So you’ve finally decided to quit drinking. That’s good to hear. As you know, alcohol addiction adversely affects your life in more ways than you imagine. It impairs your health (both physical and mental), takes a toll on your work productivity, strains your finances, and affects the relationships that you have with your loved ones. Needless to say, quitting is probably the best decision you’ve made in your life.
Before you go on with your journey towards an alcohol-free life, be aware that it won’t be without bumps and humps along the way. Be ready for these, and plan things out carefully so you can reach your goals without breaking down. Here are the steps necessary for overcoming alcohol addiction.
Make a Commitment to Stop Drinking
The very first step is to make the commitment to stop drinking. For many people, this is the most difficult. Some are in denial and won’t admit that they have a drinking problem, others, meanwhile feel powerless, as if they no longer have control over their minds and bodies and that alcohol has already taken over. If this is a problem for you, weighing the pros and cons of drinking can help straighten out your way of thinking.
Benefits of Drinking
- It helps people forget about their problems for a while.
- It enables people to relax and have fun.
- It boosts confidence.
Drawbacks of Drinking
- It increases risk of numerous health problems including but not limited to cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and heart disease.
- It weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections.
- It’s an expensive habit.
- It causes memory lapses, anxiety, shame and depression.
- It negatively affects relationships with loved ones.
- It impairs judgment, problem solving skills and productivity.
If you’re going to examine both sides carefully, you’ll see that the drawbacks certainly outweigh the benefits. Having fun, having more confidence and forgetting about your problems don’t seem to be worth the health, financial and relationships risks that you’re taking. Moreover, there are other ways to achieve these benefits without putting your health or life in jeopardy.
Set Your Goals Straights
After you’ve made it clear to yourself that you’re going to stay away from alcohol, you have to ask yourself several questions:
- Are you going to completely stop drinking or just cut back on your intake? If you answer the latter, how many drinks will you allow yourself to drink per day or per week?
- When are you going to start? You need to specify a date and stick to it no matter what.
Tips to Help You Achieve Goals
- Stay away from temptations. Get rid of anything that reminds you of alcohol like your favorite beer mug or that huge poster of your favourite wine brand in your room.
- Let people know you’re doing it. It’s easier to follow through with your goals when you know that someone is counting on you to succeed.
- Distance yourself from people who make you drink. Instead, surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive of your journey.
- Monitor your progress with a diary or journal. Take note of things that cause you to backslide so you can also veer away from them.
Withdraw from Alcohol Slowly But Surely
If you’re a chronic heavy drinker, it’s possible that your body is already dependent on alcohol. If you suddenly stop drinking, you’ll go through symptoms of withdrawal including:
- Body tingling or shaking
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stomach cramps
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
Withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening for some alcoholics. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it would be necessary to undergo detoxification supervised by a doctor. This can be done in the hospital or in an alcohol treatment facility.
Soon you’ll find out how rewarding it is to create a life free of alcohol. There is more to life than the fun and games that alcohol brings you. With the support of family and friends who care about you, you will be able to reach your goals in no time.