You are here
This set of tips are about alcohol awareness and working towards changing unhealthy drinking habits.
The first step is awareness — start asking yourself questions to assess your relationship with alcohol. Are you spending more than you'd like to on booze? Do you feel unwell after drinking or has your health been impacted? Is it having an impact on your relationships?
Sometimes medications can have unpleasant or even harmful side effects when you're drinking alcohol. Always look into the interaction of a med with alcohol so that you're aware of how they affect your body when/if you drink.
If you normally experience withdrawal when you try to wean off alcohol, or if it's been a while since you've tried to be sober, it's a good idea to check in with a medical professional and let them know you're attempting this process.
Can you name 5 things to do with friends this weekend that don't involve alcohol? Help keep you and your friends healthier, more alert, and hangover-free by challenging yourselves to some booze-free activities this long weekend.
Lifestyle changes are key to living a sober life because alcohol is so strongly embedded in our habits and our society. We are expected to drink for so many occasions that it can be seen as odd to opt not to, but challenge the status-quo and make some new traditions!
Recovering from addiction can be a long journey. Remember that you're not a bad person for struggling and it's not too late to face what brought you to this point and work for an alcohol-free future. Sober life may not be easy, but you can do it!
Whether it's for yourself or a loved one, learning about alcohol use and addiction is key in gaining a compassionate understanding. Check out our interactive e-learning module on substance use, co-created by young people with lived experience.
If you have friends or family who insist on drinking every time you hang out, you may need to reconsider who you spend your time with. Let them know you want a break from alcohol, and set some boundaries if your relationship with them will impact your ability to do that.
Relapse can be a common part of the road to recovery — it doesn't mean you're not trying hard enough! This is a journey and it's all about learning how to be kinder to yourself. Do your best to do the next right thing to get back on track.
Take time to reflect on what your triggers (in this case: any people, places, situations, feelings, etc. that evoke strong urges to drink) might be. Being aware of your triggers is key to being more prepared to cope with them and to lower your risk of turning to alcohol.
Is someone in your life struggling with alcoholism and not dealing with it? There are local support groups and online forums that can help you decide how to approach this with the person you care about. Check out al-anon.org
Feeling helpless as you watch someone spiral with alcohol? Checking in and showing you care is sometimes the best thing we can do. Healthy attempts at recovery can't be forced, so sometimes we need to remind ourselves “we can't save people, we can only love them”. - Anais Nin
If you're not comfortable attending AA yet, it's important to still immerse yourself in the recovery community for that sense of connection. Check out these blogs about alcohol recovery and get connected by reading others' experiences and insights.
You might have moments when you think to yourself "well everyone else is drinking, why shouldn't I?". Read Tommy's blog to help answer that question and remind yourself of your "why".
When eliminating a behaviour, adjusting your routine and finding a healthier behaviour to replace it is key. Otherwise, there's room to slip back into a habit. For example, if you normally unwind from work with a glass of wine, could you try a relaxing bath instead?
No matter what someone's struggling with, they're a person first. Adjusting your language to reflect this can help reduce the stigma with addiction. Instead of saying "an alcoholic," say "a person with alcohol use disorder" or "a person who struggles with alcoholism".
If you're taking a break from alcohol, try to set boundaries that will help you achieve your goal. For example, if you decline to go to events or environments where it's difficult to resist drinking, you'll be reducing your opportunities to engage in old behaviours.
In considering your relationship with alcohol, it can be helpful to examine your family history. Has there been a history of binge-drinking, alcoholism or addiction? This article outlines some ways you can decrease your risk.
Making changes to big habits (like alcohol use) can be intimidating, so it's key to break it into small steps. See if you can adjust daily activities to help meet your goals, like writing down your intentions for the day or setting motivational reminders in your phone.
If you drink alcohol often or in large amounts, the first step to safety for some people can be harm reduction measures. E.g. ensuring you don't pour more than one shot per drink, having water between drinks, or limiting drinking to a certain number of drinks per hour.
If you're on the road to recovery and want to monitor how you feel throughout the process, check out our mood. app. It tracks your mood and sleep, lets you journal your experiences, and can even email you a summary report of your entries.
We often give in to unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol when we lack sleep, food, or meaningful connection with others. By reflecting on these needs, and being mindful to meet them, we are better equipped to deal with feelings that may otherwise lead to drinking.
Take a moment to write down 5 things that help you de-stress that don't involve alcohol. Try one out now! It's good to practice de-stressing strategies while you're in a more calm state so that they're more familiar when you go to access them during times of stress.
Evaluate the costs and benefits of drinking to reflect on what drinking really does for you, and to see whether the costs are really worth the benefits. Try writing it out in a simple four quadrant chart.
Have you sat down to think about what some of your relapse warning signs might be? What are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours you experience that lead up to you resorting to drinking? Write them out so that you can try to nip a relapse before it even happens!
With heavy drinking, hangovers can often follow. Sometimes that might be enough of a deterrent: remind yourself of how much better you'll feel tomorrow if you don't drink today, and how much more you can get done or enjoy!
Alcoholism may be bad for fitness, but fitness can be a great way to combat alcoholism. Check out this article for more on how living a healthier lifestyle can help you avoid urges to drink.
If your goal is to reduce alcohol consumption, create a plan for how you can start to cut back. For some people, that might look like blocking off "alcohol-free days" on your calendar, and continuing to add more sober days to your life as the weeks go on.
Alcohol stays in your body longer than you realize. The effects on your mood, energy, concentration, blood pressure, achiness and more can persist long after the next day's hangover. The longer you go without alcohol, the healthier and lighter you will likely feel.
Not sure whether you have an alcohol addiction? Some people use the 4 C's as a guide: Is there a (c)raving, a loss of (c)ontrol, a (c)ompulsion to use, or do you keep using despite (c)onsequences? It may be time to learn more about addiction: https://mindyourmind.ca/illnesses/addiction
It's okay to need some help keeping yourself accountable. Reach out to supports you can trust to let them know you're trying to get sober or cut back on your drinking, so you can have people in your corner reminding and encouraging you when you might need it