You’ve decided to stop drinking alcohol. Maybe you have attempted to stop before but have been unsuccessful, or perhaps this is your first decision to stop. The very first step to quit drinking alcohol is to seek professional help.
You might think that you can stop drinking alcohol on your own without professional help, but alcohol addiction is a mental illness. Alcohol changes the way our brain functions and this is why professional help is needed.
There may be many reasons why you are choosing to stop drinking alcohol. One reason could be weight gain. Alcoholic beverages contain many “empty” calories and deciding to stop drinking alcohol can help you shed pounds and live a healthier lifestyle. Or perhaps you have realized that your drinking behaviors are harmful to yourself or others and you need to gain your life back.
Other reasons you may have chosen to stop drinking alcohol include: desire to lead a healthy and sober lifestyle, religious reasons, taking other medications that require you to stop drinking, and many others.
Whatever personal motivation you choose to stop drinking, let it guide you to seek the help you need. And it’s okay if you don’t have a personal motivation. Sometimes, you may be in denial that there is a problem while others around you are asking you to stop your drinking behaviors. The best thing you can do in this situation is to be evaluated professionally by a psychologist, doctor, etc. They can help evaluate your drinking behaviors and patterns. They can then guide you in the next course of action.
What Not To Do
Never stop drinking “cold turkey”, but seek professional help immediately. Your friend might have tried to stop cold turkey and was successful. Your uncle may have stopped drinking cold turkey and never drank again. But your situation is unique from everyone else. And stopping cold turkey on your own without professional help is a huge risk to your health and safety.
If you stop drinking immediately (without professional monitoring) you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Severe withdrawal symptoms include: tremors, headache, irritability, confusion, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, fever, hallucinations, seizures, or other complications that can lead to death.
When you attend a rehab facility, you still may experience withdrawal symptoms but you will be under the care and supervision of medical professionals. They will be there to help you through the detox process and can monitor your progress in a safe and caring environment.
How can you stop drinking alcohol? Here are some quick tips to help you along your journey:
1. Attend Rehab
By choosing to attend a rehab facility, you are putting yourself first. We tend to put many things before ourselves: jobs, family, school, and other activities. When you put yourself first and focus on getting better, many other aspects of your life will fall into place. The CDC recommends attending a 90-day inpatient rehab as it doubles your rates of success. Seeking professional help is the best and most effective way to stop drinking.
2. Have Accountability
Before and after rehab, make your intentions known to family and friends. Let those around you know that you are quitting drinking alcohol. Establishing your intentions can help build accountability between you and your friends and family.
3. Avoid Temptations
You will encounter many situations that involve alcohol (your buddy wants you to grab a few drinks at the bar to watch the game, your family invited you to a holiday party that involves alcohol, or your friends want to take you out for a drink after work). While avoiding alcohol in every situation is unrealistic, you may want to consider avoiding temptations to increase your chances of maintaining sobriety. Try to pick other alternative activities that do not involve alcohol. You may even need to avoid or distance yourself from friends or family who influence you negatively.
4. Identify Your Triggers
If you have tried to stop drinking in the past but have been unsuccessful, try to identify your triggers. Did you attend an event involving alcohol and give in? Did you forget to mention to your partner or loved ones that you have decided to stop drinking? Was alcohol still prevalent in your home? Did your friends or significant other encourage or pressure you to keep drinking? Did you feel guilty if you weren’t drinking with friends? Try to identify your triggers and what derailed your progress the last time and try not to make those mistakes again.
5. Be Kind To Yourself
Sobriety is a journey and it’s the steps forward we take day by day that make us stronger. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up after rehab or have a few setbacks. Recognize that no one is perfect and that sobriety is a journey. Surrounding yourself with others that support your sober lifestyle is a great way to stay on track. Attending outpatient programs that can keep you strong during your sobriety journey are great aftercare options. Be kind to yourself and take life one day at a time.
If you are struggling from an alcohol addiction, now is the time to seek help. Our caring and compassionate staff will answer any questions you may have. We are here for you. Contact us today.