Making The Decision Not To Drink
Making the decision to abstain from alcohol is extremely difficult. If you’ve gotten to that point, good for you. Keep in mind that a lot of alcoholics and problem drinkers never get to that point.
If you actually make the decision to stop drinking, that alone is a huge feat. If you slip up and go back to it, at least you know you can stop again because you’ve done it before. The reasons why people swear off alcohol may vary. Some people do it for their health and their overall well-being.
Some do it because it’s ruining their personal life. Regardless of how you’ve come to this conclusion, you’ve recognized that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. That is the first step.
Sometimes drinking is the symptom and not the problem. There’s a reason why a lot of addicts get as bad as they do. There is typically some sort of past trauma or tragic event that triggered you to use drugs or alcohol.
This isn’t the case with every single addict, but it’s a common thing they all have in common. A bad childhood. Mental health issues. Stress and anxiety. The list goes on and on. Whatever it is that led you to substance abuse, it needs to be taken care of as you begin your journey into sobriety.
There is something powerful to be said about dual diagnosis and drinking cessation. There are all sorts of therapy methods for alcohol abstinence, but dual diagnosis is an increasingly popular one.
Dual diagnosis refers to the process of tackling your addiction and your mental and/or emotional health issues at the same time. It may seem like a lot, but it worked wonders for me.
I had a lot of very serious emotional problems that I would cover up through drinking. When I got to Pathfinders for treatment, they offered a great dual diagnosis program that helped me work on all of my issues simultaneously.
It’s going to take a while to fix everything that you’ve been avoiding because of your addiction. When they say one day at a time, they mean it. You don’t have to worry about the next day or the next week.
The only thing that matters is how you are doing today, and what you are actively doing to work on yourself. There is a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done before you achieve long-term sobriety. If you’re up to the challenge, you can make it work.
Why is it so hard to stop drinking alcohol on your own? Because it is an all-powerful addiction. Recognizing that you are powerless to alcohol will help you through your initial period of recovery.
Some addicts try to convince themselves that they can have a couple of drinks and be ok. Some think they can figure out a way to keep their drinking under control. This usually doesn’t work out so well.
Even if you can control your drinking for a little while, it’s an addiction that’s designed to get worse and worse. Moderation and making drinking changes might work for non-addicts, but if you’re a true addict, you will know it sooner or later.
Self Knowledge And Drinking
There is a lot of soul-searching to be done when you enter recovery. You learn a lot about yourself and what triggers you. You learn a lot about why you react the way you do in certain situations.
Even if you learn to cope with the triggers that may affect you, they can still overwhelm you at times. No one is perfect. When you attend meetings and therapy groups, you will meet a wide range of people from all different backgrounds, yet you all got there the same way. You couldn’t control it.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they are never drinking again. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself, but it’s very hard for any addict to say this definitively and make it actually happen.
Plenty of people in recovery never do end up drinking again. But coping with never drinking again is a lifelong battle. You have to be strong every day. You have to recognize the triggers and how to avoid them. It’s a huge responsibility to put on yourself, but it will reward you greatly if you keep at it.
When you make the decision to quit drinking, picking the right place for recovery is key. Treatment centers are incredibly helpful for you to build a sober foundation. I was extremely pleased with my time at Pathfinders. I couldn’t have picked a more compassionate place.
Luckily, there are so many different forms of therapy and so many different recovery centers. What works for one person may not work for another. If you find the right treatment center, you will know it. Does alcohol detox work for casual drinkers? It may, but there may be alternative methods as well.
There is a lot that can be said about quitting cold turkey vs. home detox. Alcohol can be a very dangerous substance to detox from. It’s one of the few drugs where detox can be fatal if not done correctly. If you choose to do an at-home detox, you should make sure that you are doing it the right way.
Going through detox under medical supervision is the best way to do it, but if you’re going to home detox you need to recognize and be aware of the dangers and look into natural detox remedies. I strongly do not recommend quitting cold turkey if you are a late-term alcoholic.
It’s shocking that alcohol is legal, yet it can do more damage to us mentally and physically than most illegal drugs. I’m not here to argue that drugs should be legal, but it’s a strange reality.
You are allowed to legally drink yourself to death, but not to snort yourself to death. Alcohol is probably the most abused substance in the country because of its acceptance and availability. People make jokes about alcoholism and drinking to excess.
We think it’s funny until it hits us too close to home. When someone you know dies of alcoholism, it makes you think a lot more about how you view it. We often view drinking as a way to have fun and relax. That isn’t the case for a lot of addicts.
Milestones And Commitments To Stop Drinking
You have every reason to celebrate when you hit a milestone. When I was sober for one year, it was a surreal feeling. I was a bit worried though. I didn’t want to make a huge deal out of it, because I didn’t want to feel the external pressure to keep it up.
I still have off days and I still have times where I feel triggered to drink. Again, it’s a personal decision. If you feel like celebrating your milestones is a positive thing for you then by all means celebrate as much as possible!
You’ve done something worth celebrating. I like to spend some time on my sober anniversaries to reflect on how far I’ve come, and what I need to do to continue being sober.
There are several different schools of thought when it comes to recovery. There are some programs that claim they can cure you of your addiction and you will never go back. In my experience, that is not always the case for a lot of addicts.
When we talk about AA vs. other methods of sobriety, there are some differences but a lot of similarities. The AA approach is that you are powerless to your addiction, and seeking a higher power will help you achieve sobriety. Some people aren’t into the whole higher power thing, and that’s totally fine.
I try to keep in mind that I didn’t get here all by myself. I know there were a lot of people that helped me along the way. I try to celebrate those people as much as I celebrate my own progress. When I know someone has reached a milestone, I tell them how proud I am of them.
I don’t put any pressure on them, I just let them know they’ve done something commendable. The peer support I’ve received has helped keep me sober, so I try to lend a helping hand and give encouragement whenever possible.
Denial is a big part of the addiction process. We have to let people make the decision on their own to get help. You can only help someone so much. If you can’t help yourself, no one else is going to get through to you.
You can offer someone all the encouragement in the world, but if they don’t really want sobriety they won’t be able to attain it. I remind myself of this as well.
I can only do so much for other people, but I can do a lot for myself. Almost all of the days I’ve strung together are because of the decision that I made. That gives me a lot of faith in myself that I can keep it going.