Two Secrets to Stopping Drinking and Staying Stopped

Two Secrets to Stopping Drinking and Staying Stopped


The key to stopping drinking is actually a two part equation. The first part is the massive action needed to succeed in early recovery, and the second part is the long term holistic growth that is needed to be successful in long term sobriety.  Both of these are best experienced by taking action in real life than by simply theorizing or talking about them.

Early recovery demands drastic action.  To stop drinking, one might need to go to rehab in order to detox safely.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who has had the shakes after going for a day or two without a drink.  If you are at that point then you definitely need to get help for your detox.  It is not safe to do otherwise.

After going through detox, you are left with a monumental problem: how to make it through the day without taking a drink.  If you manage to succeed in this, you are faced with the exact same problem tomorrow.  It is an overwhelming problem for the true alcoholic in early recovery.  This is why you need to take massive action.  Simply going to a meeting or two is not likely to help you much, nor is it any sort of guarantee that you will stay sober for very long.  Meetings, by themselves, do not keep anyone sober.  It requires a great deal of action beyond showing up.

Tequila Shot
Creative Commons License photo credit: prayitno

If you can take positive action every day then you are on the right path. If you can change everything in your life, all at once, then this is probably the correct path as well.  Talking about this level of change is easy.  Actually doing it is next to impossible.  That is why so few alcoholics get sober on their first try.  They generally underestimate how much change is really required.  After banging their head into the wall a few times, most alcoholics will finally realize that they really do have to change everything.  This is a massive undertaking and going to long term treatment is pretty much the only shortcut.  Imagine that: a shortcut that involves living in rehab for several months.  Yes, this is the easy route.  The harder path is to make all of these massive changes out in the real world on your own.  If you can do that, and do it consistently, then you have a real shot at staying sober.  Anything less than drastic change is going to result in chronic relapse.

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