As most of my friends know, I’m not usually one to turn down a glass of wine. I love relaxing after a long day with a glass of red, downloading with my bestie each Friday night over a couple of chardonnays, and there’s nothing better than the sound of champagne corks popping to celebrate life’s wins.
Now, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, and this post certainly isn’t written from a pious or goody-goody standpoint – but most of us know that alcohol isn’t always a positive thing.
I have enjoyed some of my best times whilst under the influence of booze, but I have also made some of my greatest mistakes. As much as I love the taste of bubbles when things are good, there are also times when I’ve felt sad or worried, and drinking has made things worse.
So, during a painful breakup a few years ago, I decided to take a break from booze to navigate through my emotions and face my new reality with clarity.
I’m not going to pretend it was a fun time. It was a sad chapter in my life and I encountered a raft of emotions along the way. I also know it would have been infinitely worse if I’d been grappling with hangovers and coping with the results of drink-induced decision making.
After a few weeks I could see the wood for the trees and I emerged from my heartbreak with positivity and a future-focus. I know this mindset was aided by sobriety.
It’s understandable that when you’re going through a separation, it’s often easy to fall head-first into a bottle of wine. I have tried this approach in previous breakups.
Why I wholeheartedly recommend abstaining from alcohol whilst you’re in the trenches of heartbreak:
You’ll be a calmer llama and your mood will improve
Drinking too much releases chemicals in our brain that bring us down and cause us to feel anxious as the booze wears off (click here for a great explanation). Breakups often make us feel sad and worried, so try and avoid anything that adds to your duress.
Improve the quality of your shut-eye
Have you ever experienced the 3am horrors after a few drinks? You wake up, your mind goes crazy and dredges up all the negative crap and then exaggerates all of it? Me too. Again, it’s due to the alcohol fairies working their magic (more info in the previous link). To move forward, recover and face any challenges in the meantime, you need your rest. After a few nights without alcohol, my sleep improved beyond recognition. I was then able to address my breakup with restored energy.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
There is definitely a link between alcohol and the way we look. In my case, I get puffy eyes and open pores the morning after a few drinks. Other people experience dark under-eye circles, skin breakouts, increased weight and dry hair. This is a time when you want to feel good. So give yourself a head start and replace your wines with water or fresh juices. You’ll be amazed at the changes, even after just a couple of weeks.
Clear your mind
For many of us, a hangover comes with a foggy brain. It’s hard to see things clearly when you’re bogged down with the after effects of a big night on the booze. Cutting free from alcohol during a breakup will give you the gift of clarity, which will help you make better decisions and transition to a new life more easily.
New start, new insights
The end of a relationship can provide a perfect time to reflect, work out what you want, and create a path to get there. It’s much easier to achieve these insights with a sober mind.
Money, money, money
Alcohol doesn’t come for free. Just think about the things you could spend your hard-earned cash on that could provide some decent self-care, pampering or adventures to treat yourself during a breakup.
When I went on my booze break, I decided to use the opportunity to learn more about alcohol and how to cut back effectively. I found two books that were really helpful along the way:
The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace
A new topic every day, exercises to keep you motivated and some great information about the chemical effects of alcohol on your body and brain. You can also take their 30-day online challenge at www.thisnakedmind.com
A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller
A funny and open reflection about Rebecca’s relationship with booze, and her journey to give up. Relatable, upbeat and honest. A great read.
One last thought
If you’re going through a breakup, your health, wellbeing and happiness are key at the moment. I genuinely found my sabbatical from booze really helped me and it lightened my emotional load during a really hard time.
It doesn’t have to be forever, unless you enjoy your sobriety so much that you decide to make a permanent change. It is however likely to give you a decent head start in your new beginning. My five-week break from alcohol changed my relationship with my beloved wine. It’s created a healthy distance between us and we no longer catch up as regularly. I certainly feel happier and healthier as a result.
Supporting you with a fresh start
If you’re ready to get back on track after a breakup, we have the perfect companion to walk with you as you build your new life. Our 10-week online program called “Moving onwards and upwards after separation or divorce” will give you all the insights, tools and templates to work out what’s important to you and where you want to be… and then we’ll guide you to create a workable plan to get there. For more information, please click here.