3 Ways to Quit Nicotine, Caffeine, & Alcohol

When it comes to perking up, relieving stress, or winding down, many people turn to nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol–some even turn to all three. While these vices bring many of us pleasure and satisfaction, they are all detrimental to our health, especially since they are all highly addictive. The good news is there are step-by-step action plans that can help us ditch each for good. It might be painful at first, but I guarantee you you will feel better and your body will thank you in the long run.

Saying “No” to Nicotine

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Whether you light a cigarette or toke on a vape, the tobacco companies have mastered the art of hooking their consumers with addictive and deadly substances. Smoking is proven to wreak havoc on your respiratory system, namely your lungs, by causing health conditions such as cancer; however, the health risks don’t stop there. Studies show that nicotine gets absorbed into your bloodstream causing your nervous system to enter a state of hyperarousal, which feels great at first but ultimately leaves you with the urge to chase the high.

If you want to quit smoking, here are a few tips to help you get started:

1.) Try Cold Turkey

Research shows that most people stopped smoking tobacco by going cold turkey. The same can be said of vaping. Though you will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like headaches for a short period of time, experts affirm that this route boasts the highest success ratings.

2.) Fill the Void

The removal of a bad habit leaves you with an open slot to fill in your roster. This is an opportunity for you to replace smoking with a healthy habit. For example, you might try yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi, Pilates, strength training, cross-fit, water aerobics, or mental health counseling instead. Whatever you decide, the key is to engage and distract your mind and body while you get over your breakup with nicotine.

3.) Play the Long Game

Quitting is difficult. You run the risk of taking one step forward, two steps back, and even a few sideways steps. It is at this point you need to remind yourself you’re not aiming for perfection rather you’re goal is increments of better. Don’t give up on quitting. When you face failure, and you will, bolster your spirits and keep pushing forward. You will eventually reach the light at the other end of the tunnel.

Cutting Out Caffeine

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You may think you crave the taste of coffee, soda, or energy drinks, but it is all an illusion. Each sip of coffee, soda, or energy drink brings with it its own hit of caffeine, which sparks your adrenaline and dopamine. That’s why it’s hard to give up. Plus, caffeine masks the feeling of exhaustion. But in the end, too much caffeine can disrupt your focus, interrupt your sleep, and leave you feeling wound up.

If you’re attempting to cut down on your caffeine, here are a few tips to help:

1.) Get Enough Sleep

If you feel sluggish in the morning and find it difficult to get going without caffeine, then you need to work on improving your quality and quantity of sleep. You can accomplish this by altering your nightly routine before bed and purchasing a mattress, pillows, sheets, darkening curtains, and blankets suitable for your needs. Just an extra hour or two of sleep per night can reduce your dependence on caffeine in the morning. In addition, keep in mind that caffeine has a long half-life, so be sure to avoid it close to bedtime, especially if you want to avoid staring at the clock or ceiling for hours.

2.) Be Realistic

When trying to change your lifestyle, it helps to set a realistic date. For example, you might try to wean yourself off of caffeine within 3-6 months. This helps you to ramp down slowly and avoid headaches, irritability, and fatigue.

3.) Explore New Ways to Rise & Shine

Without caffeine, you’ll need to find a healthy alternative to help you wake up in the morning. A popular choice is an early workout. Whether you choose to go for an early run or hit the gym, the key is to replicate what caffeine did for you, namely waking you up and getting you motivated to face the day.

Breaking up With Booze

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Unfortunately, drinking has been ingrained into our brains as a means of socialization, relaxation, and coping. Drinking has been woven into the fabric of our country. In fact, only 20% of Americans don’t drink alcohol. While you may drink to alter your mood, relax, or have fun, the fact remains that overdrinking often leads to things you will regret later. And do I really need to explain the effects alcohol and hangovers have on your overall health?

If you’re trying to get off the bottle, here are a few tricks to help:

1.) Be Honest About Your Drinking Habits

The CDC defines risky drinking for men as having more than 15 drinks per week. For women, it means consuming more than 7 drinks per week. If you’re at or above these numbers, quitting alcohol may be difficult because you’ll deal with negative side effects like shakiness, sweats, anxiety, and other various withdrawal symptoms. That’s why it is essential you’re honest with the person in the mirror about your alcohol consumption. You can’t begin to fix a problem if you don’t acknowledge you have one.

Keep in mind that while the withdrawal symptoms may not be fun, they pale in comparison to the negative effects alcohol is having on your overall well-being.

2.) Reset Your Worldview

If you’re finding it hard to give up alcohol, you might want to consider the people, places, and things that trigger you to drink. Then physically remove yourself from those triggers. This might entail forgoing happy hour, removing alcohol from your home, or moving meetups with friends from a bar to a cafe. It also might mean acquiring an accountability partner to help keep you on the right track. It’s essential to remember that while our society may say you need alcohol to have fun, you are capable of enjoying life with friends and family alcohol-free.

3.) Reward Yourself

The beautiful thing is there are non-alcoholic versions of your favorite imbibements, which can aid you in not feeling like an outsider during social events. If you don’t like that idea, you can always reward yourself with a healthy liquid refreshment like a kombucha or seltzer water. The point here is you don’t have to make huge life changes. There are healthy alternatives you can enjoy that will help you feel included and provide nourishing health benefits.


Men’s Health

Taylyn Washington

Jan. 14, 2022

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