Triggered to drink? Here are 5 things to do instead. (Never would have thought of #2.)

I always started drinking when I got home from work on Thursdays. I’d start with a glass of wine (haha) before dinner. Drink throughout the evening. And then when my kids were in bed, I’d really drink.

By the end of the workday on Thursday, I was exhausted. For the last 10 years of my drinking career, I was a successful professional and a single mom of two very young kids.

I didn’t have many breaks.

I wouldn’t usually drink on Mondays or Tuesdays. The chance of my drinking on Wednesday was 50/50. But Thursday at 6 pm was a sure thing.

I also had certain friends who were my drinking buddies. Not drinking when I was with them was not an option. Drinking is what we did together.

And there were places where I only went to drink. The Matchstick bar in Chicago. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba for the sangria. Street fairs were another stop on my drinking rounds. And everyone knows you can’t go to a Chicago street fair without a beer in your hand!

After I got sober, those times, people, and places were triggering.

Simply resolving to not drink wasn’t enough for me.

I had to substitute other things that made me feel good for the way alcohol used to make me feel good. Simply eliminating the drink left a vacuum. And the vacuum needed to be filled with other things that made me feel good.

  1. Go for a brisk 45-minute walk.

Drinking provides a short-term antidote to feeling exhausted, stressed, and lonely.

The problem is the long-term negative consequences drinking brings along with it. If it hadn’t worked short-term, I wouldn’t have kept doing it.

Drinking alcohol produces a hit of the “happy hormones.” Drinking increases serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. At least at first, it does.

But then over time, drinking actually alters your body’s ability to produce those Happy Hormones. And drinking heavily increases your cortisol — your stress, fear, and anxiety hormone.

A brisk walk outdoors also increases the Happy Hormones and decreases the creepy-feeling hormones. All without the long-term negative consequences.

Moving your muscles changes your biology and your thinking so that first drink won’t be as appealing.

Move a muscle. Change your mind.

  1. Masturbate.

Seriously. Want a hit of oxytocin (remember that Happy Hormone from #1, above)? Have an orgasm.

No, don’t do something stupid that you’ll regret. You don’t need to make a booty call or get on Tinder.

Seduce your partner, buy a vibrator, read something erotic. Whatever gets you there.

You’ll be in a much better place afterward.

  1. Meditate.

There are guided meditations pretty much everywhere.

I use the guided meditations on the Calm meditation app. And the Peloton app. Or even on YouTube.

At first, all I noticed was how jumpy my thoughts were. That’s what happens when we start meditating.

Eventually, I was able to drop below that surface chop and rest into being aware of all of that thinking. I shifted my focus from the thoughts and getting enmeshed in them to the awareness of those thoughts.

Meditating helps me change my mind.

  1. Medicate.

There are medications that reduce cravings for alcohol. If you are struggling to resist your cravings, I suggest you see your doctor and ask for help.

Specifically, ask about Naltrexone. I am not a doctor. And I have friends who have gotten relief from cravings for alcohol from that drug.

These drugs really work. You don’t get a prize for using only your willpower.

  1. Don’t go.

Seriously, the street fair will still be fine if you’re not there. If your drinking buddy is a real friend, she’ll understand. Make a plan with another alcohol-free woman instead.

Go to a movie. Go bowling. Go out for ice cream.

Think of this as a 31-day experiment of trying out activities way outside your comfort zone.

And if you need some extra support along the way, I hope you will join me and other amazing professional women like you in our Juicy AF Community

Inside, we are transforming high-achieving women’s lives and learning how to create our big, juicy, interesting AF future selves together — in a community that is ONLY open to women.


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