May it be for health, personal, or religious purposes, there are many reasons for one to consider quitting alcohol consumption. Remember that you are not alone in this journey as many non-drinkers have had experience with alcohol before and now actively abstain from drinks. Here are some of our tips and tricks, as well as the benefits and withdrawal symptoms you should know when moving from an active drinker to drinking none at all. And if you need professional help, check out http://riveroakstreatment.com/hillsborough-county-fl-drug-rehab/ for various rehab plans.
Practical tips on giving up alcohol
If you are a long-term and/or excessive drinker, and experience strong withdrawal symptoms when away from alcohol, seeking professional help is highly recommended as they can provide you the necessary support and medication.
Here are also some tips that can aid in your journey:
Tell your friends and loved ones
Inform your loved ones and friends that you are quitting and your reason why. This way they can support you in the journey and become your team of support, and also help to remind you when drinking temptations kick in. You may even choose to quit alcohol with someone else or a group of like-minded people. This helps to reduce the number of invitations for drinking activities and places that serve alcohol, creating a safer and easier environment for you to recover.
Replace alcoholic temptations by switching out with drinks and activities that remove or discourage alcohol consumption. For example, avoid going to pubs by doing and going somewhere else with your friends and family. If you usually order a drink when eating out, you could opt for another type of drink or start having meals at home. It is important to know which triggers remind and tempt you into drinking alcohol and find ways to remove them from your environment. For example, is there alcohol available at home? Or what situations usually prime you to desire a drink? Avoid them as much as possible during your withdrawal treatment.
Decide on your goals
It is also important to know what goals you want to achieve when quitting alcohol. You could start by gradually cutting down on alcohol consumption instead of trying to quit completely in one go. This can still bring about the health benefits you are looking for, while still enjoying some alcohol, and is an easier strategy to cope with. For example, you can assign alcohol-free days a week. Or instead of drinking a lot in a day, you can spread it out over a few days. This helps to reduce temptation and unhealthy habits, and may even encourage you to add more alcohol-free days as your cravings change. Eventually, you may even decide to quit as a result.
Another useful way to aid in your progress is to keep a tracker. Deciding on the number of units or cups of alcohol a week and spreading them out is one way to reduce alcohol consumption gradually without completely removing it from your life. This way you can set weekly goals and know exactly how much you’re consuming without worry.
Create a reward system
Positive reinforcement is a key step when it comes to reducing alcohol consumption. Making changes in your lifestyle is not easy, especially if they are formed habits, and it is normal to slip up once in a while. When that happens, it is important to not be too harsh on your mistakes as this can be discouraging; you may be making progress even if it does not seem like it. Set small goals by keeping track of your alcohol consumption, and then gradually increase these goals the better you get at controlling your temptations.
You can also create a reward system for yourself. Treat yourself with a present whenever you make progress or meet a goal. You can also switch out alcohol with something else that you might enjoy drinking over a meal. As spending on alcohol decreases, you will have more disposable income to purchase other things that you might like.
Notice the positive benefits during your journey, whether you are quitting completely or gradually reducing consumption. Practice more self-awareness, be it improvements to your energy levels, sleep, or health. Maybe you feel better about yourself knowing that making this decision has long-term health benefits such as reducing cancer or related diseases. It is important to notice progress as this can be encouraging and motivate oneself to continue setting goals and practice alcohol-free days.
Potential alcohol withdrawal symptoms
Do also be aware of the potential withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting or reducing alcohol consumption, especially if you are a long-term or excessive drinker. As you battle your temptations, you may also experience psychological symptoms such as mood swings, a sudden drop in energy levels or focus, and difficulty in other areas such as sleep. This is more often the case if one picked up drinking as a way to cope with other problems.
If you are experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms as well, from a loss in appetite to more severe conditions such as fever and hallucinations. It is highly recommended that you seek help from a doctor or in a professional rehab facility immediately. In fact, if you have developed alcohol dependence, it is recommended that you seek professional help instead of attempting to quit on your own. While your family and friends may do their best to support you, it is the reality that they are not trained in times of emergencies.
Your doctor may administer medication to help you cope with certain symptoms especially if they are painful or difficult to deal with. If the conditions are severe, choosing to stay in a facility may be a viable option as well as having a team of medically trained staff can also offer professional support such as therapy and counseling in a controlled environment.
No matter what the reason you have chosen for deciding to quit or reduce alcohol, know that making mistakes is normal and it is important to not give up. Setting short-term goals and creating the right environment are just some ways to help you in your journey. Don’t be afraid to seek medical attention if you are experiencing some withdrawal symptoms.