Teresa Mitchell Teresa Mitchell Self help 0 2023 Life coaching https://www.lifecoachhub.com/img/uploads/videos/263_1677650433.png Wellness coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub
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20 Things to do Instead of Drinking

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20 Things to do Instead of Drinking

It's time to rebel against merely surviving by re-awakening your passions and zeal for life to truly start thriving. This podcast was created to give you practical and usable tools and tips to help you cultivate a life in recovery that you love and can't wait to live out each day.

Together, we're saying goodbye to running to things that drain us and leave us feeling depleted, so we can step into the life we were made for. While this podcast is geared towards those in recovery from drugs and alcohol, anyone can benefit from the tools we discuss here because, if we're honest, we're all recovering from something at some point in time.

We are all in the process of recovering from life in one way or another, so you are welcome here. Together, we will recover life and create a life that we love to live.

This week, we will discuss a tool called "The 20 Things I Can Do Instead of [Fill in the Blank]." Whether you are in recovery from drugs and alcohol, considering stopping, or in early recovery, this tool will provide you with alternative activities when tempted to drink or use. 

Friends having a drinking party

If you have been sober for some time but find yourself bored or wondering how to have fun without substances, this list will offer engaging activities to invigorate your sober lifestyle. For those further along in their recovery journey, this list can also be useful for distracting from stress, boredom, or unhealthy habits such as overeating or excessive worrying.

The point of this tool is to help you stay on track and provide a quick reference when you need a reminder of what you can do instead of giving in to temptation. So let's hop right in. This episode was inspired by Kelly, who shared her list of 20 things she can do instead of drinking in early recovery. We want to dig deeper into that this week and provide ideas because many people don't know what to do for fun without drugs and alcohol.

When I got sober, I had to figure out how to have fun without drugs and alcohol, which took a lot of self-discovery and trying new things. It's always evolving and changing. For example, I discovered my passion for yoga and how it helped my mental health. You're always going to be evolving and discovering new things about yourself if you get out there and try new things.

Take some time to think about the things you can do instead of drinking, using, stressing, or engaging in other unhealthy behaviors. Create your list of 20 things you can do instead of those negative things and come back to it often. Make a graphic or write it down, take a picture, and have it handy on your phone or as a screensaver.

Now, let's explore some ideas for your list of 20. One of my favorite tools is box breathing, a technique used by Navy Seals to stay calm in high-stress situations. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold your breath again for four seconds. This can help calm you down in various situations.

Another thing you can do is meditation. While some may find the idea of meditation intimidating or "woo," it doesn't have to be complicated. Guided meditations are available online, which can help clear your mind and keep you focused on the present moment. Meditation has helped me in various situations, such as calming my nerves before flying.

Woman doing yoga

The next thing I will suggest is yoga. I know some people hate yoga and think it's really woo-woo, but yoga not only gives you a workout, it has great physical components. It helps with stretching and self-esteem. I notice that when I'm doing really well and I can feel my poses changing, I can feel the difference. I don't do yoga every day; I have a hard time being consistent when it comes to working out.

I'll be super consistent for two or three months, usually when I'm leading up to training for a race or something, and then I fall off the wagon. I will go from being able to do a perfect downward dog to missing two and a half months of yoga and then going back, and my heels are six inches off the ground again. But there is something to be said about the confidence boost that comes from being able to feel your body change.

When my daughter and I started the 30-day yoga challenge, we committed to 20 minutes or less every day for 30 days. I felt so much better afterwards; my mind was more clear, it helped with my sinuses, and I was feeling less sinus pressure. At the time, I was living in Lubbock, Texas, where it is dirt central, and I'm allergic to dust. I was constantly sick when I was living in Lubbock, and I could tell that the yoga was opening up my sinuses and helping me let off some steam. I actually drank a lot less during that time.

At that point, alcohol wasn't really a problem; I'd have a glass of wine here or there, but I would notice that I would have more glasses of wine whenever I was having a more stressful day. However, I found that if I did yoga instead, I was able to sleep better that night.

So, I'd get home from work, do the normal nighttime evening routine—dinner, homework, bath, whatever—and then I would pull out the yoga mat and do yoga. I felt so much better, more refreshed, and had more mental clarity. My sinuses were clearer, and I was able to sleep better. Yoga is another activity you can add to your list of things that you can do instead of drinking, worrying, eating, or gambling.

My fourth suggestion is to get outside. I cannot stress how important it is to get some sunlight on your face. If you live in a place where it's cloudy all the time, like the Pacific Northwest or London, even if it's cloudy outside, the act of going outside and getting even indirect sunlight through the clouds helps your mental health and your physical health.

So, it's important to get outside. You can put "go outside for five minutes" or "go for a five-minute walk" on your list of things that you can do. Sometimes, I will literally just walk from one stop sign to the other in our neighborhood, and it's enough to reset my mindset and keep me from reaching for those Oreos.

Man having exercise, walking

At my church, we're doing prayer and fasting for the next 14 days, and I have decided to give up pastries and candy. I will be using my list of 20 things that I can do to help me not eat the Oreos, cake, and candy late at night. This is just as much for me as it is for you, so let's do this together.

A five-minute walk outside is something you can do. If you are religious, I am a Christian and I read the Bible, so on my list of 20 things is "turn to the Bible." Turn to your deity of choice and your religious handbook of choice, and read for a minute. If you're not religious, find a book and read for a minute. It only takes a few seconds to have that mindset shift.

Another suggestion is reading. Audiobooks and podcasts might work for some people, but for others, the act of picking up something that requires using their eyes to read can help shift their focus.

Watching a show could be an option, but be cautious not to use TV or movies as a coping mechanism where you drown out the world. A quick 20-minute show can help change your attention from what you were wanting to do to something else. However, it's up to you to know when to use which method.

Next, consider participating in a group activity. Engaging in group activities can not only help distract you, but also build a community around you to hold you accountable. You could join a gym, take Zumba or cycling classes, and make friends. This is particularly helpful if you're feeling isolated or like no one understands what you're going through. Surrounding yourself with people walking similar paths can be beneficial.

You can also try activities like tennis, pickleball, or table tennis, which reportedly help reduce occurrences of dementia. This can be particularly important for those with a family history of Alzheimer's or other cognitive issues.

Bowling activity

Other activities to consider include bowling, mini-golf, or going to the driving range if you enjoy golfing. The key with your list of 20 things is to keep your hands and mind occupied, so you don't sit idle, allowing thoughts to come back to you that may lead to unhealthy habits.

These are just a few things you can do to help distract yourself: read, go for a walk, partake in group exercises, practice box breathing, meditate, and more. Cooking is another favorite activity to consider. It can be fun to put together a dish, even if it doesn't always turn out great. Sharing a meal with others or going out to a restaurant are additional options.

This tool, called "20 Things I Can Do Instead of Blank," can help you put together your list of 20 things to try instead of unhealthy habits. The goal is to help you change the trajectory of your actions in the moment, so you don't follow through with problematic behaviors. Use this list for yourself and share it with others who may benefit.

Thank you for tuning in, and I hope this information has been helpful. Remember that you were made for more than just surviving; you were made for thriving.

Here is a summary of those 20 things to do instead of drinking:

  1. Practice box breathing.

  2. Meditate for a few minutes.

  3. Engage in yoga.

  4. Get outside for fresh air and sunlight.

  5. Read a book or religious text.

  6. Listen to an audiobook or podcast.

  7. Watch a show or documentary (use cautiously).

  8. Join a group activity, like Zumba or cycling.

  9. Attend support group meetings.

  10. Play tennis, pickleball, or table tennis.

  11. Go bowling.

  12. Enjoy mini-golf or visit a driving range.

  13. Keep your hands and mind busy.

  14. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

  15. Participate in a group exercise.

  16. Cook and share a meal with others.

  17. Explore a new hobby.

  18. Walk around your neighborhood.

  19. Engage in activities that promote mental and physical health.

  20. Focus on living intentionally and maintaining momentum in your life.

20 Things To Do instead of drinking

Remember, the goal of these activities is to change your focus and keep your hands and mind occupied to prevent unproductive habits from taking over. Consider creating your personalized list of 20 things to do and keep it handy for reference. Don't forget that you are capable of thriving, and cultivating an abundantly fulfilling life is within your reach.

Teresa Mitchell
Life Coach

MS, Recovery Coach, Life Coach
Empowering you to discover the beautiful grace found in recovering your authentic self.
- BS Community, Family, and Addiction Services
- MS Human Services Admin
- Emerging Drug Trends

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The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, recommended treatments, or professional advice. Readers should consult with a licensed professional to get advice for their individual situation. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for more information. Copyright Life Coach Hub Ltd 2016. A community of life coaches dedicated to improving your life.
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