Week one: Changing how you think about drinking

Millie Gooch | March 2022 | 7 minutes

Millie Gooch, founder of the Sober Girl Society, brings us some brilliant tips on tackling Sober Spring - the three-month sabbatical off alcohol.

Whether you believe that not drinking makes you boring, that you’re only funny if you’ve had a few pints, or that you couldn’t possibly get on a dance-floor sober, societal narratives and the stories we tell ourselves about booze can really prevent us from making lasting changes. So, as you begin your intrepid exploration into the Sober Spring jungle, it’s important that you are, at the very least, open to the possibility of questioning your current beliefs about alcohol. Simply put, the best place to start with changing your behaviour is to change the way you THINK about it! Here are my top tips:

Flip your mindset

Instead of focusing on what you’ll be missing out on over the next few months, concentrate on what you’ll be gaining. Whether it’s more time, a calmer mind or all the extra dollar bills. Homing in on what this period can bring for you will help you to look forward to it instead of approaching it with apprehensive dread. In the same respect, try and see this as a period of abundance, not deprivation, a chance to have more fun instead of less and an opportunity to really connect with your loved ones instead of a period of social hibernation.

Examine cultural myths

Thanks to a mixture of alcohol advertising, media portrayals and click-bait articles, we have been socially conditioned to believe that alcohol is a glamorous, problem-solving elixir that chills us out, makes us fun, bonds us to those around us and has brilliant benefits to our physical health (which let’s be honest, is pretty convenient for those making money from it!). But is it all really true? I’ll leave you to do your own research but here’s a few articles that you might find helpful!

BBC: Is red wine good for you?

Stylist: When did wine become the foundation of female friendships, and can we bond without it?

This Naked Mind: I drink to relieve stress and anxiety

Dispel your own myths

As well as the current cultural narratives, each of us holds our own individual beliefs about alcohol. Maybe you imagine that you can only go on a date with a drink in hand or maybe you think that people are only friends with you because you can be relied upon for a good booze-up. The best approach here is to make a list of all your current beliefs, hesitations and barriers around not drinking and then interrogate them - detective style. Find evidence that proves the contrary!

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