Do you need to overcome the ‘I can’t have fun without alcohol’ feeling? You may be wanting to cut down or remove alcohol altogether, but at the same time, you can’t imagine how to have fun without it…
The first thing you need to do is understand why alcohol makes you feel good (at first!). Drinking alcohol releases the brain’s feel-good chemicals, including dopamine and endorphins which can lead to a temporary feeling of happiness. This feeling, however, only lasts for the first couple of drinks before the less pleasant effects of alcohol take over.
To have fun without alcohol, you therefore need to activate the release of the ‘happy chemicals’ in your brain. Here are 10 ways you can do this:
- Get active with friends and/or family outdoors e.g. a walk or bike ride
- Watch a comedy show
- Relive one of your favourite childhood activities
- Find a creative outlet that you enjoy and attend a group session if possible
- Volunteer for a charity that has meaning to you
- Cook a new recipe or do some baking
- Create a competition for you and your friends/family/colleagues to compete in
- Attend an exercise class
- Visit an animal shelter or look after a loved ones pets for the day
The truth is, anything can be fun without alcohol if you make it. The biggest step is changing your mindset to be positive and open to having fun without alcohol – then you are already halfway there.
Please note that it can be very dangerous to suddenly stop drinking if you are dependent on alcohol. If you are concerned about the drinking habits of yourself or a loved one, we recommend speaking to a medical professional or your GP for further advice and support. The following websites may also be of interest: NHS England, Samaritans, Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcohol Change UK, Adfam, We Are With You, SMART Recovery and Drink Aware.