Giving Up Alcohol For Lent: What To Do If You Couldn’t Stay Abstinent

For some, giving up alcohol for Lent was a challenge, which can indicate a problem with alcohol. Signs of problem alcohol use include constant fixation on drinking, lying about alcohol use, or going through withdrawal symptoms.

Many people use Lent, the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, to give up something they typically consume or do, such as eating red meat, indulging in sweets, or drinking alcohol.

For some, abstaining from alcohol is no more than a minor inconvenience.

But if you found it more difficult than expected, or couldn’t stay abstinent during Lent, it’s important to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Read on to learn more about recognizing problem alcohol use, and next steps toward living a healthier, sober lifestyle.

Giving Up Alcohol For Lent

Behind sweets, soda, and fast food, alcohol was the fourth most popular item to up for Lent in 2021.

Many choose to give up alcohol for Lent because they want to give their bodies a cleansing, save money on nights out, or challenge themselves by not having alcohol as a social crutch.

Others may have given up alcohol for Lent because they’d seen harmful results from drinking alcohol, and wanted to use the period of abstinence to explore what sobriety might look like for them.

However, after a few days or weeks without drinking, cravings, anxiety, and confusing thoughts may have set in for some.

If you could not remain sober during Lent despite your desire to hold to your values and commitment, you’re not the only one who experienced this.

Below, learn about a few of the ways you can recognize a problem with alcohol in yourself or someone you love.

4 Signs You May Have A Problem With Alcohol

Alcohol can be abused, leading some to develop a dependence on alcohol known as an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

If you couldn’t stay abstinent during Lent, you may want to see if you identify with any of the signs of someone with a drinking problem.

This can help you determine if you should consult with a therapist, a 12-step group, or friends and family.

Signs of a drinking problem during Lent:

  • Unable to stop drinking: making a declaration of sobriety for Lent but not being able to follow through.
  • Lying about alcohol: concealing or hiding your alcohol use during Lent.
  • Obsession with alcohol: not enjoying non-drinking activities during Lent because your mind was fixated on drinking alcohol.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: feeling any uncomfortable physical or mental effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms during Lent.

If you relate to one or all of these signs, you may have a problem with alcohol.

And while an isolated concern does not necessarily reveal an alcohol addiction, it’s a combination of mental and physical issues that typically point toward an issue with drinking.

Thankfully, you are not alone. There are many options for those interested in getting support or learning about alcohol abuse.

Next Steps After Giving Up Alcohol For Lent

If you were unable to successfully stay abstinent during Lent, you may want to first take some time to reflect on your drinking.

Then, you might talk with a trusted friend or family member, and reach out to one of the many resources that can help.

Forgive Yourself

Just because you couldn’t abstain from alcohol does not mean you should punish yourself.

Addiction is not a moral concern that reflects poor character, but a mental illness that requires grace and forgiveness.

Easter is rooted in this idea of forgiveness, so take some time to be an understanding friend to yourself. You are only human, and it’s ok to recognize that you might need help.

Reach Out For Support

Your friends and family can be great sources of understanding, love, and emotional support during this time.

Loved ones can give you honest insight into the behaviors you might’ve missed due to drinking, giving you a clearer picture of your alcohol consumption.

Be honest about where you’re at emotionally and physically, and have conversations with people you trust who can help to support you through this.

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings are great first-step strides in deciding if you have a drinking problem or not.

In most meetings, you have the option to simply observe and listen to the stories of other people dealing with alcohol addiction.

If you identify with some of the stories you hear, you might reflect on those ideas and feelings to decide why they resonated with you.

As you learn more about yourself and your experience with alcohol, AA meetings can provide a community of people who understand your situation.

Behavioral Therapy

If you prefer a more individualized setting, you can set up a meeting with a therapist or counselor who specializes in substance abuse.

Mental health professionals can help you with identifying:

  • drinking triggers
  • root causes of excessive drinking
  • ways to avoid drinking in social settings

Addiction Treatment

For those who feel they have an AUD or severe drinking problem, addiction treatment centers can provide a path to recovery.

An addiction treatment center will provide you or your loved one with trained and practiced medical care specific to those dealing with alcohol addiction.

Treatment options for AUD include the following:

Once you’ve finished one of the above programs, many treatment centers provide sober living homes, or connections with sober living homes, as a step-down option post-treatment.

Treating Alcohol Addiction At Spring Hill Recovery Center

We at Spring Hill Recovery Center offer many levels of addiction care to help you or a loved one recover from alcohol abuse.

Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and options.

  1. National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism (NIAAA) – Alcohol Awareness Month: Learn About Alcohol Use Disorder And Ways To Get Help
  2. National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism (NIAAA) – Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
  3. YouGov America – What Are Americans Giving Up For Lent 2021?

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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