Reasons to Stop Drinking
There are many reasons why someone may wish to stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a drug, and while it can be used with relative safety if taken responsibly, it can also become addictive and dangerous. Even if you drink and do not develop alcoholism, drinking alcohol can greatly affect your life. The following are just some reasons why you may want to quit drinking:
- Save money - Alcohol is expensive. Even when drinking socially, alcoholic beverages don’t come cheap.
- Get healthy - Alcohol can wreak havoc on your health and can cause problems ranging anywhere from elevated blood pressure levels to various forms of cancer.
- Repair relationships - Alcohol can have a devastating impact on all of your relationships. Your drinking can be causing your loved ones immense pain.
- Get smarter - Alcohol can cause problems with focus and cognition. After a night of drinking, your cognitive ability will not be as strong as normal the next day.
- No more embarrassment - Drinking heavily can often lead to embarrassing moments as you’re more likely to do things you normally wouldn’t do when sober.
- No more trouble with the law - When you stop drinking you won’t need to worry about run-ins with the police, DUIs, arrests, etc.
- Addressing your emotional problems - Getting sober will give you a chance to address your emotional and psychological issues that trigger your alcoholism.
How Do You Quit?
So you have made the important decision to finally get sober, now however, you find yourself wondering, “how do I go about quitting alcohol?”. The answer to this question can be complicated because everyone has a different reason for drinking and different levels of dependency. For some, it may be as simple as having the willpower to turn down a friend offering them a drink. For others, it may mean deciding to get professional treatment. It is important to understand the severity of your drinking problem before you decide which method of care is best for you. Only those who have alcoholism need professional treatment. If you are unsure that you may have alcohol use disorder, take a look at this checklist of symptoms at Rethinking Drinking. If you believe you may suffer from the disorder, you should visit your doctor to confirm a diagnosis.
Treatment Options for Alcohol Addicts
If you are addicted to alcohol, becoming sober requires a lot of dedication, time, and care. It is difficult to quit drinking when you suffer from alcoholism because not only are you mentally reliant on alcohol, you are also physically dependent as well. There have been physical and chemical changes in your brain, and your body now needs the alcohol or it will begin going through withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be very painful as well as dangerous. This is why it is crucial that you seek professional help before giving up drinking entirely
Making the decision to eliminate alcohol from your life is absolutely great, and a giant step in the right direction. Having the desire and will to change is integral in the success of your sobriety. The next step you’ll need to take is to seek treatment. The first part of treatment for combating your alcohol addiction is to go through a medical detox.
Detox is the period of time where the alcohol leaves your system, and your body goes through withdrawal symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms include: headaches, nausea, tremors, anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. These symptoms can be life threatening which is why it is important that you go through detox under medical supervision. This way, if there are any complications a medical professional is on hand to intervene.
After you go through detoxification, you may feel a lot better and think that you no longer are addicted to alcohol; this couldn’t be any further from the truth. At this point in your alcohol treatment, you will need rehabilitation. Without follow-up care you are very likely to relapse. The most around-the-clock care will be in the form of an inpatient rehabilitation program. Inpatient residential programs come in both long-term and short-term formats. The long-term treatment programs can be anywhere from 6-12 months, and the short-term programs last anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Both programs provide intensive around-the-clock care with a combination of group community therapy, and individualized treatment.
Oftentimes, inpatient rehabilitation programs take a holistic approach and involve many different types of treatment including: recreation therapy, art therapy, movement therapy, and more. It is of the utmost importance that the treatment focus on what triggers and motivates the addict to drink, and to help the individual understand their alcoholism and any emotional issues that may have contributed to their condition. While it may seem like treatment takes a long time, programs like this give you time away from the situations that enabled your alcoholism to flourish. It gives you time to process your emotions, and address any comorbid—disorders that typically occur with another disorder—diagnoses that you have which may be affecting your alcoholism. If you chose to do a short-term program, often times this program will be followed up with a PHP program (Partial Hospitalization Program). A partial hospitalization program requires less commitment and involves less hours of treatment. In a PHP program you still attend consistent day programs.
The last option is outpatient care. Outpatient care can come in a variety of treatment types. You can attend outpatient group therapy that meets between 1 to 3 times a week, or you can receive individualized drug counseling from a therapist. While this treatment can certainly be effective, it does not offer as much consistent treatment. It does tend to be cheaper, and allows for more work-life balance. It is important to understand the severity of your alcoholism to understand which alcohol treatment type is the best fit for your recovery.
To stay sober after professional treatment, it is always a great idea to attend community programs such as AA (alcoholics anonymous). This is a free program that keeps you accountable and supported in your recovery journey. Being a recovering alcoholic is hard, and you must choose sobriety everyday. There are no shortcuts to staying away from alcohol, there is only hard work and dedication. To maintain your aftercare, it is important that you stay away from friends who you used to drink with, and places where you would go to drink. Many people decide that the best option for them would be to enter a sober living house. A sober living house offers a place to live where drugs and alcohol are prohibited, and the other people living there are also recovering addicts. This can be a great supportive environment to join after treatment.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself after treatment in order to maintain an alcohol free life is to take care of yourself. It is quintessential that you look after your wellbeing. Leading a healthy lifestyle will help prevent you from wanting to return to drinking. Find a workout regimen that you can do everyday so that you can feel your body becoming stronger. Learn to meditate so that you can calm your mind. Find activities and hobbies that you enjoy in your free time. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself emotionally. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink lots of water. Addicts oftentimes neglect their own wellbeing or do not feel they are worthy of self-love and care which is ultimately the wrong way of thinking. Be kind to yourself, and take care of your body and mind. It is okay to put your wellbeing and happiness first.
It is a difficult process to quit alcohol entirely. Whether you feel alcohol has been negatively impacting your life or because you feel that you have become addicted to alcohol, the road to recovery is not easy, but it is absolutely worth the struggle. This decision can ultimately lead your life in a positive direction. And although there will certainly be bumps in the road ahead, if you have the determination and the desire to change, then you can surely lead an amazing and healthy life free from the bonds of addiction.