Just over two years ago years ago I was a chronic alcoholic and my life was in ruins. I had been addicted to alcohol for over 25 years, but still found it hard to admit that I had a serious problem. I halfheartedly tried to quit drinking alcohol but every time I failed, I just couldn't imagine a life without it. I also tried to control my drinking, but that didn't work either.
I'd start every day off with a can of strong cider and I'd continue to drink throughout the day. I would frequently drive my car whilst under the influence of alcohol, putting other people as well as myself in danger. I'm embarrassed and disgusted to admit it now, but I would frequently wake up in the morning after a heavy night's drinking, not only with a hangover but in a puddle of my own urine.
I was serially unfaithful and put myself at risk of contracting venereal diseases and giving them to my partner. I frequently had blackouts and awoke in strange places with no recollection of how I got there. I would always do things that I regretted whilst under the influence of alcohol and yet despite all this I continued to drink. I finally decided that enough was enough after an unsuccessful attempt at suicide and I haven't drunk since.
Here is the exact formula that I used to quit drinking alcohol and I am certain that if you follow these simple steps you will be able to give up drinking for good too.
Accept that you've got a problem
Being able to accept that you've got a problem with alcohol is the first step that you need to take. The person who is ready to quit drinking alcohol is the person who is not in denial. The alcoholic's first line of defence is always to say that they are not an alcoholic and to reel off lame excuses for their habit. It took me over 25 years to be able to say that I was an alcoholic and to stop making excuses for my addiction.
Make a commitment to quit drinking alcohol
Once you have admitted to yourself that you are an alcoholic, the next thing that you need to do is to look at the reasons why you are drinking and ask yourself some questions. For example, why is the thought of life without alcohol unbearable? What motivates you to drink? why do you continue to drink even though it's destroying your relationships and your health? I'm sure you can think of many other questions, just grab a pen and paper and write down everything that comes to mind.
Seek medical help
If you are a chronic alcoholic then you will need to quit alcohol under medical supervision. Make an appointment to see a physician and talk to them honestly about your drinking and your intention to stop. They will be able to prescribe you with medication to make the withdrawal process a comfortable experience.
Once you have stopped drinking alcohol it will be necessary in the early days to avoid the people and places you associate with alcohol. It may be a good idea you to find a support group where you can discuss your feelings and ask for help should you need to. I would recommend that you look at SMART and Rational Recovery as these are two great resources available to you on the Internet. I personally wouldn't recommend Alcoholics Anonymous as I didn't find them to be helpful and I don't believe that their recovery statistics are that great, but that is only my opinion.
Make a plan
Once you have stopped drinking alcohol you need to come up with a strategy to keep yourself from returning to it. In the early days of stopping drinking you will come up with all manner of excuses to return to it. You may decide that you will be able to control it, you will start to see it as less of a problem, you will start to remember only the good times that you had drinking etc. For every argument you will need to have a solid counter argument. So think about all of the reasons why returning to drinking might be an option and write them down along with all of the reasons why you want to stay stopped.
Get support from your family and friends
Tell your family and friends how serious you are about stopping drinking and ask them to be considerate of your decision. Ask them not to drink around you in the early days and avoid having alcohol in the house. Their support will make not drinking a lot easier.
Keep a diary
It's a very good idea to keep a diary when you stop drinking and it can serve as a powerful tool in your recovery. Writing down how you are feeling and all the problems that you are experiencing can be liberating and will keep you firmly committed to overcoming your addiction.
Rob Maggs is a reformed alcoholic dedicated to self improvement and personal development. He is the author of How to stop Drinking for good and the developer of powerful meditation software .