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Friday Night Pep Talk: 13 Essentials for Quitting Drinking

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You’re looking at this page, which means you want to quit. That’s the good news!

Getting sober is an amazing, life changing process, that at times may feel almost impossible. It’s NOT. If you’re ready to stop drinking, and you are willing to get the support you need, you can recover from alcoholism no matter how bad the addiction. You can start your journey towards a better life today!

Here is my list of the 13 essentials to help you in early sobriety, and keep you focused on what’s important in those early months!

  1. For your first few weeks sober, your only goal each day should be to make it through without a drink. That’s all! Not fixing your entire life, just not drinking for 24 hours at a time.
  2. Practice complete abstinence. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can moderate your alcohol intake. If you were anything like me, you have already tried to control your drinking in some way, and failed. It won’t work now, nor will it ever again.
  3. Remember, you’re not giving up a good friend who has treated you well. Instead, you are getting rid of an enemy, and gaining a new, better, healthier and happier life.
  4. Don’t misjudge your control over your addiction. Everyone does at some point. Stay away from places where alcohol is the main event! You have no business being in a bar if you are trying to stop drinking. Don’t add that kind of stress to your new found sobriety.
  5. Keep busy, especially in your first few months of sobriety. Staying sober is hard enough, but keeping busy will help you not obsess about not drinking, and/or what are you going to do with the rest if your life. Practice staying in the day.
  6. Seek out in-patient/outpatient treatment if you can and are willing. Look into starting therapy. Usually, addiction is only a symptom of other underlying issues. You will have an easier time quitting if you can get to the root of the problem.
  7. If possible, cut out toxic relationships from your life. This include family, friendships and romance. If you keep hanging out with the same people you will continue to do the same things.
  8. Don’t mistake an enthusiasm to change with actual action. Only action will produce actual change. That means that getting sober will take some work and adjustment to your life’s routines.
  9. Reach out to others in recovery. Find meetings, blogs, podcasts, and search for online resources. See the link at the top of this page to Find Support.
  10. Remember, you’re responsible for your own sobriety. No one can make you do it! There is lots of support out there, but you have to do the work.
  11. Move beyond self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself won’t accomplish anything. Having an addiction is not the end of the world! Neither is not drinking! You will be OK!
  12. Develop a support network. Whether this includes 12 step programs like AA or SmartRecovery, or others, build an extensive recovery network who understands what you’re going through. Recovery is much easier with like people on your side!
  13. And lastly, if what you’re doing is not working, and you keep relapsing, that’s ok, many people need a few starts. Don’t beat yourself up! But, you also should recognize that you need to make changes in your actions and try something different. Stay open to new ideas and support systems in recovery. Recovery is not one size fits all, keep searching till you find what works for you.

For more great tips, please check out my post on Getting Sober: Where to Start

NOTE: If you choose to start the path to sobriety alone, bear in mind that if you start experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms (panic attacks, severe anxiety, the shakes, rapid heartbeat) you should seek immediate medical assistance. Withdrawal from alcohol in some cases can cause death.

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.

Connect with Sober Courage on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).



  1. Hi Maggie, “8.Don’t mistake an enthusiasm to change with actual action. Only action will produce actual change. That means that getting sober will take some work and adjustment to your life’s routines. “
    This happens with many people that enter recovery. People with time have to really go after the newcomer. I find it too often that when someone says they’re new or it’s their first meeting no one from the group will go over to them and talk to them about coming back. So often I see newcomers leave the meetings before it ends and there are times I will walk out after them and talk to them in the parking lot and ask them to stick around, if not for that meeting but to please come to another meeting.
    I’m fortunate that we have a clubhouse in my town and we offer about 35 meetings a week there. It is sort of an excuse free zone. People can’t say meetings don’t work with their schedule. We have meetings starting almost every 2 hrs. Sundays there are meetings that begin a half hour after the last one ended. We have great parking lot fellowship. the only problem is that many old timers wait for the newcomers to ask for help. Dang if I had to ask for help the first 3 or 4 meetings I attended I would have never gone back. I was lucky in a sense that I got sober in the very late 80’s when old timers acually care and jumped on the newcomers and wouldn’t let them leave until they gave up and took phone numbers and at least said they will try to come back and do 90 in 90.
    We all came in to the rooms severly damaged and people come in the same way now. I have met thousands of AA ers and I don’t remember meeting anyone that came in voluntarily. We all came for different reasons but in the end it is the same. We want to get sober.
    Back to enthusiasm: If for the first 30 or 60 days newbies are only enthusiastic about their new found sobriety, that’s good enough for me because they may be open to suggestions and progress from that point. Yes there is a lot of work that is needed to get sober and stay sober however, we can only give suggestions in the early days. (suggestions are really mandatory but if it sounds mandatory, alcoholics become defiant and may not stick around)
    Sorry for taking so much of your comment section but I love this post and may repost it on my page. Thank you for putting together the list of 13.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nelson! Thanks for this great comment, full of great points. I believe around here it’s also customary to wait for the newcomer to ask for help first. I suppose that shows willingness to actually get sober, because we do have many that come court ordered and such and are just there to have their papers signed. We also have greaters who are responsible for giving out when and where’s with phone numbers to the newcomers.

      I think you are totally right, enthusiasm is the start and what helps propeller us to do action. In my experience, I thought that’s all I needed. I spent a long time not actually doing any work and well, I kept relapsing. For me getting sober was not just putting down the drink it was also working on me. So when I wrote this I tried to remember what worked for me, and I know it’s not all what might work for others. But it’s a start! That’s what I love hearing from others and getting different perspectives!

      Thanks Nelson! Have a wonderful weekend!


  2. …Day 27…and I feel I don’t have words of wisdom to impart because I’m too ‘in the middle of it’ right now but wanted to say a big thanks to you Maggie for a great Friday Night Pep Talk (even though it’s not a Friday night). I needed it! x


    • Day 27! Woot Woot! Congrats! The early days are the hardest, so give yourself some credit, you’ve come a long way! And no matter how long you have, you have probably already figured out a few things that work and some that don’t, and maybe got to add a few more that might help. I am glad you’re here and that the pep talks have helped, thank you. Keep moving forward and stay connected. Sending many hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

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