The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Quitting Drinking

Thinking about quitting drinking? Here’s some advice you might not want to follow.

image of shocked rabbit to depict someone who has heard some terrible advice about quitting drinkingThere is an abundance of advice about quitting drinking out there that conspicuously lacks the hallmarks of thought and wisdom.  Advice itself can often be a sign of unsophisticated “help.”  While there are likely many more witless ideas about quitting drinking than this article covers, we’ve hand-selected a few of our favorite Mickey Mouse methods for your enjoyment.

1. Don’t Substitute. Tell people who had a failing liver and used cannabis as a substitution for alcohol that substitution doesn’t work.

2. You have to announce your problem to the world. It might not be the best idea to pull your boss or your father-in-law-to-be aside to let them know that you’ve been drinking more than you want to.  The cultural stigma against substance use is oppressive, abusive, and suffocating so discretion might be wise.

3. You have to end all friendships with people who drink. Many experts agree that connection is the opposite of addiction, so isolating all friends might not always be the best idea.

4. You have to go to rehab to stop. Most people who stop don’t go to rehab.

5. You can’t work on anything else until you stop. Actually, when people address underlying issues like anxiety, depression, and trauma reductions in substance use are often a natural side effect.

6. You have to go to meetings every day. You don’t have to go to meetings at all to quit drinking.  For some, meetings are highly valuable and very helpful.  For some, meetings are not helpful.

7. Tapering doesn’t work. Not only is this advice bad, it is downright dangerous when someone faces withdrawal and does not have the resources to afford medical supervision at an inpatient clinic.  Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal and tapering reduces that risk.

8. You have to hit rock bottom to quit. People quit when they’ve lost more than they ever thought they’d lose and don’t want to lose anymore.  When someone has truly lost it all, substances are at their most appealing.

9. You have to call yourself an alcoholic to quit. While labeling is helpful to some, research shows that forcing this label on people can also be detrimental to progress.

10. You have to work the 12 steps to quit. The steps are incredibly valuable to some, and to others not so much.  There is no monopoly in treatment, no one size fits all.

Check out our blog for accurate information about quitting drinking, including tips for quitting and quitting drinking through self-guided change.