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A 30-Day No-Alcohol, No-Drugs Challenge to Become Your Healthiest Self

by Landmark Recovery

December 29, 2021
become your healthiest self

So, you want to take a break from alcohol? (Drugs can also apply in this challenge.) This is exactly the place to be! You are taking a step toward a healthier self. While you might be on this journey for the first time, the time you put in will be so worth it. Think of it as a 30-day no-alcohol, no-drugs challenge with your own personal cheerleaders – the staff of Landmark Recovery – to encourage you through it.

We know: the thought of scaling back or quitting altogether is easier said than done. But you CAN do this. Having less or no alcohol in your life does not mean the end of fun. And, if you have been wrestling with a dependency on alcohol, there is hope and you have options. You CAN begin again!

Whether you start this challenge the first of the new year or anytime during the year, here are three things to remember: set reasonable goals, don’t quit completely if you give-in, and be kind to yourself. What matters is the experience itself and not following a list of non-negotiable things to-do or boxes to check-off. In other words: progress, not perfection.

So, here is how this works …

DON’T: “Should” yourself. If you don’t do everything to a T, the worst thing to do is sabotage yourself by saying, “I should have been able to do this…” or, “I should have known I couldn’t do this!”

DO: Try your best to stick with the challenge so you can learn about yourself, practice mindfulness, and strive towards your best physical, mental, and emotional health.

Okay, there’s your pep talk. Ready?!

30 Days of No Alcohol and No Drugs Timeline

Day 1: Take 5 minutes to jot down on a sticky note, notepad, or journal when, where, or with whom you most often find yourself reaching for a drink or drugs. Then, rank them in order of which will be the most difficult to resist if you are planning to be abstinent or consume less during the challenge. Finally, take another 5 minutes to plan how you want to handle those situations when the time comes.

Day 2: Clean house. Either remove the substance (alcohol or drugs) from your home, or find a place to stash them out-of-reach or in a less-accessible place for the month. Then, go to the store and find something fun and new you would like to try; think of it as a replacement to curb your urge to drink alcohol or use drugs. A few examples: a club soda, tea (there are many fun flavors and health benefits to these), or even kombucha!

Day 3: Pick one or two aerobic exercises you enjoy and plan to exercise throughout the challenge. Examples include walking, running, cycling, swimming, rowing/kayaking, strength building, kickboxing, or dancing. Which one did you choose for today? Do it for 30 minutes!

Day 4: Beginning today, start meditating or breathing deeply each morning for 2 minutes. Starting your day this way can not only encourage mindfulness but also introduce habits that improve your mental, physical, and emotional wellness. You can easily find videos on YouTube of peaceful sounds in nature or with structured meditation instructions.

Day 5: Text, call, or talk to someone about the challenge. Ask them to check-in with you or hold you accountable in certain situations, or maybe even ask them if they’d like to join you in the challenge!

Day 6: Aerobic exercise day! Take 30 minutes out of your day to get moving.

Day 7: Find and begin to read a book of meditations, a daily devotional, a novel, or work of non-fiction every day, even if it is for 5 minutes. Reading helps reduce stress and symptoms of dementia, improves self-awareness and concentration, and is a great way to remove the focus from ourselves.

Day 8: Gather the ingredients for and make a mocktail! There are many, MANY recipes on the internet.

Day 9: Aerobic exercise day! Take 30 minutes out of your day to get moving.

Day 10: Tonight as you wind-down before bed, reflect and journal about the ways you have benefited already from not drinking or using drugs.

Day 11: What hobby, hobbies, or projects have you been neglecting lately? Pick them back up or begin one that you have been wanting to try! There are so many emotional and social benefits of having a hobby and encourage a healthy alternative to drinking or using drugs.

Day 12: Aerobic exercise day! Take 30 minutes out of your day to get moving.

Day 13: Try something artistic: draw, paint, carve, sculpt, or craft!

Day 14: You are 2-weeks-in to this challenge! Here’s a curve-ball: Every morning until the end of the challenge, look in the mirror and tell yourself something positive. This can be about your appearance, your character, your goals, or your dreams. To start, look at yourself today and say: “I am confident in my ability to change my life.” Think of this as a small way to begin changing the way you think.

Day 15: Aerobic exercise day! Bump it up a notch: take 45 minutes out of your day to get moving.

Day 16: Cook your favorite meal at home, or try cooking a new recipe.

Day 17: As you go about your day today, reflect: What might you like to do differently tomorrow? What changes are you seeing yourself that you would like to keep beyond this challenge?

Day 18: Aerobic exercise day! Take 45 minutes out of your day to get moving.

Day 19: Plan a day out to the museum, visit a monument, or explore a local park. Even better, bring along a pal or a furry friend.

Day 20: Listen to a favorite music artist’s entire album – from beginning to end. Did you find a new favorite song?

Day 21: Aerobic exercise day! Take 45 minutes out of your day to get moving.

Day 22: When was the last time you went to the nail salon or spa for a manicure, pedicure, massage, or facial? Pamper yourself today!

Day 23: Today, be intentional and visit with a friend or family member. Call them up, text them, or schedule a time to meet up or drop by.

Day 24: Aerobic exercise day! Take 45 minutes out of your day to get moving.

Day 25: Host a movie marathon, game night, or themed party with your friends or family. (I mean, why did we stop doing this after our college years?)

Day 26: Is there an organization or cause in your neighborhood or community that you can volunteer with? Sign-up and show up during their next community service project.

Day 27: Aerobic exercise day! Take 1 hour out of your day to get moving.

Day 28: Write a letter to yourself. Document where you are emotionally at this point in your life. What do you want to accomplish this year? What is one thing you want to improve? What are specific ways you want to take better care of yourself?

Day 29: Practice gratitude today and share it with someone. Post what you are grateful for on social media, write a loved one a note detailing your gratefulness for them, or tell someone face-to-face what they mean to you.

Day 30: For your last day of aerobic exercise, consider taking an hour walk either at sunrise or dusk. Reflect on the last month. What have you learned? What have you enjoyed? And lastly: congratulate yourself for being intentional about your physical, mental, and emotional health.

What To Do If You Are Dependent on Alcohol or Drugs

When you stop drinking or taking drugs, you are no longer impaired by these substances: You are most like yourself. Our hope for you as you do the 30-day challenge is that you will feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. But maybe you already know, or will begin to realize as you go through the challenge, that you are actually very dependent on drugs or alcohol.

If you have been drinking or drugging excessively for months or years and have grown dependent or addicted, you should never go cold turkey from alcohol or drugs without the assistance of a medical professional. This would not only be uncomfortable, but is a risk to your physical health.

Medical detox is the safest option. During detox, you are prescribed medication to prevent your central nervous system from going into shock. It is a very important first step towards healing.

The following timeline is a broad outline of what happens to your body if you are alcohol-dependent and stop drinking alcohol. The timing may vary from person to person, depending on the severity of their drinking problem and other factors. But, overall, if you stick with detox and attend a treatment program, the outcomes are incredibly positive!

What Happens To Your Body When You Are Addicted to Alcohol and Stop Drinking

2 to 12 hours after the last drink

The effects of withdrawal will be felt most acutely at the beginning of the detox. The more severe your alcohol use disorder, the more severe your withdrawal symptoms will be. During medical detox, this is why you are typically prescribed medication that relaxes the central nervous system.

12 to 24 hours

At this early stage, you may feel a strong desire to drink to curb your symptoms. It is also common to experience mood swings, depression, and more dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as heightened blood pressure, heart rate, and even seizures. This is why it is so important to go through medical detox and to have no access to alcohol.

48 to 72 hours

At this point, withdrawal symptoms will start to ease off and you will start to feel slightly more settled.

3 days to 1 week

For most people, withdrawal symptoms will have subsided considerably as the first week of sobriety draws to a close. For some, however, the symptoms can worsen to confusion, sweating, disorientation, and even delirium tremens.

1 week to 2 weeks

For most people, sleep patterns should improve after a week, and your body moves out of the detox phase.

2 weeks

After a fortnight, you will probably find you have lost a couple of pounds. (Alcohol is high in both sugar and calories.) When you stop drinking alcohol, your body starts to metabolize calories from food in place of the calories it was obtaining from alcohol. If your liver had signs of fatty liver, those symptoms should clear by this time.

3 to 4 weeks

If drinking was raising your blood pressure, it should return to normal levels with the first month of recovery complete.

1 month

Your skin will begin to look brighter and clearer. Your eyes will also look shiny and rested.

3 months

After 3 months, you will notice you have much more energy than when you were drinking regularly. You will also feel physically healthier.

Hooked on Drugs? There Are Endless Health Benefits If You Quit

Symptoms of drug withdrawal can be difficult, as well. This is why it is so vital to seek medical assistance to support you through this process. Not only does medication-assisted treatment dramatically improve your chance of a successful recovery, it eases the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • High temperature/cold sweats
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Physical pain
  • Profuse sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shivering
  • Vomiting

The duration of withdrawal varies from person to person and depending on the drug itself and how long you have been using. While life can be tricky in the first few days and weeks, over time you will find:

  • Your mood will become more stable
  • Your cognitive function will improve
  • You will have a greater ability to problem-solve
  • Your emotional wellbeing and self-esteem will improve
  • You will have more mental energy
  • Your skin, hair, and nails will regain their shine and strength (with proper nutrition)
  • You will decreased your odds of physical effects and disease

Next Steps to Free Yourself from Alcohol and Drugs

Following detox, if you undergo cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling through a proven treatment program, you will gain great insight into why you began to abuse alcohol or drugs in the first place. You may realize that you were not only using substances to escape the discomfort of physical withdrawal but also to numb the general disappointments and stresses of life.

Treatment and recovery will equip you to withstand stressors and recognize what is in your power to change for the better! You also will regain your ability and power to plan and create personal goals for a happy and truly fulfilling life.

Landmark Recovery Is Here to Support You

The best news is: You do not have to tackle this alone! At Landmark Recovery, we are committed to helping you and your family members address the toll addiction has taken on your well-being. We are here to serve as a bridge to a brighter future – one of recovery, hope, and health.

Call today to speak with one of our recovery specialists 24/7 at 888-448-0302, or learn more about our growing network of locations, and we will guide you every step of the way!

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.