We all know the feeling so well, the urge to drink alcohol . Most of us too well.
The urges can come from seemingly nowhere, or from a very obvious trigger. Whenever they start, often sub-consciously we have already decided that we are going to drink.
Urges are dangerous and often lead to a very slippery slope.
We know about urges, we know they will come.
The questions to be answered are
why do we have urges to drink alcohol?
How do we stop the urge to drink?
This question gets asked by so many people on social media now that I really wanted something for someone to read that explores many options. This is not to say that these are ALL options. When it comes to finding ways of stopping drinking alcohol.
Why would you want to even stop drinking?
You may be reading this blog, or hearing about people going teetotal, hearing of (a LOT more people, more recently) deciding to ditch the booze.
Oh, great question – and you have stumbled across the exact list of motivators to answer just that.
You WILL notice money. It may not come right away, but all of those payments really do start to add up, and with all of the energy that stopping drinking will give you, you will have the want to do so much more with your newfound wealth.
And I do not say this lightly
It will feel like you have just stumbled onto a pot of money because up until now you have not got a single thing to show for all of that money that you have spent on alcohol.
Want to know EXACTLY how much money you will save by not drinking.
Well, I will tell you – that is an almost impossible equation to work out, when you take in to account just how much different your entire life is when you drink.
Healthier absolutely everything about you
This one is proveable on soooo many levels.
Your sleep will improve, your skin will look healthier, your body will just function that so much better. Nutrients that not absorbed when you are drinking booze – now your body will appreciate all of those lovely vitamins and minerals.
Decreased alcohol will mean increased hydration of your overall self.
The health benefits of not drinking are immense, and an entire subject in itself. Do your own research if you need convincing. Not drinking alcohol will improve your health. Period.
Gone are the days of hangovers, and that cloudy mindset that can grow with chronic alcohol abuse. When you find your way, your own path to sobriety, you will love feeling more mentally alive!
Focusing on ways to stop drinking will increase productivity
All of those things that you used to do before you were drinking? Hobbies as a child? Or maybe you will feel the ‘productivity impact’ in other aspects of your life.
You WILL notice an increase in productivity. You will simply do more when you stop drinking alcohol.
The benefits of quitting drinking – the list of ways to stop drinking alcohol – can be almost endless (one day I would like to try and create a list with the help of a mass of people. I think it would be so interesting to hear exactly what benefits of not drinking alcohol people have experienced. ‘Benefits’ itself is just so subjective – but what an amazing read it would be!
The Alcohol Off Switch List of ways to quit drinking alcohol
Set a drinking goal
Having a drinking goal is a great way to quit drinking, or certainly to reduce it. How you set your goal is really a personal choice.
You could go with the national recommended drinking as a guideline (one standard drink per day over aged 65, or no more than two per day for men under the age of 65), or if you are a long-term drinker then there may be some more realistic drinking goals that you want to set.
Again, depending on your personal situation and experiences, medical advice would be a good starting point, in the first instance, to help you establish what would be the best approach for you.
Read, read and read!
There are many, many fantastic books and resources around now about how to stop the urge to drink, written by people from all walks of life. I can wholeheartedly recommend using reading as one of your weapons of choice when it comes to walking the path of sobriety and investigating ways to stop drinking.
When looking for ways to stop drinking that booze, be open in your approach. It certainly helped me reading from authors such as Annie Grace, Russell Brand and some amazing sober blogging groups are out there too!
Get it down in writing – Journaling is a great way to stop drinking alcohol
Journaling is a fantastic tool to help stop the urge to drink, and also one of the very reasons that you are reading these very words. When I started on my sober journey, for the gazillionth time – I decided to utilise all advice that could be thrown at me. Journaling was one of them.
Journaling is a good way to stay sober. In fact, it’s been proven that writing about your thoughts and struggles can help you overcome addiction issues.
Journaling is also a great way to stay on track with your sobriety. I like keeping it in my phone because then when I’m tempted to drink, all I have to do is pull out my phone and look at all the reasons why drinking. In fact, I use most sobriety groups in this manner – for motivation!
Keep a drinks diary
Whenever a person starts a drinking diary, there is often mixed emotions. Some will agree ‘just to give it a try’ but don’t really have faith in it as a legitimate tool. I can honestly say that a drinking diary is one of the most effective ways to stop drinking once used.
A drinking diary can be as simple or as complex as you like, physical or digital. There are lots of digital drinking diaries out there and a quick Google search will show this – I will recommend one that I have used with (what I feel was ) success – Sobertime. I recommend this as it is available on both android and apple, has a great community and is free to use – there are some very small charges if you wish to remove ads, but I used it for well over 6 months until I actually paid for this digital diary. The only reason that I paid for the app is I felt that it had given me so much back.
If digital is not for you, a notepad and pen will more than suffice.
There are various ways of using drinking diaries for drinking less or quitting drinking.
1) Tracking your consumption across time
One way drinking diaries can be helpful in reducing drinking levels is by tracking consumption patterns over time. In this sense the main function of a drinking diary is to monitor consumption data, not just measure it.
2) Tracking drinking patterns within a specific time period
A drinking diary can be used to track drinking during a particular time period of, for example, one week.
This actually highlights to you (the drinker) what sort of things trigger your drinking, or what times are you more likely to drink. This information provides useful insight which can help drinkers make more decisions about how much and when to drink in the future.
Using a drinking diary for comparison purposes -see where you were and see where you are now.
A drinking diary can also be useful by providing quantitative data from which subjective experience of drinking can be compared i.e. comparing what was actually drunk with how much one thought they had drunk – recording drinking-related thoughts, feelings and behaviours over time.
The drinking diary provides a way to compare drinking behaviour with drinking thoughts, feelings and actions which also makes it possible to observe similarities or differences in drinking patterns across the days of the week etc.
A drinking diary is an awesome tool to have in your sobriety toolbox.
Stop the urge to drink by not keeping alcohol in your house
One of the most practical tips that you can do when looking for ways to stop drinking alcohol, is (drumroll!!!) removing it.
Removing it from temptation, so to speak.
Even if you live within manageable access to alcohol, close to a shop etc, by not keeping alcohol in your house puts that extra barrier around you to assist with your sober journey.
Every little helps, and when it comes to living teetotal, take everything that is available.
Find your tribe
Finding your tribe (read support network) in whatever way it comes was such a turning point for me. For years I have searched for ways to stop drinking alcohol, and clearly without success or I would have stopped searching! The turning point for me was support.
Finding support comes in all different shapes and sizes. My current own personal support network now is my wife, a close friend and 1000s of online strangers. I did not fancy AA, I did just not feel that it suited my personality. Plus, it threatened my own security and personal life – or that is how I viewed AA anyway.
With the explosion of social media, I have found that blogs, podcasts and social media groups were just the weapon to keep me sober during hard times. I have made some wonderful friends online and value finding your own tribe as a top of the list ways to stop drinking alcohol weapons.
Keep yourself busy
Many of us are preoccupied with alcohol. It is in our thoughts, at the forefront of our minds and we live for it.
When you stop drinking, one gift that we get almost instantly is time.
Initially, this may not be seen as a gift but when you start to use that time wisely – then it becomes priceless.
Although we may not realise it, when drinking alcohol is no longer a part of our lives – that preoccupation with the drink starts to fade.
So how do I use this free time? What can I do now if there’s nobody telling me what to do and where to go?
Well, in my experience, keeping busy is absolutely key! Planning that you are going to be given time is key to success in your sobriety.