Skills for Drinking in Moderation
You may be wondering – if this is not an abstinence program – then why is it important to have alcohol-free (AF) days? There are many reasons, but part of the philosophy behind moderate drinking or learning to drink socially is being able to live a life without it being dominated by alcohol. While many newbies to the “moderation” camp may still find themselves drinking daily – but much less – the ultimate goal is going days at a time without drinking. It is also important to have AF days because it increases your confidence in knowing that you have the ability to control your drinking, it reduces your tolerance for alcohol, so that when you do drink, you’ll be satisfied with fewer drinks, and you’ll have a more positive attitude about life in general. It’s a known fact that alcohol is a depressant. The more you drink, the more likely you are to feel depressed and paranoid following a binge.
Part of your drinking plan should include AF days – but sometimes getting through that first day alcohol-free can be a little difficult. Here is a method that I and others use to achieve and maintain alcohol free days:
Step 1: Find your motivation to commit:
- Re-visit your personal goals and dreams and identify a motivating reason to have a clear head the next day.
- Maybe it’s because you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired – an AF day is a definite way to feel better and have more energy.
- You’ll be able to sleep through the night instead of waking up at 3 am stewing over the number of drinks you drank or the problem that you were trying to escape from to begin with.
Step 2: Plan out your day:
- Plan to fill your day with productive activities.
- Also plan to have some fun and relaxation.
- Know ahead of time how you will deal with any drinking triggers or unexpected events.
Step 3: Plan for triggers:
- Know your triggers ahead of time and know how you are going to deal with them
- Be prepared for the “witching hour” – that time of day that you usually start thinking about drinking for one reason or another, and know what you’ll do instead of drink.
- Take MODER8 or the new MODER8 Stress Relief Formula
- Give yourself permission to “take a time-out.”
- Have enjoyable substitutes planned.
Step 4: Prepare for the unexpected:
- Bad things happen – unexpectedly.
- Being hung-over will just make it worse. You have to decide how committed you are to your AF day, and how you’ll feel tomorrow if you choose immediate gratification by drinking to escape the pain.
- It’s OK to feel the negative emotions – sadness, anger, fear. Reach out to someone if you need to, or allow yourself to just scream or cry for a little while.
- Distract! Call a friend, go for a walk or a run, watch TV, or any of the activities you’ve identified to be positive substitutes for drinking.
Step 5: Enjoy the next day!
If you follow these suggestions, you’ll achieve your AF day, and wake up tomorrow feeling clear headed, energetic, have increased confidence and have the positive momentum to experience many more Alcohol-Free days!