Deciding to quit alcohol is a big decision and it shows that you’re ready to make a positive change in your life. But there can be a big gap between wanting to quit and knowing how to start. There are things you can do on your own to support your journey through recovery, both in the short term and well into the future.
- seek professional help
- build a support network
- take a close look at your lifestyle
- purge your household of alcohol
- make a commitment to recovery
- keep it a secret
- indulge in the occasional drink
- attempt a home detox
- expect it to be easy
- continue old patterns
Quitting alcohol isn’t a question of willpower. Alcoholism is a serious disease, and recovery is made possible through a number of treatment methods, including psychotherapy and sometimes medication. A professional treatment center can help you to prioritize your health and recovery in ways that you’d be unable to do at home, and there are a number of treatment types that can work with your lifestyle.
Alcoholism rarely affects just the individual, and recovery is made easier with support. This could be trusted friends or family members, someone from a support group, a sponsor, or a therapist. Know who you can call upon when times are tough, and keep their phone numbers close at hand.
What parts of your life are contributing to your alcoholism? It could be a place, person, activity, or thought pattern. Recovery from addiction often means overhauling your life to learn and implement new, healthy habits. You may need to cut out some relationships, find new haunts (like a coffee shop instead of a bar), or even change jobs or locations.
Get rid of all the alcohol in your house. It can be tempting to keep a bottle on hand, just in case, but don’t do it. Make your house an alcohol-free zone that you can trust will be a safe haven for you as you strengthen your sobriety.
One of the biggest reasons why people relapse or are unsuccessful in their sobriety can be traced to a lack of commitment. You must be prepared to make recovery a priority, and all of your actions should support that commitment. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but remember you are taking steps toward sobriety for a reason.
Hold yourself accountable by letting people know that you’re in recovery. This can minimize the chances that someone will offer you a drink or put you in a trigger situation. You don’t have to tell everyone, but it’s a good idea to let those close to you in on the plan; they may be able to help.
For a recovering alcoholic, sobriety is the safest path to lasting recovery. Drinking in moderation is not a viable option, as it can easily spiral back into full-blown addiction. Total sobriety should be your goal when quitting alcohol.
Detoxification can be a tough process and we don’t recommend trying it on your own. Look into detox clinics where you can safely detox under medical supervision. These clinics are often the first step toward recovery and are not considered treatment. Rather, they are the beginning of sobriety.
Quitting alcohol isn’t about willpower. Understand that there is no cure for addiction; it can only be managed. That means that you’re likely to face challenges through your recovery, even after 20 years of sobriety. Of course, it will become easier over time as you learn more and practice sobriety, but it will not happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your new sober life, but it will be worth it.
Sobriety means changing your life, especially for addicts. You cannot continue to live exactly as you did when you were drinking and expect to stay sober in the long term. Take action to improve your overall health through physical activity, adequate sleep, and a healthy diet. Cultivate new friendships that reflect your goals in life. Repair relationships if possible, but learn to let go if not.
While you can take independent steps to achieving sobriety, recovery is usually most successful when you accept help from others. Professional treatment can guide you and support you through recovery. You can help yourself kick the habit by being proactive: attend support group meetings, share your goals with loved ones, eliminate all alcohol from your home, and make a firm commitment to your sobriety. Recovery from alcohol addiction is possible!