it consuming alcohol, suffering from hangovers, or just thinking about drinking. For those of us who aren’t used to leisure time, we may find ourselves bored, lost, lonely, or all of the above.

And if friends or family recommend we “find a hobby” or “explore our passions,” what do we do? Where do we even begin? What activities could we can try? Let’s see what’s out there.

Hobbies To Try During Recovery From AUD

Different Types of Recovery Activities

Sure, we might get the usual suggestions — “What about reading your way through all of Charles Dickens or Harry Potter (for the third time)? Maybe take up baking?  How about hiking? If those  don’t hold much appeal, there’s a whole lot more to explore.

1. Physical Activities

Enjoyable physical activities are beneficial for our mental as well as physical health — just consider all the possibilities!  

  • Exercise. There are so many different ways we can move our body — high-intensity options like running, kickboxing, and weightlifting, and lower-intensity activities like yoga, Pilates, and swimming. 
  • Sports. Sports are a great way to get in movement without it feeling like “exercise.” Gather a group of friends for a tennis match, a game of soccer, or volleyball at the beach. For something more low-key, how about some hoops, a round of golf, or a few swings in the batting cage. 
  • Outdoor activities. Outdoor fun can do wonders for our health, physical and mental. Enjoy nature on a hike or bike ride. Or, try your hand at gardening.

2. Creative Pursuits

Creative pursuits promote self-discovery, and the options we can pursue are virtually endless.

  • Visual arts. For those of us who’ve never had a paint brush in our hand, this is a good time to get out the watercolors and try a still life or landscape. Afraid to explore the visual arts? Remember, even Rembrandt didn’t start out as a master. Art is just a form of expression: so, grab a friend and sketch each other, get into photography, or create vision boards. In other words, have fun!
  • Writing. Writing is another form of expression that can be therapeutic; it can also help us document how we’re feeling at any given time. And we can try different kinds of writing — fiction, nonfiction, journaling, poetry?
  • Crafting. These hands-on activities can help keep our hands and minds busy. We can take up knitting, weaving, woodworking, pottery, you name it!

3. Mindfulness and Relaxation Practices

Reducing stress is beneficial for all phases of our life but even more so during recovery. Stress can commonly be a trigger for drinking, so mindfulness practices like those noted here can be especially helpful in preventing relapses.

  • Meditation or breathing exercises. Even positive practices such as meditation can be a “hobby.” We can learn new strategies to calm our mind by trying different meditation methods such as tai chi or sound baths. 
  • Yoga or stretching. Gentle movement is a way to stay active and help us relax. Join a studio for guided flows or try some poses at home before bedtime to get a more restful night of sleep. 

4. Learning and Education

We don’t typically think of learning as a hobby, but why not? Learning is best if it’s lifelong — so just think of all the things that have piqued our interest and we now have time for?

  • Learning a language. Try learning the language of a foreign country you’ve always wanted to visit. Or consider tackling one that wasn’t among the limited options in high school. 
  • Playing an instrument. Dust off the keyboard to see if you’ve still got it, or try something completely new. Next time your friends come over, you can have live music to jam to.
  • Cooking or baking. Learn to make your favorite meal from a restaurant at home or bake a cake to celebrate a friend. 

5. Community Engagement

Community activities are a great way to increase our social engagement while doing things we’re interested in. Here’s a list of options to consider for starters.

  • Volunteering. Volunteer work helps us explore our interests while giving back to the community. It can also help us find a sense of purpose.
  • Joining clubs or groups. Local clubs and groups offer a more structured way to meet new people. Join a book club in the neighborhood or start a new group with friends and schedule weekly activities everyone enjoys.
  • Participating in support groups or recovery meetings. Participating in support groups may not seem like a hobby, but it can be a great way to enhance our social life. We can develop skills for our recovery and develop our social support network at the same time.

So, we now have a list of hobbies to choose from — but how important is it, really, to find activities to keep our mind and body busy?

Is Developing Hobbies When Recovering From Addiction Important?

Developing hobbies during recovery from alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder (AUD), also commonly referred to as alcohol “addiction,” goes well beyond just occupying time: hobbies can be  integral aspects of recovery. The benefits are many.

  • Healthy distraction. Hobbies play a major role in recovery by taking our mind off thoughts of drinking. Alcohol affects our emotions, and drinking often becomes the quick and easy go-to solution for distracting ourselves from negative experiences or uncomfortable emotions. Finding healthy distractions can help us develop more positive coping mechanisms and prevent relapses.
  • Stress relief and relaxation. Hobbies are activities that can bring us joy. As we enjoy pursuing them, we can reduce our overall stress levels and decrease our urge to drink. 
  • Learning new skills. Not everything in our life needs to be about learning and growth, but just by participating in things we enjoy, we can develop new skills. They may be physical skills related to a hobby, strategies to navigate challenges, or social skills and teamwork experience.
  • Increasing social interaction. Exploring our interests opens the door to opportunities to interact socially with others. Try a yoga class and invite someone to grab a bite after. Who knows? We may meet our best friend who has the same exercise-to-treat pipeline that we love. The social aspect of participating in hobbies can motivate us to continue delving into our interests and expand our social circle of support. 
  • Boosting self-esteem and confidence. We don’t have to be the best at something, but participating in different activities can still be a boost to our self-esteem and confidence. Whether we completed our 100th spin class, made our first usable ceramic bowl, or won a pickleball game against a friend, these small wins encourage us to continue our recovery, even when things get tough. 

Now that we understand the importance of finding hobbies, and we have many options to choose from, what else should we keep in mind when pursuing a hobby?

What To Consider When Choosing Recovery Activities

When choosing an activity, it’s also important to keep several key considerations in mind.

  • Personal interests. With a rise in interest in long-distance running, all of your friends may suddenly be interested in training for the next marathon. You might be pressured to join in, but if it’s not something that interests you, it may not be enjoyable for you. It’s okay to have hobbies different from our friends’ favorite activities, and it’s also common to meet new people who have interests in common with us.
  • Physical abilities and limitations. It’s important to keep in mind our own physical abilities and limitations. This doesn’t mean we can’t try something outside our comfort zone. But keeping our physical abilities in mind can help us set realistic goals and narrow the options so we can focus on what makes us feel happy and fulfilled.
  • Budget constraints. Some hobbies can get quite expensive, but that doesn’t mean we should write them off. We can find creative ways to do what we love while still staying within our budget. For example, a fees for a weekly Pilates class at a studio can add up fast. Instead, why not gather a group of friends and take an online Pilates class at home?
  • Time and availability. As much as we’d love to do something we love all day, other priorities — like family and work — may come first. Identifying how much leisure time we have without impacting other priorities in our life can help us “schedule in” time for our new activities. Sometimes we can get caught up in our daily routines, so setting aside time for hobbies can help us find a good balance.
  • Accessibility of resources and facilities. We may love surfing, but if we’re in a landlocked area, it may not be an option. Acknowledging our access to resources and facilities can help us make the tweaks necessary so we can participate in the activities we enjoy. For example, if surfing outdoors isn’t an option, we can try swimming, skateboarding, or maybe even find an indoor surfing facility. 

Now that we may have narrowed down our list to an activity we want to try, how can we give it a fair chance?

Strategies for Incorporating Sober Hobbies Into Your Lifestyle

Quitting alcohol is no easy feat. Recovery can come with physical discomfort and emotional distress that can make it hard to feel motivated enough to try new activities. Sure, the one yoga class was fun, but it may have taken a lot for us to get out there. How can we keep going? Some ways we can incorporate hobbies and interests into our recovery lifestyle include the following strategies.

  • Setting realistic goals and expectations. Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym every day just to find yourself canceling your membership after the first two weeks? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Setting realistic goals can help us stay consistent. If we don’t have the mental or physical energy to go to a yoga class every week, start with once every two weeks. 
  • Stay consistent. It’s okay to not love something we try. However, it’s important to give it a fair chance, especially during recovery. It’s not easy to figure out what we may enjoy, especially if we spent most of our time in the past drinking and recovering from drinking. Although we may be occupied with school or work, it’s important to set aside time to engage in our own interests.
  • Find accountability partners. Finding an accountability partner or mentor can motivate us to show up even when things get tough in our recovery.  Sometimes we may need a push to get there, but we may find ourselves feeling much better after the fact.
  • Celebrate progress and milestones. Especially when our social media feeds are flooded with other people’s bigger and better achievements, it can be all too easy to look past our own seemingly small wins. Celebrating our accomplishments, whether mastering a new yoga pose or baking our first cheesecake without the top cracking, can remind us of our good efforts and serve as a well-deserved pat on the back.
  • Adapt hobbies to different stages of recovery. Different stages of recovery come with different challenges. We may not feel quite up to a chosen activity yet, but we can modify our plans and still start to explore our passions. For example, we may be totally committed to learning a new language and want to enroll in a class right away. However, it’s possible we may not have the physical energy during withdrawal or the time to take classes in person. But we can start by downloading an app to get a grasp of the basics, then move on to an online course and eventually to in-person classes. 

We may take all these steps, but obstacles and setbacks can still occur. How can we overcome them?

Overcoming Challenges in Pursuing Hobbies During Recovery From Addiction

Recovery experiences can make even everyday activities challenging at times. Even though hobbies can seem like just an add-on to our life, they can be crucial during recovery. Here are some ways we can stay consistent in pursuing our interests during challenging times.

  • Deal with cravings and triggers. As we sever our dependence on alcohol, cravings and triggers to drink are common occurrences. Understanding what these triggers are can help us better navigate them and allow us to focus our time and energy on more positive activities.
  • Manage time and energy. When we quit alcohol, it’s a big adjustment physically and emotionally. By managing our time and energy, we can set realistic goals for exploring hobbies while we develop a balanced lifestyle.
  • Cope with setbacks and failures. Setbacks are a frequent part of recovery. Understanding that they can be a part of the process and learning from them can help us continue on the path to recovery. It may be difficult to get up and show up to our weekly yoga class after a relapse, but staying consistent with the things we enjoy doing gives us something to look forward to. 
  • Seek professional support. Recovery isn’t an easy process, but we don’t have to go it alone. With professional treatment, we can develop strategies to manage our triggers and emotions as we focus on developing a healthier and more fulfilling life.

As we continue to heal our relationship with alcohol and learn more about ourselves in the process, we’ll be able to enrich our lives through hobbies and passions. 

Starting a New Chapter

You don’t have to wait until you’re fully recovered to start putting your time into things you love doing. In fact, developing hobbies during recovery is beneficial in distracting you from drinking and helping you connect with others. It’s difficult to know where to begin, especially with the fatigue that commonly accompanies recovery. But a hobby can be anything you enjoy, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Self-discovery is a major component of recovery, making it an ideal time to explore your passions! 

Quit Drinking
2024-06-12 9:30
Quit Drinking
Overcoming Alcohol Withdrawal: Tips for Recovery and When to Seek Help
This is some text inside of a div block.

Explore effective strategies for managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, recognize when to seek professional help, and learn about the resources available for a successful recovery from alcohol addiction.

7 min read

Take Control of Your Recovery 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 millions 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 withdrawal can be a daunting and challenging experience for many individuals aiming to quit drinking. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and understanding how to manage them effectively is crucial for a successful recovery. This article explores the challenges of alcohol withdrawal, offers tips for managing symptoms, and provides advice on when to seek professional help for alcohol addiction.

Understanding Alcohol Withdrawal

Overcoming Alcohol Withdrawal Tips for Recovery and When to Seek Help

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a person who has been drinking heavily and regularly suddenly stops or significantly reduces their alcohol intake. This can lead to a range of physical and psychological symptoms due to the body's dependence on alcohol. The severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary based on several factors, including the duration and amount of alcohol consumption, as well as the individual's overall health.

Common Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

  • Mild Symptoms: Anxiety, insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.
  • Moderate Symptoms: Increased heart rate, tremors, agitation, and confusion.
  • Severe Symptoms: Hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs), which can be life-threatening.

It's essential to recognize these symptoms early and take appropriate steps to manage them effectively.

Tips for Managing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

1. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a common issue during alcohol withdrawal. Drinking plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids can help alleviate some symptoms, such as headaches and nausea.

2. Eat a Balanced Diet

Consuming a nutritious diet can provide your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals to support recovery. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

Rest is crucial for your body to heal and recover. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and take naps if needed.

4. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Stress and anxiety are common withdrawal symptoms. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help calm your mind and reduce stress levels.

5. Seek Support

Having a strong support system is vital for recovery. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can provide encouragement and understanding during this challenging time. If you're experiencing cravings, it's helpful to understand that alcohol cravings often occur as an automatic response to a trigger. Recognizing these triggers can help you manage cravings more effectively.

6. Avoid Triggers

Identify and avoid situations or environments that may trigger the urge to drink. This could include certain social settings, people, or emotional states.

7. Gradual Reduction

For some individuals, gradually reducing alcohol intake rather than quitting abruptly can help manage withdrawal symptoms. However, this should be done under medical supervision.

When to Seek Professional Help

While some individuals may manage mild withdrawal symptoms at home, others may require professional assistance. It's essential to seek help if:

  • You experience severe symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures, or delirium tremens.
  • You have a history of severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • You have underlying health conditions that could complicate withdrawal.
  • You are unable to manage symptoms on your own.

Detox Centers and Rehabilitation Programs

Professional detox centers and rehabilitation programs offer medical supervision and support during the withdrawal process. These facilities can provide medications to manage symptoms and ensure a safe and comfortable detoxification.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling can address the psychological aspects of alcohol addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other therapeutic approaches can help you develop coping strategies and address underlying issues contributing to alcohol use.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

In some cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be recommended to help reduce cravings and prevent relapse. Medications such as naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Support Groups

Joining support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other recovery groups can provide a sense of community and shared experience. These groups offer a platform to share challenges, successes, and receive encouragement from others who understand what you're going through.

Conclusion

Alcohol withdrawal is a challenging but manageable process. By understanding the symptoms, implementing effective strategies to manage them, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can successfully navigate this critical phase of recovery. Remember, overcoming alcohol addiction is a journey that requires patience, support, and dedication. Taking the first step towards a healthier, alcohol-free life is a commendable and courageous decision.

By integrating these resources into your recovery plan, you can gain additional insights and support to help you on your journey towards a healthier relationship with alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal can be a daunting and challenging experience for many individuals aiming to quit drinking. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and understanding how to manage them effectively is crucial for a successful recovery. This article explores the challenges of alcohol withdrawal, offers tips for managing symptoms, and provides advice on when to seek professional help for alcohol addiction.

Understanding Alcohol Withdrawal

Overcoming Alcohol Withdrawal Tips for Recovery and When to Seek Help

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a person who has been drinking heavily and regularly suddenly stops or significantly reduces their alcohol intake. This can lead to a range of physical and psychological symptoms due to the body's dependence on alcohol. The severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary based on several factors, including the duration and amount of alcohol consumption, as well as the individual's overall health.

Common Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

  • Mild Symptoms: Anxiety, insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.
  • Moderate Symptoms: Increased heart rate, tremors, agitation, and confusion.
  • Severe Symptoms: Hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs), which can be life-threatening.

It's essential to recognize these symptoms early and take appropriate steps to manage them effectively.

Tips for Managing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

1. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a common issue during alcohol withdrawal. Drinking plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids can help alleviate some symptoms, such as headaches and nausea.

2. Eat a Balanced Diet

Consuming a nutritious diet can provide your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals to support recovery. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

Rest is crucial for your body to heal and recover. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and take naps if needed.

4. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Stress and anxiety are common withdrawal symptoms. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help calm your mind and reduce stress levels.

5. Seek Support

Having a strong support system is vital for recovery. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can provide encouragement and understanding during this challenging time. If you're experiencing cravings, it's helpful to understand that alcohol cravings often occur as an automatic response to a trigger. Recognizing these triggers can help you manage cravings more effectively.

6. Avoid Triggers

Identify and avoid situations or environments that may trigger the urge to drink. This could include certain social settings, people, or emotional states.

7. Gradual Reduction

For some individuals, gradually reducing alcohol intake rather than quitting abruptly can help manage withdrawal symptoms. However, this should be done under medical supervision.

When to Seek Professional Help

While some individuals may manage mild withdrawal symptoms at home, others may require professional assistance. It's essential to seek help if:

  • You experience severe symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures, or delirium tremens.
  • You have a history of severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • You have underlying health conditions that could complicate withdrawal.
  • You are unable to manage symptoms on your own.

Detox Centers and Rehabilitation Programs

Professional detox centers and rehabilitation programs offer medical supervision and support during the withdrawal process. These facilities can provide medications to manage symptoms and ensure a safe and comfortable detoxification.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling can address the psychological aspects of alcohol addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other therapeutic approaches can help you develop coping strategies and address underlying issues contributing to alcohol use.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

In some cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be recommended to help reduce cravings and prevent relapse. Medications such as naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Support Groups

Joining support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other recovery groups can provide a sense of community and shared experience. These groups offer a platform to share challenges, successes, and receive encouragement from others who understand what you're going through.

Conclusion

Alcohol withdrawal is a challenging but manageable process. By understanding the symptoms, implementing effective strategies to manage them, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can successfully navigate this critical phase of recovery. Remember, overcoming alcohol addiction is a journey that requires patience, support, and dedication. Taking the first step towards a healthier, alcohol-free life is a commendable and courageous decision.

By integrating these resources into your recovery plan, you can gain additional insights and support to help you on your journey towards a healthier relationship with alcohol.

Quit Drinking
2024-06-11 9:00
Quit Drinking
How To Treat Alcoholism in Older Adults
This is some text inside of a div block.

Alcoholism can occur at any age. Check out our latest blog for more info on the alcohol-related challenges seniors face and how to overcome them.

23 min read

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Read Full Article  →

“Alcoholism” or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is commonly associated with young or middle-aged adults. Following a stint of college partying, the stress of adulthood and major life changes can contribute to excessive drinking in these age groups. However, contrary to the belief that the elderly are wise, older adults don’t always have it figured out either.

Although less frequent than in younger adults, excessive drinking and AUD in seniors are common occurrences. While we often hear of younger people attending rehab and getting their life back on track, AUD in the elderly is not discussed as frequently — adding to its unique challenges. To help us or a loved one overcome these specific hurdles, let’s first come to a better understanding of how excessive drinking and AUD affect the older population. 

Why Alcohol Use Is Common Among the Older Adult Population

An elderly man sitting with a glass of whiskey at a table

As with other age groups, alcohol consumption has increased among the older adult population. According to the National Survery on Drug Use 
and Health (NSDUH), 20% of adults in 
the U.S. aged 60-64 and 10% aged 65 
and over report current binge drinking. 
We often attribute excessive drinking to the stressors of adulthood and the partying behavior of younger adults, but many factors can also drive seniors to drink:

  • Life transitions. Older adults experience major transitions later in life just like their younger counterparts. Changes may include retirement, menopause, and loss of loved ones. Consciously or unconsciously, many of us may turn to drinking as a coping mechanism through these major life transitions.
  • Physical health issues. Older age often comes with greater health issues. Health conditions can make us physically uncomfortable and many of us may turn to alcohol to self-medicate. Poor health may also trigger black-and-white thinking. This can make us believe that since we’re already in poor health, we may as well drink alcohol (more on why this can be extremely detrimental later).
  • Mental health conditions. Stressors of adult life and major life changes can elicit poor mental health and lead to mental health conditions if not addressed. Mental health conditions are heavily associated with alcohol consumption, which can explain increased consumption in older adults. 
  • Social isolation. Seniors often feel socially isolated when adult children start their own families, when their social circles change after retiring, or when they no longer participate in certain activities. These changes may drive older adults to use alcohol as a distraction.

While many of us often view retirement as the light at the end of the tunnel, older adult life comes with its unique challenges. Excessive drinking is harmful at any age, but how do the dangers differ between older and younger adults?

The Dangers of Excessive Drinking for Older Adults vs. Younger Adults

Aging comes with unique challenges that make excessive drinking in the older adult population more dangerous than in younger adults. Several factors make alcohol affect seniors differently.

  • Sensitivity to alcohol. As we age, our sensitivity to alcohol increases. This means that the same amount of alcohol may have greater effects on an older adult than a younger one.
  • Overall health. Older age comes with the risk of more health issues. Since we may be in less optimal health in comparison to younger adults, the harmful health effects of drinking can disproportionately affect the health of seniors — leading to even more health issues. 
  • Co-occurring diseases. Since older adults may experience heightened health effects from drinking, our risk of developing co-occurring conditions may also increase. 
  • Access to treatment. Seniors often have less access to treatment due to many factors such as mobility barriers and stigma. This can be harmful, as excessive drinking can lead to alcohol-related health issues and mortality. 

Excessive drinking can lead to dependence and AUD. How can we better identify signs of AUD in the older adult population?

Screening and Assessment for Alcoholism in Seniors

Alcohol use disorder, commonly referred to as “alcoholism,” is sometimes more difficult to diagnose in older adults for a number of reasons.

  • Mistaken for aging-related issues. Symptoms of aging and excessive drinking can overlap. Experiences such as memory loss or decreased mobility can make it difficult for practitioners to make a proper diagnosis, as they may be written off as normal symptoms of aging. To combat this, it’s important to be forthcoming about our drinking habits with our health providers.
  • Underreporting and stigma. Aging also comes with the notion that our lives become more stable and that we have everything figured out. However, older adults also have challenges to work through. This misconception that seniors should have everything in their lives worked out can lead to stigma — leading to underreporting and not accessing treatment.
  • Co-occurring medical conditions. As with symptoms of aging, co-occurring conditions can complicate the diagnosis of AUD.

Fortunately, there are some ways we can overcome these challenges and better assess for alcohol misuse and AUD in seniors:

  • Early detection. Signs of alcohol dependence include the inability to stop drinking, dismissal of negative effects, and prioritizing drinking over other responsibilities. Early detection can help us and our support team better differentiate between symptoms of aging and the negative effects of excessive drinking. 
  • Screening tools. Specific screening assessments such as the AUDIT-C and SASQ can be beneficial in identifying unhealthy alcohol use. Other general tools such as yes/no questions, leading questions, and the CAGE questionnaire do not identify all patients who might benefit from interventio; these tools also can miss prevention opportunities.
  • Comprehensive assessment of physical, mental, and social factors. Alcohol consumption is influenced by many factors. Getting a clearer picture of different aspects of our life helps our physician better identify alcohol dependence of AUD if present.
  • Involvement of family and caregivers. An unhealthy relationship with alcohol isn’t always easy to self-identify. Even if it is, factors such as stigma or shame may prevent us from accessing support. This is where the involvement of family and caregivers can be beneficial in helping to identify the need for change or help with accessing treatment.

Once alcohol dependence or AUD is identified in older adults, is it treated in the same way as the younger population?

How To Treat Alcoholism in Older Adults

AUD is treated through four main approaches for any age group. Treating AUD in seniors may require additional considerations (we’ll discuss specifics in the next section), but the methods remain the same. 

1. Medication management. Medication is used throughout various stages of treatment such as detox to address neurological dependence, and with managing co-occurring medical conditions. Medication adherence is often crucial to the success of treatment — making management crucial to recovery when medications are needed.

2. Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is often used in conjunction with medication-assisted treatment and supportive interventions. Different types of therapies can help us develop positive coping strategies and create healthier habits: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on working through negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT is based on CBT but focuses on the idea that two different things can be true at the same time. It helps us change negative thinking patterns but also teaches us to accept that these thoughts are valid.
  • Motivational interviewing. This counseling approach focuses on the ambivalence to change. It helps us strengthen our motivation to facilitate change.
  • Family therapy. Different types of family therapy utilize the complex system of the family to enact change. Since AUD can affect those around us, family therapy addresses the extensive impact of AUD to motivate us.

3. Supportive interventions. Supportive services can further aid our recovery through social support and accountability. There are many great options for supportive interventions:

  • Peer support groups. Peer groups can help us develop a social network of individuals who understand our struggles. This can be beneficial in helping us learn positive practices and increase our social engagement. 
  • Counseling services for specific niches. Specific counseling services can address unique challenges that may come up for certain individuals. For example, sports performance therapists may understand the challenges of an athlete better than a general practitioner and offer more individualized support. 
  • Rehab programs focused on functional recovery. Functional recovery helps us explore a life without alcohol. Oftentimes, we may feel lost after quitting alcohol, and functional recovery programs can help us navigate this.

4. Holistic approaches. Some of us may opt for a more holistic approach to treatment or use it as a supporting treatment. It is beneficial for those of us who may not have access to traditional treatments. Some holistic practices to aid recovery include the following:

  • Mindfulness-based practices. Practices such as meditation and deep breathing can help calm our mind — addressing potential root causes of our drinking.
  • Exercise and nutrition. Taking care of our overall health can encourage us to be more mindful of consuming harmful substances such as alcohol. 
  • Alternative practices. Other methods such as acupuncture and yoga can assist with unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. 

These approaches can help treat AUD in all age groups, but what specific considerations are there when treating the elderly?

Addressing the Specific Needs of the Older Alcoholic

It’s important to tailor any treatment plan to meet the needs of an individual, but treating AUD in older adults may require specific considerations. Common experiences of older individuals warrant the need for additional modifications. 

  • Cognitive decline or dementia. Psychotherapy is dependent on remembering and applying the practices. However, older individuals may be more susceptible to cognitive decline or dementia — affecting the success of treatment. It’s important to consider this factor to individualize the plan based on a patient’s needs to set them up for success.
  • Medications and comorbidities. Adherence to medication can be crucial in severing neurological dependence and treating co-occurring conditions. Older adults may require support with managing medications and comorbidities more than younger adults. Implementing these supports within the treatment plan can support the success of our recovery.
  • Mobility challenges. This can significantly affect access to treatment. An older individual may not be able to attend a treatment center physically. Creative planning involving family participation or virtual treatment may need to be explored.
  • Accessibility and comfort in treatment settings. Accessibility isn’t always physical. For example, if a peer support group meets virtually every week but an older individual doesn’t know how to log in independently, their access to support is limited. Additionally, seniors have unique needs, and certain components may need to be added to their treatment setting to meet their comfort needs. This can range from matching them with an older therapist

In addition to general considerations when treating seniors with AUD, individual preferences and needs should also be taken into account. Treatment can require an all-around approach. 

How to Support a Senior in Recovery From AUD

Having a support system during recovery is highly beneficial. How can we support an older family member with AUD?

  • Study up. Learning more about AUD and the specific challenges that seniors face helps us approach with greater compassion and understanding. 
  • Provide a judgment-free space. As we’ve discussed, the stigma surrounding alcohol misuse in older adults is even greater than it is normally. Offering a judgment-free space helps us obtain support without fear of judgment. 
  • Get involved in treatment planning and aftercare support. Staying involved in current and aftercare treatment helps our loved ones feel less alone and provides accountability. 
  • Provide emotional support. Recovery can be challenging emotionally. Offering support in this area helps our loved ones avoid turning to alcohol to avoid uncomfortable emotions.
  • Set boundaries. Taking care of ourselves is also important when supporting an older family member in recovery. This can avoid tension due to stress and help us sustain our support in the long run. 

Support isn’t necessary in acute recovery only but also in aftercare. This aftercare can help prevent relapses. Let’s get a better idea of what aftercare can consist of for seniors recovering from AUD.

Aftercare and Alcohol Relapse Prevention in Seniors

Aftercare in recovery is important, as the physical and neurological dependence associated with AUD can lead to relapses. Some important aspects of aftercare for seniors in recovery include the following:

  • A personalized plan. A personalized plan can consist of realistic goals and actions that help us adhere to healthy habits. They can also include individual support such as medication management and accessing ongoing treatment to aid in the success of recovery.
  • Ongoing monitoring and follow-up. Continued follow-up can help support us through different stages of our recovery. It’s a great way to check in for accountability and to ensure we stay on track. 
  • Strategies for relapse prevention. By developing positive coping strategies and identifying triggers, we can better navigate them when we stop receiving direct treatment. 
  • Reintegration into the community. Participating in community activities helps us explore interests and redevelop social support networks. This participation can help us find purpose and help us feel less alone during our recovery. 

Treatment for AUD in the elderly requires comprehensive care and support. To set ourselves up for success, what specific challenges should we be aware of?

Challenges and Considerations in Treating Alcoholism in Older Adults

Knowing what barriers are present helps us better navigate treatment for AUD in the older adult population. Some specific challenges include the following: 

  • Limited research and awareness. AUD in the elderly is less common than in young to middle-aged adults. Since it’s less common, research and awareness may be limited. This can negatively impact the detection and treatment of AUD in seniors.
  • Age-related barriers to treatment. Because AUD is most frequently occurring between the ages of 18 and 25, treatment may not always be accessible to seniors. Thess barriers may include challenges with accessing technology or limited senior-specific treatment.
  • Interactions between alcohol and medications. Older adults are more likely to have co-occurring conditions, which may increase the risk of interactions between medications and alcohol. This can cause additional health issues that may need to be considered. 
  • Long-term support and care for chronic conditions. Seniors with AUD may experience greater health effects and have chronic conditions alcohol- or nonalcohol-related. These conditions may require long-term support even after acute treatment, which may not always be needed for other age groups. 
  • The stigma surrounding AUD in older adults. Stigma can lead to shame and other negative emotions, impact our motivation to reach out for support or treatment. 

Although treatment for AUD in older adults requires additional consideration and comes with unique challenges, recovery is worth it and possible.

It’s Not Too Late

AUD in the older adult population often goes untreated, contributing to greater alcohol-related harm and mortality. Understanding the challenges in detecting and treating AUD in seniors can help decrease the chances of missed prevention opportunities. While a support system is beneficial for any one of us who may be recovering from AUD, family and caregiver involvement is even more crucial for seniors. No need to gauge if it’s worth it — recovery is beneficial at any age!

“Alcoholism” or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is commonly associated with young or middle-aged adults. Following a stint of college partying, the stress of adulthood and major life changes can contribute to excessive drinking in these age groups. However, contrary to the belief that the elderly are wise, older adults don’t always have it figured out either.

Although less frequent than in younger adults, excessive drinking and AUD in seniors are common occurrences. While we often hear of younger people attending rehab and getting their life back on track, AUD in the elderly is not discussed as frequently — adding to its unique challenges. To help us or a loved one overcome these specific hurdles, let’s first come to a better understanding of how excessive drinking and AUD affect the older population. 

Why Alcohol Use Is Common Among the Older Adult Population

An elderly man sitting with a glass of whiskey at a table

As with other age groups, alcohol consumption has increased among the older adult population. According to the National Survery on Drug Use 
and Health (NSDUH), 20% of adults in 
the U.S. aged 60-64 and 10% aged 65 
and over report current binge drinking. 
We often attribute excessive drinking to the stressors of adulthood and the partying behavior of younger adults, but many factors can also drive seniors to drink:

  • Life transitions. Older adults experience major transitions later in life just like their younger counterparts. Changes may include retirement, menopause, and loss of loved ones. Consciously or unconsciously, many of us may turn to drinking as a coping mechanism through these major life transitions.
  • Physical health issues. Older age often comes with greater health issues. Health conditions can make us physically uncomfortable and many of us may turn to alcohol to self-medicate. Poor health may also trigger black-and-white thinking. This can make us believe that since we’re already in poor health, we may as well drink alcohol (more on why this can be extremely detrimental later).
  • Mental health conditions. Stressors of adult life and major life changes can elicit poor mental health and lead to mental health conditions if not addressed. Mental health conditions are heavily associated with alcohol consumption, which can explain increased consumption in older adults. 
  • Social isolation. Seniors often feel socially isolated when adult children start their own families, when their social circles change after retiring, or when they no longer participate in certain activities. These changes may drive older adults to use alcohol as a distraction.

While many of us often view retirement as the light at the end of the tunnel, older adult life comes with its unique challenges. Excessive drinking is harmful at any age, but how do the dangers differ between older and younger adults?

The Dangers of Excessive Drinking for Older Adults vs. Younger Adults

Aging comes with unique challenges that make excessive drinking in the older adult population more dangerous than in younger adults. Several factors make alcohol affect seniors differently.

  • Sensitivity to alcohol. As we age, our sensitivity to alcohol increases. This means that the same amount of alcohol may have greater effects on an older adult than a younger one.
  • Overall health. Older age comes with the risk of more health issues. Since we may be in less optimal health in comparison to younger adults, the harmful health effects of drinking can disproportionately affect the health of seniors — leading to even more health issues. 
  • Co-occurring diseases. Since older adults may experience heightened health effects from drinking, our risk of developing co-occurring conditions may also increase. 
  • Access to treatment. Seniors often have less access to treatment due to many factors such as mobility barriers and stigma. This can be harmful, as excessive drinking can lead to alcohol-related health issues and mortality. 

Excessive drinking can lead to dependence and AUD. How can we better identify signs of AUD in the older adult population?

Screening and Assessment for Alcoholism in Seniors

Alcohol use disorder, commonly referred to as “alcoholism,” is sometimes more difficult to diagnose in older adults for a number of reasons.

  • Mistaken for aging-related issues. Symptoms of aging and excessive drinking can overlap. Experiences such as memory loss or decreased mobility can make it difficult for practitioners to make a proper diagnosis, as they may be written off as normal symptoms of aging. To combat this, it’s important to be forthcoming about our drinking habits with our health providers.
  • Underreporting and stigma. Aging also comes with the notion that our lives become more stable and that we have everything figured out. However, older adults also have challenges to work through. This misconception that seniors should have everything in their lives worked out can lead to stigma — leading to underreporting and not accessing treatment.
  • Co-occurring medical conditions. As with symptoms of aging, co-occurring conditions can complicate the diagnosis of AUD.

Fortunately, there are some ways we can overcome these challenges and better assess for alcohol misuse and AUD in seniors:

  • Early detection. Signs of alcohol dependence include the inability to stop drinking, dismissal of negative effects, and prioritizing drinking over other responsibilities. Early detection can help us and our support team better differentiate between symptoms of aging and the negative effects of excessive drinking. 
  • Screening tools. Specific screening assessments such as the AUDIT-C and SASQ can be beneficial in identifying unhealthy alcohol use. Other general tools such as yes/no questions, leading questions, and the CAGE questionnaire do not identify all patients who might benefit from interventio; these tools also can miss prevention opportunities.
  • Comprehensive assessment of physical, mental, and social factors. Alcohol consumption is influenced by many factors. Getting a clearer picture of different aspects of our life helps our physician better identify alcohol dependence of AUD if present.
  • Involvement of family and caregivers. An unhealthy relationship with alcohol isn’t always easy to self-identify. Even if it is, factors such as stigma or shame may prevent us from accessing support. This is where the involvement of family and caregivers can be beneficial in helping to identify the need for change or help with accessing treatment.

Once alcohol dependence or AUD is identified in older adults, is it treated in the same way as the younger population?

How To Treat Alcoholism in Older Adults

AUD is treated through four main approaches for any age group. Treating AUD in seniors may require additional considerations (we’ll discuss specifics in the next section), but the methods remain the same. 

1. Medication management. Medication is used throughout various stages of treatment such as detox to address neurological dependence, and with managing co-occurring medical conditions. Medication adherence is often crucial to the success of treatment — making management crucial to recovery when medications are needed.

2. Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is often used in conjunction with medication-assisted treatment and supportive interventions. Different types of therapies can help us develop positive coping strategies and create healthier habits: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on working through negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT is based on CBT but focuses on the idea that two different things can be true at the same time. It helps us change negative thinking patterns but also teaches us to accept that these thoughts are valid.
  • Motivational interviewing. This counseling approach focuses on the ambivalence to change. It helps us strengthen our motivation to facilitate change.
  • Family therapy. Different types of family therapy utilize the complex system of the family to enact change. Since AUD can affect those around us, family therapy addresses the extensive impact of AUD to motivate us.

3. Supportive interventions. Supportive services can further aid our recovery through social support and accountability. There are many great options for supportive interventions:

  • Peer support groups. Peer groups can help us develop a social network of individuals who understand our struggles. This can be beneficial in helping us learn positive practices and increase our social engagement. 
  • Counseling services for specific niches. Specific counseling services can address unique challenges that may come up for certain individuals. For example, sports performance therapists may understand the challenges of an athlete better than a general practitioner and offer more individualized support. 
  • Rehab programs focused on functional recovery. Functional recovery helps us explore a life without alcohol. Oftentimes, we may feel lost after quitting alcohol, and functional recovery programs can help us navigate this.

4. Holistic approaches. Some of us may opt for a more holistic approach to treatment or use it as a supporting treatment. It is beneficial for those of us who may not have access to traditional treatments. Some holistic practices to aid recovery include the following:

  • Mindfulness-based practices. Practices such as meditation and deep breathing can help calm our mind — addressing potential root causes of our drinking.
  • Exercise and nutrition. Taking care of our overall health can encourage us to be more mindful of consuming harmful substances such as alcohol. 
  • Alternative practices. Other methods such as acupuncture and yoga can assist with unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. 

These approaches can help treat AUD in all age groups, but what specific considerations are there when treating the elderly?

Addressing the Specific Needs of the Older Alcoholic

It’s important to tailor any treatment plan to meet the needs of an individual, but treating AUD in older adults may require specific considerations. Common experiences of older individuals warrant the need for additional modifications. 

  • Cognitive decline or dementia. Psychotherapy is dependent on remembering and applying the practices. However, older individuals may be more susceptible to cognitive decline or dementia — affecting the success of treatment. It’s important to consider this factor to individualize the plan based on a patient’s needs to set them up for success.
  • Medications and comorbidities. Adherence to medication can be crucial in severing neurological dependence and treating co-occurring conditions. Older adults may require support with managing medications and comorbidities more than younger adults. Implementing these supports within the treatment plan can support the success of our recovery.
  • Mobility challenges. This can significantly affect access to treatment. An older individual may not be able to attend a treatment center physically. Creative planning involving family participation or virtual treatment may need to be explored.
  • Accessibility and comfort in treatment settings. Accessibility isn’t always physical. For example, if a peer support group meets virtually every week but an older individual doesn’t know how to log in independently, their access to support is limited. Additionally, seniors have unique needs, and certain components may need to be added to their treatment setting to meet their comfort needs. This can range from matching them with an older therapist

In addition to general considerations when treating seniors with AUD, individual preferences and needs should also be taken into account. Treatment can require an all-around approach. 

How to Support a Senior in Recovery From AUD

Having a support system during recovery is highly beneficial. How can we support an older family member with AUD?

  • Study up. Learning more about AUD and the specific challenges that seniors face helps us approach with greater compassion and understanding. 
  • Provide a judgment-free space. As we’ve discussed, the stigma surrounding alcohol misuse in older adults is even greater than it is normally. Offering a judgment-free space helps us obtain support without fear of judgment. 
  • Get involved in treatment planning and aftercare support. Staying involved in current and aftercare treatment helps our loved ones feel less alone and provides accountability. 
  • Provide emotional support. Recovery can be challenging emotionally. Offering support in this area helps our loved ones avoid turning to alcohol to avoid uncomfortable emotions.
  • Set boundaries. Taking care of ourselves is also important when supporting an older family member in recovery. This can avoid tension due to stress and help us sustain our support in the long run. 

Support isn’t necessary in acute recovery only but also in aftercare. This aftercare can help prevent relapses. Let’s get a better idea of what aftercare can consist of for seniors recovering from AUD.

Aftercare and Alcohol Relapse Prevention in Seniors

Aftercare in recovery is important, as the physical and neurological dependence associated with AUD can lead to relapses. Some important aspects of aftercare for seniors in recovery include the following:

  • A personalized plan. A personalized plan can consist of realistic goals and actions that help us adhere to healthy habits. They can also include individual support such as medication management and accessing ongoing treatment to aid in the success of recovery.
  • Ongoing monitoring and follow-up. Continued follow-up can help support us through different stages of our recovery. It’s a great way to check in for accountability and to ensure we stay on track. 
  • Strategies for relapse prevention. By developing positive coping strategies and identifying triggers, we can better navigate them when we stop receiving direct treatment. 
  • Reintegration into the community. Participating in community activities helps us explore interests and redevelop social support networks. This participation can help us find purpose and help us feel less alone during our recovery. 

Treatment for AUD in the elderly requires comprehensive care and support. To set ourselves up for success, what specific challenges should we be aware of?

Challenges and Considerations in Treating Alcoholism in Older Adults

Knowing what barriers are present helps us better navigate treatment for AUD in the older adult population. Some specific challenges include the following: 

  • Limited research and awareness. AUD in the elderly is less common than in young to middle-aged adults. Since it’s less common, research and awareness may be limited. This can negatively impact the detection and treatment of AUD in seniors.
  • Age-related barriers to treatment. Because AUD is most frequently occurring between the ages of 18 and 25, treatment may not always be accessible to seniors. Thess barriers may include challenges with accessing technology or limited senior-specific treatment.
  • Interactions between alcohol and medications. Older adults are more likely to have co-occurring conditions, which may increase the risk of interactions between medications and alcohol. This can cause additional health issues that may need to be considered. 
  • Long-term support and care for chronic conditions. Seniors with AUD may experience greater health effects and have chronic conditions alcohol- or nonalcohol-related. These conditions may require long-term support even after acute treatment, which may not always be needed for other age groups. 
  • The stigma surrounding AUD in older adults. Stigma can lead to shame and other negative emotions, impact our motivation to reach out for support or treatment. 

Although treatment for AUD in older adults requires additional consideration and comes with unique challenges, recovery is worth it and possible.

It’s Not Too Late

AUD in the older adult population often goes untreated, contributing to greater alcohol-related harm and mortality. Understanding the challenges in detecting and treating AUD in seniors can help decrease the chances of missed prevention opportunities. While a support system is beneficial for any one of us who may be recovering from AUD, family and caregiver involvement is even more crucial for seniors. No need to gauge if it’s worth it — recovery is beneficial at any age!

Quit Drinking
2024-06-05 9:00
Quit Drinking
How to Get Into a Healthy Routine in Recovery
This is some text inside of a div block.

Are you struggling to avoid triggers and temptations in your alcohol recovery journey? A daily routine can help! Our latest blog shares several ideas to help you get in (and stay in) a healthy routine.

15 min read

Build a Healthy Recovery Routine 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 millions 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!

Read Full Article  →

You’ve marked all the happy hours off your calendar. You’ve canceled game night with the guys or morning mimosas with the girls. You’ve cleaned out you liquor cabinet and donated your beer supply. You’re officially in recovery and ready to start your healthy, alcohol-free life. 

Quitting alcohol is a profound step on your journey to recovery, and the next step is to establish a healthy routine. A well-structured daily schedule can provide you with stability, help you avoid triggers, and manage difficult emotions during this time. 

So how do you establish such a routine? Let’s find out!

What to Expect in Recovery

Wine glass held by hand near wooden barrel

Recovery from alcohol dependence or addiction can often feel like a roller coaster. Some days we feel like we can conquer the world, and some days we feel like the world is crushing us. These feelings and all the ones in between are normal. (Learn more in our blog post “What to Expect When We Quit Drinking.”)

Those who decide to recover at a treatment center will find that the center will have a structured daily schedule in place filled with meals, individual therapy, group therapy, wellness training, recreation, and more. The schedule is an important part of rehabilitation; it provides structure and predictability.

For those who choose to recover at home, it’s equally important to stick to a daily routine. It may seem more challenging at first, and it requires more self-discipline, but the nice thing about it is that we can create a schedule that works for us and stay in the comfort of our own home. 

Benefits of a Healthy Routine

As we mentioned earlier, treatment centers create a strict daily schedule. There are several important benefits to establishing such a routine.


  • Stability and predictability in daily life. In a season of life where a lot is changing,  a little stability goes a long way. We may not know what will happen tomorrow, but we know what’s going to happen when the clock strikes 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m, and beyond. 

  • Reduction of triggers and temptations. When we plan out our day, we can strategically avoid triggers and temptations. If we schedule a yoga class, we can easily pass on happy hour — “Sorry, I’m busy!” If we plan meals to cook at home, we’ll be less tempted by the newest margarita on the menu. 

  • Building self-discipline and resilience. As we follow our routine, we build self-discipline, resilience, and confidence to overcome more challenges down the road. 

All in all, building a healthy routine is a vital part of recovery. So how do we build one that works?

Healthy Daily Schedule in Recovery

How to Establish a Healthy Daily Schedule in Recovery

It may seem daunting at first, but once we start planning out our day, the schedule starts to fill itself in.

Morning Routine

The morning routine sets the tone for our day. A successful morning routine can pave the way to success for the rest of the day, so it’s important to start the day right. Here are a few things to include in the morning schedule. 


  • Meditate. Before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, take some quiet time to breathe and focus on positive thoughts. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce cravings. 

  • Exercise. Daily exercise can boost our mood, improve our sleep, and reduce stress. Whether we hit the gym, do lunges in our living room, or head out for some “green exercise,” adding exercise to our morning routine can help us stay on track.

  • Read. In a treatment center, we might attend trainings and group sessions in the morning. At home, we can read a page of an educational or motivational book to help get our mindset in the right place for the day. 
 
  • Nourish and hydrate. Eat a balanced, nutritious breakfast and fill up a water bottle for the day. If there’s time, plan out nutritious snacks and meals for the rest of the day. Even if it’s just make a vague idea in our head, any sort of plan is better than nothing when hunger strikes. 


And voila! We’ve made it through the morning. Even if we don’t check off all of these, we can give ourselves a pat on the back for the ones we do, take a deep breath, and move on to the next portion of our day. 

Daytime

Once we begin our typical daytime routine, whether it's work or whatever else, things might start to feel more chaotic. Deadlines might loom, tasks might pile up, and we might feel super tired. Fortunately, we can make a plan to cope with these challenges. 


  • Manage stress. If we feel the stress of the day mounting, we can take a moment to breathe deeply and recenter ourselves. We can take a walk outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. Soothing music or recorded meditations can also help us calm down.

  • Prioritize tasks. If we’re starting to feel overwhelmed, taking a moment to write down the most important tasks and figuring out which one is the most urgent will help. Then we can determine which one is easiest. Going for a quick win and marking it off our list can give us confidence to keep going. 
  • Check in with your support system. Whether it’s our best friend, an online forum, or a therapist, our support system is there to help. Vent. Share a funny story or video. Regain some perspective. There is strength in numbers, so even if all we can do is read success stories of strangers online, rely on that strength. 


Once we’ve made it through a long day, we can reward ourselves with a non-alcoholic treat, whether it’s a power nap or a favorite candy bar. 

Evening Routine

Whew! The day is almost done. Some exhaustion is normal, and with exhaustion comes temptation. With a consistent wind-down routine, we can skirt temptations and call the day a success. 

  • Avoid triggers and temptations. Avoid triggers and temptations by planning out sober recreational activities. We can pick something we already like or try a new activity — taking a class, volunteering at an animal shelter, playing a sport, or planting a garden. Having a prevention plan in place can help ward off temptations. 

  • Wind down. If you’ve been accustomed to winding down with a glass of wine or whiskey at night, this could be the most difficult time of the night. Go ahead and try different ways of winding down. Maybe a good book will do the trick. Perhaps chamomile tea and lavender spray on the pillow will help. If the urge to drink hits hard, try urge surfing with a relaxing bath or a crossword puzzle. 

  • Prepare for the morning. The key to a successful morning is to prepare the night before. Lay out the day’s clothes, plan the meals, and decide how to spend exercise time. The fewer the decisions in the morning, the better. 


And just like that, the day is done. All that’s left to do is rest. While you sleep, your body will be hard at work repairing and restoring itself.

It might take some time to figure out a routine that works — that’s okay! Be flexible and make changes as needed. Once you’ve figured out a general structure that works for you, write it down, and put it where you can easily see it, like on the front of the refrigerator.

Tips for Long-Term Recovery Success

Even with the best-laid plans, sometimes we miss a step or two. Sometimes we fall off track. It’s part of being human. Remember that progress is not linear, and we can always get back on track, no matter how many times we stumble. Here are some strategies to help.

  • Reach out for support. Whomever you turn to for support, contact them as soon as possible. Talk it out, hug it out, and make a plan to move forward. 

  • Remember victories. Even if you feel like you took a huge step backward, look back at all the other victories you’ve achieved. Looking back at where you were and how far you’ve come can put things in perspective and give you hope. 

  • Be kind to yourself. Instead of spiraling into self-loathing, think what you would tell a friend in your shoes. Chances are, you would tell them it was just a mistake, it doesn’t define them, and everything will be okay. 

  • Learn from mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. Take some time to reflect and retrace your steps. Where did you start to falter? What could you do differently next time? It might be helpful to write it all out in a journal so you can look back on your progress and the wisdom you gained from each mistake. 

  • Start where you are. If you miss a few steps in the morning, don’t try to play catch up. Simply start where you are and move forward. On that note, don’t fall into the trap of “trying again tomorrow.” Even if your whole routine falls apart from breakfast to dinner, try to regain some control over your bedtime routine. 


Recovery is hard, but those who blazed this trail before you can remind you that it’s worth the struggle. Keep moving forward toward your goals. 

Conclusion

Building a healthy routine during recovery can set you up for long-term sobriety success. As you plan out your days, be sure to include exercise, healthy meals, stress management, and contact with your support team. And should you stumble, your routine will help you get back on track. As difficult as it may be, you will look back on this time with gratitude for the quality of life it will grant you down the road. 

You’ve marked all the happy hours off your calendar. You’ve canceled game night with the guys or morning mimosas with the girls. You’ve cleaned out you liquor cabinet and donated your beer supply. You’re officially in recovery and ready to start your healthy, alcohol-free life. 

Quitting alcohol is a profound step on your journey to recovery, and the next step is to establish a healthy routine. A well-structured daily schedule can provide you with stability, help you avoid triggers, and manage difficult emotions during this time. 

So how do you establish such a routine? Let’s find out!

What to Expect in Recovery

Wine glass held by hand near wooden barrel

Recovery from alcohol dependence or addiction can often feel like a roller coaster. Some days we feel like we can conquer the world, and some days we feel like the world is crushing us. These feelings and all the ones in between are normal. (Learn more in our blog post “What to Expect When We Quit Drinking.”)

Those who decide to recover at a treatment center will find that the center will have a structured daily schedule in place filled with meals, individual therapy, group therapy, wellness training, recreation, and more. The schedule is an important part of rehabilitation; it provides structure and predictability.

For those who choose to recover at home, it’s equally important to stick to a daily routine. It may seem more challenging at first, and it requires more self-discipline, but the nice thing about it is that we can create a schedule that works for us and stay in the comfort of our own home. 

Benefits of a Healthy Routine

As we mentioned earlier, treatment centers create a strict daily schedule. There are several important benefits to establishing such a routine.


  • Stability and predictability in daily life. In a season of life where a lot is changing,  a little stability goes a long way. We may not know what will happen tomorrow, but we know what’s going to happen when the clock strikes 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m, and beyond. 

  • Reduction of triggers and temptations. When we plan out our day, we can strategically avoid triggers and temptations. If we schedule a yoga class, we can easily pass on happy hour — “Sorry, I’m busy!” If we plan meals to cook at home, we’ll be less tempted by the newest margarita on the menu. 

  • Building self-discipline and resilience. As we follow our routine, we build self-discipline, resilience, and confidence to overcome more challenges down the road. 

All in all, building a healthy routine is a vital part of recovery. So how do we build one that works?

Healthy Daily Schedule in Recovery

How to Establish a Healthy Daily Schedule in Recovery

It may seem daunting at first, but once we start planning out our day, the schedule starts to fill itself in.

Morning Routine

The morning routine sets the tone for our day. A successful morning routine can pave the way to success for the rest of the day, so it’s important to start the day right. Here are a few things to include in the morning schedule. 


  • Meditate. Before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, take some quiet time to breathe and focus on positive thoughts. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce cravings. 

  • Exercise. Daily exercise can boost our mood, improve our sleep, and reduce stress. Whether we hit the gym, do lunges in our living room, or head out for some “green exercise,” adding exercise to our morning routine can help us stay on track.

  • Read. In a treatment center, we might attend trainings and group sessions in the morning. At home, we can read a page of an educational or motivational book to help get our mindset in the right place for the day. 
 
  • Nourish and hydrate. Eat a balanced, nutritious breakfast and fill up a water bottle for the day. If there’s time, plan out nutritious snacks and meals for the rest of the day. Even if it’s just make a vague idea in our head, any sort of plan is better than nothing when hunger strikes. 


And voila! We’ve made it through the morning. Even if we don’t check off all of these, we can give ourselves a pat on the back for the ones we do, take a deep breath, and move on to the next portion of our day. 

Daytime

Once we begin our typical daytime routine, whether it's work or whatever else, things might start to feel more chaotic. Deadlines might loom, tasks might pile up, and we might feel super tired. Fortunately, we can make a plan to cope with these challenges. 


  • Manage stress. If we feel the stress of the day mounting, we can take a moment to breathe deeply and recenter ourselves. We can take a walk outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. Soothing music or recorded meditations can also help us calm down.

  • Prioritize tasks. If we’re starting to feel overwhelmed, taking a moment to write down the most important tasks and figuring out which one is the most urgent will help. Then we can determine which one is easiest. Going for a quick win and marking it off our list can give us confidence to keep going. 
  • Check in with your support system. Whether it’s our best friend, an online forum, or a therapist, our support system is there to help. Vent. Share a funny story or video. Regain some perspective. There is strength in numbers, so even if all we can do is read success stories of strangers online, rely on that strength. 


Once we’ve made it through a long day, we can reward ourselves with a non-alcoholic treat, whether it’s a power nap or a favorite candy bar. 

Evening Routine

Whew! The day is almost done. Some exhaustion is normal, and with exhaustion comes temptation. With a consistent wind-down routine, we can skirt temptations and call the day a success. 

  • Avoid triggers and temptations. Avoid triggers and temptations by planning out sober recreational activities. We can pick something we already like or try a new activity — taking a class, volunteering at an animal shelter, playing a sport, or planting a garden. Having a prevention plan in place can help ward off temptations. 

  • Wind down. If you’ve been accustomed to winding down with a glass of wine or whiskey at night, this could be the most difficult time of the night. Go ahead and try different ways of winding down. Maybe a good book will do the trick. Perhaps chamomile tea and lavender spray on the pillow will help. If the urge to drink hits hard, try urge surfing with a relaxing bath or a crossword puzzle. 

  • Prepare for the morning. The key to a successful morning is to prepare the night before. Lay out the day’s clothes, plan the meals, and decide how to spend exercise time. The fewer the decisions in the morning, the better. 


And just like that, the day is done. All that’s left to do is rest. While you sleep, your body will be hard at work repairing and restoring itself.

It might take some time to figure out a routine that works — that’s okay! Be flexible and make changes as needed. Once you’ve figured out a general structure that works for you, write it down, and put it where you can easily see it, like on the front of the refrigerator.

Tips for Long-Term Recovery Success

Even with the best-laid plans, sometimes we miss a step or two. Sometimes we fall off track. It’s part of being human. Remember that progress is not linear, and we can always get back on track, no matter how many times we stumble. Here are some strategies to help.

  • Reach out for support. Whomever you turn to for support, contact them as soon as possible. Talk it out, hug it out, and make a plan to move forward. 

  • Remember victories. Even if you feel like you took a huge step backward, look back at all the other victories you’ve achieved. Looking back at where you were and how far you’ve come can put things in perspective and give you hope. 

  • Be kind to yourself. Instead of spiraling into self-loathing, think what you would tell a friend in your shoes. Chances are, you would tell them it was just a mistake, it doesn’t define them, and everything will be okay. 

  • Learn from mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. Take some time to reflect and retrace your steps. Where did you start to falter? What could you do differently next time? It might be helpful to write it all out in a journal so you can look back on your progress and the wisdom you gained from each mistake. 

  • Start where you are. If you miss a few steps in the morning, don’t try to play catch up. Simply start where you are and move forward. On that note, don’t fall into the trap of “trying again tomorrow.” Even if your whole routine falls apart from breakfast to dinner, try to regain some control over your bedtime routine. 


Recovery is hard, but those who blazed this trail before you can remind you that it’s worth the struggle. Keep moving forward toward your goals. 

Conclusion

Building a healthy routine during recovery can set you up for long-term sobriety success. As you plan out your days, be sure to include exercise, healthy meals, stress management, and contact with your support team. And should you stumble, your routine will help you get back on track. As difficult as it may be, you will look back on this time with gratitude for the quality of life it will grant you down the road. 

Quit Drinking
2024-06-03 9:00
Quit Drinking
All You Need To Know About Sobriety
This is some text inside of a div block.

Despite the simple sobriety definitions found online, navigating it can be complex. Check out our latest blog for everything you need to know about sobriety.

18 min read

Start Your Sobriety Journey 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 millions 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!

Read Full Article  →

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier or work out every day only to find yourself not sticking to these goals several weeks later? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Like other goals we may set for ourselves, committing to sobriety may not be as simple as quitting alcohol cold turkey.

Understanding the challenges that may come with sobriety and learning to overcome them can help us stay on track to reach our goals. To set us up for success, let’s first define what being sober and committing to sobriety means.

What Does “Sober” Mean?

The term “sober” typically refers to not being affected or under the influence of intoxicating substances. Being sober can have different meanings because the term is used in the context of alcohol, other drugs, or both. 

In the context of alcohol, being sober can mean not intoxicated or abstaining from alcohol — a term that can apply to different points on the spectrum of sobriety (which we’ll explore in further detail shortly).

What is “Sober Curious”?

Woman gesturing to stop drinking wine, with wine on the table

The term “sober curious” was coined by Ruby Warrington, a British author. It refers to the idea of questioning our relationship with alcohol by examining the personal and societal reasons that we drink. Being “sober curious” can include thinking about sobriety, even if we may not be fully ready to commit. 

The cultural shift known as the “sober curious movement” gained traction in the late 2010s after the release of Warrington’s book and the growing popularity of wellness trends. Being “sober curious” challenges the normalization of heavy drinking and promotes a healthier lifestyle by quitting or cutting back on alcohol. How does this differ from sobriety?

What Is Sobriety?

As we mentioned briefly, sobriety is a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is being “sober curious.” On the other end is complete abstinence from alcohol — the most common definition of sobriety. 

The term sobriety is inclusive of all points on the spectrum of sobriety, but stages of the spectrum often all work towards the goal of complete abstinence. How is this different from being sober?

Sober vs. Sobriety

The terms sober and sobriety are often used interchangeably. However, sober is more frequently referred to as the state of not being intoxicated, and sobriety is more commonly referred to as the act of staying sober. When talking about sobriety, however, it’s important to remember that sobriety is not black and white. 

Now that we better understand what sobriety means, how do we achieve it?

The Journey to Sobriety

Quitting alcohol is a significant component of sobriety, but it’s often not as simple as it sounds. Here are some steps to help us begin our journey to sobriety: 

  • Identify the issue. The first step in beginning our journey to sobriety is recognizing that we may have an issue. We can identify signs of misuse or dependence by tracking our consumption and reflecting on our habits.
  • Overcome barriers. Once we’ve identified that our alcohol consumption may be an issue, we’ll need to overcome barriers such as denial or stigma. This may include minimizing the negative effects of our drinking habits or stalling in seeking support due to fear of stigma. Overcoming these barriers requires self-honesty and tackling our fears. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is proving to be a valuable tool for helping us balance acceptance and change by learning to accept things as they are right now while also recognizing and working toward necessary shifts.
  • Seek support. We can seek support by opening up to friends and family, joining peer support groups, and/or seeking professional treatment.
  • Set goals. Now that we’re ready to go, and we’ve developed a support network to help us through any challenges, we can set goals. Sobriety doesn’t always mean the same thing for everyone, so having personalized goals is important.
  • Create a plan. Setting an overarching goal for ourselves is important, but creating a plan with achievable steps will make our overall effort more manageable and sustainable. (Quitting alcohol “cold turkey” can be dangerous, so it’s important to consult first with a healthcare provider before taking any such step.)

Once we’ve made a commitment to sobriety, we have better chance of achieving that goal and maintaining it when we incorporate the following strategies into our day-to-day lives.

Tips for Maintaining Sobriety

Maintaining sobriety isn’t always easy, especially in a culture where drinking is deeply ingrained. However, implementing the following strategies can help set us up for success: 

  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms. Healthy coping mechanisms such as participating in physical activity or engaging in mindfulness practices can help us turn to a more healthy outlet when we are tempted to drink. 
  • Avoid triggers. Identifying our triggers helps us avoid them or plan to navigate them successfully. For example, if social situations are a trigger for drinking, we can choose to avoid certain social events or plan to attend with a buddy for support. 
  • Develop a support network. Having close friends and family to open up to when things get tough helps us feel less alone.
  • Practice self-care. Taking care of ourselves as we would a friend reminds us to prioritize our health and well-being. Pamper yourself, eat well, and give yourself a break to re-energize and keep on trekking on the road to recovery.
  • Manage stress. Meditation, journaling, and other positive coping skills can help us lower our stress and avoid the urge to reach for a drink when things get tough. 
  • Focus your energy on alternative activities. Healthy distractions such as hobbies and passions can help us keep our minds off drinking. Clean off that dusty tennis racket or try a new workout class!

Even if we implement these tips to help us stay on the path to sobriety, relapses can occur. Let’s explore how we can navigate relapses in recovery. 

Tips for Maintaining Sobriety

Dealing With Relapses in Sobriety

Despite the unfortunate stigma surrounding relapses, they’re a common experience in sobriety. Research shows that roughly 69% of those of us recovering from alcohol use disorder will have a relapse. Let’s learn some ways we can deal with setbacks and continue on our journey to sobriety.

  • Understand it as a part of the recovery process. Remembering that relapses are a common part of the recovery process helps reduce any shameful feelings and ensures we reach out for support.
  • Identify triggers and warning signs. Relapses can teach us a lot about our drinking habits and triggers. Determining what our triggers are and being able to identify warning signs can help us avoid a future relapse.
  • Seek help and support. A support system is crucial in overcoming obstacles such as relapses. Reaching out for support as soon as possible can motivate us to keep going.
  • Revisit and adjust the treatment plan. Adjusting our treatment plan based on what we’ve learned from triggers and relapses can help us get back on track quickly.

Although relapses in recovery are common, they can be tough to work through. Let’s explore some ways to meet the challenge.

Supporting Someone in Sobriety

Support from friends and family on the journey to sobriety can make it less arduous and isolating for anyone. Let’s look at some ways we can better support a loved one — or they can support us!

  • Get educated about addiction and recovery. Learning more about addiction and recovery helps in understanding the challenges.
  • Provide a judgment-free space. Stigma is a significant barrier to anyone accessing treatment. Creating a judgment-free space allows those of us who are recovering from alcohol use disorder or dependence to ask for help when we may need it.
  • Encourage professional support if needed. Taking the step to obtain professional treatment isn’t always easy, but it may be necessary. Encouraging it when needed and assisting with accessing treatment can help those in recovery feel safe and supported.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries is crucial for our well-being and helps us maintain our support in the long run.

Social support is beneficial but isn’t necessary to stay on track in sobriety. What can we do if we’re on our own?

Overcoming Challenges in Sobriety

The road to sobriety isn’t always linear. The challenges we overcome along the way often strengthen our commitment to sobriety. So how do we overcome them? Here are some tried and true strategies.

  • Navigate urges and cravings. Those of us who are dependent on alcohol are likely to experience withdrawal as a part of the recovery process. Urges and cravings may come up, but healthy coping mechanisms such as “urge surfing” — a mindfulness-based practice that helps us ride out our cravings — can help us overcome these feelings. 
  • Manage stress and negative emotions. Stress and the urge to escape negative emotions can be a major trigger. Addressing these feelings through mindfulness practices and professional treatment can reduce self-medication with alcohol. 
  • Rebuild relationships. Oftentimes, an unhealthy relationship with alcohol strains our personal relationships. Focusing our time and energy on rebuilding these relationships or fostering new connections helps us redirect our attention to other facets of our lives and develop our circle of support.
  • Find purpose. Sobriety may be our end goal, but delving deeper into our personal reasons for getting there gives us something meaningful to look forward to.

The road to recovery can be bumpy. But there is freedom at the end of the tunnel, and sobriety brings little wins that are worth celebrating. 

Celebrating Sobriety

Just as we might treat ourselves to a five-dollar latte on the weekends to celebrate getting through the week, small wins in sobriety also deserve celebrating. So often we can get caught up in the negative, but acknowledging our wins can remind us of the positives and motivate us to continue our journey. Let’s explore some ways we can stay positive.

  • Recognize progress and achievements. On a difficult trek, It can sometimes be difficult to see how far we’ve come. Journaling our feelings and documenting our progress reminds us of the obstacles we’ve overcome and encourages us to keep going. 
  • Celebrate small wins. No matter how small, a win in recovery is a win. We can acknowledge the positive aspects of recovery by taking ourselves out for a small treat, buying ourselves a sobriety gift, or throwing a sobriety party.
  • Acknowledge the journey of self-discovery. Self-discovery is an integral aspect of recovery. We may find ourselves gaining interest in new hobbies and passions and understanding ourselves better — all positives that are worth celebrating.
  • Identify the positives of sobriety. Our brains are wired to focus on the negative. Writing down the positives of the journey somewhere we can access them easily can be a great tool for getting us out of a negative mindset.

It Doesn’t End Here

Despite the misconception that sobriety is only for those with alcohol use disorder or dependence, sobriety can be beneficial for anyone. While sobriety comes with many benefits, the road to get there isn’t always smooth. Learning to handle the bumps will help us reach our goal. So go ahead: embrace sobriety and change the course of your life!

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier or work out every day only to find yourself not sticking to these goals several weeks later? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Like other goals we may set for ourselves, committing to sobriety may not be as simple as quitting alcohol cold turkey.

Understanding the challenges that may come with sobriety and learning to overcome them can help us stay on track to reach our goals. To set us up for success, let’s first define what being sober and committing to sobriety means.

What Does “Sober” Mean?

The term “sober” typically refers to not being affected or under the influence of intoxicating substances. Being sober can have different meanings because the term is used in the context of alcohol, other drugs, or both. 

In the context of alcohol, being sober can mean not intoxicated or abstaining from alcohol — a term that can apply to different points on the spectrum of sobriety (which we’ll explore in further detail shortly).

What is “Sober Curious”?

Woman gesturing to stop drinking wine, with wine on the table

The term “sober curious” was coined by Ruby Warrington, a British author. It refers to the idea of questioning our relationship with alcohol by examining the personal and societal reasons that we drink. Being “sober curious” can include thinking about sobriety, even if we may not be fully ready to commit. 

The cultural shift known as the “sober curious movement” gained traction in the late 2010s after the release of Warrington’s book and the growing popularity of wellness trends. Being “sober curious” challenges the normalization of heavy drinking and promotes a healthier lifestyle by quitting or cutting back on alcohol. How does this differ from sobriety?

What Is Sobriety?

As we mentioned briefly, sobriety is a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is being “sober curious.” On the other end is complete abstinence from alcohol — the most common definition of sobriety. 

The term sobriety is inclusive of all points on the spectrum of sobriety, but stages of the spectrum often all work towards the goal of complete abstinence. How is this different from being sober?

Sober vs. Sobriety

The terms sober and sobriety are often used interchangeably. However, sober is more frequently referred to as the state of not being intoxicated, and sobriety is more commonly referred to as the act of staying sober. When talking about sobriety, however, it’s important to remember that sobriety is not black and white. 

Now that we better understand what sobriety means, how do we achieve it?

The Journey to Sobriety

Quitting alcohol is a significant component of sobriety, but it’s often not as simple as it sounds. Here are some steps to help us begin our journey to sobriety: 

  • Identify the issue. The first step in beginning our journey to sobriety is recognizing that we may have an issue. We can identify signs of misuse or dependence by tracking our consumption and reflecting on our habits.
  • Overcome barriers. Once we’ve identified that our alcohol consumption may be an issue, we’ll need to overcome barriers such as denial or stigma. This may include minimizing the negative effects of our drinking habits or stalling in seeking support due to fear of stigma. Overcoming these barriers requires self-honesty and tackling our fears. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is proving to be a valuable tool for helping us balance acceptance and change by learning to accept things as they are right now while also recognizing and working toward necessary shifts.
  • Seek support. We can seek support by opening up to friends and family, joining peer support groups, and/or seeking professional treatment.
  • Set goals. Now that we’re ready to go, and we’ve developed a support network to help us through any challenges, we can set goals. Sobriety doesn’t always mean the same thing for everyone, so having personalized goals is important.
  • Create a plan. Setting an overarching goal for ourselves is important, but creating a plan with achievable steps will make our overall effort more manageable and sustainable. (Quitting alcohol “cold turkey” can be dangerous, so it’s important to consult first with a healthcare provider before taking any such step.)

Once we’ve made a commitment to sobriety, we have better chance of achieving that goal and maintaining it when we incorporate the following strategies into our day-to-day lives.

Tips for Maintaining Sobriety

Maintaining sobriety isn’t always easy, especially in a culture where drinking is deeply ingrained. However, implementing the following strategies can help set us up for success: 

  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms. Healthy coping mechanisms such as participating in physical activity or engaging in mindfulness practices can help us turn to a more healthy outlet when we are tempted to drink. 
  • Avoid triggers. Identifying our triggers helps us avoid them or plan to navigate them successfully. For example, if social situations are a trigger for drinking, we can choose to avoid certain social events or plan to attend with a buddy for support. 
  • Develop a support network. Having close friends and family to open up to when things get tough helps us feel less alone.
  • Practice self-care. Taking care of ourselves as we would a friend reminds us to prioritize our health and well-being. Pamper yourself, eat well, and give yourself a break to re-energize and keep on trekking on the road to recovery.
  • Manage stress. Meditation, journaling, and other positive coping skills can help us lower our stress and avoid the urge to reach for a drink when things get tough. 
  • Focus your energy on alternative activities. Healthy distractions such as hobbies and passions can help us keep our minds off drinking. Clean off that dusty tennis racket or try a new workout class!

Even if we implement these tips to help us stay on the path to sobriety, relapses can occur. Let’s explore how we can navigate relapses in recovery. 

Tips for Maintaining Sobriety

Dealing With Relapses in Sobriety

Despite the unfortunate stigma surrounding relapses, they’re a common experience in sobriety. Research shows that roughly 69% of those of us recovering from alcohol use disorder will have a relapse. Let’s learn some ways we can deal with setbacks and continue on our journey to sobriety.

  • Understand it as a part of the recovery process. Remembering that relapses are a common part of the recovery process helps reduce any shameful feelings and ensures we reach out for support.
  • Identify triggers and warning signs. Relapses can teach us a lot about our drinking habits and triggers. Determining what our triggers are and being able to identify warning signs can help us avoid a future relapse.
  • Seek help and support. A support system is crucial in overcoming obstacles such as relapses. Reaching out for support as soon as possible can motivate us to keep going.
  • Revisit and adjust the treatment plan. Adjusting our treatment plan based on what we’ve learned from triggers and relapses can help us get back on track quickly.

Although relapses in recovery are common, they can be tough to work through. Let’s explore some ways to meet the challenge.

Supporting Someone in Sobriety

Support from friends and family on the journey to sobriety can make it less arduous and isolating for anyone. Let’s look at some ways we can better support a loved one — or they can support us!

  • Get educated about addiction and recovery. Learning more about addiction and recovery helps in understanding the challenges.
  • Provide a judgment-free space. Stigma is a significant barrier to anyone accessing treatment. Creating a judgment-free space allows those of us who are recovering from alcohol use disorder or dependence to ask for help when we may need it.
  • Encourage professional support if needed. Taking the step to obtain professional treatment isn’t always easy, but it may be necessary. Encouraging it when needed and assisting with accessing treatment can help those in recovery feel safe and supported.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries is crucial for our well-being and helps us maintain our support in the long run.

Social support is beneficial but isn’t necessary to stay on track in sobriety. What can we do if we’re on our own?

Overcoming Challenges in Sobriety

The road to sobriety isn’t always linear. The challenges we overcome along the way often strengthen our commitment to sobriety. So how do we overcome them? Here are some tried and true strategies.

  • Navigate urges and cravings. Those of us who are dependent on alcohol are likely to experience withdrawal as a part of the recovery process. Urges and cravings may come up, but healthy coping mechanisms such as “urge surfing” — a mindfulness-based practice that helps us ride out our cravings — can help us overcome these feelings. 
  • Manage stress and negative emotions. Stress and the urge to escape negative emotions can be a major trigger. Addressing these feelings through mindfulness practices and professional treatment can reduce self-medication with alcohol. 
  • Rebuild relationships. Oftentimes, an unhealthy relationship with alcohol strains our personal relationships. Focusing our time and energy on rebuilding these relationships or fostering new connections helps us redirect our attention to other facets of our lives and develop our circle of support.
  • Find purpose. Sobriety may be our end goal, but delving deeper into our personal reasons for getting there gives us something meaningful to look forward to.

The road to recovery can be bumpy. But there is freedom at the end of the tunnel, and sobriety brings little wins that are worth celebrating. 

Celebrating Sobriety

Just as we might treat ourselves to a five-dollar latte on the weekends to celebrate getting through the week, small wins in sobriety also deserve celebrating. So often we can get caught up in the negative, but acknowledging our wins can remind us of the positives and motivate us to continue our journey. Let’s explore some ways we can stay positive.

  • Recognize progress and achievements. On a difficult trek, It can sometimes be difficult to see how far we’ve come. Journaling our feelings and documenting our progress reminds us of the obstacles we’ve overcome and encourages us to keep going. 
  • Celebrate small wins. No matter how small, a win in recovery is a win. We can acknowledge the positive aspects of recovery by taking ourselves out for a small treat, buying ourselves a sobriety gift, or throwing a sobriety party.
  • Acknowledge the journey of self-discovery. Self-discovery is an integral aspect of recovery. We may find ourselves gaining interest in new hobbies and passions and understanding ourselves better — all positives that are worth celebrating.
  • Identify the positives of sobriety. Our brains are wired to focus on the negative. Writing down the positives of the journey somewhere we can access them easily can be a great tool for getting us out of a negative mindset.

It Doesn’t End Here

Despite the misconception that sobriety is only for those with alcohol use disorder or dependence, sobriety can be beneficial for anyone. While sobriety comes with many benefits, the road to get there isn’t always smooth. Learning to handle the bumps will help us reach our goal. So go ahead: embrace sobriety and change the course of your life!

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