The Next Round: What happens after you change your drinking?

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day 6

Day 6 without alcohol: managing your expectations

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’ve nearly completed your first whole week without alcohol – well done! Reaching day 6 is a huge achievement. You’ve got past the fear of day 1 and pushed through the danger zone of day 4. You’ve learned some lessons, you’ve been tested by your own motivations, and you’re only one day away from having your first week under your belt.

Unlike other days, though, you’ve probably arrived at day 6 on a weekend. While you’ve had tests and triumphs this week, reaching your first weekend without alcohol can feel like a whole new ball game.

Living for the weekend

If like a lot of us, you get through the week counting down the days until you get some time off, the weekend might be the time that you let loose. Free from the responsibilities of the working week, weekends can often revolve around ways to relax and unwind…and very often involve alcohol. These few days off from work is ‘me time’, but how often do we use it to totally focus on our well-being? If we’re honest, most of us use it as a time to block out the stresses of the previous week.

Day 6 is a day to really think about what ‘me time’ means to you, and how you can achieve that feeling of letting loose without losing sight of your drinking goals. Could you be doing something more enjoyable with your weekend than worrying about your alcohol intake and nursing a hangover? What brings you joy that you’ve been neglecting? What hobby or activity can you indulge in now that you have all that spare time?

As we know from the past 5 days, a lot of the hard work in changing our drinking is changing our behaviour. If we want day 6 and our first sober weekend to be different, then we’re going to need to approach it slightly differently. This is not to say that you need to change your usual plans but approaching the weekend mindfully is the way to make sure you’re aware of your feelings and expectations, both positive and negative, toward your first sober days off. 

Fri-yay forethought

It’s a great achievement to have gotten through the stresses of the working and school week without leaning on our old friend alcohol to get us through, and our first thoughts will probably be celebratory. It’s worth being super aware that our usual ways of celebrating also normally involve cracking open a bottle of something boozy. But not today, because today is day 6, and we’re doing things differently today. 

To avoid unconsciously undoing the last 5 days, try to have a plan for this weekend where you can treat yourself in a way that reinforces your achievements. Order that Chinese meal, grab that tub of ice cream on the way home, and fill your fridge with tantalising alcohol-free drinks that you’ve been dying to try. There’s no such thing as naughty when it comes to replacement rewards this weekend. If it helps you to stick to your not drinking goals and it’s not doing you harm, then go for it!

If you’re worried about being at home on a Friday night and not coping without your usual bottles in front of the telly, then why not change things up a bit? Phone a friend and go bowling, or go out for a really nice meal, and let your supper buddy know that this is going to be a booze-free affair. My favourite alcohol-free treats were to go to the cinema – a good 2-hour distraction – followed by a very long bath. Because it’s really hard to think about going out to get wine when you’re immersed in blissful warm water and scented bubbles!

Wake up to a whole week of being alcohol-free!

Counting days isn’t necessarily the most useful tool for change, especially as life isn’t straightforward and learning isn’t linear. But reaching a week of being alcohol-free means that all you have to do is repeat that week over again. By being mindful, listening to your body as it recovers from the alcohol, and creating new habits, you’ll have mastered an entire sober 7-day stretch, and can replicate that success week on week. What better motivation to get to the end of the weekend without breaking your booze-free boundaries?

Don’t worry if this isn’t day 6

Many of us need a little structure to our behaviour change, which is why Club Soda offers comprehensive online courses to guide you through your goals. How to Stop Drinking is filled with all the information, tools, and support you need to help you change your drinking for good. How to Stop Drinking takes a step-by-step approach that unfolds at your pace, supporting you to stop drinking when you are ready, no matter what day it is. Click here for more information and to sign up for our guided support.

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