How to Safely Stop Drinking Alcohol

Dealing with alcoholism isn't easy. Whether you've been diagnosed or want to avoid a diagnosis, keep in mind that you don't have to let the alcohol control you and your life. There are ways that you can cut back and eventually stop drinking altogether.

Let Others Know

One of the hardest things about quitting drinking is that you feel like you have to do it alone. However, if you let your intentions be known, others in your life can help you. Unfortunately, many who deal with alcoholism are also dealing with other problems, such as depression. When you have a dual diagnosis like this, talking with someone you trust is a great way to get a better grip on both problems. Letting others know that you're not drinking any more not only puts someone else in your corner, it also ensures that they won't put you in harms way.

Avoid Temptation

Drinking is such a social activity that you may find yourself slipping back in social situations. Because of this, you need to do everything you can to avoid the temptation. Don't get together with friends who drink regularly, and if you do, make sure they understand that you aren't drinking and would prefer if there wasn't alcohol around. The more you avoid the temptation of drink, the stronger you will be in your resolve to stop. This goes hand in hand with talking to someone, since it's extremely difficult to navigate some of the temptation without help.

Cut Down Slowly

If you've been drinking a lot for a long time, one of the most dangerous things you can do is to stop cold turkey, especially if you're not under a doctor's care. Instead, cut back slowly. If you're used to having several beers a night, cut back by one or two to start with. This can make fully cutting alcohol out of your life much easier, as well as much safer. For some, cutting back slowly isn't the best option, because you are still drinking regularly. Make sure to talk to a health professional about this before you start.

Reward Yourself

As you quit drinking, make sure to reward yourself. Set up a reward system that will help keep you focused on your goal. For example, after the first week, use the money that you would have otherwise spent on alcohol to buy yourself something nice, or go to a movie you'd love to see. Rewarding yourself allows you to see the benefits of quitting and helps keep you motivated. Start small with your rewards, and make them bigger as time goes on. You need to make sure that you realize how big of an accomplishment you've made.

When you are trying to break an addiction, it's important to make sure you talk with a medical professional. This will give you insight and guidance on how to safely and effectively quit. However, it's important to understand that this is something you can do.

Image via Flickr by Keoni Cabral

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