If you’ve ever struggled with an addiction or have wanted to break a bad habit, you know how difficult it can be to create a new pattern in your life. When it comes to drinking, social influences and emotional desires often have a strong influence on behavior. In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, let’s look at how you can begin to address your alcohol habits and quit drinking for good.
Why You Should Stop Drinking
Alcohol continues to be one of the most prevalent substances used in the United States. 85% of adults reported that they have consumed an alcoholic beverage at some point in their lifetime¹. Because alcohol use is a shared experience for most adults, it’s easy to overlook the potential dangers of the substance. Drinking becomes a worrisome issue when one or more of the following takes place:
- You find yourself craving the next drink.
- Regardless of the circumstance, you’re unable to go without drinking.
- When you are drinking, you often drink more than you intended and are unable to stop.
- You’ve started to feel guilty about your drinking habits.
- Your behavior when drinking makes others uncomfortable.
These are all indicators of a potential alcohol use disorder and often prompt an individual to seek help for their drinking habits. These emotional and social issues related to drinking are only part of the potential harm caused by alcohol addiction, though. Health concerns become statistically more likely for those who excessively drink as well. Those who consume the substance often and in large quantities are more susceptible to liver disease, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS².
There are also physical and societal dangers when it comes to binge drinking. If someone chooses to drink and drive, there are risks of injury to themselves or others, legal consequences, and potential financial implications. Those with an alcohol use disorder may also experience a loss of relationships and consequences related to their job if they are unable to remain sober. For anyone struggling with excessive drinking, the life consequences often far outweigh any perceived benefits.
How to Begin a Sober Life
If you’ve realized you have a drinking problem and want to pursue a life of sobriety, congratulations! You’ve already completed the first step: admitting you have a problem. This is often one of the biggest obstacles in recovery because those who have an addiction tend to be hesitant to admit their habits are an issue. It takes strength to recognize your shortcomings, so give yourself credit for reaching this first stage of recovery. Once you’ve admitted you have a problem, here are some next steps to consider:
- Seek out support from a recovery community like Alcoholics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery. Involvement in one of these groups provides you accountability and encouragement from those who have experienced similar struggles.
- Monitor your negative side effects. Sometimes, when you stop consuming a substance you have previously relied on, you will notice withdrawal symptoms. These can range from mild to severe, and symptoms at a severe level should be monitored by a medical professional. If you’re noticing intolerable side effects, you should consider going through a medical detoxification process.
- Begin looking at individualized treatment options. For anyone struggling with an addiction, having the space to process through events that might have contributed to your situation is a vital part of recovery. Individual treatment can range from attending therapy once a week to enrolling in a residential treatment program. There are also more intensive treatment options for those in recovery who require closer monitoring.
Alcohol Abuse Recovery at Recovery Without Walls
Whether you are just beginning your recovery process or have been in recovery for a while but could use extra support, Recovery Without Walls can help. Our outpatient treatment model provides alcohol addiction recovery services in Mill Valley, California. We offer counseling services where you can unpack the roots of your alcohol use disorder and develop coping skills when to combat cravings. If we determine a higher level of care is needed than our outpatient practice, we work closely with local residential rehabilitation centers. If you need support for a drinking problem, contact us today to learn more.
- SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 2.17B – Alcohol Use in Lifetime among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group and Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2018 and 2019. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29394/NSDUHDetailedTabs2019/NSDUHDetTabsSect2pe2019.htm#tab2-17b
- WHO. Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press, 2018, p. vii. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274603/9789241565639-eng.pdf?ua=1