Finding Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
Do you wonder if perhaps it’s time for you to stop drinking alcohol, or at the very least cut down on drinking? Are family members and friends concerned about your drinking habits? Do you wish you didn’t have to rely on alcohol to be social? Or wish that you could stop drinking after one or two drinks?
Maybe you’ve already tried to stop drinking several times to no avail. Or maybe this is your first attempt to cut alcohol out of your life. Either way, overcoming a dependence on alcohol is not always an easy feat, but it is certainly achievable. Millions of people since time immemorable have gotten on the alcohol recovery path and successfully stopped drinking, and so can you.
Quitting drinking entirely may feel challenging at the moment. You may need some help in quitting and there’s nothing wrong with that. Treatment is certainly available in various shapes and forms, so know that you’re not alone. Getting and staying on the path to recovery is one of the best things you can do, as life is just so much better without alcohol.
Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips:
Admit That There Is A Problem
It’s not always easy to admit that you have a toxic relationship with alcohol. You may have long thought of alcohol as a dear friend and have come to enjoy its presence in your life. However, drinking has progressively brought you more trouble than it’s worth, and you’re wondering often:
Do I have a drinking problem? Am I an alcoholic?
Such questions are necessary to address moving forward, as the first step toward recovery from dependence on alcohol is admitting that there is a problem. Chances are if you’re wondering if you are drinking too much, you are. If you’re wondering if you’re an alcoholic, chances are you depend on it more than you think. And, if you’re fearful of leaving your dear alcohol friend behind, chances are it’s time to admit and step into your truth. If you’re admitting that you have a drinking problem or that you’re an alcoholic, and you want to stop drinking, it’ll help you to come to understand WHY you want to stop drinking. When you understand your “whys”, you’ll be far more motivated to stick to your recovery path. So, moving forward, make a list of the reasons why you want to stop drinking. There are short and long-term benefits of giving up alcohol. Become familiar with them and keep them in the forefront of your mind. This way, when temptations or cravings come, you’re more able to say, “No thanks!” and stay on your recovery path.
Count The Reasons To Stop Drinking
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If you’re admitting that you have a drinking problem or that you’re an alcoholic, and you want to stop drinking, it’ll help you to come to understand WHY you want to stop drinking. When you understand your “whys”, you’ll be far more motivated to stick to your recovery path.
So, moving forward, make a list of the reasons why you want to stop drinking.
There are short and long-term benefits of giving up alcohol. Become familiar with them and keep them in the forefront of your mind. This way, when temptations or cravings come, you’re more able to say, “No thanks!” and stay on your recovery path.
Make Sobriety Your Number One Priority
Many people tend to relate to black and white thinking, or all or nothing thinking. This can impact alcoholics in a way that prompts them to be “all-the-way drinkers” – meaning, they don’t see much sense in having one drink. They want MANY drinks!
Now, just as all or nothing drinking can end up harming people, it can help people too. When it comes to recovery, you can simply make sobriety your number one priority, abstaining from all alcohol. You can prioritize your recovery all the way because as you do, chances are other areas of your life will line up in good ways.
In What Ways Can You Make Sobriety Your Priority?
- Keep recovery principles fresh in your mind each day. Feed your mind positive and motivational things that help you stay recovery minded.
- Let others know that you’re now a non-drinker.
- Steer clear of people and places that tempt you to drink
- Find supports that assist you with staying sober, such as a support group, counselor, etc.
Change Your Environment
You may need to change your environment to stay sober. For example, if you’re living in a chaotic home with roommates who party all hours of the night, you might want to consider a new place to stay for a while or permanently. Or, if you work as a bartender or spend a great deal of time in establishments that serve alcohol, you might want to do something different. You might think it will be easy to say “no” to drinking now that you’ve committed to sobriety, but it’s not always easy when you see or get a scent of your favorite beer or whisky.
Announce your Lifestyle Change
Some people feel ashamed to tell others that they’ve quit drinking. Whether they were a problem drinker, an alcoholic, or just drank more than they wanted, it’s just not always easy to be open about this. However, letting others know of your commitment to sobriety can help you remain sober. Plus, it sometimes gives others permission to speak up about their own drinking concerns.
Consider Going To Rehab
The reality is that some people just cannot stop drinking on their own. They’ve tried repeatedly, only to relapse sooner or later. If you’re struggling with stopping drinking, consider going to inpatient or outpatient rehab for a period. There you’ll be able to get help from qualified substance abuse professionals who can help you gain the tools necessary for you to get and stay on the recovery path. Just think about how staying one month at an alcohol rehab could change your life for the better! That’s one month of your life in exchange for a lifetime of freedom from an addiction to alcohol and all the problems that come as a result!
Continue To Seek Support And Aftercare
If you do opt to attend rehab, you’ll be encouraged to continue to seek support and aftercare, because alcohol has a way of trying to sneak back into your life. You probably know someone who stopped drinking for a while, but then they thought they could have an occasional drink without issues. But over time, that one drink became three, and then five, and so on.
If you build yourself a support network, such as a support group, counselor, mentor, friends, etc., you’re much more apt to remain sober and live a healthier, happier life.
Support and Aftercare Options
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to recovery from alcoholism. Each person will need to learn what recovery path works for themselves and not judge others if their path looks differently. There are more and more recovery paths arising to cater to such a diverse population. Here are some common support and aftercare options to consider as you continue your recovery path:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12 Step support group that has helped many alcoholics get and stay free from alcohol. There are many meetings in cities across the world. Meetings last about an hour, and those that attend can choose a sponsor/mentor that can sort of take them under their wing to be supportive during their recovery. Sponsors have proven to be quite helpful, especially in early recovery.
If you’d like to find out where your local meetings are, check out the AA website to do a local search. There are also some online AA meetings you can check out in case you don’t have transportation to attend one in your community.
SMART Recovery is a science-based recovery program that helps people get free from addiction. It’s held in various cities as well, though not as popular as AA.
Going to a counselor is a great way to continue to work on your recovery, allowing you to work on other issues that you may be dealing with. Oftentimes, people who stop drinking begin to notice negative emotions like depression, anger, anxiety, etc. and aren’t sure how to cope with them. They may have coped with them before by drinking, but now that they’re committed to sobriety, they must learn healthier ways to cope. Taking a season to attend counseling is a wise way to process old wounds and learn valuable recovery tools and life skills.
Educate Yourself On Alcoholism And Recovery
There are many wonderful books and resources on alcoholism and recovery, so take time regularly to invest in learning. Maybe you can set a goal to read a book a month on the topic or get involved in an online recovery forum. There are plenty of free blogs and articles online that can certainly help strengthen your mind, body, and spirit. When you can learn about addiction and recovery principles, you empower yourself greatly, building a solid recovery foundation.
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Is Withdrawal Dangerous?
The withdrawal or detox process varies for each person and will depend on how much you drank and how often. The first few days are the worst, as your body works hard to get rid of the poisonous toxins that alcohol brought to your body. It’s best if you are supervised by medical professionals during your detox process, as severe withdrawals could occur.
Mild withdrawal symptoms that may occur are:
- A headache
- Stomach pain
- Rise in blood pressure and heart rate
- Trouble sleeping
- Moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms that may occur are:
- Delirium tremons (DTs)
Most people get through the detox stages in about 5 to 7 days, with the worst of the symptoms occurring around days 2-4. If you’re a heavy drinker, it is suggested that you seek medical assistance in the form of a substance abuse professional, doctor, or rehab to go through the detox stages.
How Can I Get Started Stopping Drinking?
The first step to stop drinking is to admit that you’ve been drinking more than you desire or that you just cannot stop on your own. Knowing and speaking this truth can help you get in a frame of mind beneficial for succeeding in recovery. Simply admit that you’re now ready to be a non-drinker and you’ve taken that first step!
Congratulations on your new path to sobriety! Now it’s time to think about and research the various paths to recovery. Perhaps you can begin listing what you think you want to do in terms of treatment. Do you want to attend a detox center or treatment center so that you can have professionals assist you in breaking free from this addiction? If not, are you willing to talk to your doctor about it? How about a counselor?
At the same time, consider sitting down with your family to discuss your decision to quit drinking. Maybe you’ve already done that or maybe they’re upset with you for your behavior while drinking over the years. Still, it might do you and them good to have a real heart to heart conversation with a loving and compassionate heart. It’s a plus if they can be supportive of your decision.
Are you willing to attend a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery? Recovery groups aren’t for everyone, but they’ve certainly helped millions over the years gain sobriety and stay free. As many agree, “The program works if you work it.”
Help is Available
If you’re wondering how to stop drinking, you’re at a pivotal point in life. This is a great place to be because it means that you’re motivated to do something different. You want a different kind of life where alcohol doesn’t have a pull or control you. Good for you! Should you need assistance, simply reach out for help. There’s no shame in admitting that you need help and there are so many people who are more than willing to lend you a hand – personally and professionally! Give us a call right now and allow us to assist you in getting on your unique path to sobriety.
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