If you are serious about giving up alcohol, this article is for you. Here are 18 principles that can help you quit drinking alcohol on your own. Before we start, let’s go over the many wonderful benefits of drinking alcohol. 😮
Drinking alcohol can “destroy” your…
Now, here are the 18 principles to quit drinking alcohol on your own.
1. Ignore all the bullshit.
Disregard all the bullshit that says “it’s a disease,” “you are powerless,” and most importantly that “you cannot quit on your own.” An addiction to alcohol is not a disease, you are not powerless, and you can quit drinking on your own.
The main reason that alcohol addiction or any other addiction has been designated as a “disease” or a “disorder” by the psychological, pharmaceutical, and rehab industries is so that they can legally get you and the insurance companies to give them money. In the billions of dollars.
Don’t believe all those advertisements by alcohol rehab and pharmaceutical companies that try to scare you and make you believe that you can’t do it your own. And that you need them (rehab) or a pill (medication) to quit. Bullshit!
Did you know that alcohol rehab “programs” have a less than a 10% success rate? And that AA’s success rate is even lower? And that most rehabs have AA’s 12 steps embedded in their inpatient and aftercare programs? The truth is that the majority of people who quit drinking alcohol permanently do it on their own. They may gather information that supports them in this effort through books and articles on how to quit drinking alcohol. But nevertheless, they do it on their own.
Do you need medically supervised detox? If you’re a long-term, all-day, everyday heavy drinker, you may need it. It is crucial that you evaluate how much and how often you have been drinking. And, most importantly, how you feel after you haven’t had a drink for a few hours or a day. If you feel extremely ill, violently shaky, have chest pains, or trouble breathing, you probably need a medically supervised detox. If this is or might be your situation, call your doctor, call a nonprofit or government (US) alcohol detox hotline (US: 800-273-8255), call 311 (non-emergency) 911 (emergency), or go to an urgent care facility or a hospital ER.
Avoid those “for-profit” alcohol rehab “referral” services that are heavily advertised on television and the internet. Their “actor” delivered fear-based message is absurd. Those for-profit alcohol rehab businesses who use or create these referral services to get patients, have ridiculously low success rates and ridiculously high fees.
Let’s look at how our relationship with alcohol was created. There were two powerful influencers that we have been exposed to since birth.
- Advertisements by the alcohol industry depicting every imaginable event with super healthy and blissfully happy people drinking alcohol.
- Antiquated cultural traditions that strongly hold to the notion that alcohol drinking is fine and that it must be flowing at all social events in order for them to be fun and successful.
Ignore both of them.
Not sold yet? Consider the propaganda by the tobacco industry, especially during the early 20th century. They convince millions of people to embrace their highly addictive, cancer-causing product that kills nearly half a million Americans each year according to the CDC.
2. Make a 100% commitment to quit drinking alcohol.
Making a 99% commitment or saying or thinking “I’ll try.” will not do. A 100% commitment to do whatever it takes is required to get alcohol completely out of your life.
The amazing thing is when you make a 100% commitment a peace comes over you. This happens because you are no longer debating, vacillating, or negotiating your decision in your mind.
Give up the belief that something outside yourself has the “magic” pill to “make you” quit drinking alcohol. It does not exist. Only you can do it.
Make a 100% commitment, install a no excuses mindset, and you will succeed.
3. Take 100% responsibility for your choices.
Your ability to make choices is an immense power that you have right now! Rehab businesses, pharmaceutical companies, and AA have taught us to believe otherwise throughout our lives.
A word about AA. I feel the efforts of the Alcoholics Anonymous organization and its members are commendable. I believe their intentions are honorable. I disagree with their philosophy and methods, however. If AA has helped you to quit drinking alcohol, that’s fantastic! Keep going.
You are not powerless. You have the ability to choose to drink or not drink alcohol. Your addicted body and brainwashed mind may try to get you to drink for a short period when you quit. But you still have the ability to choose.
The only living things on earth that have “choice” are humans. Animals operate on instinct. Choice is incredibly powerful. We “decide” how we spend our days. We “decide” what we eat. And we “decide” what we drink.
It is your choice whether you drink alcohol, eat junk food, and watch television or meditate, eat healthy foods, and exercise. Your choice!
The fantastic thing about choice is that once you decide not to drink alcohol ever again, a sense of personal power and confidence comes over you.
4. Pick powerful motivators.
Select one or more powerful motivators that will pull and push you through the early days of quitting and during tough situations down the road. Pull motivators are things you want and bring you pleasure. Push motivations are things you do not want and bring you pain. Here are some possibilities.
Pull Motivators = Pleasure
- Girl/boy friend
- 6-Pack Abs
Push Motivators = Pain
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Job loss
Note: Alcohol is classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization, similar to arsenic and asbestos.
5. Prepare for quitting alcohol.
An important part of quitting alcohol is preparation. Here’s are some suggestions.
- Get rid of your alcohol.
- Get rid of your junk food.
- Stock up on healthy foods.
- Stock up on vitamin supplements.
- Stock up on purified water.
- Stock up on healthy smoothie ingredients.
- Stock up on uplifting reading material (books, magazines).
- Stock up on uplifting listening material (audiobooks, music).
- Stock up on uplifting viewing material (documentaries, movies).
- Plan what you are going to do during the first 3-21 days.
- Plan what you are going to do when you would normally drink.
- Plan how you’ll handle situations when alcohol is offered or encouraged.
- Pick a quit date when you have no obligations for at least 3 days e.g. weekend. And no important obligations for an additional 4-18 days (= 21) depending on your circumstances.
- Tip: There is no perfect time to quit. So do not use this as an excuse to put it off.
6. Accept short-term discomfort.
As your body and mind withdrawal and adjust due to the sudden absence of alcohol, you may feel discomfort. The amount is different for each person based on how much and how often they drank. A person’s health, fitness, and age are also factors.
You might feel some depression, anxiety, and fear. But haven’t you felt these emotions to some extent when you were sick with a high fever?
The trick is to accept the discomfort as a temporary inconvenience. Being “unwilling” to feel discomfort and even sickness for a few days, is an excuse to give up.
Tip: The severity and duration of the discomfort have a lot to do with how you expect to feel and how much attention you give to alcohol. If you anticipate minimal discomfort and you put alcohol behind you and turn your focus ahead you’ll have a much easier time of it.
7. Make quit don’t quit lists.
Make a list describing your future self if you quit and another list describing your future self if don’t quit drinking alcohol. In creating these lists you should end up with a few strong compelling “reasons why” you need, must, and want to quit.
This information can be incredibly powerful. Your “need” and “must” quit reasons why can give you the incentive to persevere through difficult moments, hours, and days in the beginning. Your “want” to quit reasons why can keep you on track long-term.
Need and must reasons why might be a warning about cancer, divorce, or imprisonment. Want reasons why might be your desire for true self-confidence without alcohol, a slim muscular body, and money to do the things you love.
Don’t worry about grammar or making these lists perfect. Just start writing. Here are some ideas on topics to cover on both lists.
Note: Relationships are at the bottom because everything above it affects them.
Finally, what has drinking alcohol blocked you from doing? Here are some things you might include on your list. Drinking alcohol has blocked me from…
- Reaching my full potential in my career.
- Attaining my dreams.
- Pursuing my interests.
- Being at my best in my relationships.
- Starting new relationships.
- Joining clubs and organizations.
- Losing weight.
- Eating healthy.
- Being Happy.
Although writing has multiple benefits, if you don’t feel well enough now, spend some time creating these lists in your mind. But commit to writing them down soon!
8. Get lots of rest and learn to relax.
During the early stages of quitting alcohol, it’s important to get as much rest as your body tells you. You probably won’t need much encouragement as your body needs a great deal of sleep to repair and recalibrate.
Now is the perfect time to learn deep relaxation through meditation or other means. I highly recommend TM. There are also relaxing activities like gardening, doing artwork, and playing a musical instrument.
9. Become a healthy eater.
When we drink a lot of alcohol we eat junk food– lots of it. When you quit drinking alcohol, it’s the perfect time to change your diet to a super healthy one.
This will help your body through withdrawal and repair. It will also set you on a path of much better health and fitness.
As you go along, learn as much as you can about healthy eating.
10. Become an exerciser.
Whether you’ve been a couch potato or lackadaisical excuse maker now is the perfect time to get into or ramp up your exercise program.
You may have to force yourself to exercise in the beginning, but eventually, you’ll look forward to the rewards you get afterward. Just start easy and build.
Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning if you have any health concerns.
11. Become a lifelong learner.
Being a lifelong learner is about having a passion for self-improvement, excellent health, and a fulfilling lifestyle. Classes, seminars, books, documentaries, and articles are the knowledge base. Before you know it, you will become an expert in the areas you pick.
Learning to focus your thoughts on what you want and away from what you do not want is an ideal skill to learn right now. These books can help you learn this incredibly valuable art.
12. Get busy planning and working on your future.
What are the things you’ve been dreaming about doing but have been putting off because of your drinking? Maybe you have been drinking alcohol because of fears you have about going after your dreams. Like not being good enough, failing, or not being able to handle success.
Good news! Once you quit drinking alcohol you will be infinitely better able to confront and overcome your fears on this or any issue.
Pull out all the stops and create a list of your wildest dreams. The things you want to do, see, and create. The fears you want to overcome. And the joys you want to experience and have.
Although writing them is the most powerful, if you don’t feel well enough now, spend some time creating this list in your mind. But commit to writing them down soon!
Dream big! Have fun with this. 🙂
Tip: Do not try to “replace” alcohol drinking. There is nothing comparable that is healthy. There are things that are much better though. So instead of trying to replace it, “use” the time when you’d normally be drinking (or getting over a hangover) to do more rewarding, more exciting, and more profitable things.
13. Embrace the challenges and adventure ahead.
Quitting is the first step. The next step is to create a new alcohol-free life. Here are some of the things this will include.
- Participating in new social activities.
- Learning how you want to spend your free time.
- Starting or restarting new projects, hobbies, and sports.
- Joining groups and organizations that represent your greatest passions.
Focus only on doing things “you” enjoy. Not what your partner, friends, or family enjoy. Go after your most profound interests and pleasures. Then let others join you if they want. Get it?
Facing your fears, breaking out of your comfort zones, and going through the awkward stages are the adventure. Once you do this then you get the rewards of gaining true courage, genuine confidence, and the ability to create or reactivate the life of your dreams.
14. Knock out cravings.
To knock out cravings, ask yourself these questions.
- Am I going to allow the advertised bullshit benefits of alcohol (source of cravings) to get me to drink right now?
- What will I gain by drinking alcohol right now?
- How will getting drunk, numb, and stupid improve my day and life?
- How much time will I waste drinking alcohol today and being hungover tomorrow?
- If I come up with an excuse to drink alcohol today, as I have 1,000 days before, where will I be 1,000 days ahead?
- If I drink alcohol today, how will I feel physically and mentally tomorrow?
Cravings are only momentary. The fake pleasures of drinking alcohol are momentary as well. But the negative consequences can be long-lasting.
The choice to drink or not drink alcohol is always yours and yours alone.
15. Decide what you’re going to do instead.
Rather than trying to “replace” alcohol drinking, create a specific plan on what you’re are going to do instead. It’s important that your plan be specific especially during the early days of quitting.
Perhaps you decide that you’re going to take a walk, exercise, or work on a hobby if cravings arise. Or maybe more cerebral activities like meditation, reading, or journaling are a better fit for you.
Observe what happens when you get drunk. Can you replace that? No! It’s impossible to duplicate. When you consider all the bad parts would you want to? Choose a productive activity instead. Doing that would be the opposite of drinking.
16. Do not count the days or label yourself.
You might record your quit date, but do not count the days. Counting days is an AA thing that adds pressure and lacks permanency. Once you decide to never ever put alcohol into your body again, you have quit. There is no need to count days.
Do not label or think of yourself as a/an…
- Person with an incurable disease
- Person in recovery
- Person on the wagon
- Sober person
- Former drinker
You simply do not drink alcohol. Period! No explanation needed.
17. Do not mourn the lost.
Alcohol never was your friend and never could be. At best, alcohol was a highly toxic, deceptive, insidious friend who led you down the wrong path.
Just put alcohol behind you and move on. No good ever comes from looking back at people and things that did you wrong. Focus instead on the people and things you want in your life.
18. Enjoy the freedom!
Breaking free of this poison (alcohol) that has been weighing you down and holding you back for years is finally out of your life. Instead, you are experiencing glorious sunrises, vibrate health, quality relationships, rewarding work, and rejuvenating leisure.
Here’s the most incredible part when you quit drinking alcohol. Once you have broken free, you may wonder why you waited so long to quit and what you were so worried about giving up.
It all comes down to this. Are you going to surrender to the brainwashing and social pressure and continue to drink a poison that destroys you in so many ways? Or are you going to choose your own path, be a leader, and create the life you imagine? Decide, take a stand, move forward, and you will soar!
This article was inspired in part by these books. To support your goal to quit drinking alcohol on your own, I strongly recommend that you get one or more or all of them.
- Quit Drinking Without Willpower – Be a happy nondrinker by Allen Carr
- How To Stop Drinking Alcohol – A Simple Path From Alcohol Misery to Alcohol Mastery by Kevin O’Hara
- This Naked Mind – Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness, & Change Your Life by Annie Grace
- See all quit drinking alcohol books here and here
Along with the above books, this article is based on my research, observation, experience, and conclusions. This article will be updated as I discover new information. Update: I have updated this article with new helpful and motivating information many times since I published it.