Moderation As An Option
Alcoholics Anonymous and many rehab programs often present abstinence as the only option. However, scientific evidence indicates that this is not the case. In fact, for several decades now, the medication naltrexone has been successfully used to help people cut back and moderate their drinking, without requiring total abstinence. And in general there is sufficient research to suggest that moderation-based programs can be an effective alternative to traditional treatment.
There are several reasons that moderation may work better for an individual than complete abstinence. One may be that a persons drinking problem is mild enough that changing their behavior around alcohol isnt as big a challenge. Conversely, their addiction may be so severe that its best to think about harm reductionfinding the best way to reduce that persons drinking to a safer level for the sake of their health. The goal of cutting back can sometimes feel easier to attain.
Finally, even if your long-term goal is abstinence, moderation can be an effective bridge. Under the Sinclair Method, for example, participants can continue to drink moderately over a long period of time as long as they take naltrexone beforehand. The result of this method is that some people lose interest in alcohol completely, and wind up abstaining.
At the end of the day, alcohol use disorder can be treated through behavior modification, which means that some people can learn to drink moderately.
Build A Solid Attitude
- The first step in overcoming any addiction is to build a positive attitude
- Building a positive attitude means creating and maintaining a predisposition to face any situation that may arise
- Overcoming an addiction is not a simple thing. Neither something that others can do for you nor that can be done magically through medications
- If you want to overcome your drinking problem, you must start a war between yourself and your addiction
- It wont do you any good if you decide to stop drinking, not being convinced of doing it, and serious about it
- Therefore, before starting, I recommend that you convince yourself that you can do it. Motivate yourself and set goals
- Make a list of all the reasons why you want to quit. Also, write down the issues that this problem has caused within your: health, finances, problems with other people, etc.
- Also, make a list of the barriers that you think you may encounter along the way:
- List the aspects of your personality that you think can favor change: Willpower, self-improvement, sacrifice, etc.
- Write a list of self-words that can help you in delicate moments: I am stronger than alcohol, I can do it I will change my life.
My Thoughts On Stopping
You might be thinking, I just want to create a capsule wardrobe so I understand if this isnt your thing today.
Im such a fan of the Sober Curious movement because its an invitation for any of us who are interested in questioning our relationship with alcohol without the secrecy, fear and guilt that has always been associated with such questioning. Its permission to consider living differently without labeling ourselves.
Author and Sobriety Evangelist, Holly Whitaker says, The label Alcoholic and the disease alcoholism confuses and muddies. It keeps us focused on a label and a construct and distracts us from the REAL problem at hand, which is our individual relationship with alcohol. We should just be able to ask ourselves this simple question and honestly so: Does alcohol negatively impact our lives? And if so should we take steps to address it? Without the fear of having to accept a new identity. Without the fear of having to accept that we might be different. Without the fear that we might have an incurable disease.
Heres how I feel about the words alcoholic and alcoholism. If it serves you to use them, do. It it doesnt, dont.
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How Does Naltrexone Work
When you use alcohol and narcotics, parts of your brain make you feel pleasure and intoxication. Naltrexone blocks these parts of the brain. When these areas are blocked, you feel less need to drink alcohol. You dont feel the high sensation that makes you want to drink. This helps you stop drinking more easily. Disulfiram is another medicine that is sometimes used to treat alcoholism. But unlike disulfiram, naltrexone does not make you feel sick if you drink alcohol while taking it.
The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober
This best-selling book was everywhere last year. Id seen it in countless bookshops and websites, and decided to give it a go after spotting another glowing review. At that point I wasnt planning to stop drinking but I was curious about the authors story and how quitting alcohol had impacted her life.
I loved Catherines honest and heart-breaking account of how booze affected her relationships, health and career as a magazine journalist. As well as recounting her rock bottom moments and inspirational recovery, she also shares some brilliant practical advice for enjoying a sober life from how to deal with people wholl question your sobriety, to coping with break-ups and dating without booze and even how to dance sober at a wedding. I highly recommend this book and so do thousands of online reviewers. Unbeknown to me at the time, reading this was the first step Id taken to giving up alcohol.
If youve already bought The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, you might want to also check out The Unexpected Guide to Being Sober Journal.
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Learn How To Say ‘no’
Chances are you are going to be in situations in which someone is going to offer you a drink or expect you to drink with them as you have done in the past. Learn how to politely say “no thank you,” and really mean it. Say it quickly and firmly so that you don’t give yourself time to change your mind.
You may want to practice what you will say the next time your friends ask you to have a drink.
What Is A Standard Drink
Some people may be unaware that their regular amount of alcohol consumption may already be approaching problematic levels. Its feasible that some of these Issues with gauging drinking are added to by the fact that its somewhat difficult to understand what a standard drink is and how much drinking is considered moderate. In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol which is found in:5
- 12-ounces of beer .
- 8-ounces of malt liquor .
- 5-ounces of wine .
- 1.5-ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor .
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Find New Activities To Replace Alcohol
Consider hitting the gym after work to replace having a beer. Seek out social groups that focus on shared hobbieslike music, sports, arts and crafts, or hiking. Fill your schedule with things to do instead of drinking, and watch as they eventually take the place of alcohol in your life.
You might be surprised by the social opportunities that exist without alcohol. The recent sober curious movement has meant an expansion of alcohol-free nightlife. There are also apps and online communities4 that can connect you with other sober people who may share similar interests.
New activities and pursuits that dont involve drinking alcohol will help distract you in the short term. And as time goes on, theyll naturally lead you toward a more fulfilling, alcohol-free personal life.
Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Drinking Habits
The CAGE screening questions help to discern if you have a drinking problem and are used by therapists and alcohol addiction professionals. Im fairly sure the majority of people I know who drink regularly will find some uncomfortable truths surface in answering them.
The questions are:
The acronym, CAGE, comes from the words highlighted in bold. If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, then you could have a serious drinking problem. The fourth question is seen as the most serious, as it implies a level of withdrawal that is experienced when giving up alcoholic drinks.
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The Signs And Symptoms Of Problem Drinking
Think About Your Triggers
It can be useful to have a think about what your triggers for drinking are. These could be social or environmental situations and events, such being out with friends or being home alone after putting the kids to bed or emotions, such as feeling happy or anxious.
The availability and convenience of alcohol can influence peoples drinking, so one way to remove potential triggers is to change whats physically available to you.
If you want to cut down on your drinking or stop drinking altogether, then you could not buy any, or buy less, alcoholic drinks when out shopping. Another option is to replace the alcoholic drinks you do have in your home, or that you usually buy, with alcohol-free alternatives.
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How To Stop Drinking Without Rehab
This is a common question, and the answers turn out to be many and varied. You can go the support group route, as discussed above. You can also find a program that gives you a similar level of medical support as rehab, but without the expense or disruption. Ria Health is one of several programs now offering rehab at home through telemedicine. This means access to expert medical advice, coaches, prescription medication, and digital tracking toolsall from your phone or personal device.
In addition to these options, there may also be outpatient programs, or other affordable forms of medical care near you. Talk to your doctor about whats available. If your doctor thinks its safe, there are also ways of cutting back on your own beforehand. The Sinclair Method may be able to help, and there are a number of apps on the market that can help you quit drinking.
To summarize, regardless of which path you choose, you have choices. If you dont think rehab is right for you, there is likely an option that will suit you better.
How To Help Someone Stop Drinking
Alcohol abuse and addiction doesnt just affect the person drinkingit affects their families and loved ones, too. Watching a family member struggle with a drinking problem can be as heartbreakingly painful as it is frustrating. But while you cant do the hard work of overcoming addiction for your loved one, your love and support can play a crucial part in their long-term recovery.
Talk to the person about their drinking. Express your concerns in a caring way and encourage your friend or family member to get help. Try to remain neutral and dont argue, lecture, accuse, or threaten.
Learn all you can about addiction. Research the kinds of treatment that are available and discuss these options with your friend or family member.
Take action. Consider staging a family meeting or an intervention, but dont put yourself in a dangerous situation. Offer your support along each step of the recovery journey.
Dont make excuses for your loved ones behavior. The person with the drinking problem needs to take responsibility for their actions. Dont lie or cover things up to protect someone from the consequences of their drinking.
Dont blame yourself. You arent to blame for your loved ones drinking problem and you cant make them change.
Support organizations, professional resources, and helplines
Most of these organizations have worldwide chapters:
Women for Sobriety Organization dedicated to helping women overcome addictions.
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Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal
If you are tapering yourself off alcohol for the first time, it can be helpful to know what symptoms to expect during the process. Although the symptoms can vary for each person based on personal factors, many people share common experiences during this process.
People tapering off alcohol may begin experiencing early withdrawal symptoms within 6 to 12 hours after their last drink. Over the next few days, additional symptoms may also appear.
Early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include:
- random bursts of energy
- increased sensitivity to sound, light, or touch
Trying to keep yourself hydrated and fed during this process can be important for safety. Enlist the help of a trusted family member, friend, or medical professional to assist you if symptoms prevent you from doing this on your own. Keep in mind that accepting support throughout this process is a strength, not a weakness.
Tips For Cutting Back
If youd like to reduce your drinking, but arent aiming for total abstinence, there are a number of strategies that can help.
To begin with, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism features some excellent tips to try when cutting back. These include:
- Tracking how much you are drinking from day to day
- Measuring your drink sizes
- Setting clear goals for how much you want to drink and when
- Finding alternative activities to drinking
- Avoiding people and places that inspire drinking urges
- Having a plan to manage cravings when they arise
- Rehearsing a firm, but polite no for situations where alcohol is offered
Of course, putting these into practice will depend on how much you drink, in what situations you drink, and what your reasons are for reducing your consumption. For some people, additional support may be necessary, including groups, medication, or coaching. There are now telemedicine programs, including Ria Health, that can make these forms of support easier to access.
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I Tried Allens Carrs Easyway To Stop Drinking Alcohol
If wish you could change your mindset so alcohol doesnt have a hold over you anymore, I urge you follow Allen Carrs Easyway to Control Alcohol.
This method, which has been credited by dozens of celebrities for helping them quit various addictions, seeks to undo all of the brainwashing youve been exposed to about drink, and encourages you to see yourself as free from alcohol rather than it being something youre painfully trying to withdrawal from.
It also makes you question what benefits, if any, youre getting from alcohol so you no longer feel like youre missing out on anything, because you decided to stop drinking.
As well as reading the book, I also attended Allen Carrs Easyway to Give Up Alcohol workshop in London . This full-day session lead by someone whos also given up following the method. This reinforced everything Id read but also offered the opportunity to ask questions and hear about other peoples experiences in the group.
Theres also a hypnotherapy section at the end and absolutely no role-play or group exercises, dont worry! This was a game-changer for me, and also has the added benefit of helping you set a very clear date in your diary for quitting as you wont ever want a drink again after leaving the session and if you do, you can attend again for free. Allen Carr is also the author of the bestseller, The Easyway to Give Up Smoking.
Make It Comfortable To Talk About The Underlying Cause Contributing To Their Drinking
Very rarely do people drink simply to drink. Often they struggle with depression or anxiety and drink as a way to self-medicate. It is important to acknowledge that you think there may be an underlying mental health issue that results in drinking. Try not to sound accusatory, especially if the person may not know they suffer from depression or anxiety. Instead, ask them gently if they think there could be a contributing cause to their drinking. Feel out their response, and go from there.
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How To Stop Drinking Without Aa
There are advantages to joining a support group, but if AA is not the right fit for you, there are other options. To begin with, other support groups exist, including SMART Recovery, Moderation Management, LifeRing, Women for Sobriety, and Secular Organizations for Sobriety . There are also online communities, such as Daybreak, and Sober Grid. Each of these options allows you to find allies, people with common goals, and a larger, sober community. None, however, require you to believe in a higher power, or work within the 12 steps.
There are also many options besides abstinence. You dont need to quit completely if that doesnt work for you, nor do you need to white-knuckle it using sheer willpower. Medications now exist that can let you cut back or quit gradually, and reduce your cravings. Not only can these make the process less stressful, they often have a higher success rate than AA or quitting without assistance.
The Sinclair Method is one strong example of this. TSM makes use of naltrexone to control cravings over time, and boasts up to a 78 percent long-term success rate. It doesnt necessarily involve community support, however. According to the American Psychiatry Association Guidelines for treating Alcohol Use Disorder, evidence-based therapy support centered around behavior change is recommended in combination with pharmacotherapy for alcoholism.
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