How to Stop Drinking Alcohol: What works when trying to cut back

In general, I like to talk about people getting curious about their problems. A lot of people come to me and speak harsh words about themselves. This defeats the purpose, makes you miserable, and doesn’t make you want to face the problem. If you keep that level of judgment suspended as best you can and take a look at your pattern of drinking, you can learn from the pattern. It’s like putting yourself under a microscope.

Find The Pattern

A good way to find a pattern is to journal. You may have some thoughts, a feeling, or action that you are tying with alcohol that you never noticed. Once you figure out what the tie is, it’s a lot easier to untie it.

Don’t Just Quit

If you’re going to cut back on your drinking, don’t just quit drinking and think you have to stop forever or stop for a month. Cut back slowly; be kind to yourself. There may be a fear that you are not going to be able to handle life or circumstances without drinking. To help you realize you can do that and lessen the anxiety, just cut back gradually until you get the confidence and realize you can deal with things without drinking. 

Support System

You may have someone who wants to help you. Guide them on how they can help you by setting up ways they can help you in advance. For example, ask them to use a specific line when they see you beating up on yourself, or if they notice you drinking when you said you wouldn’t. The line can be something neutral such as, “I’m sorry you’re feeling this way, I know you’ll figure it out.” or as simple as, “I’m so sorry.” These are very neutral lines, they’re not punitive or judgmental, and that’ll go a lot further in helping you.

Consider a Counselor or Alcoholics Anonymous

You don’t get labeled an alcoholic just because you go to an AA meeting. In my training, I was required to go to AA, and I learned a lot. There were a lot of people there who were educators, people who were interested in finding out more information, or people who just wanted to cut back on drinking.

You deserve help; you deserve support; there is nothing wrong with that. If you feel you need AA or a counselor to get over the hump or get through it, it’s okay. Who knows, you might meet new friends.

Understand it’s a Progress-Regress Situation

You’re not going to get it right from the start, and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s normal! When you have a setback, get curious about what happened. Be more curious about it, and decide you’re going to get on the right path. When you are on the right path, ask yourself what it is about the current situation that is helping you; so you can repeat it.

The bottom line is, be kind to yourself.

If you have any problems or need help, please give me a call at 757-340-8800, or for more topics, go to www.drldabney.com 

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