Alcohol addiction is a rather common form of substance abuse. As you imbibe alcohol, the chemicals in the drink interact with your brain’s neurotransmitters, lowering inhibitions and hampering critical thinking.
Far too many people turn to this for relief from stress and anxiety. Over time, their bodies build a tolerance to the substance, making it harder for them to achieve the same effects. At some point, they find it hard to function without drinking. This is when addiction reaches its most devastating point.
People with alcohol addiction are at a higher risk of health problems like heart disease, erectile dysfunction, low or high blood sugar, dementia, and compromised immunity than casual drinkers. Their social, family, and interpersonal life also suffer, as the effects on their mind and body make it harder to maintain a regular living routine. Furthermore, they’re more likely to get into accidents and harmful situations.
If you have an alcohol addiction and are currently seeking treatment, know you’re making the right choice. Part of your journey involves building a routine of good habits to manage your condition and achieve wellness.
Here Are Some Steps You Can Take For Doing Just That:
1. Seek Professional Help
The first part is always seeking professional treatment. Rehabilitation centers and similar outpatient facilities are good places to start looking for options. These let you access regular treatment and monitoring to help you go through withdrawal and sobriety safely.
Depending on your condition, you may be working with them for months, learning how to navigate the recovery process. You will also receive direction and referrals to continuing sources of aid, like support groups, to help you maintain your progress.
When you’re choosing a rehab facility, you should make sure it provides the experience and level of assistance you need. Work with a loved one to find the best possible options in terms of treatment, staff, and amenities. You can click here for a great example of what to look for.
Of course, you also have to factor in the location and convenience of going there regularly. You can always consult your doctor for a place they recommend.
2. Avoid Stocking Alcohol In Your House
You may have heard that stopping cold turkey is never a good idea due to the serious effects of alcohol withdrawal.
This is true. It now comes down to how you consume alcohol. If you have cans of beer in the fridge at home, you’ll always be tempted to take a sip now and then. You never know when your usage goes up once more and you’re left relapsing.
Work out a plan to space out your consumption with your healthcare team and loved ones. Consciously set boundaries for yourself on what you buy at the grocery store. You may also have to stop frequenting your favorite drinking spots.
By doing this, you create a feedback loop between your mind and body to slowly draw over-drinking out of your system.
3. Find Healthy Alternatives
Nature holds no vacuum. As you strive to reduce your alcohol consumption, you need to replace the activities you do in line with this habit with healthier ones. Without something to support your initiative, you risk losing your progress.
Consider the following healthier alternatives to binging alcohol:
- Exercise: Working out releases endorphins, which are hormones that induce feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction. It also offers a variety of effects that combat the degenerative effects of having too much alcohol in your system. For example, you burn more calories, strengthen your heart and lungs, improve digestion, build up your energy levels, and increase blood flow to your brain. Exercise also helps you develop focus, grit, and discipline. The best part is that there’s no limit to what you can do for exercise. So, whether you do it at home, around the neighborhood, or at the gym, there’s always something you can do.
- Cooking: You may want to get into cooking as a way to spend your free time productively. Enroll in a short cooking course to sharpen your skills. Then, learn and try new recipes through cookbooks and online video tutorials. It’s also a way to boost your nutrition, which is critical in curbing alcohol addiction, as you’ll learn more about in this article.
- Reading: Reading lets you take a break from regular life, fill your mind with fresh ideas, and change your life’s perspective.
- Gardening: Connecting with nature is an excellent way to feel relaxed and relieve stress, replacing drinking as your go-to choice for decompressing. Whether you can work with a full plot or a couple of pots, it’s never too late to learn how to grow things.
- Art: Drawing, painting, and sculpting are excellent ways to keep your mind engaged. You don’t need to become an expert; so long as you get to process your feelings or express your ideas, you can do art as a hobby.
The list doesn’t end here. You can also try more active pursuits like cycling, yoga, bird watching, or photography. So long as it helps you have more time away from your old habits and widens your perspective, it’s a worthwhile choice.
4. Ditch Your Drinking Crew For New Friends
The people you choose to surround yourself with affect the way you live your life. So, if you consistently hang out with binge drinkers, you’ll be stuck doing the same thing.
If your friends don’t respect your choice to reduce your intake or avoid drinking altogether, you’re free to not hang with them or just find new ones. It may sound challenging, but it takes conscious effort to disentangle yourself from destructive habits. Besides, you don’t deserve to have your efforts to improve your life belittled.
The initial step may seem painful. After all, you’ll have to let go of the ties you’ve kept for so long. But you need people who can encourage you and lend you a hand when you experience problems, not further them.
5. Find A Support Group
On that note, it may be helpful to seek out groups of people who are also struggling to come out of addiction and achieve sobriety. Support groups are the best place to start. They provide a space and time for people to share their struggles and progress. You get to air your difficulties about beating your drinking habit and hear the same from others, providing you with not only helpful insights but a feeling of openness and non-judgmental support.
You can search online for local support groups. Try asking people you know who are also working on staying sober. Your doctor may suggest ones that fit your needs.
Once you sign up for them, see if they work for you. Stick it out until you feel like you can truly be part of their environment. Consistency is key.
6. Check Your Nutrition
Good nutrition helps replenish the nutrients your body loses through excessive alcohol consumption. Plus, nutrients like zinc, thiamine, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, glutamine, and magnesium can help decrease alcohol cravings. So, you’d want to create a meal plan that includes foods rich in these nutrients. Here are some great examples:
- Zinc: Spinach, oysters, beans, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds
- Glutamine: Eggs, cabbage, parsley, beets, seafood, nuts
- Thiamine: Bread and cereals
- B12: Liver, kidneys, dairy products
- B6: Salmon, tuna, carrots, sweet potato, green peas, avocado, chickpeas
- Magnesium: Chinook salmon, Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic pollock, potato with skin, edamame, Swiss chard, and halibut
You should work with a professional nutritionist to develop a diet plan that includes most of these foods. They’ll also advise you on appropriate portions and intake to aid you in your recovery journey.
7. Sleep Adequately
Sleep is a natural method of relieving stress. Getting enough of it every night gives your body adequate time to repair itself, as well. Furthermore, it helps you process thoughts and feelings and think about where you are in your journey. Try to get around seven to eight hours in bed every night.
8. Be Honest About Your Problems
People often get started on their alcohol addiction in different ways. For some, it can be the result of peer pressure. Others connect it to a coping mechanism or a response to something traumatic happening in their lives. Many people turn to drinking to dull the pain of dealing with mounting debt, failing relationships, anxieties over the future, loss, and grief. Tragically, those with mental health disorders may rely on it for relief.
Identifying the root cause is sometimes necessary to help a person get a good grasp of why their reliance on alcohol is dangerous. Addiction disorders are often a crutch to provide a sense of freedom from one’s most pressing challenges.
It’s a good thing that rehabilitation has a social aspect. Medical social services can help recovering patients find the appropriate solutions to their problems, even lending them a hand with accessing funding from the right sources to sustain them. It all starts with being willing to open up about your problems and reaching out for help. Be in touch with yourself, and be truthful.
Slow But Steady Is The Path To Recovery
All of these are just starting points; the journey to recovery is unique to every person with alcohol addiction. Furthermore, it’s never a smooth, upward slope. Just remember that you need compassion for yourself, patience, and lots and lots of determination. These are the keys to forming the appropriate habits to combat your condition. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Never hesitate to reach out for help.