It’s estimated that 5.6% of U.S citizens over the age of 18 battle with alcohol use disorder. If you believe you’re part of this statistic and are ready to quit drinking for good, knowing where to start and what steps to take can be challenging. While many people find support groups and medical help useful, others feel ashamed and embarrassed about their situation and don’t feel comfortable speaking out.
There are all kinds of reasons why you may have decided to give up drinking, so no matter your experience or the lifestyle you lead, here is a guide on how to quit drinking alone.
Identify Your Triggers
The first thing you must do when giving up alcohol is identifying your triggers. Knowing what causes you to drink in the first place will help you on your quest of quitting for good. Although it can be hard to do so, facing up to the reality and reflecting on your drinking habits will help you come up with strategies to avoid drinking. For example, if you are prone to going out for drinks with work friends once the clock hits 5, it may be time to take a step back from these situations for a while, until you feel ready. Knowing your triggers and making small changes can have a huge impact and help you quit alcohol for good.
Write Your Reasons Down
The journey of quitting drinking begins with you, so writing down the reasons why you’re looking to stop drinking can be helpful. Whether it’s for health reasons, problems in your relationship, or if alcohol is affecting your work performance, having them on a piece of paper in front of you can make it all sink in and become real. You may benefit from writing goals and placing them on fixtures in the home such as a mirror or fridge, which will serve as a constant reminder of why you’re giving up drinking in the first place.
Start a Journal
If you enjoy writing, you can go one step further and start your own journal. Whether you use a pen and paper or start your own anonymous blog, outlining your experiences with quitting alcohol and being open and honest on the good and the bad days can be a real motivator in kicking the habit. When things get tough, the urge to drink may be ever-present. Therefore, having a journal will give you something to focus on and keep you committed to your journey of giving up alcohol forever. If you’re cutting back gradually, you can keep track of your experience each day by detailing how much alcohol you drank, where you consumed it, how it made you feel, as well as how productive you felt that day.
Create an Alcohol-Free Zone
Over the years, you may have collected an abundance of beers, wines, and spirits. If your home resembles a personal mini-bar, now is the time to look into replacing these with a variety of nonalcoholic beers and wines. It’s far easier to avoid drinking if you don’t have any temptations lying around, so although it may be tough at first to clear your cabinets, you will be thankful in the long run.
Take Up A Hobby
Keeping busy is key when quitting drinking. If you sit around and let the hours pass by, you’re likely to become agitated and stressed, so taking up a hobby may be the best thing for you. Whether you enjoy exercising, painting, listening to music, or cleaning, having something to do that takes your mind off things will be an enormous help. If you’re struggling to be at home in the same four walls, going outside and getting some fresh air in your lungs can do wonders for your health. If you have a creative mind and don’t like to sit still, you should use this to your advantage and try something new that will give you back control of your life.
Don’t Give Up
No matter how many years you’ve been drinking for, giving up for good can be very challenging. It would be a lie to say the process is straightforward, so while there will be ups, you must prepare for down days too. When things are tough, rather than reaching for the bottle, using coping mechanisms, practicing relaxation techniques, and keeping busy are key. If you get into a positive frame of mind, this can transform the way you view alcohol and help keep you on your journey. Should you relapse, instead of putting yourself down, simply get back on track and stay focused.
If you have become alcohol dependent, saying goodbye to drinking can be incredibly difficult. For those who want to quit on their own without any outside help, putting all the tips above into practice can increase your chances of success and help you on your journey of leading an alcohol-free life.