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Many people with problems with alcohol can not tell when their drinking is out of control. You probably have a problem with alcoholism when your body depends on alcohol to function and its consumption is causing problems with your health, your social life, your family or your work. Recognizing that you have a problem of alcoholism is the first step to be free of alcohol.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your alcohol use. Your provider can help you find the best treatment.

Are you ready to change?
You may have tried to stop drinking alcohol many times in the past and feel that you have no control over it. Or maybe you're thinking about quitting, but you're not sure if you're ready to start.

The change takes place in stages and with the passage of time. The first stage is to be ready to change. The important stages that follow include:

Think about the advantages and disadvantages of stopping drinking.
Make small changes and think about how to deal with the difficult parts, such as what to do when you are in a situation where you would normally drink.
Stop drinking
Lead a life free of alcohol.
Many people come and go through the stages of change several times before the change really lasts. Plan in advance what you will do if you have a slip. Try not to be discouraged.

Lifestyle changes that can help
To help control your alcohol consumption:

  • Avoid the people you would normally drink with or the places you would drink.
  • Plan activities that you enjoy and that do not involve drinking.
  • Keep alcohol out of your home.
  • Follow your plan to manage the urge to drink. Remind yourself why you decided to stop drinking.
  • Talk to someone you trust when you feel like drinking.
  • Involve yourself in a kind but firm way of refusing to drink when you are offered a drink.
  • Receive help from others
  • After talking to your doctor or alcohol counselor about your alcohol use, you will probably be referred to a support group or a rehabilitation program for alcoholics. 
These programs:

  1. They teach people about excessive alcohol consumption and its effects.
  2. They offer advice and support on how to stay away from alcohol.
  3. They provide a space where you can talk with other people who have problems with alcohol.
  4. You can also seek help and support from:

Relatives or trusted friends who do not drink.
Your workplace, which may have an employee assistance program. These programs help employees with personal problems such as alcohol consumption.
Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) - .
Abstinence from alcohol
You may be at risk for the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if you stop drinking suddenly. If you are at risk, you will probably need to be under medical care while you stop drinking. Discuss this with your alcoholism provider or counselor.

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