Advice For Reducing And Quitting Alcohol

There are plenty of reasons why you may wish to quit drinking alcohol. Some people are forced to stop drinking as a consequence of developing an alcohol related medical condition like liver disease, or because they begin taking medication which crudely reacts with alcohol.

Others decide to do so for belief reasons such as religion, or simply as a step in the direction of a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re debating about eliminating alcohol from your life, you should be aware that you’re not the only one.

43% of adults in Britain who state they abstain from alcohol are previous alcohol consumers.

Whatever your reason may be, this article will provide plenty of tips on how to quit drinking alcohol, specifics of the potential benefits of not drinking, plus information on the possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms one could experience if making the switch from heavy drinking to complete absence of alcohol.


Practical tips on giving up alcohol

Firstly, if you think you have a serious drinking problem and are experiencing any of the associated symptoms of alcohol dependence, you should consult your doctor or another medical professional about it as soon as possible. There are also a number of national alcohol support services that you can go to for advice.

Going tee-total may be difficult– especially if you’ve been previous excessive alcohol consumer. The following tips and techniques can make it that little bit easier.


Yoga 

Yoga and meditation can also help fight against alcoholism. Yoga helps people re-establish the connection between their bodies and minds, while improving physical strength. It can also be helpful when dealing with significant stress and emotional struggles. In addition, meditation helps relax your mind and soul. Join a professional yoga class to help keep yourself relaxed and avoid your drinking habits.  


Acupuncture

Some alcoholics have found acupuncture, a form of ancient Chinese medicine, to be a useful method for resisting cravings and preventing relapse. In addition, acupuncture helps reduce anxiety and depression, two main reasons behind excessive drinking. It also stimulates overall wellness. 


Keep Yourself Occupied

When you having nothing to do, you are more likely to start drinking alcohol. People who are going through depression tend to drink more as well as stress or anxiety affecting their mental health and wellbeing and only see alcohol as the solution. If you join an activity which keeps you occupied then you are more likely to stop drinking yourself. Being around happy people and doing some productive activity always helps. Join in some local activities, go for a walk, doing something that interests you can make a real difference. If your brain is occupied, you will quit drinking in no time. 

 


Exercise

Regular physical exercise will help reduce the long-term effects of alcoholism. In addition, exercise keeps the body healthy, reduces stress, improves mood, fights depression and reduces cravings. Regular exercise also promotes better sleep at night. Given the physical and mental benefits of exercise, many alcohol rehab programs contain some type of exercise component. 

 


Healthy Diet

Diet plays an important role in one’s ability to remain sober and reduce effects of heavy drinking. Alcoholism reduces appetite and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This is why most alcoholics suffer from nutritional deficiencies. The body needs many vitamins and minerals to overcome the side effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Eat foods high in vitamin B12 to help improve liver functioning and to help stop alcohol cravings. Eat foods high in vitamin C to improve brain functioning and reduce your interest in alcohol. Eat foods high in amino acids to help stabilize your mood, which in turn will help break the addiction cycle. Avoid caffeine, sugar and nicotine, which can contribute to the urge to drink. It is best to eat whole-grains, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables and other fiber-rich complex carbohydrates to help maintain steady blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels tend to induce alcohol cravings. 


Make your intentions known

Tell your family and friends that you’re attempting to cut down or even completely stop drinking alcohol and explain your reasons. This way, you can share your successes with them, and they won’t frown when you’ve started turning down drinks or outings to the pub. 

Regularly reminding yourself and the people close to you why you want to stop drinking can assist with helping you achieve your goal, and may even influence others to give up or cut down with you.


Avoid temptation

In the beginning of cutting down, it’s could pay dividends to swerve situations where you may be inclined to drink. So if you would normally go to the pub for Friday after work drinks, you could arrange something different, or if you’re giving up alcohol for health reasons, why not swap the socialising and drinking time with a gym class or a visit to the swimming pool to help you wind down instead?

Identifying your ‘triggers’ (times when you’re tempted to drink) is important, particularly if you’ve attempted and struggled to stop drinking previoulsy. Try to pin-point the reasons you didn’t succeed – did you still visit the pub most Friday’s or weekends? Did you communicate with your partner your reasons for not drinking? Was alcohol still around the house? Remember out of sight, out of mind!


Give up or gradually reduce your drinking

If you wish to quit drinking alcohol as a direction towards a healthier lifestyle, reducing the volume of alcohol you drink as opposed to giving up alcohol completely can still facilitate plenty of health benefits, and can be less difficult to adhere to. Reducing the amount you drink can also be an effective stepping stone towards progressing to completely quitting alcohol in the future.

Cutting down doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult. If you drink every night, begin by assigning a 1 or 2 days a week as alcohol-free days. With persistence, this will soon develop into a habit. Official alcohol unit guidance is that it is safest for both men and women to drink no more than 14 units a week. The units should be spread our evenly over the week and not be saved up for the weekend binge!

Find out the units and calories in your drinks


Reward progress

It’s important that you acknowledge the fact that making changes to your lifestyle can be difficult and that you reward yourself with something if you are making progress. It's equally important not to be too hard on yourself if you slip up every once in a while.

A simple method to keep track of your progress and to retain your focus is to set yourself short-term goals. Perhaps you could primarily aim for an alcohol-free week, then an alcohol-free month.

If your drinking tends to take place in front of the TV after work, try substituting that glass of wine or can of beer with a different form of enjoyment. The financial burden of alcohol can escalate with surprising pace - you can use the money saved from not drinking on a day out or some retail therapy.


Enjoy the benefits

Whether you’re cutting alcohol out of your life completely or cutting down gradually, you may notice improved short term difference’s to the way you look and feel. Among other things, you might find you are more energetic, that you’re quality of sleep is better, or that a bit of weight has dropped off you.

In the long term you will also be helping to reduce your risk of developing alcohol-related cancer, alcohol-related liver disease or alcohol-related heart disease and could lower your blood pressure.


Potential alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Going ‘cold turkey’ or suddenly abstaining from alcohol completely can cause serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms if you have been drinking heavily for a prolonged period of time.

Dr Sarah Jarvis of Drinkaware’s Medical Advisory Panel points out that "psychological symptoms are very common, and not just if you're a really heavy drinker. You can have short-term problems even with relatively low levels of alcohol consumption if you've become used to drinking really regularly.” Psychological symptoms can include irritability, poor concentration, feeling shaky, feeling tired, difficulty sleeping or bad dreams.

Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms including trembling hands, sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, palpitations and lack of appetite are less common but are often a sign that the sufferer was drinking at worrying levels. Severe physical side effects include convulsions, confusion, fever and even hallucinations.

If you experience physical withdrawal symptoms of any kind, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication that can ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms and will be able to refer you to a specialist alcohol team for support. They can also offer counselling and psychological support and can put you in touch with local support groups to help you stay on track.