taking notes to a video call

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Therapy Sessions

taking notes to a video call

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely considering, or have already started a therapy program. With over a decade of experience as a therapist, I know firsthand that engaging in therapy is an incredibly effective way to care for your mental health. Moreover, research shows that therapy is a powerful tool for changing your relationship with alcohol. Therapy can help you:

Learn more about Monument’s online alcohol therapy options.

As impactful as therapy can be, it’s also possible to unknowingly deprive yourself of its full benefit. This is because therapy is most effective under the right conditions, and with steady dedication. Throughout the course of my practice, I’ve noted how patients can take full advantage of their sessions and truly flourish. Here are five tips for getting the most out of therapy.  

Be Intentional When Scheduling

Many people assume therapy is just another appointment on the calendar, when in reality scheduling can significantly affect your ability to fully show up for your session (and yourself). Try to find a time where you are able to be fully present, aren’t rushing to and from the session, and aren’t watching the clock. Almost always, we need some time to process, note-take, or simply breathe after therapy. It can be difficult to flip a switch and go right back into the world. Give yourself this extra time, and you will find yourself getting more out of each session by giving yourself space to reflect.  

person on computer

Make Sure It’s A Fit


It’s important you feel comfortable with your therapist, and that you get along well with them. The truth is, not every therapist will be the right fit for you. Continuing to see a therapist who isn’t a good match means depriving yourself of the most beneficial therapy experience possible. Sensing a personality clash, feeling uncomfortable for whatever reason, or finding yourself “holding back” are all signs it might not be the right fit. If you don’t feel confident in the partnership, I encourage you to advocate for yourself and make the step to try somebody new. This is an understood part of the process, and the team at Monument will support you through it. Everybody wants you to have the best therapy experience possible. 

Managing your drinking through quarantine

Managing your drinking can be especially challenging during times of heightened stress and isolation. Join the discussion about how to moderate your drinking or stay sober through quarantine.
Check out the Schedule

Check In On Goals Regularly

Goals are central to the therapeutic process at Monument. When you first begin seeing your therapist, you will discuss your aspirations and create tangible objectives. They can help you form intentional, achievable goals. You and your therapist will then check in on your goals routinely, track your progress, and discuss how to continue working towards them. We grow the most when we’re aware of how far we’ve already come. It’s important that you are honest and engaged in this process, and initiate a conversation when you feel you both need to realign. Goals can change! And it’s important that you and your therapist are on the same page.

“I very much enjoyed the guidance I got from Cheryl. It’s the most concrete guidance I have had to date on how to take small steps to have amazing results. I’m so encouraged” Read more reviews here 

writing in notebook

Do The Work

Throughout your time with your therapist, they may provide takeaways or action items to complete before your next session. This may include completing a CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy) handout, writing in a mood journal, attending a free, therapist moderated alcohol support group, creating a relapse plan, and other suggestions the therapist sees worthwhile. Writing down notes or using the Monument message feature throughout the week is another helpful way to track how the time went and prepare for your next meeting. Therapy is only a 45 minute session, so finding the time to do the work throughout the week is how we can start implementing change in our lives.

Remember That You Are The Focus

It can be so easy for us to deflect attention from ourselves and talk about family members, world events, and so much more during therapy. Of course there’s room in therapy to reflect on how these things impact us, but we miss out on talking about our own actions and aspirations. Progressing towards your goal requires a steady focus on yourself. Then with time, the work you do in therapy will have a ripple effect out into every area of your life. Unlike any other relationship, your therapist is a completely neutral party who is there solely to offer you support. And that’s something to take full advantage of.  

sunset

I hope that with these insights in mind, you will be able to make the very most of your therapy experience. Therapy can be hard work — change isn’t always easy. But with dedication, you can implement lessons and skills from therapy and gradually transform yourself and your life. Every session is a new opportunity. While your journey is uniquely yours, you don’t have to face it alone.  

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

glossary header

The Monument Glossary: Why The Words We Use Matter

How we talk about our relationship with alcohol matters. Why? Oftentimes, conversations around drinking lack inclusivity and scientific accuracy, creating stigma and barriers to treatment. Education and encouragement are critical to changing the narrative.

At Monument, we provide accessible, evidence-based online alcohol treatment to change your drinking on your own terms. And our language reflects that.

Here’s a glossary of terms you can expect to find on our platform, and language you won’t be seeing from us. If you identify with words that we don’t use and they’re working for you, keep at it. While you might not see them here at Monument, we support you in whatever feels most empowering.

glossary header

Click through to learn more about what we don’t say, and why we use these terms instead.

Changing Your Relationship with Alcohol
…Instead of “Get Sober”

Changing your relationship with alcohol means something different to everyone, and our goals can change over time. It can’t be defined by a single outcome or objective. For some, that means cutting back. For others, that means cutting out alcohol entirely. We all relate to alcohol in a different way, and how we choose to create distance is personal, too. Further reading: How to psychologically distance yourself from people … and alcohol.

Alcohol Use Disorder
…Instead of “Alcoholism or Drinking Problem”

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition characterized by drinking more than you want and for longer than you want, despite wanting to cut down. AUD can be clinically diagnosed based on the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 manual, and can be treated with a medical solution. Further reading: Everything You Need To Know About ‘Alcohol Use Disorder’ And Its Signs

AF (Alcohol-Free) Cocktail
…Instead of “Mocktail” 

Mock (mäk); adjective: not authentic or real, but without the intention to deceive. “Mocktail” insinuates that it’s a knock-off version of a cocktail. Alcohol-free beverages are not any less of a drink than one with liquor or high ABV%. AF Cocktails are their own category, and deserve a full spread across every menu. Further reading: Delish AF 

Medical Condition
…Instead of “Moral Failing” 

Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition, not a reflection of moral character. We use evidence-based treatment to provide holistic care: with therapy, medication, and community. A medical condition deserves to be treated with a medical solution, without any shame or stigma. Further reading: Alcohol Use Disorder Is A Medical Problem. Here’s Our Medical Solution.

Non-Linear Journey
…Instead of “Relapse or Failure”

Everyone’s path is unique, and setbacks don’t erase our progress or define our journey. We believe in working toward goals to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol. Our journey’s are often nonlinear, and we always hold the potential to achieve our goals. Further reading: Exercises To Achieve Your Ideal Self  

Moderating
…Instead of “Still Drinking”

In many traditional programs, there’s a one-size-fits-all goal: total abstinence. If someone is drinking less, they’re seen as “still drinking.” We believe reducing your alcohol intake through moderation can either be a great way to live a healthier life, or a great step toward sobriety, depending on your needs. Further reading: Can I Drink In Moderation? Ask Yourself These Questions

Progress
…Instead of “Perfection”

Expecting perfection in anything can quickly cause us to feel shame and discouragement, and abandon our goals altogether. We are only human, and can still make long-lasting lifestyle changes without a 100% success rate. We prioritize long-term progress over short-term perfection every time. Further reading: The Value (And Traps) Of Resolution Setting

Something To Be Proud Of
…Instead of “Something To Be Ashamed Of”

Changing your relationship with alcohol is something to be proud of. Hey, it might even become your superpower. Drinking less can bring you more clarity, confidence, connection, and so much more. Like any other medical condition, alcohol use disorder isn’t something to be ashamed of. And addressing it is quite the opposite. Further reading: The Sobriety Gift Guide: 11 Ways Drinking Less Gives You More

Recovery (sometimes)
…Instead of Recovery (all the time)

Recovery can mean the process of combating a disorder, regaining strength, getting back something that’s been lost, and more. Many folks who are sober identify with the word, and many people don’t. You might see it in some spaces at Monument, but if you don’t identify as in recovery, that is 100% valid, and you are not alone. Further reading: How To Tell People You’re Getting Treatment To Change Your Drinking 

Your Name
…Instead of labels like “Alcoholic or Addict”

Drinking is something we do (behavior), not who we are (character). And it’s something we can change. Our drinking does not define us. We will call you by your name (or username!), or however you choose to identify. Further reading: Navigating the early recovery identity crisis

We envision a new, stigma-free, culture around alcohol use disorder. We hope you’ll join us in changing the conversation.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

dance club

My 4 Tips For Going To Your First Party Sober

dance club

Note: until it’s safe to party in-person, these tips apply to socially-distant, digital events. 

Before the first party I went to sober, I hadn’t had a drink in five months and was starting to feel socially unfulfilled. A friend of mine was a drummer in an alt-rock band and posted his upcoming show on Instagram… which I took as an invitation. Immediately, I knew I wanted to go, but my mind began racing. I hadn’t been to a bar in over 150 days. The principle of staying away from people, places, and things associated with drinking is rational. It’s simple: don’t F with fire. In the first few months of sobriety, if something held the potential to destabilize my emotional wellness, I told myself to stay far, far away. And I think that was wise. What became clear over time, however, was that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for getting and staying sober. I once believed that dancing and drinking went hand-in-hand. Now, three years later, sober as ever, I’m a born-again partier.


Whether you’re attending a socially distanced soirée or a digital happy-hour, here’s my guide on navigating sobriety (and parties). 

Bring A Buddy 

I felt some shame prior to choosing to go to that alt-rock concert. With full transparency, I cried… hard. I worried about judgment from my sober peers — that going to a concert would be reckless and that I wasn’t serious about my sobriety. Don’t F with fire, Daisy. 

Then, a dear sober friend of mine offered to go with me. She assured me that we have no obligation to stay, whatever the reason. If we felt overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or of course, tempted to drink, we would leave. No questions asked and we’d leave together. She also promised me Red Bulls. 

Without a buddy (sober stars and sober-allies alike!), attending parties can feel daunting. Assurance of safety, compassion, and understanding helped me walk through fear and not around it. 

It also doesn’t hurt to have a friend from Philly who can dance to rock music like a pro. 

friends

Abundance Mindset V. Scarcity Mindset

I had tried to quit drinking numerous times before. Previously, one of my primary roadblocks was that I believed my world would get smaller. I thought that opportunities for friendships, romance, good times, dancing…partying would take a major hit. The truth of the matter is, alcohol and drugs rarely brought me an abundance of anything other than shame, loneliness, brutal hangovers, guilt — the list goes on. Maybe you can relate. The short story is that once I got sober, gifts revealed themselves. Sure, they didn’t arrive right away, but eventually, with patience, they did. And the most unexpected gift I was given was joy (and a lot of it). 

Life doesn’t stop when you decide to change your relationship with alcohol. And that means all parts of life. There is still sadness, anger, and loneliness. I’m human. I feel things. Only now I’m fully present for all of those feelings, including the joy which today feels infinite.

dancer

Freedom Over Fear 

Fear of setbacks is real. And it’s not any less real for someone ten days sober or ten years sober. A skill I’ve learned over the years from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (thank you, Marsha Linehan), is that the path between the emotional mind and the rational mind is a wise mind. Now, I wholeheartedly believe in honoring that voice inside of us which says I’m scared. That emotion is real. I can also recognize the importance of reasoning with yourself: if we don’t feel ready to go to a venue where alcohol is going to be served, that too is real. My wise mind is in the middle of the two paths. 

Oftentimes I pause before I commit to a plan, or even moments before I step out of the house (which is okay! You can change your mind about the partying thing, always). I take a moment and decide how to hold the two truths at the same time: that with honoring the emotional mind and the rational mind, I can take action from a place of internal wisdom. I’ve worked for it and I’m still working on it.

Navigating relationship challenges while managing your drinking

Relationships are complex. And the challenges that come with changing your drinking can add additional complexity and stress. Join an honest discussion about cultivating healthy relationships through sobriety or moderation.
Check out the Schedule

Not all paths are linear, and perhaps whatever decision you come to may feel like it was the wrong call. That’s okay. Compassion, compassion, compassion: we’re all learning. If you hate the party, sob at the party, run out of the party (and I’ve done all three at the same time), take note. Tap into your wise mind: do alcohol-friendly venues make you feel unsafe today? 

wedding dance

H.A.L.T (And Eat) Because: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired = Not Good For A Night Out. Ever. 

And prior to any party, take a moment and HALT (quite literally). Are you hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? If any of the above, determine what you can control. If you’re hungry, eat feel-good food. If you’re tired, consider an alternative evening plan (might I suggest Reality TV). If you’re angry or lonely, ask yourself what best serves your mental health. Maybe that is going dancing. Perhaps that means sitting with yourself and self-soothing through the discomfort. Establishing routine self-care check-ins like H.A.L.T. has been instrumental to my sobriety. 

So, when the time comes to attend an alt-rock concert (and who really knows when that will be possible again) or a socially distanced gathering, know that maybe there’s no right answer. You have made an admirable decision to show up for yourself by changing your relationship with alcohol, and no matter how you facilitate joy — whether through red bull-induced dance moves or not — you deserve that. My greatest memories have been made throughout my sobriety. Without alcohol, I have had more fun, made more fruitful connections, and have danced harder: completely and shamelessly myself.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911. 

Outdoor meal with friends

6 Effective Tips on How to Drink in Moderation

Expert Guidance. Community support. Click to get started for free

Outdoor meal with friends

Establishing a healthy relationship with alcohol means something different for everyone. Some people make the choice to change their drinking habits over time without seeking treatment. Others may need additional support in order to drink in moderation or stop drinking entirely. All paths are valid.

Ultimately, you may decide sobriety better suits your needs and goals than moderation. However, learning how to moderate your drinking can be a productive way to get started. While some people will achieve their sobriety or moderation goals without an alcohol treatment program, guided alcohol therapy, medication to stop drinking, and online alcohol support groups are great evidence-based options for those looking for additional support and accountability. Whatever path you’re on, you are not alone. Here are six helpful tips on how to drink in moderation:

  1. Recognize and Adjust Drinking Patterns
  2. Track and Reduce Consumption
  3. Practice Saying No or Offering an Alternative
  4. Set Goals and Turn to the Support of Others
  5. Find and Maximize What Brings You Joy
  6. Invest in a Tailored Solution

1. Recognize and Adjust Drinking Patterns

One of the first tips for how to drink in moderation is taking the time to be mindful of your drinking patterns. As you take a critical look at the patterns of how much you drink and when you drink, see if there is any correlation with what else is going on in your life. Ask yourself:

  • Am I drinking alcohol because I’m lonely, depressed, or in a certain mental space?
  • Does drinking help me feel better? In what ways? 
  • Does my alcohol consumption fluctuate based on the amount of stress in my life?
  • Is it easy for me to drink excessively in the company of others?

Asking yourself these types of questions can help get to the root of how you feel before, during, and after you drink. For example, if you’re in a routine of drinking a glass of red wine to unwind, does limiting it to a single drink rather than three or four achieve the same goal? On the other hand, do you find yourself drinking more when around friends or colleagues out of habit or peer pressure?

person writing

By being conscious of your drinking habits, you can find what helps you drink responsibly and practice pacing yourself. Moderate drinking isn’t something that occurs overnight, but can be rewarding as you begin to change your relationship with alcohol. Rather than turning to alcohol as a way to cope or socialize, changing your drinking behavior can open up new opportunities to promote self-care and well-being without the need to drink.

2. Track and Reduce Consumption

Part of recognizing recurring drinking behaviors is tracking consumption. According to the CDC, moderate alcohol consumption is equivalent to two drinks per day for men and one per day for women. A standard drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a cocktail that contains 5 percent alcohol. This means you may be consuming more alcohol than you think. By following this marker of moderate drinking, you can mentally take note and pace yourself when alcohol is involved.

If you’re an occasional or social drinker, it can be easy to participate in binge drinking and feel like it doesn’t have an effect on your health or how well you function. When, in reality, the health risks of binge drinking are present regardless of how often it occurs. A similar mindset shift is necessary when on vacation or around the holidays when it’s easy to relinquish controlled drinking and consume more than one or two drinks.

Think about the benefits of sobriety – how drinking less can give you more out of life. For starters, it’ll help you stay present in the moment and in tune with others without the fogginess brought on by alcohol. That said, when surrounded by others who are drinking excessively, it can be challenging to moderate alcohol intake without support and preparation, which brings us to the third tip: how to say no.

3. Practice Saying No or Offering an Alternative

Peer pressure isn’t reserved solely for young adult behavior. It can pop up at any time, at any age, and it doesn’t feel any easier to avoid even if you’ve experienced it before. You may set out with the best intentions of limiting your alcohol intake when getting together with friends or joining co-workers for a happy hour, but it can be challenging to hold firm to those guidelines when in the moment. When putting moderation into practice, it often involves planning how to politely but firmly decline the inevitable drinks that’ll be passed your way.

people eating on the street

A quick “no, thank you” can be an effective way to set a boundary between yourself and those who may urge you to drink. In other situations, constant peer pressure to drink can be a cue to exit a situation early, and a sign that you should reevaluate who you’re hanging out with, or where you’re getting together. A “no” can also be communicated as an “instead of.” Instead of hanging out at a bar, why not take up another type of social activity? It allows you to define what you value from relationships with others, while you’re adjusting your relationship with alcohol. If a connection is what you’re after, choose an environment where your mood or personality isn’t altered by heavy drinking. It gives you a chance to embrace and show your true authentic self.

Moderation in the time of Coronavirus

The global pandemic is affecting our behaviors in many ways, including our alcohol consumption. Join the discussion about assessing your own drinking behaviors and creating healthier habits through moderation.
Check out the Schedule

4. Set Goals and Turn to the Support of Others

Another tip to consider when exploring how to drink in moderation is setting attainable goals. These can range from limiting how much you drink per day or week to designating a window of time when you refrain from drinking altogether, such as No Alcohol November or Dry January. Whatever you’re determined to tackle, setting goals can help us reflect on past behaviors, and be intentional about what we want to change.

During the times when you’re alcohol-free, does it change how you feel and where you place value in your life? Do you find you’re able to think more clearly, focus better, and maintain your energy? Build upon these positive changes as you continue to cut down on drinking alcohol, and don’t feel discouraged if you face challenges along the way. Changing your relationship with alcohol is often a non-linear journey, and setbacks are a normal part of progress.

woman at computer

Leaning on Peer and Professional Support

You don’t need to have a ‘rock bottom’ to seek treatment and community. Connecting with medical professionals and a peer support network can give you the tools to reach your goals, and set you up for long-term success.

Monument’s Community is available 24/7, and is completely anonymous. Share your challenges and questions with other people who are navigating sobriety or moderation. Monument also provides therapist-moderated online alcohol support groups on a range of topics, including navigating moderation. With Monument, you can feel empowered to make progress on your own terms, while knowing you have a holistic support network cheering you on.

get the relief and support you deserve. Click to explore treatment options

5. Find and Maximize What Brings You Joy 

Oftentimes, drinking alcohol can be a coping mechanism for negative feelings, and create a false sense of calmness, relief, and even joy. Finding alternative ways to achieve those feelings is a crucial part of changing your relationship with alcohol.

Not sure where to start? The following are activities that can create moments of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment without alcohol:

  • Daily exercise
  • Spending time in nature
  • Meditating
  • A new hobby

Think about how you want to show up for yourself, what actions can help get you there, and the ways alcohol prohibits your progress.

person walking

As you introduce healthy activities, alcohol alternatives, and productive coping mechanisms into your life, you will likely find that alcohol becomes less important to you. As you change your drinking habits, it’s important to check in with yourself and your needs. You may decide that abstaining from alcohol is the best course of action for you, or you may decide that being able to drink in moderation is a realistic long-term goal. Whatever the case, we’re here to support you in a way that makes you feel empowered and confident.

6. Invest in a Tailored Solution 

Whether you’re on the path to sobriety or drinking in moderation, it’s a rewarding result of self-reflection and the beginning of a new and healthy relationship with alcohol.

By limiting your alcohol intake you’re lowering your risk of certain health conditions, including cardiovascular and liver disease. It also helps to regulate your blood pressure and improve your cognitive functioning. You’ll find increased clarity, calmness, and balance on a regular basis. In short, drinking less can give you more out of life as you promote and sustain your well-being. And you don’t have to do it alone.

Monument provides evidence-based support that includes professional counseling, a peer community, and physician-prescribed medication to stop drinking. This holistic treatment model is designed to help you reach your goals in an environment that’s welcoming and supportive. It’s available online and on your own time.

person looking out

Take the First Step In the Journey

By checking in on your relationship with alcohol, you can transform the role it plays in your life. The path isn’t always a linear one, but it’s definitely rewarding. Changing your relationship with alcohol is an act of self-care, and you should be proud to embark on that journey, or continue along your path.

Get expert insights delivered to your inbox. Click to join the free community.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

girl looking at mountains

The Various Types of Drinking Habits to Be Aware Of

girl looking at mountains

How would you define your drinking habits? Is it a question you’ve ever considered? Our relationship with alcohol can shift at different ages and life stages, and it’s an act of self-care to continue to check in on it. As you evaluate how you interact with alcohol and what influences your drinking, it’s important to understand that there are various types of drinking habits and be aware of the short and long-term effects on your mental and physical health. Read on to learn more about some of the various drinking habits we can develop. And remember, if you don’t identify with any of the below definitions, that’s okay too. Everyone’s relationship with alcohol is valid, and something that can become healthier with time and support.  

Heavy Drinking

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines heavy drinking as consuming more than four alcoholic drinks a day for men or more than three drinks for women. The term is also defined by binge drinking on five or more days in a month. 

Seemingly ‘normal’ drinking habits like meeting for a few beers with colleagues after work or joining friends for a wine happy hour can be riskier than you think. The same goes for the sporadic weekend tailgate party or social day drinking. Your current drinking habits may not seem harmful, but every instance of heavy drinking causes changes within the body. 

Although every person metabolizes and handles drinking alcohol differently, the more a person drinks, the more the body learns to tolerate alcohol.  Eventually, with continued heavy alcohol use, the body starts to crave alcohol and experience withdrawal symptoms when cravings are not met. Heavy drinking also causes internal damage to the liver, heart, brain, and other organs and functions of the body. 

Being aware of how often you partake in heavy drinking is a good first step when learning how to moderate your drinking. Take into account the environment you’re in and how you’re feeling emotionally when you drink. Once you recognize recurring catalysts, it’ll allow you to identify and change the factors that contribute to harmful drinking habits. Working with a therapist in alcohol therapy from an alcohol treatment program can also help you identify what motivates you to drink, and how to build healthier habits.

two friends walking up stairs

Binge Drinking

While binge drinking and heavy drinking seem synonymous and can overlap, they have slightly different definitions. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern that brings your blood alcohol concentration level up to .08 percent or higher in a short, two-hour window of time. This is approximately the equivalent of five or more alcoholic drinks for males and four or more drinks for women. 

This level of alcohol intake is largely associated with the college culture, although it’s not limited to this age group alone. “Partying” seems like an innocuous part of the experience, but is a risky drinking behavior. In fact, the CDC states binge drinking is most common among the ages of 18 and 34 years old. It’s associated with a long list of physical side effects and can lead to dangerous circumstances. 

Some of the common effects of binge drinking include:

  • Memory problems or blackouts: Drinking excessively can cause short-term memory lapses when a person doesn’t remember details of an event or has no recollection of an entire block of time. 
  • Heart disease: Too much alcohol in the system at any one time can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and other adverse heart conditions. 
  • Alcohol poisoning: When the body can’t metabolize alcohol fast enough, it can lead to serious side effects, such as vomiting, seizures, and a slowed heart rate. It can also cause a person to become unresponsive.
  • Increased risk of injuries: Since intoxication from alcohol also affects cognitive functioning, slurring of speech and slow reaction times are common. This can be a risky situation that leads to falling, car accidents, or acts of violence. 

Not everyone who binge drinks will experience all of these symptoms or have the same experience. However, it’s a dangerous drinking habit to become accustomed to, regardless of when or how often it takes place. You may feel different side effects than others who binge drink as well. It’s also important to recognize how you feel.

person journaling

If you’d like to learn more about how to stop binge drinking, starting with self-reflection can begin to shed light on your relationship with alcohol, and why you drink. Ask yourself questions like: 

  • Are my drinking habits due to social pressures, work responsibilities, or problems in personal relationships? 
  • How often do my drinking habits lead to negative consequences? 
  • What happens when drinking alcohol is taken out of the equation? Do I feel more conscious of my behavior?

Once you begin identifying the influences behind your relationship with alcohol, you can better understand your true needs and values, and reshape your habits accordingly. 

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

What is alcohol use disorder? When you start drinking more and for longer periods than you want to, that’s one indicator of alcohol use disorder. AUD can co-exist with binge drinking and heavy drinking. The American Psychiatric Association best explains how to define and help diagnose the severity of AUD in the DSM-5 manual. In this manual, there are 11 different points of criteria which help determine the severity of AUD. After reviewing the 11 points of criteria, severity can be determined by the following:

  • Mild: A mild AUD diagnosis means 2-3 points of the criteria were recognized.
  • Moderate: A mild AUD diagnosis means 4-5 points of the criteria were recognized.
  • Severe: A severe condition means 6 or more points of criteria were recognized. 

The full chart of criteria can be found below:

DSM-5 criteria

If any of these situations or side effects resonate with you, it might mean you fall on the spectrum for alcohol use disorder. 

If you do fall on the spectrum for alcohol use disorder (AUD), you are not alone. AUD is a medical condition with a medical treatment solution. With Monument, there is customized treatment available to get you from where you are to where you want to be . It’s designed based on your medical history, needs, and goals, so that you can change your relationship with alcohol on your own terms. 

It’s also important to note that you don’t need to meet any number of criteria for AUD to benefit from or seek treatment. If you feel like alcohol has too much control over your life or you’re feeling weighed down by the negative effects of excessive drinking, know that you have a community of support ready to show up for you. Many people wait to seek treatment only after their condition has become severe, but everyone can benefit from checking in on their relationship with alcohol regardless of what type of drinking habits you identify with most. If you identify with none of the above, you are deserving of support, too. 

Managing your drinking through quarantine

Managing your drinking can be especially challenging during times of heightened stress and isolation. Join the discussion about how to moderate your drinking or stay sober through quarantine.
Check out the Schedule

Redefining Drinking Habits with Moderation

Drinking in moderation is one way to regain control over unhealthy drinking habits. However, moderate drinking can prove unachievable for some, particularly those with a more moderate or severe alcohol use disorder. In some instances, practicing moderation may be an effective way to begin to change your relationship with alcohol, with the long-term goal of sobriety. 

Each person’s journey is different, and you deserve custom support tailored to your goals and preferences. While generally recognized guidelines of moderate drinking create a reference point, they do not take into account pre-existing conditions, co-occuring mental health conditions, or situational psychological or interpersonal stressors, all of which can alter our relationship with alcohol, and what it takes to change it. 

woman walking down path

For example, many people drink in order to “soothe” or experience the short-term calming effects of alcohol. This coping mechanism is often used to combat symptoms of depression or anxiety. In reality, drinking can have the opposite effect, and instead increase psychological symptoms and stressors. Working with a therapist can help address co-occuring conditions like depression and anxiety while also building healthier drinking habits. 

Changing Your Relationship with Alcohol

Heavy drinking, binge drinking, and alcohol use disorder are all harmful to your health and can limit how fulfilled you feel in life. While you may identify with these habits at different stages of your life, it’s important to look at when they arise and what changes or patterns may be the driving force. Addressing your relationship with alcohol may feel challenging and uncomfortable. However, as you become more in tune with why you’re drinking, and how drinking makes you feel, you’ll be able to set boundaries and change your relationship with alcohol. 

person on computer

Moreover, you will experience the positive changes that drinking less has on your physical and mental well-being. Getting treatment to change your drinking should be a point of pride, like other acts of self care. By joining a program that meets you where you are, it allows you to make progress without putting the rest of your life on hold. Monument takes a holistic, evidence-based approach that includes personalized therapy, a peer community, and physician-prescribed medication, tailored to your individual needs. It’s available entirely online, and on your own time.

Changing your drinking habits is within reach. No matter your drinking habits, motivation to stop drinking, and goals, you can make a change, and you don’t have to do it alone.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholusedisorderaud.html

people with beer

New Year, New Brew: 8 Non-Alcoholic Beers That Raise The Bar

people with beer

When I created Spirited Away, the first booze-free bottle store in New York, I wanted to build a space where people can come to browse, explore and connect over all the great non-alcoholic (NA) options. There’s so much excitement and innovation with these drinks, and their popularity is growing fast. Personally, my most frequent drink of choice is a good craft beer. When I was beginning to stock the store, I was surprised and delighted to learn about all the awesome new NA craft breweries. I’ve since gotten to know a wide array of non-alcoholic beers, and am excited to share my list of top picks.

The new year is all about discovery, and whether you’re sober, trying out Dry January, drinking less, or just looking to try something new, these NA brews are an excellent place to start.

fungtn beer

Fungtn Lion’s Mane IPA

This deep, earthy IPA has high notes of peach and stone fruit. It’s enhanced with the adaptogenic properties of organic Lion’s Mane mushroom, making its taste all the more delicious and distinct. Buy now

fungtn beer

Fungtn Reishi Citra Beer

This sweet and sour beer from Fungtn is juicy, with a pineapple and tropical fruit nose. It harnesses the adaptogenic properties of organic Reishi mushroom. Buy now

I love these unique beers from the UK. They’re like nothing else I’ve ever had. If you’re nervous they might taste like mushrooms, it’s very subtle. It makes its flavors all the more rich and complex.

athletic brewing all out

Athletic All Out Stout

Winter is not my favorite season, but it’s redeemed by the arrival of dark, rich porters and stouts like this one. Based in Connecticut, Athletic Brewing Co built this brew for cold weather. It has a great mouthfeel and includes notes of coffee and dark chocolate with a roasted finish. Tastes even better by the fire! Buy now

athletic brewing free wave

Athletic Free Wave Double IPA

Double IPAs are typically among the highest ABV beers, so I was surprised when I saw that the wizards at Athletic had somehow created a non-alcoholic double IPA. They use three different types of hops in a formula that’s bold but not overpoweringly hoppy. They only release it seasonally, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts. Buy now

ceria indiewave

Ceria Indiewave

I’ve been so impressed by the Ceria beers from Colorado. They’re excellent and quickly making a name for themselves. This session IPA has a perfect balance of hops and light caramel malt for a smooth citrus taste. Buy now

wellbeing amber

Wellbeing Dark Amber

This hop-forward amber has the perfect balance of floral aroma and spicy hops to delight the palate of craft beer enthusiasts everywhere. Based out of Missouri, Wellbeing Brewing produces heavenly, healthy, and exclusively non-alcoholic beers. Buy now

brauvus outmeal stout

Bravus Oatmeal Stout

What can I say, I’m a sucker for a dark beer during the cold months of the year. Like Guinness, it looks much heavier and more calorific than it actually is. But don’t let looks deceive you, with hints of chocolate, caramel and roast, it is extremely smooth and delightfully refreshing. Buy now

gruvi IPA

Gruvi IPA

This IPA from Gruvi has a really nice fruity nose. It’s lighter than your standard IPA yet strikes just the right balance between hops, citrus, and bitterness. Based out of Colorado, I’m excited to see, and more importantly taste, what else Gruvi innovates! Buy now

In but a few short years, non-alcoholic beers have made an impressive splash. As I see customers try them for the first time, the intricate and rich tastes often surprise them. It’s a joy to share my love for NA beverages with all kinds of people. Some choose to drink less or not drink at all, for a variety of reasons. For me, having lots of delicious, complex NA drinks – like these epic brews – makes avoiding alcohol just that much easier and fun.

IMPORTANTSome non-alcoholic beverages may contain very small amounts of alcohol (less than 0.5% ABV), in addition to caffeine and other botanicals. Consult your doctor before consuming if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or may become pregnant; looking to conceive; have high or low blood pressure; a medical condition; or are taking any medication.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.