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How to Stop Drinking Alcohol


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

While we love a good cocktail recipe here at City Lifestyle, we also love supporting you in your health and wellness goals. If giving up alcoholic beverages for a period of time is something you would like to try to do, I'm here to give you some tips and what has helped me so far on my year without alcohol.

Why Give Up Alcohol

My choice to give up alcohol was for both my physical health and mental health. Firstly, alcohol isn't great for our bodies and can lead to dehydration, lethargy and headaches. Most alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar. I don't normally drink soda or sugary juice by itself, so when I drank alcohol, I was adding other beverages that also weren't great for my health.

Secondly, alcohol is a depressant, and while it can relax us, it can also alter our moods and bring us down a little too low. It can make it difficult to sleep all the way through the night, and it can even make some people feel a bit of anxiety the morning after a night of drinking.

What to Drink Instead Of...

Champagne: I loved Champagne, so I needed to find a good swap for my bubbles. Sparkling mineral waters like Topo Chico, Perrier or San Pellegrino have been my new go-to! I like to pour it in a wine glass or a Champagne flute. It feels fancy, and there are absolutely no calories or sugars—just hydration!

Gin + Tonic: Another one of my favorites was a classic G+T. Now I just drink either tonic water (or club soda for a sugar-free option), and I like to add some lime juice and garnish with a lime wedge.

Sangria: I was never much of a red wine drinker, but I did like the fruity goodness of sangria. I replace it with Pom Wonderful since it's a pure fruit juice with no added sugar and lots of antioxidants. You can get festive with it and pour it into a pitcher with berries and sliced fruits!

Mojito: Back to our trusty sparkling water! When I start dreaming of the mojito I had in Santorini, I whip up my own version with club soda or seltzer water, muddled mint leaves and lime juice. Sometimes I throw in some raspberries or strawberries too just for fun. If I feel like having a sugary drink, I'll add a bit of grenadine or juice from a maraschino cherry jar with a few cherries.

There are so many other fun mock-tail combinations you can come up with in place of your favorite drink. It just takes a little bit of creativity and compromise!

How to Empower Yourself

It's hard to break habits, and it's even harder when the people around you constantly offer for you to go back to your habit. It now stands out to me how often I am offered alcohol in my life and how many times I have to say no! That's why it's helpful to order mock-tails. It doesn't raise any questions because you look content with a drink in your hand, and you can focus on making conversation and having fun instead of re-explaining why you aren't drinking for the millionth time.

Giving up alcohol doesn't have to change your entire lifestyle or friend groups, and you can still go to all of the same social events you used to. Remember that you are the best expert of your health, and you get to make the final decision on what you put in your body. And know that you are so fun, and everyone loves hanging out with you for who you are, not what you become when you drink.

When it feels hard, focus on the benefits you are experiencing. I have noticed that I have better concentration when socializing, and I have a better memory of the conversations I have with people. I sleep better. I feel better when I exercise. I have more energy throughout the day. And when I feel stressed or emotional, I look for healthy relaxation methods like taking a bath, doing yoga, cuddling with a pet or calling my best friend. Those things make me feel so much better long-term instead of the short-term comfort of pouring myself a drink.

You can do this! Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram with any questions. I'm happy to answer anything and support you on this journey. Cheers!

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer