Thriving without Alcohol: Tips for Maintaining an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

Thriving without Alcohol: Tips for Maintaining an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle
Published:
January 31, 2024
|   Updated:
March 15, 2024

At the beginning of a new year, the feeling of change is in the air. Many people use this fresh start to their advantage and begin modifying the habits and behaviors that are no longer serving them in hopes of propelling them forward in achieving their goals.

A resolution people find in common, specifically at the beginning of the New Year, is the examination of their relationship with alcohol and whether it has played a positive or negative role in their lives. After coming out of the holiday season, where drinking is present everywhere– movies, marketing, social gatherings, etc.– many find themselves feeling sluggish and ready to take on this new year with an alcohol-free lifestyle.

While motivation to get rid of alcohol is high, the follow-through tends to be where people find difficulty. While those who are sober-curious begin to learn how to manage their drinking, they often find they are not properly equipped with the resources that will best serve them to achieve their goals.

Fortunately, an alcohol-free lifestyle is achievable with the proper tools in place. While finding what works best for you and your desired goals may take some time, the feeling of freedom and sobriety is a reward worth working toward.

Is Sober Curious the Same as Alcohol-Free?

In recent years, the term Sober Curious has become popularized for individuals who aim to dabble in sobriety without any hard set rules or regulations. Many who began as a Sober Curious individual do end up living an alcohol-free lifestyle once they’ve experienced the benefits from no longer drinking.

However, not all people have the choice to be Sober Curious. Those who suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, more commonly referred to as alcoholism or addiction, do not have the option to simply “cut back” on drinking. Where many who are Sober Curious are making an active choice to better their overall health, for those with addiction becoming sober could be the difference between life and death.

Whether you’re here because you're Sober Curious and want to reevaluate your drinking habits or suffer from addiction in a more severe way, this article will give you the tools to work toward an alcohol-free lifestyle.

The Benefits of Living Alcohol-Free

Because alcohol is a known toxin and can wreak havoc on our body's systems, cutting it out from your life will likely provide immediate improvement to a plethora of areas. This includes health benefits, relational benefits, and more.

Physical Health Benefits

Over consuming alcohol negatively affects your physical health, both internally and externally. When you cut it out of your life completely, your body will begin to heal, and your physical health will begin to improve. The parts of your physical health that begin to heal include:

  • Brain
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Heart and blood pressure
  • Stamina and ability to exercise

Wherever you stand on the spectrum of alcohol abuse, these physical parts of your body will begin to improve once you give up drinking. However, results may take time, depending on the severity of your drinking habits.

Improved Physical Appearance

While your physical appearance may not be a deciding factor in cutting out alcohol from your life, it will still improve when you become alcohol-free. Your skin texture and appearance will improve, alcohol-induced bloating will no longer be an issue, and your weight may begin to stabilize. 

Man sleeping and trying to enhance sleeping patterns after alcohol recovery

Enhanced Sleeping Patterns

Alcohol makes it nearly impossible for an individual to get a decent night’s rest. In turn, an individual’s overall health begins to decline as healthy sleep patterns are crucial to your body’s systems.

When you become alcohol-free, your sleep becomes much more productive as your body is not working to metabolize the alcohol through the night, leaving you feeling more lethargic than perhaps usual.

Once alcohol is no longer in the picture, your sleep and overall health can begin to improve.

Relaxed woman sitting on the couch

Stable Moods/Improved Mental Health

Alcohol being classified as a depressant means there is a slower connection between your brain and body. And, though it acts initially as a stimulant providing you with a sense of happiness or euphoria, over consumption can lead to long standing mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression.

Many find their mental health affected the most due to alcohol. The term “hangxiety,” the feeling of extreme anxiety due to a night of over-drinking, has even risen in popularity as more people begin to connect their rise in anxious feelings to alcohol.

However, when you cut alcohol out, you can begin to see a drastic change in your mental health almost immediately. Its very nature affects our brain’s ability to distribute dopamine and serotonin so, by getting sober and finding the right tools to assist with your mental healing, you will begin to find more peace and mental clarity.

Mom and adult son at the beach

Improved Relationships

Choosing an alcohol-free lifestyle can have a positive impact on your relationships. When alcohol is no longer the center of every outing or celebration, conversations and relationships can become much more meaningful.

Additionally, if you are someone who suffers from alcohol addiction, many find that their relationships have been tainted due to their disease. Choosing sobriety is the best first step to repairing any type of relationship that may have been struggling from alcohol.

Tips for Maintaining an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

Whether you are Sober Curious, or suffering from AUD, here are tools to help you achieve an alcohol-free lifestyle:

Writing into a notebook

●  Create a Strategy

The most important step you can take in becoming alcohol-free is having a plan in place. Many find that they cannot stay true to their sobriety if they do not have a strategy they can actually stick to.

When you are ready to begin, have the resources available and scheduled into your life so you are more likely to follow through with your sobriety goals. Having a Plan B in conjunction to your Plan A will help you get back on track if you do have a slip up or relapse.

●  Get Rid of all Alcohol in the Home

It might sound simple, but ridding of all of the alcohol in your home will make staying sober much more doable. Without quick access and visible triggers, the likelihood of drinking decreases. 

A family having a conversation

●  Communicate with Friends and Family

To stay successful and alcohol-free, ensure to communicate your plan to friends, family, and others in your community. Making those who are closest to you aware of your goals helps keep you on track and accountable on your sober journey. Allowing them to support your successes and/or help get you back on track if you slip up will make sobriety much more achievable.

Man and woman running in the park

●  Stay Active

Not only is regular movement and exercise beneficial for your overall health, it also can help you remain alcohol-free. When you add some type of fitness into your life, your mental health is strengthened, therefore your resolve to stay sober is also strengthened. Additionally, staying active can help you maintain a social life if you encourage a loved one to join you.

●  Utilize a Treatment Center 

If you are struggling to live alcohol-free, specifically due to addiction, enrolling in rehabilitation or a treatment center may be the best first step for you. Treatment centers come in a range from inpatient to outpatient, and 30-day or 60-day programs, however, all treatment centers focus on helping their clients manage their addiction and stay sober.

Support group

●  Find a Support Group

Support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have been helping people stay alcohol-free and in recovery for many years. Being in community with like-minded people, especially in the earlier days of your newfound sobriety, helps you to remain accountable, stay in healthy relationships, and motivate you to stick to your goals.

Man and woman discussing Soberlink

●  Utilize Soberlink’s Alcohol Monitoring System 

Utilizing Soberlink’s Alcohol Monitoring system can help those looking to maintain an alcohol-free lifestyle.

Providing more value than your average store-bought breathalyzer, Soberlink’s system allows its users to schedule daily tests, with results sent directly to specified contacts as an increased measure to promote accountability. When using the device, clients simply submit a test at the scheduled time, built-in facial recognition confirms their identity, and tamper sensors detect any attempts to beat the system. The system’s Advanced Reporting capabilities even compile a client’s complete testing history, making it easy to review or share a loved one’s progress.

In regard to size, the remote breathalyzer is slim and discreet and can be easily thrown in a purse or pocket for easy transportation and accessibility. While some other tips on this list require in-person attendance, Soberlink’s alcohol monitoring system can be used anywhere, anytime.

The consistent use of Soberlink gives an individual a sense of control and autonomy over their sobriety while also keeping them accountable to themselves and their loved ones via instant test results. Utilizing this comprehensive system has proven to help people achieve sobriety, but most importantly, sustain it.

●  Attend Therapy

 Finding a therapist can help you navigate the “why” behind your drinking habits by assisting with the emotions that come with such a big life change. While cutting alcohol out of your life remains a positive decision, navigating the mental load that comes with it can be difficult. Talking to a non-biased source that can help you look at the bigger picture will make remaining alcohol-free more doable.

●  Prepare for Outings and Events

 Being prepared for social gatherings will aid in staying strong in your sobriety while helping soothe anxieties about going out, especially in the early stages. Knowing what non-alcoholic options will be available or bringing your own with you can help you avoid unwanted questioning while allowing you to keep a drink in your hand, which is a simple act that can be difficult to break.

Person viewing Soberlink's monthly advanced reporting system

●  Track Your Progress

Utilizing a tracker to monitor your progress is an excellent motivator when trying to remain alcohol-free. It provides motivation, positive reinforcement, and physical evidence of how your goals are or are not being achieved.

While a normal piece of pen paper is sufficient, Soberlink’s system has progress tracking directly built into its system. Utilizing a Soberlink Device not only helps you practice accountability but allows you to look at your progress at a glance to make the proper adjustments in your lifestyle to move forward in your newly alcohol-free life.

Additionally, with its sharing capabilities, you can have your community help support you through any hiccups you may experience by viewing your daily, weekly, and/or monthly progress.

Is there a Simple Strategy For Remaining Alcohol-Free?

Achieving and maintaining sobriety is a unique journey for each individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The key to a successful alcohol-free life lies in identifying and embracing resources that align with your personal goals and lifestyle. It's essential to find a strategy that resonates with you and fully commit to it, whether it's a support group, therapy, or a personal wellness plan. Your commitment to the chosen approach is crucial, as it provides the foundation for a sustainable, sober lifestyle.

Remember, the journey to sobriety is a continuous process, and finding the right resources can make a significant difference in maintaining your alcohol-free commitment.

Are non-drinkers healthier than drinkers?

Because of how alcohol affects the body, on average most non-drinkers are healthier than those who drink. While moderation may work for some navigating their health goals, the health benefits that accompany sobriety are the best option for optimal health.

What can I drink instead of alcohol?

The short answer is, anything that you want. Diet soda, club soda or sparkling water, and other caffeinated beverages tend to be preferred. Additionally, with the newfound trend of Sober Curiosity hitting our culture, many bars and restaurants now offer fun mocktails and other non-alcoholic options to alleviate any pressure one may be experiencing.

About Soberlink

Soberlink is a highly trusted tool designed to remotely confirm someone's BAC or blood alcohol content in a simple and reliable way. Since 2011, the Soberlink system has been the leader in alcohol monitoring for Family Law, Addiction Treatment, and Workplace compliance monitoring. Soberlink’s handheld breathalyzer uses facial recognition, similar to the facial recognition technology on your phone, confirming your identity when you take the test and ensuring it's really you without needing someone else to check. Plus, it sends immediate results to specified contacts’ phones or emails, proving sobriety and providing peace of mind. The device is also smart enough to detect if someone tries to trick or beat the test, ensuring the results are always trustworthy. Finally, it uses AI to create easy-to-understand testing reports, saving you or a loved one from having to filter through pages of data to track progress. In short, Soberlink makes the whole process of remote alcohol testing more convenient, quick, and reliable.

 

Learn More About Soberlink

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