The decision to stop drinking alcohol can be life-saving for individuals who feel they are falling into alcohol addiction. However, recovering from alcohol abuse, maintaining sobriety and managing alcohol cravings is a hard struggle. There are many ways to achieve sobriety. For a person wondering how they can stop drinking, here are the 10 best ways to stop drinking alcohol.
1. Make a Plan
Make a plan to stop drinking alcohol by setting a date. Post the date in a place where you can see it often. If you are a heavy drinker, you must first slowdown in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms which can be potentially deadly (in this case, involve your doctor in your plan in order to come up with a more appropriate date plan).
2. Identify the Triggers
The urge to drink alcohol is set off either by internal or external triggers. The key to quit drinking and maintaining sobriety is by identifying and avoiding the triggers. External triggers, such as places, people and things that are associated with alcohol drinking behaviors and opportunities can quickly lead to a relapse. High risk situations are more obvious, more predictable and are more avoidable compared to internal triggers.
Internal triggers are set off by thoughts, negative emotions such as frustrations, positive emotions like excitement, physical sensations like headache, anxiety and tension. Once you have identified the triggers, work on how to prevent them from leading you to drinking.
3. Avoid High Risk Situations
The best strategy to quit drinking is avoiding high risk situations. Avoid social settings where alcohol is served. Do not buy or keep alcohol at home as this will easily tempt you. Friends and family members can also assist by refraining from drinking alcohol in the presence of those in recovery.
4. Build a Strong Support Network
Ensure that you surround yourself with positive people. This will help you to build and improve your self-esteem and confidence. Without a positive support network, it is difficult to make changes that will completely lead to sobriety. An available social network support is particularly important during the early months of recovery.
5. Communicate Effectively
Having an effective communication with family, friends and workmates can help them to understand the different aspects and challenges involved in your road to recovery. Expressing yourself to them will help them to be much more supportive and assistive.
6. Incorporate a Nutritious Diet
A healthy diet and proper hydration are important to an alcoholic’s healing process. Proper nutrition, as well as hydration, helps to restore physical and mental health, improving the chances of recovering.
Macro and micro-nutrient deficiencies can cause low energy levels, depression & anxiety, which are triggers that can lead to a relapse. Your diet should incorporate food types that improve digestion, promote steady blood sugar throughout the body and improve brain chemistry. A healthy process of digestion optimizes the rate of absorption of vitamins, amino acids and minerals which help to reduce alcohol craving. An adequate intake of lean protein ensures that your brain produces optimal amounts of neurotransmitters which are associated with feelings of well-being.
Comprehensive nutrition education program and individualized nutrition counseling have been found to improve a 3-month sobriety success rate in people with substance abuse issues. If you wish to quit alcohol drinking on your own, here are a few nutrition tips you can follow.
- Do not make major diet changes immediately. Gradual diet changes will lead to a better body compliance.
- Eat foods that are low in fat and include adequate levels of lean protein.
- Eat regular meals throughout the day
- Water is the most important nutrient required for every body function. Adequate water intake helps to reduce alcohol craving.
- Vitamins and mineral supplements such as vitamins A& B, zinc and B-Complex are helpful during and after the recovery phase.
One way of replacing destructive behaviors is getting involved in physical activities. Exercise stimulates the same neurotransmitters and circuits in the brain as most addictive substances. Start out your exercise routine slowly and focus on strength training and cardiovascular exercises.
8. Engage in Healthy Activities
Alcoholics are known to give up on activities that they once found enjoyable. Part of the recovery process is rediscovering previous hobbies and developing new interests. This will help to alleviate boredom that can trigger a relapse and help you to pursue much healthier and fulfilling alternatives.
9. Evaluate Your Progress
Evaluate your sobriety progress by setting an evaluation date. A 30 day plan is more effective so that your new behavior can become a habit. Evaluate and review your reasons for quitting alcohol. Write down the benefits and, if you relapse, start again. An evaluation plan will help you to see how far you have come and motivate you to do better.
10. Treat Yourself
Once you have evaluated your progress and you have achieved a set duration of sobriety, treat yourself. The money which was used for alcohol can now be used to visit a spa, get a massage, join a yoga class, buy new clothing or furniture or even buy gifts for your family and friends. Maintaining sobriety is all about seeing its tangible benefits.
Note that there isn’t a universal best way to quit drinking alcohol. You may have to try out different combinations and find out what works best for you.