Discovering how to stop drinking doesn’t involve mastering one specific secret. Instead, you’ll first need to accept you have a problem with alcohol abuse, even if you have been in denial.
From here, there are many ways to make it easier for yourself to remain alcohol-free, but why should you do this?
Well, drinking alcohol might be socially acceptable, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also incredibly damaging for anyone unable to drink in moderation.
Some people drink as a means of coping with stress and anxiety, or to self-medicate insomnia, but alcohol does very little to solve these problems long-term. Indeed, alcohol abuse typically worsens existing problems as well as introducing new concerns.
Even if you drink alcohol temperately, it leaves you feeling sluggish and foggy. The more you consume, the more likely you are to trigger a range of negative health effects, including:
- Increased depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Memory problems
- Digestive issues
- Conflict in interpersonal relationships
According to the 2019 NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health), over 14 million American adults have alcohol use disorder. While experiencing the above problems doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up dependent on alcohol, it might be that you feel it’s time to put down the bottle for good.
For anyone looking to take an indefinite break from drinking alcohol, it can be confusing to know what to do first. If you recognize you have a problem with alcohol abuse and you’re thinking about recovery, we hope you take inspiration from our suggestions for moderating your consumption of alcohol or eliminating it from your life completely.
How Do I Stop Drinking?
Alcoholism is a chronic and relapsing disease that brings about changes to the structure and function of your brain. As such, stopping drinking involves much more than willpower alone.
If you want to stop drinking, there is no boilerplate solution that works for everyone due to the complexity of the condition and differing personal circumstances. Ultimately, though, you’re likely to benefit from engaging with a professional treatment program.
Having said that, you can begin the process of recovery before checking into rehab in the following ways:
- Frankly assess your relationship with alcohol
- Vary your environment and habits
- Look after yourself: eat well, stay hydrated, and exercise daily
- Commit fully to recovery, but be prepared for the possibility of relapse
Frankly Assess Your Relationship With Alcohol
Make a frank and honest appraisal of your relationship with alcohol, specifically your reasons for drinking.
If you feel that you’re drinking to excess or uncontrollably, try to identify why this is happening. It could be that you intend to have one or two drinks, and then find yourself unable to stop drinking once you get started. This is commonplace among abusive drinkers. Perhaps, you drink heavily as a coping mechanism, whether to help reduce stress or to mask physical or psychological pain. Whatever the reasons for your growing dependence on alcohol, understanding these reasons will help you to better manage your emotions.
Start by keeping a precise diary detailing your alcohol intake over a typical week. You may find that you haven’t consumed as much alcohol as you imagined by the end of the week. If you’re in the position of considering quitting, though, chances are that seeing a summary of the amount of alcohol you drink in your own handwriting will reinforce the extent of your problem.
Once you have a clear grasp on the nature and extent of your drinking problem, it’s time to think about voicing your concerns to others.
Vary Your Environment and Habits
Is alcohol a core component of your normal routine? If so, drinking becomes almost an automatic response rather than a considered choice. This is inflamed further if you’re feeling stressed or generally overwhelmed. Alcohol can easily become your default coping mechanism.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to totally reinvent yourself, but you could find that tweaking your surroundings and your habits can yield enormous dividends.
The first and most obvious thing to do is remove all alcohol from the house. Minimizing temptation will maximize your chances of avoiding relapse at a critical early stage of recovery.
Now is a good time to choose a new favorite drink. From sparkling, flavored water through to specialty coffee, imagination is your only limitation.
Breaking up your daily routine and injecting some variety into it can help keep you meaningfully occupied rather than tempted to slip back into your old habits. Rethink what you do in times of stress or times of need. Reach out to loved ones or immerse yourself in one of your favorite hobbies rather than instinctively reaching for the bottle.
Underscoring all that you do here should be the clear awareness that recovery is not a quick fix, and it’s not just about detox and withdrawal. Addiction is a disease with no cure, but it’s a disease that can be treated. When you view recovery as a long journey, this can better prepare you for the inevitable ups and downs. Recalibrating your life can help you rediscover old interests and to explore new and healthier avenues of entertainment than getting blind drunk.
Look After Yourself: Eat Well, Stay Hydrated, and Exercise Daily
We won’t pretend that quitting drinking is easy. It’s challenging, and at times highly stressful, all the more so if you are heavily dependent on alcohol or you’ve been drinking long-term.
Struggling to execute major changes in life is tough, so be prepared and also make certain you place your welfare uppermost.
The stronger you are physically, the better placed you’ll be to cope with the assault on your body that detoxing and withdrawing from alcohol abuse can bring about.
On a basic level, stay fully hydrated by drinking at least 2 liters of water daily. Eat healthy, whole foods with plenty of complex carbs for energy and plenty of protein, too. Avoid processed foods if possible.
Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise into your daily routine. Walking, cycling, working out at the gym, and hiking are all great ways to get a natural boost by flooding your body with dopamine and endorphins.
Try to sleep for at least 7 to 9 hours a night. We understand this isn’t always practical, and it’s also made more difficult if you’re quitting drinking, but the more rest you get the better you’ll feel in the face of the challenges you’re undergoing.
By taking care of your overall health and nutrition, as well as removing alcohol from the equation, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll start to look and feel better.
Maybe you’ve let your favorite hobbies and activities slide as you’ve descended further into habitual drinking. Now is a good time to rediscover these interests. Meaningful hobbies can not only keep you occupied and help you resist cravings, but you can also relax by immersing yourself in a good book, or something else you love.
Journaling can be a highly effective method of ordering your thoughts and venting your frustrations. You don’t need to worry about the quality of the writing, what counts is pouring down how you’re feeling, whether on paper or on the computer. The more you write, the easier it will be to identify any patterns that shed light on your alcohol abuse.
By retaining a sharp focus on your wellbeing, you’ll create a firm foundation for a meaningful and sustained recovery.
Commit Fully to Recover, But Be Prepared for the Possibility of Relapse
While it’s tough to get accurate data, most research suggests that between 40% and 60% of those who engage with treatment for alcohol use disorder relapse at least once on the road to recovery.
You will maximize your chances of staying sober without relapsing by engaging with an addiction treatment program.
Fortunately, you won’t need inpatient rehab for most cases of an alcohol use disorder, even if you require medical detox. Research shows that intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are equally as effective as inpatient rehab for treating most addictions.
You’ll create a relapse management plan as part of any treatment program, so if you do slip up, you should view this as a blip rather than allowing it to derail all the progress you’ve made in your recovery.
Ways To Stop Drinking
There are many ways to stop drinking and many people will find some strategies work better than others. It is important to note that everyone is different and everyone that faces alcoholism or has trouble curbing their drinking habits is different and will require different ways to stop themselves from drinking.
Some ways to stop dinking include:
Talking About Your Drinking Habits
By brining up you feelings about excessive drinking and opening up to others not only allows you to face addiction head on but it opens up so many lines of support. By talking about your drinking you can share your feelings, make note of the issue, but it will also help recruit loved ones into joining your cause and helping you on your path to recovery.
Finding A Community
Sober Living communities, AA groups, Religious, and Community groups are all good resources for those who with to stop their drinking habits. Most communities based around sobriety help integrate newly sober individuals and help them make positive lifestyle choices, offer new sober experiences, and can find understanding in your struggles throughout your recovery.
Change your Environment
Often times you can make changes to your own environment that can make not drinking easier. By getting rid of alcohol around your house, avoid bars you frequent, and even avoid events in which drinking is associated can make the world of a difference when seeking recovery.
Tips to Quit Drinking
There are many tips and tricks to rid alcohol out of your life so you can focus on your sobriety. Its good to have an outline of tips to stop drinking so you can check all the boxes and make sure that your effort in sobriety is not in vain. These tips can help you stay sober and stop drinking for good.
Tips to Stop Drinking:
- Get Rid of Alcohol In The House
- Avoid Bad Influences and Those Who Drink
- Enter Into A Sober Living Community
- Join an AA Group
- Ask For Help From Family
- Reach Out to Your Doctors
- Reach Out to a Rehab Center
How to Stop Drinking Beer
If you have been drinking beer socially, but you now find yourself drinking to the extent you feel might be problematic, speak with your healthcare provider.
Voice your concerns and discuss whether you need an assessment for alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe based on your responses to the eleven questions laid out in APA’s DSM-5.
Your doctor can help you get started investigating treatment centers if you have alcohol use disorder.
If not, you can still take steps to address your alcohol intake.
Consider writing a checklist and keeping it displayed in plain sight. This should include the steps you will take to avoid drinking. Think about the following:
- Do not keep alcohol in your home
- Avoid heading to the bar after work
- Steer clear of large social gatherings for now
- Occupy yourself with a hobby
- Exercise daily
- Focus on eating healthy, whole foods
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
When you’re creating a personal checklist to help you stop drinking beer, try to imagine any potential obstacles, and create a solution that will help you sidestep alcohol when you might be tempted.
Speak to friends and family about your desire to moderate your alcohol intake, or to stop drinking beer completely.
Many people find the peer support of 12-step groups like AA invaluable for staying strong in the face of cravings for alcohol.
Regular exercise can boost your mood as well as your body, while relaxation techniques like mindfulness and meditation can help you sharpen your self-control and self-awareness while staying sober.
How to Stop Drinking Liquor
If you are drinking liquor rather than beer, you could apply all of the above tips.
The other obvious way to stop drinking liquor is to start drinking something less alcoholic like beer instead. This will be beneficial even if you can’t currently face the thought of life without alcohol.
How to Stop Binge Drinking Alcohol
According to NIAAA, binge drinking occurs when a woman drinking 4 drinks within 2 hours or a man drinking 5 drinks within the same time period. When this happens, blood alcohol levels hit 0.08 or above.
Here are some easily actionable tips to help you stop binge drinking:
- Stick to low alcohol drinks
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with water
- Avoid mixing different alcoholic drinks
- Eat heavily before drinking
- Refrain from playing drinking games
- Only take out a small amount of money
- Don’t socialize with others who binge drink
- Address the root cause of your binge drinking
Benefits of Not Drinking
Cutting out alcohol if you drink in excess can bring about health benefits for your liver, heart, and body composition.
- Reversal of liver damage
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular issues
- Strengthened immune system
- Weight loss
- Improved skin tone
- Better quality and quantity of sleep
1) Reversal of liver damage
Over time, alcohol abuse can cause liver damage, including cirrhosis of the liver.
Fortunately, many changes to the fatty tissue of the liver are reversible. If you stop drinking, this tolerant organ can start regenerating in a matter of weeks.
With alcohol no longer burdening it, your liver can focus on breaking down fats and metabolizing toxins instead.
2) Reduced risk of cardiovascular issues
If you stop drinking alcohol, it will be beneficial for your heart health as well as your overall health.
Studies show that heavy drinkers are more than twice as likely to experience a cardiovascular event as those who do not drink alcohol.
3) Strengthened immune system
Alcohol disrupts your immune system, stopping it from producing the white blood cells you need to safeguard against germs and bacteria.
Many long-term heavy drinkers struggle with issues like tuberculosis and pneumonia as a result of compromised immune systems unable to robustly fight these infections.
4) Weight loss
Due to the high calorie and sugar content of alcohol, you may notice a drop in your weight when you stop drinking.
Many heavy drinkers also eat lots of takeouts and processed food, particularly during a drinking binge. By eliminating the calories from both alcohol and poor food choices, you may notice a difference on your waistline when you quit drinking.
5) Improved skin tone
Alcohol abuse can trigger all of the following:
- Broken capillaries
- Reduced collagen levels
When you stop drinking, you’ll notice your skin becoming more elastic and supple, and any redness or yellowness around your eyes should start normalizing.
6) Better quality and quantity of sleep
Alcohol and impaired sleep are closely linked. This is due to the way in which alcohol interferes with your sleep/wake cycles, so you’ll find it harder to fall asleep, as well as harder to stay asleep.
The longer you abstain from alcohol, you should find you can drop off to sleep increasingly easily, while also enjoying a better quality of sleep.
This is just the beginning of the benefits you can achieve if you stop consuming excessive quantities of alcohol.
Next, we’ll look at how you can make abstinence a reality.
If you are struggling with alcohol use disorder, we hope you’ve found some of today’s tips have inspired you to move forwards with your recovery.
Do You Have a Drinking Problem?
The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that women shouldn’t drink more than one alcoholic drink per day, whereas men should not consume more than 2 per day. If you find it challenging to stay within these guidelines or frequently drink more than suggested, you should consult with a doctor
You may have some negative stereotypes about people who drink too much, but addiction and binge-drinking are health issues that can affect anyone. Don’t be ashamed to seek treatment.
How To Ask You Doctor About Quitting Drinking
It is very difficult to bring up addiction because very often there is a stigma that follows it some clients may be nervous to talk about the topic. Don’t be worries physicians will offer help without judgment, and help you find a rehab center that will help you find recovery,
When talking with your doctor or rehab admissions specialist try discussing more general alcohol issues first, and even ask questions about treatment options and what treatment looks like to help you stop drinking.
Often times just by telling your doctor that you find it difficult to drink less than the suggested amount will let him know that you may need help.
What Happens When You Stop Drinking?
Most often your alcohol recovery plan will be individualized to your individual needs, If your body is physically dependent on alcohol you may need to seek out alcohol detox before starting the rehabilitation process so you can safely withdrawal from alcohol with the help of addiciton clinicians.
When your brain is used to using alcohol to suppress GABA receptors in the brain you physically are used to the substance and any changes in habits can create physical symptoms through the withdrawal process. When you suddenly stop drinking those symptoms are your brain reacting to the chemical changes. This change may cause seizures and other symptoms like:
- Foggy Brain
- High Temperature / Fever
- Head Pains
Withdrawal can be deadly. To make sure you’re going through recovery safely, you may need detoxification or other specialty treatments to detox and begin recovery in a safe and comfortable manner.
Alcohol Addiciton is often more than a physical issue but also a genetic and mental issues as well. Our rehab center recommends going though ongoing treatment, including: counseling support groups, and adventure therapy.
Expectations For Early Sobriety
Even in the begging of recovery your body is in the healing process. Your mood will be more stabilized and predictable. Your anxiety and depression will decrease, your skin will look better, and some even account weightless.
One of the most significant changes in change is sleep patters. During the first months of recovery most individuals have more dreams, report lucid dreaming, and a better nights rest.
But quitting drinking many people find their brain is more active in REM and helps clients sleep he explains.
But to find these benefits you have to stop your drinking and avoid relapsing.
Stop Drinking Alcohol Today
Maybe you’re not sure whether or not you would benefit from rehab for your addiction to alcohol, or you’re not clear on what to expect from a treatment program. Change that today by calling the friendly team here at District Recovery and we’ll guide you through your various options for long-term recovery from alcohol abuse disorder. Get in touch right now at 844.287.8506!