The decision to stop drinking alcohol is a big one and most of us rarely come to that decision easily. Often it’s fraught with jail time, drunk-driving charges, alienation of family and friends, job loss, and even significant health problems. It’s either we stop drinking or we die. The choice, although seemingly simple, is not easy. Addiction is elusive.
There are a number of ways to stop drinking; calling a doctor, contacting a support group, and even setting a date to stop drinking. Of course the last one is passive and more times than not, rarely works. There are those fortunate souls who can stop drinking on their own, but most need help in one way or the other. Check out this How to Stop Drinking Infographic we found for a visual guide on their tips.
Benefits of Stopping Alcohol Abuse
- Prevent or reduce health problems that are made worse by alcohol use, such as liver damage.
- Prevent harm to your unborn baby if you are pregnant.
- Reduce related family concerns or relationship problems.
- Increase your ability to be productive at work, school, and home.
- Reduce legal problems that you might have as a result of misuse of alcohol.
Resources to Help you Stop Drinking Alcohol
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Alcoholics Anonymous organizes meetings all over the world to help those who have a desire to stop drinking. The groups are made up of people who have had alcohol use problems, and you may remain anonymous.
- Family medicine physicians or other doctors, psychologists, or other health professionals.
- Alcohol Treatment Centers. Inpatient or outpatient treatment centers or hospitals.
Steps to Stop Drinking Alcohol
- Identify your reasons. List the reasons to stop drinking alcohol. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you complete the list, and keep it to renew your commitment from time to time. This is also a helpful list to help you identify reasons to continue not using alcohol.
- Share your plan with others. Trusted family members and friends are people to share your plan with before and after getting clean and sober. By letting them know the plan, you can set up ways in which they can help you succeed.
- Evaluate your progress. Identify when you will evaluate your progress, as 30 days is a great start. 30 days is a good amount of time to start new behaviors, turning them into habits. Go back and review your list, and write down the benefits you see. Remember, if you’ve relapsed, you can start over. The goal is to keep trying. Often times it takes more than one shot at this.
- Continue your new behaviors. After trying this plan for 30 days, try it for another 30 days. Some days you might even have to take it 24 hours at a time, as there are stresses that seem insurmountable. When those days happen, just stop what you’re doing and take a breather. It is not easy to change behavior, but the more you practice new behaviors, the more likely they will become habits.
Avoiding Relapse in Your Plan to Stop Drinking Alcohol
- Avoid stumbling blocks. Many things can interfere with meeting your goal to cut down on or stop drinking. You might need to choose new friends or a new lifestyle if your current life revolves around alcohol use. To stay focused on your goal and succeed, see ideas to help you stop using alcohol on your own.
- Attend a self-help group. Some people attend self-help groups to help them stick to their plan to cut down on or stop drinking. If you are not sure whether a self-help group is for you but would like to try, go to a group at least 3 times before you make your decision. There are different types of groups (such as men or women only, discussion, and speaker). Go to another group if the first one does not fit your needs.
- Reward yourself. Use the money you once spent on drinking to do something fun with your family or friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, or play sports or a game.
If you feel you do more than abuse alcohol, like you are addicted to it, seek help from your doctor. You might need to have a medically supervised detoxification, and if that’s the case, you can contact Pat Moore Foundation. With our help you can withdraw from alcohol much more safely.