Welcome to the next chapter in your life!
How to Stop Drinking Alcohol and Beat Your Alcohol Addiction
If you have found your way here, you’ve already taken the first step to beat your alcohol addiction. Why? Because you have decided that you need a change and you want to learn how to stop drinking alcohol and get your life back on track. So, congratulations on recognizing that you have a problem and you’re looking for ways in which to solve it – step 1 has been accomplished!
Your ultimate goal is clear, but perhaps you’re the type that needs to accomplish it in small steps, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
For instance, maybe you want to start by wanting to stop drinking every night. First things first: be realistic. Educate yourself as much as possible with the benefits of quitting drinking, but also its side effects. Knowing these and more will only help you and increase your chances of getting sober. Learn what happens when you don’t drink for a week or a month. Get familiar with medical help available to ease the side effects, as well as numerous home remedies.
What You Can Expect When You Stop Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol addiction can be tough to overcome, so know it won’t be an easy road. Expect bumps along the way. Expect to question yourself many times each day. Expect to want to get just one drink in you – and often. Anyone who has ever been addicted to any substance can, to some degree, understand how difficult it is to stop drinking alcohol.
But can they really understand alcohol addiction? Alcohol is all around you. It’s not even like smoking because now, smoking is prohibited in any social setting. You can’t smoke in a restaurant anymore, nor in a bar with your favorite alcoholic beverage, and not in your car if you have children riding along with you. Heck, you probably can’t smoke in your home either, for one reason or another. But alcohol is a different story…
Alcohol is in your fridge, your cabinet, your local bar, your favorite restaurant, in your best friend’s home and even your mother’s home! It’s everywhere, and it’s accepted everywhere. We celebrate with alcohol. We socialize with alcohol. We cook with alcohol. We give bottles of wine or champagne as gifts when invited to dinner at someone’s home. We simply can’t escape alcohol.
So, we have to learn how to live with alcohol all around us, but also, how to stop drinking alcohol because we allowed it to destroy us. We got carried away and let it control us. Now, we have to turn the tables around and take control of our alcohol addiction.
When you decided to seek out information about quitting alcohol, you made a great decision. It shows that you are at least preparing to retake control.
For starters, you need to be prepared for what’s to come. There’s the physical withdrawal and then, if that’s not enough, the difficult part of dealing with everyday life and the psychological issues it comes with when you stop drinking alcohol. There is a timeline involved, like body repair after quitting, and of course, weight loss. The benefits of quitting will increase, day after day, week after week, and so on.
The common side effects of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
- Trouble concentrating
- Vomiting, nausea
These symptoms will increase and peak by the second day after not having had a drink. Typically, day 3 will be slightly better, and you will get better each day.
However, severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, known as Delirium Tremens, could include fever, severe vomiting, episodes of hallucinations, convulsions or seizures, and confusion. These symptoms require immediate medical attention.
Implement a Plan
Whatever the case, you need a plan to quit alcohol and beat addiction. Are you afraid of the question many people ask: can you die if you stop drinking alcohol cold turkey? In other words, what happens when you quit alcohol suddenly? Well, it depends on your health, and how long you’ve been a drinker, but also how much you typically drank.
Your quit drinking alcohol plan should be well thought out, at least to some extent. However, it may be difficult for you to implement a thorough plan when your brain is all foggy, and you’re not feeling, shall we say, in tip-top shape. Perhaps you can take a quit drinking quiz and see how you do.
Give yourself a few days to detox and think of why you want to quit drinking. Look in the mirror and say, “I want to stop drinking alcohol because ___________________ (fill in the blank). There are many reasons to stop drinking alcohol, but they are different for everyone. Use the internet to help you by looking at others who quit and posted before and after pictures. Notice how good they look in the after pictures – that could be YOU, soon!
Then, grab a paper and pen and write a list of reasons why you want to stop drinking. (Think of your goals). Keep this paper with you and read over and over every day. Even if you aren’t ready to quit drinking at this moment, it will act and be a reminder as to what you want out of life, and what you can get out of it if alcohol is out of the picture. Consider health reasons to quit drinking because, in life, the most important thing is your health.
Ways to Quit Alcohol
There are many ways to stop drinking alcohol and perhaps you’ve tried a few. Don’t be ashamed that you didn’t succeed the first or even the second time. It’s rare that people succeed that fast at such a huge lifestyle change the first time around. Where you did achieve success is when you made the call to want to quit and that you tried. Don’t give up.
For instance, there are the traditional 12-step-programs like AA that have helped so many people. But, just like all people are different, these programs may not be right for you. There is no real universal best way to stop drinking alcohol. The best way is the way that helps you stop drinking!
What about the Magic Pill to Stop Drinking Alcohol?
There also exists medication to stop drinking alcohol and reduce cravings. Such medicine is FDA approved, and together with support, you can quit drinking. One example of pills to stop drinking alcohol is Naltrexone. Doctors can also prescribe other medication to help you with any aches and pains and to prevent seizures, which are all side effects of quitting drinking.
Alternatively, there is over the counter medication, like supplements that help minimize cravings to reduce or quit drinking, which is available online and in stores.
You may also consider how to stop drinking alcohol on your own, but that may not always be a wise choice. There’s no shame in looking for support, and speaking of which, you should have some support to help you through the physical withdrawals of quitting drinking. The side-effects could include nausea, high blood pressure, seizures, and more. And if you’re not in good health, you may require medical attention. Which brings us back to whether you should even consider to stop drinking alcohol cold turkey.
The Best Addiction Treatment
Again, there’s no magic and universal solution that works for everyone. So, choosing the best addiction treatment would require examining your own needs to find the ideal program. You are unique and so too are your problems, situation, and thus, your program.
You’ll need to learn how to cope with life without the bottle, especially within the first six months. We can’t avoid stress altogether, so coping skills need to be developed to deal with situations that involve stress, whether it comes from work or personal life. You will also need to learn how to deal with the alcohol cravings, and a good plan or treatment will prepare you.
Dealing with alcohol cravings is not going to be easy. One method that can help you is to make excuses and bring to mind reasons not to drink. Remember how good you feel versus how awful you felt when you drank. Think of how your relationships are improving without drinking and how the booze destroyed so many relationships. Keep reminding yourself of all the benefits of quitting drinking as well as all the destruction that alcohol abuse brought to your life.
Setbacks in alcohol recovery are very common but don’t make excuses that open the door to more relapses. Most trying to achieve sobriety will relapse, and if you do, never give up. That may be one failure in 60 days of successful sobriety. Instead of seeing the slip up in a negative way, look at it as a way to learn from that situation which led you to have a drink. The more you learn, and the more committed you’ll be to sobriety, the less chance there’ll be for you to experience future relapses.
If you relapse, know that it’s not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your objective to quit drinking. Instead, keep telling yourself that it was just a small relapse that doesn’t need to continue. Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes, and you cannot allow yourself to feel guilty and ashamed of your actions because negative emotions will stop you from getting back on track. Quickly dispose of the alcohol and call someone you rely on for support.