Most of us enjoy drinking alcohol, and many of us drink it on a regular basis. We might drink a beer or two after work or sip a glass of wine with dinner. We might choose to drink alcohol when we bond with friends over the weekend or celebrate happy life events. Whatever the reason, alcohol consumption is a habit for many of us.
Likewise, many of us also like to intentionally abstain from drinking alcohol for a certain period of time in order to gain more clarity in our lives and experience other critical benefits. I certainly do. In fact, I challenge my readers and clients to join me at this time every year to go alcohol-free for 21 days. I find the benefits to be numerous and sometimes extraordinary. Here are some of the upsides:
Among many other benefits, the practice of putting a pause on alcohol consumption gives us the opportunity to really see our life clearly and to experience ourselves and others differently. One of the things that makes drinking so enjoyable is the effect it has on us, physiologically and otherwise. It literally interferes with the brain’s communication pathways. While this may be a fun experience in the moment, over time we can begin to “forget” what our lives really feel like and who we are without alcohol. For some people, drinking might mask a problem that actually needs to be dealt with, like depression or some other mental health issue. Likewise, others might be too dependent upon drinking as a means of soothing themselves and reducing their anxiety. Taking a break from drinking gives people the opportunity to see what’s really happening in their lives and to gain more clarity so they can make clear and thoughtful choices.
Since drinking alcohol can make us feel a bit numb over time, when we take a pause we might realize we feel more emotionally available to our families and friends. Because we feel more connected to ourselves and others, life feels more rewarding.
Sometimes when we take a break from alcohol, we get back in touch with an innate sense of well-being. In other words, we just feel better! We no longer experience a low-grade fatigue running like a silent, steady stream through our life. We have more energy and feel more motivated, in work and in play.
We often drink to relax and feel good; paradoxically, however, drinking can make us feel bad. Alcohol is a depressant and can increase anxiety and depression. At first, we might feel euphoric; however, when the effects of drinking wear off, stress can return with a vengeance. Hangovers can too!
Other benefits we might experience as a result of abstaining from alcohol for a short period of time include the following: better sleep, weight loss, saved money, and reduced drama in our life. So let’s do this together for 21 days starting January 1st, 2020! Here’s one app to get you started: Try Dry (the dry January app). I look forward to hearing from you!