Habits die hard – this is especially true when it comes to drinking.

For some, alcohol has become their means of coping with stress. For others, this dependence becomes more extreme as they turn to alcohol to ease their worries and help them sleep. Sure, alcohol can help numb out stress and negativity away. It can help knock one out in an instant, but in the long run, consuming an unhealthy amount of alcohol will be more harmful than beneficial.

Overcoming something you’ve grown accustomed to is never easy. Cutting off the alcohol from your life isn’t simply closing a bottle and hiding it in your drawer. It’s closing a bottle and hiding it, then spending hours standing by your drawer, craving and itching for a specific drink. You reassure yourself that maybe one sip will do. So, you give in, only to find yourself, moments later, with an empty bottle in front of you and regret weighing you down.

Indeed, stopping oneself from drinking can be especially difficult. Whether you simply want to adjust your alcohol consumption to a healthier amount or quit drinking altogether, here are some guidelines to help you get started with your journey.

Explore your relationship with alcohol

Knowing why you drink is important, so you can stop associating your reasons with your reaction. By cutting the link between the two, every time you experience a stressor – your reason, you can adjust how you will react by trying alternative means with coping and dealing with your stress.

● For instance, instead of drinking, you can try exercising. Exercising is proven to lift your mood. Moving your body a lot can help your brain produce endorphins, aka your body’s feel-good chemicals.

● You can also try relaxation methods such as meditation and yoga. Meditation can help reduce negative emotions, increase self-awareness and gain new ways of viewing stressful situations.

● Lastly, what better way to cope with negativity than surrounding yourself with what makes you happy. Aside from our accustomed drinking, you can eat, play music – do whatever hobby you have, or you want to have.

By evaluating your relationship with alcohol, you can carefully consider how you should approach this change in your lifestyle. Contemplate whether you should cut off alcohol completely or simply adjust your consumption.

Evaluate the costs and benefits of drinking and quitting

An example of evaluating your benefits is by listing them down. For instance, you can say:

●    Benefits of Drinking

                       It helps me forget my problems.

●    Benefits of Not Drinking

                       I’d feel better mentally.

By making a table detailing the advantages and disadvantages of drinking and not drinking alcohol, you can help remind yourself of the reason why you’re stopping. Likewise, you can encourage yourself by looking at what you can gain by cutting back your alcohol intake.

Set your goals

Like any other process, you need to set clear, specific, and attainable goals so you won’t discourage yourself. For instance, you can set your goal as:

           I will limit my consumption to only three drinks every weekend.

After one month, I will reduce it even more to two drinks every week.

Whether you’re cutting back or quitting completely, you should take it slow at first. Your body has already been accustomed to the substance. By abruptly taking it away, you risk prompting your urge to drink more instead of stopping. As days progress, you can continue lowering your limit until you can go for days of not drinking.

Announce your goals

You can tell your family, friends, and colleagues about your plan. One benefit of telling others about your intentions is that they can help you achieve your goals. Stopping yourself from drinking alcohol is easier when nobody offers you a drink or you don’t see anyone drinking in front of you.

Get rid of temptation

Perhaps one of the main reasons why you can’t or haven’t stopped drinking is because alcohol is readily available for you to consume. Put away your drinks somewhere you can’t see or easily access. You can also ask your friends or families to hide them away from you. And while you’ve placed your alcohol away, you can…

Find a new drink

Choosing the perfect replacement can help reduce your alcohol cravings. As you’re attuned to the strong taste of alcohol, replacing it with water might not be a good idea. With the difference so obvious, you might unconsciously crave the tangy taste of alcohol. If you’re looking for something that tastes sharp like alcohol, you can opt for carbonated drinks. However, while this may be a better option, still remember to drink in moderation.

Reach out for support

You can share your experiences and motivate each other in a support group. You may be able to find groups like these in your community or through online networks. If you prefer a quieter means of support, you can also find inspiration through any book about alcoholics, and read about how they overcame them.

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