How To Quit Drinking Alcohol On Your Own
Earlier I shared my results from completing 100 days alcohol-free.
Though it was simple enough, getting to where I could quit with relative comfort took some work.
The truth is, I struggled with alcohol for quite some time.
By the time I quit, I’d spent the previous seven consecutive years actively trying to. That doesn’t have to happen to you.
Today, I’ll reveal the five main areas I worked on that enabled me to finally win my battle with alcohol for good, without traditional group-based methods.
Hopefully, they can help you quit drinking on your own too, if that’s what you really want.
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1- I Developed An Interest In Self-Development
I couldn’t win when I only sought improvement with my liquor intake. It took developing an interest in total self-development to make it happen.
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When you’re younger, you generally have fewer obligations. It takes a lot less to lead a decent life. As you gain more responsibility for things like children, spouses, household management and “bigger” careers, true fulfillment requires more. It requires more input from you. You need to level up your skills. Alcohol interferes with that.
For me, starting a side-hustle was insanely motivating. My desire to exit the rat race was strong. But that in and of itself isn’t what I’m talking about. I didn’t know at the beginning that I would make it. I’m talking about the underlying personality traits that are required to become a successful entrepreneur, such as time management, organization and problem-solving – I had to work on those.
In the two years spent building my business, I went in and out of drinking as I always had. I noticed when I wasn’t drinking, all the habits I’d worked hard to develop came easy. If I drank a teeny bit more than intended, however, it all went out the window. Over time it became glaringly obvious how drinking affected my bottom line. But beyond that, I desired to possess those traits all the time in all areas of my life.
Because when you are on point with time, you know where all your stuff is, and you become great at solving random crazy problems, doesn’t that make you a better parent, spouse, employee, boss, friend, daughter, and neighbor?
It’s simply not enough to want to stop or slow down your drinking. Because drinking is fun. It’s a social lubricant, and it is addictive. Early sobriety isn’t always easy, and relapse is likely. What you need is a true desire to become better, smarter and stronger all the way around. Making even minor improvements in self-development kinda makes you start to give booze the side-eye. It really stops becoming fun when it knocks you off your game.
2- I Met Others Who Don’t Drink
I’m not religious, and I didn’t vibe with AA. I’m not particularly a fan of counseling either, though I’ll go if I absolutely must. Maybe it took me so long to succeed because of how I went about it… maybe not. One thing that helped me tremendously, though, was meeting others who don’t drink.
I mean I get it. Alcohol is everywhere. Looking back on my entire experience I never knew a single person who avoided liquor until I actively chose to find one. I used to half-jokingly say “I don’t trust a person who says they don’t drink”. Peak foolishness!
During my 100-day sobriety experiment, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a holiday potluck for sober people. It was really fun! But the biggest takeaway was that I met some interesting, kind “regular” people with great personalities who had lots of sober time to their credit. For the first time, I was in a room turning up with people my age in a happy setting! Some hadn’t touched booze for over 4 years, and it was so refreshing and motivating to be around them. Like, sobriety doesn’t have to come with sad or depressing groups where you talk endlessly about how awful alcohol is. You can party, dance, eat great food, have deep conversations, laugh until your belly hurts and remember it all the next day.
While I ultimately chose not to continue with all the group activities, I do keep in touch with some of the kind folks I met. Knowing fun, interesting, intelligent people in my town who have been sober for many years gives me confidence that I can do it too.
For those of us who don’t do AA or have a tribe of sober friends, knowing as few as one could be key to early success. Find them!
Update: Meet some of my new sober friends!
3- I Changed My Surroundings
This may be a hard pill to swallow, but if you aren’t willing to change your surroundings, you aren’t ready to change your drinking. Click To Tweet Maybe eventually you can still do all the things you used to– just without booze– but in the beginning, you need to scale back. Full stop.
When I first started dating my now-husband, he was super into UFC (still is). I was so enamored with him that I’d tag along to viewing events at local sports bars. Drinks would flow. We’d be loud and belligerent, rooting for our faves. It was always a good time.
Fast-forward to now, I decline those events. I don’t really enjoy UFC just for the fights. So, watching a UFC fight sober isn’t really my jam. While I do miss hanging out with hubby and our shared friends and all the fun we used to have, I know if I want to stay sober I can’t go anywhere that is only fun because the liquor is pouring. I have to create a life that is genuinely more exciting than alcohol.
This takes a lot of self-evaluation because I know liquor is part of so many things that we do. Even if you only drink socially which is considered okay by most standards – if you have a very active social life, you’re drinking all the time. Perhaps consider how you really feel about the people you socialize with and the activities you engage in with those people. If you absolutely need to drink to enjoy those people or things, do you really enjoy them?
If you are used to your monthly book club meeting but wouldn’t enjoy it at all without the wine, should you be attending? Click To Tweet If the answer is no, are you okay with replacing that meeting with events that you do enjoy without alcohol?
If you really want to change, you must be willing to change. End of discussion.
4- I Got My Husband On Board
This is so huge that it deserves its own post. I will get around to that for sure. But for now, I must say that without the full support of your significant other (especially if you live together), changing your drinking habits will be extremely difficult. Maybe impossible.
Update: Here is the post about How To Get Your Partner To Support Your Sobriety
I’m not even going to front… In the early days, my relationship was practically built on a foundation of Bacardi. We were young, unemployed, attractive and it was the summertime. One night we passed out after partying all night with our friends. True love was born when each of us realized the other was okay with eating shots for breakfast the next morning.
We’ve been inseparable ever since.
My husband was never a problem drinker. Even though he drank a lot with me, and still drinks minimally these days, I wouldn’t say his drinking has ever been out of control. So, he couldn’t relate. He’s seen me at my absolute worst, so he knew how bad I could get. Though earlier attempts to quit drinking would never stick, I got better at moderation as the years went on. He’d see this as progress, and I guess it was. He’d say, “you’re so much better!” “You’re nothing like how you used to be!” “You can have drinks here and there!” Then when I slipped into a 5-day binge it was “Don’t be so hard on yourself, you just had a little fun!”
When I chose to quit drinking for good, he initially gave me the same response as always. “You’re way better now, I didn’t think you wanted to quit forever”. But I really impressed upon him how though I was better, I was tired, and could not do it anymore.
We had a long, deep discussion about it and in the end, he got it.
He finally saw how unhappy alcohol made me and agreed that he didn’t want me to drink again, either.
Today, he goes out of his way to make sure I’m comfortable. We’ve agreed that he can have beer in the house, but nothing else. When we went on vacation, he checked with me before ordering any drinks – then only had one the entire trip. And even when he goes out drinking with his boys, he never comes home stupid drunk. He tells me all the time how proud he is of me sticking to my goals and highlights how both our lives are much improved since I quit drinking. This is the support I always needed, and it is a huge part of my ability to carry on.
I know this can be tough because believe me, I’ve been through it. At one point we were dealing with “just because you want to stop doesn’t mean I can’t relax and have a drink in my own home”. And other things. We’ll talk more about that later. The overall point, though, is while it may be possible to quit drinking if your live-in partner isn’t on board, it won’t be easy.
You need their support.
5- I Found An Exciting New Hobby
Finally, perhaps the biggest part of my journey to sobriety was finding a new hobby that consumes me so much, I don’t want to take time away from it to drink – blogging!
Will all that free time on my hands, I figured I’d try something new. Learn some new skills, have a little fun, and share my thoughts and be held accountable too. It turned out that blogging was the perfect thing for an ambitious lady with extra time on her hands!
It takes so much to run a blog, it’s not even funny. I literally don’t have the time to get bored because there is so much to learn! It’s become my little pet project. I’m so obsessed with blogging that I get mad if things pull me away from my creative process without a damn good reason. Alcohol would absolutely fit the bill, and ain’t nobody got time for that!
I totally get that blogging isn’t for everybody. But I do believe that anybody can find that special “thing” that makes them tick! Are you an artist? Do you play instruments or create music? Is there a sport that you enjoy? Do you like to read? Watch movies?
Maybe you don’t know yet, but it might be fun trying many new things to see what sticks. That can be rewarding all on its own!
Quit Drinking On Your Own – Conclusion
If you’re concerned your drinking may be out of control, have confidence that there are steps you can take to make a change.
Whether you’d like to moderate or quit drinking altogether, the tips above will get you on the right track. Remember that any progress is better than none at all. With time, persistence and support you’ll reach your goals. And you’ll live a life that is bigger, bolder and brighter than you ever could have imagined.