How to stop drinking alcohol

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Advice and tips on how to stop going on with sober temporarily or for good.

Thinking of going sober in 2020? If the thought of drinking throughout 2020 is too much, you’re not alone. According to an NHS health survey, in England in 2018, 82% of adults drank alcohol in the past 12 months, with 49% of adults drinking at least once a week – but more of us are deciding to quit alcohol than ever before.

recent investigation found that rates of non-drinking increased from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015, and the number is growing fast. Celebrities such as Elsa Hosk, Lucy Hale and Jada Pinkett Smith have all spoken publicly about their sobriety, and it’s estimated that around four million people in the UK will take part in Dry January. And when the month is over, many will decide to continue their new lifestyle.

But how do you stop drinking

When that Friday glass or wine or Sunday G&T is so ingrained into your schedule? Millie, 28, writer, speaker  decided to quit two years ago when she realized alcohol was affecting her mental health. “It was definitely hard at first, and that was primarily down to peer-pressure and a few standard accusations of ‘being boring’. “Two years on and it’s so much easier; my friends and family can see how much happier and healthier not drinking has made me so I never get pressure from them. And if anyone dares call me boring, I’m confident enough to laugh it off and not let it shake my decision.

“My advice would be to keep a little note of any joys that you experience from not drinking (even if that’s just waking up without a hangover), and keep reminding yourself of them. At Sober Girl Society we run all sorts of alcohol-free events that you can come to including our boozeless brunches and immersive yoga. You can find like-minded babes who are also binning the gin and do something new too!”

Fellow sober girl Katy agrees that those around you can be key to going sober, and it was her close friends and family that encouraged her to continue with sobriety following a stint in rehab.

What helped me a lot was having a network of strong sober women for support

and being honest about my feelings and needing help. I had to want to feel better myself – nobody could decide that for me. Now I see it as a choice to not drink rather than I can’t drink.”

Jessica, 25, also quit drinking after seeking professional help, and she prefers to focus on the short-term. “After getting out of rehab, I decided that I would just stay sober a day at a time,” she says. “I am now two years and three months sober.

Sobriety isn’t a walk in the park but I am really happy I am here.

I no longer suffer from hangovers. or feel shame. I don’t miss the blackouts, the falling over, the embarrassing myself. am present in everyday activities.

“People often ask me: when will you drink again? and I am not sure. But I know that I will not drink today and that’s all I can promise.”

Rochelle stopped drinking for her health, and found that fitness gave her the buzz she was missing. “My intention was just to reign it in, but when I stopped I noticed how much I was feeling better, and how my work was improving etc. Three years later and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

“Something that really helped me when I first gave up drinking was not telling a lot of people, only my nearest and dearest. There’s a lot of social pressure to drink nowadays so I’d still go out but have mocktails in wine glasses, and no one would bat an eyelid.

“I didn’t actually start telling most people till I reached one year sober. Maybe that was a milestone.”

Eliza became sober after experiencing anxiety from drinking, and found that her new lifestyle brought with it better health benefits and more genuine friendships. “My top tip for anyone else giving up is to not view it as giving up – you are actually only gaining! In the early days I would tell myself ‘I am choosing happiness’ instead of ‘I’ve given up drinking.’ Even now, I tell people that I’ve ‘gained sobriety’ rather than saying I’ve given up drinking. Instead of choosing alcohol, you are choosing yourself.

“It’s also very important to remember that if you need additional support, there are many 12-step programmed out there that you can reach out to. Connect with other sober people, make sure you stock up on good alcohol-free options and eat something sugary, then call a friend when you feel a strong craving. Or, if you’re in recovery – go to a meeting.”

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