Afraid To Quit Drinking? 3 Normal Fears
The things that scare us the most are often the things we don’t understand or that seem impossible.
Even the petrifying thought of what life will be like after change can stand in the way of the life we want. Fear is the main thing that stops people from taking any crucial steps in life.
Why? Because letting go of anything that has become an integral part of life is scary, undeniably so.
Have you heard the saying ‘nothing worth doing is ever easy?’ Achieving sobriety will feel like even more of an accomplishment because setting yourself free from addiction is rewarding but incredibly difficult.
Fear Delays Sobriety
However, this debilitating fear can stay with those who do or have struggled with drinking, ultimately delaying your decision to quit.
To quit drinking, an individual will have to determine if their relationship with alcohol warrants a change. If it does, the thought of sobriety can be utterly, soul-crushingly terrifying.
If you’re ever tried to quit anything, you may remember the most significant roadblock between the old you and the new you was the decision to stop in the first place.
Understandably, you may have worries, and to ease your fears, here are the most common concerns that many people go through when facing sobriety.
1. Do I Have a Drinking Problem?
Alcoholism, binge drinking, and partying have become so socially acceptable that recreationally drinking is just an everyday part of life.
Whether via advertising, peer pressure, your job, family or places we eat, we are often surrounded by alcohol. The temptation is unreal.
Seeing your friends, 11 am cocktail-sipping photos on Instagram as they partake in Bottomless Brunch is not unusual.
But, drinking before you go out, drinking before the football match and drinking before your friend’s wedding, it all seems completely normal now.
Therefore, consuming alcohol has become such a heavy part of our modern culture that it’s hard for people to decipher if they have a drinking problem or not.
Unfortunately, the longer an individual spends worrying and debating over whether they have a drinking problem, the more chance the situation will worsen.
Don’t become stuck in the ‘do I, don’t I’ circle as you compare yourself to your friends and scrutinise your behaviour.
If you’re wondering if you have a problem, here are some questions you can ask yourself to find the truth.
- Is alcohol getting in the way of your dreams?
- Is alcohol stopping you from reaching your full potential?
- Are you able to go a night or weekend without drinking?
- Are you living in the present, or is constant intoxication blurring your days?
- Does what or how much you drink regularly change your behaviour towards your friends, family, and responsibilities?
There’s an easy way to answer the first two questions. To find out which direction you want your life to go in, you can sit quietly and create a visual of your future self.
In other words, do a future self-meditation. Then, as you meditate, visualise what direction you want your life to go in, what or who you want to become.
If ten years from now, that person isn’t hanging over the toilet every Sunday morning after sinking too many beers or wines, then maybe there’s a better version of your future for you to follow.
Remember not to compare yourself to others. The impact alcohol has on your own life is what matters, and if there is a negative impact, then maybe it’s time for a change.
2. You’re Afraid of Life Without Alcohol
There are many reasons individuals don’t want to give up alcohol. Even though many people wake up every morning thinking, ‘why in the hell do I keep doing this?’ they still can’t imagine life without alcohol.
Alcoholics and heavy drinkers hate alcohol, but they can’t bear to separate with the part they love.
As alcohol loosens your inhibitions, making you louder, wilder, funnier, less ashamed, and more adventurous, you might now find yourself the life of the party. Because of this, many people think that to be sober is to be boring.
Many people are so familiar with drinking to have fun that many don’t know what it feels like to have a good time without alcohol. But more people than ever choose to go out and not drink these days and still have a great time.
People worry about becoming boring and losing friends they previously drank with and no longer have anything in common with.
Likewise, it’s normal to worry about your new shift in social life as your friends may no longer find you attractive.
Who is more boring? The person who has nothing to say but obnoxious, drunk dribble, or the person who’s full of witty, intelligent, and sober conversation?
What’s more fun, the person that invites everyone back to their home for games and coffee, or the person who has to be put into a taxi, blind drunk?
How is spending all your new free time learning new skills, trying out new hobbies, or doing anything that interests you boring?
Drinking Rules Don’t Work
Unfortunately, a fear of boredom isn’t the only reason people are reluctant to admit they have a drinking problem. People are often hesitant because they know they would need to remove alcohol entirely from their lives when revealing they have an addiction.
This means that many people who are afraid to quit will try to reduce or moderate their drinking to prove that they don’t have to give it up.
Unfortunately, adding ‘drinking rules’ to your day never really fixes the problem. If you need to put rules on your drinking, this alone is a flag that you have a problem. In addition, how feasible are these rules to follow?
Committing yourself to this kind of regimented half sobriety might make you obsess intensely over alcohol. You will probably also find exceptions to break the rules, knocking your self-esteem as you cannot stick to your own rules.
3. How Do I Do It?
Once you have accepted that you have a drinking problem, it’s normal to feel immovably worried about how you’re going to get sober.
When individuals decide to quit alcohol, they might find themselves having the same conversation daily as they battle with themselves and their failures.
How many times have you said, ‘I’ll start tomorrow,’ or ‘this is it; I’m really going to quit this time?’ Goals and dates pass, as do holidays, birthdays, stressful events, yet you still haven’t quit drinking.
Try not to be too hard on yourself. You don’t know what you don’t know. And if you don’t know how to quit alcohol, then it’s normal to struggle.
Taking the first step towards your sobriety will be the most difficult, and you will always be held back by the fear of ‘I don’t know how, if you let it hold you back.
However, to start the recovery process, you’re going to need to know the how, the process, the tools you’ll need, and what to replace your bad habits with.
Reaching out for help is the best way to learn all these things.
There is so much help available for people with drinking problems; all you need is to ask for it. If you don’t know where to start, a visit to your GP is a great option.
Your doctor can suggest various assessment and support options available to you, such as local community alcohol services, free local support groups and other counselling that may suit you. 
If alcohol is coming in the way of your life and is something you would rather live without than with, you may want to consider quitting drinking.
It’s ok if you’re not sure how to do it right now or if you even want to be completely sober.
Commit to trying sobriety for just a few months to determine if life feels much better with or without alcohol.
Whatever your fears about living with alcohol, if you have a drinking problem or an alcoholic, your life will undoubtedly be better without alcohol; you just might not be able to see it yet.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872611/ ↑
- https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/ ↑