"What do you mean, you just quit?"
Yep. That's the simplest way to get sober. If you prefer, you can
do this incrementally--reduce your drinking by 50% today, then 50% again
tomorrow, and so on. Or you can pour everything down the drain right now and
not buy any more. (By the way, that's a pretty simple concept: if you don't buy
it, you can't drink it!). The main thing is to take action NOW--do something
specific, make a commitment, and stick with it. YOU are in control.
Obstacles to quitting are usually thoughts or beliefs about how
difficult it's going to be. There are those absolute thoughts again! I can't
quit, I need it, it'll be uncomfortable, I can't sleep without it, I need it
because I'm stressed or anxious, the party won't be fun….Take those thoughts
rationally, one by one. They aren't true, and you can prove it. You CAN do it.
Yes, there are physical consequences of quitting suddenly after
prolonged alcohol abuse. Your sleep patterns and digestion may be disrupted,
and you may be kind of jumpy. Most of the physical effects last about 72 hours;
after that the effects are largely psychological and emotional. A change in
your diet, some vitamins, and herbal tea have all been mentioned by others as
helping to get through these few days. Support from others who have been there
can make a big difference. It DOES get easier with time.
Urges may seem overwhelming in the first few days. Techniques for
coping with urges include diverting yourself with other activities (change your
daily pattern to fill your drinking hours). Actively dispute the reasons you
are telling yourself about why you "need" a drink. Avoid the little
rationalizations and "bargains" you want to make ("I'll buy a
six-pack, but tonight I'll just drink one…or two…."). Make a promise to
yourself, make it iron-clad, and stick with it. Urges WILL pass, and will
become less common as time goes by.
Mood swings are not uncommon. It's exhilarating to make a
significant decision and stick with it. You do notice changes right away, and
they can be exciting. Urges can be demoralizing and make you feel as though you
are not succeeding. Many people lapse, but it is not inevitable--nor does it
mean you're a failure. Sobriety doesn't bring happiness, but it does make it more
recognizable and easier to attain. Mood swings WILL pass, and your days will
become more even as your body adapts to your new chemistry.
Anxiety about how people will react is a recurring theme on this
board. The fact is, most people are far less interested in your drinking than
you are. Sure, you can develop strategies for dealing with people who are
persistent. Perhaps they have an irrational belief that you're only
"fun" if you're matching them drink for drink. More likely, your
resolve deepens their pre-existing insecurities about their own habits and
behavior. YOU have made a choice and you don't NEED to defend it.
You've acknowledged that your drinking is a problem. Is there any
better way of dealing with that problem than quitting? Give it a try! What have
you got to lose?