Day 3: Let’s talk about boundaries

Limiting your exposure to alcohol can set you up for success.
Alcohol Reset Challenge

DAY 3 OF 7

Let's Talk About Boundaries

You probably already know a bit about boundaries. In relationships, for example, they're the limits you set to protect your physical and emotional needs.

Boundaries around alcohol serve a similar purpose. They help you communicate what does and doesn't work for you. As you prepare to go alcohol-free, consider what limits might help you navigate social events and other scenarios involving alcohol.

Keep in mind that everyone has their own limits. Your boundaries are valid, no matter what they are. What matters most is determining what you feel comfortable with.

Maybe you're fine having dinner with friends at a brewery, but you know you don't want to go to a boozy BYOB barbecue. Or maybe you feel comfortable at a bar but know you'll feel tempted to reach for a drink if it's in your home.

For today's challenge: Identify your boundaries with alcohol.

First, set the Sharpie down and grab a pencil. Your boundaries can change as you learn more about yourself and your needs.

In the first week, for example, you might want to keep your distance from any alcohol. But by the end of the month, sticking to coffee while your friends have mimosas at brunch might be no big deal.

Cyndi Turner, LCSW, LSATP, MAC, a Virginia therapist who specializes in alcohol moderation, outlines a few helpful steps for defining your boundaries:

  • Name your triggers. What people, places, or things prompt the urge to drink?
  • Review your successes. Have you successfully managed those triggers in the past? How?
  • Create a plan. What will you do or say to avoid those triggers, or manage them if you encounter them unexpectedly?

Here's an example:

  • Trigger: When going out for dinner with friends, you end up ordering a glass of wine because you don't know what else to choose.
  • Past successes: When you take time to review the other options, you can usually find something else to drink.
  • Your plan: Review the beverage list online ahead of time so you know exactly what you'll order.

Setting boundaries tends to be straightforward, but communicating those boundaries to others? That's where the real challenge lies. Not to worry, though — we'll walk you through the process tomorrow.

Until tomorrow,
The Healthline Team

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