An anonymous reader writes in and asks:
“How can I stop drinking alcohol even though I really enjoy it?”
That’s a good question. For someone so young to be asking this question is a bit alarming but not too surprising I suppose. It sounds like you know that you are headed for trouble with your drinking and you can obviously see the signs that it is developing into a problem for you (or at least could become a big problem).
If you are already recognizing this deterioration then you should take action as soon as possible and try to stop. Unfortunately, I don’t think many people have the ability to do this when things are going relatively well with their drinking. In other words, no one really quits drinking when things are going good. The only people who can successfully quit drinking are those who have been beat up enough by the disease of alcoholism that they have become willing to surrender.
You mention in your question that you “really enjoy it.” Quitting drinking is hard, even when you are at the stage where alcohol pretty much makes you miserable. If you are still enjoying alcohol and having fun with your drinking, then it is going to be next to impossible to make a real change in your life. This becomes especially difficult if you are younger and have a social network of people in your life that you typically drink with.
I am not sure if it is possible to be motivated without reaching that miserable point of surrender. Pretty much everyone that I have spoke with who has significant time sober has said that they were miserable when they finally quit drinking. So it seems like it is a prerequisite to reach the necessary level of surrender.
But perhaps it is not. And in a case like yours, I don’t think that it matters, as attempting to quit drinking at this point will benefit you regardless. Even if you try to stop drinking and fail at this point, I think that is a much better path for you than just to continue on blindly drinking away. Here is why:
1) If you try to stop drinking now you might very well succeed – this would be a huge bonus in that you could potentially avoid massive amounts of pain and heartache in your life and the lives of your friends and family members. Manage to quit now and you will avoid a ton of pain. This alone makes it worth attempting.
2) If you try to stop drinking and fail you will learn – this is still useful because you will be in the learning process if you try to stop drinking at this point. If you just resign yourself to continue on with drinking then you will learn nothing, you will not grow in any way. But realize that many people struggle for years and years to try and quit. That is because learning how to live a new of life is a learning process. Better to get started learning right now.
3) If you try to stop drinking and fail you will at least have support – if you get involved with trying to quit drinking it is likely that you will be introduced to programs that can help you. This will offer you support that can help you in the future as well, regardless of whether or not you stay sober. In other words, as long as you try to stop drinking now, you will be working on building a network of support; a network of positive people in your life.
It is very wise of you to foresee these problems with alcohol and wonder about taking action to stop drinking. The key now is to actually take action and do everything you can to actually quit. Your life will be so much better if you can pull this off.
This is not just “in the long run” either….your life will start improving immediately in this case, even though you will probably experience an emotional loss over the lack of “partying” in your life. If you can get past that loss then you will start reaping the benefits of a life lived sober. Take the initiative now and find a way to change your life for the better. Learn more about how to stop drinking if you want specific strategies and approaches you can take.