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Different Therapy Options for Quitting Drinking

By: Sam Harrington-Lowe - Updated: 27 Jun 2020 | comments*Discuss
Therapy Options Drinking Alcohol Alcohol

There are a number of different options for therapy when it comes to giving up drinking, whether you decide to opt for residential rehabilitation or not. Getting the right therapy can be very important when quitting, and is also central to staying off the booze as time goes by

What is Therapy For?

One of the key factors to giving up drinking is the consideration that drinking and being drunk has taken up a considerable part of your daily life. Quite possibly it will have taken up most of it. So when you take the drinking away, you’re also removing a lot of what is the usual routine for each day. This can also include places you go to where you drink with boozing buddies, or simply spending most of the day feeling hazy and focused on alcohol. When that is removed, there is often a gaping hole in people’s lives. Therapy can help you find ways to fill that hole with more productive activity.

It’s also generally the case that the illness has affected not just the drinker, but all those around him or her, particularly close family and those that live with them. Therapy can also help them, and the family unit as a whole. Much damage is done during the course of this illness, and however supportive people are, they will have felt hurt by the drinker, or possibly have been abused by them. Therapy can help mend those scars and heal rifts.

One to One Counselling

This is simply a case of having a sympathetic ear to talk things over with on a one to one basis. Counselling offers a different solution to therapy, in as much as it is more of a listening situation rather than analysis or cognitive reaction. Sometimes it’s just enough to have someone to talk to who is not involved on a personal level and this can help clarify the issues.

Group Counselling/Group Therapy

Some people may find group counselling or therapy difficult, going very public about their problem in a room full of strangers. But the group set up can really help as people share their experiences and ultimately help each other to understand and come to terms with their illness. The whole ‘it’s not just me’ feeling can really support some people.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The word ‘cognitive’ indicates conscious intellectual activity, and CBT encourages patients to remember, understand and resolve their issues themselves, rather than being given all the answers. It can often be a difficult process, going through some painful memories and experiences, but ultimately it will get to the root of the problem if the patient perseveres.


When you have been drinking for a long time, you will forget how to act and react around other people. Being drunk means you’ve not been acting normally, then when you become sober, you might find it hard to communicate to people the way you used to. Psychosocial therapy will help to redevelop those interpersonal skills needed to relate effectively again.

Family or Partner Therapy

The damage inflicted by alcoholism affects the whole family and family or relationship counselling can be a huge part of recovery for everyone. Helping those around to understand the illness a bit better, and giving everyone a chance to go through past issues, can help to repair damage to family members too and give everyone a chance to forgive, and understand.

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I am, fast, coming to the realisation that I’m an alcoholic. My need to drink leads to deception (amongst other unpleasant behaviour) which, in turn, is in danger of destroying our 35 year marriage. I have decided that, the only way forward, for me, is to stop drinking altogether ... this is day1. My wife has agreed to help, but mostly, this is down to me!
Al - 27-Jun-20 @ 8:23 AM
Hello.I've been reading these articles by email (I live in Canada) for awhile and found them very informative- the best information I've seen regarding alcoholism.I am now completely abstinent from the drink.I'm reading some of the earlier articles & now see the steps that were involved to get to the stage I'm in now.I didn't see it back then.I did all the five stages.I did the cut-back & monitoring intake at home.The program I enrolled in required the 8 week cutting down gradually & then attending an in-house residential facility.The facility was fabulous - a 3 week programme.You are busy daily with information classes, new knowledge, coping skills, nutrition, exercise & spiritual information (not a religious programme). In the evenings you are free to relax, reflect on new information learned and as I am a social person- spend time with other residents.I made some nice friends there.I am now on maintenace attending an aftercare group session once weekly.I do have cravings during my trigger days but I continue to "stop & think before I drink"!!I am learning new skills to cope with my daily stress.I was a de-stressor drinker- during very stressful situations then gradually drinking almost daily.My life has improved now, I eat well, better foods nutritionally.Life is not perfect but a hell of alot better than when I was drinking.I hope my story inspires even just one lady to go ahead & just do it.The gradual approach & final quitting seems to have worked very well for me.I am proud of myself everyday & think of alcohol rarely as a way to cope.There are so many other options available to coping that I wasn't aware of back then.Good luck to all of you because by reading these articles and/or emailing you are in one of the Stages towards sobriety.Best wishes for a happier, healthier life.
Kiley - 2-Jan-13 @ 12:04 AM
I have been drinking more or less on a daily basis for at least 9yrs now and i really want to stop. In all honesty i am really scared of what it is doing to me, over the years i have broken my hip,, been evicted due to rent arrears and have even found myself sat outside my workplace in the early hours of a Sunday morning in my pyjamas and slippers, all of which is due to my alcohol comsumption. I find each day more of a struggle to function, i am finding my job difficult to do and are asking the same questions about what to do on more or less a daily basis but i have been there for 17yrs. This all started after the loss of my mother, i was working away at the time and i never have come to terms with it and still find it difficult to talk about her, my nephew was with her at the time he was just 4yrs old and and he opened the door to the postlady and said he could not wake his nanny up, i am not using this as an excuse but its just something i have never come to terms with.
Dave - 27-Aug-12 @ 8:42 PM
I myself at home decided to quit drinks. I was a 24/7 & 24 hrs. a day drinker. To be honest I have experienced many losses because of drinks. Now its only 7th day I have not touched the drink. Just for knowledge I read this article. Its very difficult to react. But its nice.
AJAY DESAI - 27-Oct-11 @ 11:59 PM
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