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How to avoid alcoholism
Alcoholism can easily sneak up on you if you aren't careful. When your social life revolves around going to bars or there's a keg party every weekend, it's hard to keep things under control. Changing your routine and making a serious plan to cut back on your consumption is a good way to start. If the time comes when you think you've crossed the line from casual drinking to alcohol abuse, it's time to seek outside help. If you follow a few simple steps, you can learn more about how to reign in your drinking habit before alcoholism becomes a reality.
Part one of three:
Reducing the amount you drink
Keep alcohol out of your house. It's a lot easier for alcohol to become a daily, insidious habit if you always keep it within reach. If your liquor cabinet is always stocked, you can easily be tempted. If there is a half-drunk bottle of wine or a six pack is chilling in the fridge, it's going to be tough to avoid drinking. The first step to avoiding alcoholism is to keep it out of your house when it's not serving an immediate social purpose. If you don't want to stop drinking but just cut back to a healthy amount, not surrounding yourself with it is a good place to start. Stock your kitchen with other tasty drinks you can substitute for alcohol when you want something comforting to drink. Tea, sparkling water, lemonade, root beer, and soda are better for you than alcohol.
If you have a party and there's a lot of leftover alcohol, give it away to friends. If no one wants it, pour it down the drain. Don't get trapped into thinking you have to finish it because you don't want it to go to waste.
Don't drink when you're feeling bad. Drinking when you're bored, lonely, stressed, sad, or feeling any other negative emotion can lead to a dependency on alcohol. Since alcohol is a depressant, it can actually make things even worse. Try drinking only on social occasions, when everyone's having a good time and there's a reason to celebrate. Don't fall into the trap of making every day a day to celebrate. Make sure you save drinking for truly special occasions when someone has something worthy of celebration.
Slow down your sipping. If you tend to guzzle your drinks, you'll be more likely to drink too much on any given evening. Slow yourself down by sipping your drinks slowly, taking more time to finish each drink. You can help this by ordering your drinks straight, so the taste of sweet mixers doesn't mask the alcohol and make you think you aren't drinking any. You should also drink a glass of water or a soft drink for every alcoholic drink you consume. Drinking water will help fill you up and keep you hydrated. You will be less likely to guzzle drinks if you are properly hydrated and feel fuller. Do not engage in beer drinking contests or any activity that involves chugging excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.
Stop going to bars as often. Since the purpose of bars is to sell drinks, you're automatically going to feel pressured to buy one. The low lights, the smell of alcohol mixed with perfume and cologne, and the sexy vibe everyone's exuding present an atmosphere that may be hard to resist. Since the whole environment is geared towards drinking, it's best to avoid bars altogether when you're trying to cut back.
If you're invited to a social function that takes place at a bar, like happy hour with your boss and coworkers, try ordering a club soda or another nonalcoholic drink. If the place has a food menu, order yourself a treat so you'll still feel like you're indulging. When you do go to bars, choose places that have more going on than just drinking. Go to a place with pool tables or bocce ball, for example, so the focus isn't solely on how much alcohol you can keep down. You may find it easier to drink less when there are distractions.
Do activities that don't involve drinking. People spend a lot of time in bars when they could be doing something more active. Suggest alternatives to your group of friends next time you have a get-together. You could play a pick-up sport, go for a walk or bike ride, go to a movie or play, or go to a music show or art opening. Choose a venue that doesn't sell alcohol or an activity that isn't conducive to drinking. This will not only make you cut back on your drinking, it will make you healthier overall by getting you more active.
Hang out with people who don't drink. Some people are going to insist on drinking, even when you invite them to activities outside the bar. They'll brown bag it at the movie theater or pack a flask to bring on your hike. If you're seriously trying to avoid alcohol, make plans with other people who are in the same boat. That way you won't be faced with the presence of alcohol every time you want to have a little fun. This may mean cutting people out of your life if it becomes a problem. If you really like the person that drinks all the time, learn to say no instead when they are around. Just because he is drinking doesn't mean you have to. Maybe they will pick up on your attempts to cut back and do the same.
Take up exercising. Exercising is a great way to help yourself kick an alcohol habit. Drinking makes a lot of people feel slow and sluggish, and it can also lead to bloating and weight gain. If you make it a goal to be physically fit, you'll soon get frustrated with alcohol's effect on your progress. Try signing up for a 5k or joining a community soccer or basketball team. You'll soon find yourself passing on alcohol the night before you need to be at your physical best. Along with exercise, make sure you're eating well, getting sleep, and generally taking care of yourself so you'll be less prone to drinking.
Recognize withdrawal symptoms. If you cut back significantly on your alcohol consumption, you may start to experience some withdrawal symptoms. There are both physical and mental withdrawal symptoms that you might experience. Withdrawal causes trembling hands, irritability, shaky and tired feelings, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, and bad dreams. If you were a heavy drinker, you may experience some additional symptoms, such as sweating, nausea, headache, lack of appetite, vomiting, and palpitations.