Whether it’s due to a drinking problem, medical issues, or simply to live a healthier lifestyle, every year many people make the decision to abstain from alcohol. Unfortunately, staying sober can be quite the challenge even to the most well-intentioned individual. Along with support from your family, friends and group therapy (such as Alcoholics Anonymous), here are three more areas of support you may want to consider:
Depending on how much you drink, your body may have become physically addicted to alcohol. Although we tend to view alcohol as a rather harmless drug, alcohol can create profound changes in our brain chemistry, and stopping suddenly can lead to psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms that range from unpleasant to deadly. An addiction medicine specialist can not only prescribe medication to help you manage the initial detoxification, but can also supply medication to help combat cravings for alcohol. Two of the more commonly prescribed medications used to treat alcoholics include naltrexone, and acamprosate, which help reduce cravings.
Alcoholics are known to have severe vitamin deficiencies, some of the most unhealthy of which include vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), folic acid, and vitamin C. This is due to the fact that alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly. Anyone making the decision to abstain from alcohol would be wise to consult with a qualified medical practitioner to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy body. As an added incentive to seeking nutritional therapy, studies have shown that reducing caffeine and sugar intake helps to reduce alcohol cravings, making giving it up that much easier.
Just because you aren’t (or don’t think you are) addicted to alcohol doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn new coping strategies to help maintain your sobriety. Often, without noticing, alcohol becomes a crutch on which we constantly lean on to get us through the day. Group therapy can help to remind us of the consequences of drinking, but won’t necessarily address issues specific to you and your abstinence/recovery. Seeking the advice of a qualified psychological practitioner can help identify what role alcohol plays in your life, and how to effectively replace it with new, healthier alternatives.
Giving up alcohol may not be easy, but with the proper support you can maximize your chances of leading a long, healthy, and sober life.