Most people believe that the key to giving up alcohol is to focus on the act of stopping. They focus on elimination rather than replacement. They see the challenge as an act of pure elimination, rather than an act of creation.
In fact, giving up alcohol–for the serious alcoholic–is actually an exercise in creating a new life for oneself. This is the key to recovery. Just consider what people in any 12 step program are doing–they abstain from alcohol and start building a new life. They base their new life on spiritual principles from the 12 steps. They change their behaviors and their actions. They stop going to bars and start going to meetings. And so on.
Understand though that this is a monumental effort. A successfully recovering alcoholic does much more than simply attend a few meetings here and there. They have to put in major footwork, actually go on a journey of self discovery, relearn how to live their life and how to deal with stress and anxiety, and so on. These are not trivial matters. And to top it all off, they basically have to do all of this all at once. It can be a bit overwhelming in fact.
One of the key techniques to sustaining long term sobriety is in adopting holistic alcohol treatment strategies. Most people do not go this far with their recovery, even those who are successful and remain sober. What I’m talking about is the push for holistic growth in recovery–truly going beyond the spiritual and finding new ways to grow in recovery. For example, the person who commits to regular, vigorous exercise in recovery is giving themselves a huge boost in terms of relapse prevention that most people would completely overlook. In fact, some recovery programs are based on physical exercise alone–so you know that this is a powerful tool that often goes unused.
Holistic just means “pertaining to the whole person.” In other words, spiritual growth, emotional growth, physical health, and so on. Don’t limit yourself to just taking on a spiritual quest when you try to give up alcohol, as this is only a partial solution that so many people label as the “ultimate answer.” Spirituality is just a beginning, not an end in itself. Use it to push you to grow further and learn new things outside the boundaries of traditional recovery.
Giving up booze is not an act of elimination….it is an act of creation, where you are building an exciting new life for yourself in sobriety.
The idea of eliminating something from our lives can leave a bad taste in our mouth. Therefore, focus on building a new life and replacing your old habit instead, and in doing so you will:
* Be more excited about recovery and the new life of opportunity you are afforded when not drinking booze.
* Achieve new levels of personal growth because you are now taking positive action rather than just sitting around and self medicating.
* Replace bad habits with actions that lead to holistic growth, such as exercise or cooking with healthy nutrition in mind!
So don’t think about the idea that you are missing out on something when you stop drinking. Instead, explore a world of positive possibilities and get excited about life again!