Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

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.

REFERENCES:

Alcohol use disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115540/Alcohol-use-disorder. Updated April 17, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2018.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114807/Alcohol-withdrawal-syndrome. Updated January 17, 2017. Accessed April 18, 2018.

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Helpguide website. Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/alcoholism-and-alcohol-abuse.htm. Updated April 2018. Accessed April 18, 2018.

Drink alcohol only in moderation. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/drink-alcohol-only-in-moderation#take-action. Accessed April 18, 2018.

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

Overcoming alcohol addiction. Helpguide website. Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/overcoming-alcohol-addiction.htm. Updated April 2018. Accessed April 18, 2018.

Self-help strategies for quitting drinking. Rethinking Drinking website. Available at: https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Thinking-about-a-change/Support-for-quitting/Self-Help-Strategies-For-Quitting.aspx. Accessed April 18, 2018.

Treatment for alcohol problems: Finding and getting help. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Available at: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Treatment/treatment.htm. Accessed April 18, 2018.

Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD  Last Updated: 4/10/2015