Seek Help From Trained Professionals
Dr. Taca, who utilizes the disease model in his work as medical director for INSynergy, an outpatient program for addiction based in Saint Louis, Missouri, likens the importance of good counseling and psychiatric medication to the necessary components of treatment for diabetes, another chronic relapsing health condition.
Other individuals may not have a psychological condition and may simply need help managing cravings. There are medications that specifically target this biological process, as well as behavioral strategies for surfing the urge, such as mindfully accepting the sensations in your body, changing your environment, or engaging in some physical activity.
I Made The Most Of My Hangover
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One of the best things about giving up alcohol alongside the better sleep, weight loss, clearer skin and having more money is gaining back the time I wouldve spent hungover on the sofa. Now Ive reclaimed my weekends, I decided to make the most of my new found time and energy by running. I know its not for everyone, but Id definitely suggest trying to find something you love that you had neither the time or the energy for after drinking. It could be baking, doing a fitness DVD or simply arranging more early morning outings with the kids.
I actually started running a couple of years ago, but stopped when my hangovers started lasting several days. Back then, I couldnt run for more than two minutes without wanting a break that is no exaggeration but, I very gradually worked my way up to 5k with the Couch to 5k podcast. This is a brilliant and FREE podcast of guided runs that very gradually build up, until before you know it you can run for 30 minutes without stopping. Even the super-sceptical writer Charlie Brooker is a fan.
I moved on from 5K and downloaded a running app by Verv recently . Along with the 5K it also includes other gradual workouts to help you reach 10K, a half marathon or a full marathon.
The plus side of this one, is you can choose between plenty of different soundtracks and it also tracks your distance, speed, GPS route and calories burned.
Set Goals And Prepare For Change
Once youve made the decision to change, the next step is establishing clear drinking goals. The more specific, realistic, and clear your goals, the better.
Example #1: My drinking goal
- I will stop drinking alcohol.
- My quit date is __________.
Example #2: My drinking goal
- I will stop drinking on weekdays, starting as of __________.
- I will limit my Saturday and Sunday drinking to no more than three drinks per day or five drinks per weekend.
- After three months, I will cut back my weekend drinking even more to a maximum of two drinks per day and three drinks per weekend.
Do you want to stop drinking altogether or just cut back? If your goal is to reduce your drinking, decide which days you will drink alcohol and how many drinks you will allow yourself per day. Try to commit to at least two days each week when you wont drink at all.
When do you want to stop drinking or start drinking less? Tomorrow? In a week? Next month? Within six months? If youre trying to stop drinking, set a specific quit date.
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How To Stop Drinking Wine
If you want to stop drinking wine or moderate your intake there are other things you can also do as well as tackling the cravings. Firstly an obvious one is not having wine in the house. The problem is that many drinkers now have a cellar, wine fridge or place where they can store a large amount of wine. When wine is in the house it is so much easier to give in to temptation. Try and limit the amount of wine that you store in your home. Buy small bottles instead of larger ones. Dont bulk buy wine in supermarket offers to save money.
Next thing is to identify your triggers. We have talked about stress and negative emotions but there may be other triggers that make you want to take a drink. Having a partner who drinks can be one trigger that is often not spoken about. Try and get them to reduce their intake at the same time as yours if you can. Certain friends can also trigger the urge to drink. If that is the case plan an activity with them that doesnt involve drinking.
Start to learn some coping mechanisms that will help you deal with your underlying problems. You may need to alter your lifestyle in order to make that happen. Exercise, for example, is great at helping stress and anxiety. If you start to make that part of your evening routine breaking the nightly wine habit may be so much easier. You can also find some good coping mechanisms for stressin our blog on the subject.
Drinking Wine For Stress Relief
Many ladies that drink wine say they do it for stress relief. Challenging times at work, children playing up and relationship problems seem to be some of the most common reasons for drinking wine.
And they often describe it as a vicious cycle.
So, what does this cycle look like? I asked a member of the Soberclear community.
She said a typical routine looked like this:
Id wake up hungover from the wine I drank the night before. Ive never once woke up and felt happy I drank the night before. Id vow to myself not to drink again.
And, I really meant it.
Id often find myself pouring away the remaining wine in the house. My anxiety levels were higher than normal and Id just feel bad about myself.
Typically, I would either read Quit Lit books ordered from Amazon, read blogs or watch some YouTube videos about stopping drinking.
Usually, my dry-spell lasted a few days. Id start feeling good about myself.
However, it never lasted.
Id have a stressful day at work, or my kids would be driving me mad and Id end up picking up a bottle in the supermarket. Stress-relief I call it.
This cycle repeated for years.
Cycles like this can be extremely hard to break out of. And, its not just her. Its millions of other women that reach for the wine bottle to relieve stress.
Maybe wine does temporarily relieve stress.
Some may argue that its actually contributing to stress. But, thats a story for another day.
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What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Drinking
How your body responds to a lack of alcohol depends on how long and how much youve been drinking when you stop. For some, there will be little to no physical response. They might feel exactly the same or they might feel a little more energetic or hydrated.
But for long-term drinkers, stopping drinking triggers a variety of side effects.
If the body is addicted to alcohol, detox and withdrawal symptoms are likely. These include:
- Sensitivity to sound, light, and touch
Healthy Swapsthe Blaylock: A Mocktail Recipe For Dry January
“I have found kombucha to be an effective tool in transitioning off nightly nightcaps,” says Koskinen. “The sharp taste of kombucha mimics that of alcohol. The still-legal-for-kids-to-drink amount of alcohol in this fermented beverage may be enough to trick the brain into thinking its getting a dose of ethanol, which may be just enough to take the edge off.”
I order a mocktail when I meet people for drinks because it feels good to sip a drink that has an air of indulgence to it. The action also helps reduce any worry of being interrogated by strangers about why Im not drinking because mocktails look just like cocktails. I dont get a buzz, but I do get a sort of comfort.
Sometimes it is just holding something in your hand or switching gears that helps to break the cycle, says Shapiro. Same action, different liquid.
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How To Stop Drinking Alcohol: 5 Tips
1. Set a Drinking GoalFigure out how much youre drinking per week and set a new goal to limit your drinking. If youre drinking every single day, try only drinking on the weekends, or one day of the weekend. It may be difficult to cut out drinking entirely right away, but setting a short term goal to work towards will be helpful for hitting your long term goal of cutting out drinking altogether.
2. Dont Try To Do It On Your OwnHaving support from your friends and loved ones is important if you want to stop drinking alcohol. Let people know youre trying to stop so you can talk about it openly and lean on them when you need to. If you feel like you need extra support, you may consider talking to a therapist or joining a support group as well.
3. Keep Alcohol Out of Your HouseIts much easier to stop drinking when theres no alcohol in your house tempting you to drink. Its so easy to reach for a bottle of wine or bourbon when its sitting right on your cabinet. Out of sight out of mind works wonders.
4. Keep Yourself BusyA lot of the time people drink alcohol after a long day of work to unwind while theyre watching TV on the couch. Keeping yourself busy with activities or hobbies can make you forget about alcohol altogether. Sign up for an online course, try a dance class, take a walk, or go out to eat. These are all great alternatives to drinking that will keep your mind off alcohol.
Letting People Know What Youre Dealing With Can Make Recovery From Alcohol Faster
A key step in the best method to quit alcohol is to let people around you know about your intentions. This will help reduce the surprise they feel when they see you are not drinking. In turn, it will lessen their comments of surprise, which could catch you off guard and make you want to drink.
Telling those around you about your plans to quit will also help give you a support network. If your friends and family know you are not drinking anymore, they will not offer you a glass. Even better, they will give you the encouragement you need to turn down a glass of wine at a restaurant or gathering.
When you let people know your plans for staying sober, it also increases your accountability. Most people will try harder to succeed in a goal if others know about it. You will not want to be embarrassed by failure and will also avoid the feeling of letting down the people you love.
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If You Are Struggling Seek Further Support
And finally, if you are struggling and finding it difficult to cut down on your drinking, or you think you might have a problem with your drinking, then we advise that you get in touch with your GP. They will be able to provide confidential advice and refer you for extra support.
You can also find support over the phone:
- Drinkline is a free confidential helpline for people concerned about their, or someone elses drinking. Call 0300 123 1110 .
- Alcoholics Anonymous, whose helpline is open 24/7 on 0800 9177 650. If you would prefer, you can email them at or chat live via their website at https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/.
If you are alcohol dependant, then you might experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly cut down or stop drinking and should seek medical support. Visit: for more information.
In The Suburban Mom Culture Wine Is Everywhere
So what can you do? You want to stop or cut back on drinking wine. Hey, the reasons why are yours and yours alone. But you dont owe that explanation to anyone.
I dont care to know if you think you have a drinking problem or not. Thats up to you. But if you want to quit and are finding it hard because its all around you, then this is for you.
Please note, I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the internet. There are some real and fatal risks to quitting alcohol if your body is truly addicted to it. Ugly stuff like seizures and death. If you think that you are addicted, please seek professional help.
I was just a casual drinker who stopped drinking. For me, it was about my personal health, my weight gain in my 40s, my family history, and other things.
Because Ive heard from many of you. Many who were encouraged and happy to know they werent alone. Many who arent physically addicted, but having trouble stopping because of their environment.
Despite having nothing to do with IEPs, my posts about my drinking are some of the most read posts here. So lets get started.
Just a reminder: Im not a doctor and I dont play one on the internet. I was not chemically addicted to alcohol. Mine was behavioral. A true chemical dependency on alcohol requires medical supervision. Please seek help if you need it.
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Make A List Of Reasons For Quitting And Refer To It Often
Identify the benefits of quitting and write them down as a reminder of why youre doing this.
Make a list of all the reasons you dont want to drink alcohol and read it over daily, says Koenig. Paste it on your car dashboard and your bathroom mirror. Remind yourself that you can drink alcohol but dont want to. When you have cravings for alcohol, read over your list of why you dont want to, distract yourself with another activity, and/or let the thought go by rather than engage with it. Sometimes fighting with a thought reinforces it.
If youre trying to shed a few pounds, keeping that goal in mind can be great a list-topper for why youre quitting booze.
Alcohol is preferentially metabolized by the liver because its a toxin, says Nancy Woodbury, a registered dietitian nutritionist. So when you drink alcohol and eat high-fat appetizers like baked brie, fried shrimp crab cakes, its likely that these excess fat calories will simply be stored as fat. This might provide an extra incentive.
Exercise boosts serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and a quick shot of both will make the happy chemicals release, and you won’t want to drink.
Treatments For Alcohol Withdrawal
There is no way to completely prevent these symptoms if you quit abruptly. Your best bet is to have medical supervision to keep you safe. Doctors sometimes prescribe sedatives like benzodiazepines to ease the symptoms, as well as gabapentin and baclofen. Gabapentin can help prevent seizures, and baclofen can temporarily replace alcohol in some parts of your brain.
This shouldnt discourage you from quitting. But overall, be cautious about giving up alcohol cold turkey, and consider tapering off if possible.
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Looking After Your Physical And Mental Health
Here are some tips that might help you while youre cutting down:
- Stick to a sleep routine. Avoid using sleeping tablets.
- Pay attention to your diet – eat foods that have plenty of vitamin B1, like peas, fruit, eggs and shreddies and bran flakes cereal. Try soups if its hard to keep food down.
- Drink lots of water or tea . Avoid energy drinks.
- Keep in touch with family and friends, and your alcohol worker if you have one.
Try A Month Of Abstinence
Try doing a dry month like Dry January, Go Dry for July or Sober October, says Moore. In January 2020, more than 6 million people reportedly participated in Dry January, a campaign to reduce alcohol consumption organized by Alcohol Change UK. Follow-up research suggested that most tended to drink in healthier amounts afterward.
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Open The Lines Of Communication
The person you are concerned about is never going to know youre concerned unless you voice that. This may be an uncomfortable conversation for you and the drinker, but it is a necessary one. You could call this an intervention, or simply a conversation. Interventions are typically more serious and have more concerned people in attendance, so it depends on the specifics of the situation. Whether an intervention or a conversation, the desired end result is the same: bring attention to a loved ones drinking, and hope they can understand where your concern is coming from. If they can, they are one step closer to recovery.
Can I Still Get Medication To Help With Withdrawal Symptoms
If you have been prescribed medication to help you manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you will still be able to get this from your local pharmacy.
If necessary, someone can collect your medication for you. If you dont have anyone that can do this, if possible your worker will collect your medication and deliver it to you.
The pharmacist or nurse will also give you advice on how to store your medication safely and keep any children in your house safe. They will give you a safe storage box if possible.
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Dont Pass Judgment Or Shame
Making an addict feel more shame or lowering their self-esteem will do no good in a situation such as this. Remember, alcoholism is a disease. If you have not been through it, do your best not to make any judgments when someone you love is struggling with it. Not only do you not understand it firsthand, but you may also do more harm than good. Shaming an addict will only make them turn to what coats their emotions, which is likely drinking. The approach of judgment and shame does nobody good in the end.