Now that 2021 has come, it is a perfect time to begin setting goals for the year and working to achieve them. If you are thinking about stopping the use of substances, now is a great time to take that step forward and work toward a better life. Many do not understand why people turn to alcohol to cope and cannot give practical advice other than “stop drinking.” Pinelands Recovery Center at Medford wants to change this by offering 10 real tips to help you stop drinking in 2021.
#1 Set Your Goals
First and foremost, you need to decide your goals and understand why you are setting them. Maybe you have started to notice the harmful impact drinking has had on your life, and you want something better for yourself. Perhaps you want to be more focused at work or be able to show up more for your family and friends. No matter the reason, record your thoughts to remind yourself later. Then, set goals for yourself and no matter what your goals are, make sure they work for you and are reasonable. You can set short-term and long-term goals to make the recovery process more manageable, and this will help you track your progress over time.
#2 Tell Someone
It can be challenging to embark on the journey to sobriety without having someone there supporting you. Without being held accountable, you may very easily slip back into old habits. Tell someone you trust that you are trying to stop drinking, such as a close friend, family member, therapist or doctor. This way, the person can ensure you are being safe and hold you accountable throughout your recovery. Sometimes you will need support, and you will be happy you have that person to lean on for the hard days.
#3 Know Your Triggers
Triggers are emotional and environmental cues that remind you of drinking, often causing powerful cravings. Knowing what your triggers are will help you do two things: avoid them and know what to do if you come across them. Making a list of your personal triggers and common triggers of alcohol use can help you learn to avoid them. This may be avoiding places where alcohol is served, not hanging around specific individuals or not keeping alcohol in the house. On the list, you should also include coping methods and relapse prevention strategies to help you cope with triggers if you do come across them.
#4 Keep a Journal
Writing down how much alcohol you have consumed, how you felt when you drank and how productive you were is a powerful way to keep track of what life is like with and without alcohol. Over time, you may begin to see the benefits of not drinking, as documented firsthand in your journal. This will serve as a great reminder to get sober.
#5 Have a Daily Routine
Come up with a structured daily routine to keep you busy and less tempted to drink. A daily routine will help you progress towards your recovery goals and not leave you with free time to think about drinking. You can include healthy eating, exercise, self-care and time for support groups in your routine to help keep you motivated during your recovery.
#6 Take Breaks
Set aside days where you won’t consume any alcohol. Once you can go one day without drinking, go two days, then three. Keep adding days until you go one week, then one month, then one year. Short-term goals are the best way to achieve your long-term goals.
#7 Practice Self-Care
It’s easy to get down on yourself if you slip up in recovery or to feel guilty about the time you spent drinking in the past. However, this will do nothing to serve your recovery. Instead, practice self-care to help gain love and respect for yourself. Try meditating, taking walks or exercising to calm anxiety. Over time, you will see the benefits self-care has both for your recovery and mental health.
#8 Attend a Support Group
Going to support groups for others recovering from alcohol use, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery and others can provide you with a sober support network. The people you meet in these groups may give you practical advice on how to stop drinking or progress in recovery because they are also people recovering from alcohol use. Listen to what others have to say and learn as much as you can.
#9 Check into Treatment
Whether you go to an inpatient, outpatient or residential treatment program, rehab can be just the answer you need to get sober. These facilities are made to help you get sober, and you will be monitored and taught how to properly cope with obstacles life throws at you. You can get the necessary help to set you up for long-term sobriety.
#10 Don’t Give Up
Perhaps one of the most obvious tips to stop drinking is to not give up. While this may seem obvious and straightforward, there will be hard days where you crave alcohol. Don’t give in to these temptations and use your coping methods to keep you on track. You’ll thank yourself for it later!
Individuals struggling with alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder often find it extremely difficult to stop drinking. While loved ones may mean well, they often do not know real ways to help them quit. Practical advice and tips are needed, which the Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford wants to offer. At Pinelands, we understand the difficulties that come with recovery, but we also have seen the blessings it has given many of our patients. Doing your research, getting the proper help, and sticking to your recovery plan can give you the results you are looking for. Remember, though, that recovery does not happen overnight. Set small goals that you can achieve over time to reach your long-term goals. One day you will be sober and stronger than you ever thought you could be. Keep it up, and should you ever have questions or need help on your journey, give us a call at (877) 557-5372.