Thoughts from a 20-something stumbling through adulthood

Stop drinking alone in 3 easy steps

Listen, I know you love wine. I love wine. We ALL love wine.

But if you’re anything like me, your first instinct when anything happens (good, bad, totally normal, potentially life-changing) is to reach for a bottle (wine, vodka, beer, moonshine – whatever strikes your fancy).

For me, however, that one glass can easily become two, and then three, and then me making ramen noodles while crying at a Netflix documentary on a Tuesday.

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Actual footage of me watching that part of The Impossible when Ewan McGregor finds his kid.
Yeah. Now life is seeming less like Sex and the City and more like an after-school special, huh?

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE celebrating (or commiserating) with my family and friends over a bottle of wine, a couple of beers or a pitcher of margaritas. That is my JAM. But nursing a bottle by yourself while wrapped in a heated blanket is somehow less becoming, and something I really needed to work on earlier this year.

(A caveat: If you drink alone and don’t have any problem with it, brava! Keep doing your thing, girl.)

Here is my three-step process for cutting down on your solo drinking. Believe me, if this worked for me, it can work for almost anyone.

1. Get rid of the alcohol in your house.

And I mean ALL of it. Drink it, throw it away, send it to your grandma – whatever you have to do to get it out of arm’s reach. I have been known to store wine in my storage unit and in the cabinets above my refrigerator. That way I can pull it out if I have people over (or more likely, make my boyfriend use his 6’3″ frame to do it), but it isn’t staring me in the face like, “Hey, remember that snippy e-mail you got at 4:59 p.m.? Let’s drink on it.”

2. Find a non-alcoholic beverage you actually love.

No really, something you LOVE. Plain old water need not apply. I honestly don’t even care if it’s soda or a milkshake – baby steps. Here are a few go-tos that my friends and I enjoy:

  • Flavored La Croix (garnished with a lime if you’re feelin’ fancy!)
  • Pellegrino and pomegranate juice
  • Water with your favorite Mio flavoring
  • Herbal tea (I’m partial to Bigelow Perfect Peach.)
  • Diet Coke/Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Any of the mocktails featured in this life-saving post

Once you find your new favorite beverage, keep your house FULL of it. Enough to last you at least a couple of weeks.

3. Wait for your trigger moment.

It will come, I promise you. The next time you want to celebrate that kickass workout or forget that rude cashier, here’s what I need you to do: Gather the ingredients for your new favorite beverage. Mix it up and pour it in the same glass as you would have had your wine/vodka/beer/tequila in (this is important). Then, sit in the same spot where you would normally enjoy your cocktail, and do the same thing. 

Are you a patio-and-rosé kind of girl? Grab your wine glass and shades, because we’re going outside (with a lemonade). Into having a beer in the bathtub? (Don’t judge.) Suds up with your pint glass, but fill it with juice instead.

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Is this a cocktail or a mocktail? If you can’t tell, neither can your brain.
Here’s the thing: The average craving lasts only three minutes. So by the time you mix up your drink, sit down in your usual spot and start listening to your podcast/bingeing on Netflix/scrolling through Instagram, your craving for the real deal will likely have passed.

And bonus, now you have this delicious beverage to carry you through your feelings!

It’s going to feel super weird at first. But trust me, you’ll get the same feeling of indulgence that you get from your favorite cocktail (minus the wine headache).

I’d love to hear any of your tools for cutting down on bad habits when no one is watching! Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me a message.

(Disclaimer: If you think you have a serious drinking problem, please click here for additional information and resources.)