Best Programs to Quit Drinking

SMART is the best program to quit drinking, with comprehensive support

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If you're looking for the best programs to quit drinking, the method you choose will depend largely on your personal circumstances and the health benefits you seek. Options include self-help programs, online therapy, medication-assisted treatments, in-person therapy, counseling organizations, and support groups.

While some options are best for those with underlying mental health disorders, others will be better for those who drink to manage life stress.

We've rounded up the best programs to help you quit drinking. If you are unsure which of the following services to use, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 or visit SAMHSA’s online treatment locator. They can direct you to resources in your area or provide advice on options.

Best Programs to Quit Drinking of 2023

Best Overall : Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART)

Smart Recovery Logo

 Smart Recovery

Key Specs
  • Program Type: Research-based support groups
  • Provider: SMART nonprofit
  • Cost: Free, but donations encouraged
Why We Chose It

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) offers a comprehensive approach to help you stop drinking that meets the needs of different types of people seeking to quit. There are specific groups for veterans, LGBTQ+ communities, and more.

Pros & Cons
  • In-person meetings available with locator tool

  • Online resources with videos and podcasts

  • Support for family and friends

  • Comprehensive focus on mental health beyond addiction may not meet all needs

  • Not all online meetings provide attendance verification


Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a nonprofit organization offering a four-point program: motivation for change; dealing with urges; what to do about unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and actions; and how to achieve balance in life.

The SMART program is based on the idea that substance use is a way to cope with life stressors that begins as a coping strategy but becomes a problem. The program makes use of research on addiction to help participants achieve abstinence from alcohol and drugs.

SMART support group meetings are available worldwide and focus on self-empowerment and making healthy lifestyle changes. They are designed to help you learn ways to change your approach to life so that you don't need addictive behaviors to cope. In other words, once you become happier and more content with your daily life, substance use won't need to be a part of it.

In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, group meetings focus on developing the motivation to change. Members learn how beliefs keep them stuck and emotions trigger them to use alcohol or substances. Finding pleasure in other activities is one cornerstone of the program.

Support groups are run by facilitators who lead members through a structured program that delves into mental health and addiction with a focus on the present instead of the past.

SMART meetings are free for members, but donations are collected at every meeting to help support the organization.

Best Free : Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous Logo

 Alcoholics Anonymous

Key Specs
  • Program Type: Support groups rooted in spirituality
  • Provider: Alcoholics Anonymous nonprofit
  • Cost: Free, but donations encouraged
Why We Chose It

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the most recognizable free options for people seeking to stop drinking. Both in-person and online meetings are available.

Pros & Cons
  • Provides self-assessment tools to help you identify your needs

  • 12-step program offers structure

  • Support, connection and community are foundational

  • Spiritual approach of AA isn't for everyone

  • Anonymity is protected but may not always be practical


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a well-known organization dedicated to helping individuals struggling with addiction achieve sobriety. Its groups run worldwide and are open to anyone looking to beat a drinking problem.

The organization was started in 1935 with the mission of bringing relief to those struggling with alcohol use. In general, AA operates with the understanding that members work toward the greater good of the group, as well as spread the message to others who may need help.

The program operates under the framework of a 12-step program that is rooted in spirituality. Principles include the belief that individuals are not able to solve their addiction on their own and need the help of a power greater than themselves. One of the 12 steps involves recognizing people who have been hurt by your addiction and formulating a plan to make amends.

Local Alcoholics Anonymous groups can be found through the organization's website via a location-based search. Online gatherings and meetings are also available.

While meetings are free to join, donations from members are accepted to help support local chapters.

Best for Women : Women for Sobriety (WFS)

Women for Sobriety Logo

 Women for Sobriety

Key Specs
  • Program Type: Online and in-person support groups
  • Provider: Women for Sobriety nonprofit
  • Cost: Suggested donation of $2 to $5 per meeting
Why We Chose It

Women for Sobriety (WFS) offers substance use recovery programs designed specifically for people who identify as women. It offers both in-person and online support groups.

Pros & Cons
  • Includes body-focused healing (nutrition, exercise)

  • Offers daily meditations providing focus and structure

  • Provides strong peer support

  • In-person meetings aren't available in all areas

  • Progress may not be as clear-cut as with other programs

  • May not be as private as preferred


Women for Sobriety is a nonprofit organization founded in 1975 to help women overcome substance abuse. WFS was founded by a sociologist who wanted to treat addiction by examining how identity loss, guilt, and depression could play a role in substance use.

The WFS programs are based on "acceptance statements" that help women to achieve emotional and spiritual growth and engage in better thinking patterns. Members are given a list of 13 statements that they must review each morning. They are also asked to choose one statement for the day that they will focus on.

WFS offers both in-person and online support groups (although in-person offerings can be sparse outside urban areas). These groups are run by certified moderators and leaders. Phone volunteers also provide one-on-one support.

The program is based on healthy coping mechanisms (diet, exercise, relaxation), positive reinforcement, and cognitive restructuring. The goal of the program and the groups is to empower women to make changes in their lives to achieve sobriety.

Meetings and chat groups are free to attend. Donations of roughly $2 to $5 per meeting are suggested, but no one is ever turned away if they can't afford to donate.

Best Secular Option : Secular Organizations for Sobriety

Secular Organizations for Sobriety Logo

 Secular Organizations for Sobriety

Key Specs
  • Program Type: Individual focus with group support
  • Provider: Network of providers through S.O.S. nonprofit
  • Cost: Free to join
Why We Chose It

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.) offers meaningful options for people who want to quit drinking without an overtly spiritual framework. It's proven successful for people who are seeking a different path to sobriety.

Pros & Cons
  • Program aligns with other groups

  • Numerous online meetings available

  • Offers options for those uncomfortable with faith-based programs

  • Focus on individual may not meet needs of those seeking community

  • Some groups focus on addictions other than alcohol


Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.) is a nonprofit, international network of local, non-professional groups operating autonomously to help individuals achieve sobriety from alcohol, drugs, food, and other addictions.

S.O.S. was founded in 1985 by James Christopher, a sober alcoholic since 1978. He is the author of two books on the topic of addiction and sobriety: "SOS Sobriety" and "Unhooked: Staying Sober and Drug-Free."

Secular Organizations for Sobriety offers an alternative path to the faith-based 12-step model. The groups that operate within the framework welcome anyone looking to find a path to sobriety, including those who are religious. However, they are run in a secular setting.

In opposition to the traditional 12-step model, Secular Organizations for Sobriety place the locus of control for achieving and/or maintaining a sober lifestyle within the individual. This means that when sobriety is achieved, the credit for this achievement also rests with the individual.

The network accepts and respects any path that is chosen toward sobriety and is not opposed to or in competition with programs offered through other networks (such as Alcoholics Anonymous). Rather, any path to sobriety that the individual chooses is respected in this model.

Group meetings that fall within the network for S.O.S. are held throughout the world in different cities. If there is not a meeting near you, it is possible to start a new group. They are free to join.

Best for Social Connections : Loosid

Loosid Logo


Key Specs
  • Program Type: App with chat groups, resources, sobriety tips
  • Provider: Loosid company
  • Cost: Basic app is free; fees for additional services vary
Why We Chose It

The Loosid approach is based on celebrating sobriety as a preferred lifestyle. The app offers access to resources and relationships that build a community around an alcohol-free life.

Pros & Cons
  • App offers alcohol-free dating and nightlife tips

  • Tools to track sobriety, generate reports, and communicate with caregivers

  • People with technology challenges may have trouble using the app

  • Onus is on user to access dating features safely


The Loosid app is designed to connect people seeking sobriety with others on the same journey. The motto of Loosid is "sober shouldn't be somber." This means that those who choose sobriety don't need to resign themselves to also losing their social connections.

The Loosid app includes chat groups for meeting other people in your local area who are practicing sobriety. In addition, the app has a Sobriety Help component with tips on how to stay sober and what to do after a relapse.

Loosid also includes Boozeless Guides to help you find restaurants, travel destinations, or events that make it easy not to drink alcohol. There is also a dating community for those looking for others who are practicing sobriety and looking for a relationship.

Loosid community members also operate 24/7 hotline support groups to help people with recovery, relapse, getting through bad days, resisting urges, and dealing with holidays or other triggers.

Loosid is best if you are worried about losing the social aspect that you connect with alcohol. The Loosid app is free for anyone to download and use.

Best for Busy People : Self Recovery

Self Recovery Logo

 Self Recovery

Key Specs
  • Program Type: Online self-help, completed in self-paced steps
  • Provider: Self-Recovery organization
  • Cost: $99/month
Why We Chose It

The Self Recovery program offers a self-paced, online program that's meant to facilitate your success in quitting alcohol while protecting your privacy. It's built on real-life application of techniques and principles learned in the online lessons.

Pros & Cons
  • Flexible (but requires a 1-hour daily commitment)

  • Science-based approach can work alongside other models

  • Focus is on overall psychological well-being

  • Monthly fee may be a barrier to some

  • Does not accept insurance

  • May not be the best choice for those seeking community support


Self Recovery was founded by board-certified psychiatrist Daniel Hochman, MD, based on his experience as a private practitioner and consultant for facilities treating individuals for addiction.

Self Recovery uses a holistic treatment model that considers the underlying causes of addiction and incorporates these into a self-help program. The program also takes into account life stressors such as busy schedules, family obligations, financial problems, and judgment from others.

The program is delivered fully online and on-demand, enabling private access to recovery for those with a busy schedule. The goal of Self Recovery is to help you understand what has caused your addiction and to use evidence-based strategies to recover in the context of real life, including your family, career, relationships, etc.

Self Recovery has the aim that everyone can achieve deep and lasting change in their choices and beliefs. Through its holistic and scientific approach, Dr. Hochman aims to translate addiction recovery from the one-on-one treatment sphere into an easily accessible self-help program.

Best for Comorbid Mental Health Conditions : The Recovery Village

Recovery Village Logo

 Recovery Village

Key Specs
  • Program Type: Telehealth mental health and recovery counseling; app available
  • Provider: Licensed professionals working with Recovery Village
  • Cost: Varies; insurance coverage may be available
Why We Chose It

The Recovery Village's offerings are designed for those who may need more care for substance use and mental health issues. The options range from app-driven telehealth appointments to inpatient and residential treatment.

Pros & Cons
  • Wide-ranging options for treatment and recovery

  • Expertise in dual diagnoses

  • Has a 24-hour help line

  • More comprehensive care options are costly

  • Specialized care is limited to military and first responders, with some LGBTQ+ options


The Recovery Village was established in 2013 by Mitchell Eisenberg, MD, and Lewis Gold, MD, co-founders of Sheridan Healthcare, a nationwide healthcare company from which they eventually retired. The goal was to address an unmet need to provide treatment for substance use along with underlying mental health issues.

The Recovery Village offers teletherapy and telepsychiatry with licensed professionals and has locations across the United States. Its comprehensive treatment programs address not only substance use but also any other accompanying mental health disorders. In this way, The Recovery Village offers a full spectrum of care for your path to recovery.

Some of the services that you can expect to access through The Recovery Village include medical detox services, residential services, outpatient programs, mental health counseling, personalized addiction recovery plans, and aftercare programs. The entire treatment model is based on evidence-based addiction treatment and the delivery of high-quality care.

The Recovery Village is focused on lifelong wellness, respectful and compassionate treatment provision, and long-term recovery. The company holds the value that anyone can recover and that treatment should address both physical and psychological concerns.

A fee-based program, The Recovery Village provides access to addiction experts, social workers, registered nurses, and licensed mental health therapists.

Final Verdict

The best program to quit drinking is the one that delivers results for your unique situation, and it varies from person to person. However, our top pick is Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) because of how effective it is for a variety of people. The SMART organization helps you to change your approach to life and offers a holistic, long-lasting solution to alcohol use.

Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the best options for group support because of its long history and wide availability. For those who prefer a comprehensive program that addresses mental health, consider The Recovery Village.

Compare the Best Programs to Quit Drinking

 Program  Type  Provider  Cost
Best Overall Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Research-based support groups SMART nonprofit Free, but donations encouraged
Best Free Alcoholics Anonymous Support groups rooted in spirituality AA nonprofit Free, but donations encouraged
Best for Women Women for Sobriety (WFS) Online and in-person support groups Women for Sobriety nonprofit Suggested donation of $2 to $5 per meeting
Best Secular Option Secular Organizations for Sobriety Individual focus with group support Network of providers through S.O.S. nonprofit Free
Best for Social Connections Loosid App with chat groups, resources, sobriety tips Loosid company Basic app is free; cost for additional services varies
Best for Busy People Self Recovery Online self-help, completed in self-paced steps Self-Recovery organization $99/month
Best for Comorbid Mental Health Conditions The Recovery Village Telehealth mental health and recovery counseling; app available Licensed professionals working with Recovery Village Varies; insurance coverage may be available

Guide to Choosing the Best Program to Quit Drinking

If you've decided to explore programs to help you quit drinking, you've taken an important first step in a journey of abstinence, treatment, and recovery. That journey is different for each person who chooses to stop drinking, with some people seeking to make a healthy lifestyle change while others face the daunting challenges of lifelong addiction.

It's a good idea to research your options so you'll understand what's available to you, including:

  • Treatment approach
  • Program requirements, including family services
  • Treatment costs
  • Any travel needs
  • Lifestyle arrangements for work, school, child care
  • Resources for ongoing recovery

Individual circumstances lead to decisions about whether residential treatment is appropriate or if an app to connect with care will do. It's how you'll decide whether a spiritually-based support group is important to your success or not a good fit for your needs.

Be sure to discuss your decision with a trusted healthcare provider because quitting drinking may have its own health impacts or affect another underlying medical condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are the Most Effective Ways to Quit Drinking?

    The most effective ways to stop drinking will be different for each person, depending on the severity of the addiction. For those with a physical dependency on alcohol, residential treatment with medical detox might be best combined with addiction counseling. If your drinking is problematic but not severe, self-help support such as community groups and learning about coping strategies may be effective.

  • How Long Does It Take to Quit Drinking?

    How long it takes to quit drinking will depend on the severity and nature of your drinking problem, your readiness for change, and the modalities that you choose to quit. If you opt to enter a residential treatment facility, your stay may last a month or longer. Outpatient treatment could last anywhere from a few months to over a year. If you choose to quit on your own or with a community group, you may find that you need to continue to engage in ongoing ways. Sobriety typically is a lifelong process.

  • What Are the Side Effects of Quitting Drinking?

    The initial period of detox will range from about a week to longer depending on the severity of your drinking. For those with mild to moderate drinking issues, this may include sleeping problems or anxiety. For those with severe alcohol use disorder, this may include a variety of physical, emotional, and psychiatric symptoms. Serious withdrawal symptoms (i.e. delirium tremens) require medical treatment.

  • What Can I Replace My Drinking With?

    You can enjoy alcohol-free beverages instead of your usual drinks both at home and while out, although you may want to stay clear of nights out with friends until you're ready. Other activities, like exercise or a new hobby, can help. So can efforts to reduce the stress in your life.


The best programs to quit drinking were chosen based on accessibility (i.e., whether organizations offer online services or in-person meetings), the use of evidence-based practices, and overall community support. If you are trying to choose the best method for yourself, it's important to consider your situation and what level of support you will need.

Hand refusing a drink

krisanapong detraphiphat / Getty Images

Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Long D, Long B, Koyfman A. The emergency medicine management of severe alcohol withdrawalAm J Emerg Med. 2017;35(7):1005-1011. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2017.02.002

  3. Karriker-Jaffe KJ, Witbrodt J, Mericle AA, Polcin DL, Kaskutas LA. Testing a socioecological model of relapse and recovery from alcohol problemsSubst Abuse Res Treat. 2020;14:1178221820933631. doi:10.1177/1178221820933631

By Arlin Cuncic, MA
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.