At the beginning of 2020, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism published a press release addressing an increase in alcohol-related deaths in the United States. The opening sentence of this press release states that “nearly 1 million people died from alcohol-related causes between 1999 and 2017” . That being said, no one alcoholic has to be alone in overcoming this addiction. There are numerous strategies to approach how to stop drinking alcohol once you are already addicted and it’s about finding what works for you.
Countless people attribute their sobriety to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a fellowship of recovering addicts with the mission of helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. AA intergroups host regular meetings where members discuss the tenants of their program, as well as sharing experiences, thoughts, and support. The only requirement to join AA is a desire to stop drinking. Individuals who use Alcoholics Anonymous to stop drinking alcohol also work the 12 Steps and follow the 12 Traditions of the program.
Alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms can be intense for those who have been drinking heavily for years. In the most severe cases, withdrawal can even turn deadly. For this reason, one option available for alcohol recovery is medication assistance. Naltrexone is among the most common medications used to treat alcohol addiction. Someone on this medication will not experience the euphoric effects of alcohol if they drink. Studies have shown that it is helpful in getting individuals to stay in treatment and avoid relapsing. Other medications used may include acamprosate, and disulfiram .
Alcohol Rehab Program
Inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs are another effective option for individuals who don’t know how to stop drinking. These programs are covered by most major health insurance providers and they provide an array of resources and therapies that alcoholics would not otherwise have access to. Additionally, a rehab provides 2 critical aspects of making a major life change like quitting alcohol: it provides routine and accountability.
An alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery is a science-based support community for individuals overcoming addiction . Although there are AA groups for individuals who do not believe in God, the absence of religion in SMART Recovery may resonate more with some people.
Tips for Quitting Alcohol
- Establish a Support System
- Keep an Open Mind About Treatment Options
- Consult a Medical Professional
- Consider Cutting Back for Now
- Make Self-Care a Priority
- Get Involved With Rewarding Activities
- Set Reasonable, Long Term Goals
- Keep a Journal for Your Thoughts
- Tell People in Your Life About Your Addiction & Recovery
- Keep on Going. Don’t Give Up.