stop drinking

Solidarity: What it Takes to Stop Drinking

As more than 23 million Americans struggle with addiction, there are nearly 23 million ways to get treatment. Some of the most important reasons to quit drinking are often personal. However, when it’s time to stop drinking, going through the motions isn’t enough.

Follow our guide to ensure that you quit drinking once and for all.

Being Honest With Yourself

When you’re worried about a potential drinking problem, you need to start tackling it by admitting when you have a problem. You can’t look at drinking as a black and white thing, as so many people do it without it getting in the way of life. People with a drinking problem are usually aware they have a problem but don’t have the tools for getting through it.

Don’t interrogate yourself about whether or not you’re an alcoholic. Instead, realize that by the time you’re thinking about whether or not you are, it’s likely that you are. Think about what ways that alcohol contributes to you living the life that you want to instead.

Avoid comparing yourself to other people. When you do that, you can make false equivalencies, as your life is nothing like anyone else’s. Drinking less than someone else doesn’t mean that neither of you has a problem if you find that the drinking is getting in your way.

Act and drink with your future self in mind and your goals for the future. Don’t consider yourself as a static person who can’t change. Anyone who says “that’s just how I am” is only admitting their choice not to change.

Decide Why Quitting Is Good For You

Quitting because of social pressure or because you’re tired of being judged really isn’t enough of a reason to quit. When you quit after being judged by people, all you have to do is to get away from those people before you can start drinking again. Your reasons for quitting have to be completely your own and relate to what you find valuable in life.

One of the reasons to quit drinking can have to do with time. The amount of time that you waste drinking or being drunk causes you to spend time in a place where you’re not productive. If you’re drinking but you also have a long to-do list filled with things you wish you could tackle, you’re choosing to drink over things on that list.

If you have good conversations when you’re drinking, you could have even better conversations if you were sober. While alcohol can inspire some meaningful conversations, their meaning is lost to inaction, as few people drink and then go change the world. You’re more likely to do something destructive.

For anyone who counts out their time and their money from week to week, quitting drinking is a way to get some extra money in your pocket. People who go out a couple of times a week could be spending more than $100 a week on alcohol. After quitting, you could end up with an extra $500 a month to do what’s important to you in life.

On top of everything else, you’ll be more healthy in the end.

You Can’t Be Partially Sober

While you can take your time and make small incremental changes to becoming sober, you can’t be just 50% sober. When you divide your sobriety up, you’re not really becoming sober.

Quitting might need to become one of your top priorities in life. When you commit just a little bit or without a full investment, you’re committing to fail.

Even if the price is right, even if everyone is going out to the bar, you need to either avoid it or talk openly to people in your life. If everyone knows that you’re struggling, they might try to do things that are less alcohol-centered. Instead of going to the bar, they might go to a restaurant or they might go somewhere where there’s no drinking at all.

Drinking Pals Might Be Offended

When you’re first quitting, you’ll find that alcohol is probably a major factor in your social life. Most people become addicted to things because of the social connection or once they’re addicted, they build their social life around it.

If all you ever do with someone is get drunk, you might have to get them out of your life. If you can find non-drinking events to go to, then you can build a social life that way. However, if they’re unwilling to bend their interest to your needs, then they’re not really your friends.

When you’re quitting any substance at all, you’re going to have some people who don’t want to see you succeed. As craven as it is, when people see someone quit or become sober, it can reflect on their bad choices and make them upset.

Be Honest and Build Your Network

When you’re trying to quit drinking, you need to be honest with all of the people in your life about your goals. You can quit drinking quietly if it was never a major problem, but it’s likely that people will notice.

Another thing you need to commit to is building out your network. If you’re not able to increase the number of sober people around you, you won’t be able to have a very positive social life. Grow your social life by joining clubs, going to community events, and participating in neighborhood life.

You Can Stop Drinking Today

One of the things that people who are looking to stop drinking will say is “not today.” You need to stop doing that now. Even if you need help with it, you can quit as soon as right now.

If you’re looking into rehab in the LA area, check out our guide to finding the treatment you need.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.