It’s never easy to stop drinking, in fact it can be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do… but when you need to quit, you need to quit. Perhaps you’ve tried some of the conventional methods, and you’re just lacking that last little bit of willpower, or you’re just starting down the path on your journey to sobriety. Wherever you are in your journey, here are some useful tricks to stop drinking that can help give you the edge.
At the end of the day, it’s always going to take willpower. You’ll need immense self-control, but you can do this. Many people have overcome their alcohol addictions, and you can be next. These stop drinking tricks can help, but you’re going to have to do the work. Don’t think of these as shortcuts, think of them as additional tools to have in your toolbox.
5. Writing Down Your Intentions to Stop Drinking
Write a note. Not an email, or a Word doc, or a text message…
Grab a pen and paper, and write something down that will exist in the physical world. There’s something about putting your intention down onto a real piece of paper that just makes them feel a bit more real. You can look at this paper when you’re feeling tempted to drink, you can read over it, and it just might give you that extra bit of motivation that you need.
What should you write on this paper? That’s really up to you. You could even keep a journal, to monitor your feelings and triggers and to write down things that have worked, but sometimes just a little paper or a card saying that you aren’t going to drink can be a reminder enough.
4. Talk to Your Friends
It can help to talk to your friends and tell them you are quitting drinking. If they’re close, they should probably already have realized that you have a bit of a problem, but they may not have known how to help you. If your friends keep pressuring you to come out to party, or if they never want to hang out without alcohol, or they even bring you alcohol… these are not friends who are being supportive, and being around them will make it infinitely more difficult to quit drinking.
We won’t tell you to find new friends, but just understand that being in a friend group that isn’t supportive makes it much more difficult to stop drinking. Having a supportive friend group can also make it much easier. Not everyone has a great, supportive group of friends and that’s something that could be contributing to drinking. If your friends only want to hang out when everyone is drunk, you may need to start cutting some people out of your life if they aren’t supporting you, or if they’re actively making it harder for you to stay sober.
3. Create Obstacles Between Yourself and Alcohol
Creating obstacles and barriers between yourself and alcohol is important. For instance, if you have a bottle sitting at your desk, that’s not much of an obstacle. All you need to do is reach over, grab it, and drink. If the bottle is in your garage, that adds a bit more of an obstacle, but not really. If you have a bottle locked up in a safe, and buried in your yard, that’s a huge obstacle to drinking. Obviously, this isn’t a serious situation, we’re just giving an example. In the time it would take you to find a shovel, to dig up the safe, and to crack it, that’s enough time to decide not to drink.
Creating obstacles means that your decision to drink will be less based on impulse since you’ll have more time and more opportunities to decide not to drink before you’ve taken that first sip.
Obviously, digging a hole in the yard for your alcohol is an extreme example, and it’s not practical since it’s easier to just go to the liquor store at that point.
But the best obstacle you can start with is to not have alcohol in your home. If you don’t have any alcohol, you’ll need to actually go somewhere to get it, which is always possible, but minor obstacles can help to fend off impulses.
2. Do What Works
This sounds like silly advice because obviously, you should be focusing on what works, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
You probably have some ideas of the things that trigger you to want to drink, and some of the ways that you’ve been able to avoid drinking in the past. Keep track of these things. If you feel like drinking, and you don’t end up drinking, you essentially need to find out how you were able to avoid the temptation and use that as a powerful tool again and again.
In order to figure out the things that work or help you a bit, it helps to keep track of things in a journal.
1. Find Some Distractions
Find some ways to distract yourself from drinking. We’ve already created a list and a checklist that you can print for ideas, but you already know what your favorite hobbies and distractions are. It can help to separate yourself from stress and to just do things that you enjoy to pass the time, this can give you the edge you need to avoid drinking, sometimes.