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This is based on my own personal story and experience, and I have gathered these tips along the way on my own journey. I feel like the timing is right to share this here…
People have a lot of questions about why I’ve chosen a life free of alcohol. When I first decided to quit alcohol nearly two years ago, I wasn’t even sure myself what was calling me to let it go, much less how to explain it to people.
What I know now is that alcohol was lowering my vibration, my frequency. It was becoming more out of alignment with what my soul wanted. People in our culture have such a hard time understanding that. But quitting it has very much been a part of my spiritual journey.
When I did drink alcohol, which typically meant that I drank too much, I became disconnected from my highest self, and from my higher power. It made me feel out of control, so guilty and full of shame when I overdrank. It made me feel numb, it dulled my senses, it crushed my self esteem. It just threw me out of balance so much – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. My body and spirit were literally rejecting it in every sense of the word.
It’s been nearly 2 years now since I last drank alcohol, and I have continued to learn so much along my journey. And I have people ask me almost weekly how I did it. I find that so many women (and men) want to learn how to live their lives without leaning on alcohol for comfort, for stress relief, for fun and to laugh, play and feel more carefree. And they simply don’t believe they can do it. They don’t believe in themselves to be able to cut something out of their life, even if it’s bringing them down.
I honestly didn’t think I could do it, either. And I did. You can too, if it’s something you truly want.HERE ARE 6 TIPS THAT HELPED ME WHEN I DECIDED TO LIVE AN ALCOHOL-FREE LIFESTYLE
1. I shifted my perspective | I honestly thought I couldn’t quit drinking because I would be missing out if I quit drinking alcohol. What kind of boring life would I be living if I quit? Then I read a book called Kick the Drink…Easily by Jason Vale, and it completely changed my perspective.
This book helped me switch from the perspective that I would be missing out on all the fun if I quit drinking, to the perspective that I had been missing out on really feeling ALIVE all these years as an over-drinker. “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~Dr Wayne Dyer
2. I drew a line | For me, there was no in between. I had tried moderating my drinking in the past and it never worked for me. So I drew a line in the sand. I was ready to get started right away, so I downloaded a sobriety tracker app on my phone to start keeping up with my progress.
3. I turned inward and got to know myself more | Early on, I focused on spending a lot of time alone and really feeling out my emotions around everything. I turned to meditation, yoga and prayer, I spent a lot of time journaling and getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve found that writing about my thoughts and emotions is a very powerful tool for me. I think it actually is for most people.
I didn’t share with other people in my life right away that I was letting go of alcohol entirely, only my husband. Even though I knew in my heart that my choice was made, I didn’t feel ready to deal with people asking a lot of questions or trying to persuade me to drink. I didn’t have the strength to deal with a lot of questions yet. So in the beginning, I wasn’t totally upfront with other people about what I was doing. I know now that that was a protective mechanism, a way of self-preservation. Plus, it’s really no one’s business what you’re up to (although you’ll find that some people really, really will want to make it their business whether you drink or not). I absolutely feel that for many people, they drink because of societal pressure. We are heavily influenced by what others say. And that goes for drinking alcohol, even if it’s not really something we want to do.
I’ve found my alcohol-free lifestyle to be a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. I’ve learned to love myself more, to trust myself more and to seek answers from inside myself instead of from the outside world. My spiritual self has grown so very much in this journey. Again, sobriety has been a huge part of my spiritual evolution.
4. I was gentle with myself | I mostly stayed at home in the beginning as I felt out my new life without alcohol. I stayed away from events and parties since I didn’t feel quite strong enough yet to answer questions.
If I felt sad or anxious, I took a hot bath. If I wanted dark chocolate, I indulged in good dark chocolate. If I wanted ice cream, I had my favorite coconut milk ice cream. When I finally did start venturing out to parties or dinner with friends, I ordered fun mocktails or a festive glass of sparkling water with lemons and limes. I gave myself a lot of grace and room to do whatever felt good to me without judgment. I read a lot of books and focused on letting go of judgment of myself and others. Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein is a great book for that.
5. I moved my body | I chose things that felt best to me, but I did move my body in some way, every day. If a walk sounded nice, I walked. If I wanted yoga, I hit up my favorite classes. I have learned that for me, extra energy in my body can manifest as anxiety or stress, and it’s important for me to move that energy through in ways other than hitting the bottle (which is how I used to deal with excess energy). Exercise is the key for me to do that. Regular daily movement continues to be an important part of my life.
6. I leaned on my higher power | As I mentioned earlier, learning how to live my life alcohol-free has been an important part of my spiritual journey. I was raised to believe in God and I always have. But my connection with my source had grown weak over the years. I began talking with God upwards of three or four times a day. I prayed for strength when I felt weak, I prayed for peace when I felt anxious, I prayed for signs that I was on the right path when I started to question myself. Then, I watched and listened for what God showed me. When we ask and we are fully open to receiving, whatever we need always shows up.
Written by Elizabeth Finch, founder of The Southern Well Being
Originally published at www.thesouthernwellbeing.com