5 Ways People Curbed Their Drinking During the Pandemic

At this point, we’ve tried dozens of nonalcoholic beers that we think would absolutely pass a blind taste test with alcoholic beers. Nonalcoholic spirits have also come a long way, and when blended into a quality nonalcoholic cocktail, many are able to nail the flavor profile we used to enjoy in our traditional cocktails. These nonalcoholic beverages proved to be a game changer, allowing us to easily make it a month without drinking, and continue on for several months. We drink nonalcoholic beverages three to five times a week now, and we drink alcohol only once every two to three months.

Until I switched to nonalcoholic beverages, I never realized how much even moderate, casual drinking was affecting me. Without that glass or two of wine in the evening, my sleep immediately improved and has only gotten better over time. I used to wake with a “brain fog” that I combated with coffee most of the morning, but by switching to nonalcoholic beverages, this fog has lifted and I have more energy and clarity. —Kelly B., 34

3. “I gave myself a new treat at the end of the evening.”

I was widowed in 2019 and home alone with four-year-old twins during the pandemic. With no friends, no family, and no adult conversation, I turned to Champagne as my one friend that I knew I could count on. If these French bubbles could talk, they would tell you what we have experienced together. Hope, grief, happiness, loneliness, sickness, sadness, success, and solitude were all served with a side of Champagne.

In February 2021 I asked myself, “Could I make it through the night without my beloved?” I got “sober curious.” The first night was hard. I felt like I had a hangover, but I hadn’t had a sip. As the days went on, I realized I missed alcohol, but I didn’t need it. I gave myself a new treat at the end of the evening: a nonalcoholic French sparkling cider that I could share with my daughters. Getting clear, getting focused, and finding the joy in an unclouded head helps me get through these days. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I do know I’m not dependent on alcohol now. —Monique S., 45 

4. “I keep reminding myself of how far I’ve come.”

I gave up drinking on Thursday, November 19, 2020, and I haven’t looked back since. I definitely don’t regret my decision. I just went cold turkey. When I stopped drinking, it didn’t take long for me to notice the benefits. Within a few days, my energy levels had increased and my skin started to look a lot healthier. I’ve been working out every day. I no longer waste days on the weekend due to having a hangover and not being motivated to do anything. I love the feeling of knowing that I am taking care of my body and putting myself first. To stay consistent, I kept focusing on the benefits of giving up alcohol, rather than focusing on what I was missing out on.

It can be hard at times, especially when you’re out with people who drink too much. I try to make an exit before they reach that point so I don’t have to deal with it. The times when that hasn’t been possible, I just keep reminding myself of how far I’ve come and how much of a positive effect giving up drinking has had on my health.

Since giving up alcohol, I had one night where I had a few glasses of Prosecco. I was out with friends who were all drinking and gave in to peer pressure. The minute I made the decision to have a drink, I regretted it. I still had three drinks and then stopped. I haven’t had another alcoholic drink since then. I now don’t regret the decision to have the drinks as it showed me that I really wasn’t missing anything.” —Georgina C., 35

5. “I simply started reducing the size of the glasses.”

Before the pandemic I would drink only one glass of wine a day, if that. I would generally drink four or five glasses a week. During the pandemic I started relying on two or three glasses of wine to get me through the day, and that started to become a habit as the days wore on. I decided to try to cut back a little since I don’t like having a dependency on anything, be it alcohol, coffee, or the like.

To do this, I simply started reducing the size of the glasses in which I drank wine. Starting out, I would drink my wine in a wine glass, but I cut this down to a smaller-sized glass. Then, as I felt comfortable with that amount, I cut this down even further to an even smaller drinking glass. After about a month, I was able to reduce my daily wine intake from three glasses to one small drinking glass only. Today I can even go without that!

Now that I’ve cut down my consumption from my peak drinking habits, I feel much more independent, which makes me feel invigorated and good about myself throughout the day. I can also focus on my work much better without feeling the need to drink a glass of wine to get me through the day. —Marilyn G., 27

Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.


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