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5 Strategies to Quit Drinking When You're Exhausted

Exhausted woman in chair holding head up with her hand

Are you tired of waking up exhausted and full of regret after a night of drinking? Perhaps it's time to take control of your life and quit drinking for good. But, when you're already so tired, that's a lot easier said than done.

Here are five effective strategies to help you quit drinking when you're exhausted. Whether your exhaustion is due to stress, boredom, or anxiety, trying to control your behavior on top of that can be a real challenge. That's why I've compiled a list of tried-and-tested methods to support you.

From setting clear goals and creating a supportive network to finding healthier ways to cope and exploring some new self-care practices, these strategies will empower you to break free from alcohol. It's time to prioritize your mental and physical well-being and reclaim control over your life.

How Being Exhausted Affects Your Drinking

When we're tired, we often turn to alcohol for a quick energy boost. Think about it—how many times have you "pre-gamed" in order to get your energy and mood up before a night out? But, like most quick fixes, it comes at a cost.

Alcohol disrupts our sleep, leaving us feeling even more exhausted the next day. So we're stuck in a cycle of drinking to relieve our exhaustion, only to end up more exhausted. And when you're already tired, trying to change your habits can feel impossible.

To break this cycle, we need to first understand that alcohol isn't the answer (unless, to paraphrase an old school-ground saying, the question is, "What is not the answer?"). We can then focus on finding healthier ways to recharge our batteries.

The most effective way to do this is to start by eliminating the source of our exhaustion in the first place. For example, can you find another job or get some help around the house? Now, of course, that's obviously not always possible, but often there is something we can do to address these root causes.

When there's absolutely nothing we can do about the source of stress and exhaustion (is that 100% true?), we can use healthier coping mechanisms. There are a whole host of things we can do from home, and for free, to help boost our energy levels (and number 8 on the list is to drink less!)

Identifying Triggers and Patterns

To successfully quit drinking when you're exhausted, it's crucial to identify the triggers and patterns that lead you to drink. Think about what situations, feelings, or people make you want to reach for a drink. Is it stress from work? Boredom from doing the same things every. damn. day? Or perhaps there are people in your life that simply wear you down.

Once you've identified your triggers, you can develop strategies to avoid or manage them. For example, if you tend to pour yourself a glass of wine after work, you don't have to give up the ritual completely—here's your chance to explore the ever-growing world of non-alcoholic beverages (many of which are AMAZING!). If you're finding it hard to quit because your friends all drink, it might be worth exploring a new supportive network or joining a sober community. Having people who understand and support you is absolutely crucial... and not just when making a behavior change.

As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. Taking a moment to consider all the things that normally trip you up and planning ways to either avoid or manage them ahead of time makes it so. much. easier when that next craving strikes.

What Alternative Coping Mechanisms Could You Use Instead of Reaching For a Drink?

We can't always avoid the situations, feelings, or people that wear us out. That's why one of the keys to quitting drinking when you're exhausted is to find healthier ways to cope with stress and negative feelings.

Remember, alcohol is just a temporary solution. It's like opening the windows in your home if your AC goes out. It's not going to solve the problem, but it might make your home feel a little less stuffy... while also letting the hot air in, making it even hotter.

So, no temporary solutions here. What else can we do?

Regular exercise is a great way to lift your mood and energy levels. I can already feel your eyes rolling: but Marci! I'm exhausted! How am I supposed to go to the gym?

First of all, it doesn't have to be vigorous exercise—a walk around the block or some tai chi can release endorphins, reduce your stress, and make you feel better overall. Also, I don't know about you, but no matter how much I DON'T want to work out, I never regret it. I tell myself that if it's just terrible, I can stop after 5 or 10 minutes, but I rarely end up doing that because once I'm moving, it's so much easier to keep going.

It's just a matter of embracing the temporary discomfort of starting. That discomfort might be high, but I'm betting the discomfort of feeling exhausted and wishing you could drink less or quit altogether is pretty strong too—you get to choose your hard here.

Aside from exercise, another great thing to try is to explore new hobbies or activities. This distracts you from the urge to drink (while also introducing you to new things you might love). You see, cravings usually last less than 30 minutes, so if you can distract yourself for just that short window until it disappears, you're less likely to give in.

I can remember this feeling from my days on Weight Watchers. In that program, you would get a set number of "points" each day to spend on foods, and naturally the less healthy foods had higher points. Some days it felt almost impossible to resist blowing my budget on some greasy or sweet treat, but I also knew that my points would reset the next day. So I would promise myself I could have it tomorrow. And when the next day rolled around, the craving was already gone, so I was better able to stick to my budget.

The next time a craving hits, try something similar. Tell yourself you can have a drink in half an hour if you still want it, and then go do something else. Chances are it'll be much easier to stick to your guns afterward.

Creating a Self-Care Routine

Self-care gets a bad rap, but it isn't selfish. It's putting your own oxygen mask on first so that you can show up at your best.

Start by doing little things for yourself every day. This could be as simple as taking a nice bath, doing mindfulness exercises, or reading a good book. Eating healthy, unprocessed foods and drinking more water can support your body's natural healing processes. And make sure you get enough (quality) sleep. A good bedtime routine can help your body know when it's time to wind down, and a comfortable sleep environment free from electronic devices can also improve the quality and duration of your sleep.

Finally, learning to say no to activities or people that drain your energy and add to your stress levels is an important aspect of self-care. It can be uncomfortable to say no, but every time you say yes to something, you're already saying no to something else. No to that extra hour or two of sleep, to that time to relax, no to whatever it is that would best support you. Setting boundaries allows you to prioritize your needs and focus on activities that support your well-being.

Developing a Support System

Quitting drinking when you're exhausted can be challenging, but you don't have to do it alone. As I mentioned above, building a support system is crucial for your journey to sobriety. Having a support system keeps you accountable and can help you stay motivated when things get tough. Surround yourself with friends and family members who you know will cheer you on and support your decision. You can also join groups or online communities to connect with others on the same path. Remember, there's strength in numbers, and you don't have to do this alone.

Seeking Professional Help to Quit Drinking When You're Exhausted

While self-help strategies and a support system are key, sometimes you need a little more help to quit drinking when you're exhausted. Seeing a therapist or working with a sober coach can provide you with the tools and guidance you need to move forward.

A therapist or sober coach can also help you figure out why you're drinking more than you'd like. They can provide valuable insights, strategies, and support tailored to your individual needs. Although both practitioners can help you, a key difference between the two is that therapy is often focused on the past, whereas coaching is focused on the future. Another difference is that sober coaches have typically been in your shoes, so they can speak personally to the techniques that have worked for them and their clients.

Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, and it can make all the difference in whether or not you achieve your goal.

Embracing a Healthier, Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

Quitting drinking when you're exhausted requires commitment, self-reflection, and support. Recognize that drinking when you're exhausted creates a vicious cycle, offering a temporary solution that actually makes the problem worse.

Identifying your triggers and patterns, exploring alternative coping mechanisms, and creating and sticking to a self-care routine can do wonders for both your physical and mental health by allowing you to recharge while also helping support your decision to quit drinking.

And don't forget about leaning on other people: develop a strong support system, and seek professional help if needed.

Remember, you have the power to take control of your life and create positive change. It won't be easy, but with determination and the tips outlined in this article, you can quit drinking even when you're exhausted. Start today—you won't believe all the good things waiting for you on the other side.

And remember, I'm here to support you along the way.


Ready to find freedom from alcohol?
I've created a free guide with my 5 best tips to set you up for success
before you ever start trying to change your behavior.

I am a Certified Success Coach and I am passionate about helping women let go of limiting beliefs around alcohol and themselves so that they can create the lives they’ve always dreamed of.

Marci Rossi

Hi ! I'm Marci


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