How to stop drinking alcohol

how to stop drinking alcoholAre you trying to decide if you should stop drinking alcohol? Maybe you’ve already tried a few times to just cut down, and drink more sensibly like other people seem to.

There will be many different factors which contribute to your alcohol consumption, so in order to stop drinking so much, you might need to address some of these.

It may be stress or anxiety, depression or boredom, perhaps social pressure or relationship problems. If you can identify that you often drink alcohol in response to some of these, then your first step is to look for different solutions to these issues.

So how do you stop drinking? The first thing to look at is:

Consider your motivation for stopping

Why do you actually want to stop? What are the consequences of your alcohol consumption? Weigh up the pros and cons of your drinking, the costs versus the benefits (write them down here if you like).

  • What are the negative effects of your drinking? Be honest here – look at your relationships, your health, job, self-esteem, depression etc.
  • Next what are the good things you expect to happen when you stop drinking, how will your life be better?
  • Finally what are the negative aspects of quitting? What is putting you off the idea? This is important because you will have to find some way to solve these concerns.

You need to be reminding yourself about this list of your motivations every time you think about having a drink. The next stage is to find out:

Are you physically dependent on alcohol?

For the sake of safety, if you are drinking all day from the moment you wake up in order to avoid your hangovers, then you will need some sort of medical supervision to help you through the detox. So if you’re drinking this much you should see your doctor before you plan to stop drinking alcohol. If you won’t do that, then you MUST try and cut down a bit before you stop completely.

So you’ve worked out why you want to stop, and if you can stop safely. Now what? You need to:

Develop a plan for how you can avoid those urges to drink.

Read our earlier article on coping with alcohol cravings first. It will give you a few techniques to help you. One thing’s for sure, will-power alone is not enough to stop you from drinking.

You need to work out what are your ‘high-risk’ situations, what are your ‘triggers’ that make you want to drink? Some of these can be avoided, so make plans as to how you can avoid them. For those that clearly can’t be avoided, you have to start thinking about how you can deal with them differently. Make your own relapse prevention strategy.

Now sit back and wait for sobriety.

Ok, so it might not be as easy as all that (of course not), you may well slip and have a drink when you weren’t planning to. You haven’t failed, it’s just a mistake, you let that old habit sneak up and catch you unawares.

This obviously isn’t going to change over night. And realistically, this is where you might need the help of a professional. You will need to replace all that drinking with other activities, which means you need to set yourself some achievable goals.

The same goes for your feelings, learning how you can cope with difficult feelings without alcohol will take some time. Alcohol has been your way of dealing with everything difficult in your life, so you are going to have to find some other ways to cope, basically.

You should regularly review what is working and what’s not, what things are still tripping you up and most importantly, what benefits you are seeing. Remind yourself of your original reasons for wanting to stop drinking alcohol. And of course, if you find that you need some help, try a counselling session.

4,749 Responses to “How to stop drinking alcohol”

  1. owen says:

    Hi there. Ive read most of your posts , and feel all your pain, with the bastard Alcohol. I don’t know why i drink, and everything has been distorted for it , I got low and live alone. Me partner , as stopped going out with me. would love to give it up for good. Vodka is my deamon, Id drink it , anytime i can. and i also play music which doesn’t help. Any Ideas . apart from .a.a. the one there is full of arse holes who flirt with themselves.

  2. Jeanette smith says:

    Pray for me I tried to stop drinking yesterday and had the shakes and anxiety really bad I feel like I need to drink to survive

  3. Jeanette smith says:

    I need help!! Abusive boyfriend now I’m a alcoholic I drink everyday to deal with the pain

  4. Annie says:

    I drink to blot out boredom , though i drink till i black out then the problems start .I’ve lost friends to my alcohol abuse , even my boyfriend says i am beyond help . Wish i had the willpower to quit for good, i cant stop .Cant stop the cravings i have for cognac !! I dont wanna be this person anymore i hate who i’ve become

  5. not happy says:

    Drinking like its a.priority and hate it. Still really desiring to know what fuels me there. There is a root problem, just can’t figure it out. I’m goin nuts!!!

  6. moondance says:

    Hi there,

    I guess nobody is anymore here of the ones that were with me quite a while ago. ‘Cos if they’re still here I would be really ashamed that in the time in between I’ve given up badly, been drinking constantly again and it took me so much time to get back to quitting. But now I’m here again, in the same spot where I was some years ago. I want to quit alcohol, and I hope you, people I don’t know yet, will accept me in this community again.

    • Sal says:

      Hi Moondance,

      I remember you and sorry to hear that you slipped, but glad you’ve got yourself back up again and ready to fight back (and win). Good luck to you and keep posting/reading – it helps so much.

    • Don says:

      I remember you too moondance.
      Please try again. I’m sure the people here will help you. I’ll check later to see how you’re doing.
      ps HI SAL!!!
      You OK?

      • Sal says:

        Hi Don,

        I’m doing very well thanks and hope you are too. Still sober and still grateful for that each and every day. Sal xx

  7. ashamed says:

    I have been drinking for eight years im 37 I drink everyday it started when my father passed from his drinking swore I would never take that route and sure enough did then it was to sleep at night then got with a alcoholic who abused me severly so drank alot of vodka with him to ease the mental pain hes now in jail but I drink a pint n a half of vodka everyday now even taking shots early in the am I just moved in with my nf hes so good to me and he works but also drinks everyday but holds his life together we both need to quit causing us to argue alot but I really need to quit I drink half pint at night then have to get up early to make his lunches so wjen he leaves I take 3 Shots and back to sleep then drink again that night I hate my drinking I feel so good when I am sober I dont understand how it went to a drink waking up mind you I neen abused for 12 years straight and raped by exes and strangers and was molested and abused as a child for 12 Years hes in prison for life all this is no excuse I need help and feel no one cares or sees I need and want help so bad.

  8. mimi says:

    I was read all the comments yall put, I really want help my husband he been drinking when he was 18 yrs old. And now he 25 yrs old he still drinking, SMH, I dont know what to do I really want help him I dont know were to start. Please I need advice. Thank u

  9. Cindy says:

    I have been drinking since I was 14 years old. It started to get out of control at 18.ive had two duis and got into a wreck and was charged with wreckless driving, but should have got a DUI. I could have killed myself and more importantly others. This was a few years ago. I have a great career! I have a boyfriend who loves me, and I’ve cheated on him all while drinking. I still continue to drink and drive. I usually drink once a week and its heave a bottle of wine and some beers. I do not want this life anymore and I know I need to quit or I am going to end up dead or in jail! Please help! I don’t know what to do and I feel so much hurt and guilt. I want to change.

  10. jesus says:

    Hello evryone my names jesus….ive ben drinking since i was 17 now im 23…ive ben trougg alot all my life lost friends anxiety and deprrssion june 30th my birthday…found my wife cheeting i have a 2 year old with her…ever since ive ben drinking heavily lost my jobtry too quit ever since i dit 3 times then relapse…ive ben drinking 12 days straight…im on meds not helping…idk what too do anymore…i drink just too goo too sleep…im going crazii sum1 ani advice???

    • Cheri says:

      I feel ur pain, I want to stop drinking but I don’t, living with another alcoholic and he knows I need help but keeps the vodka & beer coming, lost my oldest son and haven’t really been the same since, been always had an alcohol problem, just getting worse never was everyday now it is never would I have thought id wake up & start drinking just to forget or not deal with reality, want to change bad

  11. Na says:

    alcohol has hurt me more then anything else in my life. im 26 years old with 2 DUI’s in 3 months , i have lots many relationship and friendships, my aunts and uncles grandma and grandpa are alcoholics , i’ve never had anyone help me stop drinking , all my friends drinks. my life is filled with drunks. the last 3-4 years of my life have been a complete mess i went from moving out of my parents house at 17 and always having my own place to now homeless and sleeping on the floor of my parents place , i crashed my car going 100 miles an hour about 3 months ago , i have spent thousands of dollars on alcohol. it has cause my to be evicted more then 5 times . im on the verge of bankruptcy, when i drink i always black out. im stolen from people when drunk and been robbed my self , ive lost lots and lots of phones , i have gotten beat up and into many fights , i have gone to jail and messed up my record. i dropped out of school and never been to college , I LOST APART OF MY SELF WHEN I FIRST PICKED UP A BOTTLE. im not really into drugs but have smoked weed and did coke, both of which has go me know where but back where i started , Nothing. i want so bad to stop before i hurt my self or someone else. :((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

  12. Todd says:

    I read this website a little over a month ago and too had despair on my long standing problem, and unable to not constantly think about drinking and then acting everyday by purchasing my daily quota, which seems to have gotten worse over the years. I used the New Year recently to make a resolution (which I do every year) and also bought a book on Amazon called the “Easyway to control your alcohol” by Allen Carr, a month later I still haven’t drank which is the longest I’ve ever gone. The book was interesting and surprisingly seems effective, not sure why but so far much better. I only say this so to maybe help, I was very skeptical but seem to have a different viewpoint on drinking alcohol now. Good luck. Crossing my fingers my success continues.

  13. leah says:

    I really wish I could stay sober
    I’m so tired of the hangovers and blackouts my life is a complete mess

  14. Marie says:

    Hi there,

    I’ve been ‘creeping’ this site for months but too afraid to post. I was (am) afraid to admit publicly that I am a fairly serious alcoholic. I have been drinking (wine and beer) for years. The amount and frequency slowly increased over the years since I was 25. I am 45 now. I drink EVERY SINGLE day. It’s almost exclusively wine, one 750 ml bottle for sure but often an entire litre and a half. I drink alone mostly (preferred method) because of the profound shame I feel because of my habit.
    I am also humiliated about how drinking has affected my appearance .. I was once a triathlete with a lovely healthy body but now I am at least 50 pounds overweight with the bulk of weight in my upper body. Fat bloated face and neck and a hard huge abdomen that looks about eight months pregnant. The booze “fry up” contributes to this too because when I’m drinking I eat everything in sight.

    I am so miserable and sad. I’ve become a shut-in so I can have my wine and Netflix. I literally do NOTHING when I drink. As soon as I take that first sip my functional day is over. Is this the end for me? I can’t seem to stop and I really really want to. Thank you for reading this.

    • Joanka says:

      Hi Marie
      I am so related to you with my issues. Have been addicted to alcohol for over 3 years…but sometimes I think I was born with this weakness. 3 years ago I decided to do something about it. Tried everything possible spent thousands of dollars on treatment and yet kept on drinking. Like you mostly wine, alone, and once started could not stop with one bottle. within those 3 years I got DUI, just about to get my license back but don’t have a vehicle and money to pay for it. I have a wonderful family, house, great job and I really cannot ask for more, I know I am just about to loose all the good in my life if i don’t stay sober for the rest of my life. I am very very tired of trying, like you i feel guilt and shame every time I have those bad days. I once was sober for 7 weeks but that was it. I don’t drink everyday but on average by weekly. I don’t go home when I get drunk because I feel ashamed and guilty, I stay in hotels and drink more alone again and that is an extra cost. Today I still have home to come back to, but my family is on its last legs they are waiting for a miracle i guess but I know miracle is not going to happen. I need to find a power in me to fight the addiction. Now I know this is all about the strong will and help. I got lots of help : AA that I stopped going to because i thought I can do it myself, prayers, professionals, time off of work for a while, rehab for a month and nothing, but I will try again, today is the end of the second day. I only need to be sober for 90 days to get my brain in balance and after that it will get easier everyday. I will be back in AA and continue to pray, I am going back to my power walking everyday because like you I used to enjoy healthy life style. This weekend I am working on the plan, sort of schedule that I am to follow every minute, hour, day. I know all the tools and actions I need to take, I just have to start taking an advantage of this knowledge. Hope you could join me in my journey and if you would like we can do this together. Good luck. Tomorrow is another day… for me the third day hopefully sober, for you maybe the first one.
      Take care….by the way I will be 52 in couple of days and praying for the sober birthday.

      • Marie says:

        Hi Joanka,

        Boy do I know the despair you’re talking about! I’m so sorry about the DUI that had to suck so bad. I’m happy to hear you have a great family and house. That’s a big positive.

        How are you doing with your quest to stop? I took strength from your message and did not drink yesterday. The compulsion to drink was SO strong, I actually had my coat on and keys in hand in order to go get a big bottle of wine .. but I thought of your comment and I didn’t go. I slept well last night. I’m a fitful, broken sleeper because as we all know, booze disrupts sleep. Last night I slept and I feel good this morning.

        It sounds like you’re a binge-drinker rather than a daily drinker!
        like I am?

        I’d be happy to do this with you … I need a support network. My friends and family all drink socially and because I am very functional in my outward life, they don’t know the true extent of my addiction.

        I think I’ll go for a walk today like you! Perhaps in short order I might be running again too ….

        Thank you for your story and support!

    • kevin gratten says:

      hope and pray for you my friends. I am an alcoholic even though I am young enough that it hasnèt killed me yet. lost a good friend not long ago who you would never think was a heavy drinker. worked at safeway during the day and then went home and put 40oz down, fell asleep. one morning he didnèt wake up. I am not that religus but I do believe god loves drunks fools and kids. try to talk with someone from aa, that phone is heavy but life is precious and ive seen those who have made it. take care kev.

  15. Ernesto says:

    Been trying to guit lve been drinking since I was 16 now iam.41
    Just geting tried of it. But hard to do. Doing this on and off thoughout those years

    • Forunner406 says:

      I have been trying for years too
      Today is Day0 my life is being destroyed
      Please don’t give up its worth a try we do it
      Together ??

  16. Bruce says:

    I am going to do everything I can to stay away from alcohol for just today. I hope I am able to do so. I have been going through some rough times and drank through yesterday but interestingly enough, I didn’t drink all day and do not have the shakes of withdrawal. I can’t keep doing the same thing every day and expecting different results. I will start praying more and work on some rituals like doing the rosary when the liquor stores are open so I can occupy my lonely mind with thoughts other than alcohol. Please wish me luck, pray for me, I am certainly praying for all of you that you can get a day sober.

  17. Emily says:

    So here I am on the brink of losing everything….I HAVE to quit drinking! It is taking a toll on every facet of my life. I have no insurance, I have no money, I may or may not qualify for Medicaid, and if I do I’m screwed because any decent rehab that isn’t filled with crackheads and prostitutes won’t accept state funded insurance, only private. With all of this said, I have come to the conclusion that I will have to be doing this alone. It is nice to see that other people are in similar situations, and equally committed to change. I didn’t drink yesterday….and today is off to a good start as well! Good luck to everyone out there, this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I HAVE to!

    • Michele says:

      Hi Emily,
      I am Michele,and was wondering how you were doing. I’ve been an alcoholic since about ’98. Have tried about a thousand times to stop. Not doing very well with that. Let me know how you are doing?

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