How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Naturally

If we want to stop drinking alcohol naturally, for the long term, we’re going to have to look at things from a different perspective.  Addiction to alcohol is one of the most destructive diseases of our time. I say disease, not because I think the alcoholic is completely blameless, but because once a person reaches a point of physical dependence, it becomes extremely difficult for them to stop, or stay stopped.

The success rate of traditional treatments for Alcohol abuse is 20%.

People who stop on their own are successful in about 20% of cases.

Rehabilitation centers have a success rate of around 20% one year after treatment.

Those who use AA as a way to stop drinking are successful in about 20% of cases.

Can you spot the pattern?

 

So what’s the problem?

Alcoholic persons are treated for a physical condition, via psychological means only.

Make no mistake, once you’ve been drinking for a long time, the psychological help is essential. Whether you started drinking for genetic reasons, or whether you where trying to numb some personal trauma, you still have to get those issues dealt with.

Problem is, that the psychological assistance can’t fix the physical symptoms that are caused by a body drenched in alcohol for years.

Yes, there are helpful medications such as Nultraxone and Antabuse that are sometimes used, but they do not address the core of the problem. In this article, I’m going to explain to you in fairly simple terms the exact reasons why alcoholics can’t stop drinking, and what we can do about it, and how we can stop drinking alcohol naturally.

Hypoglycemia – Low Blood Sugar

It has recently been proved (Huang & Shoholm;2008) that alcohol causes the alcoholic pancreas to act rather strangely. The pancreas is supposed to tell the body to secrete just enough insulin to manage the sugars that it has to break down. We know that diabetics don’t have that ability, so they have to inject insulin and regulate their sugar intake.

With alcohol however, the pancreas changes the process and starts over-secreting insulin. This brings the blood-sugar down to a state where the brain no longer has enough sugar to function properly. Also, the brain stops creating the right amount of messenger hormones to do its job.

The body now intensely craves sugar, and since alcohol turns into sugars in the body, its the ideal go-to for the alcohol dependent person. Because of the messenger hormones not working, they have almost no ability to say no to the cravings for alcohol. This is when the person grabs the bottle in the morning just to feel a bit more normal and their loved ones feel that they just aren’t trying! If we’re going to stop drinking alcohol naturally, we’ll have to address this problem.

Here are some symptoms of Hypoglycemia you might recognize in yourself or a loved one who drinks too much:

Hunger

Shakiness

Anxiety

Sweating

Pale skin

Fast or irregular heartbeat

Sleepiness

Dizziness

Confusion

Blurred vision

Passing out, loss of consciousness, seizures

Is it any wonder that we often say alcoholics have two personalities? The person who has been drinking has all these symptoms and more. The person who has been sober for a while is much more agreeable, but often feels depressed and uninspired, as their bodies have not healed from the damage yet.

GABA

GABA is our main inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means that GABA prevents anxiety and helps us remain calm amongst other things. Alcohol creates a similar effect in the brain. In an alcoholic brain however, the alcohol starts taking over the job of the GABA. The body loses some of its ability to make enough GABA to regulate the calming process. The body has also built lots more receptors (receivers) for the GABA, so it needs more of the substance to create the same effect.

What happens when the person tries to stop drinking, is that they become anxious because the body no longer knows how to make enough of its own GABA. This feeling is known as craving.

For a person to stop drinking therefore, it makes sense that at least in the beginning, it would help a whole lot to replace the GABA with supplements. The body also needs to be trained to start producing more GABA for itself.

L-Glutamine is the easiest option in this regard, and it is commonly available.

Fish oil (Omega 3)

A 2018 study conducted in China (link below) proved that Fish oil significantly improved the chances of alcoholics to stop drinking, as it reduced cravings and helped repair damaged cells. They found the supplemented Fish oil had beneficial effects on preventing relapse and alleviating withdrawal symptoms after chronic alcohol exposure.

Vitamin depletion because of alcohol abuse

To break down alcohol, the body need nutrients. As the liver decreases its supply of these nutrients, the blood stream is called upon to replenish the supply. As a result, body cells are deprived of critical nutrients and normal body functions suffer. If you consume alcohol regularly and try to stop, you may suffer from symptoms that include anxiety, insomnia, tremors, shakiness, dizziness, and depression. You may also experience impaired cognitive thinking and poor memory.

B Complex Vitamins, and especially Thiamin(B1) are essential to assist a person to stop drinking, and also to help their damaged organs and chemistry repair itself.

Other nutrients that also become depleted include:

  • Vitamin C — Continuing deficiency causes chronic depression and fatigue
  • Magnesium Symptoms of deficiency include confusion, apathy, loss of appetite, weakness and insomnia
  • Calcium — Depletion effects the central nervous system
  • Zinc Inadequacies result in apathy, lack of appetite and lethargy
  • Iron — Depression is often a symptom of chronic iron deficiency
  • Manganese — Necessary for proper use of the B-Complex vitamins and Vitamin C
  • Potassium — Depletion is frequently associated with depression, tearfulness, weakness and fatigue
  • Chromium — Enhances glucose uptake into cells. A deficiency can cause hypoglycemia

What we absorb matters

Alcohol inhibits the breakdown of nutrients into usable molecules by decreasing secretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Alcohol impairs nutrient absorption by damaging the cells lining the stomach and intestines and disabling transport of some nutrients into the blood. In addition, nutritional deficiencies themselves may lead to further absorption problems. For example, folate deficiency alters the cells lining the small intestine, which in turn impairs absorption of water and nutrients including glucose, sodium, and additional folate.

Even if nutrients are digested and absorbed, alcohol can prevent them from being fully utilized by altering their transport, storage, and excretion. Decreased liver stores of vitamins such as vitamin A, and increased excretion of nutrients such as fat, indicate impaired utilization of nutrients by alcoholics.

We can help the body absorb the necessary nutrients by adding digestive enzymes to our mix of supplements.

How to stop drinking alcohol naturally

Warning: Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. A person can develop various symptoms within 6 hours of not drinking which can even be fatal in severe cases. If you have been drinking heavily for a long time, or if you have a history of alcohol withdrawals, please be sure to get the assistance of a medical professional, especially for the first few days of stopping.

So how do we do this? You’ve done the detox with a doctor. You’ve started counseling, or AA, or a group therapy, but you feel like a dog, because you let everyone down every time you give in to the cravings. You don’t mean to, it just happens.

If we put all the research together, here’s your best chance to stop drinking naturally:

1. Actually try to stop drinking, and keep trying…

but accept that you have a physical condition that will take time to heal. Don’t expect your family to understand, it’s not their problem to fix, its yours. It does help to take them into your confidence about what you’re doing, but remember that even when you start feeling better, it can still take a very long time before it becomes logical for them to trust you again.

2. Stop consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates

To stop drinking alcohol naturally, you have to reduce cravings as much as possible.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates give your body fast energy, and then dumps you. Because the alcohol abuser is permanently hypoglycemic, you’ll crave sweets and sugar for a few days. Very soon however, your body will start creating equilibrium. This is when the cravings for sugar start reducing, in other words the cravings for alcohol also start reducing too.

The moment you eat a bunch of sugar, or drink alcohol, you’ll feel that hypoglycemic low, so do your best from day one.

Refined carbs are starches that have been processed, such a white rice, white bread, deep fried potato’s etc.

Start reading labels. Sugar is hidden in many foodstuffs where you wouldn’t expect it. A can of baked beans for example can contain up to 24g of sugar. That’s 6 teaspoons!

Be careful of “hidden sugars” such as sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, lactose, glucose, honey.

And of course look at what you’re drinking. Fruit juices, carbonated drinks and even flavored water can contain way more sugar that you think.

2. Take your medicine

As the body has been damaged in the process of becoming dependent on alcohol, we’re going to have to add some supplements that will help you heal, reduce cravings, and help you resist the cravings that still occur.

Dr Joan Mathews Larson, in her book Seven Weeks to Sobriety, suggests at least the following supplements as a basic recipe to get started:

B Complex

Vitamin C

Mineral Supplements

Omega 3

L-Glutamine (taken on an empty stomach)

Digestive Enzymes

Large doses of these, taken several times a day, give you a greatly improved chance of achieving your goal of getting and staying sober.

Will it help me stop drinking alcohol?

For starters, this cocktail of supplements, added to not taking sugar will make you feel A LOT BETTER! Even when you do fall off the wagon, which I hope you don’t, you will find that your body recovers a lot quicker than it used to. Your mood and energy level will improve, and you’ll probably have more guts for the next try.

Ending alcohol is a very difficult road, and it requires a multifaceted approach. We are whole people with body and mind inseparable. This method of supporting the body with all we’ve got, through a mental process of self-examination and change, gives us a greatly improved chance of beating the booze.

I can most strongly suggest, if you’re taking this seriously, that you get yourself a copy of Seven Weeks to Sobriety, and study it for yourself.

Please feel free to leave comments below, or ask any questions. I am a drug therapist and social worker, so hopefully I’ll be able to answer at least some of your questions.

References:

Alcohol and nutrition https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa22.htm

Fish oil reduces replapse https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29569345

Alcohol causes hypoglycemia https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/93141.php

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18 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Hi Sam,

    First of all: fantastic article! Alcohol is indeed a very toxic substance. Most people see weed as a gateway drug, while I view alcohol as such. Not only that, but it’s actually a harddrug. Still, I like a glass of liquor every once in a while. I used to drink more, but since I drastically cut down, I feel a whole lot better. 

    Since I’ve studied a lot of intracellular processes and such, it was interesting to see this article adressing that as well. For example, not many people know about GABA. Great job on providing this information to the masses. 

    Fully stopping with consuming alcohol can be very difficult. Not only can the body crave the feeling, but it’s also a social aspect. If you have friends that you regularly hang out with, which all drink beer for example, it’s hard to keep saying ‘no’. 

    Your Seven Weeks method may be very useful to people that really want to quit drinking. Thanks again for this great article! 

    • admin

      Hi Kevin

      Thanks so much for your comment. I also still drink now and then, but once a person struggles with the physical symptoms induced by alcohol, it’s better to actually stop. That’s actually easier than trying to fight off the cravings the alcohol brings on. 

      I think the greatest gateway is our brain by the way. Even small children experiment with dizzyness and altered states of awareness through spinning. We need to take responsibility for our decisions though. 

      Hope you have a great week! 

      Sam

  2. Joy gateru

    Wow! Just the moment I read the topic of your post, I know this is all what I wanted, I am a victim of alcoholism, I have really tried but am still unable, the shocking part is that I already has some symptoms highlighted in this content, I will have to try out your ideas, I am sure to subscribe to your newsfeed to learn more about this and other related articles.

    Thank you.

    • admin

      Hi Joy

      You are so absolutely welcome. I would start by reading the articles again, and then deciding which way you want to tackle it. You are welcome to email me at sam@samsavageonline.com if you’d like some direction. 

      Love and light

      Sam

  3. Andrew

    Hi Sam,

    I really enjoyed reading your article on how to stop drinking naturally. My own father was an alcoholic – he was told in the 1970’s that he shouldn’t even have sherry in his trifle, however he was still drinking when he died a couple of years ago. I wish I had been able to read your article sooner, although I don’t think even then I could of helped him. Thanks again for a great article. Regards, Andrew

    • admin

      Hi Andrew

      I am so sad for you. I know what it’s like watching someone else not winning this battle. 

      The one wonderful thing I can say though, is that it’s never too late. Even an elderly person can feel better, stabilize their mood swings, get more energy. Even if the never stop drinking, at least it would be easier on the rest of the family. 

      Thankyou so much for the personal comment. 

      I wish you so very well. 

      Sam

  4. Shan

    Thank you for all the helpful information. I am one of the rare 20% who stopped alcohol on my own; it’s been about 10 years now and I don’t miss it for 1 second. I also sadly live with an alcoholic and have first hand experience of how it can suck the life right out of the entire family. 

    I had some knowledge of alcohol’s effects to the body but you’ve filled in a lot of gaps with the information you’ve shared. Everyone knows an alcoholic (or any other addict for that matter) will not quit or even attempt to quit unless they are ready to do so but armed with the methods here, there might be hope for us yet. Thanks so much!

    • admin

      Thanks for your comment Shan, and we’ll done on being sober. Yup, it’s very hard to live with an alcoholic, but give this method a try. It worked for my family. Really hope it works for you.

      Love and light

      Sam

  5. PeterMinea

    Hello Sam!

    Thanks for telling us something about curing alcoholism.

    Alcohol addiction is really a plague in many people’s lives, and it’s really hard to get away from it just like with other types of addiction we may face in the life. There were also some members of my family that suffered from alcoholism (surely there were also some triggering reasons, but by time this addiction becomes a real “mice trap” and, like you called it, a vicious circle poisoning people’s motivation).

    And yes, I also observed the two-personalities phenomenon on one of my relatives, and repeatedly. Unfortunately they died without having had enough time to show a thorough, long-term healing from this disease. I am sure they did not follow any AA program or natural method to give up alcohol… At least, I can take care of myself and not start drinking, in spite of the life not being joyful.

    As for the actual struggle against alcohol… yes, the fight must be hard, and the beginning is the hardest thing to do – that stage of initial withdrawal/craving is crucial.

    So let’s just NOT start drinking, and wish lots of health & healing to those who are already suffering!

    Best regards,

    Peter

  6. Shifts

    Hello Sam, do you know I was ignorant all these while? I thought anyone that has it in mind to stop alcohol drinking can stop it. Well, I had no idea that the alcohol has reversed the system function and has probably taken the place of some stuffs produced inside the human body (like GABA for example). Alcohol is very poisonous indeed! I don’t want to have anything to do with it.

  7. Techie

    Thank you very much for sharing this comprehensive, well written and easy to understand article on How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Naturally.

    I learnt so much from this article; so right now, I huge sympathy for those that have been soaked in alcohol drinking because right now they are no longer in control of themselves. Too bad.

    I am excited to know that it can be stopped anyways and through natural Methods you have given using some natural supplements etc.

    As many that truly want to stop being alcoholic, I wish you good luck.

  8. Lisa

    Wow this is an incredibly informative post! I had no idea how complex and connected the whole alcohol abuse cycle really is.  The hypoglycemia, the effect on nutrient absorption, the effect on mood, it’s all very eye opening.

    When you discuss avoiding sugars and refined carbs, would you suggest doing this gradually when first attempting to cut out alcohol? Or avoid these cold turkey from day one?

    Thank-you for such an educational and informative post, I have learnt so much!

    • admin

      Hi Lisa

      Its actually easier to cut out sugars completely than to do it slowly. Your body adapts to no sugar very quickly. If you keep taking sugar you keep craving. 

      Thank you so very much for your question. 

      Have a magnificent day. 

      Sam

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