High blood pressure, liver disease, strokes, cancer, digestive problems … it’s a laundry list of horrors. Luckily, there’s one thing that can greatly reduce your chances of these health issues: figuring out how to quit drinking.
Of course, if you’re interested in getting sober, your problems may have compounded beyond the distant risk of cancer. Instead, alcohol can result in destroyed relationships, crimes committed while blackout drunk, DUIs, criminal charges, and more.
It can impact your work, school, and social life. If it’s begun to affect you in these ways, or if you find it hard to function without alcohol giving you liquid courage, it’s time to stop.
If you’re wondering how to quit drinking, you’re not alone.
Don’t Quit Cold Turkey
If you’re wondering how to stop drinking, many alcoholics are tempted to swear off permanently. It may seem faster than other methods, and it also provides comfort. Why?
Because many alcoholics insist they can quit anytime. It’s a way of justifying their consumption and denying that it’s an issue. If they quit cold turkey, this validates this statement.
There are serious dangers of quitting alcohol cold turkey, though. When you drink consistently, your body adjusts to the presence of a certain level of alcohol in your bloodstream. This ends up being your body’s baseline.
All of your systems—your heart, nervous system, and so on—are impacted by alcohol. Once your brain is used to controlling these systems with a certain alcohol baseline, that’s how it operates.
When you quit drinking cold turkey, your blood alcohol level plummets. This can cause shock and severe withdrawal symptoms that lead to death.
You also might experience more traditional withdrawal symptoms. These often include fever, anxiety, depression, vomiting, nausea, and joint pain. In fact, you may be so uncomfortable that you consume alcohol just to stop the discomfort of withdrawal.
Benefits of Sobriety
Withdrawal sounds scary, and it can drive many people away from figuring out how to get sober. If you’re not convinced that it’s worth it, here are some of the benefits of sobriety.
For starters, your skin will look better. Alcohol consumption may cause jaundice and will make your skin look saggy and dehydrated. It can be the single biggest step in making your skin look better!
Are you struggling with insomnia or sleep apnea? Alcohol inflames these issues. While you may struggle with initial issues during withdrawal, your sleep will be much better in the long term.
If you struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, eliminating alcohol as a primary source of empty calories can also be a big push toward a healthier lifestyle.
Your risk of cancer, liver disease, and cardiovascular disease will also drop drastically, too.
How to Stop Drinking
The best way to get sober is to develop a solid ‘why’. Why do you want to stop drinking?
Only you will know what will be a powerful motivator. Maybe you don’t feel like you can care much about your own health, but you really want to be in good shape to interact with and raise your children.
Or, you received a wake-up call in the form of a DUI and know that you need to take this chance to get your life together.
No matter what it is, develop a thought-out why for sobriety mattering to you. Then, write it down. When it comes to your recovery journey, this may be the time to start a diary.
On the first page, you can write down your why. Then, use the rest of the pages as a diary. Experts recommend tracking what you drank, how much you drank, and where you were.
If you’re having trouble reducing your alcohol intake, this information can help indicate problematic patterns. For instance, you might not struggle with staying away from beer while alone, but tequila with friends at your favorite bar is always a problem spot for you.
You can also use this diary to clearly mark alcohol-free days. If you’re used to a constant level of alcohol in your blood, this is a good place to start. Sometimes, you may end up backsliding, and that’s okay!
Finding Support for Yourself
However, you’ll need to figure out how to get back up when you fall. That’s why you need to reach out and develop a support system. This may mean family, friends, or support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
It’s important to choose this support group wisely, though. If you associate certain friends only with Friday nights out on the town, they might not be the best buddies for this endeavor.
They might not be at a point where they want to start living clean. And if someone else is drinking socially, the presence of alcohol can be very tempting.
That’s also why it’s important to make sure that you don’t keep alcohol in your home. When you’re feeling sad or lonely, alcohol may be tempting. This is compounded by the idea that ‘no one will know’ if you slip up in the comfort of your own home.
If feeling sad or lonely is a huge factor in your alcohol recovery journey, consider unpacking why you feel that way.
If your previous friendships were all based around drinking, your social life may have changed dramatically. Or, you might see your friends celebrating the end of COVID lockdowns.
Where do these celebrations happen? Often, they take place in bars. You might be feeling left out and isolated, just as the rest of the world is coming back to life.
It’s important to fill your time with new activities. If you can take up a hobby to fill the spaces when you would previously drink, this can make a big difference.
How to Quit Drinking
If you are still wondering how to quit drinking, take the time to reach out to a local support group. They’ve been exactly where you are, and know-how to help you through feelings that recovery may seem insurmountable.
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