Columbus Short knows his life won't get better unless he stops getting wasted -- so he's vowing to cut out binge drinking ... but he DENIES he's an alcoholic.
Short met Wednesday with Ed Butowsky -- a well-known Dallas money manager -- who tells us Short realized he needs help after several high profile arrests.
Butowsky tells us ... they discussed Short's drinking at length. Butowsky says the ex-"Scandal" star doesn't think he has an alcohol problem and refuses to join a program -- but he did admit to getting drunk more than he should and vowed to aggressively cut back.
We're also told ... Short now knows he needs to stay out of bars ... and cut out all of the people who are bad influences in his life.
Butowsky says he urged Short work with charities to "make his soul feel good." He's also having Short look at rental houses in the Dallas area ... to get out of L.A. for a while.