Lots of people dread giving up alcohol. There are lots of reasons but one of the big ones is this:
‘Well…what do I do now?’
It sounds strange but think about it. Our society is geared around drinking. It just takes up so much time over the weekend and even during the week. When you give up you might want to stay away from drinking holes for a while but even if you go and stick to alcohol-free drinks, you’ll probably still head home at a more reasonable time.
So you’ve created a whole load of free time. It’s the one resource that’s almost impossible to get.
But you’ve got even more than free time. You’ve got more energy too.
So let’s look at some things you can do with all that time and energy!
1. Get in shape
‘I don’t have time,’ is a pretty common refrain when it comes to getting fit and staying fit. But when you give up alcohol, you will absolutely have more time.
If you don’t want to be tempted when you’re fresh from giving up, then avoiding bars and pubs is the easiest way to avoid it. Woohoo! Now you have your weekend evenings free! And what’s even better is that you have the morning after free too.
Getting in shape isn’t about slogging away doing a workout you hate. That’s not sustainable. Getting in shape goes hand in hand with staying in shape. So you want to explore activities that you actually enjoy.
We suggest turning it into a game. Remember those? Man, kids have it on the money.
Here’s a list of fun activities that are also great workouts:
- Frisbee – with your partner, kids, hell…even your dog.
- Tennis – there are loads of free courts around and rackets are very affordable. Go hit some balls, it’s fun even when you’re terrible (like us) and it improves fitness, agility and hand-eye coordination.
- Cycling – dust off the bike, find a lovely cycle path and go for a spin. Speaking of…
- Spinning – it’s like cycling but with pumping music. Find one locally on a Friday night and you’ll get the evening atmosphere while getting fit.
- Swimming – one of the best forms of exercise, swimming increases lung capacity, strengthens pretty much every muscle and is excellent for mindfulness.
- Dance – find a local dance class and see if they offer a free taster. Dance is a fantastic activity that lets you express yourself and get fit.
- Yoga – many people find yoga helps with mindfulness and sobriety is all about a new awareness. You don’t have to be flexible to start at all. Don’t be intimidated, no one begins yoga being able to tuck their leg behind their head (except babies, man they’re flexible fellows)
- Ping pong – oooo yeah! If you can track down a local ping pong table (or buy one for your garden) this is a super fun activity that has you bouncing about on your feet. It’s easy to do this for hours because it’s so brilliant. You can’t say that about the gym!
- Martial arts – exercise that links your mental state with your physical state, martial arts classes are a great community atmosphere that puts you back in charge of your body. There are so many to choose from, including womens-only classes.
- Rock climbing – start off at an indoor wall and you’re guaranteed to get to the top, one foothold and handhold at a time. It quickly improves strength and confidence and is great for the mindset.
2. Learn an instrument
The great thing about giving up alcohol is that your priorities shift. Because you’ve done something so good for yourself, it quickly becomes easier to see all the other things you could do that are good for you.
Including doing things that you’ve always wanted to but have never prioritised. It’s never too late to learn an instrument and with YouTube, it’s possible to learn any instrument for free.
Yup, it’s not easy. But you know what? Everything was hard before it was easy. You’ve already achieved so much hard stuff in your life. Why shy away from this? You don’t have to be the next rock star, you don’t have to ever perform in front of anybody except your pet. So there’s no reason to not give it a go.
Now your head is clear and your wallet isn’t as light, get yourself the instrument you’ve always wanted to learn and just begin. Start by learning a chord. Move into Happy Birthday. Learn the Taylor Swift cannon. Whatever – every hour you spend on it is improvement. And before you know it you’ll suddenly realise that you can play.
3. Cook interesting meals (from scratch)
You’re saving a ton of money by not buying alcohol and it’s no longer the centrepiece of dinner time. Instead, making extra effort in the kitchen is a hugely beneficial way to get healthy and stay healthy.
We live in a world where corporations love making life ‘easy’ for us. And that includes processed food. But is it really ‘easy’ if that food contains loads of ingredients that actually make us unhealthy? Not in the long term.
We love to go all out when cooking dinner, and that doesn’t even mean we take more time over it. We have a fridge full of vegetables, a cupboard full of beans, lentils and grains and a store of amazing and exotic herbs and spices.
Head to the library to get some incredible cook books and start getting creative in the kitchen. When cooking becomes fun and experimental, you appreciate food more and feel so much better for it.
And we’re not just talking dinner either…baking counts too 😉
4. Fix your work
Giving up alcohol means taking back control over your life. It’s a powerful thing. And now that you know you’ve achieved that, what else can you achieve?
Work takes up a huge amount of our time and if yours feels like it’s out of your control, it’s time to make a plan. If your day is micro-managed by your boss, if your company are reluctant to pay you what you’re worth or if you want to start your own business, now’s the time to sit down and get it on paper.
Where do you want to be in your career? What steps can you take to make it happen? Do you want to change careers? What do you want to say you’ve done when you look back at 80 years old?
Getting your work desires focused is the first step to a better working life. It’s too easy to just put it off, but then years go by and you’re still in a place you don’t want to be. You can take control of your work just like you’ve taken control of other parts of your life.
If you need help, find a local career coach – they’re worth their weight in gold.
5. Find people on your wavelength
Sometimes when you give up drinking, you realise that a few friendships were based entirely around it. Some people can’t imagine not arranging social events around alcohol.
Here’s the thing, if your friendships are based on drinking, they’re not based on who you are as people. That’s not a real connection. It’s a mutual interest that you’re not interested in anymore.
We are hugely affected by the people we associate with and hopefully, most of your friends will completely support you in your sobriety and be keen to do things that don’t take place at a bar. But if you have ‘friends’ that can’t support you…are they really friends?
We can develop incredible, life enhancing friendships at any age. It’s just a question of getting yourself out there. By joining new clubs, like a running club or Parkrun, you’ll quickly meet new people. Whatever your interests are, there are probably groups locally to suit and trying them out is a great way to make new friends.
When we stop meeting new people, we close ourselves off to all sorts of personal and professional opportunities. Sure, it’s scary meeting new faces sometimes, but remember, they’re meeting you for the first time too. We’re all just humans.
Find people on your wavelength who live the kinds of lives you admire. They’ll lift you up, encourage you and you’ll feel fired up to make the most of your time and energy.
That’s it from us today! If you’ve started something new after giving up alcohol, we’d love to hear about it! Comment below and let’s see if we can help each other discover new things to do.