1. We all know the most important step is admitting that you have a problem. Admitting it does not mean you have to confess to being powerless against alcohol.
However, you must recognize that you have a problem and that you decide that you wish to change your life. What constitutes a problem is determined by the level of harm drinking alcohol creates on your health and your ability to successfully function in life–in your job, in your relationships, etc.
2. The next vital step is to determine your allies. Which people in your life will support you in your decision to quit drinking? It is crucial to surround yourself with the people in your life that will help you stay sober and avoid those who will attempt to sabotage your sobriety.
3. You must dedicate yourself to your commitment. Imagine yourself sober for the rest of your life. There is a saying that you must take one day at a time; this saying is very true. It is also very true that some days you will only take one moment at a time. You need to recognize and accept that it is a good thing that you will not ever be drinking again.
4. Avoid labels at all costs. You do not need to announce to the world that you are an alcoholic or even a recovering alcoholic. Share your victories with your allies and those who encourage you. Believe that you do not have a disease, and you are not sick–quitting drinking will make you a much healthier person.
What most people donā??t recognize is that stopping drinking is the easy part, trying to stay sober is the trick. More often than not treatment programs do very little to help you win your battle and often reduce your chances of success in alcoholism recovery. What is important is learning to quit on your own.
If you have thought of quitting you probably know that there are a ton of resources and recovery programs that are available to help you stop drinking alcohol. What very few of the resources tell you is that your first, best, and most important resource is inside yourself. If you have reached the conclusion that you have a problem with alcohol, the most apparent and most important recovery resource is to make the decision to quit.
The most prevalent causes of alcoholism are as physical as they are psychological. An individual who has a family history of alcoholism is genetically more susceptible to addiction.
If he is known to suffer from bouts of severe depression, or if his stress-coping mechanisms are poorly developed, he may recourse to alcohol to blot out his despair. If you drink as a means to simply while away your time, you are already reeling on the verge of plunging into the deep, dark void that is alcoholism.
The physical manifestations of alcohol addiction can be severe to the point of being life threatening. By itself, alcohol is deemed responsible for a majority of deaths around the world, be they through diseases stem out of excessive consumption, or mishaps that take place under the influence of alcohol.
alcohol abuse can single-handedly lead to liver cirrhosis, renal failure and several gastrointestinal complications.
Studies have shown that people who are addicted to alcohol are also highly likely to smoke cigarettes.
A report in the June 2008 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter showed that experts tended to believe that it’s imperative to counsel alcohol-dependent individuals to quit smoking as well as drinking not only to improve their health, but also to increase their chances of staying sober.
It is a universal fear that attempting to quit smoking and drinking at one fell swoop will undermine treatment for alcohol dependence.
You should be aware, however, that most studies have shown that attempts to quit smoking have either no impact on sustaining abstinence or actually increases the success of alcohol treatment.
“Dry Drunk” is defined as “A condition of returning to one’s old alcoholic thinking and behavior without actually having taken a drink.”
A personal favorite saying is: you can take the rum out of the fruit cake, but you’ve still got a fruit cake! Or as one wise old drunk put it, if a horse thief goes into A.A. what you can end up with is a sober horse thief.
Those who stop drinking but are still angry about it end up living unhappy lives and tend to make everyone around them miserable as well. If it has been said once in an Al-Anon meeting, it has been whispered thousands of times, “I almost wish he would go back to drinking.”
Itā??s unfortunate that when many recovering alcoholics go through the grieving process over the loss of their old accomplice, the bottle, many never make it past the anger stage.
It is a very real loss for many. The bottle has been their friend for many years and possibly the only one they could count on. While the world turned against them, their drink never abandoned them. It was always there ready for the good times, the celebrations, the parties, as well as the sad, mad, and lonely times, too.
However now their old friend has let them down… there has been trouble with the law, a lost job or career, the loss of family and friends, or perhaps the doctors told them they had to stop drinking… whatever the cause, the circumstances of their life has brought them to a point where they had to make a decision to say “goodbye” to the bottle.
Whether they understood it or not, they began going through the process of grieving — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance ā?? these are the same stages most people experience when they have a great loss in their lives or have been told they have a terminal illness.
Continual ongoing prayer is necessary if the alcoholic is to maintain the willingness and courage which are needed to fully overcome this disease and eliminate any threat of a potential setback. Some degree of spirituality is necessary for a healthy recovery and permanent sobriety as well.
When the initial fear and desperation have left, the alcoholic feels a false sense that all is well. Willingness is an attitude that shall act as a means of identifying and dealing with problems in the middle and late stages of recovery.
Willingness backed by accountability will help the alcoholic realize that they have inherited a disease which will shadow them the remainder of their lives. Permanent sobriety is the only way an alcoholic can live a healthy and productive life. The willingness to continue practicing daily spiritual maintenance shall aid the alcoholic well in their life long quest for permanent sobriety.
How a person can stop drinking largely depends on their ability to recognize that a problem exists. Once that occurs they must then focus on several key factors, which over time, will help the alcoholic develop the coping skills needed to make it through recovery and into permanent sobriety. The key factors to be recognized are as follows; honesty, prayer, willingness, sincerity, forgiveness and tolerance.
Recovery serves as a prelude to permanent sobriety. A successful recovery ultimately leads to that seldom visited side of alcoholism which is known as permanent sobriety. The ability to incorporate these principles into the daily life of the alcoholic is a difficult but rewarding transition that is called recovery.
Complete and total honesty with oneself is a step that will seriously test the alcoholic and bring questions to the surface that, when answered honestly, will typically break down the emotional wall of denial which has been built by the continual cycle of alcohol abuse.
By taking what was realized through honesty, the alcoholic then needs to share his inner most shortcomings with God as he envisions Him. Prayer is perhaps the single most powerful weapon the alcoholic has to overcome his or her illness.
If your doctor does advise you to cut down on your drinking, here are some steps that can help you:
1. Write down the reasons you are cutting down or stopping. Why is it that you want to drink less? There are many reasons why you may want to cut down or stop drinking. You may want to improve your health, sleep better, or get along better with your family or friends. Make a list of the reasons you want to drink less.
2. Set a drinking goal. Choose a limit for how much you will drink. You may choose to cut down or you may choose to not to drink at all. If you are cutting down, keep your intake below these limits:
Women: No more than one drink a day
Men: No more than two drinks a day
A drink is:
a 12-ounce bottle of beer;
a 5-ounce glass of wine; or
a 1 1/2-ounce shot of liquor.
Please note that these limits may be too high for some people who have certain medical conditions or who are older. Talk with your doctor first about the limit that is right for you. Now–write down your drinking goal on a piece of paper. Put it where you can see it, such as on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
If you believe you are drinking too much alcohol, a few simple steps can help you improve your life and health by cutting down.
When can you tell if you drink too much?
Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:
Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
Does your drinking worry your family?
Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?
Do you ever forget what you did while you were drinking?
Do you get headaches or have a hang-over after you have been drinking?
A “yes” answer to any of these questions may indicate that you have a drinking problem. You may want to check with your physician to be sure. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you should cut down or refrain from drinking alcohol all together.
If you are told that you are an alcoholic or have other medical problems, you should not just reduced the amount you are drinking–you should quit drinking alcohol completely. Your doctor will advise you about what is right for you.