Help Someone Else Quit Drinking

There’s a lot you can do to help someone you care about get ready to quit drinking. Unfortunately, none of us can make someone else stop drinking if they’re not ready to quit.

Many of us feel that if someone cared enough about us, whether it’s a spouse, a child, a friend, or a relative, they’d want to quit for us, and they would be able to do so. Those beliefs can foster resentment, and more importantly, they ignore the physiology behind the drinking behavior. When we understand the science behind drinking behavior, we’re able to be more compassionate and more understanding. We’re better able to respond in helpful ways that encourage that person to want to treat the problem. It’s critically important for the sake of the relationship — and for our own mental health — that we accept that they cannot stop thinking about drinking.

At Go Sober, we recommend that you meet with an alcohol treatment specialist to learn about tools and resources that can help your loved one move toward treatment — and a life without alcohol.

Guidelines To Help Someone Else Stop Drinking

Few things are harder in life than watching someone you love struggle with alcohol. Whether they acknowledge the problem or not, your role as a family member or friend can be the catalyst that moves them to finally make a commitment to get help.

Here are some guidelines we recommend you follow when it’s time to have a serious conversation with them:

    • Be open and honest in your communication and in sharing your feelings.
    • Pick a time when you and your loved one are most likely able to have a rational discussion.
    • Focus on the drinking and the behavior that stems from the problem.
    • Avoid being accusatory and attacking the character of your loved one.
    • Talk honestly about how the drinking behavior is affecting you and others.
    • Let the past remain in the past, and focus on positive change for the future.

Help Them Understand Their Alcohol Treatment Options

We understand that there are many types of alcohol treatment programs available. Not only that, but people have different expectations about treatment. Go Sober is a very different medically-based outpatient alcohol treatment program – we take a comprehensive, science- and medical-based approach that is designed to treat the whole person. This multidisciplinary approach is why our program has a higher probability of success when compared to other programs like detox, rehab, and 12-step programs.

We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with our website to get a basic understanding of the scientific and medical reasons why people struggle with alcohol addiction, and how we treat alcohol addiction with a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach:

  • Detox and doctor-approved medication protocols
  • Lifestyle and behavioral modification
  • Health and wellness coaching
  • Post-treatment transitional support

Treatment Program Comparison Table

The following table shows the different types of alcohol treatment programs available and illustrates some of the key tradeoffs of each.  It clearly shows why some programs are less effective than others based on treatment type.



    Talk Programs




    Overnight facility where people go to temporarily stop drinking and get through acute, physical withdrawal symptoms

    Controlled environment facility where individuals go for multiple weeks to stop drinking and attempt to learn news ways to cope with alcoholism.

    Programs where individuals talk with contemporaries or professionals and attempt to work on identifying changes they can make in their lives to help stop drinking. Examples of talk programs are: AA, Counseling , Intensive Outpatient, Group therapy and Self-Help including prayer, meditation, reading books, podcasts, etc.

    Medication Assisted Treatment programs (MAT) are programs where medications are dispensed to try to help an individual not drink. They are generally not stand alone but are typically offered in combination with other types of programs

    Evidence based program using medications and behavior science to treat the underlying cause for repetitive, unwanted drinking. Program also helps develop new routines for improving overall quality of life

    Length of Program

    Length of stay is generally overnight but may be up to one week. Humans metabolize alcohol completely within 72-78 hours after the last intake. Physical withdrawal symptoms may occur as soon as 1 hour after consumption and may include vomiting, anxiety, profuse sweating, heart palpitations, and even seizures. Seizures typically occur 2-3 days after last consumption.

    Stays range from one week to 90 days. Typically stays last 28 days

    May be short-term or long term depending upon need, type and philosophy

    May be short-term or long term depending upon specific medication and prescribed use

    Detox medications are taken for less than one week. Treatment medications are taken for about 60 days. The total program duration is about 75 days

    Method/Treatments Involved

    Detox typically includes supervised care, hydration, medications and nutrients to manage acute withdrawal symptoms. Medications frequently include benzodiazepines to reduce anxiety and prevent seizures. Detox does NOT treat the underlying condition causing repeat, unwanted drinking

    May dispense medications but typically, only for detox to manage withdrawal symptoms. Activities are group-based, rather than personalized and generally include discussion, counseling, nutritional education, physical activities, massage, role playing and participation in 12-step or AA meetings. Rehabs generally endorse conceptual practices such as harm reduction and relapse prevention.

    Individual or group counseling, CBT, motivational interviewing, DBT, EMDR, tapping, stress management including breathing exercises, meditation, yoga etc.

    Medications are often prescribed to treat symptoms of drinking like: anxiety, difficulty sleeping, depression and high blood pressure. They do little or nothing to treat the downregulated reward response causing unwanted thinking about drinking

    FDA approved medications and supplements to restore and maintain the brain reward response coupled with behavior changes to improve life skills and capacity for enjoyment through counseling, health & wellness coaching and life coaching

    Discharge Recommendations

    Many detox facilities require a release to an "approved" treatment facility or sober living environment for ongoing, supervised behavior.

    Recommend ongoing participation in active "recovery" such as AA or 12-step based programs

    Recommend ongoing participation in active "recovery" including having a relapse prevention plan. Outlook is typically one day at a time

    Take all medications as prescribed. Recommend ongoing participation in active "recovery" program

    Continue to implement recommendations from 3-year plan for healthy lifestyle as developed in conjunction with Go Sober professional Coaches & Counselors


    Detox is limited to managing withdrawal symptoms and does not restore the brain reward response. Therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains very high.

    Requires individuals to take up to several weeks off from work and be away from their families. Often cater to individuals with other substance issues besides alcohol which can make it difficult for individuals to relate to each other. Most activity is group based not individualized. Many have trouble participating in groups. Rehab does NOT restore the brain reward response. Therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains very high.

    Talking does NOT restore the brain reward response. Therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains high. Also, may be difficult to incorporate recommended changes while distracted with thoughts about drinking. Support may come from "sponsors" whose long-term sobriety may be similarly tenuous. May require acceptance of spirituality or "higher power"

    Must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional. In many cases, medications are prescribed without blood tests to determine physical health risk as in the case of low liver or kidney function or pregnancy. Most medications prescribed to treat alcohol are relatively ineffective at restoring the brain reward response and therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains high

    One of the medications used in the Go Sober protocol is administered locally via injection and therefore, currently, clients must travel to a Go Sober location for treatment (1 hour on 3 consecutive days). However, because Go Sober DOES restore the brain reward response, thoughts about alcohol and anxiety suddenly diminish and the likelihood of returning to drinking is low.

    If you believe someone you know would benefit from Go Sober’s medical approach to alcohol treatment, we encourage you to invite them to review our website. If our approach resonates with them, then your conversation can be focused on information, rather than emotions. Ultimately, we would be happy to meet with either or both of you to explain the different approaches and typical outcomes. We offer free, private, virtual consultations with no strings attached. Schedule a consultation to speak with an alcohol specialist and learn how we can help your loved one.

    If the subject of alcohol treatment is too uncomfortable for you to initiate, we understand. Here are some points to keep in mind that might help you:

      • Their addiction is not a failure of their character, determination, or willpower.
      • There is a valid, scientific explanation for why people struggle to quit drinking.
      • Go Sober is an evidence-based, medical treatment option that combines medications, neuroscience, lifestyle, and behavioral science.
      • Even though it may be hard for them to believe it, life can truly be enjoyable again without thinking about alcohol.
      When it’s time to suggest that they meet with us, please emphasize that we don’t judge or blame them. We created this program out of a personal need for an effective alcohol treatment that facilitated successful, long-term results. We know what they’re going through because we’ve been there. We honestly want to share the scientific facts about addiction. We know the terrible toll that alcoholism takes, and we truly want to help.

      Please schedule a free consultation with one of our addiction specialists. We understand that your loved one may not be ready to join you, and that is okay. We are happy to meet with you alone. Alcohol use disorder is a terrible condition and we want to provide you with the tools you need to help free your loved one from its stranglehold so they can reset their life and rediscover their passions, joys, and fun. We’re here for both of you, so contact us today to see how we can help.