The non-alcoholic (NA) beverage industry is booming and will continue growing as people trade in the hangover to prioritize their own health and wellness. As people educate themselves on the health implications of alcohol, we've started to discover we may have been duped by our society. Had a hard day? Grab a drink. Kids driving you crazy? Have a drink. Global Pandemic? Have 3 drinks.
Nov 1st, 2020, I started to prioritize my own health in a deeper way. I felt okay, but I wanted to feel great. I started seeing a functional medicine doctor and I was honest with her that I was drinking a bottle of wine most nights and I knew that was part of the problem. Terrible sleep, tired all the time, anxiety, joint pain, irritability, weight gain. I wanted to fix the root cause of the problem. I'd had a coach/therapist for years and had come a long way with the emotional side of why I was drinking. But I was curious if there were any physiological reasons. The lab results were in and here is what stood out. My liver enzymes were elevated. The direct quote from the doctor was "you have to really anger your liver to see this on labwork". That scared the crap out of me. We also discovered low Vit D. (not shocking since I'm a natural red-head living in Indiana) and low B12 & 6 and Vit. A. All of which were likely low because of excess alcohol use.
I started a 30 day break from alcohol that day. The first few weeks were brutal and I didn't feel better. In fact I felt worse. But I kept powering through and working not just will power, but changing my mindset around alcohol.
Not drinking alcohol isn't fun turned into sleeping like crap and having hanxiety isn't fun.
People will think I'm an alcoholic turned into the only person's opinion I really care about is mine.
Stopping will be so hard turned into not stopping is really hard.
I made it through the 30-days and I really liked the way I felt. I wanted to keep going. I was officially sober curious. I was tackling some darker emotions that I wasn’t numbing anymore, but I learned to just let them happen and to tackle my thinking behind the emotions. Now that's how to get to the root cause. Not fun or easy, but effective long-term.
Something I realized, is that I love the ritual. I wanted a pretty drink in a pretty glass at the end of the day and I didn't want to have FOMO if my husband was grabbing a cocktail. Sometimes that was hot tea and sometimes that was a NA beer, wine, or mocktail. It helped me get through the period of time where I believed quitting alcohol was somehow depriving me. Over a year into this journey, I don’t think of drinking as depriving anymore. Excessive drinking was what was depriving me of living. Here are some of my favorite places to find mocktails and alcohol-free drinks. I also included the pretty glasses, and yes, I have them all.
Better Rhodes - 1 Stop shopping for all your alcohol free needs.
Curious Elixers (Number 1 & 4 are my favorite)
Pretty Glasses on Amazon (I still love a NA drink in a pretty glass. I have one almost every night)
For people who want to determine whether their drinking habits qualify as a disorder, WHO created an alcohol use disorder identification test to help you determine quickly where you might fall on the spectrum. It’s easy to complete and provides an answer online in minutes.
The NIAAA provides an Alcohol Treatment Navigator as well to help you find the right treatment program, doctor or therapist for you. And the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides a 24/7 helpline to refer you to appropriate treatment. Simply call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).