7 Ways To Overcome Excessive Drinking
The excessive consumption of alcohol is much like any other addiction in that it can sometimes take control over your life. It only offers you temporary relief from stress or pain and can be very hard to permanently break away from.
Nonetheless it's still something that can affect your life in the worst ways and should be dealt with. Here are seven ways you can overcome a problem with excessive drinking:
1. Speak to a doctor
Your first point of call will be to seek help from a health care professional. Your doctor, a counsellor, a nurse, or whoever you speak to can help you not only identify your next steps, but can determine whether your excessive drinking is a bad habit or an addiction or dependency.
Your doctor can outline for you the difference between moderate alcohol consumption and high-risk drinking which is the intake of four or more drinks in one day, eight or more drinks a week or, for men specifically, 15 or more drinks a week. (1)
You can either work to cut back on drinking or look to cut out alcohol altogether and seek rehabilitation, guidance, and resources.
2. Set a plan
Once you've nailed down how bad your drinking is and have come up with ways to help, with the aid of a health care professional and perhaps the support of a loved one, you can create a plan.
This plan can be a timeline, a table to fill out, or just a simple list of dos and don'ts. It should however be a point-of-call for you to return back to if you ever feel yourself slipping. Your plan should outline what to do in times of alcohol withdrawal, how much alcohol you are allowed to consume (weekly, monthly, etc.) and act as a guide for you to navigate this difficult task.
3. Gain support
You can't get through life all on your own and you certainly can't fight any battle with addiction or dependency on your own. Your family and friends can provide you with support, guidance, love, and also hold you accountable when necessary.
There is sometimes very little compassion for people battling addiction, or trying to break away from bad habits. Many people simply choose not to understand, but your support network should be made up of people who can provide you this compassion, above all else.
4. Understand you triggers
To stop yourself from reaching for that bottle, you need to understand what triggers you to do so in the first place. Is it a feeling? Is it pain, or a person, or the need to forget? Whatever it is your doctor and your support network can help you to understand what triggers you to drink in excess.
5. Alcohol free home
Possibly the most straight forward way of cutting back or quitting completely, is not to keep any alcohol in your home. This takes away any unnecessary temptation and if you ever do feel that pull, at least you know there's none around. In these moments you can reach for your plan instead and go over what to do.
6. Keep busy
When kicking any bad habit, it's very important to keep yourself busy. Fix your energy on doing other things like cleaning or some form of physical activity. Many people who have battled addiction find great solace in things such as going to the gym or going for runs to fill their bodies with all those good endorphins. Alcohol can cause many different health issues, and injury related conditions such as cancer, liver disease, road injuries, and cardiovascular disease. (2)
Replacing this bad habit with a good one can help balance your body's overall health. Make sure you choose your habits wisely so that you don't replace drinking with another bad or dangerous habit.
7. Learn to say no
A big reason why people start drinking in the first place is for social acceptance. People link drinking with having fun and being with friends and peer pressure can force us to do things we normally wouldn't do. High intensity drinking is emerging as a very dangerous trend, where people are consuming more than double the recommended amount. If you are surrounded by people who partake in this consumption, you need to stay away from them or learn to say no. (3)
Once you've decided to cut back or quit, it's going to be very important that you learn to say no. Not just to the people around you, who may try and get you to drink as a part of their perceived social norm, but to yourself as well. Any moment of "just one sip" or "it's just one party" should be met with a solid no.
Overcoming excessive consumption of alcohol can be hard, but overcoming that hardship can result in amazing, positive life changing results. It's never too late to ask for help and there are so many resources and people out there willing to help you through any addiction or dependency.