I’ll have to confess that it wasn’t easy for me to admit that I had a drinking problem. I used to constantly joke about it, saying that drinking wasn’t a problem for me because I actually enjoyed it or that I prefer being referred to as a “drinking enthusiast” rather than an alcoholic.
What I failed to understand back then is that I used humor as a defense mechanism, which always activated when someone confronted me about my heavy drinking and my dependency to the bottle. I was so keen on defending my perceived ability to quit whenever I wanted that…
I Started Looking for Alternatives to Rehab
While most of you are familiar with the concept of rehab cleaning and how their role is to get you off the bottle cold turkey, not everyone knows about the middle road solutions. I myself came across them purely incidentally, while I was browsing the web for something completely unrelated. At that point, they appeared to me as a revelation: they were just the thing I needed to show everyone that I’m able to show restraint.
What Did These Rehab Alternatives Involve?
Browsing blog after blog and forum after forum, I learned that there are harmful mitigation programs for alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. Even food addicts had their very own dedicated pages, can you imagine that? The role of these programs was not to help you quit your drug of choice, but rather to ensure that you exercise moderation and that you’re limiting the potential damage you’re doing to your body and your psyche. I was thrilled!
My First Experiences
Now, I have to mention that I signed up for two of these solutions. I enrolled in a drinking management program and I started frequenting a “safe bar”. The latter was – in my mind – an absolute godsend idea, because they provided free taxi services for their clients and, at that point, I was one DUI away from having my license suspended. On a side note, my license was eventually suspended, but I’ll tell you all about it some other time.
The former program was similar to a rehab center, with the key difference that the emphasis was not placed on achieving sobriety, but rather on how to maintain your alcohol consumption within reasonable levels. I won’t lie to you, their ideas sounded logical and there was even research background to support that logic. Except…
…they completely overestimated the willpower, self-control, and desire to drink. You see, they don’t really call it a drinking problem for no reason. If you reach the point in which even your drinking buddies are starting to voice concerns that you may have become an alcoholic, then easing yourself out of it and exercising moderation are not really viable options.
The Silver Lining
Yes, something good did come from this experience, namely I finally realized that I was no longer in control of my drinking and that I needed help to quit. I finally enrolled in rehab for the first, but not the last time. In spite of my initial failures, I had – without knowing – taken the first step towards sobriety.