Yes...but you're probably not going to like the answer.
You just have to quit - cold turkey.
(I'll give y'all a few minutes to scream and run to another post - one with a happier answer...)
But if you're still with me....here goes (tough love time).
Like Whole30, you start with one day. You prep - getting all the booze out of the house. ALL OF IT (even that $50 you bought for that special occasion). You tell your friends so they don't hassle you (nor should they...what kind of friends are they really if they're pushing you to do something you don't want to....really, you're stronger than that!). And then, you don't drink. You go do something after work that has nothing to do with drinking. Go to Home Depot and plan out an herb garden, clean your house, get decaf coffee, get tea, go anywhere where there is NO BOOZE! Then you wake up the next morning, mark a #1 on your calendar. Just like Whole30 - you mark your first day. Then you proceed with the second. Same thing - stay away from "trigger" places, invite a friend over for movie and soda, encase yourself in a "safe, alcohol-free zone". Then you write a "2" on the calendar and proceed with day 3.
You do this each and every day. You don't think about the next day - you focus on the present. You DON'T think about the what-ifs, you just plan to go without. You tell friends you're just not drinking - and if they keep pushing, you just don't hang out with them. You focus on the present day. FOCUS!
If you go out you order sparkling water (in a wine glass - so you feel like you're holding an elegant glass of wine, and you have bubbles like you're drinking champagne or beer). You don't sit at the bar. You order coffee (decaf). You tell yourself how much classier you are ordering coffee or sparkling water instead of alcohol. You think about celebrities that don't drink and realize you're just as hot and mysterious. Even MORE so!
You take it day by day. And you have to tell yourself to focus on THAT DAY. You can't think about not drinking tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or at your wedding, or vacation, or holiday, or when your family comes to visit...because you will depress the crap out of yourself if you try to look long term. You have to choose to not drink today. Each. Day.
There is no easy way out of this. If you CRAVE alcohol, there are no cheat days. There is just you making a decision - do you want to drink, or do you not.
(didn't Yoda say that somewhere...?)
It is a hard, hard habit to break. I know. Trust me, I know. I love wine. I love going to Napa. I love(d) wine dinners - paring different wines with different foods. I got married at a wine bar! Meanwhile, I LOVE(d) beer. I worked at a brewery. The smell of hops and yeast when you walk in the door of a brewery is like perfume to my nose. I love the different brewing techniques and all of the wonderful seasonal beers! I love(d) drinking with my friends...the laughing, the social aspect. I love(d) warm Bailey's and coffee on cold winter nights and ice cold beer at baseball games on warm summer days. I LOVED IT ALL!!! But when my daily routine started looking like this: 8am -"not gonna drink today"....6pm-"well...just one glass of wine"...2-3 glasses later....8am-"God, I feel like crap...ok, not gonna drink today"...lather, rinse, repeat, then it was time realize that it was harmful than helpful and it had to go.
You can tell yourself that you're not me. And that's OK. If you can tell yourself you're only going to drink on the weekends and can pull it off, that's great. If you can tell yourself you're only going to drink wine from here on out and can do it - I wish I had your willpower!!!! But if you're waking up each day saying you're going to quit and then telling yourself each night that quitting is for quitters...well....
I love that Whole30 gives you the freedom to introduce foods back into your menu as you see fit. That there is to be no guilt, no remorse when you enjoy, no - SAVOR, something that may or may not be ideal depending on your reintroduction. But in the same way you wouldn't stay in a horrible relationship with a person, why make excuses for food or drink?
Even more importantly...I'm GLAD I quit drinking. I still see my friends - we still go out. Hell, we go out to bars and breweries! I still make fabulous dinners. I throw parties. I see my family. And I can do it all WITHOUT alcohol!!!
This may not be the answer you wanted. It's not the answer I wanted. But I did it and you can do this. If you WANT to do it. And ain't nobody gonna do it for you.
Day 1. Decide.
love, Gina - 976 days sober.