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February 16, 2019

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol Every Night

When you were young, maybe you never imagined yourself drinking alcohol. But as time goes on, this unattraction to the substance wanes. Perhaps in high school, perhaps in college, or perhaps you’re an extremely late bloomer (by our society’s standards) and it occurs well into your adulthood. But there’s usually a point where you begin to drink.

Initially, it’s nothing more than social lubricant. You drink once or twice a week when all of your friends are together. Perhaps you haven’t even developed the taste for it yet and you do it only because, well, it’s ‘natural.’ Eventually you graduate to having your own preference and before you know it, alcohol becomes mixed into your dinners, social outings, work events, and nearly every activity that revolves around your peer group.

For many of us, it never surpasses that. But for those who have addictive tendencies, or suffer from AUD (alcohol use disorder), in the span of a measly couple years your every night may consist of drinking. It’s no longer a substance used in social settings, now it’s the thing you reach for the second you’re off work, or even during it. This is understandable. Alcohol can feel relaxing and it helps take the edge off. Habit becomes routine. You’ve worked all day long and you deserve your glass of wine or beer. Yet, it’s always a startling question when you ask yourself: when was the last day I didn’t drink?

Only, of course, to find yourself incapable of remembering a sober day.

Acknowledging The Problem

Before considering professional help like an inpatient alcohol rehab, the first step to reducing or eliminating your drinking habit is to acknowledge that it’s a problem. It should not be a surprise to you that there are different degrees of alcoholism and—in many cases—the excessive intake is nothing more than poor habits and dependency (rather than alcohol addiction). If you are looking to stop drinking in its entirety, the steps will be different than if you are trying to limit your drinking to say, one night a week.

In which case, your acknowledgement could be nothing more than understanding that, if your lifestyle continues, this bad habit could easily become a problem. We commend this line of thinking, being that you’re taking the necessary steps to avoid an unhealthy future. Despite this, no matter where you sit on the spectrum of alcohol abuse, you must first acknowledge that you have a problem, or that you’re exercising habits that could easily turn into one.

But Am I An Alcoholic?

At this point, you might be wondering: does drinking every night mean that I’m an alcoholic? Because wouldn’t the measure to stop drinking be a bit more complicated? Unfortunately, without you reaching out for a proper consultation, answering this is difficult. Alcoholism has many forms and AUD isn’t partial. An alcoholic can drink one time a week and yet blackout when he or she does. If this is your case, you may want to learn how to stop binge drinking and work towards moderate alcohol intake or cut it out completely. And someone that drinks every night could merely be dependent and not addicted.

In fact, research has actually begun to expose the benefits of moderate but consistent drinking (red wine, specifically). These studies can be dangerous. Many may forgo the details only to justify their habits. In which case, separating dependency from addiction can become a loaded endeavor. Some important questions to ask yourself are:

  • How many drinks do you have a night? Is it usually just one or two, or is it multiple?
  • Are you using alcohol to cope? As in, is there no way for you to relax until you’ve had your drink? When life events come crashing down on you, do you drink more?
  • How fast do you finish your drinks? Is it merely about the routine of opening the beer and sipping it while decompressing for the day, or do you gulp it down before you’ve realized it’s been opened?
  • Is there consistency to your nightly drinking? Meaning, every night you like your glass of red wine and keep it that. Or is it consistent in occurrence but sporadic in volume?

If you drink multiple drinks a night, use alcohol to cope with stress, drink quickly, and partake in heavy drinking weekly, chances are you’re learning more towards AUD. This amplifies if your family has a history of drug abuse or alcoholism. Now, we could ask you the real questions like:

  • Is your life suffering because of your alcohol use?
  • Are you having trouble with finances?
  • Are your relationships failing?
  • Have you been in trouble with the law?

But if you’re here trying to stop drinking every night because of a dependency, it’s possible that you do not need to go through a full recovery. In which case, below are some tools that can teach you how to stop drinking alcohol every night, eventually fostering a healthy relationship between you and the booze.

Set Your Goals

First off, you have to want to do this. We don’t mean kind of, we mean with the bullheadedness of the stubborn and proud. Either acknowledge that you have a problem or that one can develop if you don’t reduce your alcohol intake. You don’t want to become a statistic.

  • 80 people die each year due to alcohol-related incidents
  • 65 million people binge drink monthly
  • Over 15 million people in the US currently suffer from AUD

In which case, identify what it is you want from this habit change and write your goals out. Put them on paper and hang that reminder somewhere visible. If it’s merely cutting back a few nights because you want to ensure that you have a grip on your drinking, do it. If it’s cutting six days of the week out and allowing yourself one night of drinking for better health, do it. If it’s removing alcohol from your life completely, do it. Although—if this is your reality and you are suffering from addiction and need an alcohol detox—it’s best you reach out to us here at Beach House Recovery. Stopping cold turkey can pose serious health risks and should never be done without professional assistance.

Set your goals and then define why it is that you’re setting them. What is the aspiration behind this lifestyle change? Make sure you’re thorough as, when the urges or cravings come, you’ll want to remember exactly why you started monitoring your drinking.

Remove The Alcohol

It’s easy to keep beer and wine stocked in the fridge. In many ways, this is an excuse to drink it. It’s in the house, so why not? It’s not like you’re going out to the liquor store like someone with a serious problem. Yet, it’s this type of excuse that leads to heavier drinking. In which case, we recommend that if you want to cut down on your drinking, remove alcohol from your home.

On the nights that you’re allowing yourself a drink, only buy what you need. If you stock up or buy in bulk, then you’re going to have temptation around you at all times. Also, reap the benefits of the money you’re going to save from not spending on alcohol every week. It adds up quickly.

You Might Need to Create Separation

It’s possible that your nightly drinking is a result of your social circle. Peer pressure can be the subtlest form of manipulation in modern times, so much so that we often overlook it. If every night you have someone texting you, inviting you out somewhere to drink, then you might have to create a bit of distance. At first, if you’re a frequent socialite, you might experience some pushback. Your friends will be curious about your absence, inquiring and even doubling-down on trying to get you to come out.

Don’t break. Over time, you will create a new norm for yourself and you won’t be expected to remain an integral part of these outings. Better yet, challenge yourself to remain in the same situation yet without drinking. You might find that you don’t enjoy it as much as you did, perhaps even that it’s intolerable. Inversely, you might come to love your sober self in these environments, being that you’re presenting a different version of you.

Slow Your Roll

For those of you drinkers that seem to gulp down your cocktails in less than two sips, we encourage you to try and drink slower. When cigarette smokers quit, experts recommend that they substitute something for their oral fixation. This could be gum, chewing a toothpick, and so forth. Sometimes, the same phenomenon is at play with alcohol dependency.

It could very well be about the motion. You reach for your drink, put it up to your lips, and when you set it down you want to replicate the movement. You can do one of two things here:

  • Always have a water with your drink (which is beneficial anyhow, being that it counteracts the dehydrating effects of alcohol) and drink that in between sipping your alcohol
  • Monitor your sips by staying aware of your alcohol level

Remember that the true beauty of alcohol exists in its artistry. It’s about the taste, the texture, the history! Perhaps you could begin to learn more about your favorite types and purchase higher quality bottles to enjoy the taste and craftsmanship, rather than the alcohol.

Discover New Activities

Most who drink are fully aware how convenient alcohol can be. It can enhance nearly any situation when used appropriately. In which case, going home to the bottle of wine in the fridge granted you an activity to partake in every night; drinking. When you’ve cut this out, you may find yourself a bit restless, unknowing of how to spend your time. You don’t want to join your normal night crowd because you’re abstaining from alcohol and yet, being home doesn’t feel as comfortable as it did when you were partaking in your previous routine.

In which case, we encourage and challenge you to find new activities, try out new hobbies, and busy yourself in things you wouldn’t otherwise have done with your time. This can be as mundane as taking a walk whenever you’re feeling restless, to enrolling in a new art class you’ve always wanted to try. Most who drink regularly and stop come across an astounding discovery:

So much time opens up! And what’s the most precious resource in the world? Your hours on this earth. Make use of them and try new things that’ll not only distract you from the lack of alcohol but change your lifestyle.

Communicate

This point is extremely important but it does come with, well, a subplot. It’s entirely possible that someone who stops nightly drinking may not want to tell others that they’re doing so, being that they don’t want to alarm anyone. When you tell someone that you’re cutting out drinking, they can assume that you’re struggling from a problem with alcohol—or you can assume that they will.

As with most things in life, no matter the case it’s better to be open about your struggles, goals, and aspirations. If you let your family and friends know that you’re not drinking during the weekdays, or you’re not drinking at all, they’ll be more inclined to respect your current conquest. This could mean that you won’t feel bad denying their invitations for a night out because they simply won’t send them.

The more you communicate to people about your situation, the easier you will make it on yourself. This becomes more important if you’re someone with an active and thriving social life. Yet, the lonesome drinker could benefit all the same, as their loved ones will rally to support them by joining in the journey.

A Last Word

No matter what type of drinker you are, laying off the booze for a while is always a great idea. It allows for a fresh perspective, some time away, and reflection. Be it monitoring your weekly intake or cutting it out entirely, the tips above apply to an addict or someone that has a dependency.

If you’re suffering from AUD, however, and you want to quit drinking, it’s paramount that we encourage you to seek our help, or the help of any healthcare professional. If you know you have a problem with drinking and you need help from the professionals, an inpatient alcohol rehab center may be a great solution. Depending on the severity of the disorder, alcohol withdrawals can be dangerous. It’s best to detox under medical supervision or at least undergo an evaluation before potentially putting yourself at risk.

To that point, no matter what you’re currently struggling with, feel free to reach out to ask us anything. We’re here for you. For more information on long term residential treatment, please contact Beach House Recovery today.

 

Sources:

Overcoming Alcohol Addiction

http://www.bu.edu/bostonia/fall10/dry/dry.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/01/05/i-tried-mindfulness-to-quit-drinking-it-worked/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.becd14a20b00

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mindful-moderate-drinking-how-to-drink-less-enjoy_us_58ed8744e4b0ea028d568e13