How To Quit Alcohol Forever

They say that breaking up is hard to do but for most of us there comes a time when we rethink our relationship with alcohol.  We come to that decision for many reasons and all of them are valid. Maybe you’re drinking more than you want to or maybe you just don’t like the way alcohol makes you feel anymore. Whatever your reasons are, they are worthy.  We’re here to let you know how to quit alcohol forever or how to change your relationship with it to drink as much or as little as you want to. We hope these tips and tricks will help you create a relationship with alcohol that is right for you.

How To Quit Alcohol Forever MAIN

Who is this for? 

This information can benefit anyone who wants to quit alcohol forever or would like to reshape what their relationship with alcohol is. In fact, you’re not alone in wanting to decrease or eliminate alcohol in your life. A 2021 Gallup poll showed that 40% of adults in the United States do not drink alcohol. So wanting to change your relationship with alcohol won’t make you an outcast. However, if you feel that your drinking is excessive to the point of a physical dependency on it you want to seek help from a physician as you can experience serious medical withdrawals. So please, if you have any concerns of that nature, make sure to consult your doctor before proceeding with quitting alcohol or taking a break from it.

What can you expect when you decide to quit alcohol forever

Physical symptoms 

Once again, If you have been drinking heavily for a long time, your body is capable of developing a severe physical addiction, which can cause drastic withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens, or hallucinations. This kind of situation requires medical help and supervision. Some people even need to be hospitalized while their bodies detox. If this is the case in your situation, you need to get the help of a medical professional.

Quick Note: This is really only true for 10% of excessive drinkers so it may not be true for you, but you need to be on your guard. And if you’re not sure where you fall on the physical addiction spectrum, get the advice of a doctor before beginning the process.

Now even if you’re not physically dependent on alcohol that doesn’t mean you’ll be immune to physical symptoms when you decide to quit alcohol forever or just take a break from it. Most are still experiencing some sort of withdrawal symptoms. Luckily they seem to be mild in most cases. 

Physically you can expect at least some of the following to occur:

  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • upset stomach

For most people, the first few days without alcohol feel very similar to a hangover and the symptoms do not progress any further.

Emotional Symptoms

The emotional effects of deciding to quit alcohol can last much longer and be more difficult to deal with. This is hardly surprising given that most of our attachment to alcohol is psychological or emotional. Our beliefs about alcohol and how it benefits us are what keep us drinking. They are also what can cause us to desire it once we make the choice to stop drinking. 

Those who decide to quit alcohol forever might find themselves contending with these symptoms:

  • depression 
  • feeling detached
  • guilt/shame
  • irritability
  • brain fog

Many refer to this stage as post-acute withdrawal. These symptoms usually begin within 10 days of stopping drinking and can come and go for years. (In fact, if all one does when they stop drinking is curtail the behavior and not address the beliefs and emotions around the alcohol use, these feelings will resurface indefinitely!)

Knowing what to expect when you quit drinking can be helpful but what most of us want to know is what we can do to be successful. Racking up day 1 after day 1 does a number on our psyche and really kills our ability to trust ourselves.

Here are a few tips to help you learn how to quit alcohol forever.

Knowledge Changes Everything

Here at This Naked Mind, we talk about the Three Pillars of Change. These are Knowledge, Emotion, and Action. When we want to make a change, like quitting alcohol forever we usually begin with the action. What makes This Naked Mind different is where we begin.

We start with knowledge. That means that even if you want to quit alcohol forever, you don’t need to do that right now. That’s right. We’re going to encourage you to quit drinking while you gather knowledge. Knowledge around why you drink, about what you think alcohol does for you, and knowledge about what it actually does to you. By increasing your knowledge, you’ll change your emotions around alcohol and your drinking which will make it easy to stop the action of drinking. Because who wants to do something they no longer desire?

Examine Your Whys

When drinking becomes routine it also becomes mindless. That means we lose touch with why we’re even drinking in the first place. Alcohol becomes our automatic response to everything. We drink when we’re happy or sad. To celebrate or to mourn. If you want to quit alcohol forever, you need to figure out why you’re drinking and what benefits you think alcohol is bringing you. That knowledge will allow you to unravel that belief later!

Pay Attention to When You Drink and How Much You’re Drinking

My relationship with alcohol didn’t change overnight and my dependence on it didn’t come out of left field either. Both built up over time and were a natural progression. It was something I would worry about in private but didn’t seem concerning to those on the outside. In fact, when I announced I was no longer drinking, my mother-in-law was shocked because she didn’t think I even had a problem with alcohol.

How To Quit Alcohol Forever

Sometimes what seems normal to others, is problematic for us. I knew I was drinking too much when it stopped being something I did socially and became something I did by myself, alone as soon as I could. The day I switched from bottles of wine to boxes was also a definite red flag!

Quit alcohol in a way that works for you (and change it if it doesn’t work)

If you haven’t done your research (there’s that knowledge thing again!!), you might think that the only way to quit drinking is by sitting down in a church basement and announcing your name and your problems to the strangers in the room with you.

HOW to quit alcohol forever

Not anymore. Today the options available to those who want to quit alcohol forever are almost endless. From one on one therapy to virtual support groups, and even medication – changing your relationship with alcohol doesn’t have to follow steps, a mold, or even a process.

And the best part is realizing that if the methodology you picked doesn’t work for you, other options exist. The belief that only one method works and that not being successful at it is a failure on your part is outdated and archaic. Now we know that it only means another method might be a better fit!

Don’t try this alone

Human beings need connection. It’s been scientifically proven that staying connected and engaged with other people makes us less likely to over-drink. The natural high you get when you establish real connections with other people is infinitely more satisfying than any high alcohol can give you! If you’re not sure how to find that connection among your current social group, come join us in The Alcohol Experiment. Not only is it forever free, but it’s also home to the over 400,000 people who have found freedom from alcohol and want to support you to do the same!

Do things differently

You can’t expect to keep living life the way you always have and get different results. If the status quo was really working for you, you wouldn’t be here researching how to quit alcohol forever. Doing things differently will mean different things to everyone. Some might find the drive home triggering because they always stopped on the way home for a drink. Take a different route, carpool, or call an uber in that case. If you’re used to always having glass in your hand, just change out the liquid inside of it! There are tons of NA options available nowadays and we also have a treasure trove of mocktail recipes as well! Whatever it is that makes you think you might need a drink, find an alternative that allows you to stay committed to your decision to quit alcohol.

Take care of yourself

The best thing you can do when you want to quit alcohol forever is to take care of yourself. Start by changing how you talk to yourself and how you treat yourself. Pay attention to your self-talk. Practice self-compassion. Avoid the cycle of shame and blame. You can’t guilt yourself into lasting change!

HOW to quit alcohol forever

Don’t be fatalistic either. Having a data point doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply means you still have areas that need more attention. We all do. That doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human!

Build your toolbox

Having the right tools for a job makes a huge difference in being successful at it. It makes a huge difference if you only have a screwdriver when you need a power drill. That is no different when your goal is to quit alcohol forever. The tools you’ve been using won’t work now. You need to develop new tools. Things like the ACT technique, journaling, urge surfing, and more can help you develop coping mechanisms that will empower and equip you to face anything that comes your way!

How To Quit Alcohol Forever

Ask for help to quit alcohol forever

Finally, don’t try to be a martyr. There is no shame in asking for help. We all need a helping hand at times. If you truly want to quit alcohol forever, shouldn’t you build up an army of experts and support to help you? Not only does asking for help allow you to be successful at change, but it can also help you see changes faster. Our PATH program brings most people peace and lasting change in their relationship with alcohol in just 30 days. It works because it combines years of research and knowledge with coaching and community. You could piece all that together on your own but you don’t have to!

A free tool to help you quit alcohol forever

You know that educating yourself can make a significant impact on how successful you are when it comes to quitting drinking. Start gaining more knowledge right now by downloading the first chapter of This Naked Mind for free!

A final note

First off, if no one else has said this to you yet – Congrats! The fact that you want to quit alcohol forever is commendable. Choosing your health and wellness should always be applauded!

And remember, this journey takes time. You didn’t get to this point in your relationship with alcohol overnight and changing your relationship with it won’t be instantaneous either. Stay mindful of the changes you are making and celebrate your victories along the way. Sustaining change is much easier when you can see the shifts – no matter how small they might seem.

This journey you’re on might seem lonely but it isn’t. Almost half of the adults in the United States are currently trying to reduce or eliminate their drinking. This is no longer an addiction conversation. It’s a wellness one and you’re becoming part of that incredible movement.

Allow yourself to grow during this journey and realize that your goals may change as your journey progresses. That is the beautiful part of being mindful and raising awareness. Your journey becomes a lifelong one where you’re always finding ways to improve the status quo and maximize the most of every moment.

Once alcohol stops numbing all of our experiences and we begin to live fully again, we relish every opportunity we have to feel, to experience, and to engage. Life stops being something we must endure and transforms into something we truly enjoy.

May your quest to quit alcohol forever bring you that passion, that enlightenment, and that life you deserve.