The National Institute of Alcohol (R) suggests that 88,000 people die because of an alcohol induced cause. If you are an alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic, it is important for you to not slip out of track. Wondering how you can control your cravings? Don’t do much, just know of the things to do instead of drinking.
I know it is easier said than done but often times, all you need is to push yourself out of the reverie to fight through your urges. When you know how fatal the outcomes are, opting for an alternative doesn’t seem like a bad option them.
In here, we are going to talk about some of the alternative activities to drinking that you help you sustain a sober life.
What to do instead of drinking?
Sometimes, giving into the urge of picking a bottle is very easy. All you have to do is hit the nearest bar and get a drink.
But, if you are on the road to recovery or even someone who is trying to quit alcohol for good, trust me, there are a number of things to do besides drinking. It is all on you and your self control.
Don’t give into the urges and if needed, talk to someone who can help bring you out of the situation. You might feel like clawing out your skin because of how hard it is to refrain from not drinking but believe in yourself to mess things up further than it already is.
With that, let us take a look at some of the things to do when you want to drink, shall we? Scroll down.
1. Take yourself out on a walk
Quitting addictions is never easy. It is very tough for one to handle the consequences when they know that they can get relief from the strain if they just give in.
One of the best ways that you can distract yourself from drinking is by going out on a walk. If you have a dog, take them out as well.
It might seem very trivial but often times, breathing in some fresh air is all that you need to get your life mind back on track.
I am not saying that you wouldn’t feel the urge again but it is very effective in helping you recovery from the urge in that moment.
Let the fresh air from the surroundings infiltrate into your lungs and just sit down at a park to collect your thoughts. Govern your thoughts to know how bad the consequences can be in case you give in.
It does help in the moment.
2. Get some reading done
When you are faced with the sudden urge to down some alcohol, the best way to divert your mind is by getting some reading done.
The reason why this is considered one of the best things to do instead of drinking at night is because of how easily it can prevent you from a setback to your progress on your journey to sobriety.
You can open a book that is in your reach and start reading with a fresh mind. If you don’t own any books, make use of your smartphone.
Open something up that you know would help keep your mind occupied.
You can’t just stop the urge or thoughts with a switch of your mind but you can start with the small steps. Focus on reading somewhere quiet, where you can focus and concentrate better on the book.
For the best results, pick a book that you already like. This way, you know you will be able to concentrate well.
3. Try your hands at meal prep
If you have been looking for alternative activities to drinking, meal prep is an amazing distraction.
Not only is the activity time consuming, it also helps keep your mind off of drinking. It diverts your focus from things that could cause a setback to your progress.
Meal prep is a healthy coping mechanism and keeps you busy enough to not think about drinking alcohol.
It is not as easy as it sounds but you will get the hang of it once you start the process.
The tedious process of chopping veggies and then prepping everything ahead of time takes up enough time for you to not think about anything else.
It is not a glamorous way out but it is an effective one that can get you out of your funk.
4. Volunteer at the local charity
The act of volunteering might not seem like one of the plausible things to do instead of drinking but trust me, the results are pretty amazing.
Enrolling as a volunteer helps you achieve a feeling of fulfillness, one that can tide over the urge of drinking alcohol.
You don’t necessarily have to do much but just being able to give back something positive to others can help boost your mental health and make you believe in your capabilities.
It can also act as a source of recluse for you when your judgement becomes cloudy and you need a quick escape from the constant negative and overwhelming thoughts.
5. Indulge in a new hobby
We all have hobbies, be it painting, photography or even playing a musical instrument. The options are not just extensive but versatile as well.
One of the best things to do when you want to drink is to pick up a hobby that you have always wanted to do.
There are often several instances when we have a number of hobbies that we have always wanted to do but never get the time for it.
You can enroll in a class for your hobby, look up tutorials online or just free ball everything that comes to your mind.
It is all up to your choices and wishes.
6. Go out for a drive
If you are having an episode of relapse, I definitely wouldn’t suggest you drive. But, let someone drive you around till you feel better and more in control.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be something drastic but even these small steps can lend a helping hand.
Driving around helps you look through the surroundings, taking in the fast pace of life and taking things over like it didn’t happen.
The reason why this is considered one of the best alternative activities to drinking is because it takes your mind off of the urge that you are feeling.
While you are inside the car, keep the windows down and let the air breeze through your face. It does have amazing benefits in helping calm down your mind to further prevent you from taking drastic decisions.
If need be, stop the car on the side of the curb and just take a breather to calm yourself down.
Even though it might sound like a broken record, one of the best ways to overcome your sudden urge of drinking alcohol is with meditation.
You can either do it alone by yourself in a peaceful room in the house or you can even join a meditation group and do it regularly with a community of people.
It is a myth that one has to meditate for long hours to gain peace of mind. You can actually just sit around for even as less as 10 minutes and see the results it brings.
Focus on your chakras while doing so. Do it in a way that you feel brings you mental peace unlike anything else.
Don’t overexaggerate or try to be “fancy” with the method. It all comes down to how you concentrate and forego all the negative thoughts from your mind.
8. Take a nap
Not many people will tell you to do this but one of the most common things to do instead of drinking is to take a nap.
Often times, the urge to drink alcohol is so bad that you strain your body to overcome the relapse. This can tire you out, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
If you feel tired and feel like you need a nap, don’t fight yourself on that and actually do take one. It doesn’t have to be a full blown sleep for 8 hours but even 1-2 hours is not something you should complain about.
Taking a nap helps tide over the urges and helps you feel better and rejuvenated when you wake up again.
But, again, it varies from person to person. While some give up and fall asleep, it is hard for some to give in to the fight.
Either way, taking a nap is a good alternative, especially if you feel like you are getting tired.
9. Try out some mocktails
Much like how you trick a baby into drinking grape juice telling them its soda, do the same for yourself.
If you feel the need to drink, whip yourself a good and healthy mocktail instead.
This can help divert your mind from the thoughts of alcohol and at the same time, help you get your “drink” fix as well.
Once you master making a good variety of mocktail, start sipping on some to curb the urge effectively.
If you don’t have the necessary ingredients to whip one up at home, get some. Avoid hitting the local pub because being surrounded by alcohol can further worsen the need to just get a drink.
10. Hit the gym
When you feel like you are relapsing while trying to quit drinking, one of the best things to do is hit the gym.
The state of relapse messes up with your brain’s chemical balance, making you feel even worse about a situation.
One of the best ways to curb that feeling is by hitting the gym.
Exercising helps trigger the release of endorphins which have positive impacts on the brain functions and help you feel better in the situation.
This is one of the best reasons why indulging in some exercise is considered a good alternative to drinking.
11. Try journaling
Not many believe this as a good and effective way to cope with alcoholism but it serves as an amazing way to vent out when you don’t have anyone around.
When it comes to sobriety, one of the biggest setbacks is your thoughts. Your thoughts are the ones that make it even more difficult for you to thrive in your journey.
Journaling is a nice self reminder of the days that you have come through and also the days that are to come along.
It also serves as a note to self that you can reflect back on when you are in a good place. It helps you see back on the struggles during the journey and help you better understand yourself.
Start small and just note down your quick thoughts. From there, you can open up when you find yourself struggling and treat this as your healthy outlet instead.
12. Listen to your favourite playlist
There is no better therapy in the world than music. When you find yourself spiraling down the dark road again, plug on your earphones and just let the music consume your thoughts.
Instead of letting your inner voice take over, listen to the lyrics of your favourite song. Let that play over and over in your mind instead.
This might not seem very fruitful but it can help promote better results gradually.
Music helps calm down your anxiousness and is actually an amazing way to cope with the constant distress that you are in.
If you are tired of listening to the same songs, you can even make a new playlist and listen to new songs to keep yourself occupied.
It all comes down to your preferences and what you think will bring peace to your mind.
13. Indulge in some bath
Baths are always relaxing, aren’t they?
This is the reason why they are considered one of the best things to do instead of drinking at night.
If you are feeling yourself on the edge, draw yourself a warm bath and add a bath bomb to it.
For further relaxation, you can add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the warm bath.
Soak yourself in the bath for 15-20 minutes and even more, if you feel like it. Even if you turn pruney for a day, don’t mind it.
Just let yourself relax for those few extra minutes and let that take your mind off of things that you might have been struggling with.
Often times, we are so wired with things that we forget to take care of ourselves. This time around, do just that.
14. Call a family member or friend
If you find your thoughts clouding, one of the best ways to overcome that issue is by calling a family member or friend.
Often times, all that we need is for someone to just listen to us. We need someone to tell us out of the darkness that our mind has dragged us to.
And, sometimes, the best person to help with that is a friend or a family member.
You can call your mom when you feel like drinking and just let her take the burden off of your shoulder. Listen to her voice and let her walk you through it.
If you have a friend you rely on, call them. Don’t fight your battles alone. Don’t cower away from people who are willing to help you.
15. Watch a movie
Often times, there is nothing better than Netflix and chill. If you have been looking for what to do instead of drinking, watching a movie is a good alternative.
Not only does it help distract your mind, it also helps clear out your thoughts of a possible relapse.
If you have been trying to find alternatives, this is a good place to start at.
Plug in a movie that you know is thought provoking and make you concentrate on it enough to not think about the alcohol.
Other times, you can even look for a light hearted comedy movie to get your mind off of things effectively.
16. Bring out your inner shopaholic
Sometimes, shopping can be a helpful coping mechanism.
You don’t necessarily need to look at it the wrong way all the time. If you want a good alternative to drinking, shopping is most definitely one of them.
To be honest, it doesn’t have to be something that leaves you bankrupt. You can simply just stroll around, if you don’t have enough money to spend.
This itself sorts out a lot of the problems and helps you make better decisions during that buffer time when you were shopping.
Shopping is actually an effective way to stall your thoughts and help you get a better grip on reality.
17. Eat something that you love
When you are trying to look for things to do besides drinking to curb off your urge, food does help out in such a scenario.
You don’t necessarily have to do much but just indulge in some food that you enjoy eating.
It could be something healthy or even unhealthy. It doesn’t matter if you are doing it every now and then.
Just ensure that you don’t make a habit out of this coping mechanism because that is where things start going downhill.
Leveraging tasty food every once in a while as a way of distraction does help in taking your mind off of alcohol.
But, don’t let this be your only coping mechanism because then it does become a problem for your health and there are likely chances that you will overeat.
18. Get some quality sleep
There is nothing better than a proper sleep schedule when you are either recovering from alcoholism or trying to quit it for good.
Giving your body the rest that it needs helps with the recovery. It helps rejuvenate your mind and prevents unnecessary risks associated with the constant thoughts in your mind.
If possible, go to bed early so you have a proper sleep cycle and get quality sleep throughout the day.
This itself is more than enough to keep your health in the best condition.
If you have been worrying about the things to do instead of drinking, these are the best alternatives. It all comes down to how you handle your moment of weakness and opt for a healthy outlet instead of giving in to the desires. If you feel nothing is working and things have been getting worse over time, consult a therapist.