Are You Ready to Stop Drinking Alcohol? Here’s How

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A lot of people have problems with alcohol without realizing it. Drinking problems are often more subtle than our popular conception of the alcoholic, making it hard to realize when we need help.

It can also be hard to know how to stop drinking, especially if the problem isn’t to the point of requiring professional treatment. Are there home remedies to stop drinking, for example?

In this article, we’ll talk about how to recognize a drinking problem and provide some tips on how to stop drinking alcohol.

When Does Drinking Become a Problem?

Alcohol is a strong part of Western culture. People often socialize by “going out for drinks.” As a result, the line between social drinking and a drinking problem can sometimes blur, making it hard to recognize when you or someone you care about has crossed it.

Social drinking is typically characterized by moderate, occasional use of alcohol, usually in a communal setting like a dinner or a party. It’s often about the experience of the moment—the taste, the atmosphere, and the company—rather than the alcohol itself. For social drinkers, alcohol is an accompaniment to an event, not the main event.

The line between this and a true drinking problem can be thin. A drinking problem may start to reveal itself when the consumption of alcohol becomes a central focus. For example, if a person can’t help but get drunk every time they drink with friends, that could be a sign of a problem.

Factors that can lead someone to engage in alcohol abuse include:

  • Genetic predisposition — A family history of alcoholism can increase the risk.
  • Mental health issues — Conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder can lead individuals to self-medicate with alcohol.
  • Social factors — Peer pressure, social norms around drinking, and cultural acceptance of heavy drinking can contribute.
  • Stress — High levels of stress from work, relationships, or financial pressures may trigger excessive alcohol use.
  • Trauma — Experiences of trauma or PTSD are often linked with higher rates of alcohol abuse.
  • Early exposure —: Starting to drink at a young age can increase the likelihood of developing a problem later on.

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 10% of Americans have an alcohol use disorder.

If you or a loved one are seeking help on how to stop drinking alcohol, reach out for professional treatment. Good things happen to your body when you quit drinking. 

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse?

The signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse can manifest in various ways, impacting physical health, emotional well-being, and social functioning. Recognizing these signs is crucial for early intervention and treatment.

Here are some key indicators that someone may be struggling with alcohol abuse:

  • Frequent cravings or strong urges to drink
  • Difficulty controlling or limiting the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Needing to drink more to achieve the same effects
  • Spending a significant amount of time and money obtaining alcohol
  • Neglecting responsibilities or obligations due to drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop drinking
  • Continued drinking despite negative consequences
  • Relationship problems due to alcohol use
  • Increased tolerance to alcohol
  • Hiding or lying about drinking habits
  • Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence

If you or someone you know exhibits these signs and symptoms, it may be a sign of alcohol abuse.

Tips for How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

If you or someone you know is looking for some tips on how to stop drinking alcohol, here are some practical steps to take:

  • Make a Commitment: Start by setting a clear goal. Decide whether you want to stop drinking altogether or just cut back. If it’s the latter, decide what “cut back” means to you. Be specific about why you want to stop or reduce your alcohol intake and write these reasons down to remind yourself in challenging times.
  • Understand Your Triggers: Identify situations, emotions, or people that trigger your urge to drink. This understanding can help you develop strategies to avoid or cope with these triggers without using alcohol.
  • Inform Friends and Family: Share your decision with supportive friends and family. Not only can they provide encouragement, but they can also help hold you accountable and may even join you in abstaining.
  • Remove Alcohol from Your Environment: Eliminate the temptation by clearing out your liquor cabinet and avoiding places where you would typically drink.
  • Develop New Habits: Replace your drinking with healthy alternatives such as engaging in a new hobby, exercising, or exploring relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
  • Seek Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a healthcare professional. They can guide you with a treatment plan tailored to your needs, which may include therapy, medication, or a referral to a specialist.
  • Consider Therapy: Behavioral therapies can help you develop strategies to deal with cravings and triggers. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), in particular, is often effective for treating alcohol abuse.
  • Join a Support Group: Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery can provide peer support from individuals who understand your struggles firsthand.
  • Practice Self-Care: Focus on taking care of your body and mind. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can improve your mood and reduce the urge to drink.
  • Reward Progress: Set milestones and reward yourself for reaching them. Whether it’s one day, one week, or one month of not drinking, acknowledge your accomplishment and treat yourself with a non-alcoholic reward.
  • Develop Stress Management Strategies: Since stress is a common trigger for drinking, finding healthy ways to manage it is crucial. This might mean talking to a friend, going for a walk, or writing in a journal.
  • Plan for Setbacks: Understand that setbacks can happen. They don’t mean failure but are a part of the journey. Learn from them and adjust your plan as needed.
  • Monitor Your Progress: Keep a diary of your drinking habits. Recording every drink before you drink it may help you to cut back.
  • Stay Busy: Fill the time that you would typically spend drinking with meaningful activities. The busier you are, the less time you’ll have to engage in unhealthy habits.
  • Stay Persistent: Remember that recovery from alcohol dependence is a gradual process. There may be days when it feels particularly challenging, but persistence is key to long-term success.

Each person’s journey to reducing or stopping alcohol consumption is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. It’s important to be patient with yourself and to seek out strategies that resonate with your circumstances and goals.

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The Benefits of Alcohol Treatment

Good things happen to your body when you quit drinking. If you have a serious problem, it can be difficult to figure out how to stop drinking on your own. That’s where an alcohol addiction treatment center can be helpful. You can lessen your risk for alcohol overdose, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and more. A treatment counselor can give you more medical advice about the dangers of alcohol abuse. 

The benefits of engaging with a professional alcohol treatment program are extensive and can pave the way for a sustainable recovery.

Here’s a look at some of the key advantages:

  • Structured Treatment Programs: Alcohol treatment centers offer structured programs that provide stability and routine. These programs are designed by experts to address all aspects of addiction, ensuring that individuals have the best chance for recovery.
  • Medical Supervision and Safety: Detoxification from alcohol can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Professional centers offer medical supervision, which is crucial during the detox phase to manage withdrawal symptoms safely and minimize the risk of complications such as seizures or delirium tremens (DTs).
  • Professional and Peer Support: Being surrounded by a care team of therapists, counselors, and medical staff provides a strong support network. Additionally, peer support from group therapy and fellow patients can be instrumental in recovery, offering the chance to share experiences and coping strategies.
  • Comprehensive Therapy Options: Treatment centers typically provide a range of therapies, including individual counseling, group sessions, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and sometimes complementary therapies like art therapy or equine therapy. These can help address underlying issues and teach coping mechanisms for dealing with stressors without alcohol.
  • Relapse Prevention: One of the main focuses of treatment programs is teaching relapse prevention strategies. Patients learn to recognize triggers and develop skills to maintain sobriety in challenging situations.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Many individuals with AUD also have co-occurring mental health disorders. Professional treatment centers are equipped to diagnose and treat these dual diagnoses, which is essential for effective recovery.

By offering a comprehensive, compassionate, and scientifically grounded approach to addiction, professional alcohol treatment centers can not only help individuals reclaim their lives from the clutches of alcohol dependency but also provide the tools and support necessary for building a healthier, sober future.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment at SCBH

If you or a loved one are seeking alcohol addiction treatment, South Coast Behavioral Health is here to help. The first step in treating an alcohol addiction is a medical detox. This means using drugs to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Our medical detox program in California is staffed by caring and compassionate professionals who can provide you with medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms.

At South Coast, we take pride in offering care that is closely tailored to specific issues. To that end, we offer gender-specific detox programs, with medical detox for men in Irvine, CA, and medical detox for women in Huntington Beach, CA.

After detoxing, proper treatment can begin.

Treatment for substance abuse takes place along an entire spectrum of care. Along that entire spectrum are various behavioral therapies, support groups, and the use of medically-assisted treatment (MAT).

These levels of treatment are, in order, as follows:

Residential Treatment in California

After completing medical detox, you’ll receive inpatient treatment in Orange County California. There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling.

We also offer residential treatment facilities in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach for those who desire gender-specific treatment. There, patients get round-the-clock medical attention and monitoring while living at the institution full-time.

In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.

Partial Hospitalization in California

Most clients start substance abuse treatment with South Coast in our residential treatment program. After completing that, many desire something that still provides structure and support, but with extra space and time to oneself. For that, we offer Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach.

A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, partial hospitalization offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for several hours each day, returning to their homes in the evening.

This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives completely on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skill development, and medication management as necessary.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment in California

For those leaving inpatient residential treatment or partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are yet another gradual step forward on the road to recovery.

With a focus on group therapy, individual counseling, and education, clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach can meet three to five days a week. Each session lasts three hours.

This level of care requires the least amount of attendance at a facility.

Start Today

Alcohol use disorders are dangerous. Things like Alcoholics Anonymous can help, but a professional treatment center is a great idea as well. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction but wonder how long addiction treatment takes or have other questions, call us at 866-881-1184. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help give you an idea of what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, help verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions you may have.

Pierce Willans
Kelly McIntyre
Medically Reviewed by Kelly McIntyre, MS, LMFT
Read More About addiction Treatment & Recovery
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