I haven’t drank alcohol in roughly four years. It’s really wild writing this because there was a time when I drank regularly.
Why I Stopped Drinking Alcohol
I stopped drinking alcohol because I thought about who I wanted to become as a mom. I realized my Future Self as a mom was a non-drinker.
That’s it. That’s the only reason.
I wanted to live into that identity so I quit drinking with that single decision.
I didn’t have a problem. And I don’t identify as “sober.” I just prefer not to drink.
I think the norm in modern motherhood is to drink socially unless you have a problem. Because I’m an example of not-drinking just because it makes my life better, I want to share my experience in hopes that it inspires you if you’re sober curious.
The Hard Part About Quitting
I made the decision in an instant, so there wasn’t any back and forth about it. Meaning: for the most part the transition was easy.
That said, there were still times when it was hard, like cheers-ing at a friend’s wedding or a champagne toast on New Year’s Eve. The bigger events tend to bring out the toddler voice in me, “I just want one!”
What I’ve decided is that I can always remake my decision but never at night (i.e. in the moment). Instead, I give myself the constraint of making the decision out of the moment from my highest self (prefrontal cortex). So far, I’ve never decided to start drinking again. And I give myself permission to continue reevaluating in the future. This is so empowering!
How To Have Fun Without Drinking
Something that often comes up is having fun. I get asked, “but how do you have fun?” or “I would do that but then I wouldn’t know how to go out and have fun.”
Here’s what I want you to know—even though it feels like everyone drinks, there are A LOT of people who actually don’t drink at all.
Alcohol is so not a part of my life anymore that it doesn’t feel like there’s something lacking; it just feels like this is my life. And this is a way of life for many, many people! So, if you’re curious, it’s definitely possible to have fun without drinking.
- Related: How To Have More Fun (podcast)
The Best Parts Of Not Drinking
The best parts of not drinking for me are 1) getting my mornings back, 2) not having any brain chatter about drinking, 3) long term health benefits, 4) saving money.
Every morning I wake up feeling good. I’m never hungover. No headache, no stomach ache, no fog. Without drinking, I get the gift of waking up fresh.
I don’t have any mental chatter about drinking. Will I drink? How much? What to drink? Who’s driving? What about the calories? What about the next day? Babysitter? Then there’s the next day chatter, too. Why’d I say that? I wish I wouldn’t have drank so much. And on.
I’m hooking up my future self by taking care of my health. The impact of alcohol on the brain and body is negative—no matter how minimal you drink. Eliminating alcohol completely is just one more way to take care of my brain and body to optimize my health.
I save money by not buying booze. While this motivator isn’t life changing, it still is a worthwhile benefit to mention. The “alcohol” budget is $0, which means more money for more important things that add value to my life.
What I Do Instead—Mocktails!
One of my clients gave up alcohol and found herself sulking in the corner when her friends were “cheersing.” I asked her why she didn’t have a sparkling water in a short glass to cheers with. It had never dawned on her. From that point on, she always had a drink in hand, it just wasn’t an alcoholic drink.
This is what I do—I always have a drink in hand if it’s appropriate (when I’m out etc.) and make sure to participate. My drink is just alcohol-free.
How To Get Started
If you’re interested in getting started reducing how much you drink, start by deciding at least 24 hours in advance how much you’ll drink and following through no matter what. This means you’ll decide to create a plan from your most mature self that has your best interest in mind. Then when you follow through you’ll be able to evaluate how it went. Over time, continue to change the plan as needed.
For example, you might plan to drink one drink on Friday and one drink on Saturday. Then after trying that out one weekend, you realize you prefer to create a plan for two drinks. So, the next week, you try that plan. Your plan can evolve over time just be sure to always decide the plan out of the moment, at least 24 hours in advance so you’re deciding from a clear mind.
A Final Note
I don’t like to make alcohol a moral issue. I don’t believe it’s “good” or “bad” and when you drink it I don’t think you’re “good” or “bad.” Instead, I think there are benefits to living a life with or without alcohol.
What does your future self want you to do? What type of relationship does she want to have with alcohol? Decide on purpose then live into her. That’s what I did and it’s changed my life forever.