I hate to say it, but these things will most likely happen to you.
“You can’t change years of bad habits in a couple of weeks. Work hard, be patient, and you will get results.” — Anonymous
When you first decide to stop drinking, it will seem like the world is your oyster.
If you are like many people and have had a mix of good and bad experiences at the same time, a part of you will be torn to leave alcohol behind but deep down inside, you will know that it was the right thing.
The first week or so will be amazing. And perhaps even the first month will go along swimmingly well.
However, there are a few things that you should be prepared for that will be rather interesting at first but can become a bit annoying with time.
This happens to everyone, so you might as well be prepared for it and know how to cope when it occurs.
1. People will think you were an alcoholic
We talked about this in a previous AINYF article to make sure everyone was not caught off guard by this. It’s just one of those things. People are going to look at you and wonder WHY did you decide to quit.
It will be hard for some to believe that you didn’t have some type of major problem, so be prepared for individuals to ask a lot of questions intimating that this was the case for you.
Don’t let it bother you too much, but just know that there’s a reason behind this, and 99% of the time, it has nothing to do with you.
2. You will probably want to eat more sweets than ever before
Since your body and mind will be so used to the artificial dopamine hit provided by alcohol, it will begin to look for something that will be able to replace that feeling to make it feel whole again.
If you are anything like me, you’ll find yourself diving into different types of food to fulfill that craving. Having not been a big eater of sweets before (alcohol and ice cream just don’t typically go together), I was surprised as anyone to find that anything sweet really seemed to do the trick.
The reason for this is that sweets have the ability to spike the dopamine in your brain very much in the same artificial way that alcohol does. There have even been some recent studies to suggest that sugar could potentially be as addictive and dangerous as cocaine.
While I definitely don’t think it is a long-term strategy, if it works to stop you from thinking about drinking for long enough to break its hold on you, then I think the temporary sugar overload is worth it.
If you’re going to go the ice cream route like me, I would suggest just trying low fat and low sugar brands while you go through this phase so you don’t put on too much weight in the meantime and have an entirely new problem with which to deal…diabetes.
3. You will be bored AF at first
Tiiime…is on my side. Yes, it is.
I always think of that song sung by the killer in the Denzel Washington thriller, Fallen, when I think about this one.
The AF in the aforementioned title does not stand for alcohol-free as you might think but rather stands for “As F*ck” as the kids say these days.
This will really be what it will be like at first when you stop drinking, as you will have so much free time on your hands that you will not know quite what to do with it.
While there are many mottos out there about how alcohol can turn any boring time into a good time, what is also true is that it will then allow you to waste a fair amount of time that you could be using doing more productive things.
Therefore, when you decide to stop drinking alcohol and not have it as a crutch to fall back on whenever you are “bored,” you will be forced to find something to do with that time.
At first, this may look like a lot of sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself for not drinking…which is not good, so you must find some type of hobby or new endeavor to make sure that doesn’t happen.
In another previous AINYF article that shares why hobbies are so important whenever you decide to quit drinking, we talk about this reality.
4. Some of your friends will be a bit awkward around you
There will be those friends who will be as natural around you as the first day that you met, and there was be no major issues.
They may comment on you not drinking and probably will really want to talk about it in detail, as they will want to know what made you decide to make this decision and what it will mean for your life going forward.
On the flip side of that, there will be others who you may feel a bit strained around, as they will not know not quite what to say regarding your decision to not drink.
As alluded to earlier, some will think that you had a major problem with alcohol and will either focus too heavily on questioning that makes you feel that you have to prove that you did not or will not know what to say at all because they are afraid to say the wrong thing.
Also, once you spend enough time around them not drinking, you will realize that perhaps you didn’t have as much in common with them as you originally thought before and what you think was a great “friendship” was really more of two people who enjoyed drinking and wasting time together…two different things.
Therefore, be prepared to lose some friends, but that definitely does not have to be a bad thing.
5. You will still have problems that need solving
And lastly, this is the one that sometimes makes people want to go back to drinking after some time.
It is true. When you stop drinking, many things are going to seem like they get better.
You will probably sleep much better, think clearer, and have overall more focus and motivation for the day.
This will hopefully turn into you beginning to put your time and energy into a lot of activities and projects that you put on the back burner or just delayed getting to because you were too focused on drinking than accomplishing your goals.
With that being said, there are still going to be things that you are going to have to deal with that may even seem to get a bit MORE difficult because you are no longer drinking than before.
That sh*tty relationship that you were in before drinking? It’s still pretty sh*tty and now you don’t have alcohol to make you both forget about how bad of a relationship it is.
That job that you hate? Still there and now you can’t drink your stress or frustration away each afternoon.
That frustration of being x lbs overweight? That hasn’t changed and now you can’t drink to convince yourself that you’re “happy” with the way you look.
When you stop drinking, it isn’t going to make all of these things disappear and the coping mechanism of drinking alcohol to help you forget about it will no longer be there to alleviate all of the anxiety and emotional baggage that comes with it.
Therefore, you will now finally be forced to deal with it head-on and figure out a solution, i.e., talk through the problems of the relationship, find another job, starting eating and working out, instead of sweeping it under the rug of alcohol each day.
The reality is stopping drinking doesn’t magically solve all of your problems, but it does finally give you the mental capacity and clarity to solve them for yourself.
There are a lot of great things that come with the decision to discontinue a life drinking alcohol, but to say that all things get “better” immediately would not quite be the case.
Therefore, I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of these five things that will most likely happen once they finally make that decision for their lives.
And while at first, this may make things seem more difficult rather than less, one often has to take a few steps back before being able to take the steps forward needed to see the long-term success that alcohol-consciousness ultimately brings.