Practical Ways to Stop Drinking

We Do Recover

For an alcoholic to stop drinking alcohol may be the best decision ever made, however it is easier said than done. Let us look at some practical ways to stop drinking.

Are You Completely Dependent on Alcohol?

If you are physically dependent on alcohol, you need to stop drinking under the supervision of a doctor.

In most cases, an experienced doctor would prescribe medication to ease an alcoholics withdrawal symptoms.  In serious cases, the alcoholic’s condition may be so bad that he or she has to be admitted to hospital for detoxification.

Alcohol withdrawal for someone who is addicted to alcohol can be dangerous, which is why medical supervision is necessary. The medication, usually Librium – which has the benefit of mimicking the effect alcohol has on the brain and so is very useful in alcohol detox, is there to assist the physical withdrawal from alcohol which can, in extreme cases, be fatal.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug use, reach out today for a confidential chat with a recovery expert. Most Medical Aid plans are accepted.
Rehab Helpline Get Help : 081 444 7000

Whilst we’re looking only at practical ways to stop drinking alcohol, it’s important to realise that the medication is only an aid; it is not a magic cure-all and addresses only the physical feature of the alcohol addiction.  The craving alcohol despite ongoing damage due to drinking is a mental process and needs to be addressed for alcoholism to effectively be in remission.

Practical Ways to Stop Drinking

Take the First Step – After you have taken this very important first step to stop drinking, you need to begin to develop a plan for yourself. Continually review your list of reasons why you want to stop drinking. Decide what minor changes will help you to change your lifestyle. One example could be that instead of driving past your local pub, you take a different route home so that you will not be tempted.

When you feel like a drink, make yourself wait another hour. Set a date for yourself to stop drinking. Share your plan with somebody else that will encourage and support you. As much as we need encouragement and support to stop drinking, it’s important that this person also hold you accountable. It’s no good just having all the love and support in the world and no consequences on the other side. A balanced approach is best. After all, we as alcoholics can’t expect our loved ones to stand by our sides and watch us commit slow motion, covert suicide through drinking, can we? That would be immensely unhealthy for them to do and at some point the people around alcoholics have to begin to stand back, create some distance and take care of themselves.

Ask for Help – Most people cannot do this on their own, so if you are dependent on alcohol, contact and we’ll help to get you into a local alcohol treatment centre. If you cannot afford to be an in-patient at a treatment centre, there may be other options available, such as joining a recovery group.

Statistics have proven that addicts can and do help each other. It is also really important for anyone who is serious about stopping drinking to establish a sober support network. Speak to your friends and family. They will want to help you to reach your goal. If necessary, enlist for counselling.

Keep a Journal – To stop drinking can be a struggle. At times, it’s all too easy to get gets lost in the process and forget about the good gains you’ve made. A journal helps you to evaluate your progress. It can provide an independent, external record of where you’ve been and how far you’ve travelled. Write down your realistic goals in your journal. Write down the number of drinks you consume each day or week and review your progress regularly.

Remove Alcohol from the Home -It is best not to have the temptation of alcohol within easy reach at home, as it is too easy to reach for the bottle if you’re having a difficult moment and the alcohol is easily available. The journey of sobriety is not an easy one and it is very easy to deceive yourself along the way. For this reason, it’s best to include some outside input in the form of an AA sponsor, an addictions counsellor or even group therapy. If you’re lucky enough to get into one of the alcohol rehab’s group therapy will be a staple part of the treatment. Often bonds that are forged in alcohol rehab are very different and somehow deeper than bonds we form with most other connections in our lives. If there are bottles of alcohol in the house mark your bottles so that you can see how quickly the alcohol level drops.

Try only to keep small amounts of alcohol if you are trying to cut back and be sure not to drink more than the recommended daily limits.

Slow Your Drinking Down – Pace Yourself – This seems easier said than done, but after a while it becomes a habit to pace yourself. When sipping a drink, taste each sip and focus on the taste, rather than throwing it back.       Alternate between an alcoholic beverage and a non-alcoholic drink. It is a good idea to have a glass of water for every drink you consume. Do not drink when you are hungry or thirsty, as you will drink more.

Start Drinking Later in the Day – Wait an extra half an hour from the time you usually have your first drink. Push it 10 minutes further back each day. Eventually there will not be much time for drinking before bed. Drink in moderation then if you have to. It defeats the object if you manage to push back your drinking time and then gulp twice the amount in half the time – that is no way to cut back or stop drinking.

Take a Break from Drinking – Sometimes alcoholics boast: “I can stop whenever I like,” This can be used as proof to the people around the active alcoholic. If I can stop whenever I like, I’m in control and I don’t need to stop. This rationalisation is very unhealthy. OK, so do not stress yourself, do it gradually. Choose a day of the week, which is your drink-free day. When you manage to achieve this regularly, increase it to twice a week. Build it up until you manage a week free of drink. Focus on how you feel on those weeks.

Avoid Temptation -consider what your ‘high risk’ circumstances are, which trigger the desire to drink. Try to avoid those situations as much as possible. If certain feelings are the triggers, find ways of replacing your coping mechanism of abusing alcohol. How about listening to uplifting music or going for a run? This might distract you from the urge to drink. Use whatever helps you. A few examples are sports, games, hobbies, or visiting friends.

Cut Back on Drinking – Exercise – The anxiety that causes you to fidget when you are trying to stop drinking can be channelled into exercise, which has additional benefits for your well-being. Join the local gym or a walking group or whatever most appeals to you. It is a good idea to do it with other people and to structure something on a regular basis. Joining other’s who are trying to get and keep healthy through exercise is a great way to meet new people who’ve no alcoholic background, thereby extending your social circle of non problem drinkers.

Reward Yourself – Do something you enjoy when you achieve a goal, no matter how small the goal or the reward. Use the money, which you usually spent on alcohol to reward yourself. Try using it for a massage or a facial or even put it towards a holiday!...

Persevere  – When you fail, do not give up. Start again. Alcohol abuse and problem drinking is a relapsing condition and everyone who’s become dependent on alcohol fails before they finally succeed. Giving up alcohol is a journey and a process. All the best wishes as you embark upon this courageous journey.

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