How to Stop Drinking
Alcohol is sneaky and dangerous. At first, it gives you freedom from all the worries and stress, but then gradually it deprives you of your ability to get pleasure and happiness from other activities. No one starts drinking to later become dependent on alcohol. Yet, it eventually happens to almost everyone. How to stop drinking before it is too late? Today, we are going to share some tips for quitting drinking.
Before we move on to helpful tips on how to quit drinking, we want you to find a real motivation for quitting drinking. After all, the desire to abandon the use of the alcoholic periodicity arises even among long-term alcoholics. However, all these attempts are for the most part unsuccessful because deep down they are not ready to say no to alcohol or do not fully understand what it does to their life.
Alcohol dependence and addiction do not happen overnight. Thus, all attempts of friends and relatives telling one how to stop drinking will be in vain until this person sees the need for it himself. So before you quit drinking, try to understand if you really need and desire it. Just answer a few simple questions:
- Has life become better or worse with alcohol in your life? What have you accomplished? Did your plans and dreams become reality?
- Have you become happier and more satisfied with yourself?
- Are your problems truly gone? Or do you have to drink more and more to forget about them?
- Do you notice the song of the birds, stars in the sky, the warm wind? Do you find happiness and joy anywhere besides a glass of alcohol?
- Did you see yourself drunk? Maybe you have a photo or video? Do you like what you see?
If your happiness depends on alcohol, it is not surprising. Ethanol (aka alcohol) is a toxic, no-nonsense substance. After getting into a person’s body, it stimulates increased production of endorphin – a hormone of pleasure. As a result, the nerve cells lose the ability to produce it themselves, and the person loses the ability to enjoy life without this substance, becoming angry, irritated, etc.
How to stop drinking?
If you decided that alcohol should no longer be the center of your life and want to learn how to stop drinking, then continue reading.
- Imagine how you want to see yourself in the future. Set yourself a goal, and then make a plan for the coming weeks. Perhaps you have long dreamed of learning to swim? Or wanted to learn another language? Remember what you dreamed about as a child.
- Get support. Ask for help, whether it is from friends, relatives, psychologists, doctors, or other specialists. Do not forget about online or physical support groups for people like you. Read real stories of alcoholics about quitting drinking. How did they go through this stage in their life? How do they spend their time now? What helped them to stay on the right path?
- Turn for professional help. Do not be afraid to contact a specialized center for the treatment of alcoholism. Only with the help of knowledgeable and experienced professionals, quitting drinking will be effective and will take place with the least emotional and energy costs. Do not forget that the whole family of the addict and their immediate surrounding suffers from the problem. Professional psychologists will help you get out of codependency, overcome fears, and understand each other.
- Get rid of the temptation. Throw out the empty bottles, your favorite beer glass, and change your surroundings. You can re-arrange the furniture or temporarily move to a place that does not remind you of your alcoholic past, such as a sober house. It is also desirable to change who you interact with. Why do you need drinking buddies if you want to become a different person?
- Find enjoyable activities. One of the reasons for drinking is disappointment in the outside world, lack of interests and hobbies, communication, and development. An excellent way to get rid of alcohol addiction is to use a replacement technique. Instead of a glass – jogging, instead of a lonely evening watching the TV in the company of strong drinks – cooking, drawing, horseback riding or any other classes, going to the cinema, meeting with friends. Try to fill the time you spent drinking before with other activities. With a little practice, you may become more aware of all the positive things that surround you.
- Get active. The rehabilitation period after undergoing medical and psychological treatment in a specialized center will be more effective if physical activities appear in your life. No, we are not talking about conquering Everest or making new world records. It is very likely that your body might not be ready for serious physical activity. Start slowly and sign up to attend the gym, yoga, dancing, bowling, or any other activity to keep yourself accountable and motivated. You can also find a buddy for morning jogging or bike riding.
- Don’t let yourself “relax” even during celebrations. It is better to replace alcoholic beverages with a tasty and healthy juice, tea, or another drink according to taste. Come up with reasons not to drink if you know you will be in a place where you will be tempted to drink. If it’s too hard to say no, you can ask all those present to make you a company and spend the evening without alcohol or forego the celebration if possible.
- Do not feel guilty. If you have already made up your mind to quit drinking, avoid the first glass at all cost because it will be followed by the second, third, etc. Yet, if you did break down and had that glass of wine, then just admit it and try not to let such a situation happen again. Strong feelings of guilt will make you want to drink, to forget.
- Reward yourself. It is very important to make yourself feel good after every small step toward alcohol-free life. Instead of a bottle of beer or water, order your favorite food at the restaurant, go to a football match, etc.
- Believe in yourself. Finally, and most importantly, don’t give up hope. Believe in yourself, not your addiction: you are NOT powerless over alcohol – alcohol is powerless over you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise because it is a state of powerlessness that will lead you to a lifelong struggle with alcohol. Recognize the fact that you have the right to decide whether you drink alcohol or a glass of juice. Remember, self-confidence is the foundation for learning how to stop drinking. You must have faith in yourself and that you CAN do it. DO NOT focus on your mistakes, past or present. Today, YOU are in control, not alcohol. Look in the mirror and you will see someone who can change your life for the better! From the moment you search for advice on how to stop drinking and throughout the entire rehabilitation period, you need to believe that you can do it no matter how hard it is or might seem.