If an individual asks or thinks about how to stop or limit their drinking, it’s often an indication a problem may exist. Moderate drinkers don’t typically worry about the issue. Or if they do, they successfully quit or easily and quickly moderate. Thinking or asking does not, however, mean you do or do not have a problem. Alcoholism/Addiction the only disease recognized by the American Medical Association which only the sufferer himself/herself can diagnose.
Stopping drinking can be a complex issue and often requires professional help to see the situation with truthful objectivity. More often than not it is a combination of social, physical, spiritual, and psychological factors.
Tips for Reducing Your Drinking
Below are things which drinkers have tried in an attempt to quit or moderate their alcohol intake.
- Track how much you drink for a week, a month, a set period of time.
- Limit yourself to only one alcoholic drink per hour.
- Limit yourself to only one alcoholic drink per day.
- Never drink on an empty stomach.
- Avoid situations that might prompt an urge to drink, such as parties or bars.
- Get support by asking your partner, family, and friends to help you stay away from alcohol.
- Turn toward activities which don’t involve alcohol.
- Talk to your physician with candor and honesty.
In no way does this list represent all the things we have tried, but this is a good starting point. The attempt may be easy and successful, or it may be difficult and reveal that a problem truly exists. Regardless, it is worth the attempt and reflection no answer for one’s own self if a problem exists.
Alcohol Withdrawal – Always Consult a Professional
Before a person quits what they perceive to be heavy drinking, we recommend consulting a professional, preferably a physician. The key to ascertaining a safe plan of action is to be honest with that physician about the amount you drink, your history with alcohol, what has happened when trying to quit in the past, and any other physical conditions a doctor should know.
Case by case, dependent upon many factors, the doctor or his staff can make an assessment, present a recommendation for detoxing, and follow you as the plan is carried out. The reason for medical supervision is that the side effects can often be life threatening if attempted alone.
Treatment Approaches for Quitting Drinking
There are many options for treatment of alcohol use disorders that are dependent on the severity of the patient’s drinking. Treatment approaches vary and include several successful options for either inpatient care or outpatient care. Many people benefit from a combination of both inpatient and outpatient programs. Within the Older Adult populations, age-specific programs are especially successful. Likewise, gender-separate/gender-specific treatment is highly effective for both men and women.
Following discharge from a professional program of treatment, continuing care is recommended to help maintain long-term sobriety. Continuing care may consist of transitional or sober-living houses, intensive outpatient, ongoing therapy, or involvement in 12-Step programs.
What Exactly Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
Founded in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous remains the most well-known program for helping people with alcoholism to stay sober. AA is based upon 12-Steps of action which take a person from a complete inability to quit or control their alcohol consumption, to the removal of the obsession to drink which plagues almost every problem drinker.
AA offers a strong support network using group meetings that are free or have a voluntary donation of a few dollars. While the fellowship of the meetings is widely known, it is the action of working the 12-Steps which produces a spiritual solution and in turn enables long lasting sobriety.
This 12-Step approach to recovery created by AA includes a spiritual component. It is a spiritual foundation, not a religious one, although the two can complement one another. It does not refer to any specific belief system, any religion whatsoever, and requires no previous experience within the spiritual realm. Associated membership programs, Al-Anon and Alateen, offer help for family members and friends of individuals struggling with alcohol.
There are more than 200 individual 12-Step programs worldwide.
The 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Steps as a Backbone for Treatment
These 12-Steps are housed within a book entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Its directions for recovery are clear cut, and its principles offer a common language for those seeking sobriety. This book is frequently, and endearingly, referred to as the Big Book. The program was founded in 1935, but the book was published in 1939.
During those four years, roughly 100 men and women who’d found a solution—sobriety, happiness, usefulness through a Higher Power—shared their plan of action and the results of working the 12-Steps. That solution is captured in the first 164 pages of the Big Book. When this solution is combined with clinical and medical treatment, the chances for recovery are significantly improved. Using this framework provides a basis for recovery that is capable of addressing the physical, mental, and spiritual factors of addiction.
Origins offers a seamless integration of medical, clinical, and spiritual solutions which leads to long-lasting sobriety.
Today is the day pain ends, freedom begins. 561-841-1296.