Breakups: Bye Booze, Hello Healthy Healing

Navigating a breakup can be challenging, and it's tempting to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. However, choosing to resist the urge to binge drink can have long-term benefits for your emotional well-being. Rather than seeking solace in a bottle, here are four constructive and positive alternatives to help you heal.

Surviving a breakup without resorting to alcohol can be challenging. However, resisting the urge to indulge in excessive drinking can ultimately be beneficial. Here are four alternative activities to consider.

Sad woman holding a glass of alcohol

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Breakups, oh boy! The emotional whirlwinds that leave us feeling like a limp noodle in a sea of Ben & Jerry’s. But who says drowning our sorrows in booze is the answer? Let’s explore the hilarious and lovely world of breakup recovery without the bottle.

According to the quit-lit icon Holly Whitaker, author of “Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed With Alcohol,” breaking up is like navigating a massive emotional minefield. She says, “Drinking through it would make it a colossal mess. The value of being alive is experiencing our full range of emotions. It’s lucky.”

We’ve all seen those stereotypical breakup scenes in Hollywood movies, where the heartbroken best friend swoops in and drags the protagonist to a bar for some random hookups and shots. But let’s be honest, that’s just cheesy storytelling; life is more nuanced than that.

In the 2019 Netflix film “Someone Great,” we witness Jenny, played by Gina Rodriguez, and her friends gallivanting around New York City, numbing their pain while day-drinking, dancing to Lizzo one minute and sobbing the next. And who could forget Jason Segal’s character, Peter, in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” drowning his sorrows in girly cocktails, crying himself to sleep, and ordering rum with his breakfast? These scenes may be hilarious, but they perpetuate the belief that alcohol is the only way to cope.

I had a fascinating conversation with documentary filmmaker Ted Mandell, who co-developed the course “Drunk on Film.” We pondered whether alcohol was necessary for these scenes to be relatable or funny. Mandell shared, “Drunkenness as comedy is a go-to narrative device. But why not create nuanced scenes where the protagonist rejects the alcohol and stays sober? Now, that’s something I’d love to see!”

Now, let’s banish the booze and find healthier habits to heal our broken hearts:

Distraction Therapy

Instead of doomscrolling or becoming a human couch potato, try activating your funny bones or indulging in culinary adventures:

Instead of Try
Doomscrolling for hours Reading a hilariously lighthearted book
Drinking mindlessly Learning a drool-worthy dessert recipe
Hiding in bed Preparing a relaxing bath with music, candles, and pure bliss
Binging trash TV Binging trash TV with a partner-in-crime

Remember, healing from a breakup is a journey. So, grab that book, whip up some sugar-filled goodness, pamper yourself with a soothing bath, or laugh your heart out while binging Netflix. Embrace the healing process one step at a time.

Excerpted from “Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze” (Quirk Books, September 19, 2023). Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books.

So, let’s toast to letting go of the bottle and embracing a breakup recovery that’s emotionally rich, humorous, and filled with self-love! Cheers, darling!