How To Know When It’s Time To Stop Drinking
For many, the decision to stop drinking is not easy. When evaluating your relationship with alcohol, it’s important to ask yourself whether drinking is causing problems in your life. Some questions to consider include:
- Is drinking causing specific issues in different areas of your life (work, relationships, friendships, etc.)?
- Does drinking make you feel depressed or anxious the next day?
- Does drinking disrupt your sleep?
- Do you feel guilt or shame regarding your drinking habits?
If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, it may be time to explore your relationship with alcohol.
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5 Tips To Help You Stop Drinking
Once you have decided that you want to make some changes in your life regarding your alcohol consumption, you may want some advice on how to stop drinking. Below are some tips to help you stop or lessen your drinking patterns.
1. Write Down Your Short And Long-Term Goals
When was the last time you asked yourself what you really wanted? Writing out your goals can help you gain clarity, see what is getting in the way of you accomplishing your goals, and what you may need to do differently to change. Writing down your “why” regarding why you want to cut back or stop drinking can be a powerful motivator and a tangible reminder of why you started down this path.
2. Remove Alcohol From Your Daily Life
The fact is that alcohol is all around us, but there are things people can do to help remove it from their immediate environment. For example, don’t bring it into your home. Let your house be a space that is free from that distraction. Committing to removing alcohol from your home can create an extra layer of protection from spontaneously deciding to have a drink.
3. Designate Alcohol-Free Days
If you want to cut back on alcohol, consider making some days non-negotiable for whether or not you will drink. For instance, some people choose to not drink during the week. The longer the time between each drink is a step in the right direction toward a new, sober lifestyle.
4. Stay Busy And Build New Habits
Exercise is a good way to take up time when not drinking. It also naturally increases dopamine in our brains. While yoga and walking may be helpful for some people, others may prefer kickboxing or MMA fighting. Take the time to try some things out and find what you enjoy most. It’s important to move your body and, when possible, get outside.
Another way to stay busy is to try a new craft or hobby. Learn how to knit, play an instrument, take a pottery class, or volunteer. Engaging in your life in fun, productive, sober ways can help take your mind off alcohol.
5. Educate Yourself About The Effects Of Chronic Alcohol Use
Alcohol has a tremendous impact on our brains and bodies, and understanding the science can be a powerful motivator. For example, consistent alcohol use increases a person’s risk of seven different types of cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of the following types of cancer:
- Larynx (voice box)
- Colon and rectum
In addition, alcohol is a known neurotoxin that changes the structure and function of the brain. Research indicates multiple neurotoxic effects on the brain as well as neuroinflammation that can lead to the degeneration of brain tissue and reduced brain volume.
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The Value Of Support
It’s important to remember that cutting back on drinking is a process, and it is not an easy one. Deciding to stop drinking can feel isolating, especially when reminders of alcohol are everywhere. Thankfully, you don’t have to try to manage it alone. There are peer support groups, books, and podcasts full of information and resources on sober living.
Finding people who understand how difficult it can be and who can provide a safe, compassionate space to openly discuss how you’re feeling as you go through this process can make all the difference.
Get Help For Alcohol Addiction
If you feel as though your drinking habits have gotten out of control and you need more structured support, detox facilities and treatment centers can help you stabilize in a safe environment with medical professionals on staff to help you manage symptoms of withdrawal.
Contact a treatment provider today to explore your rehab options and take back your life from alcohol addiction.
Adrienne Webster, LACC
Adrienne Webster is a Licensed Addiction Counselor. She earned her B.A. in Media Arts from Montana State University and later completed her graduate studies in Addiction Counseling there as well. She works with clients individually and in group settings as a counselor and a recovery coach.
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