The 7 Best Ways to Quit Drinking (2022)

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Are you looking for the best ways to stop drinking? The method you choose will depend largely on your personal circumstances. Options include self-help programs, online therapy, medication-assisted treatments, in-person therapy, and counseling organizations. While some options are best for those with underlying mental health disorders, others will be better for those who drink to manage life stress.

If you are unsure which of the following services to use to stop drinking, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357. They can direct you to resources in your area or provide advice on options.

The 7 Best Ways to Quit Drinking

Best Ways to Quit Drinking

Best Ways to Quit Drinking

  • Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART)
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Women for Sobriety (WFS)
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety
  • Loosid Smartphone App
  • Self Recovery
  • The Recovery Village
  • FAQs

  • Methodology

Best Overall : Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART)

The 7 Best Ways to Quit Drinking (1)

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(Video) 5 EASY TIPS To Quit Drinking Alcohol ONCE AND FOR ALL!!

The 7 Best Ways to Quit Drinking (2)

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a nonprofit organization offering a four-point program with the following components: motivation for change, dealing with urges, what to do about unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and actions, and how to achieve balance in life.

The SMART program is based on the idea that addiction is a way to cope with life stressors that begins as a coping strategy but becomes a problem. The program makes use of research on addiction to enable individuals to achieve abstinence from alcohol and drugs.

Support group meetings for SMART are available worldwide and focus on self-empowerment and making healthy lifestyle changes. They are designed to help you learn ways to change your approach to life so that you don't need addictive behaviors to cope. In other words, once you become happier and more content with your daily life, addiction won't need to be a part of it.

In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, group meetings focus on developing motivation to change. Members learn how beliefs keep them stuck and emotions trigger them to use alcohol or substances. Finding pleasure in other activities is one cornerstone of the program.

Support groups are run by facilitators who lead members through a structured program that delves into mental health and addiction with a focus on the present instead of the past.

SMART meetings are free for members, but donations are collected at every meeting to help support the organization.

Best Free : Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a well-known organization dedicated to helping individuals struggling with addiction achieve sobriety. AA has groups running worldwide that are open to anyone looking to finally beat their drinking problem.

The organization was started in 1935 with the mission of bringing relief to those struggling with alcohol addiction. In general, AA operates with the understanding that members work toward the greater good of the group, as well as spread the message to others who may need help.

The program operates under the framework of a 12-step program that is rooted in spirituality. Some of the principles learned through group meetings include the belief that individuals are not able to solve their addiction on their own and need the help of a power greater than themselves. One of the 12 steps involves recognizing people who have been hurt by your addiction and formulating a plan to make amends.

Local Alcoholics Anonymous groups can be found through the organization's website via a location-based search. For those looking for online gatherings and meetings, these are also available.

While meetings are free to join, donations from members are accepted within local chapters to help support their local chapters.

Best for Women : Women for Sobriety (WFS)

Women for Sobriety (WFS) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1975 to help women overcome substance abuse. WFS was founded by a sociologist who wanted to treat addiction by examining the role of women and how identity loss, guilt, and depression could play a role.

WFS programs are based on "acceptance statements" that help women to achieve emotional and spiritual growth and engage in better thinking patterns. Members are given a list of 13 statements that they must review each morning. They are also asked to choose one statement for the day that they will focus on.

(Video) 7 EASY TIPS To Quit Drinking Alcohol ONCE AND FOR ALL!!

WFS offers both in-person and online support groups. They are run by certified moderators and leaders (for chat groups). Phone volunteers also provide one-on-one support.

The program is based on healthy coping mechanisms (diet, exercise, relaxation), positive reinforcement, and cognitive restructuring. The goal of the program and the groups is to empower women to make changes in their lives to achieve sobriety.

Meetings and chat groups are free to attend. Donations of roughly $2 to $5 per meeting are suggested, but no one is ever turned away if they can't afford to donate.

Best Secular Option : Secular Organizations for Sobriety

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.) is a nonprofit, international network of local, non-professional groups operating autonomously to help individuals achieve sobriety from alcohol, drugs, food, and other addictions.

S.O.S. was founded in 1985 by James Christopher, a sober alcoholic since 1978. He is the author of two books on the topic of addiction and sobriety: "SOS Sobriety" and "Unhooked: Staying Sober and Drug-Free."

Secular Organizations for Sobriety offers an alternative path to sobriety from those followed within the 12-step model of religious organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The groups that operate within the framework welcome anyone looking to find a path to sobriety, including those who are religious. However, they are run in a secular setting.

In opposition to the traditional 12-step model, Secular Organizations for Sobriety place the locus of control for achieving and/or maintaining a sober lifestyle within the individual. This means that when sobriety is achieved, the credit for this achievement also rests with the individual.

The network accepts and respects any path that is chosen toward sobriety and is not opposed to or in competition with programs offered through other networks (such as Alcoholics Anonymous). Rather, any path to sobriety that the individual chooses is respected in this model.

Group meetings that fall within the network for S.O.S. are held throughout the world in different cities. If there is not a meeting near you, it is possible to start a new group. They are free to join.

Best for Social Connections : Loosid Smartphone App

The Loosid Smartphone app is designed to connect people seeking sobriety with others on the same journey. The motto of Loosid is "sober shouldn't be sombre." This means that those who choose sobriety don't need to resign themselves to also losing their social connections.

The Loosid app includes the chat groups for meeting other people in your local area who are practicing sobriety. In addition, the app has a Sobriety Help component with tips on how to stay sober and what to do after a relapse.

Loosid also includes Boozeless Guides to help you find places such as restaurants, travel destinations, or events that make it easy not to drink alcohol. There is also a dating community for those looking for others practicing sobriety and who are looking for a relationship.

Loosid community members also operate 24/7 hotline support groups to help people with recovery, relapse, getting through bad days, resisting urges, and dealing with holidays or other triggers.

Loosid is best if you are worried about losing the social aspect that you connect with alcohol. The Loosid app is free for anyone to download and use.

(Video) The absolute best way to quit drinking and beat alcoholism

Best for Busy People : Self Recovery

Self Recovery was founded by board-certified psychiatrist Daniel Hochman, M.D. based on his experience as a private practitioner and consultant for facilities treating individuals for addiction.

Self Recovery uses a holistic treatment model that considers the underlying causes of addiction and incorporates these into a self-help program. The program also takes into account life stressors such as busy schedules, family obligations, financial problems, and judgment from others.

The program is delivered fully online and on-demand, enabling private access to recovery for those with a busy schedule. The goal of Self Recovery is to help you understand what has caused your addiction and to use evidence-based strategies to recover in the context of real-life, including your family, career, relationships, etc.

Self Recovery has the aim that everyone can achieve deep and lasting change in their choices and beliefs. Through its holistic and scientific approach, Hochman aims to translate addiction recovery from the one-on-one treatment sphere into an easily accessible self-help program.

Self-Recovery is a fee-based program, calculated by course.

Best for Comorbid Mental Health Conditions : The Recovery Village

The Recovery Village was established in 2013 by Dr. Mitchell Eisenberg and Dr. Lewis Gold, co-founders of Sheridan Healthcare, a nationwide healthcare company that they eventually retired from. The Recovery Village was founded to address an unmet need to provide treatment for substance abuse with underlying mental health issues.

The Recovery Village offers teletherapy and telepsychiatry with licensed professionals and has locations across the United States. Its comprehensive treatment programs address not only substance abuse but also any other accompanying mental health disorders. In this way, The Recovery Village offers a full spectrum of care for your path to recovery.

Some of the services that you can expect to have access to through The Recovery Village include medical detox services, residential services, outpatient programs, mental health counseling, personalized addiction recovery plans, and aftercare programs. The entire treatment model is based on evidence-based addiction treatment and the delivery of high-quality care.

The Recovery Village is focused on lifelong wellness, respectful and compassionate treatment provision, and long-term recovery. The company holds the value that anyone can recover and that treatment should address both physical and psychological concerns.

A fee-based program, The Recovery Village provides access to addiction experts, social workers, registered nurses, and licensed mental health therapists.

FAQs

What Arethe Most Effective Ways to QuitDrinking?

The most effective ways to stop drinking will be different for each person, depending on the severity of the addiction. For those with a physical dependency on alcohol, residential treatment with medical detox might be best combined with addiction counseling. If your drinking is problematic but not severe, self-help support such as community groups and learning about coping strategies may be effective.

How Long Does It Take to QuitDrinking?

How long it takes to quit drinking will depend on the severity and nature of your drinking problem, your readiness for change, and the modalities that you choose to quit. If you opt to enter a residential treatment facility, your stay may last a month or longer. Outpatient treatment could last anywhere from a few months to over a year. If you choose to quit on your own or with a community group, you may find that you need to continue to engage in ongoing ways. Sobriety typically is a lifelong process.

(Video) What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Drinking Alcohol

What Are theSide Effects of QuittingDrinking?

The initial period of detox will range from about a week to longer depending on the severity of your drinking. For those with mild to moderate drinking issues, this may include sleeping problems or anxiety. For those with severe alcoholism, this may include a variety of physical, emotional, and psychiatric symptoms. Serious withdrawal symptoms (i.e. delirium tremens) require medical supervision.

How We Chose the Best Ways to Quit Drinking

The best ways to quit drinking were chosen based on accessibility (i.e. whether organizations offer online services or in-person meetings), the use of evidence-based practices, and overall community support. If you are trying to choose the best method for yourself, it's important to consider your situation and what level of support you will need.

For example, Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the best options for group support because of its long history and wide availability. For those who prefer a comprehensive program that addresses mental health, The Recovery Village was chosen as a top pick because of the breadth of services that it offers. Self Recovery is ideal for combating underlying causes of addiction for busy people.

Article Sources

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Long D, Long B, Koyfman A.The emergency medicine management of severe alcohol withdrawal.Am J Emerg Med. 2017;35(7):1005-1011. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2017.02.002

The 7 Best Ways to Quit Drinking (15)

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Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety."

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(Video) 3 Secrets That Make Stopping Drinking Alcohol EASY

FAQs

How can I train my brain to stop drinking? ›

Cognitive bias modification is a computerised brain-training program that trains people to repeatedly “avoid” alcohol-related cues, and to “approach” neutral or positive ones. Using a joystick, the user repeatedly pushes away pictures of alcohol, and pulls healthier alternatives, such as bottled water, towards them.

What are 3 ways you can avoid drinking? ›

Whatever the reason, there are preventative measures you can put in place to help you avoid alcohol abuse and the risk of developing alcohol addiction.
  • Don't Keep Alcohol At Home. ...
  • Know Your Drinking Limits. ...
  • Surround Yourself With Non-Drinkers. ...
  • Know The Consequences Of Excessive Alcohol Use. ...
  • Tell Loved Ones Your Concerns.
25 Jul 2022

How many days a week is alcohol free? ›

Many experts recommend taking one or more days off from drinking completely each week.

What can I drink instead of alcohol? ›

What to drink instead of alcohol
  • Soda and fresh lime. Proof that simple is still the best.
  • Berries in iced water. This summery drink will keep you refreshed and revitalised.
  • Kombucha. ...
  • Virgin bloody Mary. ...
  • Virgin Mojito. ...
  • Half soda/half cranberry juice and muddled lime. ...
  • Soda and fresh fruit. ...
  • Mocktails.

How do you quit drinking when you don't want to? ›

How to Cut Down on Alcohol, Even If You Don't Want to Quit...
  1. Stop people pleasing!
  2. Set yourself a drinking limit and stick to it.
  3. Find an alcohol-free drink you actually like.
  4. Ask yourself if you're drinking out of boredom.
  5. Go easy on the pre-drinking.
  6. Be mindful of your friends' drinking habits.
1 Apr 2022

What happens when you stop drinking everyday? ›

Symptoms/outcomes you may see

Onset of withdrawal symptoms which may include hand tremors, retching, excessive sweating, restlessness and anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms continue. Alcohol cravings, reduced energy and feeling low or depressed are common.

How do you increase dopamine without alcohol? ›

Here are 9 Ways to Naturally Increase Dopamine Levels:
  1. Avoid overindulging in alcohol or recreational drug use. ...
  2. Maintaining a healthy diet can increase dopamine levels. ...
  3. Avoid junk food. ...
  4. Exercise regularly to increase dopamine. ...
  5. Spend time outside. ...
  6. Practice healthy sleep habits. ...
  7. Engage in healthy, pleasurable activities.

Why do I not know when to stop drinking? ›

Having no off switch when drinking can suggest a lack of control. Excessive drinking to a point where you may be experiencing loss of body functionality may pose a risk to yourself and others. If you're identifying with this , it may be helpful to speak with a qualified alcohol abuse therapist.

What happens when you drink alcohol everyday? ›

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.

How do you know when you're an alcoholic? ›

Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse are: Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss. Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings. Making excuses for drinking such as to relax, deal with stress or feel normal.

What are the symptoms of drinking too much alcohol? ›

Symptoms of alcohol overdose include mental confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizure, trouble breathing, slow heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking), and extremely low body temperature. Alcohol overdose can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

How long does it take your liver to heal without drinking? ›

Most expert guidelines suggest avoiding drinking alcohol for 30 days to help your liver restore to its normal function.

How long does it take for alcohol to get out of your liver? ›

The half-life of alcohol is four to five hours. A half-life is how long it takes for your body to get rid of half of it. But you need about five half-lives to get rid of alcohol completely. So, it takes about 25 hours for your body to clear all the alcohol.

How soon will I lose weight after quitting alcohol? ›

Someone who goes from daily alcohol drinking to stopping altogether can expect to see physical body composition changes as well as weight loss in the days or weeks after they quit drinking alcohol.

What can I replace alcohol with to sleep? ›

Alternatives to Alcohol for Sleep
  • Tea or Sparkling Water. The oral fixation of sipping a liquid can be an issue for frequent drinkers. ...
  • Take a Shower or Bath. Hot water over the skin can open your pores and stimulate the senses. ...
  • Music, TV, and Books. ...
  • Take a Walk. ...
  • Have a Chat.
4 Jun 2018

Is there a drug that mimics alcohol? ›

Sentia is made from plant extracts that can mimic the effects of alcohol, and is meant to top out around the feeling of having a glass or two of wine.

What should I drink in the morning? ›

10 Healthy Morning Drinks to Get Your Day Started
  • Honey and cinnamon drink. Have a glass of honey and cinnamon drink first thing in the morning. ...
  • Lemon Juice. ...
  • Cinnamon Green Tea. ...
  • Coconut water. ...
  • Aloe juice. ...
  • Pomegranate tea. ...
  • Fruit smoothies. ...
  • Green tea lassi.
29 Oct 2021

Why can I not stop drinking? ›

excessive alcohol consumption over time.

The changes that happen in the brains of those people are temporary. However, when you begin to drink alcohol on a consistent basis, especially in larger quantities, your brain chemistry begins to change, making it more challenging to manage your pattern of drinking.

Is it better to stop drinking gradually? ›

If you're dependent on alcohol, it can be dangerous to stop drinking suddenly. Instead, you should try to reduce the amount you drink slowly, over a few weeks. This takes a bit of preparation, but it's much safer than stopping suddenly.

What happens when you cut down alcohol? ›

Benefits of taking a break or cutting down

fewer alcohol-related symptoms, like headaches, heartburn, indigestion and stomach upsets. less fatty build up around the liver. improving existing conditions - depression, high blood pressure or skin conditions like rosacea. better sleep.

What happens when you stop drinking everyday? ›

Symptoms/outcomes you may see

Onset of withdrawal symptoms which may include hand tremors, retching, excessive sweating, restlessness and anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms continue. Alcohol cravings, reduced energy and feeling low or depressed are common.

What happens to your body when you give up drinking? ›

Withdrawal symptoms can include sweating, tremors, sleep problems, rapid heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, anxiety, restlessness, and possibly even seizures.

Is it better to stop drinking gradually? ›

If you're dependent on alcohol, it can be dangerous to stop drinking suddenly. Instead, you should try to reduce the amount you drink slowly, over a few weeks. This takes a bit of preparation, but it's much safer than stopping suddenly.

How soon will I lose weight after quitting alcohol? ›

Someone who goes from daily alcohol drinking to stopping altogether can expect to see physical body composition changes as well as weight loss in the days or weeks after they quit drinking alcohol.

What does 3 weeks without alcohol do to your body? ›

Overall benefits of three weeks without alcohol

Clear skin. More energy. Improved gym performance. Reduced anxiety and improved mood.

What happens after 2 weeks of no alcohol? ›

After two weeks off alcohol, you will continue to reap the benefits of better sleep and hydration. As alcohol is an irritant to the stomach lining, after a fortnight you will also see a reduction in symptoms such as reflux where the stomach acid burns your throat.

What are the first signs of liver damage from alcohol? ›

Symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD)
  • feeling sick.
  • weight loss.
  • loss of appetite.
  • yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • swelling in the ankles and tummy.
  • confusion or drowsiness.
  • vomiting blood or passing blood in your stools.

What alcohol does to your face? ›

Alcohol causes your body and skin to lose fluid (dehydrate). Dry skin wrinkles more quickly and can look dull and grey. Alcohol's diuretic (water-loss) effect also causes you to lose vitamins and nutrients.

What is considered a heavy drinker? ›

For men, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming 15 drinks or more per week. For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming 8 drinks or more per week.

How do you know when your liver is healed? ›

You will experience physical signs your liver is healing, such as healthier-looking skin and eyes, increased energy levels, and reduced stomach pain and swelling. Other signs your liver is healing include: Improved amino-acid regulation – Your liver processes proteins and amino acids that your body cannot store.

What's the safest way to stop drinking? ›

The simplest way to taper off your alcohol consumption is to gradually reduce the number of drinks that you usually drink over a period of time. For example, if you usually drink five glasses of wine every day, try cutting back to four glasses for several days and then try to reduce it to three.

Is 12 beers a day too much? ›

Heavy drinking – regardless of the type of alcohol selected – can negatively affect health and life in general. The effects of drinking 12 beers a day can be catastrophic. The use of alcohol in the United States is considered a way of life.

How long does alcohol stay in your system? ›

Alcohol detection tests can measure alcohol in the blood for up to 6 hours, on the breath for 12 to 24 hours, urine for 12 to 24 hours (72 or more hours with more advanced detection methods), saliva for 12 to 24 hours, and hair for up to 90 days. The half-life of alcohol is between 4-5 hours.

Why am I gaining weight when I stopped drinking? ›

Your healing gut may be absorbing more nutrients.

Taking a break from booze also gives your gut a chance to heal alcohol-induced damage and take in more nutrients. That may mean weight gain because your body "is finally getting nourished again," Brooks said.

Does not drinking alcohol make you look younger? ›

You look younger.

When your skin dries out, it becomes less elastic. As a result, you might look older and more wrinkled after just one night of heavy drinking. If you drink often, the effect is compounded. However, once you quit drinking, you start looking younger pretty quickly.

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