While I’m a member of AA, I’m constantly interested in learning how other people quit drinking and enjoy sobriety. I’ve been a long time believer that AA is not the only way to get sober; many people have figured out how to quit drinking without AA.
While there are many expensive recovery programs available, there’s also some inexpensive books that teach ways of quitting drinking and staying sober. This extensive downloadable pdf book by Rahul Nag, who has been sober since 2002, is such a course.
In this How to Give Up Alcohol Review I want to set out the course’s approaches, what you get and my opinion about using the program for for learning how to give up alcohol without A.A.
|Disclaimers about my How to Give Up Alcohol Review:
What Does the Course Include?
- 201 How to Give Up Alcohol pdf (which you can download here). It’s in the form of an ebook.
- 1 MP3 Recording
- 30 Day e-mail course that includes tips and tools for staying sober or moderating your drinking.
Who can try this stop program to deal with problem drinking?
- Problem drinkers, binge drinkers and people addicted to alcohol (there are techniques for all types of problem drinkers).
- Anyone who would like to abstain or moderate drinking.
- Anyone who would like to get ideas on how to quit drinking alcohol without rehab.
- Anyone who doesn’t want to use a recovery program that relies extensively on a “higher power” (i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous relies on a higher power”).
- Anyone who doesn’t want to attend recovery meetings regularly to stay sober.
- Anyone who wishes to incorporate additional strategies to their existing program of recovery.
- Anyone who would like to learn more about their drinking (the why).
- Anyone who wants to learn how to live a happy life in sobriety.
- Anyone who wishes to learn how to stop drinking alcohol without AA.
The Theory Used to Stop Drinking in this Guide
The theory behind the How to Give Up Alcohol program is that there is no ONE way to get sober or moderate drinking. The main guide, which is 201 pages long, provides several methods for quitting drinking or drinking in moderation. The book opens with an introduction by Margaret Kohut, MSW, who also believes that the “one-size-fits-all” approach to dealing with problem drinking is wrong.
Essentially, because there are various forms of problem drinking (binge, problem drinking, and addiction), the guide provides a variety of methods to deal with each type of drinking problem.
NOTE: If you order this book, you’ll find that it does not include the AA method (i.e. 12 steps). The methods taught are truly distinct from AA.
Teaches abstinence and moderation
The abstinence aspect isn’t controversial, but the “learning to drink in moderation” sure is within the recovery industry. Many alcoholics in recovery are of the view abstinence is the only solution for an alcoholic.
I’m of the opinion, for my alcoholism, that abstinence is the only way for me. I can’t say it’s the only way for everybody … but I do not drink any alcohol whatsoever. Rahul Nag’s course teaches both abstinence and learning how to drink in moderation (but it doesn’t teach you how to be a functional alcoholic). It’s up to you with how you address your problem drinking. Remember, abstinence is always an option if you decide that moderating doesn’t work.
NOTE: The How to Give Up Alcohol Guide recommends abstinence if you are physically addicted to alcohol. The guide provides self-guided quizzes to assess whether you’re physically addicted. It’s also strongly recommended you visit a doctor to help you assess whether you’re physically addicted.
Philosophy: Uses a life-centric philosophy to addressing your alcohol consumption
The main philosophy used in the course to help you with your problem drinking is to carefully assess how alcohol is affecting your life and then you must decide what you really want out of drinking alcohol and what you want in life. Basically, the approach teaches you how to use alcohol (or abstain) in a way that fits with your life goals.
The course starts off with asking you to decide if you want to quit drinking totally or simply moderate.
Specific sections of the Book
1. Alcoholism quiz
The book starts off by offering a quiz to help you determine if you have a drinking problem. It’s good to include such a quiz, but I suspect anybody who gets the book already believes deep down they have a drinking problem.
2. Examine your drinking patterns
Before you can quit drinking or moderate, the course sets out steps for you to carefully examine your drinking patters (where, when, how, and with whom) in order to figure out your relationship with alcohol. Before you can make a change, you must understand what it is you must change.
The second part of reviewing your drinking patterns is to get scientific by starting a drinking diary. This is where you track every drink you consume. A good diary form is provided.
3. Analyzing the Why
Once you understand your drinking, it’s time to figure out why you drink too much. This is a critical part of this course. The goal here is to figure out what triggers in your life cause you to drink too much (boredom, fear, anxiety, depression, etc.). Note, as an AA member, I don’t concern myself with the why. I used to wonder “why me?” Now I don’t. I simply accept I’m an alcoholic and leave it at that. However, this course is different than AA and so an important component is figuring out the “why” of your drinking.
4. Making the decision to change
This section requires that you ask yourself whether it’s worth changing your drinking pattern (either moderate or abstain). Essentially, you set out pros and cons of changing and not changing. Forms are provided for this exercise. This section includes stepping you through the Japanese Naikan Self-Reflection Exercise (sorry I can’t divulge what this is due to the copyright of this course … I can’t give away the farm in this How to Give Up Alcohol Program review).
5. Making the Change – Dealing with Your Problem Drinking
One of the best aspects of this guide is that it provides several actionable strategies to stop drinking on your own or moderate. Those strategies are as follows:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Overcome Problem Drinking: The guide covers this in-depth and offers exercises with forms you can use, plus relevant examples and additional CBT resources.
- Steps to Moderate Your Drinking
- Give Alcohol Forever with Nuero Linguistic Programming (this is a very interesting chapter)
- Dealing with your Alcohol Cravings
- Deal with the Voice in Your Head
- Japanese Psychology to Address Your Drinking Problems
The guide provides a great deal of information, including exercises and examples for each of the methods set out above for dealing with your problem drinking.
You do not have to use every method. You can choose the method that appeals to you and/or that works for you.
6. Living a happy life without alcohol
This is my favorite part of the course because it can be used successfully regardless which program of recover you use, whether you seek out recovery online, go to AA, or do another self-directed program. My view is anyone can quit drinking … the key is being happy in sobriety.
It addresses having a healthy social life in sobriety, being comfortable on your own and dealing with the ugly monster of boredom (a key trigger for relapsing and drinking for many people). In fact, the guide offers a great deal of information and exercises to get out of a boredom rut. I loved this part of the guide, because while I’m happily sober, I still fall victim to boredom.
Here’s a light-hearted video by Jim Jeffries on stopping drinking
Conclusion: What do I think about this program for dealing with alcoholism and problem drinking?
That said, I don’t believe trying to moderate one’s drinking is an effective approach to dealing problem drinking. I fall in the abstinence camp based on my drinking history. I attempted moderating many, many times with no success at all. Sure, I managed not to get drunk a few times, but eventually I always did get stinking drunk.
Is it worth it to buy How to Give Up Alcohol?
If you believe you have a drinking problem, yes, it’s worth trying … especially if you don’t like other programs of recovery. I’m of the view there’s a method for everyone to deal with problem drinking and it may be that this is the course for you. It’s inexpensive compared to most recovery programs so you don’t have much to lose to order it (plus it offers a 60 day money back guarantee, which gives you time to try it with no risk).
Click here to learn more about the How to Give Up Alcohol Course by Rahul Nag