You might be thinking: how do I stop drinking alcohol?
The good news is, there are ways to stop drinking alcohol. In this article, we’ll provide you with valuable information, including how to stop drinking on your own safely.
In the UK, drinking culture is a massive thing. Over half of the population over 16 years old drink alcohol.
While it’s a cultural standard to have a few pints, that doesn’t mean alcoholism is any less prevalent in the UK. Just like in any other part of the world, addiction is a real problem British people face.
This means a person who has this issue has unhealthy behaviours regarding drinking too much.
Alcohol abuse can mean that someone drinks too many alcoholic beverages within a short period of time. This is known as binge drinking, and even if you do it once every so often, it’s still considered a type of alcohol abuse.
Even if you don’t binge drink, you can still abuse alcohol. For instance, if you drink over the suggested limit of 14 units a week, this can indicate alcohol abuse.
Another huge indicator is if someone goes through withdrawal symptoms if they don’t have a drink. The intensity of the symptoms will depend on how heavy dependence is.
Generally, withdrawal symptoms include:
For people with more serious issues, they may have symptoms of:
If you or someone you love has experienced these symptoms after trying to quit, then it’s very likely you have an alcohol abuse issue.
Some of the most obvious consequences of alcohol use disorder are the symptoms of withdrawal listed above. But what else can happen from this disorder?
For one, you can suffer many health issues as a result. For example, you might have excessive liver damage to the point that you have cirrhosis. Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract might also become heavily inflamed. Alcohol can also damage your heart and weaken your immune system.
You’ll also experience profound personal issues. You can become so dependent on alcohol that it completely changes your personality.
You might end up doing things you normally won’t do, such as having unsafe sex, getting into physical fights, and committing crimes. Your interpersonal and work relationships can be negatively affected because you’re either drunk or hungover all the time. Because of this, you might have severed relationships and get fired from work as well.
There are several reasons why alcoholics can’t stop drinking.
One of the main factors behind uncontrollable drinking is genetics. There are 2 genes associated with the risk for alcoholism. This is what makes some people susceptible to addiction after just a few drinks in their lives, while others can keep drinking casually with no risk of addiction.
Another reason why alcoholics can’t stop drinking is that they’re self-medicating. Many people with alcohol addiction issues also have mental health disorders, usually undiagnosed. So alcohol is an escape for them.
Lastly, alcoholics also can’t stop drinking because they suffer from terrible withdrawal symptoms if they do. Like with other substances, this is why they keep using. It’s not necessarily to get drunk, but to feel “normal.”
It can be difficult to know if you need to stop drinking. Everyone’s tolerance, habits, and personal boundaries vary significantly. Where you’d draw the line isn’t necessarily where someone else would.
Generally, you’ll want to consider quitting or at least taking a break if your quality of life is suffering. This can be anything from deteriorating health to problems in your relationships.
Another way you can tell if you should try to quit is to take our drinking self-assessment. Your score at the end of the questionnaire will give you a better idea of if you have an issue.
Based on these results, you can determine whether or not you should quit alcohol on your own or with some professional help.
If you’ve decided that you need to quit, then there are several solutions for alcohol addiction. Read on to find out more about each one.
The 12-step programme is an extensive recovery solution. It aims to change the person’s mindset, which starts with the admission that they can’t control their addiction.
Because this is a faith-based solution, prayer and meditation are involved in the recovery process. So make sure you’re comfortable with this before enrolling.
You can always detox from alcohol on your own, especially if your abuse isn’t severe and hasn’t occurred for a long period of time.
The type of detox you can do at home will depend on your usage of alcohol. We’ll discuss this more in detail in a later section.
Alcohol rehab is one of the most effective ways to quit alcohol. Not only will these professionals help you with detox, but they’ll also give you tools to help you try to quit once and for all.
“SMART” stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training”. This programme is for those in recovery, as well as their loved ones. It helps people after they’ve finished with rehab and need to move forward with their normal lives afterwards.
SMART Recovery is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It teaches people to have the right mindset to decrease their chances of relapse.
Going cold turkey should only be done if you only have a mild dependence or recognise that you have an issue with drinking.
Some people have the willpower to stop drinking any alcoholic beverages. But cold turkey may not be the most practical way to stop — especially for people who are dependent on a substance. Quitting too suddenly can lead to painful withdrawal symptoms and a strong urge to start using the substance again.
You can also try to stop alcohol from taking over your life by taking baby steps. If binge drinking is the main issue, then you’ll want to tackle this first.
To stop binge drinking, limit how much alcohol is in your house at any given time. Also, try to avoid situations where you can access large amounts of alcohol, such as parties or bars.
If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t get enough drinks, then you’ll have to taper. Slowly decrease the number of drinks you have in a day; it’s best to err on the side of caution.
If your dependence is so serious that you risk severe withdrawal symptoms (such as seizures or tremors), do not attempt to taper on your own. Instead, seek professional help.
Earlier, we’ve mentioned some methods to quit alcohol, whether it’s with a programme or on your own. But if you want some easier and simpler ways of trying to quit then we’ve got tips for that as well. Here are some you can try out.
It might be daunting to think of a life that’s completely devoid of alcohol. So before you jump in with both feet, give sobriety a test run, if you will.
For example, you can go sober for October and see how you feel. It may just surprise you how easy it is to swap out your beers for non-alcoholic beverages.
You can also try a shorter period of time, but one where you’d normally have a high intake of alcohol; Christmas is a great example. See how it feels to abstain while in a setting like that, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make it happen.
Sometimes, it helps to have an expert and compassionate ear on your side. Simply having a chat with an advisor can provide some clarity about sobriety.
Our trained advisors are always on hand to give you some confidential advice. You don’t even have to make a phone call!
Perhaps it’s not you who’s struggling, but a loved one. In this case, you might be wondering how to help someone stop drinking.
The good news is, there are lots of resources for friends and family. For instance, we mentioned SMART recovery earlier, which you can participate in with your loved one.
Never try to force recovery and sobriety on someone, because you can end up pushing them away. On the other hand, you shouldn’t enable their behaviours either. Never give them alcohol to try and smooth things over for the time being, as it might worsen their addiction.
For those still wondering how to stop drinking alcohol, rehab is the best answer, either for yourself or someone you love. Here are all the things you’ll experience in a rehabilitation centre.
First, you’ll start with detox. Medical professionals will help you get through the entire process of withdrawal. This means they’re able to prescribe medications like benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, and barbiturates to ease withdrawal symptoms.
Some common medications prescribed are disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. Some are used during detox and also afterwards to deter relapse.
Detoxing and medicating alone won’t prevent alcohol abuse. These need to be used in conjunction with counselling to be truly effective.
As we mentioned above, a large percentage of people who abuse alcohol have some mental health issue. At the very least, they have triggers that drive them to drink.
In counselling, you’ll work with a professional therapist to find out what these triggers are, as well as figure out any unresolved traumas from the past. Once you’ve pinpointed these things, then you’ll work together to find healthy outlets and ways to self-soothe.
Typically, you’ll experience individual, group, and alternative therapies in rehabilitation centres. All of these therapies come together, holistically to truly heal your mind and body.
Alcoholism is a lifelong condition, which means you’re always walking the road of sobriety. To recover from alcoholism, you need to address the root cause that drives you to drink too much. Then, you need to actively stay away from any situations that might tempt you to drink.
If you do relapse, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, recognise that humans make mistakes and you certainly will. The quicker you can move on from that, the less it’ll hold you back.
For most people, drinking moderately isn’t an issue. But for others, the path down to alcohol addiction can be quick and even fatal in the end.
If you or a loved one feels like they have an issue with alcohol addiction, then it’s imperative to cease drinking and find sobriety as soon as possible. Not only will it free you from a dependence that’ll negatively impact your life, but it’ll also help you feel much happier and healthier!
Would you like to hear more about rehab, or do you need more information about addiction? Then contact us today. Our staff can provide you with free advice about how to stop drinking so much.