Quitting alcohol doesn’t have to wait until your drinking becomes very severe. You have the ability to make a change at any time. Whether you meet the clinical definition of alcohol use disorder (AUD) or think your drinking is beginning to get in the way of living your fullest life, you might be wondering how to stop drinking alcohol without going to rehab. With personalized online alcohol treatment and the right support system, it can be done.
The team at Monument wants you to know you’re not alone. We’re here to help you change your drinking habits with our research-based alcohol treatment plans, including our approach to specialized alcohol therapy, and physician-prescribed medication. Find detailed guidance on how to quit drinking below.
9 Tips To Help You Quit Drinking Alcohol
Discover 9 ways to help you meaningfully change your relationship with alcohol.
1. Find Tools to Help You Quit Drinking
Is it possible to stop drinking without doing an extended stay at an expensive rehabilitation facility? We’re here to tell you that it’s not only possible but within reach. Monument is committed to empowering our members to change their relationship with alcohol from the comfort of their own home.
Recovery is rarely a linear journey. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there are tools and techniques that can be tailored to your needs, and get you from where you are to where you want to be. This guide will walk through a holistic, research-based approach to how to quit drinking for good.
2. Examine Your Relationship with Alcohol
Examining your relationship with alcohol is an important preliminary step to quitting drinking. It’s an act of self-care. Not sure where to start? The personalized treatment plans from Monument begin with a pre-screener survey to evaluate your drinking habits. Your answers will be protected and used only by your Care Team to determine how Monument plans can best help you reach your goals for sobriety or moderation.
It can also be helpful to review trusted resources about alcohol use, drinking culture, and how to recognize an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, like the guides and deep-dives from our Reading & Resources. Here are a few expert resources to guide your reflection:
- Can I Drink In Moderation? Ask Yourself These Questions.
- Exercises To Achieve Your Ideal-Self
- How To Recognize Alcohol Use Disorder & Depression
3. Learn About Alcohol Use Disorder
There is no single definition of what it means to have an “alcohol problem.” In reality, unhealthy drinking habits exist on a spectrum, and everyone’s relationship with alcohol is unique. You don’t need to check any boxes to build healthier habits. However, if you’re wondering where to start in assessing your drinking habits, there are common symptoms to look out for that may indicate you fall on the spectrum for alcohol use disorder (AUD).
What is alcohol use disorder or ‘AUD’? Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is characterized by drinking more than you want and for longer than you want, despite wanting to cut down. AUD is also commonly known as ‘alcohol dependence’ or ‘alcohol dependency.’ . AUD is diagnosed per the The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). AUD is broken down into 11 criteria, including continuing to drink even though it’s causing trouble with your family or friends, experiencing alcohol cravings, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol wear off. While some may not fall on the clinical spectrum for AUD, a person’s drinking habits may still be affecting their health and wellness. Excessive alcohol consumption looks different for different people, whether that’s infrequent binge drinking, daily alcohol use, or somewhere in between. That’s why Monument’s treatment plans are tailored to individuals’ unique goals, needs, and medical history.
4. Identify Your Support System
When it comes to quitting drinking, having a sober support team can play a vital role. Instead of trying to tackle it alone, we recommend leaning on a combination of friends and family, physicians, therapists, and a community of sober peers.
If you’re not ready to talk to your friends and family about your drinking habit, that’s okay! It’s why we created the Monument Community, including our forum and therapist-moderated alcohol support groups. Because so many people are navigating this too, you should be able to connect with them anonymously, entirely online. You can join support groups on or off camera, and will never be called on to share.
Monument Support Groups
You can participate in free online video sessions, which are moderated by experienced therapists and cover a variety of topics relating to changing your relationship with alcohol. In our hour-long sessions, you’ll be able to share your thoughts, voice your emotions, self-reflect, hear from your peers, and practice accountability as you navigate the alcohol recovery timeline.
You can browse groups and select topics related to your unique situation, interests, obstacles, and goals, whether that be reducing your alcohol intake or quitting alcohol altogether. Then, select upcoming sessions that work for your schedule and register for free.
We know how intimidating it can be to talk with others about your drinking, and we want you to be as comfortable as possible. We’ll never call on you to participate or share. But if and when you’re ready, we’ll respond with encouragement, guidance, and compassion.
Monument also has a community forum, a valuable resource where you can:
- Post about your challenges with alcohol consumption
- Share updates about your progress
- Participate in discussions
- Read through past threads, member stories, and testimonials
5. Connect with Expert Clinicians
When setting out to quit drinking, it’s a great idea to consult with a physician and therapist. Alcohol use disorder is a biopsychosocial condition, which means biological, psychological, and social conditions interact to influence your drinking behaviors. A physician and therapist can work with you to review your drinking habits, medical history, lifestyle, and preferences and provide holistic guidance for quitting drinking.
Monument can connect you with physicians and therapists entirely online. All providers in our network are licensed, background-checked, and highly qualified to help individuals struggling with unhealthy drinking behaviors. Your Care Team will personalize a treatment plan, including options for therapy and medication, based on your needs and preferences.
6. Use Evidence-Based Therapy
Evidence-based modalities can be very effective in treating alcohol use disorder. When you enroll in one of our Total Care plans, you’ll be matched with a knowledgeable therapist who’ll work with you on changing your relationship with alcohol. They’ll help you define success, and create a personalized therapy program that’s specifically tailored to you and your needs. Therapy can help you build problem solving skills, manage cravings and uncomfortable feelings, address co-occuring mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and break the cycle of alcohol dependence.
Your therapy plan might involve:
- Motivational interviewing to help you overcome indecision and uncertainty while motivating you to make positive changes
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which addresses behaviors and patterns that lead to negative thoughts while helping you develop healthy coping strategies
- Contingency management (CM), which uses motivational incentives to enforce positive behaviors, helping you reach and maintain your goals
7. Take Medication If Appropriate
Like many physical and psychological health conditions, alcohol use disorder can also be treated with a physician-prescribed medication to stop drinking. Though medication isn’t for everyone, Monument can connect you with a licensed physician who’ll provide information and recommendations about how medication might fit into your personalized treatment program.
Your physician can prescribe FDA-approved, science-backed medications, such as disulfiram or naltrexone, to help you cut down on alcohol consumption or quit altogether. Your pre-screener survey will be followed by a video appointment with a physician who’ll incorporate medication into your plan if they deem it appropriate and safe.
That being said, medication is always optional, and we encourage you to share your input and preferences with your physician.
8. Set Clear, Realistic Goals
Another helpful component of changing your drinking habits is goal setting. If you decide to quit drinking, you don’t have to completely transform your lifestyle overnight. Additionally, quitting alcohol cold turkey may not be recommended by your physician. Setting realistic goals and milestones, after connecting with a physician and therapist, can help you make meaningful progress and feel in control of each step in your journey. Your Monument Care Team can help you identify your intentions and set feasible objectives. You don’t have to see the entire staircase to take the first step, and sometimes goal setting looks like identifying those first few stairs.
9. Build Healthier Habits and Find Alternative Activities
To set yourself up for success with quitting drinking, it’s a great idea to fill the time you once spent drinking with healthy habits and rewarding activities. It’s especially helpful when experiencing alcohol cravings. Though the path to sobriety is not always an easy journey, a sober lifestyle can be incredibly rewarding. It’s all about discovering new ways to relish life and establishing healthy habits.
Here are a few alternative activities you can take up instead of drinking:
- Redecorating your home
- Training for a half-marathon
- Writing a book
- Doing yoga
- Learning a new language
- Practicing self-care
- Hosting friends for an alcohol-free night in
- Exploring non-alcoholic beverages
It’s great to stay busy and have backup activities on hand for when you’re experiencing alcohol cravings or boredom. Additionally, if you drink alcohol to cope with anxiety or another mental health condition, developing healthier ways to manage distress and discomfort is an important part of the recovery journey and replacing your drinking habit. You can check out our Reading and Resources to see expert insights about managing anxiety, practicing mindfulness, and more.
10. Pursue Flexible Treatment
If you aren’t sure how to stop drinking, you’ve come to the right place. Showing up and seeking support is the first step in your journey to stop drinking alcohol, and we’re here for you. Our online alcohol treatment program offers a specialized therapy approach to changing your relationship with alcohol, in addition to physician care and medication options. We do this by providing 100% online research-based treatment plans tailored to your unique needs and situation.
Treatment should be responsive to what your needs are. For some, applying each of these modalities and strategies is the most effective way to quit alcohol, and for others, the process may look very different. Take the tools that best serve you. If something isn’t working, you can always reassess your approach and work with your Care Team on adjusting your plan. From moderated support groups and community forums to therapists and physician-prescribed medication, you have options, and you’re never alone.
Ready to change your relationship with alcohol? Join Monument today to reach your sobriety goals.
Important Safety Information:
Naltrexone has the capacity to cause hepatocellular injury (liver injury) when given in excessive doses. Naltrexone is contraindicated in acute hepatitis or liver failure, and its use in patients with active liver disease must be carefully considered in light of its hepatotoxic effects. In the treatment of alcohol dependence, common adverse reactions include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, nervousness, abdominal pain/cramps, nausea and/or vomiting, low energy, joint and muscle pain, headache, dizziness and somnolence. This is not a complete list of potential adverse events associated with naltrexone hydrochloride. Please see Full Prescribing Information for a complete list.
The most common side effects of Disulfiram may include drowsiness, tiredness, headache, acne, and metallic-like taste in the mouth. Call your doctor if you have signs of serious side effects such as decreased sexual ability, vision changes, numbness of arms or legs, muscle weakness, mood changes, seizures, or confusion. Do not take Disulfiram if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. If you begin to have signs of an allergic reaction, then seek immediate medical attention. Avoid consumption of alcohol while taking this medication, as it may lead to adverse side effects. Talk to your doctor about the history of your medical conditions including if you have or have had diabetes, underactive thyroid, brain disorders, liver or kidney disease, personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs. Certain drug interactions may lead to serious adverse side effects. Let your doctor know about any other medications you are taking. This is not a complete list of potential adverse events associated with Disulfiram. Please see Full Prescribing Information for a complete list.*Monument Inc. provides administrative and business support services to independent medical and clinical practices and providers. Monument Inc. does not provide medical or clinical services and does not own medical or other clinical practices. All medical services are provided by Live Life Now Health Group, PA d/b/a Live Life Now Medical Group. All counseling and therapy services are provided by independent licensed practitioners including licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) and licensed mental health counselors (LMHC). Individuals should contact their physician or therapist with any questions about their treatment.
- NIAAA. “Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal, https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-1/05-12.pdf.” Accessed Nov, 17. 2020.
- WikiHow. “How to Quit Drinking without Alcoholics Anonymous, https://www.wikihow.com/Quit-Drinking-without-Alcoholics-Anonymous.” Accessed Nov, 17. 2020.
- NIAAA. “Support strategies for quitting, https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Thinking-about-a-change/support-for-quitting/Self-Help-Strategies-For-Quitting.aspx.” Accessed Nov, 17. 2020.