Can You Quit Drinking Alcohol Without AA?

Can You Quit Drinking Alcohol Without AA?

You’ve just made the difficult decision to quit drinking alcohol. Now what? You’re taking a significant step towards a healthier and happier life. But the many paths to sobriety can be overwhelming.

While AA has been a popular and effective support group for many, it's not the only option available, and it isn’t always for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various strategies and alternatives to help you learn how to stop drinking alcohol without AA or other formal rehab programs. Whether you're seeking a DIY approach, support groups, medication assistance, or lifestyle changes, we've got you covered. Let's dive in!

Understanding the DIY Recovery Approach

Many individuals who want to quit drinking alcohol may not be able to commit to a formal treatment program such as rehab. Reasons for this can range from limited availability of rehab beds to financial constraints.

However, the good news is that DIY alcoholism recovery is possible, and many people have successfully learned how to stop drinking alcohol without AA or a formal rehab program. With the right strategies and support, you can embark on a journey to sobriety on your own terms.

Trying Alternative Support Groups

While AA has been a cornerstone for many seeking sobriety, it's important to know that there are other support groups available that may better align with your beliefs or recovery style. Here are some examples:

  • Yoga of 12 Step Recovery: This program combines practical tools of 12-step recovery, ancient yoga techniques, and modern research on trauma healing and neurobiology.
  • Refuge Recovery: A mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that incorporates Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process.
  • LifeRing: An abstinence-based network of individuals seeking recovery from alcohol or non-medically indicated drugs, with a focus on personal growth and continued learning through empowerment.
  • Smart Recovery: A self-empowering addiction recovery support group.
  • Secular Organization for Sobriety: A nonprofit network of autonomous local groups dedicated to helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety from addiction.
  • Relay Health: Here at Relay, we’ve created a unique, support group-based recovery app that can fill the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in your sobriety. The best part is that Relay can be tailored to your own beliefs and recovery  goals.

If none of these options resonate with you, consider starting your own recovery community. You can create a group in your area or utilize social networking sites like Facebook to connect with others on a similar journey.


Seek Professional Support

While a formal treatment program may not be feasible, seeking support from coaches, therapists, counselors, and doctors can be immensely beneficial. Many individuals have successfully achieved sobriety with the help of trained professionals who specialize in addiction recovery.

These professionals can provide guidance, therapy, and even prescribe medication to support your journey towards learning how to stop drinking alcohol without AA. Additionally, they can address any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to your alcohol use.

Utilize Online Resources

The internet offers a wealth of resources to support your journey to quit drinking. Online programs like Workit Health provide science-backed courses and virtual support groups to help you overcome alcoholism.

These platforms offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to access support from the comfort of your own home. Whether you choose to combine online resources with traditional support groups or go solo, the internet can be a valuable tool in your recovery journey.

Consider Tapering Your Drinking

Instead of quitting "cold turkey," some individuals find it more manageable to gradually decrease their alcohol consumption over time. Tapering can help limit cravings and reduce the risk of experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It's crucial to consult with a doctor when attempting to taper off alcohol, as they can provide medical supervision, prescribe appropriate medications, and offer support throughout the process.

Surround Yourself with Sober Peers and Social Supports

Research suggests that individuals who surround themselves with friends or family members who drink are less likely to maintain sobriety. To increase your chances of success, it may be helpful to spend less time in the presence of others who regularly consume alcohol.

Seek out new friendships and relationships with individuals who do not drink or are also in recovery. Engage in social activities that do not involve alcohol and prioritize spending time with people who support your sobriety.

Explore New Passions and Hobbies

Quitting alcohol opens up a world of possibilities and free time. Use this opportunity to explore new passions and hobbies that bring you joy and fulfillment.

Engaging in physical exercise, joining clubs or groups, volunteering, or pursuing formal employment can help replace the void left by alcohol and provide a sense of purpose. These new activities can become outlets for self-expression, personal growth, and advocacy, ultimately helping to break the cycle of alcohol use.

Medications for Quitting Alcohol

If you're interested in medication-assisted treatment for quitting alcohol, several FDA-approved medications can help reduce cravings and support your recovery journey. Naltrexone, Naltrexone-ER, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram are commonly prescribed medications that can be effective in the early stages of recovery. Consult with your doctor to determine if medication is a suitable option for you and to discuss potential benefits and side effects.

The Effectiveness of DIY Approaches

While various strategies and alternatives exist, it's essential to recognize that the effectiveness of the DIY approach may vary depending on individual circumstances. People with a long history of alcohol misuse or severe withdrawal symptoms may require professional medical supervision and formal detox or rehab programs.

If you've tried quitting on your own without success, it could be an indication that you have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) that requires professional help. There's no shame in seeking assistance and enrolling in a treatment program to ensure your safety and long-term recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions: Quitting Drinking Without Rehab

Can anyone learn how to stop drinking alcohol without AA or another treatment program?

The ability to quit drinking without a treatment program largely depends on the severity of alcohol use disorder and individual circumstances. Heavy drinkers with a long history of AUD may face dangerous withdrawals and should seek medical supervision during detox. However, individuals with milder alcohol use disorders and no significant withdrawal symptoms may find success with a DIY approach combined with medication-assisted treatment, support groups, therapy, and even sobriety podcasts.

Should I try quitting on my own?

Mild-to-moderate drinkers without severe withdrawal symptoms can consider learning how to stop drinking alcohol without AA. It's important to have a support system in place, whether it's through medication-assisted treatment, support groups like AA or SMART Recovery, or formal therapy. These resources can provide guidance, accountability, and emotional support during your journey to sobriety.

Why can't I quit drinking on my own?

The inability to quit drinking on your own doesn't signify a lack of willpower. It may indicate the presence of an alcohol use disorder that requires professional help. Alcoholism is a chronic disorder that often requires comprehensive treatment, including medical support, therapy, and lifestyle changes. If you've struggled to quit on your own, reach out to your healthcare provider for assistance and explore available resources.

If I can't quit on my own, what should I do?

If you've been unable to quit drinking on your own, it's recommended to enroll in a treatment program for alcohol use disorder that best suits your needs. There are various programs available, including those that incorporate medication-assisted treatment (MAT). These programs can provide the necessary support and tools to help you combat addiction and achieve long-term sobriety.

Is my drinking bad enough for rehab?

There's no specific threshold or level of drinking that determines whether rehab is necessary. If your drinking has a negative impact on your life and you believe rehab would be beneficial, it's worth considering.

It's important to prioritize your well-being and seek help if alcohol is negatively affecting your physical and mental health, relationships, work, or overall quality of life. If rehab isn't an option, there are alternative approaches and support systems available to assist you in your journey to quit drinking.


Learning how to stop drinking alcohol without AA or formal rehab programs is a viable option for many individuals. By exploring alternative support groups, seeking professional help, utilizing online resources, tapering alcohol consumption, building a sober support network, pursuing new passions, and considering medication-assisted treatment, you can embark on a successful journey to sobriety.

Remember, the path to recovery is unique for each individual, and finding the right approach for you is essential. Be patient, seek support, and prioritize your well-being as you navigate this transformative journey.


National Institutes of Health - Medications and Alcohol Craving

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health - Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous

Healthline - How Does Tapering Off Alcohol Work?

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