Most of us have been there. Your head is pounding, your stomach feels queasy, and the room is spinning. “I’m never drinking again,” you say, but then your friend calls you up to have a few glasses of wine while watching this week’s episode of The Bachelor, and you cave. If you’ve found yourself stuck in a seemingly never-ending drinking cycle, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even states that over 37 million adults in the United States report binge drinking about once a week (they note that for a drinking session to qualify as a binge, it requires that an average of 7 or more drinks were consumed).
A week full of social drinking can seem harmless, especially when it feels like everyone is doing it, but the data lets us know that nasty hangovers aren’t all we have to fear. Since nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that alcohol is the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The facts are harrowing, but escape can feel nearly impossible. From Zoom happy hours and PTA mixers to boozy brunches and nights out with friends, drinking culture permeates a sizable portion of our weekly activities. When it feels like alcohol is absolutely everywhere, what’s a social millennial to do?
If you’re feeling a little sober-curious, you’re not alone. In fact, millennials are embracing trends that encourage pulling back from consistent drinking in large numbers. Non-alcoholic beverage sales even grew from $700 million to $1.1 billion in the past year alone. Since sobriety tends to foster physical and mental health benefits, financial improvement, and improved relationships, they might be onto something. If you’re concerned about your alcohol intake and looking to try out the sober life, these five suggestions can get you there.
The first step to making a major lifestyle change is often the hardest, and this scenario is no exception. If you feel that you have a significant problem with alcohol addiction, you’ll likely want to avoid going it alone. There are several paths to achieving sobriety, including therapeutic groups, medication, rehab, and counseling.
If you choose to seek therapeutic services to help you on your sobriety journey, you’ll be faced with a few options. When weighing the pros and cons between intensive outpatient vs. traditional outpatient alcohol treatment, you’ll need to analyze your specific needs and be honest with yourself and your treatment team about your drinking habits. Intensive outpatient programs typically offer group, family, and individual therapy at a high dose, meaning that while you don’t have to live at the treatment facility, you’ll receive intensive treatment ranging from a few times a week to daily. Outpatient treatment, which is recommended for those who require less intensive support, offers significantly less sessions per week and more flexibility. Whatever you choose, remember that since alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, you’ll need to consult a medical professional when attempting to detox. You can also use the best organic C60 natural oils for detoxing your organism.
Embracing Mindful Drinking
You don’t have to live the completely dry life to reap the benefits of reduced alcohol intake. Many millennials are taking a “middle path” approach to drinking called “mindful drinking,” in which people limit the amount of alcohol they consume, and drink non-alcoholic beverages most of the time. Mindful drinking encourages flexibility and allows for a social drink here and there, while avoiding all-or-nothing mindsets that are just plain tough to stay committed to.
Trusting That Your True Friends Will Stick Around
There’s a certain emotional pang that accompanies the “No thanks, I’m not drinking tonight,” that you mutter to your friend with a beer in their outstretched hand. Feeling nervous about succumbing to social pressure or falling victim to judgement from those you spend time with or date is valid, and remains a consideration that dissuades many young people from living the sober life.
If the people in your life don’t support you living your best and healthiest life, you may not want them around, anyways. Moreover, many sober people report acquiring several new friendships as they turn towards healthier habits.
Having Fun With It
Going dry doesn’t have to feel it. Just because you’re not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you don’t get to have an exciting beverage in hand. Pick up a fun mocktail mixer book or head to pinterest for creative inspiration for non-alcoholic drinks, and invite your friends to try some, too.
Sipping on a virgin vodka cranberry (hold the vodka) or any beverage of your choice can help reduce the amount of questions you have to answer about your sobriety, while making your social event even more enjoyable.
Embracing Activities That Don’t Require Drinking
There’s a world of new activities that you and your friends can partake in now that you won’t be spending so many mornings nursing a hangover. Physical activities like yoga in the park or group rock climbing can allow you to enjoy the company of those you love without being tempted by an open bar. Schedule your hangouts at locations that don’t serve alcohol, like movie theaters, coffee shops, or the great outdoors. You’ll find yourself forgetting that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere in no time.