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Your Journey Starts Here

The Decision to Stop Drinking

It is a fact that the majority of adults across the globe drink alcohol on a regular basis, and this is considered “the norm.”

However, many people reach a point in their lives where they challenge this “norm” and decide to stop drinking alcohol altogether and this can be for a number of different reasons.

For some it’s simply a health or a financial choice; for others it may be a desire to have more energy and zest in their lives which drives such a choice, and for those who can pretty much take it or leave it, they simply decide that the negative aspects of drinking outweigh the positives. For these reasons they chose to become abstinent.

Others may only decide to stop drinking because the relationship they have with alcohol has got out of control and in one way or another has started to negatively impact on their lives. They are able to rationally and objectively assess the damage that their drinking is causing, and as a result they simply stop drinking, or at least cut back significantly on the amount and frequency that they drink.

how to stop drinking

For a third group of drinkers however the situation is quite different. They have reached the point where alcohol has taken over complete control of their lives, and even though they might desperately want to quit, they are unable to do so because the pattern of addiction has become too strong for them to break out of. Even though they may have lost  – or be in the process of losing – many of the things they hold dear such as their health, their families, their careers or their finances, they are still unable to resist the very thing which causes so much suffering in their lives.

I want to Stop Drinking – Where do I start?

If you fall into the third category of drinkers mentioned above and you are desperately searching for some answers in order to help cope with the situation you find yourself in right now, then your journey begins here.

You may not be thinking clearly enough to know exactly which answers you are looking for, other than to gain some relief from the pain you are feeling, and you might not have fully committed to the decision to stop drinking just yet. Ironically many drinkers are trapped in the dilemma where they would like to give up drinking, yet want to continue at the same time.

This is normal, as we shall see, since the prospect of quitting whilst you are still firmly in the clutches of alcohol can seem a daunting and even frightening prospect.

So what is the first step? Well actually the first step is to do nothing…

That is, for the moment, do nothing different.

  • Continue to drink but without increasing your alcohol consumption above your “normal” levels;
  • Try to regulate your intake to moderately safe levels, whatever moderate means to you.
  • Do nothing other than spend some time contemplating the prospect of stopping drinking, and becoming as comfortable as you can with the thought of that prospect.

This may seem odd advice, given that you have visited a website about giving up drinking only to be told not to stop. But when you think about it, how many times have you woken up in the morning vowing never to drink again – convinced that you have definitely had your last drink – only to find that by mid afternoon (or maybe mid-morning!) your whole being is gagging for a drink and your mind is powerless to stop it?

 If giving up drinking was simply a case of just stopping, then surely you would have done this already by now?

Developing a strategy to stop drinking

Giving up alcohol when you are both physically and psychologically addicted to it requires more than just willpower, and more than a desire and motivation to stop. It requires a planned, thought out strategy – a conscious and deliberate sequence of actions that will give you the best chances of succeeding, not only in the initial detox period, but for long term abstinence as well.

Planning to stop drinkingYour strategy to stop drinking should be one that you can follow independently of how you feel physically and mentally as you are going through the process and it should minimise as far as possible any outside distractions.

In developing your strategy you will need to consider all the options available to you and to choose those options which best suit your own individual circumstances and personality type. In this sense the solution becomes tailor-made to your own unique situation.

Consider the process to be like running a marathon. Once you had decided this was your goal, you wouldn’t then immediately pull on a pair of running shoes, step out the door and run 26 miles. You would make a plan which would condition your mind and body to cope with the challenge that lay ahead.

For the moment, however, simply feel good about the fact that you have reached the start point in your journey and have made the decision that you would like to stop drinking alcohol. Try to feel a sense of calm; a sense that order will soon be restored to your life and above all be kind to yourself, as you prepare for the changes ahead.

Robert Frost QuoteIn making a decision to stop drinking you are embarking on a process of significant change, and as with all personal change this is not always as smooth as we would like. However it is when you are mentally calm and focused that you will be most accepting of this change – it is at this point that a window will open, new beliefs and new possibilities will present themselves, and the desired change will happen the easiest for you.

Action Point: Take some time to contemplate what giving up drinking will really mean to you. How would it feel to be finally released from the trap of alcoholism? What do you need to do right now to feel good about this change? Write it down!

Next Steps: Considering Your Options

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