If you believe you have an alcohol problem, you're not alone. In 2013 nearly 17 million adults ages 18 and older were diagnosed with alcohol use disorders (AUD). That same year, a little over 1 million adults received treatment for an AUD at a specialized facility.
People stop drinking for many reasons. Some might do it to improve their health or for religious purposes. While this article is particularly helpful for alcoholics, anyone who would like to stop drinking will find these 10 tips useful:
1. Accept your problem
The first step in recovery is accepting that you have a problem. Once you do this, you can seek proper treatment from friends, family and professionals, such as those at Fairwinds Treatment Center.
2. Let others know
Keep family and friends up-to-date on your recovery. Let them know you've reached your intended goals. Being open will also help them understand why, for example, you've turned down pub visits every Saturday night.
3. Create realistic goals
First realize whether you want to achieve abstinence or controlled drinking, then set daily, monthly and yearly goals to help you accomplish this. Remember, when you set long-term goals, you must be patient. If your goal is abstinence, you likely won't be able to accomplish this in a week or even a month.
4. Avoid temptations
In the early stages of recovery, it's best to avoid circumstances where you may be tempted to consume alcohol. When you've finally recovered, you can then reevaluate whether you should put yourself back into those situations.
For example, if your friends tend to go out for drinks every Thursday after work, you could suggest meeting up at a local book club, bowling alley or movie theater.
5. Develop new interests
Instead of grabbing drinks, think about taking on new activities like a yoga class or volunteering. These non-alcoholic environments will help distract you from drinking, which makes the act less appealing.
6. Keep a journal
As part of your alcohol recovery effort, we recommend you keep a journal. Use this to log everything from when, where and with whom you drink. Also, record how you feel when you are and aren't drinking or when you have cravings to drink. If you suddenly have an urge to drink alcohol, but avoided doing so, jot down how you managed this situation.
7. Remind yourself
A journal is a great way for you to reflect and recap how you felt earlier in the day. However, sometimes it's impractical to bring it everywhere with you. That's why we recommend writing goals on a small piece of paper or postcard, which can be easily stored in your wallet.
8. Don't give up
Understanding what the treatment process entails is one thing, but going through it is another. For example, if you set a goal to stop drinking for a month, it may be easier to do so during the first week than during the third. However, remember to stay the course because you'll enjoy the reward.
9. Reward progress
Set short-term goals and reward yourself when you meet them. As part of your recovery, it's important to recognize progress. This will help you not only lift your self-esteem, but also allow you to evaluate how well you're doing. If you set a goal to not drink for an entire week, but have a drink one night, you should still be proud you went six out of seven days alcohol free. Set the same goal the following week and this time aim to eliminate alcohol for the entire week.
10. Appreciate the reward
Do you feel healthier? How about happier? Or, maybe you're able to concentrate better at work. These are just some of the ways eradicating alcohol can improve your life. Remember to take a moment to enjoy these benefits.
To further help in your recovery, consider Fairwinds Treatment Center. Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism by using a Dual Diagnosis approach. In using this tactic, Dr. El-Yousef and his staff of full-time psychiatrists, nursing professionals and licensed therapists work to first diagnosis the underlying reason behind a person's addiction. Upon understanding the cause, they can then treat the disease and its symptoms.