The thought of quitting drinking and never touching alcohol again was so foreign to me at first.
I had so many questions, most of which I either didn’t have the answers to or couldn’t find on the internet.
If you’re struggling with an addiction like alcohol, quitting drinking can unlock unlimited potential in your life, but wouldn’t it be good if you had some answers to those nagging questions first?
In this article, I compile a list of common questions I’ve either been asked or seen circulating most on the web and answered them.
When Quitting Drinking, How Do I Stop or Deal With Alcohol Cravings?
Persistence, knowledge and having some core tactics are key.
Cravings are probably the #1 roadblock in quitting drinking, but if we understand the fundamentals of why we crave, it can be a whole lot easier.
When quitting drinking, it’s always best to start with The Core Essentials in Tackling Cravings, I would even suggest looking at my 5 Simple Habits You Should Be Doing to Sustain Long-term Sobriety.
Some other tips when dealing with alcohol cravings include:
- Remind yourself that it’s only temporary – Cravings don’t last forever, in fact, a usual bout will last about 20 minutes. Distracting yourself, going for a walk, simply meditating or putting on some music can help tenfold. The less you think about it, the faster it’s likely to dissipate.
- Use supplements to diffuse cravings – I’ve written many articles on various affordable supplements that may help with alcohol cravings. Supplements like glutamine, NAC and even creatine have been studied in certain scenarios which may assist in reducing alcohol cravings.
- Don’t be afraid to use medication – Sometimes there is a time and place for pharmaceutical medicine, and if you need to use it to get started, don’t be afraid to do so. Medication such as Antabuse (Disfuliram) is a great short-term solution while you incorporate some foundational habits for the long term.
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Do I Drink Too Much? How Do I Know When It’s a Problem?
Generally, if you’re already asking the question, it’s often a good indicator that alcohol might have to go.
I always recommend using my Hallmarks of Addiction question guide to determine whether quitting drinking is something you might need to do.
The more you say yes to some of the questions, the more you may need to start the process of quitting drinking.
How Do I Start Quitting Drinking? What Are The First Steps?
Creating accountability and burning the bridges should always be your first step.
Accountability means taking that leap of faith and making our addiction public, telling your close friends, and family, and even reaching out to a support group or community.
Establishing accountability is an absolutely critical first step in really quitting drinking.
Read more about Leaps of Faith and the Importance of Burning your Bridges.
Understandably this is no easy feat for anyone, but I can guarantee you it will help tenfold, and drastically reduce your chances of opting out because you now have a support community to help you through the tough moments.
Other core steps in quitting drinking include:
- Playing the tape forward – When cravings arise, stop and think what the next day, 7 days, heck even 2 weeks will look like. When we go down the path of addiction, we create something known as The Addiction Ripple Effect, meaning our actions affect more than just ourselves, but others too.
- Stay connected – This continues to keep you accountable, and as we mentioned, is a pretty core part of quitting drinking. if socialising is difficult for you, don’t make it complicated, just visiting a close friend regularly can be enough.
- Support your nutritional health – Poor diet can be linked to so many mental health conditions, so it’s no surprise that looking after some key nutrients will support our sobriety.
I Use Alcohol to Cope With Stress, What Will I Use Instead?
Stress is an everyday part of life that we learn to manage normally through healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise, meditation, or even taking time out to go for a walk.
The thing with quitting alcohol and stress is, we’ve relied on alcohol as a coping mechanism for so long, we just simply don’t have a database of things we can use instead.
Below are some recommendations to start with as alternatives when stress bubbles to the surface:
- Exercise – It sounds like a cop-out, but Exercise in Sobriety can do wonders for your stress levels, and your own mental health too. Exercise boosts feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, which improves mood and diffuses those feelings of tension.
- Be kind to yourself – The initial adjustment can take time, so it’s important to keep things simple and not to put too much pressure on yourself. Taking more time to relax, looking after your sleep and lowering expectations in the early days can help us establish healthy habits for stress.
- Support your nervous system – Your nervous system is often still adjusting to the new normal, so using nutrients to support it will help you manage stress better. Compounds such as Magnesium, Zinc and Glycine can be simple and affordable supplement options to use.
I Know Someone Else Who I Think Needs to Quit Alcohol, What Should I Do?
Let them know you’re there for them if they need help. but don’t push them.
In my experience, some people can often not be ready to quit, despite the circumstances they’re going through.
The best thing you can do is be ready for them, and if they ask for help, and perhaps provide them with various resources, the Hallmarks of Addiction can be a good first step.
At times, it can be easy to disconnect from the person, because, for some people who have never experienced addiction, it can be offputting and a little scary.
Stay patient, remain open and one day you may be a part of this person’s accountability network.
If you have any feedback regarding this article, reach out. Help Clarity reach more people and quit addiction by following us on Instagram, it’s also the perfect place to message us and ask questions!
Former drinker, Nutritionist, Biohacking enthusiast, self-experimenter, research fanatic, and self-taught writer, Stephen immerses himself deep into the literature of human optimisation and better understand the nature of addiction. His goal is to help people take control of their addiction, reset their cravings, unscramble their broken brain circuitry and use actionable strategies that work ten times better than anything else.