How To Stop Drinking Alcohol?
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As per a WHO Report published in 2018, alcohol addiction kills 3 million people every year, either due to health-related problems or due to drunken driving. Alcohol consumption kills 6,000 people every day across the world. This report also emphasised the fact that one of the foremost challenges confronting the Indian society at large is to minimise the episodes of heavy (binge) drinking among teenagers. These statistics are indeed frightening and highlight the need for taking urgent action in this direction in our country.
So, it becomes vital to find out how you can overcome your addiction to alcohol. It is certainly not as easy as it sounds. Overcoming alcohol addiction can be very difficult, but if managed with the right steps, it could be easier. Even after you succeed in committing yourself to give up consumption of alcohol, you might find it extremely difficult to fulfil your promise. You might feel the cravings too hard to resist!
Hence, the road to recovery is indeed a tough one. But you can begin by analysing the pros and cons of drinking. This can help you be more clear about the reasons why you want to quit drinking alcohol and what comes in your way in this process.
1. Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Drinking
You need to sit and analyse the benefits of quitting and the shortcomings of continuing alcohol consumption. You might say that drinking alcohol helps you forget your problems and thus relieves stress. It might also give you a satisfying feeling.
But, you need to understand that if you quit alcohol, you will save money and time which you can spend on improving your relationships and investing in activities which you had ignored up until now. Therefore, quitting will help you to improve your way of living with your co-workers and family members. Definitely, you will save money as well.
2. Establish Your Goals
Having conducted this evaluation, you can now decide to quit or lessen your drinking habit. You have to be clear about your choice. In case, you decide to quit then seeking the consultation of a professional therapist or a counsellor is recommended depending on how severe the addiction is.
On the other hand, if you decide to reduce your drinking, then you will have to set realistic goals which can be regulated and controlled. For instance, if you had been drinking 2 glasses of alcohol for 5 days a week you can reduce it to 3 days a week and only 1 glass per day.
This can be difficult to achieve within a week, but practice can make it better. But you must monitor your consumption, and if you are unable to control your drinking, then you must seek professional advice.
Now having decided whether you want to quit or reduce your drinking habit, you will have to prepare a list of ideas which will help you in achieving your goals.
- Make Your Goals Loud and Clear
Primarily, family members and co-workers should know that you have decided to reduce drinking or quitting. So they will not promote or drink in front of you.
- Avoid triggers
Avoid going to places, meeting people or doing activities that trigger your cravings to drink.
- Learn from Your Past Experience
Remember your past experiences when you might have tried to quit drinking but could not do so and hence, your condition relapsed.
- Overcome Your Temptations
Ensure that you remove all alcohol bottles and other items related to drinking from the household.
3. Reducing Alcohol Intake or Quitting Altogether
How long you have been drinking alcohol will decide the future course of action. Whether you should reduce your intake of alcohol or should quit will depend entirely on your drinking history. If you have been drinking heavily then it will be very difficult to quit entirely even after committing yourself and will mostly require a counsellor to address this problem. However, if you recognise the problem of alcohol addiction and want to tackle it by first reducing your intake of drinks, then you should abide by the following tips at hand.
- List Your Drinking Goals
You will have to maintain a diary or a notepad, or you can even note it down in the notes application of your smartphone, outline your drinking goals to reduce your intake in say two to three months’ time. You have to constantly remind yourself to reduce your intake of alcohol.
- Keep Track of Your Drinking
Here again, you will need to take help of your notepad and write down when was the last time you drank alcohol and its quantity, say two drinks on this particular date. This will provide a real picture of your intake of alcohol and might even surprise you!
- Take Steps to Reduce Drinking at Home
In this step, your family members can certainly help you. They can help ensure that no drinks are arranged at any social gatherings at home. You can tell your family members to look after you and remove any items such as wine bottles or soda associated with drinking from home.
- Drink Slowly
This is a very effective step when you decide to regulate your drinking habit. For instance, if you are drinking and have just begun with your first drink, then you must take at least half an hour or more to finish that drink.
Also, never drink on an empty stomach as it can be extremely detrimental to your health. Moreover, ensure that you drink lemonade or take any other liquids in between your drinks.
4. Treatments Options Available for Dealing With Alcohol Addiction
The history of alcohol consumption will decide whether you need external help (therapist or professional counsellor) to overcome this addiction. Some of the prominent treatment options available are the following:
- Intensive outpatient programme
- Partial hospitalisation
- Residential treatment
It is to be noted that the treatment option will vary from individual to individual and might also be customised to suit the respective requirement and condition. It is possible that you might also have to avail the service of a rehabilitation centre to deal with health-related, psychological and social issues.
5. Withdrawing Safely and Managing Cravings
You might have noticed that while attempting to reduce your drinking habit, you face some withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, shaking, anxiety, cramps in the stomach and increased blood pressure. This happens because continuous drinking brings about chemical changes in the brain which leads to changes in the organs of the human body.
Moreover, you might also have to handle the cravings for drinking. One easy way of doing this is to first note down the time when you feel the urge to drink, then, have some lemonade or coconut water in its place. You can also distract yourself to overcome this craving of drinking.
6. Handling Setback from the Road to Recovery
It is quite natural that you might relapse back to the same condition again. Here the family’s support is required to remind you that it is okay to fail sometimes and motivate you to commit again to achieve the goal of no alcohol. In case, you tend to drink again, ensure that you remove yourself from the setting which tempted you to drink. Do not let the feeling of guilt make you drink again to overcome that feeling. Just ensure to contact your professional counsellor or doctor in case you feel that you are unable to resist drinking.
The above discussion highlights the need of helping you to overcome this problem which will definitely give you a new lease of life. The road to recovery is certainly difficult, but the journey can be endured with your conviction and the support of your family members and well-wishers.