How To Stop Drinking Alcohol

If you want to stop drinking and need help to stop drinking alcohol it is important to understand you cannot just quit drinking alcohol ‘cold turkey’, especially if you have become alcohol dependent. 

Alcohol can be a devastatingly persistent addiction that can be difficult to break for many different reasons. Understanding what it takes to overcome an alcohol addiction safely is the key to helping you quit drinking for good, and there are many different steps involved to ensure that you’re not putting your health at risk by forcefully cutting your alcohol consumption and essentially going cold turkey.

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Why is quitting drinking so difficult?


There are a couple of problems associated with the difficulty of safely breaking your drinking habit. Its important to understand what happens when you quit drinking. There are a number of alcohol withdrawal symptoms that come along when you quit.



  • Going cold turkey introduces nasty withdrawal symptoms – Completely cutting your alcohol consumption will cause a lot of nasty withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and tremors. This is one of the biggest reasons why quitting drinking can be so difficult.
  • Your body has likely built a dependency on alcohol – Your body slowly changes how it works in order to accommodate for the increased alcohol levels in your body, thus creating a dependency which causes nasty side effects if it’s not met. This includes risks of seizures by just stopping drinking alcohol altogether. Getting a proper medical detox is highly advised.
  • There are social implications to drinking – Most people don’t realise that completely cutting alcohol from your life is almost impossible due to social implications such as meeting with friends and family events.
  • Reliance on alcohol usually indicates deeper issues – A lot of people ignore the fact that drinking is often in response to something more concerning such as mental issues or life struggles. Simply removing the symptom (in this case, excessive drinking) does not deal with the root issue and will not prevent long-term drinking.
  • You need to find some form of replacement for your drinking – Since drinking usually becomes a problem due to your own personal circumstances, you’ll likely need to find a healthier alternative such as a new hobby in order to take your mind off the reasons why you decided to start drinking in the first place.
  • Changing something so integral in your life can be challenging – If you’ve been relying on drinking for your problems for a long time then it can be surprisingly difficult to make such a drastic change. It has a heavy impact on both your mental and physical state which many people find challenging to deal with.
  • It can feel like something is missing from your life – Much like the previous point, once you’ve quit drinking and you’re finally coping with living without alcohol, you might find that something is missing in your life and it can create a sense of boredom.



As you can see, there are many obstacles that could prevent you from completely overcoming your alcohol drinking problem. However, in this article, we’re going to show you that there are many practical ways to get you back on track so that you can have a better chance of living life without alcohol and also solve the underlying issues that could be causing your alcohol addiction in the first place.


The steps to take to finally quit drinking


First, let us make it clear that completely cutting your reliance on alcohol and quitting drinking for good takes a lot of willpower. It’s important that you understand the gravity of your task in order to fully embrace the solutions that are available to you. Let’s start by looking through the steps that you should be taking in order to finally stop drinking alcohol. Read our useful post on withdrawing from alcohol safely

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Step one: Learning about the positives of quitting drinking


The first step to take is to learn about the positives of finally quitting your drinking habits. This will help to motivate you and also help you realise how many alcohol-related issues you’re currently facing and how they can mostly all be solved with the help of detoxing and finally overcoming your drinking issue.


For one, quitting drinking will help you sleep better at night because your body isn’t always working overtime in order to keep your body functioning with all the alcohol in your system. Similarly, this means that it will provide you with more energy throughout the day so that you don’t feel tired at random times. Cosmetically, it will improve the condition of your skin and also help you lose weight due to all the calories that are present in alcohol. Lastly, you’ll also experience positive financial benefits because you won’t be spending your money on copious amounts of alcohol.


Some people are worried that their social standing will be affected when they stop drinking, but this simply isn’t true and there are plenty of people that are well aware of their drinking issues and will politely decline a drink when offered. However, moderately consuming alcohol once you have dealt with the root issue of your drinking addiction is acceptable.


Step two: Seeking the right professional help


Once you’ve realised the advantages of taking your alcohol problem seriously and finding a solution, it’s important to seek the right help to ensure that you get professional assistance to help you stop drinking safely and completely. The reason why you need professional help is that you need motivation, advice and also medical help in the event that you struggle to overcome your withdrawal symptoms.


One of the best ways to help you deal with an alcohol problem and to learn how to quit drinking is to undergo rehabilitation. Most people don’t realise just how effective the combination of therapy and a positive environment can have on helping them solve their drinking problem issues.


Another positive of seeking professional help is that you’ll have experienced medical professionals at your side who will be able to help you deal with your withdrawal symptoms. You may need a combination of different medication to ensure that you can keep you withdrawal symptoms at bay, ensuring that you’re not tempted into drinking again just for the symptoms to subside.

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Having a community at your side can help you prevent relapsing into an alcohol addiction because it gives you supportive friends and professionals that you can speak to about your drinking problem. While quitting alone is possible, there’s a much lower chance that you’ll relapse if you have the right contacts and stay in touch with those that helped you with your alcohol treatment.


Step three: Let your intentions be known by those around you


If you decide not to attend a rehabilitation clinic and would prefer treatment at home, then it’s important to let those around you understand your intentions so that they do not force you to consume alcohol and so they won’t feel offended when you decline their offer to drink alcohol with them. Consuming alcohol is considered by many as a common thing to do especially when there’s a celebration going on, but it’s vital that you let others around you know that you don’t plan to drink because you want to improve your health and deal with your drinking problem.


This step won’t apply to you if you’ve chosen to do rehabilitation at a clinic that you can stay at. These are the most typical types of rehabilitation clinic because they’re geared towards creating a positive environment that will allow you to overcome your drinking issues. While you can learn how to stop drinking alone with the right medical advice, motivation and supportive friends and family, we recommend seeking treatment by attending a rehabilitation clinic so that you have an increased chance of staying sober and learning how to live without alcohol.


Step four: Attend your rehabilitation program and take it seriously


One of the major things that people misunderstand about alcohol rehabilitation clinics is that you can always walk out and cancel your treatment unless stated otherwise by the clinic. Most people think that you’ll be locked in the clinic until you finally give up drinking by force, but the reality is that you can walk out whenever you chose to if you don’t think the treatment and therapy are working. The idea behind this is that if you’re not taking it seriously and you’re sneaking out to buy alcohol or are only attending because friends and family members have forced you, then you’re wasting your own time and the time of the clinic.


If you are serious about your rehabilitation program, then you’ll easily learn how to stop drinking in a safe and controlled environment and you’ll also make life-long friends that can help you understand how to quit drinking and also provide you with encouragement to ensure that you never relapse back into drinking.


Rehabilitation often involves a number of activities and therapies to help you safely quit drinking. Almost all rehabilitation clinics will have medical staff on hand to ensure that you’re always able to receive medical attention for your withdrawal symptoms. For most people, cutting out the alcohol in their system entirely is a sure way to invite unwanted symptoms such as headaches, tremors and fatigue. In order to overcome these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention and the professionals at your rehabilitation clinic will have access to medication that you can take for your withdrawal symptoms.

Useful links about Rehab:


A typical day at a rehabilitation clinic involves a healthy and early start to the day. The purpose of this is to help your body get back into a natural rhythm and routine. This will help you stay focused throughout the day so that you’re less likely to suffer from the withdrawal symptoms and it also helps you be more productive. During your stay, you’ll also likely be put through a detoxification process which aims to cleanse your system of alcohol. This will lead to withdrawal symptoms that can be severe if you have been reliant on drinking for a long time, but the medical professionals at the rehabilitation clinic will be able to assist you with medication and treatment. You will also be able to attend therapy sessions that can help you discover why you’ve become reliant on alcohol in order to get to the root of the issue. Although cutting your alcohol consumption is one of the goals, the long-term solution to quitting drinking is finding out why you’ve been so reliant on alcohol and dealing with those concerns first. You may also have the option for group therapy sessions if your drinking has also affected those close to you.


Overall, rehabilitation is a holistic approach to helping you quit drinking. It’s a complete solution that offers both physical and mental assistance and it approaches quitting drinking by helping you find the source of your issue instead of just dealing with the issues on the surface.

Click here to find a rehab center


The secret is to always seek help


Whether it’s seeking professional help such as from a rehabilitation clinic or phoning a service like Help4Addiction for a chat to discuss your options and how you can get started with your goal of quitting drinking, it’s important that you remember you’re never alone. There’s always help out there if you’re willing to accept it and you don’t need to put yourself at risk of trying to quit drinking on your own. If you want to speak to one of our experts for advice then call free on 0203 955 7700 and we will be happy to guide you.


There are many complications that can arise from attempting to beat your alcohol problem alone. Whether it’s the dangers of the withdrawal symptoms that come from going cold turkey or the high possibility or relapsing without outside assistance to motivate and assist you, you can overcome those obstacles by reaching out and seeking help so you can stop drinking for the long term and not as just a temporary solution.


To quit drinking or to cut down on your consumption?


Those who are in the early stages of an alcohol problem will find that it’s possible to simply cut down on your intake. This means that your body isn’t completely reliant on alcohol to function and that there is no physical or mental dependence on alcohol. It’s understandable that some people would prefer not to completely cut out alcohol from their life because it’s common to see it used in social situations like meetings and parties.


However, if your body has been exposed to alcohol for long periods of time and you have only recently started to deal with your addiction, then you might find that quitting altogether and staying away from alcohol is the best way to handle your drinking problem. This is especially true if you’ve tried to undergo an alcohol treatment in the past and were met with limited success, or if you relapsed after a period of sobriety.


If you’re unsure on the approach you should take, then don’t hesitate to contact us on 0203 955 7700 at Help4Addiction where we can offer you free and impartial advice on how to either cut back on your drinking or completely stop.


Life after quitting drinking


You may find that once you quit drinking, you’ve got plenty of more time on your hands that can be used for more productive things. Drinking causes us to spend a lot of our time on dealing with withdrawal symptoms and it can cause havoc in our lives, so freeing yourself of alcohol addiction can feel liberating but it will also leave a void in your life.

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There are plenty of productive ways to spend your time once you’ve quit drinking. For instance, you can set new goals to achieve in life that you were passionate about before, such as hobbies that were interested in or body fitness goals that involve going to the gym and seeking help from a personal trainer. Now that your body is healthier without the alcohol in its system, you can aim to take on a healthier lifestyle where you can lower your blood pressure, lose weight and even build a stronger body.


There’s also the option of building support networks to ensure that you stay off the alcohol, but so you can also help others with their drinking problem. If you attended rehabilitation and met people that were in the same situation as you, then it’s a good idea to band together and check in with each other so that you know how everyone is doing. This is a great way to help you stay motivated to remain sober and your assistance will be valuable to others who are also trying to stay off alcohol. Loneliness can be a major contributing factor when it comes to the risk of relapsing which is why it’s vital that you seek out others not just for your own sake, but for theirs as well.

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One of the biggest contributing factors to successfully quitting drinking is having a support network that can motivate you. Whether it’s calling Help4Addiction for friendly impartial advice or attending a rehabilitation clinic with helpful residents and medical professionals, having someone to speak to about your problems makes a bigger impact than most people assume. Detoxifying your body and cutting your alcohol consumption can create some nasty side effects and one of the best ways to deal with them is with medication that is recommended by medical professionals.


In short, don’t just assume you need to keep your alcohol problem a secret from others. By opening up and seeking help, you greatly increase your chances to stop drinking for the long term in a safe manner. Call our experts on 0203 955 7700.


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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.