Many people get into trouble with alcohol because they have too much time on their hands, or they are bored and use alcohol as a way to pass the time and not think about how empty their lives are. When you have become accustomed to using alcohol regularly, you will need to find alternatives to occupy your time to ensure whole-person health and wellness.
Schedule your days so that you account for the free time that you have available to you. You should be able to create other activities to fill up those hours when you used to drink by getting involved in hobbies, sports, exercise, or relationships. If you don’t have anything that readily comes to mind, think about what interested you in the past. Take lessons or buy a book or check out things online.
Factor in vacation time as well. If you are planning a trip, make sure it is to a place where you will be occupying your time with activities that don’t involve getting hammered.
Physical activity is a great way to promote healthier patterns of behavior. You don’t have to lay out a big chunk of change to do it, either. You can start by taking brisk walks around the neighborhood. Ask your spouse or partner to join you. The workout will be good for both of you. Start small, maybe 20 minutes a day. Work up to a good hour 4 to 5 times a week. It’s easy enough to do, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after you get used to the schedule.
Add in a little more challenging activity as your body becomes stronger. Take up a sport, such as a racquetball, or tennis, or golf, or go swimming, skiing, backpacking, kayaking, whitewater rafting. Plan vacations where you can engage in a variety of challenging recreational pursuits.
The endorphins that kick in following an active workout are the body’s own feel-good chemicals. This natural high is physically and mentally enjoyable – and healthy for you. Better yet, adopting a physically active lifestyle is a great way to establish healthy patterns of behavior.
Sometimes, the effort of staying away from drinking buddies, places, and times of day is enough to get you down. You may figure, what’s the harm in having a few drinks? I’ll get back on my routine next week, you may tell yourself. Don’t fall for it. This is your mind playing tricks on you, pushing those cravings and urges smack in your face and tempting you to give in.
Instead of doing that, you might consider joining a support group. You can join the AA 12-step group. The fellowship is comprised of members who genuinely want to make a change in their lives to stay sober.
There are other support groups that may be more to your liking. You will have to do your homework to find them and determine if what they have to offer meets your situation. Support groups encourage and support members. With the help of a support group, you can find friendship and help in overcoming your self-destructive patterns of drinking behavior.