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How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

This article details how to break the cycle of addiction and how to stop drinking alcohol. It details reasons to quit (why you should stop), what to expect when quitting, and a couple different methods to stop drinking alcohol.

Reasons to Quit

Quitting alcohol can benefit your lifestyle in several ways and will improve your physical and mental health. Alcohol has several negative effects on the human body. It can result in:

  • Fatty degeneration/infection of the liver
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Impotency/sexual problems
  • Infection of the esophagus
  • Mouth/throat/larynx/intestinal/breast cancer
  • Heart problems

Alcohol can also result in irresponsible descion making. It is estimated that police spend 22% of their time on cases involving some sort of alcohol use.


How to stop drinking alcohol? Alcohol addiction, like other forms of substance abuse, can lead to physical dependence.  If you are physically addicted to alcohol you will undergo physical withdrawal symptoms if you do not take alcohol frequently or in large enough quantities. Here are some of the physical withdrawal symptoms that an alcoholic who stops drinking can experience:

  • Headaches

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dilated eyes
  • Clammy skin
  • Constant sweating
  • Involuntary
  • Tremor of the hands

Physical withdrawal symptoms are covered more thoroughly in our symptoms of alcohol withdrawal article. These symptoms can be very painful, but they are often times not the hardest part of withdrawal. People addicted to alcohol will often undergo a very severe psychological withdrawal, as well. In order to overcome psychological withdrawal, it is very important to have a strong support system in place. By far the most effective way of quitting alcohol is to check into a rehab center. This sets up an effective way to deal with both the physical effects of alcohol withdrawal and helps set up an effective support group to deal with lasting psychological effects. We recognize that this is not a possibility for everyone so we have detailed a couple different programs of alcohol use cessation.

Cold Turkey Method

The cold turkey method involves the alcohol abuser completely halting alcohol use. This is the most traumatic for the abuser and depending on the severity of the person's conditions; therefore, this method may or may not be plausible. In this case, it is best to avoid getting into any situations where the person will be tempted to take alcohol. The cold turkey method can be very difficult, but if completed successfully the person will be off alcohol completely and immediately.  Upon quitting It's very important that the person quitting goes to meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous or otherwise) or joins a support group in order to set up a group of people to fall back on.  Conquering addiction is not a temporary thing but a lifetime task and all the more difficult to do alone.

Tier Method

The tier method involves decreasing the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption until eventually no more use occurs. Compared with the cold turkey method, the withdrawal symptoms will be milder and more bearable for the abuser. This process will take longer than the cold turkey method, depending on the increments and the severity of the person's alcohol addiction. Similar to cold turkey, the person should be kept away from situations where they will be tempted to take more than the planned amount of alcohol.

One way to begin, is to cut consumption by 1/2. If this change is too dramatic and the withdrawal symptoms are too extreme, start with 3/4ths. Next try cutting the frequency of use down by 50%. Continue repeating this process until the user is no longer taking the substance.  Oftentimes if someone is very physically dependent to alcohol, this will be a smoother, easier way to stop drinking alcohol.

Like cold turkey, it's very important that the person addicted to alcohol set up a support group to deal with the lasting psychological effects of alcohol addiction.


Stopping drinking is an intelligent and necessary decision in order to break the addiction cycle and live a healthy life. For alcohol addicts or those who know someone with a alcohol problem, we recommend visiting an alcohol addiction rehab center. If this is not possible, consider trying the cold turkey or tier method.



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