Want to quit drinking without AA? Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is free, accessible, and simple. But it’s no longer the only house on the block.
There are endless options to try for support and guidance if you’re struggling with alcohol. Here are a few tips on how to quit drinking without going to AA …
How to Stay Sober Without AA
Find support in a different group
AA isn’t the only support group out there anymore. You can find one more suited to your beliefs or recovery style. Here are just a few examples:
•Yoga of 12 Step Recovery connects the dots between the practical tools of 12-step recovery, the ancient techniques of yoga, and modern research on trauma healing and neurobiology.
•Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process.
•LifeRing is an abstinence-based, worldwide network of individuals seeking to live in recovery from addiction to alcohol or to other non-medically indicated drugs, with a focus on encouraging personal growth and continued learning through personal empowerment.
•Smart Recovery is a self-empowering addiction recovery support group.
•Secular Organization for Sobriety is a nonprofit network of autonomous, non-professional local groups, dedicated solely to helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety/abstinence from alcohol and drug addiction, food addiction, and more.
But why stop there? My own company, Workit Health, hosts online recovery groups for our members. Groups meet virtually Monday through Friday and focus on a wide range of topics. If you’re a Workit member, you can self-enroll in groups through the Community tab in the Workit app.
If none of these options sound good to you, you can build the recovery community you feel is lacking in the world. Start a group in your area or on a social networking site like Facebook, and watch it grow.
Talk with a coach, therapist, or counselor
Many folks get sober using coaching or therapy. There are so many trained coaches, counselors, and psychologists out there happy to support you on your recovery journey, many of whom are in recovery themselves or whose lives have otherwise been touched by addiction.
Seeing a psychiatrist doesn’t hurt either. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health, which sometimes includes substance use disorders. They can be particularly helpful if you believe you have underlying anxiety or depression you are managing with alcohol.
There are also online programs to help you quit drinking without AA. My company, Workit Health, has offers online, science-backed courses to help you beat alcoholism, all from your computer or phone. Whether or not you do 12-step along with it is up to you.
Talk to your doctor
Medication is currently used to treat alcoholism as well. None of it is a magic bullet — if that pill existed, we’d all be on it! But if you aren’t interested in 12-step meetings and are seeking a different solution, there’s no reason you can’t look into some sort of medication: Antabuse, Naltrexone, Campral, and Topomax are all used in treating alcoholism.
Exercise boosts your brain, battling the brain disease of alcoholism. This isn’t talked about in 12-step much but it’s a life-saver. Check out why person in long-term recovery and counselor, Chrissy Taylor, encourages exercise in early sobriety. Exercise will get your endorphins pumping, reduce cravings, and make you feel better.
Change your social scene
A main reason 12-step works (in my opinion) is it sets you up with a new social scene, full of folks just like yourself. The value of this can’t be minimized. If you choose to quit drinking without AA, it’s important to consider your current social scene and whether or not you’d like to change that. If you need sober friends and don’t do support groups, Meetup has great local activities that will allow you to get out of the bars and meet people in positive environments.
AA also puts the meaning back in life for people. It helps you find a power greater than yourself, and gets you involved in service with others in your community who need help. Whether or not you are interested in a spiritual program, finding something to live for (other than booze) can motivate your recovery. Whether this is some sort of spiritual program, giving back to your community, getting involved in recovery activism, is all up to you. It’s your recovery.
Recovery from alcoholism or addiction is a personal journey, and no two people’s paths will look similar. For many years, we sent folks to 30 day inpatient treatment or told them to go to AA. But there are other options, and we’re beginning to realize that those other options work. If you’ve stopped drinking without AA, let me know what worked for you in the comments!
Another medication-based alternative is the Sinclair Method which utilizes naltrexone to curb cravings.