How to stop drinking
There was a time when there were no rehabs - at least nothing like we have today. Historically alcoholics ended up in a mental institution, religious institutions, prisons, hospitals, or in the gutter and then dead. Since the advent of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and other new therapeutic methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specialist addiction rehabs have developed - not all of these treatment centers use the same methods but most have saved many lives and nurtured a recovery community.
So, “how to stop drinking” is much easier today than it was in the past. It's almost as if humans have adapted to the idea they can get help from rehabs, so they usually require rehab help to stop drinking nowadays.
“To drink or not to drink? that is the question! whether tis nobler to stop or not mind the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, or better to take arms against this sea of troubles and end the heart-ache”
WARNING: Always seek medical advice before Detoxing – it is possible to detox at home and stop drinking without admitting yourself for treatment but not very safe. Alcohol dependence is very serious and stopping drinking suddenly can trigger life threatening seizures.
Short term advice on how to stop drinking (do not drive)
"for those who are sick or in crisis"
- Stop drinking alcohol...no brainer
- Drink water...flushes you out
- Drink coffee....for caffeine
- Cold shower....to refresh
- Sleep it off....safest way
- Eat....to soak up the alcohol
- Vomit....if necessary
These are temporary solutions to what could be a longer term problem: we say quick fix solutions are just like the drinking itself, a quick fix for something else. However most people are motivated to stop drinking when the pain of using outweighs the pain of being sober? - i.e. the costs of continued alcohol abuse is too high to justify the instant rewards and the person is no longer in denial about it. Of course there are those unfortunate souls who never admit the problem until its too late and their body gives up. Some serious health effects are alcohol related liver disease, heart disease, cancer, and pancreatitis.
Long term suggestions on how to stop drinking
"for those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired"
- Committing in your heart and to someone else to stop drinking
- Set your target and goals and make a plan
- Write a cost benefit analysis
- Prayer and affirmations or mission statements
- Get help and support
- Investigate treatment options
- Identify your thinking about drinking and using
- Craving beater
- Help and support
- Relapse prevention plan
Most counsellors use CBT to help alcoholics, addicts, depression, and anxiety problems, below are examples of self talk and beliefs that justify negative and unhealthy behaviours - all these can be challenged and changed.
Common thinking and self-talk about drinking
- just one more
- I will stop tomorrow
- I dink to be social
- When I get this job
- When I get the right relationship
- I am in control
Common beliefs about drinking
- I forget about problems.
- I feel better when I drink
- I have fun when I drink.
- I cant relax without a drink
- It helps relieve stress
- I cant find any other ways to manage my problems
- I would have to give up my friends
- I find responsibilities to much to cope with
Cost - benefit analysis of drinking or using
Common costs of drinking
- Health breakdown
- Loss of things and people we care about
- Relationship breakdown
- Work performance suffers
- Loss of finances
- Spiritual breakdown
- Anger issues
- Drink related accidents
- Self neglect
- Over controlling to compensate
Common benefits from not drinking
- Relationships often heal after someone stops drinking
- Significant mental and physical health improvement
- Lots more time to do healthy things
- Energy levels go up
- Can see people and do activities you love
- Drinking and using causes negative issues in relationships
- Feelings of depression and anxiety after acting out
- Basic functioning improves
What do I dislike about my drinking or addiction?
What will improve if I stop?
What scares me about the change?
If you are considering asking for help, below are the treatment steps you could take to achieve sobriety;
Detoxification or Detox - this is sometimes necessary due to dependency and length of time alcohol is abused. A tranquilizer may be used for about one week to help ease the withdrawal process.
Rehabilitation or Rehab – starts with the primary stage usually one month, or in some cases two, then secondary which is more in-depth therapy and finally a stay in a sober-house.
Maintenance of sobriety – aftercare and AA meetings are the most successful evidenced based forms of maintenance however many people are using mindfulness and meditation these days.
Making the decision to stop drinking
Illogical Reasons for Not Going to Rehab
Many of us who would benefit from a stay in rehab will at least initially feel resistant to the idea. We may feel there are justifiable reasons for not taking this step, but these excuses will often be just part of our denial and fear of change. Here are just a few of the common illogical reasons for not going to rehab
I Am Too Busy to Enter an Inpatient Treatment Program
We do lead very busy lives, but would you be still too busy if there were a need for some type of emergency surgery? Addiction treatment can save your life – not to mention your career, family, and friendships.
My Problems Are Not Serious Enough to Require Rehab
The reality is that once we are caught up in addiction, our ability to decide what is good for us diminishes – part of the process of denial is we grossly underestimate the seriousness of our problem. Rehab can give you the best chance of recovery from addiction, so it makes sense that you should choose this step if you are serious about quitting
I Can’t Afford to Go to Rehab
Rehab is an investment in your future - it may be the most beneficial investment you ever make. Maybe the real question you should be asking is if you can afford not to go
I Want to Wait Until I Feel Ready for Rehab
The best time for you to go to rehab is as soon as possible. If you continue to wait until the ‘right time’, you may cross a line after which a full recovery is no longer possible (e.g. liver failure, alcoholic dementia, or death).