Top 10 Tips To Stop Drinking Alcohol
In How To Stop Drinking On Your Own, I shared the 5 steps I took to quit drinking without the help of AA. With a bit more sober time under my belt, I’ve now got a few more tips to stop drinking alcohol.
Today I want to share my all-time top 10 best tips to stop drinking. These things have really worked for me in the past. I hope they help you too!
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1. Have a support system
High on top of the list of tips to quit drinking alcohol is having a support system. There’s a reason why it’s the #1 piece of advice given by the sober women who kindly shared their sobriety journeys in the Sober Alley inspirational interview series.
Whether it’s AA, sponsorship, counseling, a group of friends or an online support group if you want to stop drinking you gotta know you can’t do it alone. Well, you can, but it makes it 10x harder.
On my own path, I found a sober holiday potluck on meetup.com and hopped out of my comfort zone long enough to show up. I had a ball!
Since I don’t use AA, it was here where I met my first sober friends. To this day I think knowing others who are walking this same path is one of the biggest reasons for my success this go-round.
Find a support system. Then use it. A lot!
2. Expect the pink cloud
A couple months ago I wrote about How To Exploit The Pink Cloud in early sobriety. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the time in early sobriety that some people experience where things are ah-maazing. You feel like you’re on top of the world, you’ve got a new lease on life, and you can’t be stopped. Cool, right?
Well the flip side of this is what goes up, must come down.
Once you settle a little deeper into sobriety, the pink cloud fades and you can be left feeling a little raw, sensitive and susceptible to relapse.
Get in front of this as early as you can. Expect it to happen to you. It may not, but if it does, you’ll want to be ready.
3. Be willing to switch up your routine
One of the most important things I did during my first 100 days alcohol-free was to switch up my routine. I think this is necessary for everyone just starting out to some degree – at least in the early days.
I failed so many times to quit before because I’d say “never again”, then wind up hanging out with the same people at the same clubs, parties or events where alcohol was the star of the show.
If you do this, you’re destined to fall back into old patterns.
It’s not easy to make such drastic changes, I know. But if you’re really ready to change, it’s worth it.
One of the key tips to stop drinking alcohol is to change your routine.
Promise yourself you’ll abstain from triggery people and places for at least a month or two while you sort yourself out. Find new ways to spend your alcohol-free time instead.
4. Expect boredom — and have a plan
I’m not gonna lie. Sobriety gets boring. It really does.
But you know what? That’s life. Work is boring but you gotta pay the bills. Right?
And what’s even more boring than sobriety is being stuck in bed with a grueling hangover after a weekend of binge drinking. Yeah, no.
At first, sobriety is really new and interesting and you find so much joy in repairing your broken life.
But after a few months, it can get like “okay I don’t drink… what now”?
Expect it and be okay with it.
You’re not going to die of boredom, but you might literally die from drinking.
To cure boredom in early sobriety, I highly recommend that you…
5. Find a new hobby to obsess over
Find a new hobby to obsess over. Seriously, it works!
If you’re creative at all, early sobriety is the time to dive into your craft. I chose blogging as my new passionate hobby, and it’s served me really well so far. But you might try photography, painting, art, dance, sports/fitness or even volunteering to help others.
Even if you’re not particularly creative, surely there’s some way you can think of to better yourself.
Learn a new language, improve on skills to advance your career, travel some if you can, get a new pet, start a new rock collection…
You get the point.
Having a new hobby that fulfills you, keeps you on your toes and takes up time is critical to your success. You’ll have more free time on your hands than you know what to do with. Use wisely.
6. Find good sobriety resources
The typical support systems I’ve mentioned here are great, but really you should make yourself aware of as many resources you can find.
Though I don’t use AA and really don’t like counseling, I’ve compiled a list of therapists in my area who I can go to if things get hard. Additionally, I found a non-AA meeting I can attend, too. Beyond that, I’ve found the reddit forum /stopdrinking super useful. There are tons of Facebook groups too, for all demographics. Sobriety apps, podcasts, books, courses… you name it!
Not everything will work for everyone, but it’s smart to consider your personality, what you enjoy, and make a list of go-to resources you can use if you need more help at any given moment.
7. Write out your feelings
This. One. Is. Huge. Writing is so important!
I’m a huge fan of starting a gratitude journal for sobriety, but it’s also just as important to take note of all your other thoughts, feelings and experiences too.
Sobriety blogs are becoming more and more popular as time goes on and having a sobriety blog is a great way to get your thoughts out there while giving back to the community too.
The best thing about writing feelings out is going back and reading them. It’s one thing to release how you’re feeling, but a whole different ball game to go back some weeks and months and see where you were – and how far you’ve come.
8. Establish a self-care routine
Another tip to stop drinking alcohol is to take really good care of yourself. Establish a self-care routine.
I try to shy away from terms like “self-love”. It’s so generic and cliché in my opinion, but sobriety can be really challenging at times.
Just because you remove the alcohol you can’t expect everything in your life to automatically correct itself.
You’ll still have outside problems – many of which you used alcohol to cope with.
This might actually make things seem worse when the stuff hits the fan.
You have to take care of yourself, treat yourself gently and kindly.
I’m not perfect at this by any means, but it’s important to make sure your basic needs are met in a healthy, sustainable way. Eat as healthy as you can. Try to get enough sleep. Spend time with people who love you. Incorporate some physical activity into your life… even a little helps!
9. Avoid making big decisions for a while
Another of my best tips to stop drinking alcohol is not to make any major decisions for a while.
Honesty, sobriety can be crazy. Your body and brain are restoring themselves to levels they likely haven’t seen in years, and your emotions are all over the place.
You’re changing and growing, realizing so many new things about yourself. It’s a good time, but also complex. You don’t want to do anything to complicate things further.
You really want to keep your life as simple as you can until you get your sober legs beneath you.
I think waiting to make any big changes until after sobriety gets boring is perfect. THEN you can tolerate any additional stimulation.
Take it easy in the beginning. No sweeping life changes or decisions.
10. Celebrate sobriety milestones
Finally, my last tip for how to stop drinking alcohol is the best yet: Treat Yo’self!
Whether you’re making days, weeks, months or your first year sober, you deserve to celebrate!
So many people never even make it to where you are, so show yourself a little love, be proud of your accomplishment, and enjoy a little treat!
For some really cool ideas, check out this post I wrote about sobriety celebrations.
You Can Quit Drinking Alcohol
In conclusion, whether you choose to use support groups or go it alone, quitting drinking will have ups and downs that you probably won’t be ready for all the way.
Staying on top of things and remaining aware of what to expect can help you manage and enjoy your new lifestyle.
With time, you’ll learn and grow and may even have a few tips of your own to pay it forward and share with others.