We have all heard of Dry January, Sober October and No Drink November but these sober sprints are just the beginning of what the cultural trend called Mindful Drinking.
Being a mindful drinker or sober curious means actively paying attention to how alcohol impacts your life. Exploring mindful drinking is a good middle ground for when you are re-evaluating the role of alcohol in your life.
Unlike going completely dry, it doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out all forms of alcohol forever but rather reducing the amount you drink or even taking a pause.
10 steps to becoming a mindful drinker
Find your why
Being sober curious or a mindful drinker means you get the option to alter your drinking habits. Deciding to drink less can be difficult when everyone around you is indulging in their favourite alcoholic drinks. This inadvertent peer pressure means that you have to find a reason as to why you are choosing to take a step back from alcohol to keep you on track.
Whether your reason is related to your health, finances or social boundaries make your why clear and come back to this reason whenever you need some reminding.
Ask yourself questions
This step goes hand in hand with the first step.
To help you further understand your reason for moderating your alcohol intake, reflect on your current habits concerning alcohol and see what you like or dislike about them.
Maybe grab a notebook and journal a little about your concerns when it comes to mindful drinking.
Some good questions to get you started might be: “What kind of life do I want to live and how does alcohol fit into it?”
Moderation needs rules.
When you start on your sober curious journey take some time to set some personal rules for socialising and hold yourself accountable for sticking to these rules.
Some rules you may put in place are: “I will only drink on weekends not during the week because I want to be fresh for work”, “I’ve realised I get angry when drinking gin so I’m not going to drink it anymore”, “I get anxious on nights out when I drink so I’m going to drive from now on so I can feel in control and not drink alcohol”.
Remember these rules can change and evolve as you go through your journey so if on thing doesn’t work for you, don’t give up try out a different tactic and see how it goes.
Reflect and Evolve
Living a sober curious lifestyle is a very personal thing. It takes willpower and persistence to really change your habits for good.
Take some time throughout your process to reflect back on how social interactions went and how your new rules made you feel.
Ask yourself things like: “Where was I when I last drank more than I wanted to? Who was I with that day?” or “How did I feel at that social event without drinking?”
It’s all about spotting patterns in your behaviour. Once you can identify the main barriers in your life you can more easily overcome them.
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Talk about it
The process of stepping back from alcohol can be quite isolating. Alcohol is a big part of society and socialising so deciding to cut down your drinking can mean stepping back from social events for a while until you are comfortable with your lifestyle.
If you are feeling isolated and left out, chat with your friends and tell them about how you are changing your habits. You can even ask them to help you out by holding you accountable or trying out new things with you which aren’t focused on alcohol.
Try out alternatives
Thankfully because of the increased interest in mindful drinking the choices for alcohol-free drinks on shop shelves and in pubs have also increased.
A fun way to get excited about mindful drinking is to try out some alcohol-free alternatives!
Host a mocktail party at home and have you and your friends try out some new alcohol-free drinks together and rate them all from best to worst.
Go to the shops and pick a new non-alcoholic drink to try every weekend.
Check out some new bars and see what zero-alcohol drinks they have on offer.
Look at the positives
You will hit some speed bumps along the road and it may be more difficult to keep up with your new habits. That’s okay. this is not an all-or-nothing lifestyle. In fact, it’s actually the opposite. so take your time and do what feels right for you.
But on those days that you’re really feeling the peer pressure and you are torn between wanting to decrease your drinking and wanting to feel included in the fun remember all the positive things that come from mindful drinking.
Think about how much more you can do with your weekend instead of lying in bed feeling hungover. Look at how much clearer your skin is and how much your relationships with others have improved. Remember how clear your brain feels. Whatever it is that is making you feel good during this time hold onto that and use it to motivate yourself.
Remember being sober curious is not a one size fits all process, you have to tailor how your approach it to your life.
Whether you’re cutting down on drinking or quitting altogether embracing the mindful drinking lifestyle will benefit your life in so many ways. So put down the cocktail and pick of the mixer, only the mixer!