Quitting for Now
Making the decision to stop using can be a challenge. People drink for different reasons. Quitting is a very personal experience and the same methods don’t work for everyone. Maybe you have quit before and are back to where you were before. These suggestions are designed to support your choice to quit, whether temporarily or for good. The following are some issues to consider as you make your decision:
- Evaluate the risks and benefits of continued use.
- Are you ready to sacrifice immediate gratification for more long-term benefits and goals?
- Overcome stubbornness. You need to be willing to admit drinking has caused some issues or you will keep yourself stuck.
- Get rid of any alcohol that you currently possess.
- Make a commitment to quitting. Make your decision public with people who will support and respect you and your confidentiality.
- Drop any identity that you maintained for yourself as a partier.
- The more you value yourself and your decision, the less likely you are to make excuses.
- Avoid the people, places, and playthings that might trigger your use. If you find yourself in a risky environment, be prepared to respond assertively, don’t make excuses, and be willing to leave immediately if necessary.
- Have confidence that you can deal effectively with the situations you face and that you can accomplish the goals that you pursue.
Make a list of the reasons you might want to continue use and why you want to quit. Weigh both sides.
|Why I Want to Continue
|Why I Want to Quit
Hopefully your list has helped you to make your decision and stick to it. Your “Why I Want to Quit” list can act as a motivator through some of the desires and cravings you could experience. Keep in mind that it does get easier.
It is important to be aware of situations, including people, that might trigger drinking. Consider what those activities or situations might be and make a plan for yourself to stay on track should you find yourself in those situations.
|Situations or Activities When I am Likely to Drink
Dealing with Cravings
You may experience cravings. This is your body’s sign of recovering. Take it one day at a time and it will pass.
Throw away your alcohol. Hide, give away, or throw away items that were utilized in games, contests etc.
- Spend more time in places where it is impossible to drink.
- Try to avoid people you got drunk with.
- Do more things in your home and after class that are not connected with getting drunk.
Change your daily patterns.
- Change morning patterns. (Get up at a different time. Change the order of events like showering, brushing your teeth, walking the dog, eating breakfast, and reading the newspaper. Turn on a different radio station.)
- Change school and work patterns. (Change where you sit in class, where you hang your coat, organizing your desk, opening mail, making calls, watering plants.)
- Change driving patterns. (Take a new route to work or class, try a different radio station, and change the radio volume, open or close windows.)
- Change study patterns. (Study in the library)
Avoid getting hungry or tired.
- Get at least your normal amount of sleep.
- Eat three meals a day. Don’t cut down to one or two meals. Have a few nutritional snacks throughout the day.
- Avoid HALT: HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, TIRED.
- Visit a friend who doesn’t drink.
- Fix something around your dorm, house, or apartment.
- Clean your room.
- Start a hobby.
- Take a class, like Latin dance or an art class.
- Go to a movie.
- Read a good book.
- Knit or sew.
- Work on a crossword or jigsaw puzzle.
- Play a video game.
- Study more!
Eight practical tips for managing urges
- Leave the scene of an urge. When possible, get away from a situation that triggers an urge. A short walk or change of scenery can do wonders. Remember to reduce your temptation before you become overwhelmed.
- Use deep breathing. Take a deep breath through your mouth. Hold the air in your lungs for five to seven seconds. Breathe out slowly through puckered lips. Repeat until the urge passes.
- Put something in your mouth. Try sugarless gum, sugarless candy, a diet beverage, toothpicks, a pen or pencil, coffee stirrers, or a straw.
- Water out urges. Shower or bathe twice daily. Drink a lot of water. Drown the urge and flush toxins out.
- Get active. Try brisk walking or sports that speed up your breathing and heart rates.
- Relax. When you’re feeling frustrated, worried, or anxious, think calming thoughts, or use a relaxation CD.
- Avoid boredom. You may be used to drinking to pass the time. Plan your day or activities to cut down on idle time. Stay active through different physical activities and keep your hands busy.
- Avoid stress. Stressful situations can make you think about drinking. You can avoid stress by working ahead if you can, exercising, and avoid procrastination.
Social events can be very risky. Try to leave parties early or avoid them for the first few weeks while you are trying to quit. Volunteer to be the designated driver or designated sober person and seek out a friend to partner up and do the same for the evening. This makes it much more manageable. Make sure you always have some non-alcoholic substitute in your hand to drink. Students have found having a coke or water bottle is helpful, because peers will think there is alcohol in it and will not offer you a beer. Mentally prepare yourself for social situations and review your reasons for quitting and the benefits you will reap.
Managing your Triggers
There are three basic ways to manage your triggers:
- Avoid the situation.
- Change the situation.
- Substitute - find other activities, drink water, or chew gum.
Identify situations that will be difficult for you and solutions for dealing with them.
|Strategy for Coping
As you proceed, the purpose is to first do 30 days of abstinence. For those who are choosing to moderate use, there are steps to continue at the end of the 30 days.
My Commitment to Stop Drinking
I hereby commit to, and accept responsibility for, achieving the goals that I have initialed below. These goals are designed to prepare me to stop drinking for at least 30 days. In addition, they show my motivation, confidence, and commitment to the quitting process. I understand that a slip can occur and I must not use it as an excuse to return to drinking my old patterns.
I will follow the helpful hints and keep in mind what I am experiencing is normal.
I will begin to increase my physical activities.
I commit to: ____________________________________________________________________
I will throw away all of my alcohol and drinking ‘toys’.
I will avoid places where there are temptations to drink, such as bars and time with friends who drink.
I will drink an extra three to four glasses of water each day.
I will reward myself for accomplishing these goals by: ______________________________________________________
MY QUIT DATE IS: _________________________________
Signature ______________________________ Today’s date ___________________________