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Ways to Feel Better Without Alcohol

Five tips to resist the urge

As you start your journey to drinking less alcohol and living a healthier life, it is important to remember that you may have times where you are struggling and feel the urge to have a drink. Fortunately, these urges are short-lived and controllable if you know how to distract yourself and feel better, without the need for alcohol.

An urge to drink can be caused by external triggers in the environment as well as ones within yourself.

  • External triggers are the people, places, things or times of the day that offer drinking opportunities or remind you of drinking. These are ‘high-risk situations’ and are more obvious, predictable and avoidable than internal triggers.
  • Internal triggers are those that cause an urge to drink randomly. However, if you stop to think about it when this happens, you’ll find that the urge has been set off by a certain thought, such as excitement, frustration or a physical sensation such as a headache, tension or nervousness.

When it comes to looking for ways to feel better without alcohol, you need to think about the ways you can overcome these triggers. Although it is not possible to block all triggers, here are five strategies that you can try to handle the urge to drink:

1. Remind

Remind yourself of the reasons why you are making a change; this could be to improve your relationships with family and friends or to feel more energised and healthy.

2. Remove

Remove yourself from high-risk situations quickly to avoid feeling the urge to drink.

3. Reveal

Talk about the way you are feeling through with a trusted friend

4. Re-think

Re-think your drink. Challenge your thought processes. When you tell yourself that 'one won't hurt', stop and think. Will 'just one’ lead to many more? Questioning your thought process can help you make better decisions about 'drinking alcohol.

5. Rediscover

When distracting yourself from the urge to drink, think about all the fun, healthy alternatives you can try. Come up with short, mid-range and longer options to distract yourself such as calling someone, learning to cook a new healthy meal, physical activity to music; taking a walk, DIY or doing a hobby. We heard from one person who said he'd switched his habitual Friday night trip to the pub, with a browse of his local DIY store!

When you're trying to cut down the amount of alcohol you drink, there's no better time to fall back in love with your old hobbies and interests. When you start relying on drink to make you feel happy, you begin to forget about how much your old interests and hobbies made you feel. When you're cutting down, you could get back into a sport you used to love so you can start to prioritise keeping fit and healthy over knowing when your next drink is going to be.

Understanding why you drink and what you can do to distract yourself from the urges is a great first step in quitting alcohol for good. If you or someone you know is looking to cut down their alcohol consumption, register or have a chat with our team today for free help and guidance on where to start.


How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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