How to Live Alcohol Free

A coaching model on how to live alcohol free? That might be a good idea if it helps and its worth a go right?

Here is just one way I have seen people look at how to live alcohol free.

You can use the SCORE Model to maximize your alcohol free life. This can be used especially if you really need to make a change or you just want to drink less and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Ideally use it with a coach but just by answering the questions you can get a lot of insight!

Questions About Alcohol

That for me is often all it takes to move forward.

As an NLP coach I have often used this for plenty of coaching sessions including people who think they drink too much.

There are plenty of coaching models out there but this I believe taps into some a bigger depth of change and allows you to come up with more than just the answer.

Its more reflective! And relax!

The reason why symptoms and causes are so important is that people often try and fix the symptom rather than the cause.

And guess what happens, the crutch or symptom turns up as something else. Always fix the cause not the symptom.

Alcohol can be an addiction or just a habit we have got into from the extra glass of wine to even the bottle or two!

Before we start I would just like to acknowledge Robert Dilts, a very experienced NLP expert and teacher for imparting this knowledge on his many courses.

He is a top guy and I trained with him in London.

So let’s get on with the model shall we?


I would always start here and then you can go in any order but I try to keep to the process!

In terms of drinking too much alcohol, symptoms are signs that tell us something is wrong. You may feel it, see it, hear it, smell it or even taste it depending on your preference.

The symptoms of drinking too much alcohol

I even know some people who have tasted alcohol and thought no more. Sometimes it can just be an inkling or a feeling that people have that they want to reduce their alcohol intake.

Just a tip: write your answers down and better still if you have the space make a section for them on the floor.

Remember as humans we are spatial animals. We think in terms of space not just words.

Great questions for the score model symptoms section include:

  • What’s not working for you in terms of your alcohol consumption?
  • What do you want to change?
  • What are you telling yourself about alcohol and its effects?
  • What do you feel about alcohol that is not working for you?

Now with alcohol I don’t want to give you the answers but if you are an executive that drinks a few too many wines in the evening you might say a headache in the morning or you feel dehydrated or you just can’t get up in the morning!

The important thing here is to think about symptoms and not get confused with the causes.

Also remember write your answers on a big bit of paper on the floor. It helps you get some distance from them.

Plus avoid over thinking it, go with what comes first!


What are the underlying causes of drinking too much alcohol ?

What is stopping you from cutting back on your drinking or going alcohol free?

How to live an alcohol free life

Who is benefiting from you not fixing this? Or what is benefiting from you not sorting this?

Again, be honest with yourself and what comes up. It doesn’t really matter what you say, just go with your gut. Trust the first thing that comes out of your mouth!

Some of the symptoms can be:

  • Habit which can also be a symptom
  • Stress
  • Need to forget
  • My boss
  • My relationship
  • I have just always drank alcohol
  • Social Pressure
  • The Need to Conform

As long as it is a cause that is fine. Even if it needs changing later, any answer will do right now as it will allow you to just look, feel and become more aware.

I know as a coach and someone who has been coached the key on any issue including alcohol is knowing where you are now.

Unless you do that you can’t really decide where you want to go or get to. Ever seen Alice in Wonderland?


What do you want to happen instead of drinking too much alcohol?

Where are you going with this and where do you really want to get to?

Know your outcome when giving up alcohol


This is all about you! Think about life when you have cut back on your alcohol and or given up completely.

I know with me it was not really a choice as it was a life and death situation even just a social drinker. However, your reasons might be much easier like saving money, or losing weight.

You might want to improve your brain function and avoid brain fog.

Now here you might think about your goal outcome in two ways. One way is better than the other.

I would encourage you to think about it in a positive frame rather than a negative frame.

There is a good reason for this and it is the way the brain works.

And I won’t use an alcohol example here but let’s imagine I’d said “don’t think of a blue box?”

Guess what you think of a blue box right?

The Brain Cannot Process Negatives

OK or a blue crate?

The brain can’t process negatives so you have to think about what you don’t want to think about? Not great for goal setting.

So we all have a tendency to either work towards something or away from it. Carrot and Stick or Half full and empty.

This “away from” strategy is not always a bad thing though. Quite the opposite.

One of my closet colleagues once has a massive off the scale “half empty strategy” and could tell me everything that could go wrong.

Guess what he was brilliant and totally the opposite of me when it came to health and safety. I really needed him on my team. I am very generally toward and half full!

However, for the purpose of cutting back or giving up alcohol you want to put it into a positive frame and really know what you want as a result of giving up or cutting back alcohol.

It can be health, a life saver, a career booster, you name it giving up alcohol can really help. But work towards it not away from it for the purpose of this exercise.

Good Mental can be an outcome of giving up alcohol

That includes your mental health!

So in your outcome think of it with a positive frame, so what will you

  • See
  • Hear
  • Feel
  • Taste
  • Smell

You use all your senses to create the outcome that you really want to have, so really visualize it!

Remember drinking alcohol and in fact not drinking alcohol comes with its fair share of prejudice as I have experienced firsthand!

You need to be prepared for that! So having a well-formed goal in your mind really helps.


What will it do for you, your family, your partner, your work colleagues if you cut back on or give up alcohol?

What will it mean for your place in the wider world?

When Giving up alcohol think about the bigger picture

This is much bigger than your outcome and it’s a bit of life cross-checking with your goal. So look at it from all angles and everything you know might happen in the future.

Do you need more hobbies and have a plan for your work night drinks out for example? Does it impress your boss when you are drinking alcohol?

It is actually very common that people drink to impress their bosses or superiors.

What is the big effect of a lifestyle change long term? It’s also a good place to check out any objections that you or others may have to your lifestyle change.

Remember people around you even those who don’t like your drinking probably hate you changing even more.

It funny even though a glass of wine could kill me people still say:

“Good on one won’t harm!”



People often encourage you to drink


People hate change as it makes them feel uncomfortable.

This is your chance to get a birds eye view and really see it from all angles, above below and left to right.

Remember drinking alcohol and in fact not drinking it comes with its fair share of prejudice as I have experienced firsthand!

You need to be prepared for that!


What help can you get to sort this. It may be money, a coach, a therapist, skills, attitude, contacts that will help you sort out your alcohol intake no matter how small or large the change?

How to get help to reduce your alcohol intake?

Alcohol is a funny one when it comes to help, I will be honest it is seen as a bit of an awkward subject.

I have no idea why when most of the population drink and many drink a lot!

It’s like lots of ostriches going “don’t talk about alcohol” or yep “but that’s just life” when in fact it costs the NHS, our mental health, or well-being.

Not to mention our own money.

It’s crazy really, but people are really judged when it suits others.

I remember in Accident and Emergency when they realized I had no alcohol in my system but I still was a social drinker getting judged.

This was before I went to the liver ward where everyone was amazing.

Although one senior doctor made me laugh she said “I don’t get some of the doctors bring judgmental about alcohol they are down the pub every night”

Attitudes to Alcohol

We both laughed and my local doctor was amazing.

As my liver consultant joked – he said that wine drinkers did not realize how many wines they were drinking as the glasses were just getting bigger.

It’s a valid point.

It used to be a standard glass of wine and that is actually one unit. Of course people don’t drink those anymore as most people go for a large and then another.

Is it any wonder before you know it you have consumed a bottle!

It can be easy to drink a bottle of wine

It’s so easy to do, especially in my field of media where everyone has a drink!

However, here are some of the things that have worked.

Before I do that though if you are really in trouble with alcohol, talk to your Doctor right now, get medical advice and see a specialist.

Demand it and don’t put up with no help!

I gave up social wine and alcohol, straight away when I realized it was a health issue but I know it’s not the same for everyone.

However, try not to label yourself as an “alcoholic” as anything over 14 units per week is classed as one apparently so that is a lot of the population.

Once alcohol consumption is seen as a label it’s more difficult to change. Think of it as a behaviour and not who you are.

That is much harder to change!

Things that can work and have worked with people I know are:

  • Get a coach and use this SCORE model with them
  • Get a therapist and one that is not going to judge you, interview them first. There are some really bad judgmental ones around
  • Write out a drink diary then sit back and read it, are you OK with that?
  • Change your triggers so things that your brain connects to alcohol
  • Go alcohol free as there are not so many choices out there and go ones that work for you.
  • Get a hobby and I write about that here
  • Create a benefit’s list and money is sometimes at the top of the list even more than health, believe it or not.
  • Hypnotherapy ( see below)
  • BWRT
  • Check out your limits on the drink aware website
  • Read about liver health at the UK Liver Trust, it may shock you what alcohol can do to your liver

You can read about my alcohol alternative including wine and beer here but only if it works for you

If you feel you are a bit addicted to alcohol just like chocolate or extreme sports. By the way just see how your reaction to each one is different.

One was more loaded with emotion than the other.

One of the best online courses is from Mark who is one of the UK’s leading coaches and therapists and I rate his online programme 10/10.

My affiliate link it below but you pay the same and I would love to know what you think of the course and it can be done on mobile, tablet or even a desktop.

All you need is a safe space and a pair of headphones:

What do I do with my SCORE answers in the model?

Do me a massive favor and write them out on a big card on the floor. A living room is fine.

Create a space for each one and move around them.

However, keep your resources to one side either the left or the right depending on your preference. Then you can pull in those resources if you are OK and they don’t get lost in the mix.

When you have decided on some options, write out symptoms behind you and in front of your outcomes, and resources. So you can see it as part of your future, not your past.

Lay them out in whatever ways work for you and an NLP coach would be a great person to do this with even online.

This may not be the answer to all your questions on how to live alcohol free but in my book it’s a great start.

I would love to know your thoughts. I really enjoy reading your comments especially if you have chosen to cut back on alcohol and have some tips on how to live alcohol free? I always respond to all your comments.


4 thoughts on “How to Live Alcohol Free”

  1. Hello there! I think you provided some really great tips and even questions to self reflect on to live an alcohol free life. Fortunately I already have a habit of not drinking alcohol and it is also due to my body’s response which helps a lot. In the past, I tolerated alcohol very well but these days, I have some difficulty breathing even with just a shot of something. So ever since that experience, I just stopped. 

    But even before that, I wasn’t someone who actively sought alcohol either. It was only for social reasons that I would ever consume it. I don’t even remember the last time I had alcohol…maybe 5 years ago during a snowboarding trip? But regardless, I know of many who have an addiction, so I’ll be forwarding this to them. Thanks for this!

    • My pleasure Mike, sounds and feels like you have a great lifestyle there and doing what is best for you. I really appreciate your very kind comments and thoughts and yes please do share. Thanks for taking time to read how to live alcohol free. All the very best, Phil

  2. I don’t personally have a problem with alcohol in my life, I’ll drink it once in a while, but it’s not a very common thing. However, my uncle is very, very unable to live without it. I have been trying to help him but I don’t think he gets the memo. I think if I share this article with him it will provide great value and at least get his thoughts rolling on the subject

    • Hey Misael, thanks so much for your comment and please do share away. Alcohol even at a casual level can affect lots of people. Of course its all about balance. I really appreciate you spending time on the blog and sharing your thoughts. 

      All the best Phil


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