Professional Tips on How to Stop Drinking
Cutting down on alcohol can be challenging. Start your journey in recovery today by reading our professional tips on how to stop drinking.
Examine Alcohol Health Effects
In the United States, it is estimated that 5.6% of adults aged 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder. Chronic use of alcohol can lead to sleep disruptions, digestive issues, memory problems, changes to mental health, and conflict with loved ones.1
Due to its actions on the central nervous system as a depressant, alcohol at first can cause sensations of sleepiness and relaxation. However, prolonged use and abuse of alcohol is linked to insomnia and poor sleep quality.
Individuals who suffer from alcohol abuse disorder often use alcohol as a sleep aid. High amounts of alcohol (more than two drinks for men and more than one for women) before bed has decreased sleep quality by 39.2%. Additionally, alcohol consumption increases the risk of sleep apnea by 25%.2
Alcohol is also related to digestive issues and gut inflammation. While the inflammation begins in the gut, damaging your digestive organs, the inflammation can spread to the rest of your body.
Alcohol-induced intestinal inflammation is related to chronic liver disease, gastrointestinal cancers, and irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, alcohol disrupts your gut flora and can lead to bacterial overgrowth, which can cause endotoxins to accumulate in the body.3
Memory problems are also associated with alcohol consumption. Alcohol use is associated with short-term and long-term memory loss. Individuals experience short-term memory loss as a ‘blackout’, where they can’t remember key details after alcohol consumption.4
Long-term memory loss is a consequence of chronic alcohol abuse as alcohol slows down nerve communication. Alcohol also does damage to the hippocampus by destroying nerve cells.
Increased Anxiety, Depression, and Irritability
More than every one out of three individuals suffering from alcohol abuse disorder report depressive episodes and/or severe anxiety. While many individuals will treat their anxiety and depression with alcohol, this worsens symptoms.5
Disagreements and Other Conflict with Loved Ones
Alcohol use can lead to problems outside of the body as well. Conflict and disagreements around drinking are common for individuals who abuse alcohol. In the most extreme circumstances, family and spouses of individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse disorder may face familial violence.6
Take Some Time to Explore Your Relationship With Alcohol
All the negative effects of drinking may raise the question, ‘how do you stop drinking alcohol?’
Whether you are looking for ways to cut back on drinking or give up drinking entirely, examining your relationship with alcohol can be helpful.
The best way to quit alcohol depends on your relationship with it. Determining how much you drink can help you identify the scope of the problem and can help inform you on what type of treatment to seek.
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Avoid Asking Yourself Questions
Additionally, thinking about why you drink and identifying situations where you feel triggered to drink can be beneficial in managing your drinking. Asking yourself questions to learn more about your drinking habits can be beneficial.
Avoid asking yourself questions such as “How do I stop drinking,” or “How do I stop being an alcoholic,” as these tend to be unhelpful. Questions surrounding how much you drink and what makes you feel like drinking tend to be more constructive.
Figure Out How Much You Drink
While you may not feel like you are chemically dependent on drinking, you may be surprised by how much you drink. Keeping a record of your drinking can help you determine the scope of your drinking problem. As a general guideline, moderate drinking is defined as up to two drinks per day for men: and up to one drink a day for women.
Drinking more than 14 drinks per week for men or more than eight drinks per week for women is considered heavy drinking. Drinking these amounts in one session is considered binge drinking and can indicate an alcohol use disorder.
Think About Why You Drink and Identify Alcohol Triggers
Knowing why you drink, and your triggers is important in alcohol addiction recovery. Many people use alcohol to cope with difficult emotions or situations. Drinking can also have genetic and familial origins. Individuals with a family history of alcohol use disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol. Individuals may notice that they have specific triggers that make them want to drink. Common triggers include:7
Moderation management is a harm reduction-based approach for individuals who want to cut back on drinking or cannot safely commit to full sobriety immediately. This approach focuses on reducing alcohol consumption and educating individuals on the dangers of alcohol consumption.
Talk About It
Involving others in your choice to cut back or stop drinking can immensely benefit in your recovery from alcohol addiction. Additionally, sharing your intentions with others can help make positive changes regarding alcohol use in their own lives. Sharing with friends and family allows them to support and encourage you on your journey. The best way to quit alcohol is to involve others.
Let others know about your plans to cut back on drinking. Involving others in your plans can reduce peer pressure to drink more and hold you accountable to your limits.
Find a Community
Many people feel pressured to drink during social situations. Finding a new community where others are also avoiding alcohol can be beneficial to curbing the amount you drink. Building relationships with others abstaining from alcohol can provide more recovery support.
12-step and SMART recovery groups are great places to meet others trying to abstain from alcohol. Additionally, these programs outline alcohol recovery steps and provide support along the way.
Know What to Say
How do you stop drinking alcohol when there is peer pressure to drink? Building a script for declining drinks is important in harm reduction and maintaining sobriety from alcohol. Often people will want to know your reasons for declining a drink. While you are never required to offer details about your choice, you may want to build a script for refusal ahead of time.
Practicing your ability to say no to drinking is crucial to recovery. Alternatively, you can opt for a nonalcoholic beverage if necessary.
Change Your Environment
Often, the situation and environment can lead individuals to drink. Learn how to rehab from alcohol at home by creating a new environment that doesn't encourage you to drink.
Get Rid of Your Alcohol
Having alcohol in your environment can trigger you to drink. One of the best tips to quit drinking is to remove all the alcohol from your home. If you live with roommates, consider asking them to keep their alcohol out of sight to avoid temptation.
Find a New Favorite Drink
Another way to quit drinking is to replace alcohol with a new favorite nonalcoholic drink. While water is always a good choice, it can be boring. Try switching alcohol out for carbonated flavored water. If you are someone who uses alcohol to fall asleep, try drinking herbal tea before bed instead.
Additionally, many mocktail recipes are alcohol-free and easy to make on your own. Switching out alcohol with a different type of drink is one of the best tips to quit drinking.
Vary Your Routine to Keep Busy
If you drink more at certain times or on certain days, it can be helpful to change your routine. Keeping busy with different activities at these times can help you keep your mind from alcohol. Activities that get you moving and out of the house are some of the best options for distracting yourself from wanting to drink.
Make Time for Self-Care
Many individuals use alcohol to numb distressing emotions. Quitting drinking is difficult enough on its own and can also be a source of distress. Creating a good self-care routine can be immensely helpful in managing the difficulties of quitting alcohol.
Ultimately, when we feel our best, we do our best. Anyone who has ever drank in excess knows how awful the aftereffects of alcohol can be. Quitting drinking is an excellent way to begin prioritizing your wellness.
Additionally, the more you focus on your health and wellness, the more resilient you will become in resisting the temptation to drink. Staying hydrated, eating balanced meals, exercising, and prioritizing sleep are all important in helping you feel your best.
For many, drinking can be a social activity or used to stave off boredom. Unfortunately, because of the nature of alcohol, using it to ‘fill time’ leaves you feeling depleted. When you stop drinking, you may have more free time.
Using your free time to rediscover old hobbies or start new ones is a great way to keep your mind off drinking. Additionally, healthy hobbies leave you feeling relaxed and fulfilled, building resilience.
Keep a Journal
Journaling is a great way to explore your feelings and process your experiences while quitting alcohol. Writing can allow you to explore the thought patterns associated with your drinking habits and give insight into your alcohol use. Additionally, a journal can allow you to make a written list about why you want to quit and activities to replace drinking.
Explore New Tools to Cope
For many, drinking can be a coping mechanism to deal with difficult circumstances. Knowing what triggers you to drink can help you discover new coping mechanisms to deal with your triggers. Common triggers for drinking include:
Helpful Coping Techniques
The coping mechanism used to address these triggers will depend on the situation. Some things that can be helpful include:
Know Your Why
You may think: “This all sounds great, but how can I stop drinking alcohol?”Knowing your reasons for wanting to stop drinking can be a powerful tool in motivating you to stop. Consider writing down your reasons and putting them in a place where they can serve as a reminder to you when you are feeling triggered to drink.
Prepare For Your Potential Detox
Knowing your reasons for wanting to quit can be very helpful in keeping you motivated, especially during detox. If you have been drinking heavily for an extended period, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal related to detox. Early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be felt within just six hours of your last drink.
Indications Alcohol Withdrawal and Detoxification
The early symptoms are moderate and consist of:8
More serious symptoms occur between 12-48 hours after your last drink and may include hallucinations and seizures. Some individuals suffer from more serious hallucinations and delusions after the 48-hour mark. This is known as delirium tremens and affects about 5% of people in alcohol withdrawal.
Seek Medical Care Immediately
You may experience confusion, racing heart, high blood pressure, fever, and heavy sweating during this time. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, making it important to monitor your symptoms. In the event of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical care immediately by calling emergency services (dial 911).
While it is not recommended for severe cases, you may wonder how to rehab from alcohol at home. It is important to create a supportive environment for the period of alcohol withdrawal. Things that can help during this time include minimal sound, soft lighting, limited contact with others, healthy food, and lots of fluids. Be on the lookout for more severe withdrawal symptoms and know when to call for help.
Consider Your Approach
Committing to total sobriety, especially due to the intensity of withdrawal, may seem daunting. Your approach to sobriety and alcoholism addiction treatment will depend on various factors. For individuals who suffer from moderate to severe alcohol use disorder, it may be beneficial to explore rehabilitation options such as inpatient or residential facilities.
There’s Nothing as Good as Getting Support From Others
There is no shame in telling yourself that “I need help to stop drinking.” The more involvement you have in your treatment to stop drinking alcohol, the better. Outside of friends and familial support, involving your doctor in your decision to quit may be beneficial. A trained medical health professional can advise you on how to stop drinking alcohol and develop an alcoholism addiction treatment plan.
Never Give Up: Trust The Process
Your journey in learning how to quit drinking alcohol may be difficult but is well worth it. Sobriety is possible and, with the right resources, very achievable. Remember that recovery can be uncomfortable and that it's important to have patience and compassion for yourself through this time.
Ripple Ranch Remains by Your Side
If you need help to stop drinking, Ripple Ranch is here to be of assistance. Ripple Ranch offers the best treatment for alcohol addiction. Our trained professionals are knowledgeable about alcohol recovery steps and can guide you through your drinking treatment, providing you with the support you need.
Whether you are looking for an inpatient residential treatment to stop drinking alcohol, or a rigorous outpatient drinking treatment, Ripple Ranch can help. Contact us today.