[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”GIVING UP ALCOHOL” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Most people with alcohol related problems do not decide to quit out of the blue or change their drinking habits overnight. Recovery is typically a gradual process. In the early stages of change, denial can be a major stumbling block. Even after admitting you have a drinking problem, you may minimize your drinking or justify your use. It is important to be aware of your ambivalence to stopping drinking. If you’re not sure if you’re ready for this big change, it often helps to consider the costs and benefits of each choice.
EVALUATING THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF CONTINUING TO DRINKING
Make a list of the costs and benefits of continuing to drink versus the costs and benefits of quitting.
Set specific, attainable goals and prepare for change
Once you’ve made the decision to change, the next step is to establish certain drinking goals. The more specific and realistic your goals are the better.
- Do you want to quit drinking or just cut back? If your goal is to reduce your drinking, decide which days you will drink alcohol and how many drinks you will allow yourself each day. Try to commit to at least two days each week when you will not drink at all.
- When do you want to stop drinking or start drinking less? Are you ready stop tomorrow? Are you looking at next week or in a month? If you are serious about stopping or cutting down, setting a specific date is important.
CAN I CUT BACK ON MY DRINKING OR DO I HAVE TO STOP DINKING COMPLETELY?
Whether or not you will be able to cut back on your drinking depends on the severity of your drinking problem.
If you are an alcoholic, or dependent on alcohol, it is in your best interest to try and stop entirely. An alcoholic is often described as someone who has lost the ability to control their drinking.
If you are not abusing alcohol, but do want to cut down for personal or health reasons, the following tips from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism can help:
- Set a goal. Choose a set amount of how much you will drink. Make sure your limit is not more than one drink a day if you are a woman, or two drinks a day if you are a man. Write your drinking goal down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you will see it regularly, such as on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
- Keep a “diary”. To help you reach achieve that goal, keep a “diary” of your drinking. For example, write down every time you have a drink for at least one week. Try to keep up this diary for 3 or 4 weeks. This will illustrate the patterns – how much you drink and when. This diary may surprise you. Compare your goal to the facts set forth in your diary.
- Watch it at home. In order to avoid a big temptation, try to keep very little, if any, alcohol at home.
- Drink slowly. When you do drink, sip your drink slowly. Take a least one break of an hour between drinks. Drink soda, water, or juice after each alcoholic drink. Do not drink on an empty stomach – make sure you eat food normally when you are drinking.
- Take a break. Pick one or two days each week when you will not drink any alcohol. Next, try to stop drinking alcohol for one week. Consider how you felt physically and emotionally on the days you didn’t drink. When you succeed and start to feel better, you may find it’s easier to cut down for good.
Some people can stop drinking on their own. Some people need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. The option that’s best for you depends on a number of factors, including the amount you’ve been drinking, how long you’ve had a problem and any additional health concerns you may have.