Who's heard of FOMO!? The acronym FOMO (Fear of Missing Out is used a lot by people, but I have heard it way more often around women (like me) who are trying to quit alcohol. Here's how it always seemed to go: In the beginning, you’re thinking, "Everybody’s getting to drink, and I don’t. I'm afraid I'm gonna miss out!" I realized that "missing out" was what I was doing when I drank. That is a really big realization. So, how did I get there?
Well, I started asking myself: Sheri, what are you really missing out on?
You’re missing out on forgetting what happened last night.
You’re missing out on slurring your words, repeating stories over and over, forgetting what you were saying, drunk texting, driving under the influence, and making an ass out of yourself.
You’re missing out on the hangovers.
That’s so good!
You're missing out on the mental tug of war, debating, and bargaining with yourself, and decision fatigue. Should I have one (or two or ten) drinks? I'll only drink on the weekends. I'll drink a glass of water between drinks (which I could never stick to). Ugh, it's exhausting.
You're missing out on losing your inhibitions.
That's really good!
You're missing out on drinking empty calories (not to mention the stress you're putting on your body while it tries to process the alcohol), carrying extra weight, feeling puffy all the time, and compromising or even skipping workouts because you're hungover.
You’re missing out on silly fights with your significant other.
That’s really, really good!
You’re missing out on waking up at 3 AM with cotton mouth and being unable to get back to sleep.
YOU REMEMBER SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS!
It’s funny how we think we’re missing out by not drinking. After I answered the question, "What am I missing out on," there was no doubt in my mind; it was definitely the opposite. So if you are a little curious about what life is like without alcohol but have been afflicted by FOMO, here are a few things to consider.
Take a Step Back
When you step away from drinking alcohol, you give yourself time to debunk all the myths and beliefs instilled in your head by media, friends, family, and an alcohol-centered society.
When you put the booze down for a period of time, you free your mind to discover strategies that deprogram those thoughts that kept you drinking. Instead of alcohol being the center of attention, you can choose to do healthier things like self-care, learning something new, or exercising. Doing this lets you focus on what is really important in your life. And suddenly, you find true freedom -- that's where you find your JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out!
Give Yourself Some Time
The freedom of JOMO begins when you realize you never needed alcohol to do any of the things you thought you did. You can have fun and BE fun at social gatherings and even on vacation without alcohol! You can deal with your problems and relax in the evenings without booze! Embracing the joy of missing out means finding contentment in not always being part of everything, which allows you to find confidence, self-worth, authenticity, and deeper connections. It's a gradual process. Be patient. It takes time to get there, but trust me; you will.
Breaking the Cycle
Saying no to booze simplifies your life, decluttering and sparking joy, which can break the FOMO cycle. This creates space for genuine connections and personal growth. When you value yourself, accept your imperfections, and practice being grateful, you nurture JOMO by shifting your focus to the good things in your life and diminishing the fear of missing out. There's no more deprivation! Just the joy of missing out on all the consequences of ingesting a toxic substance.
Turn it Around
So when you start to feel the FOMO creeping in, stop yourself. Take a deep breath and flip those thoughts around. Think of all the things that you're gaining by not drinking. That's your JOMO. Once you start down this path, the appeal of alcohol will lose its power over you. You’ll be able to enjoy life without feeling like you're missing out.