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How to Stop Drinking Alcohol
When it comes to how to stop drinking alcohol, there are many methods and tips one can use to refrain from the habit. First off though I want to commend you for even making it to this article because it shows your ready to make a change.
It is in an incredibly powerful day when you come to the point of saying “Enough is enough”. Massive change can occur immediately or shortly thereafter. So the first suggestion I can make to you is to do whatever it takes to stay in this mindset:
“Enough is enough and it’s time for a change.” – Owen Hart
How To Quit Drinking Alcohol
Why do you REALLY WANT to be Sober?
Make sure your WHY or reason for quitting drinking alcohol is bigger than your reason(s) for going back to it. Victor Frankl, a survivor and the author of “A mans search for meaning” once said:
“If our why is big enough, we can endure almost any how.”
Find a reason so powerful and so emotionally connected that when you are tempted to go back to drinking, you will remember why you started the detox in the first place. Maybe it is because you want to stop to be a better parent, or that you are tired of being a slave and not having power over your addiction.
No matter what it is, feel that emotion of that is attached to the reason you want to change. Feel that feeling intensely every time you are tempted to relapse.
Powerfully Envision a Clean Future
Whatever the reason is my friends, create a vision for the future where you see yourself being clean of alcohol. This is more powerful than almost any other tip I can give you. This is because everything starts in the mind, including your addiction. The more you strengthen the image of you looking, acting and feeling alcohol free in your mind, the better chances it will happen easier than not having a strong image of your sobriety.
Whatever you think about, you bring about. And us as humans form all of our thoughts in the form of pictures. Create that powerful picture of you triumphing over alcohol addiction.
Also, an exercise that can be even more powerful is to see yourself in 5 and 10 years down the line still living the life you are. Ask yourself if you are content with going down that path. See the ugliness that continuing your habits will look like if they continue for another decade.
Often times, just seeing this image has helped many people gain the motivation to stop their drinking habits.
It has been shown through British Studies that practicing as little as 11 minutes of mindful meditation can increase ones craving for alcohol. They created a study group of 68 adults who considered themselves to be heavy drinkers. They taught half of them the technique of mindful meditation and taught the other 34 relaxation techniques. Although the researchers expected limited results, the results were actually astounding.
There was no change in the group who were taught relaxation techniques. But in the group who was taught mindfulness meditation, there was a significant decrease in alcohol consumption. A total of about 3 pints of beer less than the other group.
One addict who was interviewed in a study showed that within 4 months of using meditation, that he was actually not craving alcohol at all anymore. He was an avid night drinker, but within those 4 months, he saw that it was stupid that he was wasting so much money spending it on alcohol
In the article the author, whom is a 30 year teacher of meditation explains that meditation decreases the enjoyment of alcohol on a physiological level. Through becoming aware of our thoughts, we become aware of how damaging it is on our system.
Here is a video that guides you though a 10 minute mindful meditation experience. I hope it helps you:
Accept That You Have A Problem
Often times in studies on alcoholics, they don’t even think they have a problem. The great things is is that you are on this page so you have already taken a big step in admitting and triuphing over your problem. The next step to admitting you have a problem is to simply accept that you have the problem. Which is the first step of AA.
It is described as being so powerful from Alcoholics Anonymous because it is the first step of letting go as well as seeing that you don’t have control over your addiction. AA says that you must “admit defeat before building a new life.”
They also encourage the addict to “abandon pride and seek humility”. They believe that you can’t step into your true power if you are still holding onto your pride.
Ditch Your Drinking Buddies
We all have friends that when we are surrounded by them, we tend to indulge in habits more easily than we would if we were around other people. You will never be able to beat your addiction if you continue to do the same things you do. That includes not hanging out with friends whom you partake in the habit you are trying to break.
Now this can be tough for many people, often this person can be a best friend or family member. It is imparitive that if you cannot eliminate them from your lives, then you must make it incredibly transparent that it is your intention to quit. Which the first thing you can do is to invite them along on this journey.
If you cannot bring them along with you,
Look At How it Is Affecting The People That Matter To You Most
Create a list of the top 10 people you feel that are being affected by your habit. Write down, for each person, the way it is affecting them. Now you can take this a step further and ask them how it is affecting them. Writing all of this down can give you a visual of how your actions are having a compound affect. How they are literally creating a negative wave in your life that is creating ripples in many other lives.
Creating a copy of this and keeping it with you can serve as a great tool that you can use to beat your addiction. When you find yourself on tough times with your addiction, you can read this to remind yourself why your doing it and for whom.
We normally do things in life for other people even more than we do it for ourselves. Good and bad. This is because when we include others in our reasoning for attaining our goal, we are more likely to succeed. We have a bigger purpose beyond our self.
Be Prepared To Say NO
Often times we say yes when we really say no. The same thing can apply to trying to quit alcohol. We want to say no, but feel bad and cave in. We don’t want to look like a party pooper or don’t want to say no to let down a friend or loved one.
The best thing to is to simply say no because you are trying to quit drinking for good this time. But if you can’t do this right away, it is OK. The best thing you if you can’t is to prepare a couple of good “excuses” that you can quickly use to avoid saying YES by default.
Tell people you have to get up early for work, or have to wake up early to take the kids to school. Prepare a few that apply to your life and use them and best be grounded when you say them to people who ask you to drink with them.
Find Accountablity & Sign A Contract
A great article delves into the subject of how accountability can help you reach your goals. It goes into the fact that having lose accountability, like telling your goal to people you love, increases your chances of achieving that goal by 65%. But the percentage get even better when you create appointments with an accountability partner. When you do this, the chances of attaining that goal go up to 95%!
Now this accountability can be set in stone by signing a contract binding you to follow through with your actions. The act of committing via contract creates a feeling of seriousness to our goal that doesn’t come from simply setting it in our mind or writing it down. Sign a contract and give it to you accountability partner showing how serious you are. It will also be a pain point that your partner can use when it comes to you wanting to fall off.
Even if you can’t meet with this individual or group in person, you can do so through email, text or phone. Just make sure this person has the same or similar goal of quitting an addiction. By having a partner with a similiar goal, it will increase the likely hood of you attaining your goal. This is because you guys can relate on a deeper level than you would with different goals. You can feel each others pain, literally.
Make Your Accountability Public
It can be incredibly scary to announce your plans for sobriety. But one of most powerful ways to commit yourself to following through with what you say is to do so publically by doing so through the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter among others.
You are now committing to hundreds or thousands of people, depending on how many friends you have. This can be very powerful as well as you will see that encouragement can come in boatloads. It will also show you who your real friends are by seeing the ones who are in support of you breaking your drinking habit.
Accept and Give Gratitude To Your Urges
Urges are bound to happen on your journey to quitting drinking. Exercising both these energies over your urges are way more powerful than trying to resist and suppress them. It is said that what you resist persists, so don’t resist them or deny them.
Identify the Reason You Started Drinking in The First Place
This is where we need to dig deep and search for the real reason you are drinking. There can be multiple reasons, but usually people are trying to fill some void. A lot of times it is tied to an emotion or a series of evens like a break up. If we can identify this ultimate unconscious trigger point and handle it through releasing emotions about it or getting help through therapy, we can potentially eliminate the habit of drinking for good immediately or very quickly.
If you simply cannot find accountability through people in your life, there is no shame in joining Alcoholics Anonymous. No shame at all. It is a bold and courageous move to seek help and not deny it anymore. Being that AA is completely free, what do you have to lose?
Trade Your Addiction For A Better Addiction
Have you ever heard people say that they are addicted to going to the gym? Well it truly is an addiction on a physiological level. A great article goes into this subject about how you can trade addiction for exercise and how it rewires your brain. Some of these methods of rewiring include releasing endorphins that induce symptoms of euphoria.
Even more important is that it increases your levels of seratonin which has been shown to be low in those who are trying to quit drinking alcohol.
Exercising will also increase your dopamine levels, also known as the feel good hormone. The article talks about how it can allow you to anticipate your workout intensely as an alternative to reward that you are used to feeling when you take a drink.
Your body image will change as well, creating more self esteem. This will translate to you feeling better about yourself and not need to do so artificially with alcohol.
Find Your Trigger Points
We all have trigger points that make us feel like or act upon doing things in our lives. The same is true with alcohol. What are things in your life that make you feel the urge to drink? It can be certain times in the day, before or after work, being around certain people or certain thoughts.
Identify these trigger points very clearly. Looking at them will show you when you are most likely to drink. It will be conscious now to you instead of acting on them subconsciously. You can form alternatives for these trigger points. For example if you feel that you are more likely to drink at night you can integrate meditation during that time to help you avoid drinking.
Use Technology To Kick Your Alcohol Addiction
With the development of apps, we can now be assisted in breaking addiction with as little as a tap on our Iphone. There are free and paid versions, both can help you immensely. A great app to use is Stop Drinking – Andrew Johnson
This app, like other stop drinking apps assist the user in relaxing and breaking through the physical and emotional cravings that you are going through. It has helped countless people fight their addiction.
Don’t Make It A Bigger Deal Than It Has To Be
Now I know this might sound insensitive but we tend to see addictions and certain things in life that we need to conquer as a giant obstacle. I’m not saying it doesn’t feel that way, but don’t give it that much power. Acknowledge the fact that it is scary, feel the fear and do it anyway. But don’t give it the power it thinks and you may think it deserves.
It all comes down to perception, if we can help ourselves on a bit on the journey to sobriety, then we may as well take every chance we get. If you see it as smaller than it the addiction wants you to see it, then you are already well ahead of most people trying to fight the addiction.
It will allow you to go into a battle knowing you have a fighting chance to win instead of feeling defeated before and during battle.
Think About the Positives You Will Gain From Stopping Drinking
At the end of the day, we have an illusion that life will lack substance or be less “fun” without consuming alcohol. But if you think of the benefits of stopping drinking alcohol, it can help you flip your perspective and see the great potential life waiting at the end of your sobriety. Some of which include saving money and spending time with loved ones and friends instead of at a bar. A great article goes into talking about these benefits, some of which include:
- Looking younger as alcohol reduces skin elasticity
- Weight loss eliminating these empty calories
- Lower blood pressure
- Healthier liver
- Learning better as alcohol gets in the way of the brains capacity for focusing
Know It is Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better
Often times with diseases or disorders, things get worse before they get better. This can be seen with things like being treated for depression and anxiety as well as diseases like Lyme. People get worse before they get better. The detox is often times worse than the actual symptoms.
The same holds true with quitting alcohol. You will more often than not feel worse before you feel better. Be aware that the symptoms can be intense. An awesome article goes into great detail on this subject talking about how symptoms can last weeks or months. The worst is shown to be in the first 24 to 72 hours where you can experience things like delirium, shaking, heart palpitations, fevers high enough to cause seizures and even tremors.
Other detox symptoms can include heavy sweating, racing heart vomiting and headaches.
The heavier the drinker is, the more intense the symptoms are going to be during this period. That is why it is imperative to seek medical assistance, ESPECIALLY if you are going to go cold turkey.
The best thing to do is to ween yourself off. Try cutting your alcohol consumption by 10-20 percent each week or two. This will give your body enough time to find equilibrium and not shock it into the symptoms mentioned above.
Getting Past The First 3 Days
In order to make it through this rough patch it is best to avoid most if not all people who do not support you and surround yourselves with people who do. Find a place where the lighting is dull and if you can, go through your detox with as much quiet time as possible. Be sure to up your water intake and eat as healthy as possible during this process.
Acknowledge Potential Set Backs By Moving Forward
Look my friend, no one is perfect. We all have setbacks on goals and dreams as well as quitting addictions. Give yourself credit for how far you have came on your attempt to quit drinking, even if it is a day. Any progress is progress. Allow yourself the feeling of frustration or disappointment or whatever you may feel for falling off. But don’t let it stop you from going after your goal. Focus on what you can learn from your “mess up”. There are lessons in each setback that you can learn from that will make you more likely to succeed in your next attempt.
Conclusion To How To Stop Drinking
Remember that you have to be truly ready to change. You have to be all in. Remind yourself that enough is enough. You have had it. Staying in the state of mind will carry you through the rough times. If you aren’t all in, you won’t retain these good habits and leave you feeling disappointed. This will lead to a weaker attempt to quit once you try again. Being all in is the only way to stop your habit of drinking for good.
I believe in you my friend. Let today be the day you decide to change forever and inspire people to do this same with your brave and courageous act.