How to stop drinking alcohol without going to rehab?

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You can stop drinking without going to alcohol rehab by using alternative methods such as AA, private counselling, SMART recovery, recovery coaching, read sobriety blogs and forums, and the help of friends and family.  

If you want to stop drinking alcohol, you are not alone. Around 5.6% above the age of 18 battle against alcohol disorder. 

The real problem is not quitting but following the solution properly. Indeed, less than 8% of alcohol addicts get help every year. [1]  

It is always good to check with your doctor – they will help you decide whether it is best for you to abstain or cut back.

People who are addicted to alcohol or have other mental or medical health problems should consider rehab for drinking.  But many people may benefit by simply reducing the intake.  

The crucial thing is to find addiction treatment, you are sure you can stick with. Do the research and make a strong plan.

For any treatment plan to work long-term, it should be well-matched to the challenges you face and individual needs. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to understand the available solutions. 

Lastly, if you are afraid of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, you must consult a health professional for medically supervised withdrawal before quitting alcohol completely.

This is certainly true if you think you are suffering from alcoholism and want to fight against the alcohol withdrawal symptoms without taking professional help. 

What is Alcohol Abuse? 

Alcohol abuse represents any kind of drinking issue. People who drink heavily to cause harm to others or themselves can be called alcohol abusers.

At times, alcohol abuse gets worse and becomes hard to break and life-threatening for it becomes a pattern of living.  

More than 14 million American adults are suffering from alcohol use disorder and 5.8% of them are over 18 years of age.  

If you can’t cut back your alcohol intake and are going through the negative effects of stopping drinking you may be a patient of alcohol use disorder.  

What Solutions You Can Use to Quit Drinking? 

There are various evidence-based solutions to quit alcohol addiction. And of all solutions available, there is one solution that can suit you to quit drinking for long-term recovery. 

Choosing the most suitable method will change the course of your life. We all know It’s easier said than done.

Many people need support from friends and family members or a healthcare professional if they are long-time drinkers and want to beat alcoholism.

Here are the 6 easiest ways to stop drinking alcohol: 

  1. Self-react and try to get counselling to find out the reason you drink. 
  2. Change your friend circle and don’t be with those who drink. 
  3. Make it impossible for you to access alcohol. Avoid going to bars and liquor stores. Also, remove alcohol from your home. 
  4. Join Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, seek inpatient and outpatient treatment to avoid withdrawal symptoms with medication. 
  5. Reset your life. Find new and healthy activities. Keep yourself busy and plan for some alternative after-work activities. 
  6. Join local support groups and attend alcoholics anonymous meetings that offer peer support.  

How to Help an Alcoholic Without Rehab? 

You can help an Alcoholic without Rehab by keeping an eye on their activities, accompany them to take appointments, helping them to join alcohol-free communities, and planning fun activities for them as an alternative to their alcoholism.  

Is someone you love is a heavy drinker? Helping an alcoholic to quit drinking can be challenging and painful for the whole family but there’s always something that you can do for them. 

For many people, drinking is a part of life, and alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. In many countries, it is socially acceptable and legal for an adult to enjoy an alcoholic drink.  

But as alcohol’s effects differ from person to person, it’s not an easy job to tell when an addict’s alcohol intake has broken the boundaries from social drinking to alcohol abuse. There are no certain indications about alcohol abuse or substance abuse.  

In these tough times of global pandemic, high unemployment, and economic uncertainty, many people drink more than needed to kill stress and anxiety. Although it’s easy to understand their situation, consuming alcohol to deal with the problems and challenges may be a sign that your friend’s drinking has become a major issue. 

Now after observing the vital signs of alcoholism in your loved one, you can help them in 3 ways: 

Talk to them

It’s not an easy task. There are chances that they might lash out, get defensive or angry or just deny having a drinking problem. Choose a time when you both are focused and calm and your friend is not drunk.  

Choose a place that is private and quiet and turn off your phone or other devices to keep distractions away. Tell them about your concerns regarding their drinking. Try to be compassionate and neutral rather than judging them for their behaviour. 

Encourage them to seek help

Don’t encourage them to overcome their alcoholism alone. Even if they don’t need medical supervision, they still need guidance, support, and new coping strategies to cut back or abstain. 

Sit with them while they are getting information about treatment programs, support groups, and meetings.  

Offer them your company for counselling sessions and doctor appointments. Make a plan about what changes they should make in their lifestyle.

Believe it or not, but with your continuous support and love, they can achieve sobriety. 

Support them to quit drinking– the recovery process from alcoholism can be a bumpy road. Support your loved ones to have a social life, develop new interests and hobbies.  

Look for things that can add purpose and meaning to their life-like learning something new, spending time in nature, camping, fishing, hiking, or volunteering for a cause that’s important for them: joining a gym, a club, taking up a sport, writing, painting, or visiting different places or museums. 

how to stop drinking alcohol without going to rehab

How To Treat Alcoholism Without Rehab? 

To treat alcoholism without rehab, you must assess the level of addiction and understand their health condition. Then either opt for alcohol detox at home or take help from rehab experts.

You can plan sessions, therapies, and meetings. Keep evaluating the progress every week.  

If your loved one is suffering from alcoholism. Here are some most effective ways to treat them without rehab.  

Trace the situation 

There are various levels of addiction. It’s hard to find out exactly where your friend resides. It can be different to being able to communicate to them one-on-one and realizing their condition.

If you can find out where they are in their addiction, it’s going to be helpful. 

Use medical approach 

If someone has drinking habits, their lucidity withers away. Advice or schedule a regular check-up appointment. Talk to the doctor about the addiction prior to visiting the hospital.

Doctors always protect doctor-patient confidentiality, and they always recommend action plans to execute which can work as an eye-opener for the addict.  

Mostly, it has proven to be helpful when an addict can think clearly when somebody else out of their family and social circle recognizes the issue. It’s like a wake-up call before they are gone too far. 

Analyse their progress 

Give them the attention they need to recover. Set goals with them and on the basis of last weeks or few months, you’ll be able to find out if your efforts are working or you need to take one more action at this.  

Non 12 Step Rehab Programmes 

Here are the top 7 non-12 -step addiction treatments or methods to battle against alcohol addiction and quit drinking: 

  1. cold-turkey method 
  2. take an online class 
  3. free coaching 
  4. medical detox 
  5. build a community 
  6. enjoy the perks of alcohol-free life

Cold-Turkey Method  

Quitting drinking cold turkey is a well-known method that addicts try to quit alcohol. This is the way where you just make the decision to stop drinking altogether and then through the curve, you will stop.

Although this method is famous, it may not be the most efficient, and alcohol cold turkey is not for everybody.  

A lot of people who try quitting drinking by their willpower alone and without any support may achieve sobriety for a little while, but it doesn’t work through the main issues that were the reasons for them abusing alcohol in the first place.  

For addicts that have been drinking for decades stop drinking the cold turkey method is not suitable. Moreover, if you are a heavy drinker quitting cold turkey can be life-threatening.

Alcohol is a sedative drug. That means that when a person drinks alcohol, it slows their system down. To even off, your body generates stimulating chemicals to keep your body working. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can vary from minor symptoms such as insomnia, trembling, and anxiety to severe like delirium tremens, and seizures which could be extremely dangerous.

It is not possible to completely understand that how alcohol withdrawal can affect an addict. Thus, it is advised to join a treatment centre to withdraw under medical supervision.  

Take an online class  

There are a plethora of methods to get support for living an alcohol-free, sober life without going to Rehab or AA.

This is another method to quit drinking alcohol safely and learn techniques to cope with alcohol withdrawal.  

If you want to achieve sobriety by maintaining anonymity, talk to a healthcare professional about quitting drinking, then you must join an online class.  

Online classes provide access to a specialist while keeping the charges relatively low. Coursework is designed according to an addict’s circumstances, and you can complete the course in a judgment-free, comfortable environment. 

Free coaching 

This is another effective way to get relief from abusing alcohol. Get free coaching online. It will help you develop the practical skills to quit alcohol and take charge of your life.

With choices that are free, this obviously is the best option to try out! 

Medical Detox 

If you have been drinking heavily, make sure that before detoxing you have taken enough time to choose the most suitable method for medical detox.

Depending on your alcohol dependence, mental health, blood pressure, and drinking habits, you may need to be under medical supervision or in a specialized facility for relapse prevention and cope with drinking triggers. 

If you are not interested in going to a facility for alcohol detox, at least talk to a friend or family member that you are planning to detox so that they can pay more attention to your health and activities and make sure you are doing great without medical attention.

Many people try alcohol detox without medical aid, and they triumph over alcohol abuse and alcoholism. 

Read blogs about people who battled against alcoholism Knowing that you are not alone, and that other people have suffered from something similar can transform your mindset on sobriety.

Developing an online community, sharing ideas, and learning about alcohol and treatment options can oftentimes be the cornerstone that people build for quitting drinking. So, regularly check in with some decent sobriety blogs. 

Build a community 

To enjoy alcohol-free days without drinking triggers or experiencing a severe form of relapse, build a community to stay sober.

Whether it is your family and already existing friends or a group of other individuals who are trying to achieve sobriety or an online community or some local support groups, sharing your hard work, coping techniques and struggle will help you hold yourself accountable and avoid alcohol for good. 

Don’t be hard on yourself. Take 2-3 days when you start your struggle towards quitting alcohol.

In the early stages, 5 minutes can feel like a year but as you get a few weeks of an alcohol-free life under your belt, your alcohol cravings will reduce, and your life will be easy with no drinking problem and alcohol dependence. 

Also, improve your knowledge about alcohol. Alcohol is for sure a popular drink in our society. Once you quit alcohol, you will see alcohol in everything.

At restaurants, dinners, on TV, and everywhere else. The tip to snap out of it is to understand the disadvantages of alcohol. Knowing the health effects of alcohol will work as a mental switch for your long-term recovery. 

Feel the benefits of quitting alcohol 

One best way to hate any kind of drug addiction is to focus on all of the perks that an alcohol-free life will give you. Here are some of them: 

  • Better mental health and strong bond with your family and friends 
  • Better sleep quality 
  • Improved overall health 
  • Better energy, positive vibes 
  • Hangover-free mornings with no urge to drink alcohol 
  • Saving money (which was being spent on alcohol) 
  • Better health – healthy diet 
  • No need to manage stress or blood pressure or symptoms of delirium tremens 

After a few weeks of achieving sobriety, you will be thankful to yourself. Anyone can have a sober life with the proper mindset and strategy. All it takes is determination, support, and concentration.  

The central goal of all kinds of rehab programmes is long-term sobriety. But unlike the 12-step, non-12-step programmes focus on secular practices for treating drug and alcohol addiction. 

Rather than committing them to a higher power, non-12-step programmes customise evidence-based treatment for each patient. Some of the components of the non-12-step treatment include:

  • A medical detox that removes addictive substances from the body;

  • Treatment for withdrawal symptoms resulting from abstinence from alcohol;

  • Diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring mental health conditions;

  • Counselling and behavioural therapy;

  • Group therapy and rebuilding broken bonds with family; 

  • Post-rehab treatment plan. 

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at Home 

Although treating alcohol addiction at home provides a lot of comfort and privacy, it can only be done under the supervision of addiction specialists. 

When you suddenly stop taking alcohol, your body will react with severe withdrawal symptoms. Without expert supervision, these symptoms can be deadly. That is why treatment for alcohol addiction at home is not safe. 

If you have to do it, you must enrol in a rehab program and request at-home treatment. The rehab facility will take responsibility for your health and assign an addiction counsellor and other staff to keep track of your recovery at home. 

Treatment for alcohol addiction at home includes detox, counselling, better company, support from family members and friends, and being strict and accountable about your drinking habits.  

Once, you could drink soda with liquor without getting drunk. Now, you can’t get over it. This drinking problem has gotten serious, and you really are looking for treatment options but not professional treatment.  

Alas, alcohol abuse has become a lifestyle, and quitting alcohol scares you. Fortunately, these simple tips will help you treat alcohol or any other drug addiction including substance abuse at home. 

Analyse how much you drink 

If you are concerned about quitting alcohol, you first have to gauge the limit of your alcohol addiction. start by tracking a week before you stop alcohol use which you’ll be drinking like usual.

At the end of the week, count your drinks. Write down the numbers of your drinks on a paper pad or use a tracking app. Make sure to add those drinks to your list that you left unfinished to make it more accurate. 

As you go about your week, calculate the total drinks and their volume. At times, seeing these numbers can shock you into identifying the problem.

At this point, try to work on yourself, on your recovery, and get help to manage your drinking habits. 

Improve your quit drinking habit day by day 

If you are trying to comprehend an alcohol-free life and you are afraid of alcohol withdrawal symptoms don’t be. In such a situation, it is okay to take baby steps.

Focus on each day and take it as your first day. You’ll be overwhelmed with the results of this approach.  

For instance, you can start by setting goals to cut back your drinks in half every week to get over alcoholism. You don’t need to quit drinking immediately if you are not comfortable.

This approach will help you in detoxing without any medical complications.  

Avoid strong alcohol cravings as well that cause you to relapse or abuse alcohol. Many people join aftercare programs to combat the risks of drinking or going through a chronic relapse.  

Join sober fun activities 

Alcohol is believed a social drug, which is why the ratio of addicts is too much. After all, how can you stop drinking alcohol if you are surrounded by addicts?  

Fortunately, you can join sober and fun activities that help you learn strategies and methods to quit alcohol use more easily. For instance, you can try to visit sober cafes near you.

You should also get engaged in healthier activities like skiing, hiking, fishing, or even geocaching. 

Wrap up 

If you are willing to change your life, now you have everything to get started. Whether you are an addict or a heavy drinker who is ready to adopt a healthy social life, these are the methods to avoid alcohol in your daily life and all the perks that come with it.  

It doesn’t matter if it is your first-time attempt to quit drinking or your 100th, with determination and these methods you will succeed in getting rid of any addictive substance, and quit drug abuse and alcohol dependency.  

Good luck with your sober journey and drug-free life! 

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: January 24, 2024