How to Quit Drinking or at Least Cut Back

Goals can help you stay on track, but sometimes one big goal feels too out of reach. Consider setting smaller goals for yourself – and celebrate them as you go. Rather than one overarching „I want to quit drinking” goal, start by telling yourself you’re going to cut back. Maybe you do a dry January to really jump-start the plan. American Addiction Centers recommend no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, so keep that in mind as you’re setting a goal to cut back. If you’ve decided that it’s time to quit or cut back on alcohol, we congratulate you.

trying to quit drinking

Let friends, family members, and co-workers know that you’re trying to stop or cut back on drinking. If they drink, ask them to support your recovery by not doing so in front of you. Choosing to ignore the signs of addiction comes with its consequences. From day one, Ria Health has offered support for the Sinclair Method—a medication-based approach to moderate drinking or abstinence with a 78 percent success rate. Even in the earliest days after you stop drinking, your mind and body are already healing.

Find New Activities to Replace Alcohol

If you turn to alcohol to ease anxiety, try exercise as a healthy alternative. “Once you have a sense of how much you’re drinking, it’s helpful to track how many drinks you’re having per day,” says Witkiewitz. “You could use a calendar, journal or any number of tracking apps.” Drink Control Alcohol Tracker or Less drinking alcohol on the low fodmap diet are two examples of free tracking apps available on iOS devices. If you answer “yes” to two to three questions, your symptoms align with mild AUD. If you answer “yes” to four to five questions, your symptoms align with moderate AUD. If you answer “yes” to six or more questions, your symptoms align with severe AUD.

trying to quit drinking

Heart A nationally recognized heart center providing comprehensive heart and vascular health services. Receive expert tips on using phones, computers, smart home gear and more. The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives. Don’t make excuses for your loved one’s behavior. The person with the drinking problem needs to take responsibility for their actions.

There are a number of tools and resources to help you quit. Talk with your health care provider about which options may be best for you. Does physical activity moderate the association between alcohol drinking and all-cause, cancer and cardiovascular diseases mortality? A pooled analysis of eight British population cohorts.

How to accomplish your goals

Choose a structure that works for you, and have it medically supervised. Since quitting alcohol can involve withdrawal, or “detox,” it’s best to have a medical professional oversee it—even if you do it solo. Prepare yourself for those times when someone is going overcoming alcohol addiction to offer you a drink. Find words to help you decline politely but firmly. You might also hold onto a nonalcoholic drink instead, ask a friend to support you in difficult situations or simply exit early if temptation gets too strong, the NIAAA suggests.

Remind yourself of your reasons for not drinking. When you’re craving alcohol, there’s a tendency to remember the positive effects of drinking and forget the negatives. Remind yourself of the adverse long-term effects of heavy drinking and how it won’t really make you feel better, even in the short term.

trying to quit drinking

Though the benefits can vary widely from person to person, taking a month-long break from alcohol can do your body good. These 8 tips will help you set things off on the right foot. Here are 8 ways to turn down a drink, regardless of your reasons. Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

It can be used with counseling or therapy and is not meant as a substitute for professional help. If you choose to try it on your own and at any point feel you need more help, then seek support . Tell trusted family and friends about your decision and ask for their support in helping you stay sober.

Get online support.

When you stop drinking, you might find yourself dealing with cravings for alcohol. Learn why this common response happens and how to cope with it. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, treatment, and timeline. The effects of alcohol on emotion in social drinkers. Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • In the long-term, cutting back on the amount of alcohol you drink is usually a very healthy thing to do.
  • I found found myself hooking up more when under the influence.______20.
  • Turner notes the importance of bringing along a trusted support person when attending events that involve alcohol.
  • Remind yourself that one drink or a brief lapse doesn’t have to turn into a full-blown relapse.
  • Evan is a deep believer in fact-based, empathic communication—within business, arts, academia, or any space where words drive action or change lives.

Just be careful to ensure food doesn’t replace your addiction to alcohol. If you aren’t sure, one way to start is to make a pros/cons list of why stopping drinking could be a good idea. It’s okay to acknowledge that there can be some good things about drinking. Likewise, relationship of anger with alcohol use treatment outcome it would be unrealistic to ignore that there are some advantages, but if the cons outweigh the pros that means you have some good reasons to stop drinking. You spend more time and energy thinking about drinking than about other pleasurable or relaxing activities.

You have blackouts when you drink or have to be told about your behavior after you sober up. You’ve considered stealing or have stolen items to pay for your drinking. You’ve started buying different kinds of alcohol to get more alcohol on a budget. You need to hide how much you drink, especially from people you respect or look up to. You frequently drink more to help relieve the symptoms of a hangover. You drink more than 2-3 nights a week, or more than a single drink each night.

Come up with some strategies ahead of time that you can use in these difficult situations, so you don’t have to improvise on the spot. Before you get started, take some time to reflect on the reasons you want to cut back or quit. Perhaps you want to be a better parent, or you want to be better at your job.

Low-risk drinking

Forbes Health adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. You might reach for alcohol when you’re really just thirsty, says Crews. Drink a cup of soothing tea or a tall glass of water before you imbibe—once your thirst is quenched, you may not feel the need for as much—or any—alcohol.

In the early stages of change, denial is a huge obstacle. Even after admitting you have a drinking problem, you may make excuses and drag your feet. It’s important to acknowledge your ambivalence about stopping drinking. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to change or you’re struggling with the decision, it can help to think about the costs and benefits of each choice. You may want to abstain for a week or a month to see how you feel physically and emotionally without alcohol in your life.

If loneliness triggers the desire to drink, you might look into ways to connect with distant friends or explore ways to build new friendships. Instead of going to your usual restaurant for dinner and drinks, why not try a new place that doesn’t serve alcohol? You’ll get to experience something out of the ordinary without feeling tempted to drink. Turner notes the importance of bringing along a trusted support person when attending events that involve alcohol. It’s often easier to turn down a drink when you don’t have to do it alone.

Evaluating the costs and benefits of drinking

Some people find the symptoms mild enough that they can ride them out by themselves. But if you drink heavily, you may experience seizures, hallucinations, and even life-threatening changes in heart rate. It’s best to talk to your doctor or medical provider before attempting cold turkey on your own.

You’ll probably notice your mood stabilizing, Dr. Prylinski says. Your anxiety will decrease, your skin will look better and you may lose weight. Your doctor will tailor your treatment plan to your needs.

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