Do you only drink at weekends?
As I write this blog post, it’s Friday and if you are drinking, you may be gearing up for the weekend, which actually starts today, on a Friday. Drinking through Friday to Sunday is often the biggest challenge to overcome when we want to change our relationship with alcohol. Being alcohol free Monday to Thursday is easier to manage but the weekend? Tricky…
So, is it okay just to drink at the weekend?
Before I quit drinking I worried about the weekend the most, what was I going to do with two whole days stretched out in front of me? What do people do at the weekend anyway? I was terrified of moping around feeling bored with nothing to do. After all when all you ever do is drink, what else is there?
Actually, there is a whole lot more fun to be had on the other side of drinking and now that my weekends are filled with things I love, I wonder why I was so worried about being bored. But if you are on the edge of taking this step I know you have a lot of thoughts going through your mind so let’s look at why the thought of not drinking at weekends is so challenging.
Firstly, the fact that you are thinking about it, worrying and wondering, is a sign that alcohol is taking up more headspace than you would like. When you make the decision not to drink – at all, it is so freeing and you can just get on with your days, your weekends doing whatever you want to do without the ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ question playing over and over in your mind.
When we just drink at weekends, it reinforces the fact that we consider alcohol to be a treat, our reward for getting though the week. Usually we drink to numb out or escape from what has gone before, ie the working week or our time at home with the kids. When you finally get back home after a long week or get the kids off to bed on a Friday night, we are tired and, quite rightly, in need of something to relax us, or take the edge off, or get us in the mood for the weekend.
But remember that alcohol is a poison, it messes with the chemicals in our brain and while you might enjoy the initial feeling that comes with the first sip, the quick fix doesn’t last long and you just end up drinking more to try and capture that feeling which never comes.
Drinking is a huge time suck and although you might be worried that you won’t find anything interesting to fill your time with, just think about what you actually manage to get done when you are drinking.
“When you consider all the time spent thinking about drinking, buying alcohol, actually drinking and then of course, recovering, you will be surprised at just how much time is wasted!”
When you consider all the time spent thinking about drinking, buying alcohol, actually drinking and then of course, recovering, you will be surprised at just how much time is wasted! I spent hours and hours on the sofa or sitting round the kitchen just drinking. And because once I started, I lost all motivation and enthusiasm for doing anything else, the time just slipped by and I achieved absolutely nothing.
When you only drink at weekends it is a form of moderation and the truth is that if you want to experience the real benefits of a break from alcohol then moderating is not a good option. By only drinking at the weekend it means you never get to fully give your body and mind a break. Just as you start to feel better, you then pour back into yourself the thing you are trying to have a break from and the whole cycle starts again.
Drinking, no matter how little, has a detrimental effect on our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is the cause of poor sleep, it drains our energy, contributes to poor food choices and makes healthier habits such as exercise harder to stick to.
The Monday morning blues are often due to our weekend drinking, not just because we’re back to work. Maybe the fact that you are feeling good by Thursday is not because you are getting closer to the weekend but because your body has finally recovered from your weekend drinking!
So what to do about it If you are to-ing and fro-ing and wondering if you should also stop drinking at the weekend then here are some ways to help you.
Reframe your treats
It’s funny how when we don’t drink during the week because we want to stay sharp, focused, motivated and energized, that we reward ourselves with the very thing that we are avoiding Monday to Thursday because it doesn’t make us feel good. Ask yourself what is it you really want to make you feel good? How can you make Friday nights and the weekend special? What is a treat for you?
Plan something awesome
If the thought of spending the whole weekend without drinking makes you feel nervous because you don’t know what to do, then take responsibility and plan something! Visualize how you want to spend your Friday night and your weekend and then go and do something about it. Do you want to relax in the bath, have a family night in, go hiking, go away for the weekend? The truth is that you do deserve a proper break at the weekend, so make the most of your time off and do something that genuinely brings you joy without the after effects spoiling the week ahead.
Think about Monday
How would it feel to go into Monday and not feel awful, not to be tired or hungover , or feeling dull and sluggish? What would it be like to actually start your week with the same energy and focus as you experience towards the end? If you didn’t drink at weekends, maybe your job might not seem so bad, or maybe you can do something different with the kids, Maybe your Monday could become the day you have the energy to do something productive instead of counting the minutes until you can get home again.
The thing to remember about only drinking at the weekend it that it has such a knock on effect that lasts far longer than just Saturday and Sunday. While you might think you enjoy the break, the treat, the fun and enjoyment, how much of that feeling is actually down to the alcohol?
And more importantly, what could you achieve if you didn’t just go back to the same old habit of sitting around drinking all weekend. How would it feel to wake up fresh on a Sunday morning and actually feel good?!
If you need some more support and inspiration then grab the gorgeous e-book, 30 days of Sober Inspiration to help you through this weekend and the next.