First of all, well done on deciding to stand up for yourself against the alcohol monster. It has a history of destroying lives but there are always people like you who are wise enough to not succumb to its dominance and find ways to kick it out of their life.
And that’s probably what has brought you here. Well, we are hopeful and optimistic at the same time that you’re not going to leave disappointed.
If you’re looking to know how to stop drinking, this is going to turn out to be one of the most useful resources you will ever come across. It covers most of the proven ways that have helped countless people end their alcohol addiction for good; and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but just repeat their success story.
With that said, let’s begin the journey to an alcohol-free, suffering-free, and a non-self-destructive way of life.
1. Prepare Yourself Mentally
Many alcoholics seem to simply jump in on quitting drinking without trying to work on their attitude towards alcohol much. This is usually where they go wrong, as their mind may still secretly keep loving alcohol, and so many times it’s just a matter of time before they find themselves gulping in that toxic liquid again.
Hence, you need to work on developing some mental strength and changing your attitude towards alcohol and quitting drinking so that you don’t have a part of you still betraying you by siding with alcohol.
Spend some time to remind yourself of all the problems you’re facing due to your alcohol habit. They may range from health issues to financial problems, not to mention your relationship going sour with your close ones.
Also remember all the times when alcohol brought you a lot of embarrassment. Maybe you drank too much at your friend’s birthday party and behaved like an idiot. Maybe you were thrown out of a bar for turning violent after drinking too much. Something that likely every alcoholic can probably relate to is either being abusive or at least being extremely rude and unfair to their spouse or even children.
Reading the experiences of other alcoholics about how they quit alcohol and how it changed their life for the best can turn out to be a huge motivation as well, especially when you start getting those cravings soon after deciding to quit. If possible, even try to get in touch with a few of them. It doesn’t matter if you have found them online; most alcoholics that have quit successfully are more than willing to offer a helping hand to others who wish to do the same.
Keep thinking about all the things mentioned above every time you hear that evil voice in you saying you can quit a few months later due to whatever reason, and let’s continue drinking for now. Don’t let that voice get the better of you; keep fighting and thinking about the said things to prepare yourself extremely well mentally and gain the mental and emotional strength you need to not just quit drinking, but also prevent yourself from ever going back to it.
2. Ask for Help Beforehand
If you have been a long-time or heavy drinker, you may want to join a self-help support group as well as a substance abuse program before quitting. Heavy and regular drinkers are often at the most risk of relapsing if they don’t have enough support by their side.
While the support they get from family and friends can be helpful, more often than not it doesn’t turn out to be enough. And that’s because alcoholics are much more likely to be able to resist their desire to go back to alcohol if they are in touch with people that have been through the things they are currently facing, and are hence better equipped at guiding them in the right direction.
This is something well backed by research, as it has been found that alcoholics that seek help from the members of a self-help support group and go for a treatment program are much more likely to be able to stay off alcohol after they quit compared to the ones that don’t go for either of these.
3. Don’t Modify The Rules to Your Liking
This is another reason many alcoholics who do manage to get into the recovery process don’t make it through it. They try to play the recovery game their way by modifying the rules of the game. This is pretty much setting yourself up for failure.
Understand the fact that you’re going to be biased here. You may have a part of you screaming to go back to the deadly substance you’re trying to break free of. So if you try to modify the rules, you will likely just open the gates for the alcohol monster to quietly and gradually get back into your life and make you its slave again.
So never try to bend the rules. If you have opted for professional help then you would want to follow what you have been instructed to. Similarly, just because you have made it through a couple weeks or so without touching a glass of alcohol doesn’t mean you can now ease up a bit on the restrictions and go to a party where you will find people drinking all around you.
When you’re trying to recover from this devastating addiction, you have to keep in mind that there’s not going to be any shortcuts or exceptions. You just have to follow what you have to follow.
4. Learn About The Benefits of Quitting
There’s a plethora of information available out there on why quitting drinking is probably the best thing you could do to yourself and the people around you. You should consider reading up as much of it as possible, as being aware of the benefits of not drinking alcohol is going to improve your mental strength to stay off alcohol.
In fact, you can actually even go a step further and write them down. You can go through them regularly when trying to recover from your addiction.
5. Get Rid of All Signs of Alcohol
You may not consider this as something important and perhaps even an insignificant thing to do, but surprisingly it can be such an important factor that it can make or break the success of your recovery.
You’re going to instantly feel the urge to drink again if you keep seeing signs of alcohol every now and then. This makes it imperative to get rid of everything that reminds you of alcohol, ranging from empty alcohol bottles to photos of your alcohol buddies.
Needless to say, you would also want to avoid hanging out with your friends you used to have those alcohol “sessions” with, as well as give a miss to all the situations that are associated with drinking, such as a dinner at your friend’s home. It may be difficult at first, but remember that protecting your sobriety is your topmost priority here. You would only want to focus on going sober right now even if that means disappointing a few people.
Your family and true friends would likely be very happy with your newfound approach towards life and that’s probably what should matter.
Finally, also remember that it’s perfectly fine to offer tea, lemonade, coffee or other beverages to your guests. Alcohol should totally stay out of your home or you may be fighting a losing battle.
6. Decide on a Date and JUST START
Although quitting instantly as soon as you realize that it’s the need of the hour for you is an ideal approach, you can also just choose a date if you want some time to prepare yourself for the freedom sobriety offers. If you have been a heavy or long-time drinker you may want to read up a bit on withdrawal symptoms so that you can prepare yourself for the challenges you’re going to face.
For people who have been physically dependent on alcohol, however, may want to seek the help of a medical professional.
7. Announce Your Decision
Any support that you can get at this point to help you stay sober should be welcomed. And when it comes to that, you certainly can’t ignore the importance of the support you can get from your family.
Tell them about your endeavor to quit drinking for good and help you stick to your “hard” decision, especially when things start getting a little tricky for you. In fact, you can even go as far as telling them to snatch away the alcohol from you if they ever find you with it again. This will also help you hold yourself accountable to your recovery goal.
Similarly, you should also tell your friends and co-workers about your intentions to quit drinking and request them not to drink in front of you if they are an alcoholic too. Who knows, maybe you can motivate some of them to consider embracing sobriety for good, too.
8. Find Replacements for The “Temptation Moments”
The temptation moments are a critical point of your recovery journey. It’s sad to see many alcoholics trying to go sober struggle to overcome the temptation moments and end up giving in to them.
In order to prevent this from happening, you can find something to do that you find interesting or something that would keep you occupied when you’re likely to feel the temptation to drink. These are the times when you used to have alcohol, such as after leaving from work on a Friday evening.
So for instance, you can instead go for an exercise session to replace the Friday evening temptation moment in this case. It’s important to keep yourself as busy or occupied with something productive as you can during the temptation moments hit. If you manage to do so, it may get more and more easier to forget about the temptations so that they become a thing of the past sooner rather than later.
9. Drink Lots of Water
As simple as it may sound, drinking a lot of pure, filtered water can turn out to be a supporting factor in your journey to an alcohol-free life. When you’re trying to stop drinking, your body could really do with more hydration.
Drinking more pure and filtered water is not only going to keep your hydrated, but also make you feel better and help get rid of toxins in your body. Furthermore, it’s also believed to help reduce the desire to drink alcohol to a certain extent, so it’s definitely something worth incorporating into your plan.
10. Get The Most Out of Your Imagination
Although some of these ways may not be what you thought when you decided to read up on how to stop drinking for good, these are some of the lesser known things that actually work like a charm. For alcoholics that have tried some of the more typical methods before and failed, these rather slightly weird-sounding methods can turn out to be their best bet.
That said, your imagination can actually work as a great tool for flushing out the desire to drink alcohol from your mind. What you need to do is imagine alcohol as something extremely disgusting. For instance, use your imagination to see alcohol not as the alcohol you have been drinking for so long, but as a kind of urine with a thousand germs floating around in it.
Get creative and keep thinking of new, disgusting ideas to associate alcohol with, and you will be surprised how quickly your desire for alcohol disappears into nothingness.
Similarly, if you have a good memory, you can put it to good use by reminding yourself of the time when alcohol caused a lot of pain to you or put you in an unpleasant situation. For example, ask yourself how did it feel when alcohol made you vomit all through the night? Wasn’t pleasant by any means was it?
And when you get the answer as a resounding “No,” work on convincing your mind that’s why it needs to forget alcohol for good so that you can change your life for the better. Oh, so you saw one of your friends enjoying a glass of wine today? Well, hope you know that it was probably a glass of tainted blood with at least a million germs in it.
11. EnvisionYour (Improved) Future
The role of your imagination doesn’t end just at seeing alcohol as something you wouldn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole. You also need to use it to imagine the future “You” that would likely be a whole lot better than now, and you will be proud of him.
Imagine getting rid of alcohol completely from your life and then steadily turning into a way more successful, happy, healthy person, with the relationships with your loved ones getting a new life put into them. Life will be so much more wonderful (if it ever was anything near to wonderful when you were into drinking).
Keep focusing on the healthier and happier you that you have started to become as soon as you put down that last glass of alcohol you will have ever drank. Get into a habit of imaging yourself and focusing on the future improvements in you sans alcohol.
When we grow a strong desire for something, our mind automatically starts making efforts in quite an effortless way to achieve it, and your conscious and subconscious thoughts, too, will become a part of this process before you know it. And this may very well turn out to be the point from where you will never turn back, and have eradicated the alcohol disease from your life for good before you know it.
12. Regular Exercise
You would be surprised how a combination of simple ways like many of the ones discussed here can work wonders when you’re trying to stop drinking alcohol. Of course, there are also ways like detoxification which we will be getting to in a bit, but they are probably better suited for the heavy, long-time drinkers, and not everyone who is trying to give up on their alcohol habit.
For most people, these simple ways may turn out to be just as effective, but without any kind of side effects or other issues that tend to emerge as a part of other typical, more mainstream “treatments.”
That said, regular exercise is one such “simple” way to take on your drinking habit but it has proven to be surprisingly effective. Of course, unless someone has got an extra hand they can pull out of nowhere they won’t be able to hold a glass of wine while going for a walk or doing some form of yoga.
Exercise makes your body feel better, which can help offset some of the “pain” you may feel as a result of restricting your body’s alcohol demands. Apart from that, it can also help quite a bit if you’re going to have to go for detoxification.
It will help you feel better both physically and mentally, which can be something hard to come by due to the after-effects of detoxification. Some of its other benefits may include:
- Improved blood circulation making you feel energized
- Better sleep so you could wake up feeling refreshed and not craving for alcohol
- Stronger heart that helps repair the damage caused to it by your alcoholism
Mental and psychological benefits:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved focus and clarity of mind
- Helping deal with other issues such as anxiety and even depression
- Improved self confidence
13. Rewarding Yourself When You Taste Success
When you finally manage to be able to overcome your desire for drinking to such an extent that it no longer seems to be a threat (though you would never want to take it lightly anyway), you can consider rewarding yourself. This helps your mind in feeling better about what it achieved and prevent it from wanting to go back to the thing you managed to get rid of from your life, which, in this case, is obviously your alcoholism.
As far as the rewards are concerned, they can be something as simple as writing about how good you’re feeling about your success with quitting alcohol in your journal to buying yourself a small gift.
As we mentioned above, detoxification may not be for everyone. However, for those that are “addicted” to alcohol in some or the other way and may not be able to break free of their addiction using other ways, may want to consider detoxification as a final resort.
Similarly, it’s believed to be the only thing that’s sure to work if you’re a heavy drinker or have been a regular drinker since years or perhaps even decades now. While those with milder addiction to alcohol may opt for detoxification at home with the help of their friends or family, they need to be extremely careful while doing so. If things go wrong it may turn out to be dangerous or fatal so unless you’re sure what you’re doing, it’s probably best to detox in a medical setting.
For heavy and long-time drinkers, of course, there’s no option but to detox in a medical setting with careful supervision and monitoring by medical professionals. In a medical setting any side effects that arise following detoxification can be dealt with quickly and effectively, thus preventing things from getting worse.
You will also be assisted in recovering from the nutrition loss which is common during the detoxification process.
15. Treatment Program
Many alcoholics start feeling much better with respect to their alcohol addiction surprisingly quickly after undergoing the detoxification process. However, they then ease up on all the things they were following or should be following, which may have helped them reach where they are at right now in the first place.
And this unwise loosening up on the repulsive nature against their addiction often leads to they ending up going back to it, which can then turn out to be a complete disaster to recover from.
Hence, the things discussed above should continue, and if you had to go for detoxification, you may have to consider the following treatment programs, too.
- Inpatient alcohol treatment: Staying at a recovery center that boasts an environment that tries to take you as far away from your alcoholism as possible
- Partial hospitalization: This is often a slightly advanced stage of treatment where the patient may live at home but would have therapy sessions and classes, and involve themselves in other forms of recovery activities
- Outpatient programs: This is the final stage of treatment where a patient is ready to move in to a private residence; patients in this stage have access to most services and facilities as they are motivated enough at this point and in a very strong position against their addiction