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Despite the glorification of alcohol use on television and in society, alcohol is often a problematic drug. Depictions of regular or chronic alcohol use in modern culture encourage dangerous drinking habits for individuals of the legal drinking age as well as teenagers and young adults under the age of 21.

Although many people recognize the consequences that regular alcohol use can have on the mind and body, it is an incredibly difficult substance to quit using. Addiction and substance use dependency of any kind is a challenging habit to break, but alcohol is even more so because of how accessible it is. Additionally, alcohol is one of few substances that require medical detox when an individual tries to quit heavy drinking cold turkey.

There is no right way to quit drinking alcohol; however, there are still several different tips and tricks that may help an individual secure sobriety. The most effective way to quit alcohol is to actively utilize several different interventions simultaneously.  

Become Educated About the Consequences of Alcohol Use

Popular culture emphasizes the positive effects of alcohol rather than the consequences of alcohol use. One way to work towards quitting alcohol use for good is by educating yourself about the harms that alcohol use can have on the mind and body. 

Nearly 95,000 individuals lose their lives annually due to excessive alcohol use. Deaths from alcohol use can be reduced by recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of short-term and chronic alcohol consumption. These long-term health risks of regular alcohol consumption include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Cancer of various areas of the body
  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Issues with cognitive functioning including memory, learning, and poor academic performance
  • Interpersonal issues
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Alcohol dependence

There are also short-term consequences of alcohol use that are important to acknowledge. These short-term consequences of alcohol use may include, but are not limited to:

  • Unintentional injury
  • Violence
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth among pregnant women

By quitting alcohol use, you can avoid experiencing the alcohol-induced health risks listed above. You can also help recognize an alcohol addiction by becoming educated about associated signs and symptoms. 

Alter Your Environment

Changing your environment is easier said than done. When you think of your environment, you probably think of your home setting; this space will likely play the most critical role in your ability to stay sober. Consider the people you live with or the location. If you live with others that regularly use substances or are within walking distance of any, you may benefit from changing your living location. If you are unable to change this, consider removing all alcohol from your home. Avoid liquor stores and other areas where alcohol is present, especially during your first few weeks or months trying to quit. 

Your environment can include more than just your home. You may need to consider what settings you find yourself in that may motivate your alcohol use. For example, if there is alcohol present when you get together with your friends, you may need to question whether or not your friends will support your sobriety. You may need to request having designated sober gatherings or consider switching up your friend group. Being with people that drink will inevitably tempt you to drink as well, especially while you are trying to stop. A supportive environment plays a critical role in your ability to maintain sobriety. 

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a useful tool for many circumstances. It is often used for personal growth or as a spiritual tool but can be especially valuable in helping people persevere through psychological challenges. Mindfulness allows you to focus on the present moment with full awareness. Following regular mindfulness practice will slowly rewire your brain to appreciate what full awareness can bring to your life. 

Consider Going to Treatment

When people think of addiction treatment, rehab is often the first thing that comes to mind. Treatment can mean many things, and residential is not always a requirement. Many mental health treatment facilities also offer outpatient treatment that allows people to maintain autonomy in their daily lives, such as continuing to go to work or school. To know what kind of treatment you may need, you must consider the severity of your substance use and your overall goals for treatment. 

It is important to recognize that treatment is not always just psychotherapy or counseling. Treatment can be receiving education regarding substance use, learning to change your unhealthy habits, and even attending support groups. Utilize your community resources to help you connect with sober activities and other valuable interventions to help you secure long-term sobriety. 

Unlike quitting other substance use, quitting alcohol poses several unique challenges that can be life-threatening. Consider the representation of alcohol use in popular culture. Modern culture normalizes and glorifies substance use in daily life as a way to enhance celebrations and cope with life’s stressors. If alcohol consumption has strained your life—such as relationships, physical or mental health, finances, or legal battles—help is available. West Coast Recovery Centers is a mental health and addiction treatment center that offers various programs to fit the individual needs of each and every client. We recognize how challenging it can be to quit alcohol for good, especially when it’s so easily accessible. Here, we will help you take back control of your life and establish healthy and alternative behaviors so you can thrive in recovery. For more information on how to safely quit alcohol or about our treatment facility, call us today at (760) 492-6509