New Beginnings

February 1st in Ireland is believed to be the first day of Spring, the season of new beginnings with nature emerging from hibernation, snowdrops peeping above the ground, flowers, plants, and trees shedding the cold and shackles of winter while dressing anew for longer days, more sunshine, warmth, and the feel of an energetic air. 

Spring also encourages new beginnings personally where the old habits developed during darker days give way to the promise of a new you, new habits, and a sense of renewal.  

The First Steps 

New beginnings require first steps. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Taking the first step can be painful and challenging, while full of hope and promise. It involves leaving behind old habits, and a familiar environment while facing the new and unknown.  

Are you looking to make changes to your alcohol consumption habits this Spring? What changes would you like to make this Spring and how would you like to renew yourself?  

Think about your relationship with alcohol and your alcohol consumption. Would you like to make any changes there? Maybe you would like to cut down or cut out alcohol? If so, have you considered how you are going to do this?  

Clarifying your Goals 

A key step in a new beginning is discovering and clarifying your goal, why you want to change. Maybe your alcohol consumption is interfering with you doing things you like e.g., exercise, drama, taking on a new hobby or course or giving time to those who are important in your life or need your presence. Maybe you are frequently tired, unhappy with your appearance, maybe you eat unhealthily after drinking, you are starting to develop more serious complications. Click here to find out more about how alcohol affects your short- and long-term health.  

Are you familiar with the HSE Low-Risk weekly Alcohol Guidelines? 11 standard drinks a week for women and 17 standard drinks a week for men with 2 alcohol-free days.  

 If you feel like your alcohol consumption is affecting the following, it may be time to look at your alcohol habits so you can begin to implement positive changes.:  

  •  Your relationships both personally and professionally. 
  • Affecting your ability to keep commitments and promises and to be reliable.  
  • You have regrets about your behaviour around alcohol 
  • You drink to numb emotional pain or to have the confidence and courage to belong, to face stressful situations. 
  • You now realise alcohol didn’t really help you cope or have fun. 

Want to cut back on alcohol, why not take the first steps? If you experience withdrawal symptoms when cutting back, it may be a sign of alcohol dependency. Changing your habits is wonderful, but please remember, if you are alcohol dependant it could be dangerous to suddenly stop and may require doctor’s support. Please see our list of support contact details if you need urgent help. 

Questions to Ask Yourself 

While knowing why you want to start anew is essential, it is equally important to be willing to change and make the decision to change. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:   

  • When am I going to start?  
  • What plan can I put in place which is specific and realistic?  
  • How am I going to achieve my goal?  
  • What will help me change and what are the obstacles?  
  • Have I considered I may lose friends but also may gain new ones?  
  • What will I put in place of alcohol or using alcohol to cope or socialise?  
  • What activity can I start that will help? e.g., Yoga, reflexology, exercise, drama?  

Consider the benefits of a new beginning. Think of the steps you are going to take to care for and love yourself. You want to become a healthy, grounded person in control of your own life. You want to live a life that has balance rather than excess. To do that you will exercise, drink water, and plan for dealing with cravings when they arise. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help from friends, family, and medical professionals. You will watch out for triggers that lead you away from your plan, be it old acquaintances, anger, or resentment. You will celebrate every milestone and your achievements in a healthy way.  

Don’t be afraid if you slip or fail. Just begin anew.  

With change and new beginnings, you can bring energy and positivity to your life. It will not only affect you but those around you. Have faith and belief in yourself that you can do it. “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” (Martin Luther King, Jnr.)