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How to Stop Drinking

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If an individual is asking about how to stop drinking, it is a strong sign they may have a problem. Normal drinkers don’t need to worry about stopping while those with a problem often do not have a choice.

Stopping drinking can be a complex issue and often requires professional help to sort out what is causing the problem. More often than not it is a combination of social, physical and psychological factors.

Tips for Reducing Your Drinking

  • Track how much you drink.
  • Limit yourself to no more than one alcoholic drink per hour.
  • Never drink on an empty stomach.
  • Avoid situations that might trigger your urge to drink such as parties or bars.
  • Get support by asking your partner, family, and friends to help you stay away from alcohol.
  • Find other activities to get involved with that don’t involve alcohol.
  • Talk to your doctor.

A helpful screening tool to determine if you could have a problem with alcohol intake is the AUDIT-C (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test). The AUDIT-C is a 3-item alcohol screen that can help identify individuals who are hazardous drinkers or have active alcohol use disorders.

The AUDIT-C is a modified version of the 10-question AUDIT instrument that was developed by the World Health Organization. It is available in the public domain and often incorporated within general health history intake surveys. Ideally, the AUDIT-C and the full AUDIT questionnaires should both be administered by a health professional trained in alcohol use disorders.

AUDIT-C Questionnaire

1. How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?

a. Never
b. Monthly or less
c. 2-4 times a month
d. 2-3 times a week
e. 4 or more times a week

2. How many standard drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day?

a. 1 or 2
b. 3 or 4
c. 5 or 6
d. 7 to 9
e. 10 or more

3. How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?

a. Never
b. Less than monthly
c. Monthly
d. Weekly
e. Daily or almost daily

 

Scoring

The AUDIT-C is scored on a scale of 0-12. Each AUDIT-C question has five answer choices.

Points allotted are: a = 0 points, b = 1 point, c = 2 points, d = 3 points, e = 4 points.

In men, a score of four or more is considered positive, optimal for identifying hazardous drinking or active alcohol use disorders.

In women, a score of three or more is considered positive (same as above).

In older adults a score of three or more is considered positive.

However, when the points are all from Question #1 alone, it can be assumed that an individual is drinking below recommended limits; it is still suggested that the provider review the patient’s alcohol intake over the past few months to confirm accuracy. Generally, the higher the score, the more likely it is that the patient’s drinking is affecting his or her safety.

Drinking problems can range from mild to severe, and without a professional assessment even severe problems can present as mild. Stopping problem alcohol use always requires professional supervision as the side effects of alcohol withdrawal may be life threatening.

There are many options for treatment for 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 Baby Boomer and Older Adult populations, age- and gender-specific or gender-separate programs are especially successful.

Following discharge from a professional program of treatment, after-care is recommended to help maintain sobriety long-term. After-care may consist of sober-living houses and the fellowship of  Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Founded in 1935, AA remains the most well known program for helping people with alcoholism to stay sober. It offers a very strong support network using group meetings that are free or based on donations and is open seven days a week in locations all over the world. These AA groups help to alleviate feelings of isolation and help to build self-worth through the use of tools such as buddy systems, group understanding of alcoholism, and forgiveness for relapses.

This 12-Step approach to recovery utilized by AA includes a spiritual component that does not refer to any specific belief system. Associated membership programs, Al-Anon and Alateen, offer help for family members and friends of individuals struggling with alcohol.

 

The 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

  • We admit we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives have become unmanageable.
  • We have come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand what this Power is.
  • We have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • We have admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • We have humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  • We have made a list of all persons we had harmed and have become willing to make amends to them all.
  • We have made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  • We have continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  • We have sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand what this higher Power is, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  • Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we have tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Socially supportive spiritual practices such as those found in 12-Step programs have been demonstrated to increase a sense of meaning and to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression amongst persons with substance use disorders. Spiritual approaches to Older Adult and Baby Boomer treatment may be effective in helping these individuals reframe past and current struggles in order to draw from a wealth of experience that can help them to cope with aging and the associated changes.

Origins offers client-driven care, and clients in need of gender-separate or gender specific treatment receive it. If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of alcohol abuse, please contact us at any time to receive more information at Origins Recovery Centers: 1-844-U-GET-WELL (844-843-8935).

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