How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Safely

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Having an alcohol addiction can be challenging to live with and can affect your life in many ways. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and overconsumption can lead to alcohol addiction. If you are suffering from alcohol addiction, you may notice changes in how you function emotionally and physically.

Being dependent on alcohol will likely increase your risk of developing several major health issues. Some of these include cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary alcohol-related heart disease. In addition, alcohol dependence can severely affect your day-to-day life, job, and relationships. Therefore, it is crucial to find ways to become alcohol-free; however, this must be done in a controlled and gradual manner, as instantly stopping could present a number of health risks.

Things to Consider Before Stopping

There are a few things to consider before stopping drinking alcohol to ensure that you remain focused on the end goal of being alcohol-free. For example, it is essential to make your close friends and family aware of your intentions so they can help you through this potentially challenging time and provide support when needed.

Furthermore, it is advised to assess potential triggers that may encourage you to drink. Once you are aware of what these triggers are, you can take action to try and avoid them. For example, if your friends commonly meet in a pub and you feel this could be triggering, it is okay to explain to them the reasons why you don’t want to be in a place of temptation and make alternative arrangements while you are detoxing from alcohol.

Stopping Drinking Suddenly Can Be Dangerous & Fatal

If you are dependent on alcohol, suddenly stopping drinking can be dangerous without gradually reducing consumption. Multiple biological processes are impacted by alcohol; this means that when you immediately try to stop, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.

The central nervous system is affected by excessive drinking. After consuming alcohol, you may experience a calming impact on the brain that suppresses some neurotransmitters and makes you feel relaxed. This explains why drinking alcohol causes people to feel initially happy, more sociable, and relaxed.

If you drink alcohol regularly, your brain is nearly constantly exposed to the depressive effects of alcohol. As a result, dependence can be established. This means that the body needs progressively more alcohol to have the same effects. Alcohol no longer inhibits neurotransmitters when you abruptly stop drinking, and your brain will try to balance out the new chemical imbalance, leading to crippling withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be severe and pose extreme dangers to your health.

Set Goals and Prepare for Change

Part of the battle of stopping drinking alcohol is acceptance and setting goals. Before gradually stopping, it is important to set a goal of what you wish to achieve. This way if times get challenging, you can remind yourself of what you will achieve. This will be a time of change for you and the people around you, so it is important to be aware of the process ahead.

Start to Reduce

Before you quit drinking immediately, it is essential to gradually reduce your alcohol consumption so your body does not go into a state of withdrawal. You can start by switching to a lower-strength drink, for example, you can switch from a spirit to a lower-strength lager or cider. Additionally, you could add water to your drink as a mixer or alternate your drinks with non-alcoholic beverages between alcoholic drinks.

Withdrawing From Alcohol Safely

When you begin to withdraw from alcohol, it is important that you do it gradually. When you begin to withdraw from alcohol, make a note of exactly how much you are drinking in a diary and track how much you are reducing as you progress, aim for on average to consume around 10% less each day. This will mean your body will adjust gradually and will minimize the chance of developing severe side effects.

Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can be mild, moderate, or severe and affect your mental and physical health. Some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hand tremors (the shakes)
  • Excessively sweating
  • A fast pulse rate – typically anything above 100 beats per minute
  • Persistent headaches
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Irregular sleeping patterns

Avoiding Drinking Triggers

Understandably, there may be times that you feel more tempted to drink than others. However, it is vital to not give in to temptations, and the best way to do this is by avoiding triggers. Some potential triggers may include:

  • Stressful or anxiety-provoking situations.
  • Being in environments where there is a lot of alcohol (pubs, parties, etc)
  • Being around other people who are consuming alcohol
  • Financial difficulties
  • Pressure of responsibilities

While some things are more challenging to control than others, you should try to avoid stressful situations and environments as much as possible and reach out for support.

Managing Alcohol Cravings

Staying in control is an essential part of recovery. It is to be expected that you will, at some point you will experience cravings, but it is paramount that you try to ignore them. Some ways to do this include:

  • Reminding yourself of your goals – reassure yourself that every day you are getting closer to your goals and giving in to temptations will set you back.
  • Find a healthy distraction – focusing your attention on something you enjoy will help distract your mind from cravings.
  • Ride it out – it is important to remember that the feelings of craving will pass and won’t be there forever.
  • Reach out for support – if you feel like cravings are getting too overwhelming, you should speak to someone close to you who will support you.

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Find New Meaning in Life

Part of withdrawing from alcohol is changing your mindset. Remember that you are starting a new, brighter future with a fresh start. During this period, it is an excellent opportunity to learn a new skill or begin a new hobby. This will help you find a new meaning in life and focus.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?

The detox period for everyone will be different. However, on average, it will be a commitment of two to five years to fully beat alcohol addiction, with withdrawal symptoms subsiding within four or five days after your last drinks.

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What Does Moderate Drinking Mean?

Moderate drinking typically refers to limiting the amount of alcohol you consume. For a man, this means limiting intake to two drinks or less in a day, and for a woman, it is one or fewer drinks in a day.

Staying Alcohol-free

Once you fully recover from alcohol addiction, it is important to stay this way. Therefore, it is essential to avoid giving in to temptations and seek help when necessary. You may find this a struggle, not possible or very difficult at times, feelings pass, they often feel total and all engulfing, yet they do pass. If you really need help, reach out to someone, support yourself, build a good support network, you could try AA also.

Get External Help!

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, you have tried detoxing and you want to go to alcohol rehab, you should speak to a medical professional who can guide you on the best route for recovery. There is no shame in asking for help. Facing your difficulties and seeking help is the first stage in recovery. Reach out today and embark on a brighter future.

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You can get better with the right support. Don’t hesitate to contact us now so that we can discuss the next steps.