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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

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Management of AUD will require some permanent changes in your life. These strategies may be combined with other aspects of treatment:

  • Identify potential relapse triggers and develop coping strategies for difficult situations that pop up at work or home
  • Avoid reaching for a drink when stressed or upset. Learn stress reduction or relaxation techniques. Consider starting a regular exercise program.
  • Tell friends and family about your intentions. They can help you with your goals.
  • Find ways to socialize without alcohol.
  • Avoid going to bars or other places associated with drinking.
  • Keep alcohol out of the home or office.
  • Make new, nondrinking friends.
  • Do fun things that do not involve alcohol.
  • Continue attending support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Eat a healthful diet.

Keep in mind that relapses are common and expected. If you have a relapse, do not get discouraged—get help.

Revision Information

  • Alcohol abuse treatment and self-help. HelpGuide website. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/alcohol-addiction-treatment-and-self-help.htm. Updated February 2015. Accessed April 10, 2015.

  • Alcohol use disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 25, 2015. Accessed April 10, 2015.

  • Alcohol withdrawal. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 19, 2014. Accessed April 10, 2015.

  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse. HelpGuide website. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/alcoholism-and-alcohol-abuse.htm. Updated February 2015. Accessed April 10, 2015.

  • Drink alcohol only in moderation. Health Finder website. Available at: http://www.healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/drink-alcohol-only-in-moderation#take-action. Accessed April 10, 2015.

  • Larimer ME, Palmer RS, et al. Relapse prevention: An overview of Marlatt's cognitive-behavioral model. Alcohol Research and Health. 1999;23(2):151-160.

  • Self-help strategies for quitting drinking. Rethinking Drinking website. Available at: http://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Support/SelfHelfStrategiesForQuitting.asp. Accessed April 10, 2015.

  • Treatment for alcohol problems: Finding and getting help. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Available at: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Treatment/treatment.htm. Accessed April 10, 2015.