Alcohol Awareness Month: How to Be Mindful of Your Drinking

One in six adults binge drinks and about 25% of binge drinkers do so about once per week. This isn’t necessarily a sign of an alcohol problem, however, it does signify a poor relationship with alcohol.

Many people are trying to drink more responsibly, but not everyone wants or needs to cut out alcohol completely.. If you don’t have a drinking problem, mindful drinking is a valid option as well.

This Alcohol Awareness Month, we’re here to talk about mindful drinking, why you should consider it, and how to do it. Read on to learn more.

What Is Mindful Drinking?

Mindful drinking is for the sober curious. It’s a way to be more intentional about your relationship with alcohol. For many people, it’s a fantastic way to still enjoy some favorite drinks and social activities more healthily.

Mindfulness is all about being intentional and not making alcohol the center of your experiences. When someone is drinking normally (without mindfulness), they may nurse a beer they don’t like or take shots just because everyone else is doing it.

Do you really enjoy those drinks? Probably not! With mindful drinking, you can drink only what you want and protect your well-being in the process.

Why You Should Try Mindful Drinking

There are many reasons that someone may want to make the change to mindful drinking in place of a more harmful drinking habit.

Not everyone is willing to cut out alcohol altogether, and really, not everyone has to. While cutting out alcohol completely is the right answer for many people, others can consume moderate amounts of alcohol and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Mindful drinking allows these people to moderate themselves and be more thoughtful about their alcohol consumption. They don’t have to give up all social activities that include alcohol and they’re able to feel more “normal” at gatherings. Yes, we can and should feel “normal” without the need to drink, but if a single drink makes someone feel more included, and they can consume alcohol in a healthy manner, so be it.

Mindful drinking can also improve one’s relationship with alcohol. Rather than drinking to numb any mental health struggles, drinking becomes a social activity to enhance an outing. Decreasing your alcohol consumption can also increase your energy and improve your overall health.

Plan Ahead

When you’re making an effort to become a more mindful drinker, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Before you go to the bar or event, decide what you’re going to drink and how you’re going to act.

When you plan ahead, you don’t leave as many decisions up to the “you” who’s at the bar having a good time. Perhaps you commit to having two total drinks, you know what types of drinks they’ll be, and you know what non-alcoholic drinks you’ll be ordering afterward.

Think Before You Drink

So you’ve finished a drink and you’re ready to go up and grab another. After all, your friends are doing it, so why not? Pause for a second.

Instead of going straight for another beer or mixed drink, decide if you want one. Has the first one hit you yet? Are you just drinking because everyone else is?

Take your time between beverages and decide whether or not you want to continue drinking. Question whether the next drink will serve you in some way, or if you’d be just as happy with a soda or mocktail.

This pause can often be enough to break a habit.

Enjoy Your Drink

Don’t settle for “well” drinks and shots. When you go out for a drink or two, order drinks that you can genuinely enjoy. Pick something you can savor and take your time rather than guzzling it down.

When you buy yourself a nice cocktail made by a good bartender, you’ll enjoy it more. Drinking it will be more of an experience than a means to an end.

Take time to appreciate the drink, the bar, and the friends you’re with. Try to exist “in the moment” instead of just trying to finish the drink so you can get drunk.

You’ll start to enjoy your nights out more when you make this switch. You may even start appreciating cocktails on a deeper level.

Tell Your Group

This isn’t necessary, but depending on your friend group, it can be helpful. If you have supportive friends, let them know what you’re doing. They’ll be less likely to try to talk you into drinks or buy you a drink without asking.

They may also be open to choosing activities that don’t completely revolve around alcohol. For example, perhaps they’ll choose a bar that also has other activities and games so you can do something aside from drinking, or a bar that serves great mocktails.

You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, but make sure you know what you’re going to say if someone asks if you want another drink. Most adults won’t pry, but in the event one does, have a response in mind. For example, “I don’t want to deal with a hangover.”

Try Not to Stress

Don’t stress over the restrictions you put on yourself, especially when you’re new to mindful drinking. The point of cutting back on alcohol instead of eliminating it is that you have a less restrictive lifestyle. Yes, cutting back is important, but it’s not a failure to have two drinks instead of one, or to do a birthday shot with a friend.

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and make adjustments in the future if something doesn’t go to plan.

Try Mindful Drinking This Alcohol Awareness Month

During Alcohol Awareness Month, why not try cutting back a bit with mindful drinking? You can still enjoy your favorite beers, wines, and cocktails, but with a more mindful approach. This can improve your relationship with alcohol, your social life, and your overall health.

Are you looking for resources that can help you get your alcohol consumption in check? At Cenikor, we don’t just focus on quick fixes. We lead our patients along every step of the way to recovery and focus on long-term sustainable results. Our experts are ready to help you.

Of course, if you find you cannot control your drinking and you’re ready to make a change, we’d love to meet you. Take a look at the programs we offer.

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