I think I need to stop drinking. Has this thought ever crossed your mind? Many people reach a point where they begin questioning their drinking habits and wonder if they might be an alcoholic. Maybe you are a functioning alcoholic? Most people do not decide to quit drinking completely without a catalyst like the loss of a spouse, a job or a physical injury or illness. For others, they may recognize that they simply need to cut back or have more control over their drinking. If you are in this situation but don’t know where to start, here are a few tips.
First, what is drinking worth to you? Weigh out the pros and cons. Do you need to stop completely, or can you just cut back? Be very clear on your goals so you know what you are working towards.
Consider the Benefits of Drinking
- I’m more social
- It helps me forget about my stress
- I have fun when I drink
- It helps me unwind from a long day at work
Consider the Benefits of Stopping
- I will be more engaged in my work and hobbies
- My relationships will get better
- I will feel better
- My mind will be more clear
Determine what you lose when you drink. Do the costs outweigh the benefits?
What Does Drinking Cost Me?
- Relationship problems
- I feel depressed
- My job performance suffers
- Drinking is expensive
What Would Not Drinking Cost Me?
- My life might be boring
- My friend groups may have to change
- I would have to deal with my issues without drugs/alcohol
What is your drinking goal?
- Do you want to stop completely?
- Do you want to drink less?
- When will you start? Today? Tomorrow? This weekend?
Once you have thought about the information above it’s time to get started. First, you need to hold yourself accountable to your goal.
- Get rid of temptations. If you drink a glass of wine every night after work and want to stop, get rid of the wine. Tell yourself you will not buy it on the next trip to the grocery store and stay in integrity with your decision.
- Announce your goal. Tell your family, friends and co-workers. Let your drinking buddies know that you are cutting back and ask that they stop inviting you out to the bar with them after work.
- Think about previous attempts to stop drinking. What caused you to drink again. Be prepared for these things to creep up again. The more you prepare and set realistic expectations, the better your chance of success.
- Get rid of the people in your life that do not respect your decision. You need to surround yourself with positive people, not people that will hold you back.
- Keep a journal of your eating and drinking habits. You may be surprised to see what you actually put into your body each week.
Know the Risk of Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous, so if you decide to stop completely, listen to your body and seek treatment if needed. Here are a few withdrawal symptoms to expect.
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased heart rate
Depending on the amount you drink on a regular basis, your body will react with withdrawals varying in severity. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you experience hallucinations, seizures, confusion, fever or sever vomiting.
This is a big life change. You started drinking for a reason and those issues will most likely resurface. Be prepared for things from your past to creep up. Feelings of guilt and shame are common. Lean on your close friends and family members for support. Find a therapist to work through any issues that come up. Find a sober support network and attend AA Meetings regularly. Try new things like yoga or meditation. You must find a new routine and stick with it to achieve your goals.
Finally, Seek Professional Help.
If this is too much to do on your own, find a detox and residential recovery center that can guide you under the supervision of a clinical team. AKUA Mind & Body has an expert team of specialists that can help you find lasting sobriety. To learn more call 833-258-2669. We are here to support you in your journey.