How to Quit Drinking and Stay Quit

Uncategorized Oct 09, 2022

Quitting drinking is the most challenging thing I have ever done. I tried so many times to quit. I don’t think I ever lasted a week. This was before Google, and I didn’t really have much information. I was also too ashamed to talk to anyone about my drinking, so I drank at home, alone, a lot, and tried to manage my drinking in isolation. For years, I suffered alone and in silence.

What I know today, if you are an alcoholic, trying to moderate or control your intake is torturous and futile. Bargaining became a full-time job. I would quit on Monday. I would only drink on weekends. Or I would only drink beer instead of wine or hard alcohol. Or not mix my drinks. Or I wouldn’t drink alone. But none of my efforts ever stuck. Kind of like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall. 

What I also know today, and it is a simple concept though not necessarily easy, and how I have stayed sober for over 30 years, is to stay away from the next first drink. It is the first drink that gets me into trouble, every damn time. Once alcohol passes my lips, there is no predicting what will happen. But I didn’t know any of these things. I hope that me telling you helps.

Not taking that next first drink is where your true power lies -- not in trying to control your drinking. You will never be able to control your drinking. Not if you are an alcoholic. Perhaps in the earlier stages, you can keep it somewhat under control, but eventually, the only choice is the next drink, and then the next, and then who knows what’s next.

Telling myself that quitting forever was too much. But not taking that next first drink, well, that seems a bit easier. And once you decide not to take that next first drink, things begin to happen. With each hurdle you overcome, you become stronger and feel more amazing on the inside. Life turns into an adventure you never thought possible.

In this article, I outline six things to expect when you first quit drinking and how not to take the next first drink.


In the beginning, expect to have some level of cravings. How bad depends on how much and for how long you drank. Detoxing is a big hurdle to get over, and trust me, you will be so relieved when you are there, and then you will be prepared for the next hurdle. That is sort of how it goes, getting stronger and stronger all the time. It gets easier and more manageable when you start putting some time and distance between yourself and your last drink.


People, places, and numbers on your digital clock are big ones. Be aware of your trigger places and times and find alternative things to do and begin building new habits and routines. As you expand your world, you will meet new people and friends; and sometimes, opportunities will appear as you discover new interests.


Growing up, I did not learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. You may not have either. When you quit drinking, your emotions will begin to wake up. Everyone is different, but for me, I hadn’t cried for years. Getting sober, the next thing I know, I am standing in the lineup in the post office and crying, staring at missing children’s posters.

Your Brain

Your brain is a big player in addiction and recovery. For the first little while, your brain may be screaming for a drink. This is to be expected. Your brain is conditioned to think this way. But if you don’t give in, it passes, and new thoughts begin to replace those old ones. It doesn’t feel like it, but the minute you quit drinking, your brain begins to stabilize and heal.


Without addiction running the show, there is no limit to what you can accomplish and create. Who you are and who you will become is mainly dependent on your thoughts and the choices that you make whether you are drinking or not. Never doubt what you can accomplish! I watch people all the time become hugely successful and happy after they quit drinking. 


When you first quit drinking, you still have the same mindset you had when you were drinking. I needed help changing my thinking and learning to live differently. Chances are you do too. Leaving the world of isolation behind and connecting with peers and other women on the same path is incredibly healing. Few things are more comforting than to hear someone say, “I know exactly how you feel,” and knowing they mean it.

So, how do you quit drinking? The first step is admitting that you have a problem, followed by a deep desire to want a different life, and a commitment to not take the next first drink.  

I went to war with addiction. With each craving, each urge, I developed the attitude of, “bring it on,” and became empowered by the fight rather than fearing it. And I conquered, and so can you. 

When you are willing not to take the next first drink, you create a space and an opportunity for healing. You are the facilitator of that. That is where your true power lies.

If you are thinking about quitting and have been drinking large quantities of alcohol for a significant time, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Please talk to your doctor and seek medical care as you go through the detox process. It is important to note that addiction may also mask mental health disorders that someone is drinking to self-medicate, such as depression or anxiety.

If you resonate with the article, let me know. “What are your thoughts about quitting drinking? Where are you at?” I love hearing from you. Either email me or let me know in the comments section below. 

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