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.
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.
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.
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.
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.