As this year draws to a close, you may already be thinking ahead to the New Year’s resolutions you plan to make and ways you hope to change things for the better. In 2023, many women will consider getting sober by ending their relationship with alcohol. However, you may not know how to quit drinking if it’s become a familiar habit. Here’s how to recognize if you are overly reliant on alcohol as a coping mechanism and reasons you may need professional help to overcome it.
Alcohol Abuse Risk Factors and Warning Signs
Though anyone can develop an alcohol use disorder, you might be more vulnerable if addiction or mental health issues run in your family.
You could have a drinking problem if you meet criteria like these.
- Alcohol is your primary outlet for dealing with stress, grief, anger or other complex emotions.
- Most or all your social interactions involve drinking.
- You frequently experience alcohol-related memory lapses.
- When you are sober, you frequently look forward to having a drink.
- You continue to abuse alcohol despite the problems it causes in your life.
- You feel guilty or embarrassed about how much you drink.
- It’s hard for you to imagine getting and staying sober.
- You have lied to people about the extent of your drinking.
- When you try to quit drinking, you experience withdrawal symptoms like sweating, shaking, nausea and insomnia.
Do You Want to Quit Drinking?
Alcohol use disorders do not develop overnight. As your tolerance for alcohol progresses into a dependence and addiction, it will eventually affect your relationships and ability to do your job successfully. Your health and well-being will also suffer if you continue drinking regardless of the consequences, potentially leading to ramifications such as financial issues, legal problems and severe organ and tissue damage.
If alcohol use is endangering your health, the best thing to do is taper off considerably or stop drinking altogether. However, for long-term, heavy drinkers, quitting cold turkey may cause dangerous or potentially fatal consequences such as seizures and delirium tremens. In that case, medically managed detoxification is your best option to safely wean yourself off alcohol and control unpleasant withdrawal symptoms in a clinical environment with 24/7 supervision.
Alcohol Cessation Tips
Many women who stop drinking make several attempts before finally succeeding. Don’t get discouraged if you have tried to drink less or quit completely, only to fall back to alcohol use when times get tough. Here are some strategies you can use to stop drinking for good.
- Find new activities: If you associate drinking with a specific time of day, develop an alternative strategy for something enjoyable you can do during that time. Crossword puzzles, drawing and coloring are all examples of stress-relieving hobbies you can try instead of drinking alcohol.
- Monitor your feelings: When you’re stressed, irritable, sad or lonely, you might feel especially tempted to reach for an alcoholic beverage. Try keeping a journal or working with a therapist to help you process complex emotions.
- Choose alcohol-free days: One way to stop drinking is to start with small steps. Stay sober for a week or a month to see what a difference it can make. Taking a short break from alcohol will build a foundation to start drinking less, and when you notice how much healthier, happier and more energetic you feel, it might motivate you to make a permanent change for the better.
How to Get Sober in 2023
Addiction is not a moral weakness or the result of making irresponsible decisions – it is a chronic disease that affects millions of women worldwide. Though there is no cure, it is treatable.
If you are worried about how much you drink and haven’t successfully managed to quit drinking on your own, you can benefit from the additional support and structure found in Canyon Crossing’s women’s-only treatment program. We strive to teach you how to live with integrity and grace without relying on alcohol or other drugs. Reach out to us today to take the first step in breaking the cycle of addiction.