How to Stop Drinking Alcohol
If you want help knowing how to stop drinking alcohol, you are in the right place. There are different options available to you, and a good place to start is by talking to a Christian counselor. When you are struggling with this problem, you can find compassionate and nonjudgmental help in your counseling sessions.
It can be very difficult or impossible to stop drinking alcohol if you have any signs of addiction. It may be helpful to first look at the symptoms of addiction to see if they apply to your situation. Let’s look at the common signs that alcohol addiction has taken hold of someone.
What Is Problem Drinking?
Alcohol use is very common among Americans. It is widely used in social situations and can be difficult to avoid. Not everyone who consumes alcohol is an addict. However, about eighteen million Americans show signs of being addicted according to a 2017 national survey.
It’s helpful to understand what the difference is between “regular” drinking and addiction. Since different types of drinks have various alcohol levels, we need to look at what constitutes a standard drink of 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol per serving, as shown in these examples.
- 12 oz. of beer with 5% alcohol content
- 8 oz. of malt liquor with 7% alcohol content
- 5 oz. of wine with 12% alcohol content
- 1.5 oz. of distilled spirits or liquor with 40% alcohol content
The average American male is recommended to have no more than two of these drinks per day, and the average American woman is recommended to limit her intake to one of these drinks per day. The problems with alcohol begin when consumption goes over these limits.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as at least four drinks for females or five drinks for males on at least one day per month. Heavy alcohol use is bingeing on five or more days per month.
Heavy alcohol use can also be classified as fifteen or more drinks per week for males or eight or more drinks per week for women. This drinking pattern can raise blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dL or higher. This can happen in males who consume about five drinks in two hours or females who consume four drinks in two hours.
When Is It an Addiction?
Now that you have looked at the numbers, you may wonder if you have an addiction. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), you may be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder if you have at least two of these symptoms within a year:
- There is a pattern of drinking more than you originally intended or for a longer period than you first set out to drink.
- Drinking consumes much of your time and you may often feel sick the next day due to your drinking.
- You have tried to stop drinking on your own at least once, but you were unsuccessful.
- You have cravings for alcohol.
- Drinking or becoming sick due to drinking has caused disruptions to your responsibilities in your family, at work, at school, or in social situations.
- You experienced consequences in your home, family, school, work, or elsewhere, but continued to drink.
- Drinking has become more important than activities or hobbies that you once enjoyed.
- You chose to keep drinking despite at least one memory blackout or negative effects on your mental or physical health, such as mood swings, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, or other metabolic disorders.
- You continued to drink though drinking raised your chances of harming yourself or others, such as drinking while under the influence of alcohol.
- You need to drink more alcohol to achieve the same results you experienced in the past.
- When you stopped drinking, you experienced physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Binge drinking or heavy alcohol use can cause a myriad of problems in your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual life. It’s important to reach out for help as soon as possible if you sense that you may have a problem with alcohol.
How to Stop Drinking Alcohol
Through personal experience, you may have learned that quitting alcohol on your own is very difficult. Many people have formed drinking habits, whether they drink with friends after work, at parties on weekends, or at home to unwind. These habits can be challenging to overcome once they are in place. But there is hope for you if you want to stop drinking.
People who have drinking problems need multiple layers of help to break these habits. A good place to begin is to meet with a Christian counselor who has helped others break free from alcohol addiction. Most problem drinkers have deep, unhealed emotional wounds that they numb through drinking. A caring counselor can help you process those hurts so you can get on the path toward healing.
Most people who suffer from alcoholism need the support and accountability of others to overcome addiction. They need people who understand their temptations, who do not judge them, and who will celebrate their victories.
There are many well-known groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery that will support you in your journey toward sobriety. You’ll also be assigned a sponsor in these groups. Your sponsor will serve as an accountability partner and go-to person when you are tempted to drink again.
Depending on the level of your addiction, you may also benefit from a medical detox. Trying to detox on your own can cause life-threatening problems. But when you are under medical supervision during the detox, the doctors will give you medication to ease the symptoms. They can also offer medical intervention if necessary. Talk with your doctor about your options for detox.
Many people have successfully stopped drinking through outpatient or inpatient settings. These rehabilitation programs require investments of time and money but can be even more effective for long-term recovery. The intensive treatments in these programs include individual counseling, group therapy, education programs, behavioral therapies, and techniques to help you avoid relapse.
The treatment doesn’t stop there. For most recovering addicts, aftercare is essential for helping them stay on track with their goals. The accountability in your AA or Celebrate Recovery group can keep you focused on your sobriety, and you can keep learning and growing through regular sessions with a Christian counselor. Your family members may also benefit from group or individual counseling to break the dysfunctional dynamics caused by alcohol use.
Christian Counseling to Help You Stop Drinking Alcohol
To stop drinking alcohol, you’ll need to overhaul your habits and perhaps some of your friendships. You’ll need help working on yourself, your relationship with God, and your relationship with your family. Though this is hard work, it’s possible with God’s help and the help of a caring Christian counselor.
At our offices, we use different behavioral therapies to help you change your thought patterns and behaviors that promote drinking. We will also teach you healthy ways to handle your stress and coach you on positive coping mechanisms, using God’s Word as our guide. We can strategize with you on how to avoid relapse and role-play ways you can rebuild trust in your relationships.
It’s nearly impossible to overcome alcohol addiction on your own. Many people have found success in working with health care professionals and joining group therapy. The Christian counselors on our team can serve as encouraging guides on your journey toward better health, improved relationships, and a stronger faith in God.
Contact our offices today to learn more about our treatment programs for people who want to stop drinking alcohol. We’re here to pray for you, support you and encourage you on this important journey of recovery.
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