How Do I Stop?



I have been communicating with a woman who is trying to quit drinking.  Alcohol has become a problem in her life and it is beginning to negatively impact her work and family. We have exchanged emails during a difficult time for her, and although I am not a doctor (aren’t you GLAD), I have had the equivalent of a Doctorate in the school of alcohol’s hard knocks.  I can certainly relate to her seesaw existence: up when she’s not drinking, down when she is

My email friend seems to be able to go for a few days sober and then a trigger of some sort will have her running for the bottle.  Recently it was a disappointment in love. She asked me, “How do I stop?”

And that my friends, is the BIG question.

I wish I could stand before you like one of those reality chefs in a pretty apron and mix the perfect sobriety recipe, but it does not exist. I can only tell you what I did when I decided to quit drinking.


1.  I  realized I could never take another drink. That was my biggest challenge and my biggest disappointment.

2.  I trained myself to live one day at a time. It sounds like a cliché I know, but catastrophic thinking will derail the best of intentions.

3.  I just said, “NO!”  Do I sound like Nancy Reagan? I actually said it aloud whenever I was heading for the Gate station to buy a bottle of plonk.  I still do.

4.  I made myself take stock every morning.  Here I go talking to myself again, but every morning I would say aloud, “Feel how you are feeling.” Instead of doing a damage check (bruises, abrasions, headache, teeth intact?) I would consciously assess how GOOD I felt. No hangover in the morning is the BIG perk of sobriety.

5.  I found a drink substitute.  I have always hated those people who go on diets and force everyone to go with them – sitting in a restaurant, dying of boredom, while the dieter interrogates the waiter and talks endlessly about carbs and the dreaded gluten.  When I’m out, I drink gassy water and cranberry in a wine glass and keep my mouth shut.

6.  I knocked myself out with Sleepytime Tea – Extra Strength.  What do they put in that stuff?  I have no guilt about the times I drugged myself to sleep at 7 PM to stop myself from drinking.  Or the occasional afternoon…

7.  I asked for help.  Wow.  There’s a novel idea, right?  After years of suffering on my own, I asked those people who love me to please HELP ME.

8.  I found community.  Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, books, meetings – in the year 2015 we are blessed with the enormity of social media outreach.  It is one of the great positives of the LOOK-AT-ME generation.  There are many resources to sobriety.

9.  I prayed.  Praying takes many forms and it helps when the regrets roll in like thunder… For me it was essential to surrender to a higher power and to begin to seek enlightenment.  I am still a fledgling, but I believe.

10.  I wrote a blog.  Don’t you do this because I’m writing a book and I don’t want the market to be flooded with boozing memoires… (just kidding).  I found that writing it all down was a great catharsis.  Obviously I still do…


This is a journey worth taking.

I will help you if I can.

Please, anyone with ideas to make this journey easier or more successful, leave a COMMENT.


Today I’m not drinking because I am telling myself, “NO!” right out loud…

How come you’re not drinking?