Being a part of the sober-curious movement starts by asking yourself why you choose to pick up a drink in the first place. Is it to socialize? Maybe you want to take the edge off after a long workday or maybe you need help relaxing. After answering this question, try connecting your answer with how you feel during and after a drink. Are you more sluggish? Do you avoid social situations where you can’t drink? The purpose of those questions is for you to take a hard look at the role alcohol shapes your mental and physical health and question what it might be like to live a sober life. Being “sober-curious” and reducing your alcohol intake is easier than ever with mocktails and non-alcoholic spirits on the rise, to continue providing the social aspect of drinking without all the negative physical effects.
Once you’re aware alternatives exist, you can start experimenting with these non-alcoholic alternatives to help alleviate stress and take your mind off of alcohol:
- Try a new at-home exercise routine or take a new class! Running clubs, spin classes, yoga studios, dancing, or even gardening can help to reduce stress-causing hormones and build a new, healthy routine in a supportive environment.
- Meditation helps to tune the mind back to your body’s needs and avoid stressful and overwhelming environments. It’s a great way to start or end your day.
- Download an app that tracks all the money saved that otherwise would have been spent on drinks. Then, at the end of the week, treat yourself to something special or put it towards a savings account for something big!
- Take back your nights with at-home spa treatments! Face masks, hot baths, and deep conditioning treatments can bring self-care back to your schedule.
If you are thinking about taking an alcohol break, it's good to know about the detox process. Of course, the detox process depends on how much and how long you have been drinking. If you had a long weekend of heavy drinking, it takes approximately about 12 hours after your last drink to become fully sober.
If you're someone who struggles with consistent alcohol abuse, the initial detox takes about a week. Eight hours after your last drink is when you'll start to feel light symptoms and after 72 hours, these symptoms will increase more intensely. 5-7 days later these symptoms will decrease but some psychological symptoms may start.
Following that first week, you may start to feel withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety and insomnia. Those who've experienced heavy substance often experience fever, seizures and even hallucinations. A person can experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome whether they have been drinking for weeks, months, or years. Withdrawal syndrome can be dangerous, particularly if a person experiences severe hallucinations or seizures. For this reason, it is advisable to go to a rehab center, where the staff can help monitor worsening symptoms.
It’s all about balance
Starting at a young age, many of us have been warned about the dangers of alcohol abuse but alcohol can shape your life in unexpected ways as we age. Addiction and dependency can mean different things to different people. Having a couple of drinks throughout the week isn’t going to destroy your immunity but during these times, your health needs all the extra protection it can get. When paired with the other good-for-you rules of thumb like exercising and eating a healthy diet, managing your alcohol consumption is a great way to protect your immunity, especially during a global pandemic. If you are interested in re-evaluating your relationship with alcohol, you can check out the Sober Movement here to learn more and join the community. If you’re seeking help with alcohol addiction, you can call the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) at 1 (800) NCA-CALL (622-2255) or explore other options online.