So we’ve looked at how to turn down a drink and how to party sober, but what we haven’t looked at is how to avoid drinking when you’re at home.
The pitfalls involved with drinking at home can be quite different from those you experience if you’re on a night out. Though you might not be dealing with pressure from other people, you might have to contend more with your own routines. Your motivations for drinking will also be different. Instead of drinking to be social you might be drinking to relax, or simply out of boredom.
As always, it helps to have a plan. Try and figure out what might trigger your drinking, do you have a glass of wine when you get home from work? Or when you start cooking? Do you help yourself to a G&T before the kids go to bed?
If you know when you might be tempted to drink you can take steps to disrupt your normal routine or replace your usual drink with another treat or activity. You can plan to go to bed early or have a cup of tea and a cake when you get home instead of falling into your usual unhelpful habits. It might even be a good idea to try something completely new, go for a run, sign up for an online course or download some ebooks. Keeping busy and giving yourself some new interests can keep your mind off the booze and stop you from sticking with the same old routines.
It also helps to think a little about why you reach for a drink at a particular moment? Is it because you’re stressed? Hungry but you haven’t got round to cooking yet? Thirsty? Bored? Tired? Take a moment to think about it and find something that will meet that need? Whether it’s picking up a book, taking a bath, having a snack or just giving in and going to bed. It’s important that you listen to your body and make some time to take care of yourself in order to achieve your drinking goals.
The great thing about being at home is that you actually have a lot of control over the situation. If you don’t want to drink then try and make sure there isn’t any alcohol in the house, or stash it somewhere difficult to get to, like the loft or underneath a pile of more productive stuff you could be doing. If you usually buy a bottle of wine from Tesco’s on the way home, consider doing your shopping online instead so you’re less likely to be tempted. If your partner is still drinking ask if they can go for something you don’t like so much or request that they under no circumstances let you join them. Use ‘I’ sentences and explain the importance of your personal challenge to you if you are worried they will feel like you are judging their drinking: “I am cutting down my drinking and I really hope you will support me. You could really help me by ….”
Just as it’s important to keep the alcohol out of sight and out of mind, it’s important to stock up on some treats to reward yourself without the alcohol. Make sure you have a fridge full of tasty non-alcoholic drinks to get you through. Not going out actually means you have an incredible amount of choice when it comes to soft drinks. You’re not restricted to whatever they happen to stock in the pub, so experiment a little and try and find some things you really enjoy.
You may also find that you are craving sugar now that you’ve given up alcohol. This is very common and it’s ok to get in a few treats. If you can stick to nuts or good quality dark chocolate that’s great, but don’t feel bad about reaching for the haribo, just think of all the calories you’re not drinking.
When the cravings do hit, try and think about what will happen if you do give in and have a drink? Will it be just one? Will you feel better or will you actually feel worse about not achieving your drinking goal? And what will happen if you don’t drink? What can you do to enjoy the evening without a drink and how much better will you feel tomorrow if you say no to a drink now?
Changing your drinking isn’t easy, but if you plan ahead and it is an important health goal, you can do it! If you need more help and support join us for tips from other members or sign up for one of our courses.