Drinking Too Much? 10 Best Ways to Stop Drinking Alcohol
Deciding to stop drinking alcohol can be a life-saving decision for people suffering from alcoholism. However, achieving sobriety is a long and challenging path with many ups and downs. In this post, we will outline 10 top ways to stop drinking alcohol and to make it stick.
- Have a plan
Before setting out on any journey, it is important to have a clear plan in place. Things will change and that is fine. However, having a clear idea of how you will achieve your goal is vital if you are going to successfully give up alcohol. Set a date for when you will stop drinking and have it placed prominently. For heavy drinkers, in particular, it is important to consult a doctor before completely detoxing, as full abstention from alcohol can be fatal for the heaviest drinkers.
- Clear the alcohol out
Temptation is much harder to fight when it is permanently on offer. When you have got to the stage where you can stop drinking completely, you should throw the alcohol out. There is something cathartic and symbolic about pouring it away. Without it in the house, you also add an extra obstacle between your urges becoming a reality. This is a vital and simple step to make things easier on yourself.
- Understand your triggers
We can get urges to drink because of internal and external reasons, we call triggers. Recognizing what these are for us personally is vital when trying to stay sober and resist urges as they arise. Internal triggers include things like emotions and thoughts. It might be negative thought or positive events. External triggers could be places (eg. bars), the weather, certain people, etc. Make a note of these in your plan, you will need to avoid these as much as possible and entirely in the early days.
This article looking at Why Do People Drink Alcohol, explains that we typically drink because of the feeling of euphoria that it brings. Alcohol helps us to feel good, to be more positive and confident, and to avoid any stresses or worries that we might have. But, these feelings aren’t real. We’re using alcohol as a smokescreen. We’re trying to avoid our real feelings. This doesn’t mean that they go away. In fact, it usually just makes things worse. Understanding this, and why you reach for the bottle, can help you to give up.
- Seek support
It is important to communicate with those closest to you about your addiction if possible. With their help, it will be easier to maintain sobriety when things get hard. They can help you make changes that will last and support you when you’re down. It is also important to seek external support. This could be from professionals or support groups of people going through the same thing. Ideally, your support network will include professionals, support groups, and your nearest and dearest.
Alcohol addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. It affects one in 10 households in the USA and results from changes to the brain brought on by the addiction. Communicating openly with others helps to broaden your support network. This makes it easier to get help whenever you are finding things particularly challenging.
- Eat healthily
Good nutrition is vital in the recovery process for alcoholics. Not only does it help your body recover, but it can also improve your mental wellbeing too. Healthy eating will help keep your energy levels up too. This will help combat depression, anxiety, and feelings that might trigger a relapse.
- Keep fit
As they say, a healthy body is a healthy mind. Exercise is a great way to improve your physical health with incredible benefits for your mental wellbeing. Indeed, research shows the wide-ranging benefits of exercise for physical and mental health. Try to build it into a daily routine and add things slowly. Things that become routine are much easier to continue than things we rely on self-motivation to achieve.
- Choose healthy activities
If we go to a restaurant or a bar, then resisting temptation is going to be hard. However, there are so many different activities we can do to socialize where temptation is much further away. From healthy retreats to countryside camping, playing sport, and taking up writing, there are hundreds of activities to choose from where alcohol will be the last thing on your mind whilst you do it.
- Check in on your progress
How have you done towards the date you set yourself? How closely have you stuck to your plan? When have you noticed feeling triggered? What caused a relapse or a close call? Write everything down. This way you can build on successes and avoid risky situations where things have gone wrong. Alcoholism is lifelong so it is important to track your changes over time.
- Be good to yourself
If you have given up alcohol, you will likely find you have more spare money than before. This means it is an ideal time to spoil yourself. You should do this regularly and whenever you are finding things hard. It can be used to support your fitness planning or simply to relax.
Getting sober takes time. Staying sober takes even longer. However, there are tangible benefits that will fats become clear if you follow these 10 top tips to stop drinking alcohol.