Ways to Quit Drinking Alcohol – So here we go!
Way to quit drinking alcohol for me was a more personable event than you can imagine. I turned yellow, my stomach expanded and I was admitted to hospital with 48 hours to live. I was not deemed a so-called alcoholic but like many I was a social drinker with a few friends after work or a few glasses of wine with dinner.
Who would have believed that it would lead to liver shutdowns. Thanks to fantastic medical care and personal commitment I got out of hospital and lived to tell the tale. A very lovely consultant said yes he saw it often with social drinkers, a mix of stress, diet genetics and or course alcohol and that was it, luckily as he said I “dodged a bullet!”
So it got me thinking about this blog and how I could help those who want to quit drinking by creating more choices in the world. One of my shocks was that not having a drink was as big a stigma as having a drink. I kid you not. I have been subjected to more bias for not having a drink than having a little vino. ! It’s a funny old world.
So for me people fall into three categories:
- Want – They want to drink less of alcohol because they feel it is just getting in the way
- Choose – It’s a choice through lifestyle or a reason to choose not to drink
- Can’t – They just can’t drink and this is my category, it will kill me.
All three while being different have a lot in common. They are looking for ways to quit drinking alcohol or at the very least want more options to have that made just a bit easier.
So here are my personal, top 5 ways to quit drinking alcohol and each one will resonate a bit more with you or maybe not.
Know the consequences
There comes a crunch point when we know that if you carry on drinking you will end up in not a good place. And when the consultant opened my curtain and said to me “ this is as serious as it gets”. I had potentially 48 hours to live or lose my life.
I knew it was a moment of reflection and deep reflection at that. I think many people have those in different ways. You are there staring over the abyss and your brain just clicks in, no detox, no nothing you just know you have already had your last glass of wine.
The stakes are too high. By the way if you are an addict please consult a medical professional as going cold turkey can be life threatening.
In everyday normal ( whatever that means) drinking circumstances, from your liver to many cancers, ways to quit drinking alcohol can be a lifesaver, after all unless you have a death wish which is perfectly possible it’s time to take stock and move on. I say this again as a social drinker not an addict.
However, you may be in this category where you are an average drinker ( although bear in mind I thought I was in this category ) and you want to lose weight. I wrote an article on how many calories are in a glass of wine and trust me you would be shocked and yet we obsess about a chocolate bars burger and chips!
If getting drunk is your issue and then you may want to not end up in bed with someone you don’t know, be the other side or town with no way of getting home or just putting your life at risk because of alcohol.
I am always deeply saddened by people who seem to end their lives in a canal or river and yet we all say to ourselves well “that’s not going to be me”. Dangerous drinking games have potential consequences.
There can be great “consequences” as well as being fitter and healthier and there is also the notion of saving money. Keep a money saving dairy and you would be surprised how much can go toward paying off the mortgage or a two-week holiday in the sun,
This tip on ways to quit drinking alcohol is probably the biggest of all as it has the ability to change you forever and the equation is simple.
Cause= Effect = Long Term Consequence Good or Bad and are you OK with that? Give it a score out of the 10 being you want to change and 0 no change. If you are scoring 8 or above you are more likely to find your own way to quit drinking alcohol.
Watch your social circle
Your social circle of friends and family may have more of an influence than you first released. If you are a people pleaser which many of us are, you may be pushed and pushed back or they may not be supportive of the change you want to make.
In my experience as a therapist and coach over the years people don’t generally like to see other people change. It can be rather disconcerting.
When I was first diagnosed with liver disease there were two camps: the gossips and the supporter or the radiators and the drains. It is bizarre both ways as people also say “go on you can have one “, even when they know it may end up killing you.
Or to the person who really wants to change, “they will never change” and therefore you go into a vicious circle of trying to please everyone and remember you can only please yourself!
In terms of what you want, ways to quit drinking alcohol well it’s about you not them. It’s important to remember that.
Remember It’s a poison
I find it slightly ironic that this reason does not come up more in ways to quit drinking alcohol. In the midst of one of the biggest pandemic this lifetime for most of us alcohol is seen as our savior from hand gel to wipes to sterilizing doors with alcohol. It kills a virus.
Yet we pump lots of it in to our body and if we are honest it’s only our stomachs and intestines that can really deal with it.
Now of course most healthy people cope with a drinking session and are fine, if fact drinking in moderation is encouraged by many and yet there is a reason people die from alcohol poisoning. The name probably says it all. This is on top of many of the other byproducts of drinking. So ask yourself this question.
Are you comfortable drinking in excess poison? Get educated on the effect alcohol can have on the body and I am not even talking the liver here.
Now alcohol dependency is a really serious problem, although I have to say I think boundaries are often blurred. I have seen people call out an alcoholic while downing excessive amounts themselves. Do get help.
The medical support if I am honest will be post problems when the damage has been done but there are a great many resources out there from people who will listen without judgment.
One of the new techniques which can help is called BWRT based on neuro science and you can find a practitioner who could help you by searching here. A quick internet search should find helpful support near you and your local doctor will do there best for support.
If you need a sobering thought in the UK it is estimated that alcohol causes the National Health service 3.5 billion a year. I’ll let that sink in! ( BBC News)
Another recommendation therapist Mark Tyrrel has his online addiction course which is inspired regardless of what you are addicted to. Click below for an overview:
My only tip is get help where you are not “labeled” as if drinking is who you are. Labels wrapped up in identity do not help. It is behaviour, a habit, a dependency and not you. You are so much more. There are people out there from one glass too many to twenty.
Remember you in charge here no matter what you think. Habit and addiction are harder to change when you link them to who you are. I once worked with someone who said they were a “fat slob” and I said “haven’t you just been overweight lately” ? Language is everything!
Discover Non alcoholic options
One of my passions on this blog is to explore non alcohol options despite what some people say and you will know yourself it can be a very good route especially as far as social drinking is concerned.
The pressure from both friends and bar staff when you don’t have an alcoholic drink in your hand is extraordinary yet if you have something “similar” well it all seems to go away. People seem content if you have options. Given the growth of non-alcoholic options now it seems that the wave is getting bigger. Most recently Bud Zero has been launched along with Stella 0.0 so stuff is moving in our favor.
What are your favorite ways to quit drinking alcohol? Is it more than a dry January? Have you tried Zero alcoholic options? Have you reduced what you drink and had resistance from people you know? I would love to hear your comments and your stories as they help others and add to the debate.