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Ways to Stop Drinking

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How Do I Know if I Need to Quit Drinking Alcohol?

You may have a drinking problem if:

  • Alcohol negatively affects your life
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking
  • You have a hard time stopping

Self-reflection helps determine if you need to stop drinking. If you have to ask, "Am I an alcoholic?" you most likely are.

Common Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Other common signs that you have an alcohol problem include:

  • Your friends and family bring up your drinking
  • Your work or school performance is suffering
  • You find yourself drinking alone
  • You can't remember the last day you didn't drink
  • You've broken the law while drunk
  • You've gotten into fights because of alcohol
  • You've had to lie about your drinking
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5 Ways to Stop Drinking

If you want to quit drinking, you can try following a few steps.

1. Seek Support

No matter your approach to quitting, it is much easier when you have people you care about to lean on. Support can come from various people, including:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Other recovering alcoholics
  • Healthcare providers
  • Counselors

Letting these people know you want to quit drinking can also help you stay accountable. You could also join a recovery support group, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Spending time with people who understand what you are experiencing can be healing. You can also learn from what others have done to achieve sobriety to guide your journey.

If push comes to shove, you can always seek treatment. Attending an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation facility is the best way to stop drinking. Primarily due to medical supervision and care.

2. Understand How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Alcohol can be a detriment to your body in many ways. Even drinking moderately can sometimes leave you feeling unwell, groggy, or hungover. 

Drinking too much can increase the likelihood of the following:

  • Stroke
  • Changes in behavior
  • Heart disease
  • Liver damage and inflammation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Weak immune system

Over time, alcohol’s toll on your body can be hard to reverse. Knowing alcohol's effects on your body can help you stop drinking.

3. Change Your Habits 

Changing your habits is a good way to start your journey of quitting alcohol. While you don’t need to overhaul your lifestyle completely, you can start adopting habits to support your goals. This includes:

  • Removing access to alcohol
  • Avoiding leisure activities that involve alcohol
  • Avoiding bad influences or people who don’t support your goals
  • Replacing alcohol with water, juice, or soda
  • Adopting healthier ways to deal with stress, such as exercise and meditation

Changing old habits also means making an effort to build a sober social network. It is essential to have sober friends who will support your recovery journey. Consider taking a class, volunteering, or attending events in your community to meet new people who can support you.

4. Set Realistic and Achievable Goals

Once you decide to quit drinking, setting clear goals is important. It’s best to be as specific and realistic as possible.

For example, you can set a goal to quit drinking by a specific date. If you want to start slow, you could aim to stop drinking alcohol on weekdays. Determine how many drinks you'll allow yourself, and stick to that goal.

5. Be Persistent

For many people, successfully quitting drinking only happens after several attempts. You might have a few setbacks, but don't let them discourage you. Sobriety is an ongoing process, and there’s no endpoint. 

Your long-term goal of staying healthy should keep you motivated. Don’t be afraid to ask for help too. As mentioned before, you don't have to undertake sobriety alone. Having people support and motivate you can help you stay on track.

Ways to Reduce Drinking

Quitting alcohol cold turkey isn't an easy feat to achieve and it doesn't happen overnight. For many people, recovery is a slow process, and drinking less can be a great way to start.

If you're looking to lessen your alcohol consumption, here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Set a drinking limit
  • Count your drinks
  • Drink in smaller amounts
  • Drink low alcohol or no alcohol alternatives
  • Limit the amount of alcohol at home
  • Keep up your food and water intake
  • Delay your first drink
  • Stay hydrated
  • Have several drink-free days per week
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What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking?

If you're addicted to alcohol, the first days of quitting can be difficult. Drinking alcohol can be tempting and you might even relapse. You may even start feeling physically ill with withdrawal symptoms.

Although recovering from alcoholism isn't a walk in the park, it is worth it. The long-term benefits you gain from quitting can make you healthier and happier.

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be tough to deal with. Depending on your level of addiction, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur during the detoxification stage, which can be the most difficult part of quitting. But once you make it through, you’ll experience the benefits of not drinking.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Better skin
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved immune system
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Better mental health

Some people feel these benefits as early as a week after detoxification. For others, it can take months.

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When to Seek Alcohol Addiction Treatment (& Options)

Knowing when to seek alcohol addiction treatment is essential to a successful recovery. Some signs that substance abuse treatment might be needed include:

  • Being unable to limit alcohol consumption
  • Taking more time to recover after drinking
  • Spending more and more time drinking
  • Having a strong urge or craving to drink
  • Thinking about drinking often
  • Having issues at work or school because of drinking
  • Memory loss
  • Neglecting responsibilities because of drinking
  • Avoiding things you previously enjoyed so you can drink

The sooner you get help for alcohol use, the less likely you will suffer long-term consequences. 

There is no right or wrong time to seek treatment. If you believe you need help, you should seek help.

There are many treatment options available for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and addiction, including:

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Updated on October 11, 2022
7 sources cited
  1. Infographics, CDC. “What Is Excessive Alcohol Use?” ww.cdc.gov, 2019.
  2. SAMHSA. “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.” Samhsa.gov.
  3. ADA National Network. “The ADA Addiction and Recovery” adata.org, 2022.
  4. NIAAA. “Rethinking Drinking Homepage” Nih.gov, 2019. 
  5. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). “Drinking Levels Defined.” Nih.gov, 2017
  6. Harvard Health. “11 Ways to Curb Your Drinking.” Publishing, Harvard Health, 2022.
  7. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).“Alcohol’s Effects on the Body” Nih.gov, 2021

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.

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