Tips on how to stay away from alcohol, one day at a time
Most habits are associated with specific settings. You don’t whip out your toothbrush in the car on your way home, but walking into the bathroom at bedtime, you automatically reach for the brush.
You pull out a cigarette in the kitchen at breakfast but you wouldn’t think of it in the bus on the way to work. You have no trouble putting alcohol out of your mind all morning in the office, but the moment you step out to lunch and pass your favourite pub, you think drink.
Or drowning yourself in work, you manage to avoid looking for another hit of cocaine for a day and a half; then you go to a rock concert and find the craving irresistible.
It takes constant vigilance to neutralise the cues (things you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel) that trigger the cravings to use or the compulsion to drink.
Changing “playmates, playgrounds and playthings” is virtually indispensable if you are to avoid chemical seduction.
You will be most susceptible to temptations of any kind when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. This is the HALT reminder that AA uses to help members stay sober, one day at a time.
Don’t walk where it’s slippery. In other words, don’t set yourself up for a bust. Don’t sabotage yourself by being with people, places, things and situations that will pull you down. Then, before you know it, you are guzzling down a bottle of red or snorting some coke, just to relieve the emotional pain.
That’s why recovering alcoholics/addicts are urged to change the scenes in which their lives are played, particularly in early recovery.
It is vital to avoid the settings where you played out your drinking or drugging scenes – the bars, the clubs, the dances, the parties, the rock concerts, the liquor stores where you are known by your first name, the restaurants (choose those without a liquor license or at least without bars), the sports events (unless there is a no-alcohol area), and memorable “stay out all night” people who don’t really care about you.
If you drank or used in places you can’t avoid like home or at work, use some of that old alcoholic ingenuity to erase the danger signs. Get rid of the living room bar as well as the liquor you keep in the cupboard, just in case someone drops in.
Dump your pills down the toilet, but don’t stop there. If you are always popping them when you walk into the bathroom, get rid of the familiar bathroom water glass and rinse your mouth out in the kitchen. Don’t use mouth washes as they often contain alcohol.
Don’t switch to Claytons or Supermarket wines in the belief that you can fool your subconscious into believing that you are drinking “alcohol” when it is in fact, only lolly water.
Turn your wine glass upside down when you venture into a restaurant. This will stop the waiter filling your glass up with alcohol when you are not looking. Order a jug of lemon squash and sit on that for the night.
Just as specific settings can turn on your cravings, so can a specific cast of characters: the folks you always drank or used with. Stop seeing them for now. You may feel the urge to visit with them, telling yourself “They’re good friends. We had great times together and I will miss them.” But you are just kidding yourself.
What you miss most is what you did with them. If there is an old friend you really yearn to see, arrange to meet in a coffee shop or at your home along with your AA sponsor (if you have one), or another successful recovering alcoholic buddy. A true friend will be happy to see you getting better and won’t object to your chaperone.
Renew old friendships with people who don’t drink or use the ones you stopped seeing when you started getting heavily into your bad habit. You may find there are more of them than you thought and that you really enjoy their company.
Stay away from TV shows or movies that revolve around drinking. Actors slurping away on a midday cocktail or pouring scotch into a glass and savouring its smell before downing the contents in one gulp. You may know the regular TV shows that centre around the actor and his drinking habits.
It’s only a movie or a TV show but not good for your subconscious as it absorbs the scene and keeps it alive. You can’t stop thinking about that scotch or icy cold beer the actor just consumed and before you know it, you are in the kitchen pouring yourself a drink.
It’s subliminal advertising and very effective in seeking out your Achilles heel.
Hot weather activities like fishing, boating, barbecues, even mowing the lawn, can summon up drinking memories for some people. Avoid them in early recovery if they rob you of emotional maturity and wait until you have a reasonable about of sobriety up your sleeve before you walk where it may be slippery.
The end of your work day is another trap for a lot of people. If this was when your drinking day began, you urgently need to change your after-work routine. Maybe go straight to an AA meeting before going home, or jog, or go to the gym to work up a sweat instead of a thirst.
Be aware that nostalgic music like a love song you associate with drugs or alcohol could blast you into orbit. Particularly if the love song is reminiscent of your long lost love. If that’s the case, steer clear of such music entirely until your sobriety is well established and even then do your listening in safe surroundings. For now, substitute some positive affirmations or some new music into your portable music carrier.
In the meantime, I recommend amino acids to help balance brain chemistry and a good liver tonic to help repair liver damage. Specific amino acids are essential for the liver to breakdown toxins and drugs and also for efficient metabolism in the liver.
- This amino acid is required for phase two detoxification in the liver and is required in increased amounts by those who consume excessive alcohol. It is able to reduce the craving for alcohol.
- Supplementation is helpful for intestinal disorders such as peptic ulcers and leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is the term used to describe an inflamed condition of the lining of the bowel, which makes the bowel too permeable, so that toxins and incompletely digested food particles can be absorbed from the bowels directly into the liver. This increases the workload of the liver and may cause many health problems.
- Is essential for the white cells to fight viruses such as hepatitis B and C. Glutamine is converted in the body into glutamic acid, which, along with the amino acids cysteine and glycine, is converted into the powerful liver protector glutathione. Glutathione is essential for liver phase two conjugation reactions used during detoxification of drugs and toxic chemicals.
LivaTone PLUS is a natural liver tonic containing the liver herbs St Mary’s Thistle with the benefits of Turmeric and Selenium. It also contains all the B vitamins and the amino acid Taurine, as well as the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E.
The LivaTone PLUS formula contains the clinically proven dose of silymarin (a daily dose of 420 mg of silymarin). LivaTone Plus is designed to support step one and two detoxification pathways in the liver, essential in helping the alcoholic’s liver to return to normal.
The liver is the main fat burning organ in the body and regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism. A healthy liver will take fat in the form of cholesterol and pump it via the bile into the intestines where it will be carried away in the bowel actions provided the diet is high in fibre.
Tyrosine Mood Food - Tyrosine is a natural amino acid - one of the building blocks of protein. It is required for the manufacture of the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) dopamine and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy, stable mood.
Magnesium – the great relaxant. Magnesium plays an essential role in maintaining and promoting efficient muscle function and nerve transmission. Magnesium is a vital mineral for hundreds of cellular enzymes involved in the body's energy production and metabolism. It is required by the nervous system to regulate the function of nerves and muscles. Magnesium may also assist in the reduction of stress, nervous tension, anxiety and sleeplessness.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.