Starting Down the Road to Alcohol Sobriety

It can be very difficult to overcome a problem with alcohol, but it can be done.  For some people, the only viable alternative that will genuinely help them is to seek treatment at an alcohol rehab treatment center.  However, there are some people who may be able to stop drinking and change their life without seeking formal treatment.

This article will focus on preparing people for self-treatment, but it is important to note that this DIY approach doesn’t work for everyone.   If self-help doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to get professional help.

1 – Make a Commitment

The very first thing you have to do if you want to get your drinking under control is to make a real commitment to stop.

We’re talking about a real, genuine commitment here.  Just saying that you will stop and having the desire to stop isn’t enough.  You have to be committed to doing what is necessary if you want to be successful.

Even after getting through the denial stage and admitting that you have a problem, many people still allow too many excuses to get in their way.  They may think they want to stop, but they aren’t committed enough to really make it happen.

Set Goals

After you have made a firm commitment to stop drinking, it’s time to set goals for yourself.  As with any goal, it is important to make these goals very specific. Set a specific date.  If you are going to gradually curtail your drinking, set a goal for how much you will allow yourself on certain days, etc.

Prepare for Change

You have to start with a goal, but if you just expect to meet your goal without taking any steps to prepare for it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Once you set your goal, spend some time thinking about ways to help you get there.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • Make your goals public – If your friends and family know what you want to accomplish, they can help motivate and support you on your journey.
  • Remove any temptations – This includes removing any alcohol from your home, office, etc.  You should also remove anything that is going to make you think about drinking when you look at it.
  • Be Clear About Your Limits – If you will no longer be drinking, make sure your friends and family know that this means you don’t want them to drink at your home either.  In the beginning, this may also include not attending certain events, especially if alcohol will be a big part of the event.
  • Stay Away From Negative Influences – Unfortunately, you may have people in your life who don’t always support your choices.  They also may not be willing to respect the limits you have set.  True friends should want to help you stop drinking, but if you have friends and family who aren’t willing to do this, it may mean distancing yourself from them.
  • Review Your History – Many people attempt to stop drinking several different times in their life.  If this is true of you, don’t just consider your past attempts failures and discount them.  Look at those situations and determine what worked well and what caused problems for you.  Use those experiences to make it easier this time.

Find a Safe Way to Get Sober

Depending upon how much and how often you drink, you may need to make a plan to get sober.  Unlike drug withdrawal, sometimes this can be accomplished without professional treatment.  However, it still needs to be taken seriously.

Most people experience withdrawal symptoms that are unpleasant, but relatively mild.  But it is also critical to understand that some people have severe reactions to alcohol withdrawal and they can very quickly become life threatening.

Typical symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Headache
  • Shaking
  • Stomach cramps
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate

Symptoms Requiring Immediate Medical Attention

If you are a heavy drinker and plan to stop drinking, it’s important that you don’t do it alone.

The withdrawal symptoms listed above are unpleasant, but most people can manage those symptoms on their own.

However, if your symptoms suddenly become severe, you will need immediate medical attention.  Unfortunately, if you are experiencing these symptoms, you probably WON’T be able to identify them and/or call for help.

Whoever is with you should be aware of the following symptoms.  They should also have a plan for getting help if they see any of the following:

  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions / seizures
  • Fever
  • Extreme agitation
  • Confusion
  • Severe vomiting

These symptoms could be a sign that your respiratory system has been impacted and is shutting down.  Immediate help is essential.

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