If you feel like you drink too much, you may be thinking about quitting. Here’s are some tips on how to stop drinking alcohol.
One in eight Americans meets the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Alcohol use disorders include alcohol abuse, addiction, and dependence, all of which can cause major problems for your physical and mental health, relationships, finances, and legal status. If you’re thinking about quitting, you’re probably wondering how to stop drinking alcohol. Here, then, are eight helpful tips for quitting drinking.
1. Write down your reasons for wanting to quit.
Why do you want to stop drinking? Thinking hard about your reasons and writing them down where you can refer back to them can help you stay motivated and on track for quitting.
2. Write down your reasons for drinking.
Why do you drink? Is it to reduce stress? Cope with symptoms of a mental illness or unpleasant memories? Do you drink to fit in? To feel less lonely? Write down all of your reasons for drinking. Then, think about what you can do instead. If you drink because you’re bored, find a hobby. If you drink because you’re depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor about medications that treat depression and anxiety. Replacing alcohol with a healthier activity is crucial for quitting.
3. Get support right off the bat.
One answer to how to stop drinking alcohol is to get plenty of support. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that a high level of support from friends and family members is central to successfully quitting. Tell your friends and family you’re quitting, and ask for support and encouragement.
4. Make your home an alcohol-free zone.
If you’re like many drinkers, if there’s alcohol in the house, you’ll drink it, despite your good intentions. One of the best solutions for how to stop drinking on your own is to keep alcohol out of the house.
5. Practice saying “no.”
One of the hardest aspects of quitting drinking is withstanding peer pressure to drink, and one of the best tips for quitting drinking is to practice saying no–and meaning it. When friends, family members, or co-workers try to talk you into having a drink, have a response at the ready, and stick to it. Having a non-alcoholic drink in hand at all times will help stave off people trying to get you to have an alcoholic beverage.
6. Stay busy.
When you’re figuring out how to stop drinking on your own, it will help to have things to keep you busy so you’re not spending too much time dwelling on not drinking. Pick up a hobby or two, or start a project that will take your mind off having a drink. Whenever you feel the urge to drink, work on your hobby or project instead.
7. Reduce your stress.
Stress is a major trigger for drinking, and experts who study how to stop drinking alcohol recommend reducing your stressors and learning healthy ways for coping with stress. Meditation and exercise are two powerful stress reducers, and they can help improve your mood and increase your motivation for quitting.
8. Ride out cravings.
Cravings for alcohol can be intense, and they can quickly lead back to drinking. Instead of fighting your urges, relax, and let them wash over you. Cravings usually last between 15 and 30 minutes, and imagining your craving as a wave that grows and then fades before finally disappearing can help you weather cravings more successfully.
Quitting alcohol can be extremely difficult, especially if you’ve developed an addiction to it. If you find that you can’t seem to cut down or quit no matter how hard you try, professional help may be needed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, good intentions and willpower are rarely enough to end an alcohol addiction once it’s developed. A high quality treatment program through WhiteSands Treatment can help you not only learn how to quit drinking alcohol once and for all, but it will also help you improve all areas of your life for a higher quality of life and a greater sense of wellbeing.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.