For some people, the thought of quitting alcohol for life is a depressing and terrifying idea. To those who are addicted, the idea of facing life sober can be overwhelming and scary. Most people will not admit that they are afraid to live without alcohol and therefore they stay trapped in denial and prefer to claim that they do not have a drinking problem at all. Instead of getting real with themselves they prefer to delude themselves into believing that they actually could control their drinking if only they wanted to (but they just don’t want to, you see). And so they continue on drinking as their life continues to spiral out of control and they confront more and more chaos due to their disease.
What is the trick to quitting alcohol for your whole life? Those who follow a 12 step program would say that the key is to simply focus on quitting alcohol for a day at a time, instead of shooting for the moon and saying that you will try to stay sober for the rest of your life. The “day at a time” philosophy has thus gained widespread acceptance in the recovery community and most everyone has heard of it and used the concept to keep some level of sanity in their life.
But even with this neat mental trick, the broader question still remains: “What is the secret of long term sobriety?” Many alcoholics fail to stay sober, and there are even several people who have been sober for several years who end up drinking again. What then is the secret?
The secret is passion and purpose and creating a new life through massive action. That is the secret. If you want to quit alcohol for life then you need to get excited about recovery and get passionate about helping other people in some way and work really, really hard at achieving these goals. You also have to do it consistently, every day of your life. No small order to be sure, but the payoff is truly awesome. If you can make it your life work to help others in recovery and get excited about doing it, then you have an excellent shot at staying sober for the long haul.
If, on the other hand, you get sober and basically do the bare minimum in order to maintain your sobriety, then you are treading on thin ice when it comes to your recovery. If you want to quit alcohol forever then you need to take that up as your life work and keep plugging away at it until you die.
Keep in mind that those who use a recovery program still have to put in massive effort as well. There is no shortcut to sobriety that comes from mystical steps or anything like that. Those who find success within a recovery program still have to put their nose to the grindstone and put in a massive effort.
You don’t get sober and stay that way without completely redesigning your life. And that takes hard work. Lots of it.