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If you are worried about your alcohol intake and want to do something about it, then this page will offer some helpful and practical tips on stopping drinking.

Quitting alcohol is easy for some but for others it is incredibly difficult. If you are struggling to stop alcohol completely no matter how hard you try, it is possible that you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD). This being the case, you may well need help to stop drinking safely.

When planning to stop drinking alcohol, it is first important to establish the possibility of any alcohol dependence or addiction. This will affect how your method of stopping and the strategies needed to enable you to stay sober.

We at Delamere specialise in treating all forms of alcohol use disorders, including binge drinking, alcohol dependence and alcohol addiction. On a daily basis we help those that suffer with problematic alcohol use to successfully quit alcohol and stay sober on a permanent basis.

If you or a loved one suffer from a problem with alcohol and need help to stop drinking completely, our team of distinguished counsellors and therapists provide expert alcohol treatment. Call and speak with a member of our team today for a free of charge assessment and advice on how we can help you.


Is it safe for me to stop drinking alcohol completely?

Whether it is safe for you to stop alcohol abruptly very much depends on how much you drink and how often you drink. If there is a chance you have an alcohol dependence then medical advice should be sought before stopping.

The following statements are designed to help you to self-diagnose alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence. This will enable you to determine the safest and most successful method of quitting drinking once and for all.


Am I alcohol dependent?

It is likely you are alcohol dependent if you identify with the following statements:

  • I drink alcohol daily
  • It has been along time since I have had an alcohol free day
  • I sometimes develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms go away when I take another drink
  • I crave alcohol a lot
  • When I try to stop drinking I become incredibly anxious and restless
  • Overtime I have found myself increasing the amount I drink to feel the same effects

Being alcohol dependent means that it is not safe to suddenly stop drinking. You will need to have a plan in place at the very least. Clinically, the safest way to stop alcohol where a dependence is identified is to undergo a full medical alcohol detox. A medical alcohol detox suppresses the symptoms of alcoholic withdrawal and enables a safe and comfortable process.

Still unsure? Call our team of alcohol experts who will happily give you free and confidential advice.

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Am I alcoholic?

It is likely you are alcoholic if you identify with the following statements:

  • I have tried to quit drinking but always end up returning to it
  • I think about alcohol a lot
  • I suffer overwhelming cravings for alcohol that I cannot resist
  • I wish I could stop drinking but cannot
  • Alcohol enables me to do things I could not do otherwise
  • I worry I am harming myself, my relationships, career or finances through my drinking but still cannot stop
  • I feel alcohol is holding me back from the life I really want to live
  • I regularly lose control over the amount of alcohol I consume
  • I often feel shame and guilt around the amount of alcohol I drink and the things I say and do whilst intoxicated
  • I use alcohol to deal with difficult emotions

Identifying as someone who suffers from alcoholism or alcohol addiction means it is likely you will need professional help to stop drinking and to stay sober.

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a very complex psychological and physiological condition. Alcoholism is classed under the DSM-5 manual as a chronic relapsing brain disorder, characterised by an impaired ability to control or stop drinking, despite adverse consequences to a person’s physical, mental, social or occupational wellbeing (1)

Alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence are both very serious conditions that often (but not always) go hand in hand. If you are JUST alcohol dependent, you may well need medical help to enable you stop drinking safely. Once the alcohol has been stopped, you will find no problem in staying away from it. If on the other hand you suffer from alcohol addiction, staying stopped will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.


How to quit alcohol safely

Drinking heavily and frequently causes your body and brain to become physically dependent on alcohol. Quitting alcohol abruptly will cause your body to react in a number of ways. If symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are not medically managed they can not only become extremely unpleasant – they can become life threatening.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to severe. The more you drink and the longer you have been drinking heavily for, the more severe symptoms tend to be.

Symptoms you may experience on quitting alcohol include:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea and stomach cramps
  • Difficulty in concentrating and function
  • Fever
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Delirium tremens
  • Seizures

The timeline of alcohol withdrawal starts within hours of stopping alcohol and peaks within the first 2 to 3 days. Generally symptoms start to improve within 5 to 7 days. In cases of heavy alcohol dependence, symptoms can become protracted and come and go for weeks, even months after stopping alcohol completely.

At Delamere we provide a full medical detox tailored to your individual drinking habits. Our alcohol detoxes are conducted within our private, purpose-built detox facility, nestled in Cheshire’s secluded woodlands. Here, you will be cared for 24/7 by qualified nurses, doctors and counsellors, ensuring your comfort and safety every step of the way.


How to stay stopped from alcohol

How you manage to stay stopped once you have successful managed to quit drinking will very much depend on whether or not you suffer from addiction. Those that suffer from addiction often immensely benefit from undergoing a comprehensive alcohol rehabilitation programme.

An alcohol rehabilitation programme should address the underlying causes of your alcohol abuse using evidence based treatments delivered by qualified counsellors. The programme should also teach you about alcoholism and in-still essential relapse prevention techniques and coping strategies.

For many that suffer from alcohol addiction it is necessary for them to undergo comprehensive residential treatment to enable them to stay sober in the long term. You can find out more about how we treat alcoholism at Delamere by calling and speaking to a member of our team.

Quitting alcohol at home

If you want to quit drinking at home, first of all ensure you do it safely. Always seek medical advice if there is any possibility you are alcohol dependent.

It is important to have a plan in place to help you stay completely stopped from alcohol

Once you have stopped drinking alcohol, you should then have a plan of how to stay stopped. You may want to include the following tips to stop drinking:

10 Tips for quitting alcohol:

  1. Access support. Whether you undergo treatment at an alcohol rehab, or detox from alcohol at home, support is key to long term sobriety. Support for stopping alcohol can be found through the rehab you attend, from an alcohol counsellor or from your local drug and alcohol team. Support from mutual aid groups can be accessed through Alcoholics Anonymous.
  2. Enlist help from family and friends. Tell family and friends that you are trying to quit alcohol for good so that they are aware and can support your goal.
  3. Make sober friends. It is often helpful to seek out others in sobriety. They will understand you better than anyone else as they will have been where you are, and can support you in your endeavour to quit drinking alcohol completely.
  4. Fill your time with new hobbies, interests or recovery meetings. Instead of sitting at home alone, trying to white knuckle sobriety, capitalise on the extra time you will have from not drinking. Find a new interest, spend time with others and attend recovery meetings. Find things that enrich your life to fill your time.
  5. Learn self care. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism lends to self-neglect. Self care is an important part of recovery. Cravings for alcohol can be reduced by eating regular healthy meals and taking exercise. Learn to listen to what your body is telling you and rest when needed. Many find exercise is a great release and way of producing natural endorphins to counteract stress. It doesn’t even need to be high impact to offer many mental and physical health benefits. Learning yoga, Tia Chi or a martial art will instill a sense of peace, meaning and accomplishment.
  6. Develop new coping mechanisms and strategies. Learning how to deal with difficult emotions, alcohol cravings, or even just day to day life requires commitment to change and grow as a person. There are many ways in which people find a healthy way of managing emotions other than using alcohol. For each person this will be different. You may find talking, therapies, art, music, meditation or mindfulness (for example) helpful.
  7. Learn about boundaries. Stress and feeling overwhelmed can easily lead to returning back to the bottle. Life needs to feel manageable and enjoyable. This means having supportive and understanding people in your life and knowing when to say no. Personal boundaries can not only be empowering but can also keep your goal to quit drinking safe.
  8. Develop a plan for when you get alcohol cravings. If you suffer from an alcohol use disorder this is not an IF but a WHEN. You will at some point experience cravings for alcohol. It is important to plan for this and have something in place to either divert your attention or help you through.
  9. Find a new meaning to life. When alcohol has become a problem in your life to the point that it is all you can think about, finding a new meaning or purpose can help stop the desire to drink. You may find that helping others struggling with the same problem helps or taking on a voluntary position for a good cause. Giving back freely of your time and energy will be extremely rewarding. It will also help you to see that there is far more to life than drinking.
  10. Have a ‘go to person’ that you trust. This person could be a family member, close friend or partner. More often than not it is helpful to have someone outside of the family that will not be affected by what you confide in. This could be a rehab counsellor, spiritual advisor, mentor or alcohol sponsor. Whoever you choose, it must be someone who you can be completely honest with about how you feel. They in turn will be there to listen without judgement. It is important to have a safe outlet for personal feelings. This will not only help you in your day to day life but also in staying sober in the long term

Treatment for stopping alcohol

Not everyone is able to stop drinking alcohol at home. Some require medical intervention and a stay in a residential treatment facility. If this applies to you or someone you know, Delamere offer first class addiction treatment within our purpose built addiction treatment and behavioural wellness facility.

At Delamere we understand that no two people are the same, therefore every treatment programme and treatment we deliver is tailored specifically to each guest (medically, psychologically, physically, emotionally, socially and holistically)

We combine traditional evidence based treatment methods with thoroughly researched and proven innovative holistic treatments. With us, you can expect an interesting, immersive and varied treatment programme that will enable you to completely transform and grow beyond your addiction. Call us to find out more.


References:

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) 

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