“What are some good reasons to quit drinking?”
1) You Will Achieve True Freedom – If you have to drink in order to feel normal or happy, then you are a slave to alcohol.
2) It Will Save Your Life – Avoid dying an average of 20 years early if you quit now.
3) It Will Save You Over a Million Dollars – It’s true. In just 16 years, quitting drinking will net you a million bucks.
I can remember when I was still drinking booze every day, and my family and close friends would try to convince me to quit. They were constantly urging me to get help, and some of their efforts were based on logical arguments. “You are drinking and driving every day, you are going to kill yourself or someone else!” they would shriek at me. Makes sense, really. They were absolutely right. Given enough drunk driving, chances are pretty much 100 percent that eventually, someone is going to get hurt. Or killed. Doesn’t really matter which, their point was valid and irrefutable. It was a simple numbers game. I was driving for a living at the time, and drinking heavily every day, and that was a recipe for disaster. Something bad was going to happen eventually while I was driving, and the alcohol in my system would only serve to multiple the negative consequences.
Photo by MarcoTheMac
Now at the time, I was drinking heavily, and driving every day to make a living, and I knew, deep down, that what they were saying was true. That eventually something bad was going to happen. This was not a case where I was in blatant denial of the fact, thinking that everything would be fine, and nothing bad would ever happen to me. I knew I was headed for trouble. I knew that if I kept drinking and driving like that, something terrible was bound to happen eventually. I agreed with all the warnings. I knew them to be true.
I just didn’t care.
This is what defines that hopeless state of alcoholism or drug addiction. I had to keep on going, keep drinking and scrambling to stay drunk and stay medicated and not feel anything and keep running from fear itself. Always trying to stay drunk enough to ward off that feeling of impending doom, that terrible feeling of fear that stemmed from my life being out of control. And through it all, I no longer believed that there was any hope for a normal life for me. I was disgusted with the idea of a “normal” life and wanted no part of it….my ultimate fantasy involved being completely whacked out on drugs and alcohol. And yet my life was spinning out of control; I was running into more and more problems with my drinking, and things kept getting worse. So I was caught up between a rock and a hard place–I wasn’t going to be able to continue drinking much longer (without killing myself or ending up in jail), and yet there was no conceivable way to get help and quit drinking. I was hopeless. Not only was I hopeless, but I felt hopeless, and I had no desire to find any hope. Just drag me into the street and shoot me.
Photo by theopie
Today I am enjoying a life of sobriety, and I have found hope in my life. Much more than mere hope, actually–a lot of the time I am actually living with some amount of joy. Life is fun and worth living again–a million miles away from that misery of drug and alcohol addiction. So what was the catalyst, what was the big secret that allowed this transformation?
It was nothing huge, no great event pushed me into getting help. I had simply had enough, and I was at that critical turning point. I think a lot of addicts and alcoholics miss this point and either kill themselves, overdose, or drink themselves to death. It is a point where you truly abandon all cares for the world. We can say we don’t care about ourselves, that we have lost all hope, but a lot of that is lip service. On the day I surrendered and asked to go to treatment, I really had abandoned all hope. At the deepest of levels, I no longer cared for my own well being. Maybe just a shred of possibility remained that I could get something out of treatment. I’m not really sure….it’s such a fine line there. I could have very easily just went back out on another bender, saying “screw it all,” instead of asking for help and going to treatment.
Photo by wili_hybrid
Looking back, it becomes easier to see this fine line between completely abandoning all hope, and finally surrendering and asking for help. If you tell a miserable alcoholic that they can sober up and their life can get better and they will one day be happy again, chances are good that they will not believe you, nor will they even be able to bring themselves to care much about what you are suggesting. My turning point was that I was miserable, and I was alone, and I decided that I really didn’t care what happened next. I had become afraid to go on living like I was, and the idea of treatment was scary too. But the balance had shifted, and I realized that drinking was no longer fun, and probably never could be again. Not for me, anyway.
So I managed to make that decision, to ask for help and surrender my self-will and go to treatment and do what the therapists told me to do. I actually surrendered and told myself that I was going to sit back, relax, and let someone else direct my life for a while. What a brilliant decision. Turns out that all those therapists and people in AA actually did have my best interests in mind.
Photo by glennharper
So if you are a hopeless drunk, realize that it “gets greater later,” as they like to say around the tables of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was so miserable when I first got sober that I didn’t really care if it got any better, nor did I believe that it was even remotely possible. But it did get better, and it got better fairly quickly, considering how depressed and out of control I had become. Looking back now, it’s almost ridiculous how much better my life has gotten. I almost think that everyone should undergo the transformation from “miserable drunk” to “happily living in recovery” just to have the experience of it. Today I am truly blessed!
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