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Category Archives for Alcohol Abstinence

Best Books to Quit Drinking Alcohol

Best Books to Quit Drinking Alcohol 

Let’s be honest quitting anything addictive, especially something like alcohol is hard. Alcohol has become so ingrained in our society and typically dominates many of our social engagements with friends and family. Self- help books will assist you in kick starting your quit drinking journey and are an excellent resource to read by themselves or in conjunction with hypnotherapy sessions for abstaining from alcohol.

It is well publicised that binge drinking (typically defined as drinking five or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion for men or four for women) greatly increases health risks. This 2018 study found that consuming more than five alcoholic beverages a week could raise the risk of a stroke and heart diseases. More startling is that the according to research from the National Institute of Alcohol, Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States one in 10 deaths among US adults is contributed to by alcohol.  Clearly this is a big issue in our society and many people want to change their relationship with alcohol - if you feel the same you are not alone!

Should you quit alcohol altogether or moderate instead?

It has been well publicised that excessive drinking does long term damage to your body both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many people can learn how to moderate their drinking successfully if they fall into a mild or moderate alcohol use disorder bracket and do not have a physical dependence on alcohol. However, for others quitting alcohol may be a better option if they fall into the severe alcohol disorder bracket.

Also, if you have tried moderating your alcohol consumption numerous times before and have not managed it, then then quitting alcohol is your logical next step. If you think that you may have a physical dependence on alcohol you should seek medical advice first, before ceasing alcohol consumption. Reading a book or googling something is not a substitute for seeing your doctor, so if you wish to stop drinking then please ensure you speak to a doctor as the first step.

Want to find about more about moderating alcohol? I also wrote a book review of my Best Books for Alcohol Moderation

What to look for in a quit drinking alcohol book? 

Like any self-help books there can be both good and great books out there, so what makes a great self-help book for alcohol abstinence? Here are a few key points I like to look for when choosing a book to help quit alcohol for good,

  1.  Has the author taken this journey themselves?
  2. Does the author give you actionable steps to take or tools to use to aid in your quit or stop alcohol journey?
  3. How has the author gained their experience in this field? Is the author a practicing therapist or conducted research on quit drinking alcohol?
  4. What do other readers and book critics think of their book and techniques they advocate? 

So, with the above points considered you can find my favourite books to help you quit alcohol for good. Please remember to take notes along the way through each book and try to do any exercises that are detailed. You might find that a book you end up purchasing doesn't really resonate with you, please don't despair I have read many books on changing behaviours and you will resonate with some authors and their strategies or tools and not others.

The key is to not give up on your abstinence goals and try another book from the list below or from the many books that are released each year.

#1

By Stanton Peele


While this book isn't specific to quitting alcohol, it is an excellent book to give you a values-based framework and practical set of skills to work apply to addictions like alcohol or other addictive substances or behaviours. What I like about this book is that it doesn't put the reader in a state of guilt, shame or fear which conveys that you are powerless to free yourself from the grip of alcohol or that you have a disease, the approach other '12 step type' programs typically take. The author cleverly draws on research conducted by different scientific studies over time and takes the perspective that being once addicted to something does not mean always addicted, giving many people light at the end of a dark tunnel in terms of freeing themselves from unwanted habits for good.

I found this book inspirational and it resonated with me as it really makes you think about your values and life goals and how quitting alcohol will help you achieve them. This book empowers you to take control of your life and learn how to put your addiction behind you.

#2

By Catherine Gray


Written as more as a memoir with practical advice rather than a detailed 'how to guide', the author provides a raw yet humorous account of her journey to giving up alcohol. Catherine does not leave out any details when describing the downward spiral of her life before giving up alcohol with experiences that many who have gone through alcohol issues will relate to. The author also writes about how much better her life has become since getting sober and how she adapted to the changes with a strength and positivity that is inspirational for those wishing to follow suit.


This is a book that really makes you reflect on your own lifestyle and why you may also want to take the leap to quit alcohol. Overall, it is a well composed, short but to the point book that helps reinforce your commitment to begin a quit drinking journey.

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By Allen Carr


Allen Carr is well known for his bestselling stop smoking book - The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Allen has taken his 'easy way' to quit any addictive substance and now tackled how women can stop drinking for good by removing their desire to drink altogether. Allen begins the book by challenging readers why they believe they get some benefit from drinking alcohol in the first place and then starts to break down any common misconceptions and traps about alcohol and the drinks industry. Ultimately the book aims to change the way you think about alcohol and the perceived benefits that come with consuming it, once these perceptions have been broken you will view alcohol in a completely different light.


The book is well written and interspersed with personal stories from people who have gone on the journey to quit alcohol. While the book doesn't offer as much of a structured approach as 'The Truth About Addiction and Recovery' it does an excellent job of addressing the major fears everyone has deep down in relation to quitting alcohol. 

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#4

By Jack Trimpey


After many difficulties in trying to overcome a twenty-year alcohol addiction in AA, social worker Jack Trimpey developed his own approach to quitting alcohol. Rational Recovery is a step by step approach to help you change the way you think about your alcohol consumption. As opposed to viewing yourself as a permanent addict who has befallen a “disease” that leaves you powerless, you take control of the addiction. A key part of the approach is observing thoughts and feelings about drinking. Those thoughts that support continuing use are termed the Addictive Voice (AV), part of the unthinking midbrain and those thoughts that support abstaining are you.


According to Trimpey when you recognise and understand the AV, then you can see it as not part of you but “it” and detach yourself from its grasp. The book is extremely helpful for those who like many, have mixed feelings about giving up alcohol and how such thoughts may be resolved. The book is written in a compelling and supportive style and offers a good alternative to twelve step programmes, empowering the reader to learn stronger self -control and to increase their health and wellbeing.

Do you have a favourite self-help book for alcohol abstinence that you found really useful too? Please leave a comment below and I will try to include it in another future blog post.

Amazon Associates Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Associate and may earn from qualifying purchases through the links in this post.

People relaxing in a park

The Ultimate Guide to Dry January

Do you think you can give up alcohol for one month? Well if you are up for the challenge then you should give Dry January a go! The aim of doing this is to give the body a break from alcohol, which can be good for our mental and physical health.

Many people report a great sense of accomplishment after finishing the whole month without any drinks at all! This blog will tell you everything there is to know about dry January: what it's about, how it benefits your health as well as tips on how to get through the month.

What is Dry January?


The idea behind Dry January is that by quitting alcohol, you'll be able to see what life is like without it. Being alcohol free for a month allows us to see that we don’t need alcohol to relax, have fun or to socialise. It also helps us to improve the skills we need to manage our drinking more healthily.

For the rest of the year, we are better placed to make decisions about when we drink and how much, and this way we can avoid slipping into patterns of drinking more than we are happy with. Research conducted by the University of Sussex showed that after six months those who took the dry January challenge were still drinking more healthily and had increased levels of general wellbeing.

Bottles in a bar

What are the benefits of dry January?


The benefits of dry January are plentiful! Some people do this challenge to save money, others for their health. You'll be surprised at all the improvements you see once your body has a break from alcohol.

Help to kick start your Moderation Journey

 Abstaining from alcohol even for one month can help those who want to kick start their moderation journey with alcohol while taking some time off from it as well! Many of my clients who are successful moderators regularly have a month break to reset.


Lose Weight Without Trying

People have been known to lose weight during Dry January since alcohol is high in calories because of the fermentation process to make it. So just removing alcohol from your diet over this time can see you losing weight without even trying.

 
Get Better Sleep

Studies have shown that alcohol can interfere with the quality of sleep you get a night. It's been said to disrupt your melatonin production and mess up your circadian rhythm so it's important for people who are already struggling with their sleep cycle to stop drinking at least for one month. You'll be surprised by how much better you're sleeping once you remove the booze.


Have better relationships 

Research has shown that alcohol is a social lubricant and can be used to get through dormant periods in conversations. But it's been found by studies that the more you drink, the less likely people are going to want to talk with you which means your relationships may suffer, so dry January can help you connect with others on a more meaningful level.

People relaxing in a park


Save more Money 

Not only does your body get some much-needed rest but so do your bank account! When you're not constantly buying beer or wine at bars, restaurants, grocery stores etc., you'll start saving money almost immediately after going on this challenge. That's right: NO MORE DRINKING EXPENSES! You can put these towards a house deposit or even your next holiday as a reward for lasting the month without alcohol.


You Skin will be Glowing  

Not consuming alcohol on a regular basis means there is also a benefit to your skin! Quitting alcohol, even for a month can help improve blood circulation which means you will have better-looking skin. In addition, quitting drinking may reduce acne breakouts as well as lessen the chance that blemishes or age spots form on your face.


Drink more water

It's been proven that the average person needs at least eight cups of water per day but most people don't meet this goal. Dry January is a perfect time to drink up as you're not consuming alcohol so your body will be able to flush out toxins easier which means better skin. The British Association of dieticians BDA suggests that the average adult should drink between 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day.


More focus & less procrastination at work 

Quitting alcohol for a month will also help you get more done at work. Research has found that individuals who abstain from drinking feel less stressed, have improved concentration and productivity and generally function better throughout the day.

Other health benefits happen from the inside

A month can have a lot of benefits to your overall health research published in 2018, undertaken by the Royal Free Hospital reported that a month off alcohol helps to,

•Lower blood pressure
•Reduce diabetes risk
•Lower cholesterol
•Reduce levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.

6 Tips for you to survive and thrive in Dry January

Store you alcohol out of sight or in the garage - It's important that you remove temptation but it can be worth going a step further and making the decision not to buy alcohol for the duration of January. Remember out of sight out of mind!

 
Schedule an activity when you would usually be drinking alcohol - Whether it's a Sunday evening or Monday night, find a replacement activity that you can do when your friends are drinking alcohol. This will help to avoid temptation and make sure you're not missing out on anything. Why not try an exercise class, download a new series on Netflix or even take up a new hobby!


Plan ahead for social events - If there is an event coming up in January where people would usually be drinking alcohol, pack some sparkling water or a non-alcohol drink (like a 0.5% or 0% beer or cider) and don't overthink the fact that you're not drinking, your friends probably won't even notice!

Group Of Friends Enjoying Meal At Home


Write down your ‘why’ and what you want to get out of the month - Are you giving up as a challenge to yourself? Are you wanting to lose weight or save for a holiday in the summer? Write down the reasons why so this way if you are tempted by the thought of drinking alcohol you will remember your reasons why.


Challenge yourself to try a different non-alcoholic drink each day - If you're not used to drinking water, try infusing it with fruit or adding a slice of lemon for flavour. If you like fizzy drinks look into the range of sugar-free versions available on the market and if cola is your thing then check out caffeine-free varieties! If you still want a beer or cider there are fabulous 0% and 0.5% options available now to try - see if you can get through them all in January.


Track Your Progress - Track your progress or even download an app to track your drinking.  The most popular app I recommend to my clients to help then track what they are drinking each week is from called Try Dry from Alcohol Change.

Young Couple Using Smatphone Sitting In Cafe

If you’ve read this far, it may seem like a lot of work to undertake Dry January. But the benefits are worth it! You might find your sleep improves, your skin clears up and you feel less bloated after drinking alcohol. And if that isn't enough for you, there is also the social aspect of participating in Dry January where people who support each other can help one another stay on track with their goals or even lend some good-spirited competition motivation.

 
Whatever reason drives you to participate in dry month and whatever challenges arise along the way - I am here to help so if you need additional support before, during or after Dry January? Please get in touch and find out how I can help you take control of your drinking for good!

Frequently Asked Questions on Dry January

Is drinking a 0.5% ABV beer or cider drink cheating Dry January?

I personally don’t think so. A drink that contains 0.5% alcohol is not technically free from alcohol, but you would need to drink 10 times a 0.5% beer to equal one typical 5% beer. However, it's almost impossible to get drunk on non-alcoholic beer (up to 0.5%) if you’re a healthy adult since your body can process the alcohol in the drink almost as quickly as you can drink it.

Researchers in Germany found in this 2012 study where 67 people abstained from drinking alcohol for five days then drank 1.5 litres (about 2.6 pints) of 0.4% ABV beer in an hour. The researchers measured their blood alcohol content throughout the experiment. The maximum blood alcohol content they measured was 0.0056% which is still 14 times lower that the drink driving limit in England (0.08%)

Who shouldn’t participate in Dry January?

People who are physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol should seek advice from a health professional before they commit to Dry January.