How to Motivate Yourself to Quit Drinking

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“How can I motivate myself to quit drinking?”

Sometimes we feel trapped. Caught up in a cycle of drinking, we feel that the only way that we can have fun and feel normal is to keep on drinking. At the same time, our lives might be spinning out of control, and we find ourselves getting into all sorts of different trouble. Our friends and loved ones want to see us get help and be healthy, but we feel that we can’t possibly live a normal life without alcohol. We feel trapped.

A stressed out alcoholic

If you have ever felt or thought this way, then you have reached a significant point in your life. This is an opportunity. It’s decision time. You have a chance to turn your life around and make a difference. And it is fear that holds you back. The fear of facing a life without alcohol. The idea of going the rest of your life without taking a drink. It seems absurd. And it’s scary as hell.

Finding the Motivation to Quit Drinking

But to continue on with drinking is becoming unthinkable as well. Things are getting worse as you continue to drink–not better–otherwise, why would you be reading this? If alcohol is a problem for you, then the problem is always growing. Alcohol abuse only gets worse. The only way it gets better is if you make a decision to get help.

If you think that you might have a drinking problem, chances are good that you do. Most “normal” people don’t sit around and wonder if they might be an alcoholic. So if you are questioning yourself about your drinking–even a little bit–then it might be worth taking a closer look at. At the very least you stand to learn something about yourself. So here are some steps to take once you’ve made the decision to make this change in your life.

1. Fully commit to it – If your drinking is not a problem, then don’t quit. If it is a problem, then face it for what it is–a serious addiction–and treat it as such. Recognize that overcoming any serious addiction requires overwhelming force. If you make a half-hearted decision to quit, or even if you are holding back just a tiny little bit, you are bound to fail. Only a full commitment to recovery can overcome a serious addiction.

2. Realize the consequences – For all deaths related to alcoholism, the average years of potential life that are lost is 31 years per person. This is a jarring statistic that should be an eye opener for anyone who thinks they might have a drinking problem. In addition to this steep mortality rate, there are countless others who continue to live but suffer from alcohol related illnesses, and many who are sitting in prison for crimes committed while intoxicated. So much wasted life…

3. Realize that life will be fun again once you are sober – I never believed this one myself when they told me that life would fun and exciting again someday without any alcohol involved whatsoever. I didn’t believe them. But it’s absolutely true–you will learn to have fun again without using alcohol. Life is a trip, with or without drugs and alcohol.

4. Imagine the freedom – of living a life without depending on chemicals. Admit it–at this point, you have to drink just to feel normal. It is no longer fun for you like it used to be. Those fun times are gone….time to make a change. Life can be fun again without drinking.

5. Proceed with caution – if you do stop drinking, you might need medical supervision. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. Heavy drinkers may need a medically supervised detox.

There is a whole life out there for you that is worth living without drugs and alcohol. If you make the decision to get help, your life will start getting better, and soon life will be worth living again. You will find a new joy in living from the simple things in life, and the idea that drinking is “fun” will seem ridiculous. Admit it–drinking stopped being fun a long time ago. You have nothing to lose by giving recovery a chance. Life does get better.
Make a decision.

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  • Jeff

    Im trying to stop drinking cause its literally taken over my whole life. I now have ulcers and health problems cause of it as well as financial problems. My mind isnt ever clear enough it seems to make good decisions either. So im at my ropes end and i really wanna give it up for a better lifestyle!! Thanks for your article and concern.

  • Patrick

    If you can manage to quit drinking and string together a bit of sober time, your thinking will really clear up a lot, Jeff. Good luck to you on your journey, and congratulations to you on your decision. Let me know how you’re doing….

  • Tina Bixler

    I liked your article my mother and father were both alcaholics and my father just passed away from it as his other ex wife did, I drink 2 beers everynight before bed to relax and sleep I have chronic insomnia, but I still question myself as to if I am an alcaholic but I wonder if thats because my parents were I never drink during the day unless a special occasion or barbecue something like that otherwise I don’t crave it during the day but I can’t go without atleast 1 to 2 at night.

  • Doug

    I HAD 8 years sobriety! Lost it though and am struggling to get back on the path. I know I have a problem with alcohol. Just wondering how to get the sobriety ball rolling again. I need help! I have the desire, but nothing available here as I am stationed overseas. How can I find a sponsor!

  • Patrick

    Hi Doug

    Sounds like you are struggling. I always recommend long term treatment, but without that, you might try finding a sponsor over the internet if there is not one available locally.

    This guy here is a friend of mine and he is in recovery and he actually specializes in recovery and life coaching over phone and internet:

  • Phil

    I’m an alcoholic. Have been for ever. First drink was at 13. I hate it. I really hate it. I have a wife that I adore and 4 beautiful children. I work away from home for periods upwards of a month and that doesn’t help. It’s easy to get stuck into a bottle at the end of the day. My health is ok but it won’t be for much longer. I drink too much. I wish there was a tablet I could take and not ever drink again. I didn’t choose to be a drunk…..but I am. I just want to stop. Please assist me in changing my path. I have too much to lose.

  • Patrick

    Phil I rarely say this on this website but I really think you should start with AA. Especially with your traveling lifestyle. It just seems like it would be a good fit.

    There are other paths to recovery and I personally do not use AA as a central part of my program. But for you it seems like it might work well. Just a suggestion.

    Good luck….

  • Heather Kelley

    On friday, my boyfriend and I were drinking and driving, and were pulled over for DUI. The worst thing about it, is that this is his 3rd DUI. He will be facing 2 years in prison.
    Living with my alcoholic Mom, she approached me about quitting as a team. I am scared of the thought of quitting for several reasons. Most of my dqaily activities, and weekend fun inculde, or revolve around alcohol and bars. I want to do it for my mom, and myself, I just know how alone I will be seeing that everyone I know drinks. I have tried the AA program in the past, it just isn’t a good fit. I am excited to try this as a new lifestyle, but I need to learn other ways to celebrate holidays and such. Please please help.

  • JR

    36,. Lost my business, lost my home, financial wrecked, behind on child support for two children that think the world of me. Fear of quiting scares me. I hope I have reach my broken rock bottom. Been caught in the system, and cant get out. Been going to AA and really for the first time walking through the doors on my own, and not court ordered is very different. Going to jail to do a terminal sentence, then move to be close to family. I will get sober, get treatment, build a network, and work the steps in efforts to have a manageable life. I will transfrom with gods will, into the man, the father, I should have been. Send me a blessing to an alcoholic in Jackson hole, WY.

  • Alison

    Im a 41 year old runaway. Two weeks ago whilst on a bender I tried to kill myself with pills in front of my 10 year old daughter. My boyfriend called the ambulance who I apparantly became aggressive towards. The paramedics then rang the police who I again became aggressive towards. I headbutted my boyfriend whom I love dearly and was promptly handcuffed and carted away to a psych ward, again, all witnessed by my daughter. I booked myself into Odyssey House for their semi residential 6 week program and was accepted immediately. I lasted less than 36 hours before booking myself out. I returned home and went on another bender. Again the police were called. When I’m sober I am one of the nicest, kindest people I know. I have 3 sisters and unfortunately for us all alcoholism, bipolar disorder, depression & drug addiction all run in our family. So does childhod sexual abuse. I’m desperately lonely and totally confused. I havent had a drink in two & a half days but I am so so scared and lonely. I read this site and know that there is hope but how do I get past the sadness?

  • Alison

    sent wrong email

  • Patrick

    @ Alison – What exactly are you sad about, Alison? Move forward with your life and take things a day at a time. You may be sad at first if you give up alcohol and drugs because there can be an emotional loss component to giving up an addiction. You might also be sad from the hurt that you have caused your family and friends, but that is water under the bridge and it should be obvious to you that this sadness can be overcome in sobriety. You should be able to know this on some level, even while drinking. You said that you know there is hope, so grab a hold of something and take action.

    I had to put myself in a position to receive help. For me, that meant long term treatment. For some people, that means jail. You can’t go much further down than that, or you reach the point of no return.

    When is enough going to be enough? Make a decision and take real action. I don’t know what else to tell you. I know you are sad but you must believe that you can overcome this sadness and guilt if you can manage to stay sober and turn your life around. You really have no excuse and you already know what the answer is: you have to commit to getting help and then follow through with it.

  • Dina Ortiz

    My name is Dina and I drink at least 3 beers a night for sleep and to relax in front of the t.v. before hitting the bed. I want to stop because of health related issues. Plus I probably will save money. Is there any free help out there?

  • Patrick

    @ Dina – call up local drug rehab centers that are located in your area and ask them what your options are. They will tell you the different funding options that you qualify for, and can send you elsewhere if you do not qualify to attend at their center.

    Good luck!

  • scott

    I drank about 5 nights a week for the past 10 years and last christmas I quite for 5 months and my own and then convinced myself that it wasn’t that bad and have been drunk for the last few months until the sunday that just past i drink to the point that i don’t no what’s going on, what i am saying and don’t care who I hurt in the process. Everything I do envolves drinking, playing ball, hockey, reffing and umpiring, going to camp, even working as a miner all people talk about is having beer after work. I don’t want to ever have another drink as long as I live but I am really scared to lose friends and have to change all the things my familly love to do because they don’t have the problem I do…

  • kim

    yeah like you guys this is something i do everyday. I want to stop but i don’t know how

  • Catherine Ramsay

    Hi, I am in my twenties and am a binge drinker. I only drink on social occasions but when I drink, it seems to possess me and I don’t stop drinking untill I black out. It becomes an unquenchable thirst. I realised I needed to quit drinking all together when I recently drove home drunk (for the first time) and crashed my car into a traffic light. The worst part about it is that I don’t remember any part of the drive prior to crashing. I managed to start the car up again and drove home. The next day I felt absolutely sick to my stomach about what I had done. It goes against all my morals. It really scares me that I have no control over my drinking. I know I must give up drinking at least till I am able to control myself again, however I am afraid I will lose my friends as they always want to catch up for drinks. I am unsure what steps to take. Some guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  • Bill

    I’m 26, started drinking cronically at 19… have an anxiety disorder,drinking seems to be the most reliable drug to count on. unfortunately it has also wrecked my life. Without alcohol I am paranoid, with alchohol I havet moved foreward in life. I wake up to a bottle to stop shaking and hve the courage to get out of bed. I dont have OCD but I am totally obsessed about alchohol and thin about it 24/7… I like the article, I just wanted to say im 5/10 on quitting. I know it will be hard and probably need detox,, I cant seem to pass 5/10 on quitting.
    just sharing.
    thank you

  • xee miyagi

    to all who want to quit drinking….GOOD LUCK :-)

  • Angie

    I am a 30 year old wife, mother of two. I will be attending my first AA meeting, with full intention of actually quitting, in 11 years. My husband is also an alcoholic who has committed to quitting but feels he can do it alone and on his own. We have been drinking up to 5 times a week for six months. It’s my understanding he has been drinking this way for about 7 years. I have done this on and off for longer. I am a huge binge drinker, once I start I can not stop. This time, I’ve stopped. For my self, my husband and for my children. I wish everyone the best of luck, and find help somewhere! It can’t be done alone.

  • Richard

    I’ve been drinking for the past 18 years – I’m not one to wake up in the morning and crack open a beer or pour a glass of wine however when 4 O’clock comes I’m the first person at the bar waiting. To put it bluntly I drink to get drunk, I go on huge binge nights which leads to me to other substances every time. When I’m sober the thought of getting drugs is the last thing that comes to mind. I’m at the stage of my life now where I’m desperate for change, I’m petrified of it because this lifestyle is all I’ve ever known … but alcohol is my gateway drug and it has got me into horrendous situations. I have 2 friends, both frequent the bar I mentioned everyday … if I stop drinking I’m going to have no friends … at the end of the day, I actually don’t know a single person that doesn’t drink. I need to change my life .. I’m killing myself slowly here but I’m PETRIFIED to make the step. I’m always the drunkest of the lot of us, the life of the party .. I’m also nervous that I will lose my identity. At the end of the day if I don’t stop drinking and drugging it won’t be long till I’m out on the streets. Anybody had a similar experience and got through it .. is the grass greener on the other side?

  • Patrick

    @ Richard – yes I have been right where you are at….afraid to lose all my friends and my identity.

    Make the leap. Quit drinking, make new friends. Yes, of course you will make new friends. It takes time though. Trust that it will happen.

    If I were you, I would seek treatment. That is what I did. It worked.

  • john thomson

    i have been a alkholick for 10 but its got soo bad when i wake up in the morning i need 1 i have fits and blackouts 2 soyeke all the tim have shakes t my bruthers ding cose the dring i dont wont 2 end up that way but no 1 lisons 2 m2 i thing if i am dead i wont bee hurting no morel my self i have tried killing my self a lot cand go on like this no more if your a junkey you et methadon and drink is the bigestkiller in schotland i feel si my mob is07542839792

  • john thomson

    i need hellp asap i dont wont 2 trie and kill my self a gen no 1 lisons my mob is07542839792

  • Sean L

    Almost every time I drink, I don’t stop till I black out. When I run out of beer, I walk or ride my bike to get more. I make very little money at my job, but somehow manage to spend a good chunk on beer every week. I am starting to feel like the only answer is death. The thought of quitting drinking terrifies me. I’m 38 and been drinking heavily since I was probably 16. I can’t handle this much longer, the need for booze is insatiable. Every one else I know manages well with booze, I always find a way to mess things up. Sorry I’m rambling now, just thought I would share.

  • skd

    same plight here my friends. i have no friend, about to lose job, sanity, and family and life above all.

  • Brandon

    I’ve found that no one manages well with beer. i am a special person, i became an alcoholic and became sober through hate of myself. i soon found myself drunk again and without the same internal guidance, as a matter of fact, there was more self loathing than ever before. I know its impossible to hate myself,but to hate the person inside of myself, the EGO, the one that drives me to think that I am MYSELF. I understand and try to calm my being, yet i still manage to kill an 18 pack of pounders each night. If I strive hard enough, I can quit for a week, tops, but then I’m into the same people, places, and things. life is hard in a small town, but i was sober once for 18 months and can do it again. the more that you talk to others, the better you’ll be. we’ve all got embarrassing secrets, and i know you grow once you shed them. good luck to all, and god bless.

  • http://howtomotaviteyourself patrick

    i have been reading up about alcahol and know im an alcaholic . buttt how do i live without it .im sober 3 months now but the stinking tinking is starting again and im full of fear im afraid to drink/and not to,can anyone truthfully say there happy alcahol free

  • Donna

    I want to thank all of you for being courageous to post on here I just happend upon this site and it gives me great inspiration! I am an alchoholic and about to lose my 18 year marriage due to it…that was my wake up call! Please for those of you who don’t know where to turn just go to an AA meeting, talk it out with a family member… BUT DON’T DRINK! believe me it is not worth it! For me I will eventually be Okay But one thing is for sure I will do it with out the alcohol! Good luck to all of us!!

  • dkk

    You say, ” Realize that life will be fun again once you are sober.” But How? This needs an explanation in order to motivate. Remember that we are very weak at the height of alcoholism. Right now, if I had to stop for good, I would rather die. I am currently on meds. The thought that I might be able to drink next month is the one thing I’m looking forward to, even if it’s just for a night.

  • Shan

    I am the same as you all, I am an alcoholic, although nobody would ever know it. I never get obviously drunk or do crazy things, but from morning to night I always have a discrete Vodka on the go. I drink work/drive/cook/live and nobody ever knows. In the evening I drink white wine appropriately and people think I am a light-weight because I get ‘merry’. Little do they know it is the combination of Vodka and Wine. I am about to start the new year and try to quit – but I am very weak. All previous attempts to quit have lasted a couple of hours and now I am scared of trying to quit in the new year as I feel I have to quit. I know I am a better and happier person without it, but whether I can be that person? We’ll see… Good luck and happy New Year everyone.