In this article, we’ll provide some tips on how to stop drinking alcohol on your own while detoxifying your body from this harmful substance to your health.
Alcohol contains a very high addictive component; therefore, overcoming its addiction usually requires greater will power.
If you’re addicted to alcohol and stop drinking abruptly, you may develop a “withdrawal syndrome.” These are physical and psychological symptoms occasioned by not consuming the substance to which you are addicted to.
If you want to stop consuming alcohol, you will have to do it progressively.
If you try to stop abruptly, it will be more complicated. You will suffer from the withdrawal syndrome simply because you’re already used to it.
On the other hand, it’s important to replace your drinking activity with other healthy habits.
Each substance can cause a different withdrawal syndrome. Regarding alcohol, the most frequent symptoms are:
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Depression and mood swings
- Irritability and impulsivity
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sweating, cold skin, and trembling
- Increase of cardiac frequency
Normally, the appearance of these symptoms and the need to drink imminently precipitate relapse in consumption. Because when drinking alcohol again, the symptoms disappear.
This is why if you want to overcome your alcohol addiction, you must do it in an organized and planned way and develop the necessary skills to overcome the difficult times.
How to stop drinking alcohol on your own terms
Build a solid attitude
- The first step in overcoming any addiction is to build a positive attitude
- Building a positive attitude means creating and maintaining a predisposition to face any situation that may arise
- Overcoming an addiction is not a simple thing. Neither something that others can do for you nor that can be done magically through medications
- If you want to overcome your drinking problem, you must start a war between yourself and your addiction
- It won’t do you any good if you decide to stop drinking, not being convinced of doing it, and serious about it
- Therefore, before starting, I recommend that you convince yourself that you can do it. Motivate yourself and set goals
- Make a list of all the reasons why you want to quit. Also, write down the issues that this problem has caused within your: health, finances, problems with other people, etc.
- Also, make a list of the barriers that you think you may encounter along the way: (desire or the need to drink, discomfort from not drinking alcohol, loss of gratification, etc.)
- List the aspects of your personality that you think can favor change: Willpower, self-improvement, sacrifice, etc.
- Write a list of self-words that can help you in delicate moments: “I am stronger than alcohol, I can do it; I will change my life.”
Once you have the right attitude and learned how to stop drinking alcohol on your own, the next step is to decrease consumption.
In this case, reducing consumption doesn’t mean giving up drinking radically, but instead, trying to drink less and on fewer occasions.
The goal is for your drunken state to practically disappear, drinking fewer times a day than you are used to but still supplying alcohol to your brain.
This way, you will avoid withdrawal syndrome since your brain will continue to receive alcohol while getting used to drinking less.
For example, at first, you can limit alcohol consumption to 2 or 3 times a day.
Monitoring the amounts and type of alcohol consumed (it’s better if you stay away from hard liquor) so that you can control yourself every time you drink.
On the other hand, as time goes by, you will decrease these amounts until consumption is zero. If you do it progressively, it will not be so complicated, and you will not suffer the withdrawal syndrome.
- Week 1-4: decrease consumption to 2-3 times a day
- Week 5-10: decrease consumption to 1 time a day
- Week 10-12: decrease consumption to 1 time every other day
- Week 13: stop drinking
Substitute alcohol for other activities
The more you keep occupied, the less time you will have to think about drinking. The best way to help decrease your consumption is by staying busy in moments when you don’t drink.
For example, if you’re used to going to the bar in the afternoon, look for an alternative activity.
Decide to go for a walk, play sports with your friends, go to the library for a good book if you like to read, or go for a swim (when available).
If you do it alone, it will cost you much more than if you have someone to support you and accompany you along the way.
Sometimes you may think that seeking help to overcome your problems makes you seem weak or incapable, but that’s not the case. Having the help of others is logical and convenient.
Human beings’ lives are not complete without relationships with other people; Thus, to overcome complicated situations, it should not be overlooked.
When you start showing progress in decreasing consumption, and you feel more or less comfortable with that situation, it’s time to mark one or more dates.
It consists of deciding the day you will stop drinking completely or what days you will have certain goals to meet.
Doing this is vitally important so that the process acquires structure, and you don’t just stop drinking aimlessly.
So, sit down with the people who are helping you and agree on the dates indicated.
Let’s see an example:
- Week 1: I will drink only 3 times a day
- Week 3: I will only drink twice a day and at no time will I be drunk
- Week 5: I will drink only once a day and at no time will I be drunk
- Week 7: I will drink only 3 times a week and at no time will I be drunk
- Week 10: I will stop drinking completely
Drink only when you eat
To reduce consumption, a very effective technique is to drink only when you eat food.
Drinking more or less controlled amounts when you eat will allow you to ensure that you will not get drunk.
Work on your motivation
Sometimes, motivation will start getting simple after you start reaching your goals. You will be satisfied with your performance, and this will increase your motivation.
However, there are times when motivation can be more complicated.
If someday you can’t meet your goals or you’re not able to follow the “planning” that you have set, do not despair.
Stay firm with the attitude that you built initially, with the motivation that has led you to meet various objectives, get up, and continue.
Control your emotions
It won’t always be easy along the way, and there will be critical moments and situations in which you will have a hard time.
That is why you must learn to control your emotions when you find yourself in a situation that overcomes you.
If you notice that you cannot endure without drinking, try to calm down; go to a place where you’re alone, take a deep breath, take out your list of self-words to motivate yourself, and call one of your supports to help you.
If you do this, you will be able to change your thoughts whenever those situations arise. Then you’ll realize that this discomfort will only last a while, so all you have to do is try to hang on and continue with your goals.
Finally, once you have completed your goals, the best way to stay clean is to perform activities incompatible with drinking; and among them, the one that I recommend the most is exercising.
You’ll not only change your drinking habit in isolation, but you will also change your unhealthy lifestyle habits globally. Achieving more healthy lifestyle habits.
If you manage to incorporate physical activity or a sport that you like regularly, alcohol will no longer have a place in your life.
According to the WHO:
- Alcohol abuse causes more than 200 diseases and disorders
- 5.1% of global morbidity and injuries can be attributed to alcohol consumption, calculated in disability-adjusted life expectancy (DALY)
- 3.3 million deaths occur annually worldwide from alcohol abuse
- In the age group 20-39 years, 25% of deaths are due to alcohol consumption
- Alcohol kills more teens than all other drugs combined. It is one of the three main causes of death among young people aged 15 to 24: accidents, homicides, and suicide
- Young people who drink alcohol are 7.5 times more likely to use illegal drugs and 50 times more likely to use cocaine
- Approximately 40% of violent crimes occur while under the influence of alcohol
Apart from these potential pathologies, alcohol addiction produces a high feeling of discomfort, can cause multiple personal problems, and prevents you from leading a satisfactory life.
Have you ever overcome an addiction to alcohol? Please share it with us. Your experience can be of great help to our readers!