The Importance of Accountability in RecoveryOctober 27, 2022
Show Your Irish Spirit Sober – Ideas for Celebrating an Alcohol-Free St Patrick’s DayMarch 13, 2023
Many people use alcohol, a central nervous system depressant that slows down brain activity, cognition and thoughts, as a chemical method to relax when they’re mentally or physically stimulated too much. You might have even heard someone make statements about the relaxing qualities of alcoholic beverages:
“Yeah. I’m going to grab a beer, put up my feet and relax.”
“I can’t sleep without drinking a glass of wine before bedtime to help me relax.”
“It was a tough day. I’m going to drink a couple of beers and pass out.”
Why It’s Important to Relax Without Alcohol
The problem with these relaxation techniques is that alcohol does more than depress the central nervous system. It’s a neurotoxin that can actually damage or permanently destroy brain and nerve cells when abused. Since many people aren’t able to resist the addictive qualities of alcohol, it’s also defined as an addictive drug. A lot of people do more than relax with a single drink. They drink until they pass out, which can damage multiple organs.
Alcohol abuse can cause high blood toxicity and permanently damage the liver, which is the main organ of the body responsible for detoxifying blood. The relief found by using alcohol to relax is also only temporary. More often than not, people who say they need it to relax actually need to make lasting lifestyle changes and find healthier ways to relax.
How to Relax Without Alcohol
There are many ways to relax without alcohol. Consider the following top methods:
Look at Your Life
Make a list of your current mental and physical stresses. Then make a list of the times of day when you drink alcohol to “relax.” Compare the two lists for overlapping factors. Maybe you drink after long, stressful work days or arguments with a spouse. The easiest way to relax without alcohol in these cases is to reassess your life and make changes. For example, if you’re unhappy with your job or overworked, you might improve your life and stress by switching careers or asking your manager for assistance with the workload, respectively. If you’re unhappy in a relationship, it’s time to seek counseling and decide if the relationship is healthy for you or your partner in the long run.
Explore Physical Techniques
Many people can only unwind if they wear themselves out with activities. For example, think about joining a gym or sports club. If you don’t want to be around others, take walks instead of drinking when you need to relax. A lot of people can improve not only their physical health but their mental health as well by simply walking 20 minutes a day at one time or in 10- or 5-minute increments. Another option: Practice stretching or yoga regularly. Relaxation is one of the central areas emphasized with both types of exercise options.
Take Up a Hobby
Lastly, people often drink to relax because they have too much free time. A hobby doesn’t need to be intensive or make you feel depleted after a long day. You might simply meditate or read a book. If you have the energy, you might explore common fun hobbies, such as building models, working on vehicles, starting a collection (i.e. baseball cards, cars, comic books, coins or stamps), putting together jigsaw puzzles, working on crosswords, coloring pages in coloring books or cooking new foods.
Turn to Sober Living America
If you’re finding it difficult to relax without alcohol, Sober Living America can help. Our affordable, faith-based Addiction Recovery Program provides a wide range of recovery solutions, including career development, housing and transportation services. For more information or advice from a member of our caring team, reach out using our convenient online form or call our toll-free number in Atlanta at 877-430-0086.