Let’s toast to a wonderful and healthy life! But first, you need to put that glass down. In fact, in this article, we are going to help you walk away from it.
We know how stressful life can be and sometimes the only thing we want to do is to grab a bottle and drink all those woes away. It is honestly okay to drink every once in a while, especially if you can drink in moderation during those “every-once-in-a-whiles”.
The problem arises when you start to crave alcohol and reach for it more often. If that’s the case, then sadly, we have a problem. You might need to put that bottle down for good.
We know what you’re thinking: “Oh, that’s so easy for you to say, you preachy health pastor.”
Would it help if we say we’ve been in your position too? We’ve seen friends and family members struggle, and we understand how hard it can be to stop an addiction, whatever form it takes.
And we’re here to help you out. We are going to list down ten scientifically-proven ways to help you quit drinking today. Let’s get started!
Transcend your denial.
The first thing you need to do, and also the most difficult, is to actually admit that you have a drinking problem. If you’re reading this article right now, then you’re probably half way there, so good job!
According to a study in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, the secret lies behind the capacity of the abuser to recognize that he really is abusing a substance. In terms of alcohol, that’s when we start looking for gray areas within the “alcoholic and non-alcoholic” spectrum.
The good news is, for most cases, that denial can easily be penetrated, especially when supported with concrete evidence (such as medical conditions caused by alcoholism), and the patient can then move on from there.
Some questions you can ask yourself are: Can I last for several days without drinking? Is my alcohol consumption significantly more compared to my peers?”
Speaking of peers, the next step you can stop drinking is by…
Announcing it to your family and friends.
There are many ways to go about this aside from just telling your husband “Hey, I’ll be stopping drinking today.”
And there’s more to the word “family” other than just your parents, your partner, and your kids. If you consider close friends as family members, then hey, the more the merrier right?
You can even make an announcement online to let your peers know. So the next time they plan something, they know more than enough to not offer you a shot or two.In fact, according to Drug and Alcohol Review, the family plays an important role in the prevention and intervention of substance abuse, particularly alcohol, and especially for younger age groups (18 to 25).
Recognize your triggers and avoid them.
Your family will do their part, now you have to do yours. You need to identify the things that trigger your alcoholic cravings.
It can be anything like seeing beer commercials, walking past a bar…one study even identified that something just as simple as drinking Gatorade can already lead to a relapse!
We hope that it’s not Gatorade for you, though, especially if you love yourself an ice-cold drink after your workouts.
Once you have identified those triggers, you can do what you can to avoid them. Change the channel when your favorite beer commercial airs. Think of an alternate route home if your current one passes by a liquor store.
Gradually decrease alcohol intake (aka “buy smaller glasses”).
You’re finally hitting the brakes on your drinking habit, that’s HUGE. However, we also know that it’s virtually impossible to maintain your sober-streak if you just stop drinking all together.
That’s why we recommend decreasing your alcohol consumption little by little. You can designate alcohol-free days, like during Mondays and Tuesdays, when you’re less likely to drink. Then gradually increase these days until you reach your binge-drinking weekends.
One study even suggests drinking in smaller glasses since this can efficiently control your alcohol consumption as well.
Drink more water.
We’ve heard a lot of advice to curb your drinking habits by drinking something else. But did you know that you don’t have to search for a beer-flavored soda? Just drinking more water is enough.
Apparently, a gastric secretion called ghrelin has a vital role in our alcohol cravings. Fortunately, increased water intake can decrease the secretion of this compound and help control these cravings.
Explore alternative remedies.
Aside from just water, there are other alternative remedies to tone down your alcohol cravings too.
Do people who exercise together drink together? Apparently not. One research shows that exercising is a good way to curb your cravings, serve as a good reward system, and even reduce the anxiety that alcohol withdrawal may cause.
But more than that, it can also serve as a social intervention since fitness groups tend to engage in other healthier activities—most of them don’t involve drinking.
Join a support group.
It’s probably not your thing to sit in a circle, introduce yourself, and talk about the things you did wrong. We get it. It’s not our thing too.
But there are other kinds of support groups out there that can help. Popular social media channels have them already.
Sharing your experiences and knowing that you have a community of people going through the same thing can help you maintain alcohol abstinence.
Go through an alcohol detox program.
Aside from support groups, you can also join an alcohol detox program. Like the various number of available support groups online, there is also a wide variety of different detox programs to choose from.
These programs, that accept both out-patients and in-patients, are proven effective in cleansing your body from the components that trigger alcohol cravings and even help you cope with the toll your body has suffered after all these years of drinking.
Engage in behavioral therapy or enter a rehabilitation center.
Finally, if you really can’t quit on your own—and you’ve tried absolutely everything in your own power to quit—then maybe it’s time to throw the flag.
Medical professionals have the adequate training and know-how to help people with substance abuse, create a personal treatment plan for you, and even help you cope with symptoms of withdrawal.
What’s great about these rehabilitation programs is that they vary in lengths. However, it is probably up to your doctor or therapist to decide how long you need to stay in the program for.
You would also need your family’s support in this, since most programs are stay-in. This means that you have to live in the facility while you are undergoing treatment.
This is to put you in a controlled environment that will help you adjust and go back to your normal life minus the alcohol. We know it may sound as a great deal or a huge sacrifice from your part, but look at the bright side.
This sacrifice only holds a small amount of time compared to the years of longevity you will earn back once you have successfully removed alcohol from the picture. Alcohol, after all, is responsible in causing a lot of different health conditions like heart and liver problems.
So in the big picture, this great deal is actually smaller than you think. You can do this!
Bottoms Up. The Bottom Line of Alcoholism
Alcohol consumption, no matter how little, is never good for the body. Even if you use it to induce sleep. Even if you use it to cope for mental health problems.
It’s a good thing that you are on the right track in deciding that you want to stop drinking and you’re here to find out how.
Alcohol consumption can be efficiently reduced by taking that first step, admitting that you have a problem, avoiding the things that trigger you, and gradually decreasing your alcohol intake over time.
You can also opt to drink water instead of giving in to that “thirst”, and explore herbal remedies to help you out.
Finally, you can seek professional help if you really can’t do this thing on your own.
But we believe you can! The fact that you’re here and you’re still reading this just shows that you have enough determination to get through this.
These are not the only steps you can do to stop alcohol intake. Do you have other ways or special techniques that you can share with the rest of us? Feel free to share them in the comments below. In fact, we encourage it.
Good luck on your journey to climb out of the bottle!