Quitting alcohol is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. By giving up alcohol you are taking a positive step towards improving your physical health and well-being while improving your relationships with those who matter the most to you. The first few weeks of quitting alcohol are always challenging. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to overcome your cravings and ease into a sober way of life. Following are five tips to help you stop drinking.

Replace Alcohol With a Healthy New Habit

According to many studies, it takes about one month to establish a new habit, regardless of whether it is a harmful or healthy one. This can also be said when it comes to drinking. Consider replacing your evening drink with a quick workout. You don’t necessarily have to join a gym to get fit. Start your journey towards better health and newfound sobriety with a simple jog around the neighborhood, or purchase a few hand weights and a yoga mat for an at-home workout. By sticking with your plan and making the effort to work out every day, you’ll be more likely to abstain from alcohol and get in better shape too.

Start Journaling to Keep Track of Your Progress

Writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your mental health and let go of the things that are weighing heavily on your mind. Journaling can be incredibly cathartic and can help you explore your true thoughts and feelings about yourself and the world around you. If writing a long journal entry every day feels like too much pressure, consider taking five minutes out of your morning to write a shortlist of what you’re grateful for. Sometimes expressing gratitude can help us get into the right mindset for a successful day, and can improve our outlook on life. An improved outlook on your circumstances can also help decrease your desire to drink.

Consider Joining a Support Group

While support groups may not be a great fit for everyone, many people find comfort in knowing that they are not alone with their struggles to give up alcohol. Millions of people across the globe struggle with the same thing. A support group can be helpful for those who are finding it particularly difficult to give up alcohol on their own. The great thing about support groups for sobriety is that everyone is going through similar circumstances. These types of support groups are also anonymous. If being spotted by someone you know is a real concern, consider joining a support group outside of your town or community. Doing so will help you receive the support you need while reducing your chances of being seen by someone you know.

Learn What Triggers You

Everyone has certain circumstances that cause them to want to reach for a drink. Usually, these reasons are stress-related. Get familiar with what triggers you. Perhaps it’s a stressful day at work or an argument with a spouse that causes you to pour a glass of wine. By getting familiar with these triggers and anticipating what happens next you will be more likely to stop yourself from drinking. It’s important to remember that it’s okay if you have a slip-up. According to Sober in Seven’s sober coach in the UK, “the path is not always easy, and if you have a setback the worst thing you can do is punish yourself.” The chances of having a setback are always present. By not being too hard on yourself for minor setbacks you are more likely to be successful and abstain from alcohol in the long run.

Set Small Goals and Strive Towards Improvement

Those who are familiar with sobriety often talk about the importance of setting goals. Setting goals can help you increase your chances of staying sober by allowing you to celebrate small victories along the way. Consider setting a goal to stay sober for one week, and celebrate your success with a treat like a fancy coffee from your favorite coffee shop. By allowing yourself to experience and celebrate small wins often, you’ll increase your chances of staying sober for the long haul.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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