Even though some types of alcohol are more natural and may even have more potential benefits than others, there’s no denying that drinking can become seriously unhealthy for the human body. Yet everywhere you look, it seems like alcohol is being served – at parties, corporate events, restaurants, and social gatherings of all kinds. To do what’s best for your body and mind, you might consider trying something else instead of beer, wine, or cocktails when you are out in a group.
Here are some healthy alternatives to alcohol to consider next time you don’t want to drink.
Alcohol-free Beer, Wine, and Mocktails
It might surprise some people to learn that sobriety has actually become trendy and that beverage producers are leaning into this trend. These days, you can find alcohol-free beer and wine in grocery stores and liquor stores so that you can experience the taste and feel of drinking without actually putting alcohol into your body.
Athletic Brewing Company is a leading craft beverage producer of alcohol-free craft beers, while Fre Wines makes non-alcohol wines, including a merlot, white zinfandel, and chardonnay. Also, pretty much any bar will also make you a mocktail (non-alcoholic cocktail) so that you can taste the flavors of your favorite drinks without having to get buzzed or drunk.
Other Alcohol Substitutes
Whether you are out celebrating with friends or just relaxing at home, sometimes you just need something to hold in your hand and something to taste in your mouth to satisfy an alcohol craving. There are non-alcoholic sparkling drinks with fruit juices and bitters to try, as well as simple club soda and kombucha. In fact, kombucha is a fermented beverage that actually offers some natural benefits for gut health.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
When you are living a healthy overall lifestyle, you might be tempted to drink alcohol less so that you don’t ruin the progress you’ve made with your health and fitness goals. Establish a regular exercise routine during the time of day when you might otherwise go to happy hour in the early evening. This is a great way to rethink the times of day when you drink alcohol out of habit and start living healthier without putting extra toxins in your body.
Make Friends Who Don’t Drink
If all of your friends are heavy drinkers who like to go out a lot or have drinks regularly at home, chances are that you might start to fall into these patterns as well. Alternatively, consider joining a group where alcohol is not part of the activity and where you can enjoy other people’s company while totally sober. This might involve joining an amateur athletic team, going hiking with other people, learning a new craft, or playing board games.
Get Help If You Need It
Although trying these alternatives to alcohol might help some people drink less, they aren’t enough for many others who struggle with dependence and addiction. Many people turn to alcohol because of anxiety or depression that they are struggling with or to be more social and make friends in unfamiliar settings. If this sounds familiar, you may benefit from talking to a trusted friend or professional counselor about your drinking habits and how alcohol makes you feel. As a starting point, one of the many resources available is the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Treatment Navigator, where you can search for providers and chose the best care option for your situation.