By Justine Schwartz, the editorial director of SheFinds.com. Her writing has appeared in New York Magazine and on the Huffington Post, Yahoo.com and MSN. She lives in Greenwich with her husband and two kids.
Whether you’re doing “No Alcohol November” or are looking to kick the habit for good, you probably have a lot of questions about what life is like without booze. Can I still socialize? How can I get through bedtime/bath time without a sip of wine first? What will cut the edge off a long, hard day of Mom’ing?
The ritual of pouring a glass of wine or meeting friends for a margarita can feel like the only thing that we as busy moms and dads have left that is ours (and not our children’s), but I quit drinking 30 days ago and can confirm that there are so many benefits. To start, my mood is much better (goodbye, constant agitation and anxiety). My skin is legit glowier (I have gotten compliments and had to say–no, I didn’t get anything done!). A big upside is also not being hungover at Saturday soccer–or for any parenting activity for that matter. And I don’t feel deprived at all, despite thinking that I would.
If you’re sober-curious, read on for my experience…
I read this book.
The first thing I did was read “Quit Like A Woman”, a book that is well-regarded in the non-drinking community–in fact, it’s a #1 Bestseller. You will never look at drinking the same way again after this book. It’s eye-opening and enlightening and honestly has tips that go way beyond just non-drinking (ie. mindfulness, mood regulation). This book–no exaggeration–changed my life.
I relied on the buddy system.
My husband hasn’t drank for two years and one of my besties quit a month before I did, so I used them both as resources. It was less about having accountability, per se, and more about just having a cheering squad or people that I could talk with about how truly amazing it is to quit drinking. Trust me–not everyone will be ready to hear it.
I started meditating.
Before I get into the fun stuff like CBD gummies, let me tell you quickly about my journey into meditation and mindfulness because it was a game changer. This is the point where you may go “Okay, this lady has lost it.” I know it sounds hippy dippy, BUT for me alcohol was a way to numb my feelings. Meditation allows me to view my thoughts (good, bad or ugly) as something separate from my “self,” and then watch them float away like a cloud. Breathing and mindfulness keeps me regulated throughout the day, so I’m not a ball of nerves at 5pm and wanting to take the edge off with a drink. Apps like Calm and Headspace make it really easy to start. I started with 2 minutes of breathing or meditation, then 5, then 10. If you can get yourself all the way up to 20, then you’ll *really* be feeling high, I promise.
I found new favorite drinks.
If you like signature cocktails, try Katy Perry’s new non-alcoholic aperitifs line De Soi, which are made with mood-boosting natural adaptogens like reishi mushroom and ashwagandha. Katy’s favorite flavor (and mine!) is the Purple Lune, which has notes of blackberry nectar, vanilla oak, and rose petals. I pour it over a low ball glass filled with ice. Chef’s kiss.
Even if you’re not a beer person (but especially if you are), non-alcoholic beers can be the real heroes of the non-drinker life. They work overtime to fill that gap when everyone else is drinking and you want to partake in the ritual. The best non-alcoholic beers IMO are Beck’s and Stella Artois’ new Liberté. Athletic Brewing Company makes cans which are great for bringing to the beach. All of these options have fewer calories than regular beer ( 60 calories versus 120). Most bars carry them–calling all my Greenwich restaurants to do the same!
If you want to chill out but don’t love CBD, Recess is a favorite of many. They’re sparkling waters featuring plant extracts or Adaptogens such as L-theanine and ginseng that have mental benefits such as creativity, relaxation, a greater sense of calm, and improved mood. They’re available at Post Wines & Spirits in town (shout out to my boy Randy).
“Non-alcoholic wine” may seem like an oxymoron and horrify winos (yes, it is basically juice), but it definitely helps with the ritual and is good for drinking with meals. The best N/A wine by a long shot is Ariel. Post Wines in Cos Cob also carries it!
If you do like a little CBD in the mix, I love Day One CBD sparkling waters. They’re not too sweet, the flavors are simple–grapefruit, lemon, lime. Plus, they have major health benefits (yasss): they’re anti-inflammatory, they eliminate stress and anxiety, and I have never woken up with that foggy headache that I sometimes get from other CBD products. Swear.
I got into mind-elevating gummies.
If you want to chew for a better mood, here are a few of my personal favorites for that:
KA! Kanna Chews are good not only for the end of day when you want a drink, but even before a big meeting or throughout the day to keep your positive energy up. They’re made with 100% botanicals like Kanna, a psychoactive plant that studies show causes a sense of grounded energy, “helping people feel more alive, connected and capable as they navigate everyday anxiety and stress.” I mean, who doesn’t need that?!
These CBD Gummy Bears feature 25mg of pure CBD with other natural wellness ingredients. They don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or carcinogenic food colorings. If you shop at Whole Foods and only buy organic, these are your gummies.
I shared my experience with others.
Telling other people how great I feel and how it is possible to live life without alcohol has been so affirming. I hope that my experience has been helpful for you, and if anything made you even a *tiny bit* curious about your own drinking habits and relationship with alcohol. If you do decide to quit this month, or ever, please feel free to slide into my DMs @justine.schwartz – I will gladly cheer on your progress!