Deciding to stop drinking is a significant milestone if you struggle with alcohol dependence. At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we understand the challenges and complexities of maintaining a sober lifestyle when faced with daily stressors and triggers. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
1. Acknowledge the Need for Change
The first step in overcoming alcohol dependence is acknowledging that drinking is adversely affecting your life. This realization can come through personal reflection or feedback from friends, family, or work colleagues.
2. Set Clear Goals
Making realistic, achievable goals provides a roadmap for your journey. Be specific about what success looks like for you, and consider setting small, short-term targets to build momentum.
3. Seek Professional Help
Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens can be physically dangerous, so you should always seek medical supervision to minimize the risks. Medical professionals can provide detoxification services in a safe, controlled environment, ensuring you are stable enough to proceed with the next stages of recovery.
4. Build a Support System
You’ll need to surround yourself with positive, like-minded people to help you stop drinking. Friends and family can encourage you and help you manage the emotional aspects of alcohol abstinence. You can also find invaluable advice in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery.
5. Recognize and Avoid Triggers
Identify situations, environments, or emotions that trigger your desire to drink. These could be stress, social settings, or even specific people. Developing strategies to either avoid these triggers or cope with them in healthier ways is a vital part of maintaining sobriety.
6. Develop New Habits and Interests
Replacing old habits with new, healthier activities can provide a distraction, boost your mood, and reduce the risk of relapse. Consider hobbies or interests that you’ve neglected or always wanted to try, like yoga, photography, or volunteer work.
7. Practice Self-Care
Taking care of your physical and mental health is a significant part of recovery. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise, and find ways to manage stress. Self-care also means being kind to yourself and recognizing that recovery has many ups and downs.
8. Prepare for Setbacks
If you find your motivation to stop drinking flagging, view it as a temporary setback instead of a failure. Analyze what caused you to stumble and use this knowledge to strengthen your future coping strategies.
9. Celebrate Your Progress
Acknowledge and celebrate your triumphs, no matter how small. Each day of sobriety is an achievement, and recognizing your progress can be a powerful motivator.
Embracing a Sober Life
Quitting alcohol is a courageous decision and a significant step toward a healthier, more fulfilling life. At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we provide qualified outpatient and residential addiction treatment at seven locations in western Washington. Contact us today to put sobriety within your reach.