7 ways you can get the most out of your break from alcohol

Drinking can be really fun, but there are times when you might notice that you’ve been overdoing it (hey, it’s been a busy month!) and a little break is in order. Taking a booze break can be a really good idea, whether it’s just to give yourself a little detox or to check yourself in case you think you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Whatever your reasons for laying off the sauce for a bit, there are a few things you can do to get the most of out of your alcohol break.

It might be tough, but taking a break from alcohol is a healthy thing to do sometimes.

Dr. Nick Sheron, a liver specialist from Southampton University, told Drinkaware that if “you’re drinking on a regular basis, then the amount of alcohol you need to get the same click or buzz gradually goes up.” Which means you start needing to have more drinks every time you go out (or sit home with a glass of wine) to feel the effects of the booze. Your body feels it, too.

So if you drink regularly, it makes total sense that you feel like you need breaks now and again to moderate your drinking and make sure your body gets the breather it deserves. Here’s how to get the most out of your drinking break.

*Note: If you suspect you might have an alcohol or other substance abuse problem, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional right away. There are so many resources available to help you navigate these issues. In the meantime, you can still try the following.*

1Set a goal and a reward.

You have to be really intentional about your alcohol break, so set an amount of time you plan on holding out. A whole month is likely a really good place to start, but you can also just decide to not drink on weeknights or some other personalized drinking goal that helps you moderate. Oh, and definitely choose a reward for yourself when you make it to the end, like a dress you really want or a fancy dinner.

2Enlist some friends.

There is strength in numbers! You can definitely go on an alcohol break and still hang out with your friends, but it might be easier if you enlist a friend or your entire squad to do it with you. This way, you won’t feel pressured to drink at a party or bar everyone’s at. You can even all find fun things to do together that don’t involve pitchers of beer.

3Have a non-alcoholic go-to drink.

You don’t have to be a hermit on your break from booze! Instead of sitting home alone not drinking with a scowl on your face, go out! But have a plan for when you do go out in a drinking environment. Tons of bars make non-alcoholic cocktails that are super tasty — in fact, trendy cocktail bartenders would LOVE a chance to whip something up for you. (Though it’s annoying to spend $12 on a virgin cocktail sometimes.) Seltzer and lime is great too. Imagine going home from a night out feeling…hydrated?

4Don’t let one night ruin it.

If you are on a break and have to go to a wedding and get talked into a glass of wine at dinner or something, don’t call the whole break off. For actual alcoholics, “slipping” every once in a while, or even relapsing, is normal, and they’re counseled to hop right back on the wagon. If you’re not an alcoholic, slipping up on your booze break is even less of a big deal. Just wake up the next day and keep going. Be nice to yourself. It’s hardly worth giving your body a break if you’re going to beat yourself up mentally the whole time.

5Start a piggy bank.

Guys, you have to do this. Calculate how much you spend usually by going out and drinking, or decide to pony up $5 a day (that’s what even one beer or some Trader Joe’s wine costs anyway). Put the money in a glass jar somewhere you can see it, or even just a bank account, which is admittedly somewhat less fun. When you start to cave on your alcohol break, you can check out your cash and remember how much you’re saving.

6Go get a facial.

Alcohol is not great for your skin. If you cut out booze for a month (or longer!) you should treat yourself to a facial or a good moisturizer. Your skin has never looked better, so build on that success!

7Use an app or a journal.

If you want to make the alcohol break stick, you can download an app to track your progress or use a journal to keep it up. When you have a craving, write it down and remind yourself how you stuck with it, or journal about how great you feel.

No matter how you track your progress or celebrate your success, any kind of break from alcohol is a great idea that your body will definitely thank you for.

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