Q. For a few months now I’ve been considering quitting drinking. The view I’m looking at it from is that quitting can make me a healthier and happier person in the long run. Are there certain techniques or some sort of outline people use when they make this big a lifestyle change?

A. I am glad that you want to quit drinking. I am also pleased to read that you recognize that it may be difficult to stop drinking on your own and that you are reaching out for help and support. This is very good. I suggest the following treatment considerations.

Depending on your level of alcohol intake, you might need to find a substance abuse program that has a detoxification component. If your drinking level is less severe and detoxification is not required, you may want to consider going to a therapist who is specifically trained to work with individuals with substance abuse issues. There is an entire field of highly trained individuals who specialize in substance abuse. A therapist can help you explore your reasons for drinking, suggest alternative ways to spend your time, help you find healthy replacement behaviors, and so forth. If you’re not interested in this form of assistance you can also try Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or group therapy.

Alcoholics Anonymous will welcome you no matter what your level of consumption. This is a wonderful organization which does an immense amount of good upon this earth and they deserve more praise than we could possibly bestow upon them. Whatever you decide, I hope that you do reach out for help and support.