How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Using 3 MENTAL MODELS

In this blog, we’ll be exploring how to stop drinking alcohol using something called a “mental model”. If you’re looking for a logical approach to getting in control of your drinking and building a better understanding of the problem at hand – you’ll want to read this entire article.

We’ll first define what a mental model is, and then we will be exploring 3 different models and discussing how you can use each of them. 

Once you’ve got your head around these mental models, it will make stopping drinking alcohol a much more effortless and enjoyable experience.

I have personally used all 3 of these mental models in my own journey – and they have changed the game for me. 

It took me close to 10 years of trial and error until things “clicked” for me – and I became happy about being a non-drinker.

I tried willpower more times than I can count, moderation and also a stint in AA. None of these things worked for me.

That being said, if I knew about these mental models beforehand, I have no doubt that it would have sped up my journey dramatically.

And, if you want my personal help stopping drinking, make sure to click here to check out a short video that explains how I help people stop drinking alcohol without AA, willpower or rehab. 

What are mental models?

A mental model is an explanation of someone’s thought process about how the world operates.

The world is a complex place, and we can’t carry around all the information we have at once. So, mental models can help us simplify things and give us a framework to create a better understanding of things.

Mental models help us create links and connections between different things – and when it comes to stopping drinking alcohol, it can change absolutely everything.

Using mental models effectively can help you understand life, solve complex problems and make better decisions.

So, let’s jump into 3 mental models that can be applied to living a great life without alcohol.

How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Using Mental Models

First Principles Thinking

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or a member of the Soberclear program, you’ll know that First Principles Thinking is a mental model we can use to build a paradigm where we see alcohol for what it is.

As in we see alcohol without the illusion of it being a “good thing”.

So, we can use First Principles Thinking to get a better understanding of how to stop drinking alcohol.

What most people do when stopping drinking is reason from analogy. This means they go to society and say “how do I stop drinking?”

Society always responds the same way. They say things like:

“It’s hard!”

“Why would you want to stop drinking?”

“How will you relax?”

“Don’t you know it’s dangerous?”

“Maybe you’re an alcoholic!”

“Don’t you need a therapist?”

If we were to reason from analogy, we’d take this kind of advice and apply it. This is exactly what I did for close to 10-years. And, it kept me stuck.

Instead, when you reason from First Principles, you break down all of the component parts of the problem.

It can be illustrated like this:

The red dots illustrate the principles that need breaking down.

This means doing a lot of study and introspection – and really questioning your beliefs around alcohol one by one.

When you do this effectively, you end up creating an entirely new paradigm and worldview. You start to see alcohol for what it is.

You start to see it as a highly addictive poison that does NOTHING for you. It then becomes a simple decision to become a non-drinker.

You can achieve this through reading books and blogs, watching videos and listening to podcasts – or you can join the Soberclear program. If you want more details on that, click here.

Second Order Thinking 

Second order thinking is a process of thinking about the implications of a first order impact. For example, if I do A – what happens then? And what about after that? And then, after that?

Most people don’t do this. We often take actions without considering the second and third order consequences.

Being able to think about how an action can impact things further down the line can give you a huge edge. People often talk about Second Order Thinking when it comes to making business and investment decisions. However, it can be incredibly effective for making personal decisions as well.

First order thinking is fast and easy. We have a problem and we look for an immediate solution. For example, “I’m hungry so I’ll eat some biscuits.”

Second order thinking is more deliberate. You continually ask yourself “and then what?” For example, if you’re hungry and eat the biscuits – then what? You then use these thoughts to dictate your decisions and actions. In this instance, you’d probably skip the biscuits and grab a healthier snack.

“Failing to consider second- and third-order consequences is the cause of a lot of painfully bad decisions, and it is especially deadly when the first inferior option confirms your own biases. Never seize on the first available option, no matter how good it seems, before you’ve asked questions and explored.”

—Ray Dalio

When it comes to alcohol, most people don’t consider the second and third order consequences of drinking.

Before I discovered First Principles Thinking, there was a 9-month period of my life where I stopped drinking using nothing but willpower. During those 9 months, life was going well.

However, there was an evening at a New Years Eve party where the willpower ran out.

I still vaguely remember my decision making process. I only considered the first order consequences of drinking that night.

“Well, you can drink tonight and then stop. You can just have a few. You can deal with the hangover. You have nothing to do tomorrow.”

At that point, I made the decision to drink.

However, I didn’t consider the second and third order consequences. 

The second, third, fourth order consequences were severe. Because alcohol is an addictive drug, the next few weeks and months ahead saw my drinking increase. Before you know it, I was skipping workouts, not giving my business the attention it needed and things were getting out of control.

The first order consequences of taking a drink were seemingly insignificant. However, the second and third order consequences were drastic.

So, next time you even consider drinking, you can use Second Order Thinking to think more critically about the consequences.

Free Video Training:
How To Use First Principles Thinking To Get Control Of Your Drinking


Circle of Competence

The final mental model that can help you stop drinking alcohol is known as the Circle of Competence. 

Understanding your circle of competence can help you learn from others, avoid problems and find ways to improve.

It can be illustrated like this…

We all have circles of competence. Through either experience or study, we develop understandings of certain things.

However – most people “think” they know more than they actually know. This stops a lot of people from asking for help. In other words, their ego stops them from growing.

Whilst it’s good to stay within your circle of competence when it comes to certain things (e.g. investing and business), being mindful of what’s outside of your circle of competence and finding help is a great way to solve challenging problems.

When it comes to stopping drinking, this is massive.

A lot of people that try to stop drinking think to themselves “I’ll be fine.” Even after failing numerous times – they still think they know how to do it. That was me – for a long time.

On the contrary when using your circle of competence as a mental model, you accept that you don’t know everything about a problem – and you seek help.

If you’re anything like me, you probably think it takes a strong person to do things alone.

However, one thing I’ve realized after building Soberclear is that it takes more courage to say “I’m clueless. I need help” than it does to shrug your shoulders and do things alone.

I’ve invested close to $18,000 into hiring my own coaches and consultants so far to help me with setting up and building Soberclear.

I know my circle of competence, which is helping people stop drinking. I’m confident I can get most drinkers to become happy non-drinkers through the Soberclear program.

However, I’m no longer afraid to hire someone to help with things outside of my circle of competence.

I don’t allow my ego to stop me from growing.

For some people, they know AA is the way. For others, it might be a therapist. However, the point is to be aware of what you don’t know – and to be okay with finding help.

If you want more details about the Soberclear program, make sure click here.


Using mental models can be an effective way at helping us develop a better understanding of the world. When it comes to learning about how to stop drinking alcohol, it can be a gamechanger. Using mental models can make your journey faster, more enjoyable and easier.

Gleb Krasnoborov

Gleb Krasnoborov

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How To Use First Principles Thinking To Get Control Of Your Drinking

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