Drinking is a part of everyday life for many people, and for years it was the only way to ensure that you had potable liquid (i.e., fluids that wouldn’t give you dysentery or other nasty diseases). However, most of us have good sanitation and decent water systems in our own homes, so why do people drink?
For starters, it has transmuted into a social thing to do, and this is when it’s sometimes hard to give up. As drinking for many is such an essential part of everyday socializing, we find it hard to say no to it. After all, we don’t want to be social outcasts.
"You don’t have to drink to have a good time."I, however, don’t drink. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is the fact that I don’t like the way I handled it during my college years. I would spend every other night drunk and wonder why I fell behind and felt like crap all the time. I ended up drinking less and less, and now I very rarely touch alcohol.
I find I stick to soft drinks and still have a good time, though, even in social situations. This led me to an important conclusion:
You don’t have to drink to have a good time.
If you find that social situations mean that you end up drinking, you might have to gradually give them up for a while and consider why you feel that you need to drink. I found that I had all sorts of arguments prepared as to why I should carry on drinking, ranging from “everyone else is doing it” to “it’s just more fun.”
Gradually as I weaned myself off drink, I found I didn’t miss it. I can still enjoy watching football without beer or spirits, and I remember more of it. I also don’t have to worry about getting home or being stopped by the cops.
Reducing Exposure to Alcohol
I found the trick was to reduce my exposure to alcohol gradually. This meant reducing the number of nights I went out and gradually avoiding places that sold and served alcohol. I also started to routinely order soft drinks when I was out, alternating between softs and alcohol. Finally, I also told friends that I wanted to cut down on my use. Most of them were supportive; the ones who weren’t I avoided for a while, as they tried to get me to drink again, often remarking that it was just a phase or that not drinking was in some way “silly.”
My goal was reduction, not cessation, but I found that the longer I went without alcohol, the better I felt. I also found I could return to my old haunts and simply order what I wanted—soft drinks—without anyone commenting. My friends had got used to the idea that I didn’t drink.
That’s the best way to reduce your alcohol use. If you try to cut it out altogether all at once without any sort of support, you’ll likely fail. If you aim to reduce the number of days that you spend drinking alcohol gradually and then reduce the number of hours you spend out, you’re more likely to be successful in quitting.
That’s an important lesson.
Seeking Professional Help, Treatment Centers
Of course, there are times when you simply cannot quit, whether it’s due to alcohol addiction or something similar. In this case, you’ll find that you get drastic shakes and other symptoms when you quit, some of which can be quite devastating. If that’s the case, you likely need more professional help from an alcohol addiction clinic or something similar.
These centers help you get free of alcohol by stopping it and giving you medication to reduce the effects of withdrawal. While they’ll never get rid of all the side effects of withdrawal, they really do help in the short term.
Then you’ll likely be given counseling to help you with adjusting to your new drink-free life. It will help you to identify why you drink and group sessions will show you that it’s possible to live an alcohol-free life. At the end of the day, it’s your health and your life, and it really does help you when you stop putting this toxin into your body.
The best part of living an alcohol-free life I found was the amount of money I had left at the end of each month. When I added up how much I spent each month on alcohol, the shock was enough to make me quit by itself.
If you or a loved one has a drinking problem and it’s eating away at your quality of life, contact our toll-free hotline at 1-800-928-9139 to find an alcohol treatment center near you that can help.
Image Source: Flickr/AlcoholFreeZone