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Quit Drinking

How Easy Is It To Quit Drinking in 2024?

April 25, 2024
22 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
April 25, 2024
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
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Reframe Content Team
April 25, 2024
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10 Strategies for Saying Goodbye to Booze in 2024

  • Saying “no” to alcohol these days is easy! There are many science-backed strategies to try. And with technology on our side, the process is more fun than ever!
  • Watch your health transform as you practice mindfulness, explore new hobbies, or dive deeper into the neuroscience behind habit change and cravings.
  • Reframe can help you kickstart your quitting journey and keep the momentum going with encouragement, daily tasks, and science-backed tools to help you revamp your mindset around alcohol. Plus, our 24/7 Forum is here for support!

Maybe it’s that one final time you woke up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat, unable to remember what you said at that office party the night before. Or maybe you’ve noticed that your weekly wine glass turned into a weekly (or even daily) wine bottle. No matter how many times you’ve decided, “No more alcohol tonight!” somehow it just sneaks back in. And now? Well, now you’ve decided to show it the door once and for all.

Whatever your situation, you decided to call it quits and “break up” with booze. Congratulations! It’s a brave step to a healthier and happier version of yourself, and we’re cheering you on wholeheartedly. 

But does saying goodbye to booze have to mean checking into rehab or spending Monday nights in a church basement, admitting that you are (yikes!) an alcoholic? Does it mean you have to start a 12-step program and psychoanalyze your childhood traumas with a therapist? Maybe! However, there are many other options nowadays. 

Whether your drinking has become a serious problem or you’re just ready to leave it behind for other reasons, let’s explore some ways to stop drinking in 2024!

Ready To Say Goodbye to Alcohol?

A person's hand reaching out to refuse a glass of whiskey with an ice cube on a wooden table.

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s look at the benefits of quitting. Here’s a snapshot of what’s waiting for you:

  • Better overall health. This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning: alcohol does a number on our health. Despite all those “moderate drinking is good for you” studies (many of which have serious design flaws), the truth is simple. As the WHO puts it, “No level of alcohol consumption is safe for our health.”
  • Better sleep. Wait, isn’t a “nightcap” a thing? Yes and no. While alcohol might help us doze off initially, it disrupts our sleep and robs us of the most restorative REM phase.
  • Sharper mind and memory. Those “what did I do last night?” moments will be a thing of the past. Plus, without alcohol, our problem-solving skills and cognitive abilities improve, making us sharper and more productive.
  • More time. On top of all that time we spend waiting in line at the bar for a gin and tonic, we’ll regain lost hours of sleep, time spent nursing a hangover, and time with loved ones.
  • More authentic connections. It’s not just the amount of time that matters — it’s also the quality. Without alcohol getting in the way, our interactions can feel more authentic and leave us with the spark of connection we’ve been searching for.

Before you move on, take a moment to envision what your life will be like without alcohol. What relationships will improve? What health challenges will dissolve? What will you be able to accomplish? 

Tips To Stop Drinking

10 Ways To Stop Drinking

If this new way of living sounds good to you, your next question might be, “But how do I stop drinking?” Here are 10 tried and tested tips:

1. Get Curious: Embrace the “Sober-Curious” Movement

These days, the “sober-curious” movement is stronger than ever. It’s all about approaching quitting with curiosity — not as something we’re giving up, but as a new lifestyle to explore. 

The sober-curious movement shares the spirit of the Dry January challenge, originally aimed at giving New Year’s Eve enthusiasts (and their livers) a much-needed break. The “dry” label quickly caught on as more monthly challenges started cropping up, each adding a unique touch to the idea of trying our life without booze. There’s now “Dry July,” “Sober September,” “Sober October,” and so forth. 

Before you know it, the whole year could turn into a “sober-curious” challenge, all in the spirit of exploration and fun! 

Tip: Start by joining a challenge, such as Dry January or Sober October. (Make up your own if you want!) Think of it as an opportunity to open a new chapter in your life. What can you discover? Maybe you’re sleeping better, or you have clearer skin. Maybe you’re forming more authentic connections (and actually remembering all those “great conversations” from the night before!). Write down your discoveries and watch the benefits add up.

2. Get on Track: Use a Drink Tracker

With our curiosity piqued and judgment banished to the sidelines, we’re ready to take the next step: tracking our drinking habits. Science shows that using a tracking app (more on this in a bit) leads to measurable improvements in reducing alcohol. 

Tip: Start by finding a method that resonates with you. Don’t like writing things down? No problem! Take notes on your phone or, better yet, try the tracking feature of the Reframe app!

3. Get Technical: Use Technology 

“Digital sidekicks” such as Reframe are revolutionizing the process of quitting or cutting back. In addition to providing us with an easy way to track our alcohol intake, they are treasure troves of other resources to help us coast through cravings, connect with others on a similar path, and learn more about alcohol’s effects on the mind and body.

According to an Addiction Science & Clinical Practice article, technology can also be a valuable asset for providers, making it easier to personalize treatment, manage data, and offer access to those who might otherwise find it challenging to get help.  

Tip: Explore the wealth of digital resources for yourself — and, of course, remember to give Reframe a try!

4. Get Mindful: Tap Into Mindfulness

How can mindfulness help us quit drinking? Science shows that the ability to observe our thoughts without judgment changes the neural landscape of our brain and helps us deal with cravings. Rather than “believing” every thought that floats through our mind, we start to get control over which ones we hold on to and which ones we let go.

Moreover, mindfulness gets us out of focusing on the past and future — two thought traps that can easily lure us back into our old habits. As John Bruna writes in The Essential Guidebook to Mindfulness in Recovery, “Instead of seeing the life you want to live in the distant future, just start living the life you want today. It is really that simple, and that challenging.”

Tip: Start small! There’s no need to join a hardcore yoga practice or spend hours meditating right away (or ever!). Mindfulness is all about becoming more aware of what’s going on at the present moment in your physical, mental, and emotional space. Try a sitting meditation for five minutes each morning, then gradually build up to longer sessions. 

5. Get Social: Build a Support Team

Like any other major undertaking, quitting alcohol is much easier if you’ve got a team behind you! In the words of Srinivas Shenoy, “Alcohol is the fuel to your pains. Share your pains and you will see how easy it is to quit alcohol.”

Your support team can include family members and friends, but it doesn’t have to. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your story with your immediate circle — no worries! These days, it’s easier than ever to find a supportive group (such as the Reframe forum!) online.

Tip: In addition to finding a positive support group, you might want to put some distance between yourself and those who tend to pressure you into drinking more. 

6. Get Brainy: Tap Into Neuroscience 

Diving deeper into exactly what goes on in the brain when alcohol enters the scene is more than just science trivia. In fact, understanding what’s going on behind the scenes can help us separate ourselves from the chemical mechanism behind addiction. The process of doing so can be liberating: when we understand how fleeting and illusory the “pleasure” of drinking really is, alcohol loses some of its appeal.

Even better, learning about the neuroscience behind alcohol’s effects is incredibly motivating once we consider the science of neuroplasticity. Yes, the brain can change — at any age! Studies show that even in cases of severe brain injury, function can sometimes be restored through cognitive therapy, which promotes brain reorganization.

Tip: Learn more about alcohol’s effects on the brain and find science-backed ways to boost neuroplasticity. For example, aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to go!

7. Get Surfing: Dismiss Your Cravings

One of the best ways to stop drinking is going straight for the cause — cravings. Whatever the reasons driving us to drink, the immediate cause is always the “urge” — the persistent idea that tells us we “need” a drink to improve the situation we’re in. 

The important thing to realize about cravings is that they’re thoughts — and changeable thoughts at that. (Psychologist Amy Johnson discusses this process at length in The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit).

By looking at cravings as thoughts, we have the option to dismiss them without believing they’re true. Of course, dismissing urges can sometimes be easier said than done. This is where “urge surfing” comes in! As the name suggests, this practice involves waiting out the craving until it passes — usually about 20 minutes. In the meantime, it can be helpful to find a distracting activity (such as a phone game or an episode of a show). Check out some great urge surfing tools on the Reframe app!

Tip: Next time you have a craving, find an activity that distracts you for at least 20 minutes and see what happens. Chances are, it will get much less intense. Happy urge surfing!

8. Get Chatty: Try Talk Therapy

For those who think that “talk therapy” is all about lying down on a dark velvet couch and talking about your mother giving your brother the extra piece of birthday cake back in the day — we’ve got good news. These days, there are plenty of options! (Not that there’s anything wrong with going the traditional route, if that’s your thing.)

For example, cognitive behavioral therapy targets our subconscious beliefs and thought distortions around alcohol. It helps us target cravings at their root. (For instance, we might discover that beliefs such as “I can’t socialize without alcohol” are based on assumptions rather than reality.)

Tip: Try different approaches, and don’t throw in the towel right away if the first one doesn’t work. There’s something out there for everyone!

For more information, check out our blog: “How Can Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Help With Alcohol Misuse?

9. Get Medical: Consider Medication

Medical science continues to find new ways to help us leave alcohol behind. Whether it’s by targeting the way alcohol is processed by the body or reducing cravings, there are plenty of medications out there that can give us a helping hand when it comes to saying “no more alcohol in 2024.” Here are the main players:

  • Disulfiram. This one’s a classic for those who are ready to call it quits for good. Disulfiram “hijacks” the process of alcohol metabolism, leading to a buildup of a toxic byproduct — acetaldehyde. If we drink while taking it, the results are unpleasant; we’re looking at intense nausea, headaches, blood pressure fluctuations, and potentially dangerous cardiovascular effects.
  • Naltrexone. Originally developed to help overcome opiate addiction, naltrexone interacts with receptors in the brain, making alcohol less pleasurable. No reward — no desire to drink.
  • Acamprosate. The third popular option — acamprosate — takes a different route and goes straight for the cravings themselves by decreasing their intensity.

Tip: Always check with your doctor when it comes to medication. What’s right for some folks may not be right for others.

Ready to dig deeper? Take a look at our blog: “Which Medications Are Used To Stop Alcohol Cravings?

10. Get Creative: Build a Life of Meaning

Finally, we can look at saying goodbye to alcohol as a creative process. One way to do so is to tap into our creativity, promoting a state of “flow.” Defined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow is “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” (Ever seen the Pixar movie Soul?)

Scientists have shown that being in a flow state actually changes the brain, promoting dopamine release and quieting the default mode network (DMN). The result? A natural feeling of reward and a “break” from our usual way of jumping to conclusions or falling into patterns of thought we are used to. Both of these shifts are powerful when it comes to thriving without booze!

Tip: Find your flow. Is it writing a few pages every morning? Gardening? Cooking? If you’re unsure, try new things (or things you haven’t done in a long time) until you find it.

Looking for additional tips to quit drinking? Check out our blog about  “Alternatives To Drinking Alcohol: Exploring Life Beyond Booze

Find Your Alcohol-Free Path

In the end, finding ways to stop drinking alcohol is about carving your own path — and in 2024, there are many options and strategies to choose from and combine in your toolbox! That said, the past has plenty of valuable lessons to offer as well, so let’s end with some inspiring words from 13th-century poet and philosopher Rumi: “Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

Summary FAQs

1. What motivates people to stop drinking alcohol?

People choose to stop drinking for a variety of reasons, including negative impacts on health, sleep, cognitive abilities, productivity, and personal relationships. The decision to quit is often inspired by the desire for a healthier, more fulfilling life free from the negative consequences of booze.

2. Are traditional methods like 12-step programs and therapy the only ways to quit drinking?

No, the landscape for quitting alcohol has broadened significantly. While traditional methods remain valuable for many, alternatives such as the "sober curious" movement, technology aids, mindfulness practices, and community support forums offer diverse options for those seeking to quit or reduce alcohol consumption.

3. How does the "sober-curious" movement help us quit drinking?

The "sober-curious" movement encourages people to explore life without alcohol with an open, inquisitive mindset. By participating in challenges like "Dry January" or "Sober October," we can discover the benefits of an alcohol-free life, such as better sleep, clearer skin, and more authentic connections, in a fun, exploratory way.

4. Can technology make it easier to find ways to stop drinking alcohol?

Yes! Digital tools and apps like Reframe have revolutionized the approach to quitting or cutting back on alcohol. They offer tracking capabilities, support community connections, and provide educational content about alcohol's effects, making it easier for us to manage our alcohol journeys.

5. How does mindfulness help in quitting drinking?

Mindfulness practices help us observe our thoughts and cravings without judgment, altering the brain's neural pathways and improving control over impulses. Starting with simple practices like sitting meditation can enhance present-moment awareness and help in reducing cravings.

6. Are there medications that can help with quitting alcohol?

Yes, medications such as Disulfiram, Naltrexone, and Campral are available to assist in quitting alcohol. These medications work by interfering with alcohol metabolism, reducing the pleasure derived from drinking or directly targeting cravings.

Ready To Say “No More Alcohol” in 2024? Reframe Can Help!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today! 

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