I recently met with a patient who, after about 40 years of very regular drinking, made the decision to quit drinking. Her decision to stop drinking alcohol was not easy.

She associated drinking wine with many aspects of her life: sharing a bottle of wine with her husband over dinner, sitting around by the pool sipping wine, curling up in the evening with a good book and a glass of chardonnay, drinking a glass of wine when she’s had a frustrating day at work.

More like this: Who Am I Without Alcohol?

The Most Common Questions About Quitting Drinking

One of the things we ask when people come for a consultation is their history of negative consequences from their drinking.

This is an important question because continuing to drink in the face of negative consequences helps to diagnose alcohol dependence.

But sometimes I’ve noticed this question keeps people in denial.

“Nope” they say, “I’ve never had a DUI, never lost a job because of drinking, never had delirium tremens (DTs) or seizures when I stopped. And—by the way—it’s ‘just’ wine.”

More like this: The Myth of the ‘Functioning Alcoholic’

5 Lost Opportunities When Drinking Alcohol

Then it may be more helpful to ask about lost opportunities rather than negative consequences.

1. Would you have gone for a walk or done some kind of exercise if you hadn’t poured that first glass?

2. Would you have made that phone call you’ve been putting off if you hadn’t poured yourself a glass?

3. Would you have had a different kind of conversation with your partner or spouse if you hadn’t had a few glasses of wine?

4. Have you had the experience of not remembering the details of a conversation with your child because you were drinking?

5. Have you failed to keep health commitments to yourself because when you drink, it loses priority billing?

You can find more questions to ask yourself in our series Alcoholic or Just A Bad Habit? Part 1.


Help to Quit Drinking

After years of creating associations in so many aspects of life with alcohol, it is a physical, emotional, and psychological challenge to start thinking about oneself as a person who lives without drinking.

But it can be done. People do it every day.

Once a person has made the decision they want to stop drinking alcohol, the available help to quit drinking is abundant.

Alcohol Treatment

An integral part of treatment at The Coleman Institute, whether a person is seeking help with opioid addiction, benzo addiction, or alcohol dependence, is to flank our patient with resources for recovery. We are big proponents of using a 12 Step Program; many people find the spiritual component coupled with nonjudgmental social support to be powerful.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is an approach to helping people change habits with specific exercises geared to whatever stage a person is currently in.

In-patient or Intensive outpatient programs and counseling with a trained addiction specialist are other venues.

Suggested Read: Coleman Method for Outpatient Detox off Opioids and Alcohol


If you or a loved one are considering stopping drinking alcohol, using benzos or opiates, or simply want to learn more about our medically assisted detox programs, please give us a call at 877-773-3869.

Joan R. Shepherd, NP

What’s Next: The Single Most Important Thing to Know When Detoxing off Opioids, Alcohol, or Benzos