This life coach was a 'moderate' drinker, but decided to try Dry January. Now she's been sober for 6 years, and has 3 tips for anyone else who wants to quit drinking for good.
By Andrea Michelson,
Amanda Kuda is a life coach for people who are sober-curious and alcohol-free.
She quit drinking for Dry January six years ago and never looked back.
She shared three tips with Insider for making it through the month — or quitting for good.
Amanda Kuda hasn't had a drink since January 1, 2017.
Her intention was to give up drinking just for Dry January. Kuda told Insider that she identified as a moderate drinker at the time; she would imbibe on the weekends by setting a three-drink limit and making sure to alternate with water, or just sticking to beer .
But by making so many rules in an attempt at moderation, Kuda said she felt like she was setting herself up for failure. If she broke a rule, she would feel down about it. She decided to stop drinking cold turkey, so that she wouldn't have to think so much about it, she said.
"That was a really freeing and empowering feeling," Kuda told Insider.
Kuda started to like how she felt without alcohol. She set new goals to make it to 90 days sober, then reached for a year. She's now been alcohol-free for six years, and has used her life coaching certifications to mentor women who want to "break up with alcohol," for Dry January — or for good.
If you're setting the goal of not drinking alcohol this January , there's a good chance you have a couple of friends on the wagon with you. At this point in the month, it's just as likely that one of your sober buddies will have fallen off, Kuda said.
"As unfortunate as it sounds, it's also very likely that they will try to take you with them," she added. "It's not because your friends don't have your best interests at heart. It's because they have their best interests at heart."
With three sober weeks under your belt, keeping up with your friends who haven't stuck to their resolutions may make them feel more comfortable, but it could derail your own progress.
"If you don't feel like you have enough resolve and willpower to be around a person, or be at a place, or go to an event — just for this one month, just don't go," Kuda said.
There's no shame in leaving early if you feel uncomfortable in a situation involving alcohol or peer pressure. You don't even have to say goodbye, Kuda said, as long as make sure to send a text to let your friends know you're okay.
2. Find something else to do
When Kuda looks back on her weekends of drinking, she said she used to think that the only thing to do on a Friday or Saturday night was to "go to the bars and party." But quitting drinking forced her to stretch her mind and exposed her to new opportunities.
"Once I opened up my field of vision to other possibilities, there were poetry nights or craft things or art shows, or even music events that were a little more low key," she said.
Even if it seems like all of your friends are interested in going out for a drink, there's no harm in suggesting an alternative plan. Kuda recommended saying "Hey, I'm not up for that," and offering to host a mocktail night, or checking sites like Eventbrite for new things to do.
"You will probably find something really cool that you would have never even thought of doing on a Friday or Saturday night, where you can meet new, like-minded people," she said.
3. Remember the hangover
If all else fails, there's always memories of hangovers past to remind you why you quit drinking in the first place.
Kuda said the most tempting event during her first 90 days without alcohol was an all-inclusive vacation wedding in Mexico.
She remembers offers of complimentary champagne, and as she walked by the swim-up bar, she couldn't help but scan the nicer-looking bottles.
"Even the things that were on the top shelf still screamed 'brutal hangover,'" she said.
In her brush with temptation, Kuda said she quickly realized that even though the alcohol was free of charge, it would still come at the cost of feeling physically unwell.
She decided to go to the juice bar instead, and never looked back.
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