Why I Stopped Drinking Without Intending To Stop Drinking
Today I thought I'd share why I stopped drinking without intending to stop drinking…
Note: I haven’t labeled myself as someone who “doesn’t drink” (why create that box?). I just always choose not to.
Backstory: Alcohol used to be a big part of my life. Not in an overly reliant way, but it was one of my favorite ways to do something fun. I loved hanging out a brewery enjoying a delicious IPA while laughing with friends, I’ve enjoyed wine tastings throughout the world and love the feeling of having long conversations over a bottle of wine, I adore a good craft cocktail while out for dinner or at a classy event, and even how suggesting, “let’s make some drinks!” at home suddenly adds a sense of fun and play to an otherwise normal evening. One of my favorite things to suggest to coworkers or friends used to be “let’s meet up for drinks!”.
So why don’t I drink anymore?
Around 30, I started to notice that even one or two drinks didn’t make me feel great the next morning. But I loved who I was when I was drinking - more fun and playful and less filtered. I loved the feeling when I started to feel the buzz and I could just let myself be more “me”. I loved how easy it was to bond with others over drinks.
So I started looking for ways to decrease the unwanted side effects of alcohol. I found wine filters that made it so I had less of a headache and stuffiness the next morning. I found Cheers pills which helped some. Then I found Zbiotics which made the biggest difference. For a while, I felt like I had found a hack to still be able to enjoy something I loved without waking up regretting it the next day.
During this time, I was recovering from burnout and learning a lot about my body, myself, and how to manage stress. I was paying more and more attention to how food and other lifestyle choices made me feel, I was learning how to understand what my body was telling me, and I started to respect all that my body was doing for me.
As I addressed my anxiety, I realized that my perfectionism, people-pleasing, and drive to always be doing more weren’t my personality, they were signs I was stuck in survival mode. I started to learn how to have the same sense of relaxation that wine gave me for free without needing a wine filter and Zbiotic to feel less hungover. I started getting comfortable letting my guard down and being seen, and I learned how to give myself permission to be myself and have fun without pouring a drink.
The more I learned how to have the same fun experience and feelings that alcohol gave me without needing the alcohol, the more I started to question why I was drinking something that I knew didn’t make my body feel good.
I knew that on the nights I would drink, my heart rate would be elevated, my sleep quality poor, and I’d still wake up feeling more puffy, achy, and less focused than normal. And that kind of irritated me! I *loved* that my norm was waking up feeling lean, energized, and sharp, and whenever I thought about drinking I started to think about how I’d have to pay that price the next morning.
Slowly, I started to choose non-alcoholic options, and I started to notice that I could still have the fun experience of being out at a brewery, restaurant, or even hanging out at home and drinking something “fun” without the alcohol. I started to notice that I no longer needed alcohol to let my guard down and to feel more “me”. And I started to notice that when I did drink, I didn’t even really like the feeling anymore.
Now, something that used to be a huge part of who I am has changed. When I see a drink, it has lost its appeal. I know that I’d like the taste, but it’s not worth everything else it comes with when I know I can have fun and enjoy a yummy drink without it AND get to wake up feeling great.
I’ve also noticed that when others ask why I’m not drinking and I say “it just doesn’t make me feel good and I can have fun without it”, they get it. Some even say “I wish I could do that”. Our society has normalized drinking something we know makes us feel crappy because it’s a socially acceptable fun and easy way to escape the stress, social anxiety, and judgmental inner dialogue most of us walk around with. *Know that this is just an observation and that I would never tell you that you should or shouldn’t drink. Only you know what’s right for you.*
Honestly, if someone had told me a few years ago that I wouldn’t want to drink anymore it would have made me sad. I’ve even told my husband, Matt, that I could never imagine being the kind of person who doesn’t drink, and yet here I am. And I’m not sad! And I don’t have FOMO.
Here are some of the things that have helped me still enjoy a yummy drink or fun experience without the alcohol:
⭐️ When I’m at a restaurant or bar, I ask for a sugar-free mocktail. Club soda with lime and bitters is one of my favorites. Pro tip: Look at the cocktail menu and ask for a yummy mocktail using club soda along with some of the ingredients you know they have like herbs, cucumbers, fruit, jalapenos, or bitters. Many restaurants are even starting to have alcohol-free liquors to add.
⭐️ Most breweries now have great alcohol-free alternatives. If you love the taste of beer, Untitled Art is alcohol-free beer that tastes exactly like the real deal. Other great options include low-sugar kombucha, seltzer, or hemp infused drinks.
⭐️ Recently, I tested out several canned mocktails. My favorite by far is Recess for the taste and ingredient list. Recess Mood is my favorite before bed, because it has magnesium, L-theanine, and lemon balm for relaxation. Their hemp-infused ones are delicious and contain calming ingredients, but they also include ginseng so it’s a better option for earlier in the day. The mocktails are good, too, but I personally prefer the other two more.
⭐️ If you like the taste of hops, I really enjoy Hop Wtr. It's definitely not an alternative to beer (if you're looking for that go with Untitled Art), but it does have that delicious hop flavor along with some calming adaptogens.
⭐️ My favorite liquor alternatives are Seedlip for adding a delicious herbal flavor to a mocktail and Ritual Zero Proof for alternatives to more traditional liquors like tequila, gin, and whiskey (note: I personally don’t think the whiskey one is that great, but I like the others).
⭐️ For a super refreshing mocktail, my watermelon lime margarita is delish and also an awesome post-workout drink. (You'll notice when I wrote that blog post, I was still in the phase of drinking so there's also an alcoholic version).
⭐️ Instead of suggesting going out for drinks with a friend, I usually recommend meeting for coffee or going for a walk.
If you like the idea of drinking less, I teach everything that helped me transition to feeling my best physically and mentally (which involved organically drinking less and less without trying to) in my 6 month Life Boost mentorship and 1-on-1 programs.
You may be surprised by what happens as you learn how to listen to your body, mind, and heart and create a lifestyle that feels like a breath of fresh air. Send me an email at email@example.com to learn more or schedule a complimentary 1 hour call so we can discuss your unique goals and to see if one of these programs is right for you. You can also learn more about my programs on my website at https://www.lifeboost.today/lbprograms