Alcohol abuse occurs when you drink too much on a regular basis. This condition can affect all aspects of your life, leading to relationship problems, health issues, and poor work performance. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), roughly 18 million Americans have alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence problems. NIAAA Recovering from alcohol abuse isn’t easy, but it’s possible when you know how to go about it.
1. Admit That You Have a Problem
Recognizing and admitting that you have an alcohol abuse problem is your first step toward overcoming this condition. If you know that you drink too much but you’re still not convinced that you need help, make a list of the ways alcohol has had a negative impact on your life. You should also write down the ways that you think alcohol helps you or makes your life better in some way. As you compare these lists, you’ll find that the disadvantages of drinking outweigh the advantages.
2. Resolve to Overcome It
When you can accept the fact that alcohol abuse is having a bad effect on your life overall, begin thinking about how overcoming this problem will improve it. Write down the ways that your life will be better when you learn to cut back on drinking or give it up altogether, such as having happier relationships and performing better at work. Keep this list handy so that you can read through it to stay motivated.
3. Create a Plan
Your first step should be throwing out most or even all of the alcohol in your home to help you avoid temptation. If your goal is to reduce the amount of drinking instead of abstaining from it altogether, keep a small amount of alcohol around. Make a commitment to have only one drink each day if you’re female or up to two per day if you’re male. It’s also a good idea to tell your family and friends what you’re doing so they can offer you encouragement and support. Don’t take co-workers or acquaintances up on offers to go drinking after work.
4. Seek Professional Help if Needed
If cutting back on alcohol or trying to avoid it completely aren’t working, you might need some additional support from trained professionals such as therapists and doctors. Therapists can offer you counseling to help you deal with your alcohol abuse problem. Doctors can check for any physical signs of conditions or illnesses related to drinking too much. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends having a strong personal and professional support network since it’s common for people to start drinking again following treatment. NIH
It’s important to note that alcohol abuse differs from alcohol dependence or alcoholism. Both conditions are characterized by drinking too much, but alcohol abuse isn’t associated with being physically dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism is a more serious disorder since your body has trouble functioning without alcohol. If you suspect that you’re suffering from alcoholism, seek professional help as soon as possible.