Alcoholism is wreaking havoc in many lives and families. Illicit brews have become the order of the day in several counties. Many of us look at alcoholics as defiant people choose to drink themselves silly. In essence, alcohol addiction is a disease and most of these victims would do anything to drop the bottle.
Nobody ever starts taking alcohol looking forward to becoming a helpless addict. It all starts innocently enough. Before you know it the bottle is your permanent companion. From there, everything takes a downward spiral. Work, career, family, relationships; all put on the line.
If you find yourself in this state, you have to make up your mind to make a change. You have massive will-power inside of you that you can harness to overcome the addiction. Here are some steps that can liberate you from alcohol addiction:
- Accept that you have a problem – The first step is to acknowledge your habit of excessive drinking and the harm it has caused your life. Most alcoholics are in denial, giving the impression that all is under control. To get a clear picture of how much things have changed, put it down in writing. Compare your life before you started drinking and after. You will realize that a lot of important things that you no longer give enough attention to. It could be spending time with your family, attending to your work/business, looking after your home etc. The realization however is not meant to bring you down. It is intended to give you a starting point on your road to recovery.
- Set goals on how to stop drinking alcohol – Now that you know where you are starting from, list all the things you want to achieve through reducing your alcohol intake. Also list the things that you need to stop. It could be hanging out with a certain crowd or visiting certain places. Next, determine a timeline within which to achieve each one. Remember an alcoholic cannot just stop drinking overnight. Although it looks good on paper, being totally alcohol free in about 2 months is hardly achievable. Make sure that you keep your goals realistic, taking a step at a time. Deal mainly with the 3 major factors involved in drinking – alcohol, money and time- which are all interrelated. Set out to reduce the time and money spent on alcohol each week, and within no time the progress will be visible.
- Inform others of your plan – Your sober friends and family should be aware of your plan so that they can help and urge you along. They will keep reminding you of how quitting alcohol will improve your life, family, finances etc. They will also hold you accountable if you fall short in any of the things that you set out to do. With good progress, who knows some may even be kind enough to reward you! You can also join a local group of recovering alcoholics with similar goals. Whoever you choose, just ensure that you are not alone on this journey. Surrounding yourself with concerned and productive people will give you a fresh perspective in life.
- Eliminate alcohol from your immediate environment – Keeping yourself away from alcohol is difficult enough, and the last thing you need is a bottle staring at you every direction you turn. Make sure that there is absolutely no alcohol in your home or work place. This only makes drinking convenient and easy. As for the constant craving to have a drink, choose an alternative healthy beverage instead. Though it will be difficult at first, with time you will adjust to the idea of quenching your thirst with a different drink. And even when the drink does not achieve the usual relief, take solace in the fact that it is not wrecking havoc in your health and finances. Buying alcohol in bulk is normally done under the guise of ‘saving’ an extra buck. But you end up drinking not necessarily because you wanted to but because it is there. Remember the saying ‘out of mind, out of sight’?
- Do not skip any meals – One of the best ways to stop drinking alcohol is intake of regular healthy meals. Hunger and lack of essential nutrients simply increase the chance of abuse of alcohol. Most alcoholics tend to gradually replace their meals with alcohol. In so doing the body is denied essential nutrients, as alcohol only gives a false sense of sugar ‘high’ while in reality the body is being deprived. Immediately the sugar level drops, the craving strikes again and you feel the urge for more alcohol. No wonder the symptoms of alcohol abuse include a weak body and low energy levels. In order to quit drinking alcohol successfully, make sure you are eating 3 or even 4 solid meals every day. You will be surprised at how much it reduces or even eliminates the urge to drink.
- Develop a new routine – Excessive drinking of alcohol is likely to take place when you have plenty of free time. In order to stop drinking you have to draw up a schedule that ensures that you remain occupied throughout the day. You can take up a hobby, learn a new skill, volunteer for social service etc. Avoid going to the places that make you vulnerable. An exercise regime will not only get you back to shape but will also cover some of the free time.
- Do not give up on your quest to stop drinking alcohol – No matter how many times you have tried and failed, you can try yet again. Realize that it is you who controls the alcohol and not the other way around. Mistakes will happen here and there, but you can always rise up again. As long as you are still breathing, all hope is not lost. If doing it by yourself proves impossible, you can consider a rehabilitation center. No matter how much effort it takes, nothing compares to the joy of getting back the control over your finances, health and life!