Before you try to achieve sobriety, you need to think about your drinking habits. The way that a social drinker stops drinking is different from the way that a high-functioning alcoholic quits drinking. People with the disease of alcoholism require formal treatment. Those who aren’t addicted to alcohol may be able to quit on their own or with the help of friends.
You can find out if you’re addicted to alcohol by taking an alcoholism assessment quiz. These quizzes help you determine whether you meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder — the medical term for alcoholism, alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse. The diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder were published in the American Psychiatric Association’s fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
You can decide how much help you need to quit drinking based on the results of the quiz.
Once you know how much of a role alcohol plays in your life, you can figure out how to quit drinking. Unfortunately, abstaining from alcohol isn’t a simple process. Things that work for some people don’t necessarily work for others.
If you’re a casual drinker, saying no to peer pressure may not be easy. You may see a friend who is a casual drinker say no when offered a drink and wonder why it’s easy for them. He or she may not need self-help tools, but those resources might work for you.
Similarly, some alcoholics may be able to stop drinking with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. Others need residential rehab and long-term aftercare support. If one strategy doesn’t work for you, try another.
Stopping alcohol use abruptly is the riskiest way to quit drinking. If you feel physical cravings or withdrawal symptoms when you quit drinking, you shouldn’t try to stop cold turkey. Casual or social drinkers may be able to quit cold turkey.
People who are physically dependent on alcohol should gradually reduce, or taper, their alcohol intake. Dependence is different from addiction. People who are dependent but not addicted to alcohol may not require rehab.
Almost everyone who struggles to quit drinking requires some form of peer support. As with any goal, quitting alcohol is easier if you have friends and family members supporting you. They can encourage you to stay sober and help you find other healthy ways to have fun.
Self-help books can boost your confidence and motivate you to stay sober. They provide strategies and tools to help you maintain sobriety. Numerous self-help books are available in print or online.
The app store on your cellphone has several sobriety apps that can inspire you to quit drinking and stay sober. Some apps help you keep track of alcohol intake or sobriety dates. Others provide daily motivational quotes. They may help you quit drinking, but most of these apps haven’t been medically reviewed.
Alcoholic support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, provide free help for people struggling to quit drinking. People with minor alcohol problems or people who have already received treatment for moderate or severe alcohol problems usually benefit from AA.
Anyone experiencing problems with alcohol can benefit from counseling and therapy. A counselor can help you develop personalized strategies to get sober. Counseling can be simple or intensive depending on the severity of your drinking problems.
If you’ve struggled to quit drinking or overcome alcoholism, you may require rehab. Formal treatment for alcohol addiction allows you to detox in a safe environment and provides comprehensive therapy to teach you how to stay sober.
In general, it’s better to put time and effort into sobriety than to try to do the bare minimum. If you’ve struggled to quit drinking, you should consider support groups, counseling or rehab. Self-help books or apps are less likely to help you successfully quit if you are addicted to alcohol.
We are here for you.
People with alcohol use disorders don’t have to look far to find help. Almost every community in the United States has community initiatives, support group meetings and some form of help for alcoholics.
Those seeking assistance while working to overcome alcoholism can talk to a therapist or expert in person or on the phone.
Other resources available online include:
If you’re still unsure of how to find help in your community, contact your local hospital or health department. Most health care organizations can direct you to helpful resources near you.
For many people, abstaining from alcohol is a major lifestyle change. It requires a lot of time, effort and mental energy. Some people can decide to quit drinking and do it without help. If you’re reading this page, you probably aren’t one of those people. Don’t compare yourself to them.
Use these tips to increase your chances of overcoming alcohol problems:
Always think about the benefits of quitting alcohol and how they will improve your life. It may also help to think about the negatives that alcohol causes. With a realistic strategy, support and faith, you can quit drinking and begin alcohol recovery.
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