How to Make A New Years Resolution to Quit Alcohol

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Making New Year’s Resolutions

Making New Year’s resolutions is something most of us take the time to do, though the effectiveness of these resolutions heavily depends on our level of motivation. When a new year rolls around it gives us a great opportunity to take a look at the past year, evaluate our behavioral patterns and assess any unhealthy habits we might be holding on to. Most of us focus on changing surface issues or habits that are easily reversed, like the fact that we might not drink enough water throughout the week or the fact that we could do with calling our grandparents more often. If we do decide to make a more significant resolution, like quitting a chemical substance that has been compromising our quality of life, we will need to take a few more steps than we normally would. Quitting alcohol, for example, is going to be a much more involved process than committing to eating more vegetables or hitting the gym more regularly. If you want to make a New Year’s resolution to quit alcohol there are several things to keep in mind.

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A Resolution to Quit Alcohol

First of all, depending on whether or not you are actually suffering from a diagnosable alcohol use disorder, reaching out for help might be necessary. If you have been engaging in problem drinking (drinking more than you intended without suffering from any serious personal consequences) you might benefit from hitting an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, observing and asking questions to the group members if any questions should arise. You might also benefit from outpatient treatment – especially if you have tried to cut back on your alcohol consumption in the past and you found that you were unable to do so. If your drinking patterns have resulted in serious consequences, if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit alcohol or if you cannot quit on your own for any length of time for another reason, medical detox and inpatient treatment are probably necessary.

Making a resolution to quit alcohol often takes more than committing to personal change – it usually takes reaching out for help in some capacity. If you think you can easily quit drinking on your own – great! If you find that quitting alcohol isn’t as easy as you’d hoped – no problem. Here are several steps to take to ensure that you are successfully in quitting alcohol come the new year.

1. Undergo a professional evaluation to determine which level of clinical care (if any) is right for you – Guardian Recovery offers free, no obligation pre-assessments that can be completely quickly over the phone. These pre-assessments help our clinical team determine whether or not treatment is necessary, and if it is, which level of care best suits your personal needs and requirements.

2. If you don’t believe that treatment is necessary, at least go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting (or two) to scope them out – If you can’t relate to what the people who share during the meeting are saying, no problem – you won’t get in trouble for showing up, and you certainly won’t get in trouble for sticking around after the meeting and asking any questions you might have about quitting alcohol. But you might find that you relate to what the members of the group are sharing. If you do, you might continue to show up – or you might decide that entering into inpatient or outpatient treatment is the best choice.

3. If you have tried to quit alcohol in the past and you have been unable to stay sober for any significant period of time, take whatever steps you need to take – It can be extremely difficult to admit to yourself and to your loved ones that alcohol has become a problem. Most of us like to think that we can quit on our own any time that we want to. However, it is important to acknowledge that this is not always the case. If you have repeatedly tried to quit on your own and you have failed year after year, why not make 2021 the year that you successfully stick to your resolution. How? Ask for help.

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When “Dry January” Isn’t Enough

Dry January is a public health campaign that was first developed to encourage people to abstain from alcohol for the entire month as they simultaneously educated themselves on the health-related impacts of excessive alcohol consumption. According to the British Journal of General Practice, over 2 million men and women throughout the United Kingdom currently practice Dry January, successfully abstaining from alcohol during the entire course of the month. It is important to note that this health-oriented challenge was not designed for men and women with dependence issues. If you have tried to participate in Dry January but you have found that you can’t stop drinking for longer than a day or two, you might fall into the “physically and psychologically dependent” category. Here are several ways to tell:

  • You are unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • You have experiencing several unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit
  • You experience strong alcohol cravings throughout the day
  • You spend a great deal of time obtaining alcohol, drinking and recovering from the effects of excessive alcohol consumption
  • Because of alcohol, you have started to neglect personal responsibilities and obligations
  • You continue drinking despite consequences at work, at home, regarding your health or of legal or financial nature You have experienced an increase in risk-taking behaviors, like driving while intoxicated or engaging in promiscuous sex while under the influence
  • You have been neglecting personal hobbies and other things that you used to be interested in and that you previously enjoyed
  • You have been avoiding family members and close friends because of your drinking patterns
  • You have developed a physical tolerance to alcohol, meaning that you need to drink a greater amount in order to feel intoxicated
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking abruptly or attempt to quit drinking cold turkey

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Statistics

If you have been struggling with an alcohol abuse disorder of any severity, know that you are far from alone. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that in 2019, roughly 85.6 percent of American adults over the age of 18 admitted to drinking alcohol at some point during their lives. 25.8 percent of men and women over the age of 18 admitted to binge drinking at least once within the past month, and roughly 14.1 million adults suffered at the hands of a diagnosable alcohol use disorder during the same year. It is estimated that 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, and that alcohol-impaired driving deaths account for 31 percent of total automobile-related fatalities (9,967 deaths annually). Alcoholism is a progressive and chronic disease – one that can be effectively treated, but never completely cured. In order for sobriety to be maintained a thorough and personalized program of aftercare must be maintained.

How to Quit Alcohol Long-Term

If you are struggling from a diagnosable alcohol use disorder, quitting long-term is going to take much more than simply writing down “quit drinking” on your list of New Year’s resolutions. Professional help is necessary – and recovery-related resources are always readily available to you. Call Guardian Recovery for more information or to be pointed in the right direction.

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At Guardian Recovery we are dedicated to helping men and women of all ages and walks of life overcome alcohol abuse and addiction and go on to lead to happy and fulfilling lives they deserve. Our comprehensive, multi-phased program of recovery tackles the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual implications of active addiction, leaving no stone unturned and providing the most integrated clinical care available. If you have struggled to quit alcohol in the past, make this year your year and commit to seeking the professional care you both need and deserve.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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