A reader writes in and asks: “How can I stop drinking alcohol and using drugs on my own?”
A good question, really. But I would challenge this person to rethink why they believe they have to “do it on their own” and consider the possibility of asking for help.
Now I know that many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are not social people. They might have social anxiety and be nervous about going to meetings and being put on the spot and stuff like that. If that is the case then you should know that you do not have to use a “social” solution to recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. There are other paths to recovery and you can change your whole life and start living clean and sober without having to conform to the traditional route of 12 step recovery.
Note that if you try to do your own thing and avoid this traditional path in recovery you will hear a lot of criticism for it. They will warn you that if you do not go to 12 step meetings that you are doomed to relapse. They will tell you that you will drink and you will die. Be prepared for this type of attitude among 12 steppers and don’t let it ruffle you too badly. Meetings don’t keep anyone sober and if you need proof of that just go to a couple hundred of them and witness the ridiculous amount of people who relapse and keep coming back to them.
Now this is not to say that the 12 step program does not work, because it does work for some people. But it fails for many, many more and there are people who are living an awesome life in recovery without the 12 step program.
If you want to quit using drugs and alcohol on your own, here are some things you will need to do:
1) Detox physically. Get clean and sober and get stable. This is your first and most important priority, always.
2) Find others in recovery who can help you. You can do this outside of programs, outside of meetings, and outside of fellowships. Networking is important in early recovery. Ask for help.
3) Push yourself to grow personally. Make holistic growth. Look at all areas of your life. Try to make growth in all of them. This would include physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and so on. Do not limit yourself to one area as being the most important.
4) Push yourself to build real self esteem. This means by achieving goals and finding real purpose in life and taking action. Do positive stuff.
5) Help others. Try to help others in recovery, specifically. Make it a habit. Better yet, make it part of your life and part of who you are.
If you do these things then you can enjoy recovery without programs and meetings and so on. Good luck…..