How to Stop Drinking: 14 Tips for Success

If you feel comfortable doing so, discuss your challenges with your primary healthcare professional. Finding a therapist can also be a great starting point if you’re uncomfortable opening up to your healthcare professional. Maybe you’ve never been interested in logging your innermost thoughts, but journaling can be a great tool to track your feelings as you work on quitting alcohol.

It’s important to remember that labeling yourself is not necessary to take a step back and reconsider alcohol’s role in your life. That’s why Mehta recommends being kind to yourself and thinking about this as an experiment. She also recommends starting with an event where you’re most comfortable and even relying on an alcohol-free beverage to ease the transition. “It will take time to adjust to a new normal but implementing mindfulness (such as deep breathing) when in a social setting helps you to focus on being fully present to the people you are talking to,” Stewart says. This article is part of a content partnership with our friends at Tempest, the first evidence-based digital recovery platform. Setting a quit date is linked to success in sticking to your plan.

Why I’m giving up alcohol for a year

It’s important to acknowledge your ambivalence about stopping drinking. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to change or you’re struggling with the decision, it can help to think about the costs and benefits of each choice. If you’re having difficulty finding support systems as you experiment with quitting drinking or aren’t sure how to make sober friends, Stewart recommends connecting with sober folks on social media. Researchers found that short-term behavior modifications like Dry January, can encourage people to be more conscious about how much alcohol they consume, saying it could be beneficial. However, a 2021 study indicated that abstinence from alcohol for a month does not reduce overall alcohol consumption for casual drinkers.

To stop drinking alcohol, you first need to understand your relationship with drinking. From there, you may need social support, consistent self-care, and new routines that can help redirect your mind. “Just get a sparkling water, put a lime in it, and have fun,” he says. Some people are able to stop drinking on their own or with the help of a 12-step program or other support group (see below for links). Others need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. Which option is best for you depends on how much you’ve been drinking, how long you’ve had a problem, the stability of your living situation, and other health issues you may have.

Healthy SwapsThe Blaylock: A mocktail recipe for Dry January

If you weren’t drinking much before you cut it out entirely, it’s unlikely that you’ll see a difference, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Drinking heavily could make it tough for your liver and pancreas to work well—both of which are essential for your metabolism, Dr. Galligan says. So if you were drinking enough to mess with these processes, your metabolism could start to work more efficiently within a few weeks of going sober. But alcohol can contain a lot of unexpected calories—some drinks more than others. For instance, a beer can have about 150 calories, a glass of pinot noir would have about 120 calories, and a frozen pina colada can have about 245 calories. So, depending on how much you typically drink on a daily basis, cutting that out might simply mean you’re taking in fewer calories.

The New Year rings in new goals, expectations and beginnings—which for some includes a temporary break from drinking alcohol. Generally, I feel more secure and happier without alcohol – largely because I recall that my times with alcohol weren’t always merry, and I feel my health has improved without it. If you want to cut back on alcohol, here’s how to make a plan, navigate tricky social situations and reassess your relationship with alcohol so you can experience the how to take a break from drinking benefits of dry January. “Viruses won’t be caused by alcohol, but you can be more vulnerable to them if you’re drinking,” he says. So, it’s not that sober living will give you a super-powered immune system—it’s just that it will get you back to your baseline, i.e. the efficient immune system you should have had before you started drinking. If you’re an otherwise healthy person, Dr. Galligan says it should take your immune system just a few weeks to bounce back.

How to accomplish your goals

Learn more about the health effects of drinking alcohol here. In addition to feeling less anxious and having better digestion, you may notice bigger changes a few months into sobriety. For instance, your doctor might find that your heart and liver are in better shape, or your skin may have a certain new glow. Let friends, family members, and co-workers know that you’re trying to stop or cut back on drinking. If they drink, ask them to support your recovery by not doing so in front of you. When you begin to rethink your relationship with alcohol, your friends and family may not be on board — especially if those are some of the people that you used to drink with.

She is a member of board of directors of Hello Sunday Morning. Excessive drinking has also been proven to be one of the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S., per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In her brush with temptation, Kuda said she quickly realized that even though the alcohol was free of charge, it would still come at the cost of feeling physically unwell. Kuda said the most tempting event during her first 90 days without alcohol was an all-inclusive vacation wedding in Mexico. “You will probably find something really cool that you would have never even thought of doing on a Friday or Saturday night, where you can meet new, like-minded people,” she said. “As unfortunate as it sounds, it’s also very likely that they will try to take you with them,” Kuda said.

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