HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

My Alcohol Abstinence Day

HAMS members share stories of how they did their first alcohol abstinence (abs) day or tips on how they do abstinence days on a regular basis.

JH writes:

I did my first abs in a long time this Tuesday day by planning ahead and getting something nice to drink as a non-alcoholic drink. I bought pomegranate/ cherry juice and some sparking water to mix with it. That way when my husband was having a beer before and during dinner, I could have my "drink" on ice in a fancy glass. I had to work that day so that kept me busy during the day. Then I shopped at the grocery store for something special for dinner.(in this case, shrimp and spinach salad with oranges and zucchini). It took awhile to make this which also kept me busy. It was such a healthy meal that it made my feel better due to all the vitamins in it. I read in the evening to keep my mind occupied and off alcohol.

PCT writes:

When I was living in Japan I had an unhappy love affair that led me to a lot of depression and insomnia. As a result I started drinking myself to sleep every night. I drank daily for a couple of years until one day when I realized that the alcohol was making me feel normal rather than making me feel intoxicated--I felt abnormal the whole day until I drank. I decided that this was a bad sign and I decided to take a nine month vacation from drinking alcohol. I went to my best friend and drinking buddy's house and told him that I was taking nine months off from drinking and asked if I could hang out with him for the first day. He said yes. He was Japanese and a painter. We spent the day stripping paint off of old canvases. I had some minot withdrawal. My eyes were grainy and I felt shaky and sleepless. It took about 36 hours before I could go to sleep. When I went to the restaurant I ate at every night I told the owner that I was off of alcohol for 9 months. He did not believe me and mixed me a drink anyway. I refused it Then I stayed dry for the next nine months.

One trick that I find really useful if I am having a hard time sticking to an abs day is to talk back to my cravings. I will say "I am NOT gonna drink and wild horses can't make me drink against my will once I have made up my mind!! So there!! F@#K OFF MR. CRAVING!!"

BE writes:

Me and some Mom's in our group are doing our first abs day tonight. I can't speak for the others, but I must stay busy. Mostly, my mind. I also MUST eat a big dinner. That works every time.

HJ writes:

We got home at 9pm from the water park, everyone was exhausted. I fell asleep on the couch.

That was an "unplanned" abs day.

Planned ones are hard for me. I pace, I eat, I surf the net. But the most relaxed way for me to deal with an abs day (I have a very strong, daily habit.... not excessive, just habitual) is a long bath and read in bed until I fall asleep. I do not have an easy time of it. I think I need more practice.

JH writes:

I didn't drink yesterday even though it wasn't a planned abs day simply because I did not feel like drinking.

Sometimes though I think I do drink even if I don't feel like it, just out of habit. Like if I have mandatory abs days then the drinking days must therefore be mandatory drinking days or something silly like that.

It's good to ask before a drink, do I even feel like drinking? Do I really even want a drink? If one doesn't even feel like drinking then why bother?

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