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Written by Julia Bainbridge

(At home)

Seven years ago, Laura McCowen started a drinking magazine. She knew that alcohol was an issue for her – she learned this when her 4-year-old daughter helped clean her up the morning after a blackout, and she knew that for the 10th time she had lost her appetite to work – But he needed to see it.

“Something very interesting happens when we put things on paper,” McCowen said, “because we have too much cognitive dissonance around drinking.” She couldn’t disregard what she saw on the page, though: two bottles of wine a night. She calmed down and went on to help others through coaching and teaching workshops.

Last January, McCaughan published “We’re the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life” and in March, he began hosting free sobri support meetings on Zoom. As of May, it had 12 employees and a company, called the Luckiest Club, which provides classes and community support.

It is no surprise that McCowen found a keen customer base. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 14 million American adults have alcohol use disorder, or AUD, a term medical professionals love alcohol.

You do not need a diagnosis to find your drinking problem, however. Alcohol can impair sleep, cause weight gain, increase anxiety or change your personality. A study conducted by Rand Corp in September shows that Americans are drinking 14% more often in response to epidemic-related stress, especially women who have heavy drinking days (four or more drinks in a few hours) Defined in 2020) has increased by 41%.

“When we go to work every day in non-pandemic times and there is not an odd amount of stress, it is quite easy to limit drinking on Friday nights”, James Murphy, a psychology professor at the University of Memph And researchers are, he said. Paper about alcohol and drug use during the pandemic in November. “When all that structure goes away – when you’re worried about the finances and home-schooling of your children and you don’t have to live anywhere in the morning, nobody will see if you’re hungry – alcohol management Can be more difficult to do. “

This is one of the reasons why you can see more dry January hashtags on social media this year. A month’s rest from drinking alcohol can be an opportunity to calm down to examine their alcohol use.

If any of this sounds familiar, here are some tips to help you navigate your relationship with alcohol or end it.

Get curious

Pay attention to how much you are drinking, as well as the pros and cons of that consumption. Are you opening that bottle of Ristling because it pairs well with your Chinese takeout, or are you hoping that the third glass will let out the sounds in your head telling you that you’re mediocre Belong to? Study your habits – and be honest about them.

To give you some perspective, the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines for Americans, issued by the federal government, do not recommend more than one drink per day for women or men, and Murphy’s website Checkup & Choice suggests a free brewery Give. Take the questionnaire, which is used by health care providers, and assess your drinking with its score. Similarly, the drink meter is an app with a daily calculator that can help put your behavior in perspective using an anonymous database of the drinking habits of more than 6,000 people worldwide.

“You want to make a change, there is no need to explore things on one side,” said Holly Whitaker, “Quiet Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Observed an Alcoholic” and the creator of one called Tempest Online recovery program. “You’re doing it now, being brave enough to read this article.”

Clean the wine

If you have decided that alcohol is negatively impacting your life, then try to distance yourself from it. Remove bottles from your physical locations and choose content related to your virtual people. Clean your phone and computer of anything that might tempt you to drink.

It’s not about having a silent existence or avoiding drinking anything, McCowen said, it’s about debunking the myth that drinking makes life fun. “You want your online world to reflect the energy of where you are going”.

Then try not to drink for a month. Pick a date and live with it. Experts say this is the best way to evaluate your alcohol use, and it is a leap forward on reducing your consumption, if you decide to do so.

“Detoxification literally means the removal of venom,” said George Cobb, director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. This can be done on your own unless you have moderate to severe AUD, in which case you should seek medical attention. Untreated severe alcohol withdrawal can be fatal.

But fill the space with something else.

Alcohol has positive effects: It reduces stress and reduces blockages. Take it out and you’ll miss it, at least initially.

Identify other activities you love and enhance them, such as exercising or spending time with friends.

“We need another outlet to fill the void left by the alcoholic,” Murphy said.

Find your people

If you have support, you are more likely to successfully avoid alcohol. “Tell your many friends and family members who feel safe about this,” Murphy said.

It also helps to connect with people who share your goal. It has been difficult to get access to the epidemic in person assistance meetings, but helping online has helped. Free Sobri Support Communities with Virtual Meetings include Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery, She Recovers Foundation, In the Room, Eight Step Recovery, Refuse Recovery, Recovery Religion and Lifering. Good light and charisma are not required or expected; Connect with your phone while walking in a park or sitting in your car.

“I go to two meetings a day,” said Brunwyn Windham-Burke, a reality TV star whose procession is playing on Season 15 of The Real Housewives of Orange County. “” It’s very easy, because it’s in my bedroom. “

A temporary member, Valentine Darling, 32, of Olympia, Washington, finds virtual meetings to be more LGBTQ friendly: “I feel safe next to my home plants, so I am fully present and I am also more authentically – I dress and express the tenderness of my penis without worrying that anyone will follow me home. ”

Many organizations have held meetings specifically for people of color, certain age groups or even businesses. Friends of Ben are a huge support group towards restaurant workers. “We speak a common language in restaurants,” said Steve Palmer, one of the group’s founders. “You realize that, ‘Well, he’s a line cook. He’s a bartender. These are my people.'”

Understand what recovery means to you.

If your coitus month was relatively easy, just assume it reset. But if you are having trouble sticking to your plan, you may need more than group meetings. You can have AUD, which is a disease, not a moral failure. And this requires treatment like any disease. The most effective form of recovery usually requires long-term behavioral treatment and community support as well as medication.

NIAAA Navigator can help you find the right treatment for you. The Department of Health and Human Services also has an online treatment locator from the Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

be flexible.

If you decide that you want to maintain your abstinence for a longer period of time, then understand that the treatment plan can vary over time. “The same practice that helps you quit alcohol may not keep you calm later,” Whitaker said. You may have suffered a setback along the way, maybe you are going through a divorce, or maybe you are living in the midst of an epidemic.

You have done nothing wrong; All you need is a new set of tools.

Murphy recommends continuing to use keep a log of alcohol. Apps like DrinkControl and Drinks Meter can help, but even using a pen and paper to pay attention to any benefits you see can keep your speed up. When you backslide, pay attention to it – and how you feel about it.

It probably took a long time to develop his current relationship with alcohol. Changing this will require sustained effort and may take several attempts. If the former doesn’t last, Cobb said, don’t think yourself hard. Just try again.

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