Giving up drinking? Get a plan to give up or cut back on alcohol that will work for you.

The decision to cut down your alcohol intake or to completely give up drinking is one that only you can take for yourself.

For some people, a period of time off from drinking or ‘abstinence’ is the best way to reflect on their relationship with alcohol. Other people, particularly those who have been alcohol dependent, go on to become abstinent on a long-term basis.

A good first step is to speak to your GP, nurse or alcohol specialist to help inform your decision about what is right for you, your health and your well-being.


So what happens next?


Speaking to a professional

Your GP or alcohol specialist worker will ask questions about your current drinking habits and general lifestyle. This ensures that you’ll get support that’s right for you, whilst allowing you to contribute to that decision.

Making a plan

An alcohol specialist worker will meet with you for a further assessment. They’ll take a closer look at your drinking and ask what changes you’d like to make before creating a plan that will best support you.

Plans can vary from service to service. Once you have a plan in action, you’ll usually meet with your specialist alcohol worker to review how the plan is working for you.


A range of options

Your plan will be specific to you but your support options will depend on whether you are physically dependent on alcohol or not.

Non-alcohol dependent plans
If you’re assessed as not being alcohol dependent you may be provided with a worker and have access to a range of therapies. These could include one-to-one therapies such as counselling and/or group support such as ‘relapse prevention’.

Alcohol dependent plans
If you experience physical ‘withdrawal’ symptoms you will probably need a detoxification.


Detoxification helps your body to stop being dependent on alcohol. A detox involves taking medicine prescribed by (and with the support of) a professional and requires planning and preparation.

If required, your worker would explain the detox process to you and significant others in full. A detox can take place at your home or in a clinic where you would stay during the process. 

A detox alone is not usually enough to break free from alcohol dependence. Before and after a detox, you will typically have some one-to-one counselling. You would also attend groups with others who may find themselves in a similar situation. These ‘talking therapies’ help break the psychological aspects of dependence.


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