10 Best Ways to Stop Drinking Alcohol

The decision to stop drinking alcohol can be life-saving for individuals who feel they are falling into alcohol addiction. However, recovering from alcohol abuse, maintaining sobriety and managing alcohol cravings is a hard struggle. There are many ways to achieve sobriety. For a person wondering how they can stop drinking, here are the 10 best ways to stop drinking alcohol.

1. Make a Plan

Make a plan to stop drinking alcohol by setting a date. Post the date in a place where you can see it often. If you are a heavy drinker, you must first slowdown in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms which can be potentially deadly (in this case, involve your doctor in your plan in order to come up with a more appropriate date plan).

2. Identify the Triggers

The urge to drink alcohol is set off either by internal or external triggers. The key to quit drinking and maintaining sobriety is by identifying and avoiding the triggers. External triggers, such as places, people and things that are associated with alcohol drinking behaviors and opportunities can quickly lead to a relapse. High risk situations are more obvious, more predictable and are more avoidable compared to internal triggers.

Internal triggers are set off by thoughts, negative emotions such as frustrations, positive emotions like excitement, physical sensations like headache, anxiety and tension. Once you have identified the triggers, work on how to prevent them from leading you to drinking.

3. Avoid High Risk Situations

The best strategy to quit drinking is avoiding high risk situations. Avoid social settings where alcohol is served. Do not buy or keep alcohol at home as this will easily tempt you. Friends and family members can also assist by refraining from drinking alcohol in the presence of those in recovery.

4. Build a Strong Support Network

Ensure that you surround yourself with positive people. This will help you to build and improve your self-esteem and confidence. Without a positive support network, it is difficult to make changes that will completely lead to sobriety. An available social network support is particularly important during the early months of recovery.

5. Communicate Effectively

Having an effective communication with family, friends and workmates can help them to understand the different aspects and challenges involved in your road to recovery. Expressing yourself to them will help them to be much more supportive and assistive.

6. Incorporate a Nutritious Diet

A healthy diet and proper hydration are important to an alcoholic’s healing process. Proper nutrition, as well as hydration, helps to restore physical and mental health, improving the chances of recovering.

Macro and micro-nutrient deficiencies can cause low energy levels, depression & anxiety, which are triggers that can lead to a relapse. Your diet should incorporate food types that improve digestion, promote steady blood sugar throughout the body and improve brain chemistry. A healthy process of digestion optimizes the rate of absorption of vitamins, amino acids and minerals which help to reduce alcohol craving. An adequate intake of lean protein ensures that your brain produces optimal amounts of neurotransmitters which are associated with feelings of well-being.

Comprehensive nutrition education program and individualized nutrition counseling have been found to improve a 3-month sobriety success rate in people with substance abuse issues. If you wish to quit alcohol drinking on your own, here are a few nutrition tips you can follow.

  • Do not make major diet changes immediately. Gradual diet changes will lead to a better body compliance.
  • Eat foods that are low in fat and include adequate levels of lean protein.
  • Eat regular meals throughout the day
  • Water is the most important nutrient required for every body function. Adequate water intake helps to reduce alcohol craving.
  • Vitamins and mineral supplements such as vitamins A& B, zinc and B-Complex are helpful during and after the recovery phase.

7. Exercise

One way of replacing destructive behaviors is getting involved in physical activities. Exercise stimulates the same neurotransmitters and circuits in the brain as most addictive substances. Start out your exercise routine slowly and focus on strength training and cardiovascular exercises.

8. Engage in Healthy Activities

Alcoholics are known to give up on activities that they once found enjoyable. Part of the recovery process is rediscovering previous hobbies and developing new interests. This will help to alleviate boredom that can trigger a relapse and help you to pursue much healthier and fulfilling alternatives.

9. Evaluate Your Progress

Evaluate your sobriety progress by setting an evaluation date. A 30 day plan is more effective so that your new behavior can become a habit. Evaluate and review your reasons for quitting alcohol. Write down the benefits and, if you relapse, start again. An evaluation plan will help you to see how far you have come and motivate you to do better.

10. Treat Yourself

Once you have evaluated your progress and you have achieved a set duration of sobriety, treat yourself. The money which was used for alcohol can now be used to visit a spa, get a massage, join a yoga class, buy new clothing or furniture or even buy gifts for your family and friends. Maintaining sobriety is all about seeing its tangible benefits.

Note that there isn’t a universal best way to quit drinking alcohol. You may have to try out different combinations and find out what works best for you.

Addiction Treatment and the Window of Opportunity – What to Do When Your Loved One Wants Help

When someone you care about decides they need help for their problem with drugs or alcohol, responding promptly by finding them the best drug rehabilitation facility is imperative. That moment of clarity at the end of an addict’s spree, is the most effective time for them to get the care they need. It’s during this time where they are desperate and willing to do the things necessary for the recovery process to begin.

When it comes to the disease of addiction, the gift of desperation is something to be extremely grateful for. People drink and use drugs because they like the effect produced by these substances. When the line is crossed and someone becomes addicted, they will usually do anything and everything to get their next high. It’s not until the pain and the consequences are great enough that an addict will do something to change.

Recovery is a personal decision, thus, admitting that drug addiction is a problem that a person needs help to overcome is the beginning and the foundation for the journey to recovery and freedom from addiction. This is the only part of the process that can and should be done perfectly. If an addict seeks help from an addiction treatment center at this time they have a better chance of recovering from the disease.

So, what should I do if my loved one wants help for their problem with drugs or alcohol?

First, let them know that you love them and that you support them in their decision to get help. An addict is selfish and self centered, thus the disease of addiction leaves families and loved ones hurt. Remember, addicts are sick people. What they did in their disease is not who they really are. It’s important that they know you are not judging them, and that you simply want the best for them.

Next, start the treatment center search. Depending on the severity of the addiction, your loved one may need a residential drug rehab program. Search drug rehab or addiction treatment centers thoroughly to find the best one. Find out which substance abuse treatment facilities cater to the suffering addict’s individual needs. The one’s offering a variety of programs are the most effective where your loved one has a better chance for healing.

Look for programs that include the following:

o Drug and Alcohol Detox

o Dual Diagnosis

o Men’s Programs

o Women’s Programs

o Individual and Group Therapy

o Family Therapy

o Eating Disorders

o Trauma and Grief Therapy

o 12-Step Based Programs

o Extended After Care / Intensive Outpatient

Anyone struggling with addiction should consider these program options when choosing a drug treatment center. After all, the disease of addiction is life threatening. Getting the best most quality care available could save your loved one’s life.

Finding the best drug rehab can seem overwhelming. Acting quickly, but logically in choosing a place for treatment is key getting help for your loved one. Don’t wait too long, or their window for opportunity to change their life will close and you may have to wait until the end of their next debauch.

The Types Of Treatment Programs Available in Drug Rehab

Drug Treatment Programs

Drug treatment programs or drug rehab refers to the process of psycho-therapeutic and medical treatment to a person who is dependent on psychoactive substances like hard drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol. Rehabilitation aims at enabling the affected person to stop abusing the substance of interest, thereby avoiding the negative effects: i.e. financial, social, psychological, physical and even legal effects.

Psychological Dependency

Rehabilitation centers help in teaching addicted people how to live in a drug-free environment. In these programs, patients are discouraged from associating with individuals who any addictive substances they wish to stop using. The program aims at guiding patients in examining their habits and changing them for the better. Legal drugs like alcohol call for a complete abstention rather than moderation which is mostly unsustainable for people with a history of abusing alcohol.

Types of Treatment Available

Drug rehabilitation is addressed through various programs which include; use of local support groups, addiction counseling, medical care, residential treatment, extended care givers, mental health, recovery houses and orthomolecular medicine. A number of rehab centers have specific programs depending on the patient’s age and gender. The treatment programs not only help to address the patient’s addiction problem, but also help to address any other problem among the patients. Medical detoxification alone is not enough to treat addiction.

Different organizations use different styles in rehabilitating addicts with some recommending detoxification of the patient first, then medical therapy, behavior therapy and then relapse prevention.

Drug rehabilitation involves the following types of behavioral therapy;

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: helps patients know, avoid and bear with situations which may make them return to their addiction habits.
  • Multi-dimensional family therapy: is specially meant to help addicts recover through the support of their families.
  • Motivational interviewing: helps in motivating the patient to stop abusing drugs and start the treatment process.
  • Motivational incentives: it makes use of positive things meant to encourage the patient to abstain from addictive substances.
  • Counseling: Most traditional treatment programs for drug addiction are based on counseling. Through counseling, addicts are able to know the behaviors and problems which come with their state of mind. This is done at an individual or a group level, and may cover crisis counseling and daily/weekly counseling support. This counseling process helps to instill good behaviors and help patients cope with any situation. Counseling results to intervention which involves seeking professional help by the concerned parties to give the patient the necessary treatment.
  • Residential treatment: This rehabilitation program involves staying in the rehabilitation center while being treated for drug addiction during the day. This treatment program usually lasts for a period of 30-90 days.
  • Sober house living: Just like residential treatment, this treatment program involves intensive treatment while the patient is still among other recovering addicts living in a good supportive environment. This patient treatment program is most suitable in cases where the patient has no where to go to or in situations where going home will mean returning to the old drug abuse problem.
  • Brief intervention: This drug rehab program is most suited to individuals who are at a risk of drug abuse or face the threat of drug addiction, but it is not helpful to individuals who are addicts already. Treatment through this program involves conducting visits to a healthcare facility to talk about the negative effects of abusing drugs and how to reduce their use.
  • Partial hospitalization: This treatment program best applies to patients who require a continuous medical monitoring, but who are not very affected by the drug abuse problem. This treatment program is offered for 3-5 days a week and between 4-6 hours per day.

Locating Drug Rehab Centers

While seeking substance abuse treatment programs near your home, it’s important that you talk to your doctor for good advice and recommendations on the appropriate program. Health insurance companies also can help you locate a good rehab center. Local mental health clinics, hospitals and community health centers are also good sources of information on the different rehab programs available depending on what treatment is best for their current addiction and budget.

What Has Been Done to Fix the Opioid Addiction Problem?

As more and more Americans became addicted to prescription pain-killers, regulatory agencies started going after doctors who over-prescribed these pharmaceutical drugs causing many doctors to cut back or cut off their patients’ prescriptions altogether. Of course, those addicted took to the streets to find alternatives, and that meant illegal drugs such as heroin. Heroin on the street is much cheaper, adding to the usage and addiction problem.

While the number of overdose deaths from heroin has sky-rocketed, the number of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like Fentanyl has hit an all-time high, 30,000 in 2018 alone according to research from the RAND Corp (cite: 1). Combined deaths of both legal and illegal opioids are estimated near 50,000 according to the US Drug Database form the National Institute of Drug Abuse (cite: 2).

The Federal Government spent $11 billion in FY 2017 – FY 2018, putting forth funds to 57 programs to help curb the opioid crisis. The money has been spent on prevention, recovery, and treatment, as well as enforcement, criminal justice, supply reduction, and public health surveillance according to the Bipartisan Policy Center (Cite: 3).

Is this money working? Yes, but slowly. Only recently has the data shown we’ve almost peaked in the opioid crisis and the numbers in the future might decline. Still, opioid addiction is not only a national crisis. It’s a local community problem, affecting real lives, and real people, human beings – our family members, friends, and loved ones. So, it’s more than just numbers.

As you can see, our Nation’s opioid epidemic didn’t happen overnight, nor will it merely vanish by way of wishful thinking. The history of opioids, whether synthetic or otherwise, shows these substances to be highly addictive. This is why they work so well fighting pain, as they trigger the pleasure sensors in the human brain.

No one should be too surprised as to how we got to this crisis, what matters now is that we treat these addictions with compassion and create a solid road to recovery.

Is It Possible to Recover from an Opioid Addiction?

Thankfully, the answer is; YES. However, it’s never a one size fits all. The best chance for a full recovery is a personalized rehab program that takes into consideration the individual’s real needs. The chances of a relapse are just too great to risk anything else, thus the program must be custom tailored.

Often there are co-occurring disorders, which must be dealt with on a personal level. It’s the only safe way forward. Some opioid addictions are from strictly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, others from illicit drugs, many are a combination of both, as the addiction progresses. Often patients still have pain, perhaps the same pain for which the painkillers were originally prescribed. Since every patient is different and since every addiction has formed along a different path, every recovery program needs to be unique as well – and, that’s what treatment centers are there for – to give people their lives back.

References:

1.) RAND Corp Think Tank – The Future of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids, 2019

2.) NIH – National Institute of Drug Abuse data base – January 2019

3.) Bipartisan Policy Center – March 2019