What Makes Alcoholics Stop Drinking


In my life there have been several alcoholics that decided to stop drinking. What makes an addict make this decision? They say in addiction support group meetings that when the problem drinker finally hits bottom that’s when they quit.

That’s all fine, but what makes them get to that point. Is there really hope for the person who is addicted and cannot seem to go for a few hours in a day without having a drink?

One of the best places to get more hope for a situation like this is by attending alcoholism support group meetings. Places like AA are where you can here the experience, strength and “hope” from people who have been successful at quitting.

When We Stop Enabling

When the enabler quits providing everything that the addicted person wants and needs that is generally when they consider getting help. As longs as someone will provide for them by giving them a home to live in and money to spend, they will continue to live in their addiction. Generally, what makes an alcoholic quit drinking is tough love. There have been many books written on this subject.

Tough Love

The idea basically suggests that the sooner we stop rescuing them, the quicker they may get well. Things like bailing them out of jail, paying there rent and providing groceries has to stop. Anything that helps to contribute to them continuing to be comfortable in their addiction must cease. This is often said to be very difficult with children who are suffering from the disease of alcoholism.

Tough love works in a completely opposite manner of what we perceive as normal love. It’s a new way of loving the alcoholic. Instead of taking care of them because they are ill, we must let go of them to take care of themselves. Doing this type of thing requires a great amount of acceptance on our part. We must just accept them for exactly where they are in their lives and stop rescuing them all of the time. We also have to realize that nothing we have said or done up until this point has worked. So, why not give this “tough love” thing a try.

What helps to make an alcoholic stop drinking is allowing them to feel the consequences of their actions. They must be left to suffer on their own for a while. We must learn how to detach from the problem drinker.

Please understand this, nothing you or I do will make them quit drinking. An alcoholics behavior is totally unpredictable. Once they finally get sick and tiered of being sick and tiered, then there is a small chance that they will seek out help for their alcoholism problem.

It wasn’t until a good friend of mine got into a fight with someone who was twice his size that he finally hit bottom. He said that when he awoke the following morning that he called a friend to tell them that he wanted to get help and they directed him to AA. He stopped drinking after his first meeting and has remained sober for over eleven years. There is always hope for the hopeless, especially if we put the alcoholic in God’s hands.

When someone suffering from a drinking problem decides to stop drinking, it is their choice to do so. Even people who are court ordered to attend AA meetings don’t always quit. This type of judgment and court order has been beneficial in helping many alcoholics stop drinking though. If you attend a few Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, you will eventually here someone tell their story of how they were forced to participate in the program and that after attending a few meetings realized that they had a drinking problem.

In summary, here are the things I suggest:

-Get involved in an alcoholism support group meeting
-Let go of trying to control them and put them into God’s hands
-Get some literature on tough love
-Realize that nothing you have done to this point has worked


8 comments to What Makes Alcoholics Stop Drinking

  • Kelly

    I wish I could contact you. I want you to know that your website is the smartest, best website around. Your observations and advice are excellent and deeply, deeply appreciated by those of us out here in need. Thank you so much.

  • Mary

    One of the hardest things to do is let go of my grandchildren. It’s their mom who is the alcoholic. I feel that if I stop being an enabler by helping there mom out that the grand kids will be the ones who suffer.

    Can you offer any advice?

  • How do you stop supplying the alcoholic with a home? It is our home
    I can’t stop paying and I couldn’t bare walking away again. Your advice is in short very smart thinking but in my sit how can I follow thru on such a task?

  • Jon

    Shannon, I hear what you are saying and understand. Perhaps in your situation tough love needs to be displayed in areas other than with the home.

    For instances, what will you do if the alcoholic gets a DUI and asks you to bail them out of jail?

    If the alcoholic loses their job, will you provide for them financially, even funding their alcoholism?

    If they are hung over and miss work, will you call their boss for them because they asked you to?

    When they miss appointments because of their alcoholism, will you schedule a new one for them?

    We are faced everyday with different situations where we can let the alcoholic “deal” with the results of their poor choices.

    Hope this helped a little.

  • Andrea

    My addict left a month ago because he didn’t like the boundaries I set. He’s calling non-stop to come home but I had to tell him that he left by his own choice and he can come back to our state on his own as well. He is unemployed and expects other people to support him in life because he’s “not a 9 to 5 clockpuncher” type of guy. Too many people fell for his “I’m a sensitive artistic person” act for soooo long. He ran back home to his parents (he’s 47) and now he can’t stand it there (his dad is insisting that he get a job) and wants to come back to me.

    I have learned over the past month that I can be happy without him. I was scared when he first left but I’ve had serenity in my home and I don’t want to lose it. I see now that my addict really must suffer the consequences of his actions and that won’t happen if family keeps cleaniing up his messes and providing free housing, free food, free clothing, free vacations for him and he just keeps acting out his addiction every day.

  • Carol Hawkins

    To who it may concern I am sibbling to an alcoholic, my older brother. But I needed refresher course cause a friend of mine his son is an alcoholic and has been a some time. His family is just through all the signs of this horrible disease. I remember oh, so well what I had experienced with my brother. And I passed this information on to them. I saw all of the signs his son is showing now. He’s lying of his alcohol in take, lies about everything, doesn’t keep himself clean, sleeps in clothes and smells like a homeless person. The same way my brother did. I thank you so much having website for people who need it the most the family, friends as well. I wish I knew back then my brother was going through when bottomed out. To me, that means how he loss his wife and 3 kids and home too. My brother is still alive has a body shop which fixes and paint cars and trucks. He still drinks a lot and sad part of my brother before all his drinking started in the service. My brother was the best man in the world with the biggest heart. It has taken a lot for him to comeback and part of him is here. Other part he’s lost Alcoholism and such ugly disease destroying a great guy. He’s 70 years old and hope he’ll be around longer than that. I don’t know if what has the disease done to his Liver. Thank you for listening to my story.
    Carol Hawkins

  • Ross

    My AH recently has gotten a DUI and spent the night in jail.He said the money he had , had to be used for towing and he doesn’t have groceries.I don’t live with him of course and I felt bad but didnt think I should offer him groceries.Is that right? and if so, why?
    Thanks,
    Ross

  • Ross

    oops.. also, the morning after a bad experience like that, should I casually be mentioning
    getting some kind of help or keep a hands off approach so as not to try and fix, rescue??
    Ross

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