Many people in the world drink alcohol. However, when someone’s drinking habits exceed safe limits and begin to affect their day-to-day life, it might be time to make a change. They may not know how to quit drinking right away, but with the right combination of support and education, they can overcome addiction and remove alcohol from their life.
Every year, more than 140,000 people in the United States die due to excessive alcohol use. Whether directly caused by alcohol poisoning or indirectly caused by a motor vehicle accident, alcohol stands to blame for the deaths of thousands. When someone can no longer regulate their drinking habits, making the choice to learn how to quit drinking is both for their own sake as well as the people around them.
Deciding to Quit Drinking Alcohol
Chronic alcohol abuse has many long-term physical and mental effects, none of which are positive. In fact, if left untreated, alcohol addiction can wreak havoc on someone’s life. And as a progressive condition, it only becomes harder to fully recover from as more time passes.
Because of these reasons, someone may decide it’s time to learn how to quit drinking. They may realize that the temporary benefits of alcohol are not worth the overall impact addiction can have on their daily life. Specifically, someone may want to learn how to quit drinking to recover from or avoid challenges like:
- Long-term cognitive issues
- Declining physical health
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
- Financial difficulties
- Relationship problems
- Legal issues
If you’ve found yourself in this position, know that help is available. It’s possible to change your drinking habits and develop the toolsets you need to stay sober. To learn more about how to quit drinking alcohol, continue reading below for five crucial components of recovery.
How to Quit Drinking Alcohol in 5 Steps
Keep in mind that everyone who wants to recover from alcohol abuse will have their own, unique healing experience. For instance, they may take the following steps in a different order than presented or repeat them more than once. If that happens to you, remember that it is normal.
After all, learning how to quit drinking is a challenging and complicated issue, especially for those who have a difficult relationship with alcohol. However, as long as someone wants to stop drinking alcohol and makes choices in pursuit of that goal, there is no “wrong” way to approach recovery.
With that said, here are five steps you may take on your journey to quit drinking alcohol:
1. Acknowledge Your Drinking Problem
The first step to getting help for any problem is to acknowledge that it exists. The same is true for those who live with alcohol addiction. By the time someone starts investigating how to quit drinking, chances are high they’ve reached this step already.
Other times, it can be difficult to know where to draw the line. How much is too much? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking and heavy drinking are defined as follows:
- Binge drinking: For men, this means drinking five or more drinks within a few hours. For women, it means drinking four or more drinks within a few hours.
- Heavy drinking: For men, this means drinking more than four drinks a day or 14 drinks per week. For women, it means drinking more than three drinks a day or seven drinks per week.
Other signs of addiction to watch out for include how alcohol impacts daily life. If someone struggles to complete tasks at work, school, or home; can no longer spend time with people or participate in a social activity without using alcohol; or experiences worsening physical or mental health due to their alcohol use, it may be time to learn how to quit drinking.
2. Reach Out for Help
Once a drinking problem has been acknowledged, the next step involves reaching out for help. This can take many different forms, such as opening up to a trusted friend or family member. Support from loved ones can be immensely powerful during addiction recovery, as they can offer a source of motivation and encouragement.
However, reaching out for help can also mean more than just establishing a support network at home. One of the best actions someone can take in their quest to learn how to quit drinking involves contacting a professional addiction treatment center. Rehab facilities like Port St. Lucie Hospital can provide the specialized care and resources they need to establish healthy habits.
In addition, remember that there is no shame in seeking professional support. It is no different than someone with a broken leg visiting their doctor and having it placed in a cast. Just as people look after their physical health, it is crucial for them to use the available resources for their mental health as well.
3. Detox from Alcohol
After contacting a treatment center, most individuals will undergo a psychiatric assessment. In the case of addiction treatment, many people will then enroll in a medical detox program. Detox often serves as the first true step to learning how to quit drinking. This is due to the fact that people with addictions may physically depend on alcohol.
In other words, when someone first attempts to stop drinking, they may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These can include minor effects like sweating, tremors, and nausea, though in rarer, more severe cases, they may also include high blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.
A medical detox helps individuals confront withdrawal safely by placing them under the 24/7 medical supervision of trained professionals. This detox team can go on to soothe a patient’s symptoms and keep them as comfortable as possible. Moreover, they can handle any complications with ease to maintain patient safety as well.
4. Learn Coping Skills at an Alcohol Rehab
Once someone’s physical dependence on alcohol is taken care of, they can move on to the bulk of addiction treatment. If they continue working with a specialized treatment center, this may involve enrolling in a dual diagnosis program. This type of program is carefully designed for individuals with addictions, particularly those who have another mental illness at the same time.
Also known as co-occurring disorders, these conditions must be treated simultaneously. For instance, if someone learns how to quit drinking but doesn’t learn anything about how to manage their anxiety, they may eventually return to substances as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Dual diagnosis treatment ensures a patient learns how to successfully navigate all of their challenges. They do so by participating in a variety of evidence-based treatment options, such as:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Medication evaluation and management
- Nutritional consultations
- 12-step programming
- Supplemental therapies
- Family education
- Links to community resources and support groups
These therapeutic activities teach patients the skills they need to learn how to quit drinking for good. During treatment, they will develop healthier coping methods, ways to communicate their feelings, the skills to identify triggering situations, and more.
5. Develop a Relapse Prevention Plan
The journey to addiction recovery does not end as soon as someone learns how to quit drinking. Once they understand how to get sober initially, their next question often involves how to stay sober in the weeks, months, and years to come. It’s possible to do, but it requires individuals to remain vigilant and proactive, especially regarding relapse prevention.
Fortunately, learning about relapse prevention plans is often part of professional addiction treatment. For example, an effective plan may include things like positive belief exercises, preemptive safety plans, and reminders to utilize community-led support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Furthermore, daily or weekly planners are commonly used in relapse prevention as well. Staying busy and avoiding boredom can decrease someone’s likelihood of giving into impulsive behaviors, such as the urge to drink alcohol. Planners also help to carry over the sense of routine and stability developed during rehab.
These tips, as well as others learned during addiction treatment, help individuals go on to remain sober after learning how to quit drinking. By maintaining a relapse prevention plan, they can make their sobriety a permanent change.
Learn How to Quit Drinking Alcohol at Port St. Lucie Hospital
Port St. Lucie Hospital is a mental health and addiction treatment center committed to helping individuals build the lives they want. For many, that means achieving long-term sobriety. With the tools and support available at our facility, you can make that goal a reality.
When you’re ready to learn how to quit drinking alcohol, give us a call. You can reach an admissions expert today at (772) 238-7734. If you’d rather take it slow, you can also submit a confidential contact form through our website. Our team will gladly answer any questions you have and help guide you toward an alcohol-free life.