Breaking the chains of alcohol dependence is often one of the hardest things that a person could do. But many, many, many of us have done it — so we know not only how difficult long-term sobriety is but how hard it can be to take those first steps into your new life.
Since September is National Recovery Month and also the newfound Sober September, we thought that there would be no better time to talk about quitting drinking. In particular, how to quit drinking when you are afraid to try. The truth is, we’re all been there. So many of us have been at the tipping point of quitting and so, so afraid to step over the line. And then, something (or someone) gave us that final push and, well, here we are on the other side.
In an effort to talk about all of the ways in which quitting booze is an amazing, life-affirming decision, our parent company Tempest recently teamed up with popular sober Instagram account @teedoodler to bring you some great Recovery Month content. And the first of it was this question: What would you tell someone who is thinking about quitting drinking but afraid to try? When we posted this question on our Instagram account, we didn’t realize that we would get quite so many amazing answers. But, well, our audience delivered — as always!
Below, we bring you all of the great pieces of advice that real-life people shared with us… Those who, like me, have been there. Here are 100+ things that you might just want to read if you’re thinking of quitting drinking but are still afraid to try.
1. Just give it a try for 30 days and see how you feel and where you’re at then. If I had known how much my life would change for the better by giving up booze, I’d have done it a lot sooner.
2. What’s the worst that can happen if you try? What’s the worst that can happen if you DON’T try?
3. Pretty soon you’ll realize that you’re not giving up something, rather you’re getting everything you could ever imagine. Sobriety is power, not a loss.
4. Don’t fear hold you back from trying something new.
5. C’mon, all the cool kids are doing it! (Just kidding, I’d simply say: What do you have to lose in trying?)
6. I would tell them that booze isn’t going anywhere if they ever want to go back. Or, nothing bad will happen if they quit, but something bad could happen if they don’t.
7. Do it now — the longer you wait, the harder it will be… The harder it will be to find yourself and the harder it will be to face yourself in the mirror. 64 days and counting!
8. I’d base it on my experience, which is this: I thought about quitting for 10 years before I finally did it because of fears that were REAL, but not true. Any big change is scary and this is a big change!
9. Give it 7 days and be really present with it. If it’s hell, then maybe you’ll wake up to how deeply dependent you are. If you can make it to 14 days, you will start to shift on a cellular level and hopefully begin to appreciate the new clarity and energy you have.
10. The only thing you’re missing out on is tomorrow’s hangover!
Pretty soon you’ll realize that you’re not giving up something, rather you’re getting everything you could ever imagine. Sobriety is power, not a loss.
11. I would tell someone to listen to the soft whisper in their head, to nurture it until it becomes as clear as a bell. Constantly check-in with your mind, body, and soul. And listen to/read A New Earth by Ekhart Tole.
12. So much confidence is waiting for you and a life beyond your wildest dreams. Life has been such a fun ride, full of adventure, and I guarantee would never have happened if I never stopped drinking.
13. Try it for one day. How could that hurt? And then the next day and the next day…
14. Is drinking making you happy?
15. You can do it, my love.
16. In the 8 months I’ve been sober, I think what it boils down to for me is that now I can see what alcohol was costing me in so many parts of my life. Alcohol takes so much more from us than it can ever give us.
17. I remember I felt fear of two things: Of failing and of judgment. On judgment: Sobriety gives you so much strength that you overcome this by knowing exactly who you are and who you are meant to be. And by knowing you can’t become that person while drinking. No one can say shit that bothers you once you reach true sobriety and see all its benefits. You realize you are the most badass of any and all! On failing: I would tell myself (and did over and over and over) that you only fail if you don’t try. You owe it to yourself to try!
18. Your life WILL go on without alcohol! And you will find a deeper love and understanding for yourself that is absolutely irreplaceable.
19. We romanticize our relationship with alcohol and that is one of the hardest parts. It’s like breaking up with a REAL shitty partner and only remembering “the good.”
20. There is probably a reason you are thinking about it in the first place. Listen to your gut. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
21. You get one, precious life. Don’t let alcohol steal any more moments. Quitting is worth it.
22. If you don’t have a problem with drinking, then you won’t have a problem not drinking.
23. That you will still have a social life. That your real friends won’t abandon you. That the world is so much bigger and better than just drinking, and there is so much you can do.
24. Throw everything at it and see what sticks: Meditation, AA, alternative modalities of recovery, rest, exercise, sugar, healthy foods, therapy, pet therapy, making sober friends. Don’t get discouraged if one thing doesn’t work!
25. It’s the one decision you will never regret. You may struggle with it at times, but you will never regret it.
26. I would tell them that being sober won’t make you boring — the secrets sparkle that booze steals from your life can’t be seen from where you are standing now. But it is there. Drop the fear and resentment and resistance. It’s going to get so good, even when it hurts. Just wait.
27. Keep thinking about it. It will never not be scary to try. It is worth it… Best thing I have ever done. There is a huge community of AF people, you are not alone.
28. The people who have gone before you, in recovery, are waiting to cheer you on the other side! It can be scary but it doesn’t have to be lonely.
29. It will take all kinds of courage. But it is possible. And it is so worth it.
30. Listen to your soul. The heart knows what the head can’t understand. Be open. Be loving.
Your life WILL go on without alcohol! And you will find a deeper love and understanding for yourself that is absolutely irreplaceable.
31. Try it for 30 days and see what happens. I’ve told this to so many friends and many have ended up stopping for good because of the massive improvements to their health and well-being. If you were into drugs and alcohol and heavily addicted like myself, make sure you seek medical help. Living alcohol-free and, for me, drug-free has given me everything I ever wanted and so much more!
32. It’s not giving up alcohol, it is regaining life.
33. Try, even in little bursts! Try to pinpoint the situation that gives you the most fear (like a boozy friend’s party) and identify what the fear is in that situation (like people will think you are boring) and already, your brain will start to become stronger. I’d also say: “Imagine the cotton wool has been lifted from your eyes. Life comes into euphoric yet razor-clear perspective.”
34. I think a lot of fear about this stems from being nervous that it’s going to have to be forever. And that feels daunting. Making this decision can be just for now. Just to try. Maybe for a little bit. Maybe longer. Maybe forever. but take the pressure off that it has to be “forever” and give it a try.
35. Whenever you say “no” to something, you are saying “YES” to something else. For me, quitting drinking created space in my life to fill with other awesome things like hobbies, trying new things, furthering my career, etc. Make sure you REPLACE drinking with something that excites you and genuinely fulfills you. You will be way less likely to fall back into old patterns. Ask yourself: “What do I want to create space for in my life?”
36. You’re more likely to find fulfilling friendships and relationships outside of the bar scene. Why? Because when you’re out doing things that interest you, you meet people doing the same things and have so much more in common with them than most people you meet in a bar. Making new friends while sober might sound intimidating at first, but it’s actually great because you don’t have to force a connection. It’s either naturally there or it isn’t. Sometimes alcohol makes it feel like you have a connection with someone when you really don’t.
37. YOU WILL SAVE SO MUCH MONEY. Every time you want to drink, put that money into an account to save for something that would benefit your life, or use it to travel.
38. In AA, they say: “We’ll refund your misery.”
39. Add in boatloads of hot tea in the beginning. And ice cream. Oh, and lots of books!
40. I don’t think I’d tell. I’d ask, “What are you afraid of?” instead. Then, you can be more helpful by addressing a specific concern. The fear isn’t of quitting — that’s the desire. They fear what they think that might mean. Loss of social life and friends or a method of “relaxation” usually being the main reasons, I would imagine.
41. When “no” is used to protect oneself (as in, “No, thanks”), it’s fucking exhilarating and powerful and feels amazing.
42. Play it forward. Imagine never waking up with a hangover. EVER AGAIN.
43. The peace you will experience on the other side is far beyond what you EVER imagined possible.
44. Everything I thought I couldn’t do without alcohol (have fun, karaoke, dance, feel okay), I can and more. Every aspect of my life improved when I quit drinking. I can look at myself in the mirror and feel good about who’s looking back.
45. You are brave.
46. This is if drinking is causing the person pain and damaging consequences: “Yes, giving up alcohol is difficult but so is living your life as it is now.”
47. The social capital you gain far exceeds what you lose.
48. You’re made of stars.
49. It’s the gift that keeps on giving but you have to wait for the magic.
50. You can go back to drinking whenever you want. But try it and see if it’s different.
You get one, precious life. Don’t let alcohol steal any more moments. Quitting is worth it.
51. That to your surprise, life is actually not as much of a struggle that you have made it out to be. Mundane “normal” things can be enjoyable. You don’t have to loathe yourself. You’ll find your personality, your passion, and you’ll find yourself.
52. Only you know when you’re ready to quit.
53. It’s okay to be uncomfortable.
54. It is SO worth trying. If it’s hard, well, at least you’ll learn something about yourself. And you’ll grow and change for the better.
55. You’re not alone.
56. Your social life will not be over forever. It may be for a moment, but not forever.
57. It’s so much better than you think it will be.
58. JUST DO IT. (Nike swoosh style)
59. Try and keep trying. It’s hard as hell, but the payoff is priceless.
60. Is alcohol serving you? Or is it keeping you from your destiny? Being afraid of change is normal but those willing to change will experience a new and wonderful life. It is not easy; nothing worth doing is easy. But it is worth it. YOU are worth it.
61. You will be okay without it.
62. Walk straight into it. Don’t look back. Repeat until it sticks.
63. Commit to a period of time you’re comfortable with. Use tools like online groups, friends, read articles, count your savings, practice meditation. Do things to reward yourself, not punish yourself. Punishment leads to failure.
64. It’s not how you think it’s going to be… You will get back your freedom.
65. I would tell them that fear blinds us from what the true danger is. In this scenario, that means my fear of quitting alcohol would have blinded me to the true danger… which WAS to continue with my drinking. fear is a liar and a thief!
66. You’re already on your way home.
67. Drinking doesn’t make anything “better.” Even though it’s scary to let it go, you won’t regret it.
68. If it hurts you to not do something that’s hurting you… it’s probably an addiction.
69. It’s easier than you think!
70. Trying can help you start healing through the fear and not trying gives fear its power.
Try and keep trying. It’s hard as hell, but the payoff is priceless.
71. You can do it!
72. Start with small achievement goals: Stay sober for a day, read an article, listen to a podcast on sobriety, attend one meeting, talk to a mentor… Then build from there.
73. It’s only scary for a little while and then you’ll wonder why you didn’t quit sooner.
74. All of the things you used to “need” alcohol for are enjoyable without alcohol. Just try them a few times!
75. It feels amazing and empowering.
76. If you’re asking me, there is something that concerns you.
77. The other side is unfathomably GOOD!
78. You will feel so much better. Give it three months and you will notice a huge difference.
79. Just call it an experiment and see what happens. You might be surprised!
80. I’d tell them to read Allen Carr and Annie Grace and let them talk to your unconscious mind. Then, commit to yourself… say 30 or 60 days and then see how you feel. And write it down! II wish I had written more down. And get support. So important.
81. For me, I had to really ask myself if alcohol served me well. Did it add value to my life? The answer was no. I had to decide I was okay without it.
82. You don’t have to do it alone.
83. There is so much life for you waiting beyond the fear.
84. Stopping drinking is the hardest and best decision I’ve ever made. Never looking back.
85. You should be afraid. It’s scary, your life will change in so many ways. Some of it will suck but you’ll feel all the feels and one day wake up and, for the first time in years and feel alive, you’ll understand true joy and you won’t want to go back to the way things were.
86. Congratulations to getting to this point! Be kind to yourself. Take the pressure off getting it perfect the first time. You can try to get sober as many times as you want. Start for 30 days and see how you go. Praise yourself every day you are sober. The cravings will eventually stop. Sober life is amazing.
87. It is amazing to discover how much better you can feel when you remove alcohol from your system!
88. There is a strong possibility that continuing to drink will be just as scary as sobriety, if not more so.
89. Keep trying. Hot showers at night. Books and follow folks on Instagram that are doing the dry life. Keep trying.
90. It’s okay to be afraid. Do it anyway.
All of the things you used to “need” alcohol for are enjoyable without alcohol. Just try them a few times!
91. Alcohol gone kill you, bruh.
92. If you can get through the first weekend, you can get through anything.
93. Your reason for wanting to quit hold more power than any reason that is holding you back.
94. Are you afraid of clear-headed mornings, restful sleep, and remembering events? If not, go for it.
95. It’s worth it. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you relapse, just try again.
96. Here, take my hand.
97. If you are even asking yourself the question, something inside of your heart already knows the answer.
98. There will be a day when you don’t give alcohol a thought. Freedom!
99. If you stay sober or not, you’ll still have some knowledge about yourself in relation to alcohol. It’s always worth a test.
100. Sobriety is the first step to self-love.
Focus on creating new healthier habits and hang with people who have hobbies other than eating and drinking.
101. If you never try, you’ll never know if it was worth it. (Hint: It’s always worth it… even if it takes 1 or 20 tries.)
102. The fear will easy the more days add up, trust yourself. You’re very brave and will be amazed by your own strength.
103. Soak yourself… and I mean, SOAK YOURSELF in the pro-sobriety Instagram world. This family of survivors are each other’s saviors… including yours.
104. It is hard as hell. The withdrawals are horrible as hell. You will want to die EVERY MINUTE because of the physical, emotional, and spiritual torture. Get medical help to withdraw safely… It is available. But once you jump off the hamster wheel of addiction, IT IS SO WORTH IT. Like anything painful and hard, you WILL be able to look back and realize that life is not hopeless. It is full of promise and hope. You will be able to practice presence and mindfulness in fulfilling ways. Things that you thought were not possible, finally are possible. In these first stages of breaking the chains of addiction, drown yourself in positive support. It will take a village some days but get through those days accepting all the support you can. You will break those chains of guilt and shamee. You ARE worth it. No success comes without hard work.
105. The more you sit around and think about it, the scarier it will “seem” from your mind’s perspective. The body is resilient and can do unbelievable things. Start one day at a time, and have a realistic goal in mind. If you can find a buddy to partake you, it can feel less lonely and sometimes be rewarding to motivate one another.
106. I always start with the physical reward: no more hangovers. That seems the lease intimidating when you’re first getting started.
107. Attend an AA meeting! Hearing other people’s stories can really open your eyes.
108. Focus on creating new healthier habits and hang with people who have hobbies other than eating and drinking.
109. It’s not that you never get to drink again. It’s that you never have to.
At the end of the day, only YOU can make the brave decision to quit drinking. But, if you do, you should know that you are not alone. And you WILL recover… just as so many of us have. And yes, recovery is a life-long process but it’s one that we promise you will be grateful for in the end.