Alcohol abuse is a major problem in the US, yet it’s an addiction that we rarely talk about. According to the National Institute for Health, 85% of adult Americans have reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, and a quarter of the adult population admitted to binge drinking in the past month.
As most people know, abusing alcohol can cause major problems for your health, and can completely derail attempts to live a healthy, balanced life. Yet, substance abuse of all kinds has been on the rise during the pandemic, as many folks have lost their jobs or have struggled to cope with the increase of stress caused by Covid-19.
With this in mind, it’s little wonder that many folks choose to cut out alcohol and go sober. But, if you’re one of the many people who choose to live a dry lifestyle, you probably know that staying sober is difficult. So, here’s a quick guide to help you improve your wellness and maintain your sobriety during the pandemic.
Yoga isn’t a “cure” that will suddenly stop your cravings for alcohol. But, it can be an essential part of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle that supports sobriety and helps you avoid relapse. Of course, there are myriad different forms of yoga, and finding the right kind of you is an exciting journey.
Regardless of the type of yoga practice you start with, most styles will carry a range of wellness-boosting benefits. You may see improvements in the quality of your sleep, and routine practice will help you manage stress from work or relationships. The physical practice of yoga can also boost your confidence, as the strength that is built will give you a sense of progression and greater resilience to life’s challenges.
Over time, yoga can also help you find a sense of calm. This helps you make better decisions and gives you a mental sanctuary if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can further improve your mental wellbeing by engaging in mindfulness and meditation which helps folks recover from addictions. This will bring awareness which, in combination with therapy, can be used to help overcome cravings and fight off relapses.
Anyone sober for a lengthy period knows that sobriety can place strain on relationships. However, as the person going sober, you should know that you’re doing nothing wrong — even if others make you feel bad about turning down a drink.
As part of a holistic approach to wellness, you should actively pursue new relationships with folks who don’t pressure you into drinking. This might seem daunting at first, but finding like-minded, healthy people is easier than you’d think.
Start building new relationships by joining clubs and getting involved in your local community. This might involve joining a local sports team or exercise group. Alternatively, you might take a more restful approach and join something like the local library’s book club. Clubs in your community are always looking for new members, and your new activity will give you a good reason to skip the drinks.
Addiction is intrinsically linked to stress. High-stress levels are a major predictor of addiction initiation and relapse, so you need to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to manage your stress in a holistically healthy way.
Improving the quality and duration of your sleep is a great way to combat stress and improve your chances of maintaining your sobriety. Start by cutting out all screens at least an hour before bed, and consider investing in a light dimmer so your environment becomes darker as you approach bedtime.
Aim to sleep 8-10 hours a night, but don’t feel bad if you can’t drift off or are struggling to get a few nights’ sleep — there’s no need to pressure your body into falling asleep if it doesn’t want to. If possible, try to stick to a routine so you wake up and fall asleep at the same time (even on weekends).
A lot of people who are new to sober life relapse because they don’t know what to do without alcohol. But, if you ask almost any sober person, you’ll discover that sober life allows you to do so much more with your time and money.
You can start by totaling up how much money you’re saving every month by cutting out alcohol. You might be surprised to see how much you save, and should put this cash directly towards new, dry, activities and experiences. If you’re outdoorsy, going sober can easily pay for a road trip. Or, if you prefer staying home, you can save enough to go to the movies or local concerts (and you’ll actually remember them the next day!).
Going sober is a great way to maintain your wellness — particularly during the pandemic, where many of us have been thrown off-center. Start by finding new activities that suit a dry lifestyle like yoga, book clubs, or sports teams. These new activities will help you build new relationships which support your sobriety, and regularly engaging in interesting activities is sure to help you manage stress and improve your wellbeing.