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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on September 15, 2023
10 min read

How to Stop Drinking & When Should You Get Treatment?

Do you struggle with alcohol addiction and want to reclaim your life? Alcoholism can be a destructive and isolating condition. This is particularly true if you suffer from an underlying mental health issue like depression or anxiety. 

But the good news is, it doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of misery. With proper support, you can find lasting ways to stop drinking to begin living a healthier, more positive lifestyle.

This blog post discusses tips on breaking free from alcohol dependence, the signs that suggest it's time to stop drinking alcohol, and treatment options available for those who need them.

7 Ways to Stop Drinking Before It Becomes a Problem

Proactively managing your alcohol consumption can significantly decrease the chances of harmful consequences. These include the loss of self-control and the development of chronic health issues.

Here are five tips for reducing or cutting out the amount of alcohol you drink:

1. Don’t Keep Alcohol In Your House

To effectively reduce your alcohol consumption, a simple yet effective step is to eliminate any presence of alcohol in your household. The mere requirement to go out and acquire a drink is often a deterrent when attempting to quit or limit drinking.

Furthermore, it's prudent to explore viable alternatives. These include alcohol-free beverages like soda water, sodas, juices, or tea as substitutes. In cases where you live with roommates, request that they store their alcohol in discreet areas instead of communal spaces.

2. Practice Mindful Drinking

Drinking alcohol is so strong in various cultures that you’re often expected to partake in social drinking occasions. These gatherings can range from celebratory to pre-gaming events. As a result, you may consume alcohol without much thought alongside your friends or family members.

Mindful drinking entails being conscious and fully present when making decisions regarding alcohol. It promotes a more deliberate and mindful approach to drinking, urging you to:

  • Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally before partaking in alcohol consumption
  • Deliberately consider each drink you consume rather than drinking mindlessly
  • Develop effective communication strategies when discussing your drinking choices with others

By incorporating these practices, you can cultivate a more thoughtful and intentional relationship with alcohol.

3. Meet People in Places That Don’t Serve Alcohol

When meeting new people or arranging a first date at a bar, you can typically expect alcohol to be a part of your day. There's no established expectation for drinking if you meet people in venues like a cafe, park, bakery, or non-alcoholic restaurant. 

This gives you a greater chance to establish a relationship that doesn't revolve around alcohol. The same principle applies when meeting old friends. 

If you’re trying to reduce your alcohol consumption, it's essential to communicate your intentions openly and honestly. Most people will support your efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle. Those who refuse to meet for a non-alcoholic drink may contribute to the issue.

4. Practice Moderation Management

Moderation Management (MM) was established in 1994 as a viable alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous. It caters to those without alcohol dependence focused on managing their drinking rather than complete abstinence. 

MM promotes the adoption of personalized drinking objectives that align with your circumstances. Through in-person or virtual gatherings, members collaborate in:

5. Find A Supportive Community

Many people trying to stop drinking have found support in online communities. Finding a positive and supportive environment through forums or social media can help you stay on track and feel supported.

These forums also provide helpful tips from other members about how they’ve stopped drinking and stayed sober. This can be immensely valuable if you’re just beginning the process, as it can provide you with inspiration and motivation.

Look for online communities that support people to stop drinking. Many helpful resources, such as books and blogs about sobriety and recovery, are also available.

6. Talk to a Professional

Your family doctor, mental health professional, or substance abuse specialist can help you find the best treatment plan for your drinking problem. In some cases, they may prescribe medications to help reduce cravings you experience when abstaining from alcohol.

These medications work with therapy and support groups in a comprehensive treatment program. A therapist can also help you recognize triggers, develop a plan to address cravings and implement healthy coping strategies.

7. Avoid “Dry Drunk” Syndrome

You must fill the void with meaningful activities and hobbies when you stop drinking. Otherwise, you may fall into a “dry drunk syndrome state.”

This condition involves the inability to adjust your behavior despite being technically sober. People in this state may still show signs of alcohol abuse, such as aggressiveness or bitterness. Other signs of dry drunk syndrome include depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

To avoid falling into this state of mind when you stop drinking, seek out activities that promote your overall well-being, such as:

  • Exercising
  • Exploring hobbies like painting or cooking
  • Engaging in meaningful relationships

Having something to look forward to daily can help you move through quitting alcohol without feeling overwhelmed.


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How Do I Know If You Have a Drinking Problem?

Some people, especially young adults in their 20s and 30s, might have trouble recognizing drinking problems. That's because binge drinking has been so normalized due to college and other factors. Therefore, it can be surprising to learn that it's actually a serious form of substance abuse.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

A useful criterion for AUD is published in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). To diagnose alcohol use disorder, doctors will ask if any of the following statements apply to you within the last year:

  • You’ve drunk more or longer than you initially intended
  • You tried reducing or quitting drinking but couldn’t
  • You lost a significant amount of time because of drinking or being hungover
  • You wanted to drink so badly you couldn’t focus on anything else
  • Drinking or being hungover interfered with your family, work, or school responsibilities
  • You continued drinking even though it was affecting your relationships 
  • Some habits or hobbies that were important to you were replaced with drinking
  • You engaged in risky behavior (driving, unsafe sex, walking in a dangerous area, etc.) after drinking
  • You continued to drink even though it made you anxious, depressed, or caused a blackout
  • You developed a tolerance (you need more alcohol to produce the same effects)
  • You had alcohol withdrawal symptoms 

Based on your responses to a series of questions, you can determine the severity of your alcohol use disorder. You have a mild disorder if you answer "yes" to two or three questions. Four to five "yes" answers indicate a moderate disorder, while six or more affirmatives suggest a severe disorder.

How to Help Someone Stop Drinking

Assisting a person in denial about their problem can be challenging. To begin, engage in a conversation with them. It would be wise to choose a time and place when they're not consuming alcohol, ensuring a relaxed atmosphere conducive to open communication.

When engaging in dialogue, refrain from using threatening or judgmental language. Moreover, avoid enabling behaviors. Instead, approach the conversation calmly and inform them that their actions harm themselves and those around them.

It's not uncommon for people with drinking problems to react with hostility or denial. In such cases, enlisting the assistance of a professional for an intervention may be necessary.


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How to Stop Drinking if You Have a Drinking Problem

If you have a drinking problem, seeking guidance from a psychologist, doctor, or addiction specialist is best. They can offer valuable insights to determine the most suitable approach to quit drinking.

People who suffer from a moderate or severe alcohol use disorder may find it challenging to quit. Alcoholism is a persistent and recurring condition that impacts the brain's chemical makeup.

This is why many attempts to quit abruptly fail. Heavy drinkers often fall back into unhealthy patterns if they don't possess the necessary mindset, social abilities, and coping strategies to recover from alcoholism.


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What are the Consequences of Alcohol Consumption?

Even moderate drinking habits come with serious consequences, including:

The effects of alcohol abuse are even more severe. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can lead to liver disease, cancer, cardiac problems, and death.

Fortunately, many methods exist to decrease or eliminate alcohol intake. These ways evade the adverse effects on your physical, social, and mental well-being.

Why Do People Consume Alcohol Despite Its Risks?

Alcohol is one of the most common and prevalent drugs in the world. Additionally, it holds a notable status as a socially accepted substance for use.

There are various reasons why people turn to alcohol:

  • Enhancing social interactions and facilitating socialization
  • Alleviating stress and providing a sense of relaxation
  • Utilizing it as a form of self-medication to deal with insomnia

But while alcohol may provide short-term help in these situations, it can create more problems than it solves.

What are the Most Effective Treatment Options?

Here are the three most popular and effective treatment options:

Support Groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART Recovery offer those with AUD a framework, responsibility, and a sense of community. These groups typically consist of regular, in-person meetings that occur weekly or monthly.

For some people, these support groups may sufficiently address moderate drinking issues. They also suffice for those with a solid drive to achieve sobriety. At the very least, they offer invaluable resources and connections for people navigating recovery.

However, more commonly, these support groups serve as a follow-up program. People enter these organizations after completing a structured rehabilitation program at an authorized treatment facility.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs are highly effective if you have:

  • A mild or moderate alcohol use disorder
  • A strong desire to recover
  • Responsibilities such as family, work, or school that they can't interrupt during treatment.

These programs allow you to receive treatment at a facility while still being able to sleep in the comfort of your own home. The intensity and duration of outpatient treatment vary; they tailor services to meet your needs.

Outpatient treatment programs typically consist of three main stages:

  1. Achieving sobriety
  2. Strengthening your commitment to sobriety
  3. Flourishing in your newfound sobriety

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is the most intensive rehabilitation option for those with moderate to severe alcohol use disorders. It also has the highest rate of successful recovery.

During inpatient treatment, you sleep, eat, and undergo treatment, all while living at the treatment facility. The five stages of inpatient programs include the following:

  1. Evaluation
  2. Detoxification
  3. Psychological and medical treatment
  4. Transition
  5. Maintenance

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Both inpatient and outpatient programs vary in methodologies. However, most use psychotherapy (talk therapy), group therapy, and some health and wellness counseling.

Other Treatments

Other popular therapies include:


Stopping alcohol can be difficult. It's essential to seek professional help to determine the best treatment for your drinking problem.

Support groups are also invaluable resources for anyone trying to quit drinking. Several treatment options are also available for those with AUD.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, contact a mental health professional immediately. Remember, recovery takes time and patience. Investing in necessary treatment and support will help you move towards a healthier, happier addiction-free life. 

Updated on September 15, 2023
1 sources cited
Updated on September 15, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. "Benefits of cutting down on alcohol." Alcohol and Drug Foundation, 2022.

  2. "Treating Substance Use Disorder in Older Adults: Updated 2020 [Internet]." Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2020.
  3. Paswan et al. “Alcohol and college students: Reasons, realization and intention to quit.” Journal of Business Research, 2015. 
  4. Reynolds et al. “Is being mindful associated with reduced risk for internally-motivated drinking and alcohol use among undergraduates?”, Addictive Behaviors, 2015. 
  5. Gates, N. “Health: Mindful not mindless drinking” LSJ: Law Society of NSW Journal, 2016.
  6. Lembke et al. “Moderation Management: A Mutual-Help Organization for Problem Drinkers Who Are Not Alcohol-Dependent”, Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 2012.
  7. Isebaert, L. “Solution-Focused Cognitive and Systemic Therapy.” Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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