Many people that drink too much and have drinking problems cannot tell when their drinking is out of control. You likely have a drinking problem when your body depends on alcohol to function and your drinking is causing problems with your health, social life, family, or job. Recognizing that you have a drinking problem is the first step toward being alcohol-free.
Are you ready to change?
You may have tried to stop drinking many times in the past and feel you have no control over it. You may be thinking about stopping, but you’re not sure if you’re ready or even where to start.
Change takes place in stages over time. The first stage is being honest with yourself that you are powerless over alcohol. Important stages that follow next include:
- Write out the pros and cons of stopping drinking
- Making small changes and figuring out how to deal with the hard parts, such as what to do when you are in a situation where you would normally drink
- Stopping drinking
- Make a list of alternative activities you can do while living an alcohol-free life, especially helpful when cravings strike
- Continue to monitor and assess your emotions and watch for triggers that would normally cause you to drink
Don’t get discouraged! Many people go back and forth through the stages of quitting several times before the change really lasts. Plan ahead for what you will do if you slip up and try to understand what led to the slip-up in the first place.
If you’re a chronic user of alcohol for many years, you may be at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms. If you think this may be you, talk with your doctor or other medical providers. There are ways to medically detox and may be necessary.
The first thing to do is to talk about your drinking with your provider or an alcohol counselor, you will likely be referred to an alcohol support group or recovery program. These programs have a lot of benefits for someone recovering from alcohol use disorder like:
- Teaching people about alcohol use and its effects
- Offering counseling and support about how to stay away from alcohol
- Providing a space where you can talk with others who have drinking problems
You can also seek help and support from: