‘Go dry this July’…perhaps it hasn’t yet gained the traction of January’s annual self-imposed drought, but next month signals another occasion where many will try to abstain from alcohol for a full 31 days. And sure, most of us enjoy a drink when we go out, and the barren spell won’t be too tough. But it’s crucial to recognise that for some, it can be hard. When you might have a problem and when such a period of laying off the booze is seriously difficult or worse, impossible, then there’s no stigma in seeking help. The following is for those who struggle; our 5 IDEAL tips for cutting out the excess alcohol consumption.
ACCEPT YOU HAVE AN ADDICTION
Often times, people drink to help them in social situations or to help them get over a bad day. But it’s vital to recognise when this has tipped over into an issue. If it has, facing up to the fact you have a problem or addiction is the first step on the road to recovery.
There are a few signs that you can look for to help you accept that you are dependant on alcohol. One is that your first thought when you wake up is about alcohol, the second is that you are happy to drink alone. The third and probably most important is that you are reading this and are trying to figure out if you do have a problem. Other factors include hiding your drinking from others, not knowing when to stop, and using booze to feel better, regularly.
GET THE RIGHT HELP
As we’ve established, the first step to getting the right help is admitting that you have a problem. Make sure that you talk to a friend or a family member, as this should help give you that little bit of extra support. Finding a sponsor who isn’t a close friend or relative is another method which many find helpful; an impartial, non-judgmental voice to see you right.
There’s also no shame in admitting that you might find it easier if you go to a recovery centre specialising in alcohol withdrawal to deal with your addiction and any serious reactions to the process of kicking the habit. They can help you get the right treatment, of which there is a diverse range, giving you the tools to deal with potential relapses and temptations.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
One step at a time seems to be the most effective mantra which former alcoholics who are now sober swear by. Of course, there will come a time when you are really tested, but by taking each day as it comes, you’ll find the obstacles smaller and the weight less burdensome. The internationally recognised AA system keeps this notion at its core, with its 12 step system changing lives for the positive the world over. Take a look at their advice over here.
CHERISH THE POSITIVE CHANGE
For those who have enjoyed (or endured) a month of sobriety, it can be a genuinely eye-opening experience. Physically, most abstainers report having a better complexion and figure; something no amount of beauty products can match. Mentally, a more positive mindset, greater energy and ambition, and clarity of thought are common; something no amount of brain training can achieve. And financially, the money saved on not going out and blowing your paycheck on the booze is really, truly significant. It’s crazy to think that all of this gets thrown away, just because of a change in the date.
‘APPY TO HELP
There are plenty of apps out there to help you monitor and moderate your alcohol intake. Some take the form of daily motivational messages, hypnotherapy and mindfulness advice. Others help you track how much you’ve been consuming, and how much it’s cost you, in both pounds and calories. Many also offer the chance to engage with a community of like-minded people, which for some can be really helpful. You really are spoilt for choice with the amount of help out there in app form, so dive in. Most are free, too.