When you hear that small voice inside of you saying it’s time to quit, it’s hard to ignore it. At the same time, though, it’s hard to know where to begin. Alcohol is everywhere in our society, but tips on how to quit drinking can be harder to find.
The key is to start small — maybe even with just a phone call to get help. Turning your entire life around can be overwhelming, but quitting drinking really does happen “one day at a time,” as they say in 12 Step programs.
These three easy tips may help you along your journey. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for more help when you need it.
Tip 1 to Quit Drinking: Get Honest
The first step to changing anything in your life is to get honest with yourself. You probably know how you’ve lied in the past to cover up your drinking and its side effects, but you might not be aware of how much you’ve been lying to yourself, too.
It’s funny how your brain can play tricks on you when you’re drinking. You might find yourself making up excuses to keep on drinking when you know deep down that it’s not right. You might tell yourself you’re never drinking again, all while knowing deep down that your first drink of the day is just a few hours away. Getting honest with yourself will help to quiet those voices justifying bad behavior.
That means taking a fearless look at what’s really going on with your drinking. First, you might try tracking how much you really drink in a given week, with a manual list or an app. Second, think about all of the negative things happening in your life right now, and consider how they might be related to booze. Or, try a pro and con list. Write down all the positive things about continuing to drink. That side of your list may be short, but it will give you insight as to what is holding you back. On the “con” side, list out all of the things that you stand to lose if you continue to drink. Even if you can’t list much that you think you will be lost by your drinking, the things you do list are probably among the most important in your life. When you list it out like that, can you really justify continuing to drink?
Once you’ve found some clarity with yourself, the next step is to get honest with someone else. This doesn’t mean you need to shout your sins from the rooftops. However, getting sober can be tough and having support is what makes it bearable for many people. Choose a select few people in your family or friend circle to talk to about your drinking. Their support will help you on your quest to get sober and their awareness may help you with some accountability. Make sure to pick people who are likely to support your decision to get sober. For instance, calling your best drinking buddy about it probably isn’t the best idea.
Or, try contacting professionals for help. If there is no one you feel you can talk to in your life, you can reach out and talk to someone who’s been there.
Tip 2 to Quit Drinking: Get Active
Reversing a habit you’ve had for years is an exhausting process. Your body and mind will probably require a lot of rest in the early days of getting sober. With that said, the advice to “get active” may sound strange. Taking naps and reading the Big Book might be about all you can manage in your first days sober.
However, you might not realize how much of your time was taken up by drinking — or recovering from drinking. When you get sober, there is going to be natural downtime in your life. As they say, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Quiet times will probably bring on the cravings, so it’s best to have a plan.
Schedule out your days in sobriety and don’t be afraid to change your routine. If you are used to grabbing a drink at a certain pub every day on your way home from work, start taking a different route. If evenings or weekends are the toughest for you, add activities to your plan. Schedule outings with supportive, sober friends and family or find a local support group and hit a meeting. Start volunteering at a church or shelter. The key is to avoid boredom in those early days. Have some filler activities on hand like puzzles, home repair projects, new video games, or crafts. Getting sober can be fun; allow yourself to have a little.
Tip 3 to Quit Drinking: Get Ready
Get ready to start a new life. Getting sober means leaving a lot of shameful and sad emotions in the past. The burden of being an alcoholic is a heavy one to carry, so it’s okay to start dreaming of your new life as soon as you put that last drink down.
For many people, it helps to write down the things they look forward to in their new life. Maybe you’d like to get a promotion at work or go back to school. Some people just want to stop being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Whatever your goals are, they will be attainable when you stop drinking.
Look at your life and envision all the things that can improve as you quit drinking. You might even want to make a vision board with pictures of the people, places, and things you want to enjoy when you’re on the road to recovery. Be excited about the new destinations that await you; you’ve earned it.
Not only does sobriety bring freedom; but also, safety and stability. At Country Road Recovery Center, we can help you get through the difficult part of quitting, so you can start enjoying your life again. We are here to walk with you on every step of the road to recovery: from transportation, to treatment, to helping work through issues at your job or with your family. You are no longer alone. Check us out today and start your road to recovery.