Self Help and Alcohol
If your drinking is getting out of hand, or is causing problems for you or for other people, there are self-help measures which can help get you on the road to recovery.
Taking stock of your drinking habits is a good start. Keeping a careful diary of one week's drinking is a useful way of doing this. A 'drink diary' can also help work out the relationship between events in the week and the times you drink more.
If your diary shows that drinking is outside sensible limits or causing problems, a good first plan is to set yourself a target to reduce your intake, or stop completely.
Identify the challenging situations when you might be tempted to drink. These might include the people you drink with, the time of day, and the feelings that trigger drinking. Take steps to avoid or deal with these situations. It often helps to involve a partner or friend in setting your goals and discussing progress.
It can be hard to give up drinking completely. Try stopping and see how you feel without it. At first you may feel cravings or a sense of loss and some shakiness and restlessness. If these symptoms are severe, it is wise to consult your health professional for help and advice about coming off alcohol and get help with withdrawal symptoms.
Call the emergency services (999) if you have any of these symptoms when you stop drinking
If you think you might benefit from help with problem drinking, a quick Internet search will reveal local support groups.
You can also contact DAN 24/7, the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline: DAN 24/7 website or call them on 0808 808 2234.
'Urge surfing' means dealing with the urge, or craving to drink as though it were a wave in the ocean. Urges start small, grow over time to a peak, and then reduce till they disappear.
Think about a confident swimmer - when they see a wave approaching, they relax into the wave and, with a minimum of effort, tread water until the wave passes. A less confident swimmer might become tense, fight the wave, and splash around so much that they go under.
The confident swimmer knows there's nothing to fear, so is much more relaxed and deals with the waves much more easily.
Urge surfing involves dealing with the urge to drink, secure and confident in the knowledge that it'll pass.
Three steps to urge surfing
Sensible drinking tips
Your first appointment with a professional can feel difficult, especially if you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or ashamed. Many people find it helpful to write down what you want to talk about before they meet. Make a note of any questions or worries you might have. Some people find it helpful to take a friend or family member along.
Sometimes it can be hard to summon the courage to get help. A simple 'phone call to your GP can get things moving and start you on the road to recovery. If you think alcohol might be a problem, you can contact the DAN 24/7 helpline on 0808 808 2234 or text DAN followed by your query to 81066 (Wales only).
Deal with the difficult things
Putting off problems can make them mount up. Are there things in your life you're putting off dealing with? Might an advocate or some extra support help? The Citizens Advice Bureau can help with a range of issues from housing to money worries. Doing things to address our problems relieves the burden and makes us feel 'in control' again.
Ask yourself, 'what small thing could I do today that would help me begin to feel better about myself?' Make a note of your answer below.
There are many good books and websites that can help. Your GP, practice nurse or primary care mental health practitioner will be able to recommend from a range of excellent and helpful material.
The sooner you get the help you may need, the sooner you'll feel better! Speak with your GP or a health professional for extra information or to get on the road to recovery today!
You can find a list of national agencies that can help with alcohol here: National Alcohol Agencies
This material is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. We have used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. We recommend you consult a doctor or other health care professional for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, or if you are at all concerned about your health.