Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Recovering from A Drinking Episode When Your Goal is to Quit

Nine practical tips

  1. Get right back on track. Stop drinking—the sooner the better.
  2. Remember, each day is a new day to start over. Although it can be unsettling to slip, you don't have to continue drinking. You are responsible for your choices.
  3. Understand that setbacks are common when people undertake a major change. It's your progress in the long run that counts.
  4. Don't run yourself down. It doesn't help. Don't let feelings of discouragement, anger, or guilt stop you from asking for help and getting back on track.
  5. Get some help. Contact your healthcare provider or a sober and supportive friend right away to talk about what happened, or go to a mutual-help meeting, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Secular AA.
  6. Think it through. With a little distance, work on your own or with support to better understand why the episode happened at that particular time and place.
  7. Learn from what happened. Decide what you need to do so that it won't happen again, and write it down. Use the experience to strengthen your commitment.
  8. Avoid triggers to drink. Get rid of any alcohol at home. If possible, avoid revisiting the situation in which you drank.
  9. Find alternatives. Keep busy with things that are not associated with drinking.

For additional support, see the activities on drink refusal skills and handling urges to drink.

An official website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health

Looking for U.S. government information and services?