Your Health

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

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.