An Alcohol-Free woman contemplating her journey happily! her journey

Releasing Your Deprivation Mindset

June 14, 20244 min read

Releasing Your Deprivation Mindset

Imagine this: You've made the decision to go alcohol-free, embarking on a journey toward a healthier, more mindful lifestyle. You've sailed through the first couple of weeks with relative ease. Then, a special occasion rolls around - a birthday party, a wedding, or just a Friday night out with friends.

A group of friends enjoy a dinner party and raise their glasses.

As the evening unfolds, glasses are raised, toasts are made, and the familiar clink of champagne glasses rings in your ears. You find yourself at a crossroads. Do you cave in, break your promise to yourself, and deal with the regret later? Or do you white-knuckle your way through the evening sans alcohol, feeling like you're missing out on all the fun?

This scenario is all too common for those navigating alcohol-free living. The sense of deprivation can feel overwhelming, but it's essential to understand that this feeling is rooted in a mindset - a mindset that can be changed.

Raised to Chase Happiness

When you think of happiness, what comes to mind? Do you believe happiness is something that requires sacrifice? Many of us were raised with the notion of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” implying that happiness is something to be chased, always just out of reach. This mindset can set up a cycle of deprivation, where we constantly feel that we're missing out on something. It’s never quite right, or we’ll be happy when... we lose weight, earn more money, or finally relax with a drink. But if happiness is always just around the corner, we're robbing ourselves of the joy we can experience right now. We become conditioned to see the glass half empty, perpetually focusing on what we lack rather than what we have.

The Choice of Mindset: Deprivation vs. Abundance

As you go about your Alcohol-Free journey, you have a choice. You can focus on the discomfort, the fear of missing out, and the sense of deprivation, which is the glass half empty approach. Or you can choose to embrace the abundance that comes with this change, focusing on the benefits: better sleep, clearer mind, no hangovers, and the possibility of new experiences and insights. This is the glass half full approach.

A glass of water with a sign that questions if it is half full or half empty

Dan Sullivan, in The Gap and the Gain, reminds us that appreciating what we have comes from measuring our progress. Instead of comparing ourselves to some future ideal, we should look at how far we've come. This shift from a deprivation mindset to one of abundance can transform the way we experience life.

The Power of Positivity and Gratitude

Language and thoughts are powerful tools, much more potent than we give them credit for. They quite literally shape our reality. If we constantly tell ourselves we're deprived, we'll feel deprived. But if we shift our narrative, we can change our experience. Neuroscientific studies show that positive thoughts produce hormones like oxytocin, which foster a sense of well-being and reduce stress. Conversely, negative thoughts produce stress hormones that make us feel anxious and unhappy. Still need more convincing on the science behind positive thinking? Read what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it here.

To release the deprivation mindset, focus on the benefits of living alcohol-free. Celebrate small victories like waking up clear-headed and hangover-free, having more energy for morning workouts, or enjoying deeper connections in your relationships. Practice gratitude by noting improvements in your physical health, mental clarity, and overall well-being. By recognizing and appreciating these positive changes, you can shift your mindset from feeling deprived to feeling more alive!

Reframing the Narrative

When you're offered a drink and you say, “I can’t drink, I’m giving it up this month,” you reinforce the idea of sacrifice and deprivation. Instead, try reframing your response. Say, “Yes, I’d love to join you; I’ll have an iced tea.” This simple shift can make a significant difference in how you feel and how others perceive your choice.

A sober woman happily contemplates her decision to remain alcohol-free.

Remember, the stories you tell yourself matter! You have the power to control your thoughts and words. With an abundance mindset, you are deliberately concentrating on all the GOOD that stems from the choice to live alcohol-free. When you flip the internal script, it makes navigating potentially triggering situations easier! You are making the conscious decision to remind yourself that 30 minutes of indulgence is not worth sacrificing your health, peace, and overall wellbeing.

Living alcohol-free is not living a deprived lifestyle. It is an invitation for abundance that would have otherwise been forfeited and a commitment to attend to that abundance with diligence and loving intention. With every crossroad that life presents you, you are gifted with a choice. By leaning into your intuition, you are better able to make the choice that invites deep richness into your life.

Choose to see the glass half full.

Choose freedom with joy.

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Voxer: Joy Stieglitz

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Joy Stieglitz is a certified Sobriety and Wellness Coach who specializes in helping sandwich generation people change their relationship with alcohol to find true freedom and joy in their life. Alcohol Free since November 2019, Joy brings valuable insights into her practice. AFreeLife Coaching is a safe space where all are welcome to explore their desire for health, wellness, and personal growth regardless of where they are or want to go on their journey with alcohol, and regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or any other social construct.