how to quit drinking without aa

Quick Profiles: LifeRing / Secular Organization for Sobriety

We thought we’d share what we’ve seen about other organizations that work to help people become sober (or moderate their drinking).

The Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS) offers in person meetings similar to those run by Alcoholics Anonymous, but with some important differences. LifeRing was born out of organizational rifts within SOS, but uses fundamentally similar tenets.

Here is what makes them unique, and how that compares to what we offer in Drinker’s Helper:

  1. The Sobriety Priority: Sobriety has to be your #1 priority. The SOS groups are promoting sobriety only (not moderation), and the core principle is that you solve sobriety first, before solving the underlying problems that lead you to drink. In Drinker’s Helper, our moderate drinking app, we think that can be the right order of prioritization (in the case of anger or anxiety, for example), but not in other cases (e.g., boredom or depression). In some cases, it can help to address underlying problems first, like developing new hobbies, to allow drinking driven by boredom to change, for example.

  2. It is not structured, allowing people to find their own paths to recovery using their tools. We think there is wisdom in this, because sometimes people need different elements of a program in order to achieve their goals. In Drinker’s Helper, our quit drinking app, people can pick which of the over 75 exercises they want to do given their needs at the moment.

  3. It is secular, allowing both religious and non-religious people in the group. This sets it apart from Alcoholics Anonymous, the largest and oldest sobriety organization. We too believe that quitting drinking, or cutting back on drinking, does not require religious belief of any kind.

  4. it acknowledges the importance of routine. Like the 30-day Sobriety Solution, it offers mantras to repeat to ensure focus on sobriety every day. We see the value of repetition too, making sure that in the app you can save your favorite exercises to your Toolbox so you can find them easily and do them again. Repetition can help lessons sink in and ensure your mind is focused on your primary goal.

If you’ve decided to quit or cut back on drinking, we’d love to help you! Drinker’s Helper is a moderate drinking or quit drinking app, with exercises, support groups, tracking, and insights to help you. Check it out today!


Women vs. men in quitting drinking

We know that many people quit or cut back on drinking without getting help from community organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous or from rehab centers or doctors. Many quit drinking without any help at all, even from a stop drinking app like Drinker’s Helper.

But we’ve noticed differences between men and women in their behavior in Drinker’s Helper, so we’re not surprised to hear that research backs up some differences.

Here’s the TL;DR on some recent research (linked here) about differences between men and women who quit or cut back on drinking:

  1. Women are more likely to believe that their problem will go away on its own. This may be down to women being conditioned to ignore their own health concerns (e.g., having their pain discounted, etc.) or down to greater optimism in general.

  2. Men have higher rates of saying they’ve failed to quit before, and believing they may not be able to quit. This may reflect their higher drinking levels or levels of addiction than women, or may reflect greater pessimism.

  3. Women seek treatment for the underlying anxiety or depression, where men seek treatment for alcohol abuse disorder. This may suggest they have a clearer understanding of the source of their problem, rather than seeking to treat the symptom.

  4. Women tend to not have time for formal treatment between work and family responsibilities. They’re doing too much, over-extended as they try to support everyone they care about. Drinking is needed to calm down, but their responsibilities may not leave them time to help themselves.

We hope you find the help you need, and aren’t afraid to ask for it, from your social circle, from community organizations, or from apps like ours. If you’re interested, check out Drinker’s Helper today and try it free for a week!


Quitting drinking without AA

A lot of people wonder if it’s possible to quit drinking without Alcoholics Anonymous, the organization that is the leading provider of services to help people quit or cut back on drinking.

Surveys have found that about 75% of those who’ve recovered from drinking problems did so without the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. Many people, in fact, recover without any formal help at all. In some cases, people believe there isn’t a good program for them, because all they know about is Alcoholics Anonymous (which, per previous posts, isn’t always suitable for everyone) or a formal rehabilitation program (which can be quite expensive, out of the reach of many people who need help).

If you’re not going to get formal treatment or go to Alcoholics Anonymous (or to a similar alternative group - see previous posts on this topic), you should seek out out a few things those programs typically provide that can make it easier to quit drinking.

  1. A strong support system: All these existing institutions that help people quit drinking provide a community that allows people to see that they’re not alone in battling addiction to alcohol. It can be encouraging to know that others believe in you and support you in achieving your goals. You can get this from a partner, from family, or from friends.

  2. Accountability: When you turn up to a regular meeting, expected to account for your behavior over the past week or month, you feel a sense of responsibility to stick to your goals. You can get this on your own by really tracking your drinking, so you can see progress over time; and rewarding yourself when you do well. You can even rope in friends to help keep you accountable.

  3. A wake up call: If you’ve firmly decided to quit drinking (or get back down to moderation limits), then great. If not, AA and rehab can provide a helpful push to make sure you’re committed to making changes. Seeing others struggle with more serious problems can provide helpful motivation. If you’re going to quit drinking on your own, it can help to do your research on the health consequences of long-term heavy drinking. Scare yourself with the possibilities, so that they don’t become realities.

  4. Strategies to deal with urges: Each of the programs provides attendees with tips and tactics to figure out how to deal with the stresses of life without alcohol. If you’re going to quit drinking on your own, without AA or rehab, you need to develop your own strategies. Read books about how others have quit. Write down what works for you. Stay away from your worst triggers, and make plans to deal with others

We hope you are successful in your journey to quit or cut back on drinking, and if you want some lighter-weight help, we hope you’ll consider using Drinker’s Helper, our app which we believe provides all of the above in your pocket.

Alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous

When people decide to quit drinking, there’s usually one answer - from friends, family, employers, or counselors: go to Alcoholics Anonymous.

It’s the largest, oldest, and best-known program that helps people fight drinking problems. However, it has some features that might make people hesitate to join or stick with it, and so we’ve compiled a list of alternatives to AA that people can consider, and why they might be attractive.

To be clear, we consider Drinker’s Helper (our app which provides a personalized support group in your pocket, helps with drink and urge tracking, provides insights on your progress over time, and provides motivational exercises) to be a complement to any of these programs, rather than a substitute. Many of our members use multiple approaches as they attempt to quit or cut back on drinking.

First, why might people find AA not to their liking? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  1. It has a religious component. Several of the twelve steps rely on giving up control to a higher power. Non-religious people may find it difficult to start the twelve steps if they don’t believe in a higher power of any kind.

  2. It is perceived to be for people with very serious alcohol problems, who have let their entire lives fall apart due to alcohol. People with milder issues, who still have their jobs and their family life, may be turned off by socializing with people in very different circumstances.

  3. It has a heavy focus on the past. You make amends for past wrongs. You make a real inventory of who you are as a person. This may turn off people who are more action-oriented or who want to stay positive by focusing on the changes they’re making.

  4. It requires a person to admit that they are powerless over their addiction. While it can help some people to realize how out of control their drinking has become, some people (who are more individual responsibility oriented) might be turned off by the idea that they can’t help themselves. At Drinker’s Helper, we certainly believe that a person can do quite a bit to help themselves get free of addiction to alcohol.

Here are some alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous that also offer in person anonymous support groups dedicated to quitting drinking that we think can be very helpful to people:

  1. Women for Sobriety: This one is obviously for women only, but the differences don’t stop there. The other two biggest differences with Alcoholics Anonymous are: 1) They focus on the future, not the past, which can be empowering and 2) rather than admitting powerlessness, they seek to make their members feel empowered.

  2. Smart Recovery: We particularly love this option because it uses so much of cognitive behavioral therapy, one of the two therapies we drew from in creating Drinker’s Helper. It heavily emphasizes developing your skills and strategies to deal with urges to drink.

  3. Secular Organizations for Sobriety: As the name suggests, this organization is not religious. They also heavily emphasize helping yourself through addiction, and sharing stories of how you have managed to stay sober to help others by sharing useful tactics.

  4. LifeRing Secular Recovery: This is a very similar group to SOS that heavily emphasizes building up your mental skills to counteract urges to drink.

We hope you find these suggestions helpful, and if you want additional help on top of what these groups can provide in person at set times, we hope you’ll give the Drinker’s Helper app a try! We provide a personalized support group in your pocket, plus over 75 exercises you can do to motivate yourself to keep going with your goal of quitting or cutting back on drinking.