The MEDS…The Holistic Mind/Body Process To Quit Drinking

The Process I Used to Quit Drinking and How You Can Too.

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

“Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding…”
― Brian Greene

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve had a number of people reach out to me to ask what my strategy was to quit drinking and what advice I would give them if they are thinking about making the same choice.

While I typically point them to the numerous resources out there that should help them be successful, I do have to admit that there were a few things that I found extremely helpful that I haven’t seen mentioned in a lot of other programs.

Therefore, I thought it might make sense to share my overview of the process you should follow to quit drinking and how the steps build upon themselves.

Since I am a lover of acronyms to help remember things, I thought I would use the tag line of this publication, The MEDS (The Movement to End Drinking Stagnation), to explain each step of this process.

I’m working on something that will go into detail and give a more specific explanation of how to implement each step, as well as identify the pitfalls and obstacles that will try to stand in the way.

For now, however, this breakdown should be enough to allow you to begin implementing these steps to be on your way to alcohol-consciousness success.

The M stands for Mental Re-engineering

Much of what causes our need for alcohol is our psychological dependence on it. For so long, we have been told that alcohol doesn’t harm us but is our friend instead.

Society has programmed us to believe that we need it to experience all that life has to offer, and if we don’t live a life that involves alcohol to some extent, then we are missing out.

We have made it a part of so many important times in our lives, e.g. weddings, birthday parties, funerals, that it is hard for us to imagine what our lives would be like without.

Couple this with how it has pretty much nestled its way into most part of our everyday lives, and you can then see how drinking has become a consistent habit for many of us that we don’t feel we can break very easily.

We drink at happy hours to hang out with our co-workers. We drink each afternoon when we get home to relax from the stress of work and recover from the day. We drink on the weekends to hang out with our friends to let off even more steam to feel like we can face the work week again.

It’s an endless cycle, and the only way to break it is to completely re-engineer our entire thought process on what alcohol is, understand how it changes us, and realize what it truly is doing to us every day.

To accomplish this, the first thing you need to do is to begin to educate yourself on all the dangerous effects of alcohol on your brain and how it changes you long term.

You have to take the time to understand how the very chemical makeup of your brain is changed with alcohol, and if you refuse to get it under control, it will eventually be in the driver’s seat of your life.

You can through this reading books, as well as through listening to various podcasts.

There are a number of great books that can help with this mental re-education, but the one that I personally recommend that breaks it down in the most digestible manner possible is This Naked Mind by Annie Grace.

Annie shares much of the science behind alcohol addiction and will help you see things differently than you probably have before. This is the book I read on a very long flight to Dublin that changed everything for me.

You can also check out a number of posts from this publication, including one of the first ones we ever published titled The Science of WHY You Should Quit Drinking Alcohol.

The E stands for Exercise Commitment

I know. I know. There will be a number of people who will HATE this step and will wonder why is exercise even involved in this. They’re trying to quit drinking, not lose weight.

And while some people will want to ignore this step, you have to understand it is VITAL to your success as it relates to implementing The MEDS. It kept me from drinking initially and still does to this day.

There are several very good reasons for this.

When you first stop drinking, there is a good chance you are going to miss that high that you got from drinking that is hard to duplicate. That dopamine rush and adrenaline spike that came with alcohol will be a feeling that you will not forget.

We talk about this phenomenon in detail in the AINYF article Exercise…Hobbies…Sugar? — Why You Need SOMETHING To Replace Alcohol.

And while I will not try to convince you that exercise will feel as good as a shot of tequila going down, there is something to be said from getting a runner’s high or exhilarated pump from a good work out. This is a reason many doctors prescribe exercise as a way to fight depression.

By giving yourself another means to achieve that high, you decrease your chances of thinking that alcohol is the only way you can get this. This will give you another avenue when the urge to drink comes along.

Second, exercise has been proven to help people quit drinking by giving them another reason to abstain from it other than the societal and psychological reasons. Once you commit to a physical fitness goal, you will begin to recognize there is a high negative effect of alcohol on your ability to obtain this.

By changing your mindset to think of yourself as more of an athlete, you will begin to scrutinize the effects of alcohol more, and it will give you yet another reason to say no.

Therefore, once you commit to reaching a certain level of fitness, this will help you decide to say no whenever the thought of ruining all of that hard work comes to mind.

Lastly, when you exercise, it also gives you an outlet to release stress as well as improves your ability to fight stress naturally. Stress has always been one of the biggest reasons that so many people drink in the first place. After a long day, sometimes that the only thing that will seem to work is that Amstel Light or glass of red zinfandel.

Now, instead of reaching for that bottle to give you an artificial release, go for a run or do a HIIT workout to give your body a natural remedy.

It has even been proven that the actual act of exercising even reduces your physiological cravings for alcohol, making it a virtuous cycle to even increase your ability to fight any cravings when they may come — a double benefit.

The D stands for Diet Improvement

Now to take this a step further. The reason that improving your diet is the next step of the process is that if you are going to think of yourself as an athlete, you can’t just train like one. You have to also eat like one.

The whole focus of The MEDS is about the physical change on the outside of your body that represents the inner change in your mind.

Exercise commitment is only one facet of that, and if you begin to exercise without also making the diet changes needed to get the most out of your training, then you are putting yourself at risk to fail.

The reason for this is that if you begin to work out and continue to eat whatever you want, with no regulation at all, you will likely NOT see any change and could then begin to question if you have changed internally as well.

When you are able to look in the mirror and see the reduced pounds, the clear skins, and clearer eyes, you are going to know that something is changing for you. This physical representation will then help you stay committed to your course because you won’t want to lose that again to alcohol.

The changes in your diet only need to be subtle for now, and you should not try to go from eating whatever you want to eating nothing that you want. This change has to be gradual over time.

You have just made a major life decision to give up a toxic substance that had been killing you for years. It’s okay if you still want to eat pizza from time to time if that is going to keep you from drinking.

However, you have to begin to become a bit more conscious of what you’re eating to make sure you are getting the results in the gym that you deserve from your efforts. Many times, this can be solved by giving up little things that will make a big difference.

I would just start with one of the things below and then continue to decrease your consumption of each over time until you have a diet that is fit for that of the champion athlete you’re becoming:

  • Completely cut out anything fried (completely cut this out if you can.)
  • Completely cut out and dairy with a high-fat content (whole milk and cheese, ice cream, cream dressings) and instead replace it with two percent or low fat instead.
  • Greatly reduce your consumption of anything that contains high amounts of carbs (bread, rice, chips, etc.)

Just reducing or abstaining from those three, for now, will have a tremendous impact on your diet and allow you to see the benefits of your hard work staring back when you look in the mirror.

The S stands for Success Seeking

This is my true secret weapon when it comes to easily being able to live an alcohol-conscious life. The reality is that if you are not alcohol conscious and drink until your heart’s content whenever you have the urge, there is no way you can be your optimal self.

Alcohol makes it’s VERY difficult to become good at a skill because of the numerous ways that it infringes upon your commitment to do so. Whether it’s by stealing your time, ability to focus, or motivation to work hard on a task, when you drink, you make it almost impossible to become world-class at anything.

You can read how and why about this in detail in the AINYF article How Alcohol KILLS Your Ability to Learn and How to Fix it.

Therefore, if you want to give yourself a higher chance to stay alcohol-conscious and fight all the internal urges to go back on your word, you need to create a goal that is so high and lofty that the ONLY way you can achieve it is to be at 100% EVERY SINGLE DAY.

This way, whenever there is the slightest twinge to drink, you can think of how much of a set back you will be on your goal if you do so.

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but it must be a goal that challenges you and that will require you to be at a higher level than you have ever performed before. For me, I decided to learn Korean for my wife.

This was a task that would require me to have tremendous focus and dedication to learn, as well as optimal mind function to ensure that I could remember and grasp the somewhat difficult connections between the sounds and symbols of the language.

As with anything, it was difficult at first, but because I didn’t allow alcohol to steal my ability to focus and hunker down on difficult mental challenges, I was able to persevere until the language became more natural for me and the lessons began to build upon themselves.

To ensure success, you should pick a goal that is something you perhaps always wanted to do (get in great shape, write a book, learn how to code) that will take a tremendous amount of energy and effort, so every time you think about all the time you would waste drinking, it becomes a major deterring factor for you.

As time progresses and you begin to see the fruits of your labor through your ability to do things that you never thought you would do, this deterrent will begin to reinforce itself.

Before you know it, the thought of drinking would just seem ridiculous in light of the high goals and standards you’ve achieved and set for yourself. You will look at how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown and learned, and will not want to risk it for the artificial and superficial high that alcohol gives.


That’s it. The MEDS…the four-step holistic mind and body strategy to stop excessive drinking and become alcohol-conscious. Each step of the process builds upon itself and allows you to continually make incremental progress to your ultimate goal of control.

This isn’t a full-proof method, but it made quitting alcohol extremely easy for me, and I’m hoping it can do the same for you.

To give you a sense of what this has done for me so far, take a look at my BAC (Before Alcohol Consciousness) and my AAC (After Alcohol Consciousness) pic before.

Note: I took the second pic about two weeks ago, and this was a two-year process, so this DOESN’T happen overnight.

But it won’t happen at all if you don’t start…