Alcoholism is a condition that’s been linked to adverse health consequences, as well as several diseases. About 88,000 individuals die annually from alcohol-related causes, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism statistics.
Furthermore, only about 6-7 in every hundred alcoholics receive treatment. While on the journey to recovery from alcohol abuse, individuals will often face several hurdles and challenges that can increase the odds of a relapse. However, to successfully stop drinking, following these tips becomes essential:
- Understand why it is important to stop drinking
- Decide which recovery option is better
- Prepare for withdrawal symptoms
- Get counseling
- Be part of a new social network
- Learn how to handle relapses
- Be determined
Understand why it is important to stop drinking
Recovering from alcoholism is a long journey, and it begins with realizing the need for a change in lifestyle. Several resources outline the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption. These risks extend from physical and mental to psychological health concerns. Some of the diseases associated with alcoholism include:
- Liver disease
- Heart diseases
Besides giving the individual a healthier body, stopping drinking can also improve the quality of life. Sobriety is associated with great life choices, and cutting back on drinking can free up much needed time that individuals can spend with friends and family.
Decide which recovery option is better
Two of the most popular tips to stop drinking are: Quit at once or gradually reduce your consumption. The recovering alcoholic needs to be able to decide which of these options is better for them because they both have their advantages and uses. Individuals who have been diagnosed with liver disease or some other severe alcohol-related condition are advised to quit drinking immediately.
The health benefits outweigh any withdrawal symptoms that the individual might experience. Additionally, ceasing consumption will help to preserve the remaining function of the organs in question.
On the other hand, gradually reducing the consumption of alcohol can make the process of recovery easier to bear. Some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcoholism include:
- Shaky hands
- Psychological distress
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
According to the National Library of Medicine, these symptoms are strong motivating factors for relapse in individuals who are trying to stop drinking alcohol. As a result, the gradual process of reducing the daily amount of alcohol consumed may be a better alternative.
Individuals may not necessarily need to quit drinking altogether, as studies have shown that it has significant health benefits. Sometimes, only excessive and compulsive consumption needs to be discouraged.
Prepare for withdrawal symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms of alcohol can be countered by physical measures and actions. Taking a little bit of alcohol to feel better is the worst thing to do during withdrawal because it only serves to encourage the habit. To be sure, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be uncomfortable and can even prompt a relapse. However, with adequate support, they can be overcome, and the individual can be on their way to a healthy recovery.
The following measures are advised for individuals experiencing withdrawal symptoms:
- A quiet environment
- Soft lighting
- Reduced interaction with people (normally, recovering alcoholics are encouraged to socialize to avoid a relapse. However, during withdrawal, limited interaction is necessary
- A healthy diet
Individuals looking to stop drinking can rest easy knowing that withdrawal symptoms are only temporary. The severe symptoms are only known to last a week. After that, they become more tolerable and more easily managed.
One of the keys to a successful recovery from alcoholism is counseling and therapy. Counselors can help recovering individuals with every step involved in stopping drinking, from helping them to understand the need to stop, to guiding them on how to go about it. They can also be an available source of comfort, especially for individuals who need to share their pain and difficulty.
The role of a counselor also extends to preventing relapse. When individuals explore how to stop drinking, they have to consider how to prevent relapses and how to recover from them. This is because relapse is only a mistake and a moment of weakness away. Counselors can help individuals set up prevention plans that protect them from relapse and ensures the success of their journeys.
Be part of a new social network
Most individuals looking to stop drinking have alcoholic friends, and they often spend time drinking together. However, the decision to become sober has to involve making some changes in the kind of company kept. Friends who used to be drinking buddies can become triggers for relapse. A new, sober social network needs to be cultivated by people looking to stop drinking if they are to be successful.
One of the crucial tips to stop drinking involves learning how to handle relapses. Individuals who have counselors need to reach out to them immediately after a relapse. They should also seek support from friends and family members who understand their situation. Being around good company immediately after a relapse is very important. Without external support, the individual can feel like they failed to stop drinking and simply return to their old ways.
Another vital step is to lean on existing structures. Structures are put in place for individuals who want to recover from alcoholism because they work. After a relapse, existing structures should be reviewed and modified as need be. For example, if the relapse was caused by a trigger, the trigger needs to be eliminated. The progressive modification of structures can strengthen the individual’s confidence and resolve to stop drinking.
Arguably, the most important of the tip when stopping drinking is concerned is determination. The road to sobriety is a long and often difficult one — life-changing progress isn’t made in one day. Determination is necessary because the heavier the consumption, the longer the process will take.
Additionally, individuals who have been drinking for a long time will have more severe withdrawal symptoms than individuals who have a shorter drinking history. Regardless of the recovery program’s length, perseverance and determination are crucial elements of recovery.