Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of alcohol consumption in the United States. In addition to causing unintentional injuries, falls, and car accidents, binge drinking can increase your risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases, high blood pressure, heart and liver disease, memory and learning problems, and cancer. Despite these risks, 1 in 6 American adults binge drinks 4 times a month, consuming an average of 7 drinks per binge. Unfortunately, drinking this much this frequently can lead to alcohol addiction. Luckily, there are several ways you can stop binge drinking. Here are 5 ways how:
1. Recognize Your Triggers and Learn to Cope With Them
You might not realize it, but certain situations, people, thoughts, and feelings might encourage you to drink. Recognizing these triggers can help you learn alternative, healthier ways of coping. Instead of opening a beer or having a glass of wine after a stressful day, consider taking a long, relaxing bath. Exercising, playing sports, enjoying hobbies, connecting with others, and indulging in self-care activities can also help you cope with challenging emotions and circumstances without binge drinking.
2. Change Your Environment
Your environment can easily shape your behavior. When you’re trying to drink less, you may need to avoid bars, parties, and certain restaurants you associate with binge drinking. You might also have to limit your time socializing with people who regularly binge drink and who encourage you to do the same. Avoid places that focus on alcohol as fun. Instead, spend time enjoying sober activities such as:
- Art classes
- Playing an after-work sport
- Going to the movies
- Attending a concert
- Hosting an alcohol-free game night
3. Enlist The Help Of Family and Friends
Tell family members and friends you trust (and who are sober or drink less) that you’re trying to cut back on alcohol. These people can act as your “accountability buddies” and “sober friends.” Having support from your family and friends can help prevent you from feeling isolated and alone. You can also call on these individuals when you’re experiencing cravings, triggers, and symptoms of depression. Be sure to ask someone from this group to accompany you to any type of event where alcohol will be present.
4. Weigh the pros and cons
To help keep yourself motivated, write out a binge drinking pros and cons list and keep it in your wallet. Write out all the reasons why you want to stop binge drinking. Then, write out the cons associated with binge drinking. Having this list can help keep you motivated when your desire to binge drink less feels overwhelming or especially challenging.
5. Consider abstinence
For some people, quitting alcohol altogether can be more manageable than drinking occasionally. If this is true for you, alcohol rehabilitation programs such as the tracks we offer here at Bridges of Hope can help you overcome harmful drinking habits. Participating in self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous can also help support your sobriety journey.
Hope For A Healthier, Sober Life
Here at Bridges of Hope, we can help guide you through the alcohol withdrawal process and teach you the skills you need to live a long-term sober-free life. You don’t have to binge drink every time you’re uncomfortable, stressed, or emotionally worn out. There’s hope. Our addiction and dual diagnosis programs can help you overcome substance use and mental health challenges. Let us help you get there. Contact us today to learn more.