The majority of clients that we see in our office stop drinking on their own without having to go to long-term treatment, like 30, 60, or 90-day treatment. And honestly, it's not that complicated.
When quitting alcohol, you have to consider whether or not you need a medical detox from the alcohol. Believe it or not, stopping alcohol from cold turkey is one of the more dangerous things to quit. So before you implement any of the other techniques that I'm about to tell you, it is crucial to have a thorough medical assessment.
Once you have that figured out, here are the critical pieces to doing this on your own, without going to long-term treatment.
1st Key to getting sober without rehab
The first thing that I want you to do is to make drinking a non-option.
What do I mean by non-option?
Make it easier on yourself. For example, one obvious thing is to take the alcohol out of your house and remove the temptation.
2nd Key to getting sober without rehab
The next thing you need to do to take off the option of drinking alcohol is to tell the important people around you that you're not going to be drinking anymore. If you're at a restaurant with a friend, or you're hanging out at a work function, and the temptation is there, if there's someone there that knows that you're not supposed to be drinking, then you're less likely to cave into that pressure.
3rd Key to getting sober: Soberlink (crucial resource)
Now, this third way of taking alcohol off the table is probably the most effective, and that is using a SoberLink. You may have heard me talk about Soberlink before for two reasons.
One, they sponsor our YouTube channel, and two, because I love Soberlink!
We've used SoberLink in our office long before we had a YouTube channel and before they ever sponsored us. I am a huge fan. Most of the people that see me for alcohol use disorder, this is one of the big reasons they're able to stop without having to go away to treatment.
A sober Soberlink is an alcohol monitoring device. It's a breathalyzer, but not just any breathalyzer, a sophisticated breathalyzer.
You can set up a schedule for when you want to test. For example, for clients who come to my office, we decide on a scheduled test.
Usually, they get tested about three times a day. The goal is not to catch them, but rather prevention. We typically schedule tests first thing in the morning, somewhere in the middle of the day, and the last thing before bed. When they're supposed to take their test, they get a text message reminder 15 minutes before the test.
It says, "Hey, you have a test at six o'clock." or whatever time you and your support person have come up with for you to take the test.
I've had a lot of high-level professionals use Soberlink, and the people around them never even knew. It's about the size of your cell phone.
It comes in a case that kind of looks like fancy sunglasses case. If you had it sitting in your car or your pocketbook, no one's going to think a lot about it.
Do you want to know why I think this is so effective?
Number one, you have these scheduled tests.
Number two, it has facial recognition software in it.
When you first get a Soberlink, it takes your picture. They call that the master picture, and it matches up and makes sure it's you taking it so you can't sneak around, get someone else to take it, or do something sneaky by blowing another air source into it. It's foolproof.
If you miss your test, you're late or get a positive result, your support person will get a text message showing it. In the case of my clients, those messages usually come to me and sometimes even to another person like their sponsor, recovery coach, or family member if they choose. You can set up that accountability however it works best.
The reason why this is so effective is that it makes drinking a non-option. It doesn't leave room for all those sneaky little thoughts, like "my spouse will be gone from the house for a couple of hours. I can drink just one. She'll never know because it will be out of my system."
People who use Soberlink think it is a thousand times easier because you make the decision one time, you don't have to fight for yourself a thousand times a day, doing this whole back and forth thing where you feel like you're white-knuckling it.
4th Key to getting sober without rehab
Another piece to this idea of how to quit drinking alcohol all on your own is you have to stop trying to convince yourself that you can drink differently. What do I mean by that? Well, if you're into the old school 12-steps or something, then what you would say here is it's not manageable.
It's unmanageable when you start drinking, and it doesn't end.
Don't try to convince yourself that you can somehow do it differently.
How many times have you done that already? A lot.
You've tried to cut it back and manage it.
You have to rid yourself of the sneaky thought of trying to do it manageably, trying to keep it in your life, but not have all the problems.
Key #5 to getting sober without going to rehab
The next thing I want you to do is I want you to change your habits. Now, this one may seem simple, but this one is super helpful.
If you always stop and buy alcohol at the store on the way home from work, take a different route.
If you always sit down after work, watch basketball, and drink, don't come home from work and sit down and watch basketball.
If there's a high-risk time when you would drink, make sure you plan an activity for during that time.
The reason is that it's become such a habit, and we have all experienced this before. We don't even mean to be drinking, but we get into this sort of set routine where we're on autopilot, and the next thing you know, we're back to drinking.
Key #6 to getting sober without going to rehab
The last thing is to stay focused on what you want because of your sobriety and don't let your mind go into the deep dark rabbit hole of what you can't have or what other people are doing.
It's much more effective to think about what you want. Instead, you want to feel better when you wake up, you want to have a better relationship with someone in your life. You want your career to take off. Maybe you want to lose a little weight, but focus on what you want from this decision, not what you don't want, you'll feel a lot happier in the process as always.
If you want to know if you or a loved one meets the criteria for Alcoholism, here's a FREE resource I put together for you.
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