One in seven adults in the UK never drink alcohol, and more than half of them say they did previously drink. However, for many of us, giving up alcohol can seem like an impossible task. This is particularly true at university where it feels like everything revolves around drinking. If you are trying to quit drinking at university then don’t stress. Hopefully, this guide will help you take steps to become a sober student.
Firstly, it is a good idea to think about why you want to quit so you can access the right support. If you are worried you are dependent on alcohol speak to your doctor or take a self-assessment like Drink Aware’s. That way, you can find the right support plan for you. Even if you are not dependent, there are a number of things you can do to make the transition easier.
1. Make your intentions known
Firstly, tell your friends and family that you want to quit drinking and explain why. This can help them support you and makes it easier for them to understand if you turn down a drink or an invitation to the pub. Telling people can also help to celebrate your successes and keep you on track if you stumble.
2. Avoid alcohol temptations
FOMO is real but try to steer clear of any tempting events if you want to quit drinking at university. It’s a good idea to avoid the pub, pres or any event where alcohol is involved to help you curb temptation. Equally, it’s important to identify your ‘triggers’, the situations, emotions or people that could lead you to drink so that you can try to avoid or manage these.
3. Try something new
Often social events or downtime can revolve around alcohol. Therefore, it’s helpful to replace those events with healthier alternatives if you are trying to quit drinking at university. You could try out a new craft instead of the pub quiz or go to the cinema instead of the club. This can help give you a new focus and lead to more productive self-care time.
Often at university, the culture is so focused on drinking that you don’t discover all the great sober activities you can do in your city. Options include adult soft-play, mini-golf, board game cafes, late-night shopping, great restaurants etc. so why not challenge yourself to find the best spots? Alternatively, you could try out a new society or club as many universities have so many options available.
4. Reward yourself
It is important for motivation to try to reward yourself when you reach each little success and big milestones, even if it’s just a reward for your first sober week. The cost of alcohol is high so why not mark down how much you’re saving by not going on that night out and buy yourself a treat?
5. Remember the benefits
You’ll start to notice that you feel better, sleep better, perhaps that you’ve lost weight and as you reach new milestones it’s important to remember these changes and be proud of them. Sometimes it may feel like you are missing out or getting left behind your friends. But remember the benefits to your mental and physical health whilst being aware that if your friends were really there for you they would support you through this journey.