You can take steps today to stop
drinking. Your first step might be to see your doctor, contact a support group,
or set a date in the near future to stop. While some people can stop drinking
on their own, others need medical help to manage the physical process of
If you think you have an alcohol use problem, talk
to your doctor about whether you need to withdraw from alcohol under medical
supervision. Your doctor can give you medicine that will help you safely
withdraw from alcohol. Other medicines might be prescribed later to help you
stay sober. With a doctor's help, withdrawal from alcohol is safer.
Stopping alcohol use can:
Prevent or reduce health problems that are made
worse by alcohol use, such as liver damage.
Prevent harm to your
unborn baby if you are pregnant.
Reduce related family concerns or
Increase your ability to be productive at
work, school, and home.
Reduce legal problems that you might have
as a result of alcohol use.
How to stop alcohol use
Follow these steps to stop
Identify your reasons.
Make a list of the reasons you want to cut down on or stop drinking alcohol(What is a PDF document?). You might want to
ask a trusted friend or family member to help you make the list complete. Keep
this list so that you can renew your commitment from time to time.
Make a plan. Set a date to stop drinking.
Make a plan to stop drinking alcohol(What is a PDF document?). Post it in a place where you can see
it often, such as on your refrigerator door or bathroom mirror. You might want
to put it in more than one place. You also might want to put it on a card and
keep it in your purse or wallet.
Share your plan with others. Talk with your family members and trusted friends
about your plan. Let them know how they can help you to be
Evaluate your progress. In your
plan, identify when you will evaluate your progress. Try a plan for 30 days so
that the new behavior becomes a habit. Review your reasons for stopping alcohol
use. Write down the benefits that you are seeing. If you drank after
successfully stopping (relapse), it does not mean that you
have failed. Relapse is common. Begin again, using your experience to help you
learn how to stick with your plan this time.
Continue your new behaviors. After trying this plan for 30
days, try it for another 30 days. Like anything else in life, it is not easy to
change behavior, even when it might be in your best interest. But the more you
practice new behaviors, the more likely it is that they will become habits. If
you try this plan but are not successful, talk with your doctor about other
ways to stop drinking alcohol.
Other things you can do
The following are other
ideas that can help in your plan to stop using alcohol:
Avoid stumbling blocks. Many things can interfere with meeting your goal to cut down on
or stop drinking. If
your current life revolves around alcohol use, you might need to choose new friends or a new lifestyle. To stay focused on your goal and
succeed, think through
ideas to help you stop using alcohol on your own. For example, make a list of people and places in your life that have nothing to do with alcohol use.
Attend a self-help group. Some people attend self-help groups
to help them stick to their plan to cut down on or stop drinking. If you are
not sure whether a self-help group is for you but would like to try, go to a
group at least 3 times before you make your decision. There are different types
of groups (such as men or women only, discussion, and speaker). Go to another
group if the first one does not fit your needs.
Reward yourself. Use the money that you are no longer spending on drinking to
do something fun with your family or friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, or
play sports or a game.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health