The best way on how not to drink alcohol is to keep yourself busy, choose alcohol-free days, set drinking limits, and listen to podcasts. It takes much more effort to achieve long-term sobriety and lead an alcohol-free lifestyle than to stop drinking altogether. It’s a process that requires commitment.
Drinking alcohol is a social activity done for various reasons. To some, it’s a way to cope with stress or remedy insomnia or anxiety. Others drink for fun, due to peer influence, or because it’s a social norm.
Most people drink alcohol because it is readily accessible. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86% of people aged 18 years and above have drunk alcohol at some point in their life, and nearly 15 million people of age 12 and older suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder. Worldwide, 3 million deaths are recorded yearly due to the harmful use of alcohol.
Effects Of Alcohol
Alcohol can cause harm to your health, and its effects begin with the first sip you take. There are long-term and short-term effects, as highlighted below.
Long term Effects
● Insomnia and other sleep concerns
● Changes in appetite and weight
● Difficulty focusing on tasks
● Weak immune system
● Low concentration and memory disorder
Short term Effects
● Impulsive behavior
● Changes in mood
● Slowed speech
● Loss of coordination
● Loss of consciousness
Here are the eight tips on how to stop drinking.
1. Don’t Keep Alcohol In The House
If you drink in your home, try to stop buying alcohol. Having no alcohol at home can help you limit your drinking. Simple techniques like sticking post-it notes on your refrigerator door can help remind you not to buy. If you’re at the store and feel the urge to purchase alcohol, buy a lower percentage or zero percent alcohol.
2. Choose Alcohol-Free Days
You can decide to abstain from alcohol to monitor your emotional wellbeing. Keep track of when you have a drink. Include the alcohol content you did consume so you can start drinking less till you finally decide to take a break. Setting alcohol-free days is a great way to cut how often you drink. Start with one or two days per week, then increase when you feel ready. It will take time to stop drinking completely, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen overnight.
3. Keep Busy
Engage yourself in activities like sports and adventure. You can identify a new hobby or get back to an old one. Painting, playing musical instruments, and board games are great alternatives to drinking. Keeping your mind busy for prolonged periods will reduce how often you think about drinking alcohol. Exercising your body gives you more positive thoughts, which will help when trying not to drink as much.
4. Ask For Support
Quitting alcohol can be challenging. You might consider seeking professional support when you find it difficult. Friends and family can encourage you about your choice to stop drinking and help you stick to your decision.
You can also encourage others to explore their drinking habits. Build relationships with people who also choose to avoid alcohol. Together, you can support each other.
5. Set A Drinking Limit
Choose a limit for your alcohol consumption. Set goals and write them down as a reminder. You can pin them to your refrigerator, where you will frequently see them.
6. Read Help Books
Motivational guides and psychology-based books can help change your mindset so you view drinking differently. These books will give honest reviews that impact your life towards sobriety.
7. Download Help Apps
Apps like Sober Grid are designed to help you recover from alcoholism. It allows you to share your thoughts, experiences, struggles, and achievements related to recovery.
8. Listen To Podcasts
Podcasts outline sobriety stories and common questions and answers. There are several series, and you can pick your favorites or those you feel impact your life.
Benefits of Quitting Alcohol
Quitting alcohol has numerous health benefits. The following are some of them.
Sleep deprivation and alcohol usage are closely related. Alcohol disrupts the sleep-wake cycle, making it challenging to fall asleep. Additionally, it relaxes the throat muscles, increasing your risk of snoring and sleep apnea.
Expect some sleep-related challenges at the beginning of your recovery. Your sleep quality will improve the longer you refrain from alcohol and adopt healthy sleeping habits.
Healthy Looking Skin
Excessive consumption of alcohol can negatively affect your skin in many ways, including;
- Raptures capillaries on the nose and face
- Dry skin caused by dehydration
- Decreased collagen production, resulting in sagging, loose skin.
- The inflammatory skin condition psoriasis has also been connected to heavy alcohol drinking.
When you give up alcohol, your body eventually gives your skin its natural suppleness back, and the redness around your eyes gradually disappears.
Improve Mental Health
Alcohol addiction and mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression frequently coexist.
Many try to self-medicate mental illness symptoms by using alcohol and other illegal substances. They might not understand, however, that alcohol eventually makes mental illness worse.
When you quit drinking, these symptoms will lessen. You will start to see improvements in your overall mental health as you work toward becoming healthy and achieving your sobriety goals. This can include improved self-esteem, respect for oneself, and less anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Alcohol hampers the immune system from producing enough white blood cells to fight bacteria and germs. This explains why people who binge drink over a long period struggle with episodes of TB and pneumonia.
When you quit alcohol, you will stop getting the numerous flu bugs, colds, and other diseases you may have previously been unable to avoid owing to persistent drinking.
Your body gets depleted of essential nutrients if you drink. Many persons with alcohol use disorders tend to “drink” their meals rather than eating the recommended amounts of carbs, protein, vitamins, fat, and minerals for their bodies.
Even the digestion and excretion of nutrients can be affected by alcohol. As a result, most heavy drinkers experience malnutrition. Your body can start to more easily absorb healthy nutrients once you quit drinking and start forming healthier habits.
Improved Memory and Reasoning
The hippocampus, a brain region important for memory and learning, can shrink due to heavy drinking.
A year or more of alcohol abstinence may be necessary for anatomical alterations in the brain to reverse partially. Giving up alcohol can also help counteract detrimental effects on cognitive processes, such as those involved in problem-solving, attention, and memory.
Reduced Risk of Contracting Cancer
Evidence suggests that the more a person drinks over time, the probability of getting alcohol-related cancer, such as those of the breast, mouth, rectum, esophagus, liver, voice box, colon, and rectum. Women who drink even moderately, one or two drinks per day, are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Overcoming alcohol may feel impossible. You might experience obstacles like denial and withdrawal symptoms. You must be kind and patient with yourself to see the changes because recovery from alcohol is a gradual process.