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If you wish to arrest your alcoholism, then you absolutely need to embrace abstinence. The notion that you can simply cut down on your drinking is one that simply does not work. For nearly a century, medical experts have concluded that the only effective way to control your drinking is to simply stop altogether.

To stop drinking alcohol is easier said than done. Mere willpower is seldom enough to secure your recovery journey. Instead, the vast majority of people affected by alcoholism will require professional addiction treatment. The benefits of investing in treatment are obvious.

You will improve every aspect of your life by stopping your drinking. The two most obvious benefits in this area are that you will vastly improve your health and your relationships with others.

The positive effects on your body when you stop drinking alcohol

When you stop drinking alcohol, your physical health will dramatically improve. Alcohol is a toxin that negatively impacts organs it comes into contact with, most significantly the liver and the brain. When you stop drinking alcohol, the brain and the liver will begin to repair themselves.

Even if you are a moderate drinker, stopping your alcohol consumption will benefit your health in many ways. Researchers at the Royal Free Hospital in London found that when moderate drinkers stopped drinking alcohol altogether for a month period, these people benefited from reduced blood pressure and cholesterol. The participants also lost around 1-2kg in weight. Blood tests indicated participants’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes fell by around 25 percent.

For people battling alcoholism and binge drinking, the positive health benefits of giving up alcohol will be significant. If you suffer from alcoholism, you must consider undertaking a medically assisted detox before you simply stop drinking alcohol. This is because you are likely to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. Many of these withdrawal symptoms are highly discomforting, and some are even potentially deadly.

Undergoing a detox from an alcohol rehab clinic is the safest possible way to stop drinking if you are suffering from alcoholism. During your detox, you will be given specialist medication that’s designed to take the edge off alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Is it possible to stop drinking alcohol alone?

It’s true that a small minority of people will be able to stop drinking alcohol alone without any professional treatment whatsoever. However, these people are the exception rather than the rule. The truth is that alcohol is one of the most addictive drugs to break away from. Studies have proven that it is easier to stop using so-called ‘harder’ drugs such as cocaine and heroin than alcohol.

If you are severely addicted to alcohol, then a much more effective way to stop drinking is to seek out professional help. If you insist on stopping without professional help, then at least declare this intention to all those who are close to you. Doing so will help solidify your goal to stop drinking alcohol.

Holding yourself to account in this manner has a psychological effect because this us humans wish to stay consistent with the intentions we make known to our loved ones.

How may I help an alcoholic stop drinking?

If your loved one is suffering from alcoholism, then know he or she is suffering from a disease. Alcoholism must never be stigmatised and you must never attempt to equate this disease with character flaws or moral failings on your loved one’s behalf. It’s also important to know that your loved one will struggle with the goal of giving up drinking because his or her life will largely be controlled by their drinking.

Initially, you must attempt to encourage your loved one to overcome denial. Communication skills come into play, and it’s important not to make your loved one feel cornered. You must raise your concerns about your loved-ones drinking in a way that communicates the seriousness of the situation but without being condescending or judgmental.

It’s never a good idea to communicate your concerns whilst your loved one is intoxicated. Instead, wait until your loved one is completely sober before you discuss these concerns. It’s important to ensure your loved one is calm whilst you conduct this informal intervention. If your loved one becomes angry, consider postponing the conversation until another time.

If your loved one is able to accept the problem exists, then know that you have made solid progress. Overcoming denial is perhaps the most difficult milestone to conquer for those affected by alcoholism. After all, who truly wants to identify as an ‘alcoholic’ given the stigma that’s often placed on this unfortunate and unfair label.

Avoid using the word ‘alcoholic’ due to the negative connections associated with this word. Instead, show you concerns by stressing the fact alcoholism is a disease that requires treatment.

If you feel you lack the ability to communicate your concerns in the manner, then another option is to stage a professional intervention. For a moderate fee, a professional interventionist will travel to your home in order to conduct this intervention.

You will be able to discuss how your loved one’s drinking is negatively impacting your respective lives in a calm and controlled manner. The interventionist will also help your loved one understand the various treatment options on offer.

To book a local interventionist, contact Rehab 4 Addiction today on 0800 140 4690.

How long does it take to undergo an alcohol detox?

A medically assisted detox is conducted over a 7-14-day period. The exact amount of time it takes to stop drinking alcohol is determined by the severity of your addiction to alcohol. Alcoholism is a spectrum disorder, meaning the severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person.

Once your alcohol detox begins, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within the first 5-7 hours after your last drink. Fortunately, alcohol rehab clinics will prescribe you with medication that significantly eases the severity of these symptoms.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms varies from mild, moderate and severe. If your withdrawal symptoms are severe, you will be given a greater dose of medication compared to your peers who merely suffer mild withdrawal symptoms.

What it feels like to quit alcohol

If you are a moderate drinker, then stopping your alcohol intake will benefit your life in many ways. You will feel more productive, healthier and your skin complexion will also improve.

Some of the benefits you will notice when you stop drinking alcohol include:

  • Improved sleep
  • More energy
  • Improved skin complexion
  • Weight loss
  • Improved relationships with loved ones

If you suffer from alcoholism, then you must stop drinking alcohol with caution because it is likely you will experience withdrawal symptoms. One of the most serious withdrawal symptoms is Delirium Tremens (DTs).

Symptoms of DTs include severe shaking, sweating and having a high temperature. You may also begin to experience paranoid delusions. In some instances, DTs can be fatal due to the heart irregularities this condition causes.

Why do I need professional care when detoxing?

If you suffer from alcoholism or alcohol abuse, then stopping your drinking may be complicated by the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms may be life-threatening if not treated by medical professionals. Seeking out medical attention at a specialist alcohol rehab clinic is thus the best possible environment in which to undertake an alcohol detox. Attending a rehab also shields you from temptation that could result in relapse.

Common self-help techniques

For some, going to rehab may not be possible. This could be the case if your responsibilities cannot be managed by another, such as childcare responsibilities. If this is the case, then you may simply not have the option of going to rehab.

If this is the case, it’s important to seek advice from your primary care trust. This is typically your local GP or NHS walk-in centre. Your GP may refer you to your local Alcohol Action Group. Your GP may recommend you taper down the amount of alcohol you consume slowly so that you avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Quitting alcohol for the long-term

If you are a chronic binge drinker, then you may be able to stop drinking for a few months and return to moderate and responsible drinking. However, if you suffer from alcoholism, embracing abstinence is your only viable option. There exists no known cure for alcoholism. You can only hope to arrest this disease by stopping to drink alcohol altogether.

For many, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers an almost guaranteed route into long-term recovery. This is because AA combines a proven structure (known as the 12-steps) with a highly effective sponsorship and mutual support network of people who are absolutely dedicated to their own and other’s recovery. However, it’s also possible to quit alcohol without the help of AA.

Many people quit alcohol without AA by attending an alcohol rehab clinic. Here, you benefit from evidence-based treatments that do not follow the 12-step model. Rehab begins with a detox. During your detox, you will be given medications to take the edge off withdrawal symptoms. Medications you may be given include Disulfiram, Nalmefene, Acamprosate and Naltrexone. You also benefit from counselling and therapy, which aim to tackle the psychological aspects of alcoholism.

Detox is most effective when combined with rehabilitation. Whilst a detox may be completed in as little as 5-7 days, you should expect to remain within a rehab clinic for at least 28-days in total in order to complete a full rehabilitation. Detox safely stops the physical aspect of alcoholism whilst a rehab addresses the underlying mental causes of addiction.

Rehab clinics make use of highly-effective and evidence-based treatments for this purpose. Example treatments commonly practiced within rehab clinics include holistic therapies, motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapeutic therapies.

Most rehab clinics offer abstinence-based treatment. Complete recovery from alcoholism means you cannot return to even moderate drinking in the future, because to do so will likely result in a full-blown relapse. Once you begin your recovery, you will need to work diligently in avoiding relapse for the rest of your life. This typically entails attending mutual support groups run by AA and SMART Recovery, whilst avoiding people and places that may make relapse more likely.

Getting used to living your life without alcohol

Once you have stopped drinking alcohol, you cannot simply ‘set and forget’ about your recovery. Instead, you will have to actively work on your recovery goals for the rest of your life. For those who are recovering from alcoholism, the threat of relapse is never too far away. This means you will have to take steps to avoid your ‘relapse triggers’ as much as possible, particularly for the first year or two into your recovery.

When you are new to recovery, you will have to ‘learn’ how to live without alcohol. It’s probably that alcohol influenced many aspects of your existence. It’s logical to assume that when alcohol is removed, many areas of your life will experience a knock-on effect as a result.

It’s important to fill your life with positive events and people. You should set goals in achieving positive outcomes. Doing so will allow you to experience a sense of achievement that was impossible when your life was controlled by the whims of your alcoholism.

Those new to recovery are often advised to ‘take one day at a time.’ Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous once said: “I can do something for 24 hours that would appall me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.”

You also need to learn to be open and honest about your illness. Doing so will assist you when you attend events where alcohol is present. Being able to communicate your illness to friends and colleagues will help them understand why you are not drinking alcohol. Communicating this fact will also deter people from pressuring you to drink alcohol.

Being open and honest about your illness is never easy at first, but your ability to communicate your illness will improve with time. The ability to do so is key when it comes to avoiding relapse because it’s unlikely you will be able to avoid situations where alcohol is available indefinitely.

It’s important to forge new relationships with people who understand the disease of addiction. Perhaps the easiest way of doing so is to attend local mutual support groups run by SMART Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous. People who attend these meetings will understand the disease of addiction because this is something they are inflicted by themselves.

Another important area that you may have neglected when you drank is your exercise and nutrition. Both are important to your overall wellbeing. By exercising and eating well, both your physical and mental health will improve. You will look better and feel better, and your confidence will improve as a result.

Tapping into local activities also prevents the urge to relapse. Example activities we recommend for people new to recovery include walking, swimming, bike riding, meditation and yoga. All of these activities offer just enough exertion to be sustainable in the long-term whilst offering a much needed mental and physical boost for those of you who have not engaged in any activity for many years because of your drinking.

If you cannot engage in physical activities, it might be a good idea to take up a hobby that does not require a great deal of physical activity. Good examples include photography, stamp collecting, bird watching, painting and arts and crafts.

What are my treatment options?

It’s best to seek out treatment as soon as you recognise the symptoms of alcoholism. Delaying your treatment could be fatal. Many people die from alcoholism unexpectedly. You underestimate the dangers of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol at your peril. Many people inflicted with alcoholism delay treatment until they have hit rock-bottom. This practice is positively dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

Instead, seek out addiction treatment before it is too late. If you feel you cannot control your drinking, then now is the time to seek out treatment. You can discover your drinking options by contacting our free helpline today on 0800 140 4690.

Your treatment needs are best served at an inpatient alcohol rehab clinic. You will be able to continue your treatment over a longer period of time via an outpatient programme. The amount of time you require in a residential clinic is dictated by the severity of your addiction and any possible dual-diagnosis issues you are experiencing.