Is there informal word and not only informal one for quitting drinking alcohol like recovering from alcohol addiction?

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    The relevant standard informal usage is being / going on the wagon (etymology here). Also I've been dry (for "been teetotal", not had any alcohol). Mar 21, 2021 at 17:56
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    In the more severe case of recovering from addiction the term clean is sometimes used (and not only for alcohol). Lexico meaning 2.5: informal predicative (of a person) not taking or having taken drugs or alcohol. I had been here for only a fortnight and clean for three weeks. Mar 21, 2021 at 18:00
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    to be off the bottle or to be off the drink [more BrE]
    – Lambie
    Mar 21, 2021 at 18:13

3 Answers 3


A term that is often used in reference to prolonged refraining from a non-desirable behavior is "abstinence". In verb form you would say that the person abstains, or is abstaining, from alcohol. Indeed, definition 2a in Merriam-Webster's dictionary specifically references alcohol.

Note that this term does not necessarily imply quitting. It could just as easily be used to refer to someone who has never engaged in the behavior in the first place. It merely describes the current state of being alcohol-free.


Getting sober.

Getting clean.

Get back on the wagon.



If you are stopping drinking, but not because you are breaking an addiction, the language is more muted. The easiest expression would be "giving up". This suggests it is a choice and a choice that you make easily:

I gave up alcohol in the spring, and I'm feeling good about it.

Other expressions like "being on the wagon" suggest something more serious: recovery from alcoholism or a religious choice.

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