How to stop drinking
Once you have finally admitted that there is a problem with your drinking, and then the next step is to try and stop. The only thing that will make this happen is a genuine wish to stop drinking. There is no point starting a detox regime unless you are ready and absolutely determined to beat alcohol addiction for good.
Seek help and advice
For an alcoholic trying to quit drinking, it can be almost impossible without some sort of help and support. Trying to do it alone rarely works, which is why so many recovery programs focus on counselling and peer to peer support from fellow recovering alcoholics. Help and advice is available on the NHS as well as privately. Some health insurance covers alcohol addiction so you should check if this is included in any policies.
Start cutting down
Cutting back how much you drink can be a good first step to stopping completely. You could try keeping a record of when, and how much you drink. Recording your feelings and reasons why you drink too may help reveal a pattern, or help you identify triggers that lead to drinking. Simply drinking more water will help flush some of the toxins from your system. Maintaining a good and healthy varied diet and eating regular meals will help combat some of the effects of alcohol consumption. Exercise will help boost your energy and your state of mind with release of endorphins. Do not embark on a new exercise regime without consulting your Doctor first. Your body may not be able to cope with sudden rigorous exercise regimes that could do more harm than good.
Treatment to suit you
There are a wide range of treatments for alcohol addiction. Different treatments take different approaches: some use medication whilst others do not and favour a more holistic approach. Any rehabilitation must include addressing the psychological and emotional issues to why drinking has become an issue. Counselling is essential to help the sufferer understand and resolve the problems that have made them turn to alcohol and lose control over their drinking.
Professional care and medical supervision
IF you have become physically addicted to alcohol, it can be extremely dangerous to your health to just stop drinking suddenly without the help and support of a detox programme. Alcohol affects just about every system in the body – and imposes the threat of multiple long term health problems. Apart from the obvious degenerative effect has on the liver, alcohol also causes problems with blood pressure, blood sugar levels, heart and circulatory health, and disorders of the nervous system. A sudden withdrawal from alcohol can cause potentially fatal conditions.
Treatment involving medication usually has a two part approach: where there is physical dependency on alcohol, drugs may be given to help stop drinking in the short term, and longer term treatment such as counselling to help keep stopped. These medications work by making the body unable to tolerate the alcohol, or neutralising the effects. Medication alone is not effective in combatting alcohol addiction in the long term, counselling or group therapy is essential for understanding the reasons behind the addiction.
It is widely acknowledged that one of the best ways to beat alcohol addiction is to spend some time in residential rehabilitation. Spending some time in an environment away from temptation and your normal lifestyle will help break habits and drinking “routines.” Residential Rehabilitation also offers time for reflection and counselling to help understand behaviours and emotional reasons behind drinking. There may be many complex reasons why someone drinks. It is recognised that drinking and depression go hand in hand and it could be a case of suffering from both, which is often referred to as a dual diagnosis. Treatment for dual diagnosis cases is best handled by professionals, who can treat both problems in unison.
Many who have recovered from addiction to alcohol say that stopping is the easy part… staying stopped is the hard part. But stopping drinking is essential to beat alcohol addiction. The alcoholic is not capable of having “just one” drink and will always find a reason to have another. Staying sober is, without doubt, hard work but is the only real alternative to drinking. Most alcoholics will never be able to drink sensibly or in moderation so staying sober can be a life long journey. A complete change of lifestyle may be required and this can be difficult. Stopping drinking may mean changing your friendships and how you interact with people. It is best for an alcoholic in recovery to avoid potential triggers, so meeting friends “down the pub” may have to change to having a coffee. Real friends will support you in your efforts to live a sober life. Having the support of your friends and family can make the difference in whether your rehabilitation is successful or not.
One day at a time
Beating an addiction doesn’t happen overnight – cravings can last for a long time after the initial physical symptoms have subsided. The physiological effects of alcohol addiction take a lot longer to overcome than the initial stages of withdrawal. A sober life will always need care and attention to ensure success for the future. Taking one day at a time helps show an alcoholic that the disease can be beaten. With the right support and treatment, addicts can go on to have a fulfilling and alcohol free lives.
A commitment to a better future
A detox program is isn’t to be entered into lightly – it is a big commitment and you must be ready to stop drinking. You must really want it for yourself, not just for other people’s sakes. You may know that quitting is the right thing to do, but deep down you may not actually want to. Alcoholism is not an addiction that can be cured but it can be treated. With a carefully managed and successful alcohol help and recovery program, former addicts can go forward and live happy, healthy lives, free from the addiction that once consumed them.