Stop Drinking Without AA: Strategies to Help You Stop Drinking on Your Own
It isn’t necessary to suffer from full-blown alcoholism to experience its damaging effects. The National Institutes of Health recommends no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two for men, which it considers moderate drinking levels. Beyond that, you risk a variety of medical issues, including damage to the liver, pancreas, heart, and nerves. Even responsible drinkers should watch their alcohol consumption closely, and if it consistently goes beyond the recommended maximum, it is time to do something about it. If you would prefer to stop drinking without the help of AA or rehab, start by having a conversation with your healthcare provider; your doctor can put your drinking into a medical context that relates to your individual health issues. There are also several strategies you can employ that will help you reduce your alcohol consumption or stop drinking altogether, ensuring you live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Related Article: 7 Signs of Alcoholism: Do You Need Rehab?
1) Make a Commitment to Yourself, Family & Friends
In order to stop drinking without AA, you need to make a serious commitment to yourself and those around you that you will change your drinking habits. Many people who have issues with alcohol are in denial about how much they drink and how much it is impacting their lives. Even those who do understand the ramifications of their drinking often tend to drag their feet and make excuses instead of beginning the process to stop drinking. To start the process, you must get yourself out of this mindset and make a firm commitment, and you should make it public. Make a list of the costs and benefits you get from drinking, as well as those you will reap when not drinking. Finally, let your family and friends know that you have decided to reduce your alcohol consumption or stop drinking, so they can help you by giving you positive reinforcement and minimizing your exposure to alcohol and other triggers when you are together.
2) Set Realistic Goals
Once you have committed to stop drinking, it’s time for some goal setting. Some people may decide they need to stop drinking altogether, while others may choose to reduce the amount they drink or the number of drinking occasions they participate in. Set realistic goals, so you give yourself the best chance of success. Follow corporate America’s lead by choosing goals that are SMART—specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time based. If you choose to stop drinking completely, set the date you plan to start on and at what point you consider your goal as achieved. If you simply want to drink less, put together a specific plan to address that. You may decide your goal is to not drink more than two drinks on any given day, or you may choose to stop drinking just on weekdays. Whatever you choose to do, commit to it, and let your friends and loved ones know what your plan is, so you have the best chance for success.
3) Avoid All Temptations
Unless you decide to never set foot out of your house, you will inevitably be placed in situations where alcohol is served. Trying to stick to your commitment in these situations can be difficult, especially for those who have committed to stop drinking without the help of rehab or AA. At least during the early stages of living up to your resolution and trying to change your drinking habits, limit or avoid situations where you might be tempted to indulge in alcoholic beverages. Instead of heading to happy hour or hitting the club circuit with friends, plan a movie night at home or host a dinner party for friends where you can control what is served and how much. Avoid socializing with friends and family members who drink excessive amounts of alcohol, as that will put you right in the path of temptation. If you are simply trying to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, limit the amount of time you stay at functions or venues where alcohol is served.
Related Article: Alcohol Detox Timeline: 7 Steps to Full Recovery
4) Learn to Cope with Cravings
As you go through the process of stopping or reducing your alcohol intake, you will most likely have to learn to cope with cravings and temptations. The cravings might have external triggers, which are fairly easy to deal with by simply avoiding high-risk situations, but triggers can also be internal. You may simply find yourself craving a drink, and you may not even know why it happens. In addition to avoiding temptations, you must learn to cope with those internal cravings. Start by reminding yourself why you have decided to make a change and how far you have come already. Find someone you trust, whether it is a friend, doctor, or family member, and talk through the feelings with them. Learn to distract yourself when the cravings pop up by participating in healthy alternatives, such as going to the gym, meditating, engaging in sports, or simply taking a walk.
If all else fails and you find that the task of overcoming your alcoholism is to difficult to undertake on your own, GuideDoc has selected the Best Alcohol Treatment Centers in US where you can get the support you need to get through this difficult stage of your life. Alcohol rehab centers help focus on the issues to rid you of alcoholism once and for all, while utilizing the very same techniques listed above.