If you are trying to beat alcoholism there are likely to be some lifestyle changes that you will need to make in order to succeed.
Many people begin to develop alcohol problems when they socialise, so it is imperative to find new ways of socialising if you are attempting to abstain from alcohol. If your friends and social circle all meet at the pub then you are going to need to find different places in which to meet them, or better still, make new non-drinking friends. Especially in the early days of abstinence when the cravings are still intense, it is important to avoid situations and people who encourage drinking.
If you tend to use alcohol to unwind and relax, make sure there is none of it in your home. To avoid reaching for a drink when you are stressed or upset, learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga. Make sure you get plenty of sleep so that stressful situations aren’t compounded by a sleep deficit.
Try to identify the things that can trigger a relapse and develop coping strategies for difficult situations. Surround yourself with people you can talk honestly to about your feelings and your concerns.
If you feel as if you haven’t got sufficient supportive people in your life, then it is even more important to join a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. You can encourage friends and family to join Al-Anon too so that they learn the techniques that can best support you in your fight to continue along the road of abstinence.
Get plenty of exercise! Government guidelines say 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day is the bare minimum if you are trying to combat stress and release your natural happy chemicals, like serotonin, which are one of the best ways of battling depression or negative feelings.
Find as many new ways of having fun in non-alcohol situations as possible. Identify things that have interested you in the past and resurrect your interest in them by joining a club. If you find art relaxing, get out your brushes and make sure you set aside a certain part of the day to indulge in some painting. If music is your thing, look for concerts in your area, take up an instrument, join a choir etc. If you love travelling, start researching all the places you would most like to go and make plans of how you will get there.
Alcohol dependency and abuse frequently involves poor diet, so when you are abstaining it is vital to eat a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetable, whole grains and essential nutrients, rather than refined sugars and fats. Regular nutritious meals will help keep your moods stable as well as replacing some of the vitamins and minerals you may have become deficient in during your drinking days.
Don’t beat yourself up! Giving up an addiction is exceedingly hard. If you relapse it doesn’t mean you’re useless or a failure, it just means you have to try again. Don’t get discouraged or you will become de-motivated – get help instead. Identify what needs to change in your life to ensure you do better next time and then set step-by-step goals to help you navigate back along the drink-free pathway.
If alcohol is your main coping mechanism for stress, read the Patient QI stress strategy: http://www.patientqi.com/stress-anxiety-treatment-strategy/
Alcoholics Anonymous UK: http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/
Alcoholics Anonymous USA & Canada: http://www.aa.org/lang/en/subpage.cfm?page=1
Alcoholics Anonymous Australia: www.aa.org.au
Alcoholics Anonymous New Zealand: www.aa.org.nz
Alcoholics Anonymous South Africa: www.alcoholics.org.za
Alcoholics Anonymous Spain: www.alcoholicos-anonimos.org
Alcoholics Anonymous France: www.alcooliques-anonymes.fr
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