I don’t know about you, but I find this time of year starts to weigh heavily on me. The New Year starts with energy and intention, but over the course of a sometimes very dark and cold February, “reality” sinks in a little more and resolutions start to slide a little.

It’s also possible that setting new intentions and having a sober January dredged up some bad feelings about previous behaviours and actions. I’ve noticed that recently a few people, including my clients, are feeling shame, regret and grief over past actions. Now that a month or so off of drinking has created space for introspection, self-deprecation can come down hard on you.

Now that “dryuary” is over and you’ve had a possibly wet February, how can you positively AND effectively redefine your relationship to alcohol through the rest of the year?

We all know that to create a significant, and sustainable, change in our drinking behaviours, it requires a lot more than simply “not drinking.”

Short term goals, like 31 day dry months or sober challenges are a great way to take breaks.

But what if you want to seriously redefine your relationship to alcohol over the long term?

I look at it like breaking up with a co-dependent long-term lover or partner who has brought me so many moments of joy and fun, but also a lot of unnecessary pain, confusion, fighting and feeling downright crappy.

It might sound strange at first, but when you shift from thinking of alcohol as a thing, to something that also embodies a set of qualities (many of which we desire) and effects (some we desire, some we come to despise), you might realize that your approach to alcohol might need to be more nuanced than the one-dimension “elimination” approach.

Think about it. How long have you been drinking for? How long has alcohol been in your life? How many times have you thought “I wish things could be different” but the cycles stay the same?

For me, alcohol is one of the longest relationships of my life. We got acquainted 17 years ago, and were going strong for the first12 years before I started to try to make some changes, and another 15 before I was able to take what felt like a real stand in making some lasting changes.

Here are some steps I’ve found really help with breaking up with alcohol, or at the ver least, starting to redefine your relationship.

Write a Love Letter: It might go a little something like this “Dear alcohol, wow… what a ride we’ve been on together. Thank you for the good times, and the bad. I learned so much during our time together. I experienced things I may not have when I was sober, took risks, met some crazy and interesting people, started learning a new language, danced a lot, and first started feeling comfortable tapping into my creativity and sensuality with you by my side…”

Yeah, it might feel strange at first. But recognizing the “good,” honouring the relationship  instead of shaming yourself by only focusing on the negative, with ultimately help you let go (more on this below). This is far more empowering than beating yourself up for “stupid” choices.

You did what you did at the time because that’s what you felt like you needed to do. Done. Now recognize it for what it was, and more on.

Setting clear boundaries/intentions: Similarly to negotiating the new terms of an evolving relationship with an ex, setting clear boundaries and intentions is super important.

Write it down as you were writing to alcohol.

“Dear alcohol, I think we still need to be on a total break. I’m not ready to invite you back into my life yet… I have more self-reflection I need to do and I need to feel stronger…” 


“Dear alcohol, Yes, I’d like to hang out every once and I while. I know that things are still sensitive for me right now, so it’s really important that I’m in a good mood and not upset about anything. I’ve realized that I can only be close to you in very limited amounts, so I am limiting our time together to one glass of wine at dinner with friends, once a week, and we’ll see how that goes for awhile.” 

Affirmations: Love yourself up during this process!! It can be hard work sometimes, so go easy on yourself.

Have you ever had a friend who is heartbroken? She’s been dumped and is feeling so down on herself and doubtful that she’ll ever recuperate?

What do you say as a good friend?

You say, “You are beautiful and kind and so much fun. OF COURSE you will be okay, you’re better off without that person in your life, it’s just going to take a little time.”

So yeah, be that loving to yourself!! Give yourself the pep talk, and write it down!

Letting go/release: The next step is letting go. Allowing yourself to feel, grieve, honour and release what no longer serves you. If you’d like to read more about how to do this, click here. 

One final thought… know this is temporary! The days are already getting lighter and longer! Now is the perfect time to dig deep, clear out the clutter, cobwebs and dust in our sacred corners, and use the changing of seasons that will be upon us soon to re-invigorate new growth.

In order to create real change we need to create the space for it. So get on it 😉

You got this!!