Quit Drinking

4 Ways Quitting Drinking Can Help You Kick Other Pesky Habits

By Beth Leipholtz

If you've found that since quitting drinking, you're struggling with managing some other not-so-healthy habits, you're not alone. Oftentimes in situations like this, one habit can be replaced by another. If you've stopped drinking, you may have found that your sugar intake has started to increase, or your tobacco habit has picked back up. This is called addiction transfer, and is a pretty common occurrence.

The good news? The same tactics you used to kick alcohol to the curb can help you in these instances, too. Here are a few things to remind yourself of when dropping another not-so-good habit feels close to impossible.

  1. At one point, you felt this way about alcohol. Think back to when you first decided to stop drinking. It's likely you felt completely overwhelmed by the decision and felt like stopping wasn't something you could actually do. Compare those feelings to where you are now when it comes to your relationship with alcohol. Chances are, you feel completely different now that alcohol isn't a daily part of your life. Given time, the same will likely be true of sugar, tobacco, or any other habit that may not be serving you.
  2. There were some helpful tools you used to stop drinking — and they could help here, too. Did you attend meetings? Rely on another person to hold you accountable? Keep a journal? Just spend some time thinking about what tools helped you put down alcohol for good, and consider how you can transfer those tools to quitting this habit as well. You may have to tweak a little here and there to make the tools fit, but it's likely that the same tools will be beneficial to you.
  3. You likely noticed the changes in your physical and mental health. Alcohol can take a toll on your health — but so can sugar and tobacco. If you stopped drinking and were pleasantly surprised at how your body reacted, the same will likely be the case when you kick other bad habits. Our bodies take in and are affected by more than we even realize. When we start treating them right, it becomes obvious just how much they were being affected.
  4. The big milestones and victories and made it all feel worth it. If you've stopped drinking, you know it's no small feat. You've probably hit some pretty big milestones along the way and have felt how rewarding it is to achieve something you didn't think you could at one point. Think back to these victories and try to remember how it felt to be able to celebrate them. Then consider how it may feel to add another thing to celebrate to that list. Sometimes, focusing on the good helps us realize that things are more manageable than we may have thought at first.

As with anything challenging in life, just remember that changing habits takes time and patience. Be gentle on yourself when you need to be and give yourself some grace while making these life changes.

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