The surprising benefit of taking a break

I'm sure you're well aware of the benefits that await when you take a hiatus from drinking: waking up without a hangover, forgoing late-night pizza runs, and a finding your checking account a little less drained after a big night out.

But there's one that most people overlook, usually because they mistake it for a drawback. Taking a break from drinking makes crystal clear the parts of your life that need a tune-up.

Taking a break from drinking makes crystal clear the parts of your life that need a tune-up.

Anything that seems more difficult without a glass in your hand is where the real benefits await. All you have to do is unlock them. The problem is most people have no idea how.

Here's how they might be disguised:

  • Struggling to unwind after a stressful day at work.
  • Feeling awkward during happy hour.
  • Suffering through your relative's annoying state-of-the-world monologue during the holidays.
  • Finding yourself a little more self-conscious on the dating scene.

When you subtract alcohol from the equation, these areas can feel more difficult. You might even find yourself wishing you had a drink to smooth the rough edges of your discomfort. It's easy to label these things as "downsides" and miss the benefit hidden within.

It boils down to this: drinking helps us change how we feel. Most people frame it as "I want to have fun, relax, loosen-up." What they may overlook is the reverse: sometimes we pour ourselves a glass because we don't want to feel stressed, awkward, annoyed, or self-conscious, and don't yet know another way how not to.

It boils down to this: drinking helps us change how we feel.

Alcohol makes these situations feel more bearable, but in reality they haven't changed one bit (nor has your ability to withstand them). You've just found a quick and easy way to quiet the chatter in your mind that fuels them.

This is what I work on with my clients. How to turn what most people see as the downside of taking a break into the secret benefit. When you learn new ways to handle these situations you no longer feel like you're missing out or pine for a glass of wine to take the edge off.

You just need someone to show you how.