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Excessive alcohol use is so normalized these days, and most people drink on a regular basis. Having the occasional drink with friends isn’t a problem, or a small glass of wine at night has been shown to have some benefits. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, it’s more than that.
There are benefits to stopping drinking for everybody, but it’s especially important if you think you might have a problem. If you are drinking every day and you regularly cannot remember what happened the night before, that’s a bad sign. If other people around you make comments about your drinking, that’s not great either.
For me, it was the end of a night I had been drinking with a friend. The entire coffee table was filled with beer bottles, Hot Damn, wine coolers (although most of those were my friends), vodka, etc. I realized that all the bottles except about 4 – 6 of the wine coolers were mine and though I was lit, I wasn’t completely hammered. So that night was when I realized I had a problem. It wasn’t the fact that I was drinking myself to sleep most nights or having a drink before going to work most morning. It was a coffee table full of empty bottles.
Whatever it is that has woken you up to realize that you need a change, I’m glad it has. You are missing out on really being alive. You are masking some emotions you HAVE TO deal with to overcome your addiction. This was the hardest part of quitting for me. I hated who I was. I hated life. I didn’t want to live and alcohol was my medicine to take away the pain. Alcohol or other addictions will swallow you whole if you let it.
It often takes people a long while to realize that they have a problem, but once they do, they can get on the right track. Unfortunately, most people don’t know where to go next and how they can get the help they need. If you think that you have a problem with alcohol, these are some steps to take but first, if you can, speak with a professional for help such as a counselor or doctor.
Pour It Out & Cut Down
In some cases, it might be that you have been drinking more because of stress at work, for example, and you just let things get away from you a bit. So, you should try cutting down. First things first, is dump out all the alcohol in your house. Every single drop. Don’t tell yourself that you can take it to your friends for them or keep it for just in case. Just POUR IT OUT! Definitely, stop drinking during the week while you are at home. Cut back on the number of drinks that you have if you go out with friends on the weekend. You might find that this works. But if you find it impossible to cut down, that’s not a good sign and you need to take more drastic steps.
If you think that you have a problem with drinking, it’s a good idea to tell a trusted friend or family member. Be sure to consider who you are confiding in about your worries. Make sure it’s someone that is trustworthy and doesn’t have a problem with alcohol also. It can be very scary if you are trying to deal with this stuff on your own. You need support if you are going to make positive changes. So, find a friend or family member that you trust and tell them what is going on.
Seek Professional Advice
Getting off alcohol on your own is so hard. You need to seek professional advice. Speaking to your doctor is always a good place to start because they will be able to refer you to various organizations that can help you. If you ask them, they will be able to help you find addiction treatment that accepts insurance, so you can manage the financial side of things. Your doctor may also refer you to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Or if you have a friend or family member that is an alcoholic, look into Al-Anon for help.
Keep Moving Forward
Once you have found some professional help, you just have to take things one step at a time. There will be ups and downs, but the key thing to remember is that you always need to be moving forward. One of my favorite things I have learned during getting sober was remembering the saying, “What’s the next right thing in the next five minutes?” It helps you stay in the present. It can help you not feel as overwhelmed by making a decision about the future but just how to concentrate on not trying to take a drink in the next 5 minutes. It’s a slow process but over and over, little by little, you can make progress. You’re making a permanent change to your life and that will be difficult. However, you will reap the rewards if you stick with it.
Knowing how to make a drastic change like giving up alcohol can be tough. Speak with a counselor about different ways to overcome an addiction, join an accountability group, and try out some of the ideas above. Overcoming addiction and staying sober is a daily and sometimes a minute to minute decision. Many have given up alcohol but it’s something to work at every day for your entire life.
If you are feeling down or depressed for more days than not, please seek medical attention. If you are feeling like you cannot go on, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat here>>> https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ Or visit the suicide prevention lifeline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/