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How to Stop Drinking Alcohol


How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

If you are addicted to alcohol, ‘getting into recovery’ may seem like an impossible goal. Whilst it’s certainly not easy to defeat your alcoholism, even if you attend an alcohol rehab center, it certainly isn’t an unobtainable goal. Simply put, you must be willing to seek out support from others.

It’s unlikely you will succeed alone. However, whilst support from others is essential, you must also possess a burning internal desire to succeed in your recovery. If you possess external resources and internal motivation, then you can succeed in your recovery. This was a major realization for many of us at Rehab 4 Alcoholism when we attended alcohol rehab in London.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we believe you can succeed in your recovery without experiencing rock bottom. Many people will not seek to enter recovery until they have inflicted a massive amount of damage on their health, relationships, and career. We believe this is unnecessary, and we believe you can stop drinking alcohol without the need to hit rock bottom. In this guide, we explain how this is possible.

Quick ways to enter recovery

Some quick and sure-fire ways to enter recovery include:
  1. Knowing your addiction triggers and avoid them when possible
  2. Avoiding associates and past friends who encourage your addictive behaviors
  3. Attend a residential treatment facility whilst you detox and rehabilitate
  4. Attend mutual support groups
  5. Get a sponsor
  6. Improve your health by taking regular exercise and by eating well

Whilst the above is all well and good, many of these items do require ongoing effort. You might be wondering how you can tackle your recovery today. Whilst recovery really is a lifelong pursuit, there are some issues you can get to work on today and right away.

Generally, the first obstacle you must overcome is denial. For many people considering sobriety, denial is a series obstacle that gets in the way. Overcoming denial means admitting up to the fact that you have a drinking problem, and that continuing to drink is not going to solve that problem.

For many people, the most difficult psychological hurdle for entering recovery is overcoming a powerful sense of inertia and ambivalence towards stopping drinking. You may promise yourself that you will stop drinking ‘next week’, but ‘next week’ never seems to arrive.

Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of drinking alcohol

One valuable exercise to increase your initial motivation to stop drinking involves tallying up the advantages and disadvantages of continuing to drink. If the disadvantages outweigh the advantages (and it most certainly will), then you can logically conclude that you are not acting in your own best interests by continuing to drink alcohol.

Some of the benefits of continuing to drink alcohol include:
  1. You may be more fun and social when you drink
  2. Drinking allows you to relax and unwind
  3. Drinking allows you a means of forgetting about your problems

When you analyse the benefits you derive from drinking alcohol, it’s always worthwhile identifying other activities that help you achieve the same benefits but do not involve drinking alcohol. This allows you to substitute an unhealthy activity with a healthier alternative. For instance, you may take up meditation as a way of taking your mind off your problems, or you may attend social activities that do not involve alcohol. This will allow you to achieve the benefits of drinking alcohol without actually drinking alcohol.

Now we outline some of the possible benefits you will gain by not drinking alcohol:
  1. Your family life will improve
  2. You will feel more energetic and mentally aware
  3. You will have more time to invest in other activities that promote good health and finances
  4. You will avoid drinking-related depression and anxiety
  5. Your job performance will improve

After considering the costs of drinking versus the benefits of not drinking, we hope you will conclude that it’s obvious that you should stop drinking alcohol without delay.

Goal setting and stopping drinking

Now, we discuss the fine art and science of goal setting. Setting goals provides you with a logical pathway to sobriety.

Below we list a number of useful goals that promote sobriety:
  1. I will stop drinking alcohol
  2. I will stop drinking alcohol on this date
  3. I will count the days I do not drink alcohol
  4. I will find activities that allow me to experience the benefits of drinking alcohol without actually drinking alcohol

When you write up your goal targets, consider what your ‘end goal’ may be. For instance, some of you will simply wish to cut back, whilst others will wish to stop drinking alcohol altogether.

When you formulate your goals, make your goals known to your friends and loved ones. This helps you commit to achieving your goals. Also, make your old ‘drinking buddies’ aware of your abstinence.

You will also need to make a note of all the bad influences and temptations in your life that threaten the achievement of your goals. For instance, you may wish to avoid certain people and places, since exposure to these temptations is likely to weaken your resolve to stay alcohol-free.

Pro tip: One tip is to reflect on past experiences. What caused you to drink alcohol in the past? Then consider what you can do to avoid these temptations completely.

Cutting back vs. complete abstinence

You may wonder whether it’s best to cut down on your drinking or give up entirely. If you suffer from alcoholism, then the obvious answer is that you must seek to stop drinking altogether. This is because you are simply unable to control your drinking.

Even if you are a ‘social drinker’, we would argue a strong case for giving up altogether. Recent studies cast doubt on the theory that moderate drinking is ‘good for you’. In fact, the UK Government now says there is ‘no such thing as healthy drinking’. It’s now well established that even moderate drinking can cause cancer.

If you wish to attempt to merely cut back on your drinking, we urge you to follow these guidelines:
  1. Set a limit on how much you drink. This should be a daily limited and a weekly/monthly limit. This limit should generally not exceed one alcoholic drink per day, perhaps no more than twice a week. If you struggle to meet this target, consider stopping drinking altogether as this is a clear sign that you cannot control your drinking
  2. Maintain a drinking diary or log your progress in an app. This reinforces the first guideline above. If you do not maintain a diary of how much you drink, it’s unlikely you will know with any certainty whether or not you have exceeded the limits you have set
  3. Remove alcohol from your home. This will prevent you from drinking alcohol merely because ‘it’s there’
  4. Stop drinking alcohol entirely, even if it’s for one or two weeks. The longer you can quit, the better. This means you don’t view ‘stopping’ as a ‘forever thing’. This makes your abstinence goal more approachable

How to stop drinking alcohol

We will assume you will aspire to stop drinking entirely. However, simply stopping is not as simple as it may sound. For instance, if you suffer from alcoholism, it’s likely you will require an alcohol detox programmer. Why? Because abruptly stopping drinking could cause you to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, shaking, sweating, headaches, anxiety, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and seizure.

These symptoms generally occur within hours after you stop drinking. A structured detox programmer will mean you are given medication to help offset these symptoms safely and in a medically controlled fashion. Please be aware that an uncontrolled withdrawal is both highly discomforting and even life threatening.

Some withdrawal symptoms require you to seek out emergency medical assistance. These symptoms include fever, hallucinations, convulsions, severe vomiting and extreme convulsions. These symptoms may mean you are experiencing a condition known as delirium tremens. This is a medical emergency and could lead to death if not correctly and immediately treated.


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