The Sobering Experience
June 20, 2008 3:59pm CST
This week I made the decision to stop using alcohol. The main reason is because I feel it is getting in my way. It is not because my health has declined, though the amount I drank far exceeded the recommended health guidelines. It is not because I landed in jail, or caused an accident, or even because I was a public nuisance - None of these things ever happened to me (that I can remember anyway), and I love the sensation of being intoxicated; nonetheless, I feel it is time for me to stop. Not to moderate, for I do follow the clinical definition of an alcoholic. An old saying from way back, "One is too many, Two is not enough" - another favorite quote that I just recently found: "I find abstinence easier than moderation." Back in my 20s I was a weekend alcoholic; there was no time for me to party during the week, but still I loved the drunk experience. Now that I'm fifty, I have no idea as to the details to the timeline, but I ended up getting drunk almost every night, even when I have to go to work the next morning which happens five out of seven of those days, but the two days without work obligations I got to start in the afternoon - I confess many days I started in the morning. I do remember a year or two ago attempting sobriety and within a week I had actual physical sensations, like I had when I quit smoking cigarettes (I stopped that habit in 1997) I broke down, and moderated my drunkenness for a bit, but of course it got me to the present point - My stopping nicotine use was highly motivated by a daily hacking cough that I got in half hour bouts that left me breathless by the time I gained control, so obviously that drug use was no longer an option for me, and that fueled my determination to experience a nicotine-free life. It would be super if I can convince my mind that alcohol is just as bad for me. It used to be that Alcoholics Anonymous was the only resource for helping people break free, and it is by far the best known; however it has many objecters as well. There are other methods of recovery, one being Rational Recovery (rational.org) that basically teaches that it is your Addictive Voice that keeps telling you to drink. Recognize this voice as something coming from your lower brain that cares nothing for you or your life, and it will be easier to deny its request. SMART Recovery (smartrecovery.org) is what I'm using now, that gives more tools to deal with one's thoughts. If you decide to drink, you look at your thoughts and emotions, learn from the experience, and go on. These are very simple explanations of course; one would actually have to go through the process to get the gist of the different programs. No need for praise - I am just doing what I feel I need to do, and there are a lot of people who went further down the road than I have, landing in jails or hospitals - and graveyards - to stop using their particular drug of choice. So, for anyone else who also stopped using recreational drugs - are you using a program, or going about it by yourself? Do you use Alcoholics Anonymous, Rational Recover, SMART Recovery, or another program? I am giving SMART a try this time around.
• United States
20 Jun 08
Good for you and I hope you can stay with whatever program will work for you. I'm fortunate enough not to have succumbed to any addictions really. Life is really to short to do that to your body and shorten it even more. Good luck and please keep us updated. I'm sure you'll always be able to find a word of encouragement in the mylotter community;)