If you have decided to stop drinking alcohol because you’ve had enough of the “morning after” side effects or for health reasons, there are a number of steps you can take to make the journey less difficult. Individuals who consume alcohol can be broken down into several categories; social drinkers, binge drinkers and alcoholics. Social drinkers are generally individuals who partake on occasion, during the holidays or special occasions. Binge drinkers are just that, individuals who drink for the sole purpose of consuming as much as possible in order to become intoxicated. Alcoholics are individuals having a dependence on alcohol. They need to drink everyday and while they appear “normal” the amount of alcohol consumed may be staggering to the average person.
While social and binge drinkers consume alcohol on an irregular basis, it is still possible to classify them as alcoholics. Sometimes what looks like alcoholism is really just a drinking problem, and vice-versa. Four primary features are taken into account when making this determination: Is there a craving or strong need, is there loss of control once drinking begins, are there withdrawal symptoms when there is no alcohol and tolerance, is more alcohol needed to get that “high” feeling? It generally takes a dramatic event such as the development of liver disease, a major auto accident, the loss of job and/or family, to get someone’s attention and to generate the determination needed to stop drinking.
Once the decision has been made take back control there are a number of steps to help make the transition easier. Many people are eager to learn how to stop drinking on your own, though this is not always realistic. Pick a date to quit, take a vitamin B supplement, talk to your doctor, initially avoid places where alcohol is easily available, start exercising, drink lots of water, don’t give up and don’t “over guilt” yourself, inform your family and friends and gather their support. Everyone moves at their own pace, stay focused and determined.