How to Stop Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol addiction is a complicated problem. Millions of people around the world struggle with it, many for their entire lives. Alcoholism impacts every aspect of a person’s life. An alcoholic suffers mentally, emotionally and, ultimately, physically and once it’s takes a toll, almost everyone wants to know how to stop drinking alcohol.
Some of these methods were used by sober-today celebrities. And now we are exposing these methods to you. Read on:
There is no stereotypical portrait of an alcoholic. Men and women from all sorts of different racial, financial and educational backgrounds suffer from the same problem. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re looking for help for yourself or a loved one.
Seeking out information online is a great first step toward overcoming alcohol addiction. This brief guide will offer tips on how to stop drinking alcohol and explore the best route of treatment. You can also use this advice if you’re trying to help someone stop drinking.
First, let’s start off by defining alcoholism.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder?
According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, an estimated 3.2 percent of the Canadian population, about 886, 000 people, ages 15 and older had a drinking problem or were dependent on alcohol in 2012. The medical term for a severe drinking problem is “alcohol use disorder.”
AUD can also be referred to as alcoholism. Many people often struggle to discern whether or not they really have a drinking problem since alcohol consumption is so common in our society. Binge drinking, for example, is almost like a rite of passage for teenagers and college students.
Alcohol abuse disorder has to be diagnosed by a professional. Psychologists and psychiatrists use a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose their patients.
There are three levels of alcohol abuse disorder according to the DSM: mild, moderate and severe. In order to be diagnosed, a person must meet at least two of the 11 symptoms within a 12-month period.
The 11 Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse Disorder (DSM V)
- When you drink, you often consume more than you wanted to.
- You often try to stop drinking but can’t.
- You spend a lot of time trying to get alcohol, drinking or hungover.
- You often crave beer, wine or other types of alcohol.
- Your drinking has impacted your work and/or school performance and family life.
- Continued drinking even after negative effects on your social life.
- You still drink even though you know you might have a problem.
- You have built up a tolerance and require more alcohol to feel drunk and you feel sick without it.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? Most people want to avoid the word “alcoholic”, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. This is a word that can actually help you. Acceptance is the first step in figuring out how to stop drinking.
When you admit that you have a real disorder, it becomes much easier to seek out the right treatment. But why should you stop drinking? Let’s observe some of the ways alcoholism affects the body and mind.
The Effects of Alcoholism
We’ve all drank too much beer or had one too many glasses of wine before. When this happens, the worst thing that happens is a nasty headache the next morning; nothing a few hangover remedies can’t cure.
Constant drinking, on the other hand, can easily ruin a person’s life. Binge drinking doesn’t just cause financial strain; it pushes away family and friends, causes emotional distress and eventually costs you your health.
Has your alcohol problem caused you to lose people you love? Has your family and close friends stopped talking to you? The ones who are still around may constantly bring up your drinking or make you feel like an outsider because of your problem.
This type of emotional strain and isolation leads to depression. To deal with depression, people who already have a drinking problem tend to drink even more.
Let’s break down some of the most common side-effects of alcohol abuse. You have probably already experienced some of these. Knowing the others will give you a clearer view of why you should learn how to stop drinking as soon as possible.
Heavy drinkers aren’t usually happy people; it’s the reason most start drinking excessively in the first place. Learning how to stop drinking means coming face-to-face with all your demons. Alcohol addiction carries a variety of unpleasant emotions: failure for not being able to stop, depression over the loss relationships due to drinking, low self-esteem and so on.
There are no instant remedies for these feelings, but learning how to stop drinking alcohol involves learning how to solve problems and cope with your feelings in a healthy, productive way. Doing so will ensure that you’re able to tackle life’s challenges confidently and, most importantly, sober.
Heavy drinking has many negative side-effects on the body. In fact, alcohol contributed to 8 percent of all Canadian deaths (under age 70) in a study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Liver damage is by far one of the most dangerous and common side-effects of alcoholism.
The liver helps filter toxins out of the blood, break down fat and properly digest food. Too much alcohol can lead to liver disease, cirrhosis and increase the likelihood of liver cancer.
Alcoholism can also increase blood pressure and cause hypoglycemia. You may also experience digestive problems, short-term memory loss and even full blackouts. Many addicts are afraid that the alcohol withdrawal symptoms will be too much for them to handle, but while withdrawal ends within two weeks, the physical problems of long-term drinking last a lifetime.
Don’t let the health benefits of alcohol fool you. A glass of wine with dinner may promote a healthy heart, but so does eating right and exercising regularly. You can live a 100 percent healthy life alcohol-free.
Tips to Stop Drinking Alcohol on Your Own
Even if you plan to stop drinking on your own, most alcoholics can’t simply cut themselves off. People with real drinking problems usually won’t be able to resist the cravings or painful withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal can also be dangerous and should not be done unsupervised.
However, there are steps you can start taking today to cut back on your alcohol consumption. Following these self-help tips over time can help you cut your drinking down little by little and, ultimately, break your addiction.
Note: An alcohol rehab clinic is the best route for many people. Rehab clinics have professional alcohol detox programs overseen by trained medical staff who have experience working with substance abusers.
Weigh the Pros and Cons of Drinking
On a sheet of paper, draw a simple pros and cons table. Under pros, write what alcohol gives you. In the cons, write what it has taken away. This can be something as small as a few extra dollars spent on a beer last night or as large as a relationship.
If one of your pros is that alcohol helps you relax, one of your cons might be that your relaxation takes away from the time you could be spending with others. It also takes away your energy and keeps you from facing your problems.
Set Limits To Your Drinking
Trying to quit “cold turkey” usually doesn’t work for most people. Instead of refusing to drink at all, you should begin by setting limits. This helps you regain control bit by bit. You can start by assessing how much you drink per day.
If you drink 5 drinks a day, try cutting it down to three drinks per day and only with meals. Then, you can make a plan to only drink on the weekends. As time goes on, you can get your drinking down to just one alcoholic beverage per day.
In order to be successful, you will have to avoid bad influences. This means you have to distance yourself from your drinking buddies and make an effort to start hanging out with other people. It’s a great opportunity to try and reconnect with people who your alcoholism pushed away.
You should also keep a calendar on your fridge so you can mark off each day you’re successful in your limitations. If you slip up once, don’t worry. No need to scrap the whole thing. Just wait for the next day.
Form New Positive Habits
Most alcoholics develop a drinking routine. In order to stop drinking, you need to break your old habits and replace them with healthier alternatives. If you always drink at home after work in front of the TV, it’s time to unplug. Make a commitment to do a different activity to unwind. This can be going for a walk, writing, reading a book or spending time with family.
In the beginning, it’s a good idea to avoid long periods of free time alone. When you’re out in public or with friends (who are not heavy drinkers), you will find it much more difficult to indulge your old habits.
Tell Others About What You’re Doing
If you let other people know that you’re trying to stop drinking, you’ll feel more inclined to keep your word. A support system is vital to a successful alcohol recovery. You can tell your most trusted friends and family or even other drinking buddies who you know want to quit themselves.
Get a New Stress Reliever
It’s very hard to stop drinking at first because the stress makes you want to drink more. However, the most important thing to do when you first start your new recovery plan is to find a new outlet.
Running is an amazing way to focus all of your emotions into one activity. Taking up exercise as a form of stress relief is a great excuse to finally join a gym.
Some other healthy ways to relieve stress are:
- Photography. It’s artistic and gets you out of the house.
- Swimming. Water is soothing and you can get in shape while easing your anxiety.
- Writing. Keep a journal about your recovery or start creative writing.
- Music. Listening or playing an instrument can help calm your mind immensely.
- Cooking. Time to learn some new healthy recipes!
Note: It is normal for people who are dependent on alcohol to experience symptoms such as a headache, nausea and sweating when they start to detox. However, if you experience any of the following, you should seek emergency help either at the ER or a detox centre (our rehab, for example, has an inhouse withdrawal management where detox is done):
- Severe vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures or convulsions
- Extreme agitation
How to Stop Drinking Alcohol for Good
You aren’t hopeless. No matter how long you’ve been drinking or how many times you’ve failed to stop, today is a new opportunity.
You can save yourself from physical and emotional problems and start a new life, no matter what anyone else says. The best way to learn how to stop drinking is to admit you need help and reach out to those who can assist you.
Our rehab assists hundreds of people like you who are chained to Alcohol. Because we’re private and fee-based, we have the capacity to custom-tailor a powerful treatment plan just for you. This helps because when we attack the addiction from the root, our success rates go way up.
Give us a call today. It’s 100 percent free of charge. We’ll talk with you for as long as you want about our treatment plans, pricing and anything else you’re curious about. Recovery is a long, bumpy road; gaining information and prepping for the trip will make your journey much easier.
If you want to stop drinking, reading this guide means you’re already on the right path. Now you just have to take the next step. Make the choice to take your life back today.