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Living Sober

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Living sober is the goal of many recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.



Photo by papalars

The idea is not to simply abstain from drugs and alcohol, but to achieve some semblance of sanity in our lives. But how can we go about doing this?

First things first: the baseline must be a drug and alcohol free body

You’ve got to start you journey to living sober with a full detox and a zero tolerance policy with yourself: no more drugs or alcohol. This should be obvious, but it bears mentioning, because so many people screw it up. If you can achieve successful moderation with drugs and alcohol then chances are good that you are not an alcoholic (congratulations, our hats are off to you!). But if you are here because you want to learn how to live a sober life and be happy and content with yourself, then you will need to understand the importance of a drug and alcohol free existence. This is your new baseline: abstinence from chemicals, and it is the base structure from which all additional growth will come from.

In short: you have to maintain physical sobriety if you want to live sober in the long run. Obvious, but important nonetheless.

Making the transition to living sober

Living a peaceful life filled with serenity doesn’t just happen overnight when you first quit drinking. There is a term in recovery called “emotional sobriety” that refers to our state of mind and how screwed up we can get even without ingesting any drugs or alcohol.

It is so easy in early recovery to become emotionally unbalanced, because it can be such a roller coaster at first. And depending on how long you have been abusing drugs and alcohol, it may be some time before you can claim peace and serenity on a daily basis.

At first such states of mind and being will be fleeting. But if you are progressing in recovery and growing as a person, then eventually your life and your emotions will smooth out. The roller coaster of early recovery will fade away and you will gain some degree of stability in your life–without having to self-medicate with chemicals.

How exactly does this happen? Through a number of individual growth processes:

1) Emotional responsibility – we stop dodging responsibility in recovery and start owning our emotions and facing them head-on instead of medicating them. This is a growth process that improves over time. Others will help us with this part of our emotional development.

2) Aversion to chaos – we learn to avoid chaos and push chaotic people our of our lives. Peace becomes more valuable to us and we start structuring our lives accordingly as we progress in recovery.

3) Social aspect – we network with others in recovery and benefit from the mutual relationships. We help each other in different ways and keep each other accountable.

4) Holistic processes – that will vary greatly among individuals. For example, some might meditate, do yoga, practice Tai Chi, find peace and serenity on the golf course each morning, take up jogging or hiking, find peace in painting or art, and so on. These types of processes might seem insignificant to the newcomer, but they hold potentially great depth and spiritual power for those pursuing long term sobriety.

So our path to living sober might be marked by a number of individual growth processes. It is not a matter of simply “not drinking.” Our whole lives must transform if we are to achieve lasting and meaningful sobriety.

Living sober = Purposeful living

What do you fill your days with? You are what you focus on, and the company you keep reflects on your life as well.

Real living sober occurs when you can become as passionate about spiritual matters as you were about drinking and drugging.

Ask anyone who has relapsed and picked up another drink and they will tell you: the moment they made the decision, their state of mind was basically screaming “SCREW IT.” They had ceased to care anymore. They got overwhelmed with whatever life was throwing at them and they finally caved and said “screw it. I will drink.”

Now the key here is to pay attention to the idea of saying “screw it.” We have to pay attention to that idea and remember what it feels like to abandon all hope and give in to a bad decision like that. To be successful in recovery, we have to always be on guard against that state of despair. We must find a way to maintain hope.

One of the biggest ways to do that is to find purpose and passion in our lives. It is not enough to want to avoid the misery of addiction. Instead we must find something positive that can motivate us for continued success. This is a big part of the creative life in recovery.

Purposeful living in sobriety means finding your passion

For some recovering addicts, finding their passion in sobriety means reaching out to others at AA or NA meetings and heavy involvement with sponsorship. For others, purposeful living might mean regular meditation and reconnecting with their family. And yet for still others in recovery, their ultimate purpose might be something unrelated to helping addicts, but still be something meaningful enough to provide them with enough motivation to maintain their creative life in recovery. For example, someone who works with developmentally disabled people in a group home setting might find enough joy and meaning in the work that it qualifies as a real “purpose” in life for them.

Whatever your purpose ends up being, it becomes something of a replacement strategy in recovery. Some people might simply involve themselves heavily in AA or NA, and this can comprise a replacement strategy all by itself. But I would caution that in doing so, you had better be truly passionate about working the program and involving yourself deeply with the fellowship and sponsorship and such. Anything less is likely to bring about substandard results and possibly a relapse.

A replacement strategy can be almost anything in recovery, as long as it works for you. It has to be something that you’re passionate about, and it helps if your replacement strategy allows you to reach out and help other people as well. These are the key principles in finding purpose in recovery.

Holistic principles

Because sober living is more than just abstaining from chemicals, holistic principles become very important for long term sobriety.

In the beginning, recovery should be simple and straightforward. Abstinence is the only real goal at first. You have to achieve that initial baseline of being drug and alcohol free, and then from there you can start to build.

After you’re clean and sober for a short while, you start to learn the coping skills and strategies for maintaining sobriety. You might start some spiritual practices as well in order to help you stay sober. You stay clean and sober for one day at a time, and thus make it through your early recovery.

As time goes on the coping skills, strategies, and spiritual practices that you use to stay sober become more automatic. They become second nature to you and being sober starts to become second nature as well. Arguably, there is a transition here from early recovery into long-term sobriety.

How is living in long-term sobriety different from early recovery? For one thing, a lot of our problems have changed. Instead of clawing the walls and desperately trying not to drink in early recovery, in long-term sobriety we are facing the subtle but deadly foe of complacency. We no longer face the imminent threat of relapse, but on the other hand, complacency can make the threat of relapse just as real, because now it is sneaky and subtle. So there is still growth to be made regardless of how long we have been sober. Holistic approaches to recovery make more sense the longer you have been sober, because we start growing in different directions, and the threat of complacency can attack us from any number of different directions.

Complacency is sneaky. I have seen at least one recovering alcoholic fall victim to poor health and die fairly young, because they never bothered to change their eating habits, lose weight, quit smoking, or get any exercise as they maintained sobriety. A holistic approach could have saved this person’s life, but instead they focused only on maintaining abstinence from alcohol, without looking further as to how to better themselves.

Recovery is a process. It takes time for your new life to be rebuilt. At first, approaching recovery through a wide variety of holistic approaches is not ideal. But as time goes on, and the newcomer transitions to the creative life in long term sobriety, holistic principles become more and more important every day.

Worrying about nutrition and exercise is not a key priority during your first month of sobriety. At that early stage, you would want to stay focused on abstaining from chemicals and making it through each day without relapsing. But as time goes on, and maintaining physical abstinence becomes more and more automatic, the recovering addict needs to start branching out and improving their lives in other ways. Most programs focus on spiritual growth. Many addicts and alcoholics in recovery have died early from a variety of non-spiritual afflictions: mental breakdowns and suicide, heart failure, lung cancer, and so on. This is what makes a holistic approach so critical in long-term sobriety. It makes seemingly irrelevant activities important to long term sobriety, because they help fight complacency and keep you active, involved, and living with purpose.

Action items – what you can do:

1) Embrace the creative life in recovery.

2) Actively pursue purpose in your life. Abstinence is a baseline, not the end goal.

3) Explore holistic approaches – meditation, yoga, exercise, the arts, and so on.

4) Explore different support networks – 12 step groups, church groups, etc. Find ways to reach out and help others.

 

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  • Brian Ruddy

    I would like some support I am in dire straights. Please help!

    Brian

  • Brian Ruddy

    I am an alcoholic and have been drinking since I have been 15 now 44 and also have a serious Anxiety disorder so I take Klonzapam and hae lost everything in my life: 2 wives, tons of $$, jobs, friends, driver’s licenses, cars, and about to lose the love of 2 of my boys 4 and 8 but am afraid to go away to rehab because I am afraid they will take away my meds and my withdrawal will freak me out I get panic attacks and have severe anxiety issues as well as physical conditions: such as an ostomy, psoriatic arthritis, ankliosing spondolitis etc

    Please help,
    Brian

  • Patrick

    I am no doctor Brian but I know that most people I have seen who were on anxiety meds like that (Benzo’s) were much better off when they got on alternative, non-addictive medications. That can be tricky to find so don’t try to do it without the help of your doctor, but I would definitely ask your doc about possibly finding different meds to treat the anxiety. There are a handful of them that can be used that are not addictive.

    I’m not sure about your chances of overcoming addiction if you are still taking those types of “heavy” anxiety pills…they mask your feelings and are sort of like the equivalent of liquor in a pill form.

    I hope you can find a way to live sober without them. Good luck to you. Also note that you should be under medical supervision if you try to quit taking those types of meds; very dangerous detox.

  • Klaus

    Alkohol has killed my enrire twenties,it has isolated me from my familie (also alcoholics,but able to function in the society) friends and myself.i feel like numb(taub)and helpless.I drink every day,it is a routine,most of the time i am unable to break through this routine.Alcohol is my best friend,helper,it has become the center in my life.My addiction has developed from bad to worse, iam looking at me and my life and can’t do anything,it is terrible.I have big problems to start,i know it is worth itbut the enemy knows exactly were to hit.

  • dacrco

    somebody pray for me

  • michael

    i’m praying for you dacrco.

  • sabrina

    I recently went into the hospital for detox from benzo’s and pain killers. It was about 4 wks ago now. I had a relapse a week ago and almost killed myself with an overdose. I am having to see a psychologist on a regular basis and have hit the very bottom of my moods. I have suicidal thoughts everyday. I have been sober for 8 days now. At this point, I feel tired. Its hard work to stay this way. I am afraid that I wont be able to do it for very long.

  • 20_year_old

    I am very young. 20 years of age. I don’t know if it us even possible to be an alcoholic at this age. I feel like I am. I started drinking near the end of my high school career. I did very well in high school in all aspects of life, sports, grades, girls, family, faith. I got into a good school. All of this went away when I started drinking. I immediately loved being drunk as soon as I started drinking. As soon as I moved out I began drinking 2-3 days a week. It quickly became 3-4, 4-5, and once in a while hit 5-6 or 6-7 days a week. The days I wasn’t drinking I was hungover, trying to recover so I could drink again. Then it got to the point where I wouldn’t be hungover unless i blacked out from hard liquor. Then I became used to being hungover and thought nothing of it. I stopped caring about school, my family, my faith, and I guess myself. I guess it is early enough for me to figure this out on my own. I decided to go sober about 6 weeks ago. Then I found myself smoking pot a few times, about 3-4 weeks into it. Then I started smoking pot a bit more often. Last week, my and my friend had tickets to a concert that we had bought about 6 months ago. I decided to drink because I had promised myself and my friend that I was going to be wasted at the concert. I was a bit hungover the next day but by nightfall I was fine. Then I ended up drinking with my buddies back in my hometown. Since then I have been reached by my younger cousin who I love and adore very much. He tried explaining to me that drinking is ruining my life. I went off on him and made him angry. I talked about this with a mutual friend later because I was disturbed by the situation. I finally realized that my younger cousin simply cares about me very much and looks up to me as his one and only idol. Before this, I would have said I loved my friends more than him. But now I feel like I love him more because he loves me more. My friends never told me to stop drinking. I have now been sober for 3 days. I know I want to stay sober for the rest of my life, it just seems very difficult right now. If anyone could offer any analysis, advice, or encouragement, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

  • hang on

    just hang on…
    you can do it..

  • Ron

    Brian,I too was on anxiety meds,6 months sober and they almost have disappeared,these anxieties we’re alcohol induced as I suspect yours may be.Rehab and a good aa program will take care of it all.It’s hard to start,read the twelve promises and know they are true.Ron

  • jen

    20 year old. I too can so relate to your story. I’m now 27 but stated drinking in high school, just to party and fit in. By the time I was 20 i was had a fake and would go out every other night. It was every other because i would be nursing a hangover from the night before. I made several attempts to stop partying in my early 20’s , but found it very hard, it just seemed like everyone my age wanted to get wasted. I cant lie and say its easy to avoid in your early 20’s but for what its worth you have to give it your all and try. My best friend that ive known sense freshman year of high school just passes away last summer. His liver failed him at 26 years. The found him alone outside on his porch. I had not talked to him in a year and he lived 3 miles away from me. He was a great student and a amazing person. he would give you the shirt of his back, literally. Having to see his father at the funeral was one of the hardest things i had to do. I spoke in front of everyone there and admitted i had a problem too. I still could not stop. Now things are different. I am using the pain of addiction and the pain of his loss to fuel my passion, like stated in this article. Drinking is a huge part of college but a degree is useless if your a drunk or dead. When you want to drink just think about your family at your funeral. Its been helping me. I never thought about dying from “drinking with my friends” but trust me it happens, a lot. good luck.

  • jen

    p.s. you will need to let go of toxic friends ,jobs, living situation. ANYTHING that will trigger you to drink. This is very important! I had to quit bar tending, get rid of Facebook and a lot of toxic friends.

  • me..

    i am 17. i have a drug problem. i started smoking ciggs to be cool at 12. 14 started smoking weed. at 15 started selling weed to make money and free weed. by 16 i had sold and tried everything coke it all. i havent been sober in over 2 yrs. it sucks, i wish i could be happy sober.. but i dont even remember how to live sober

  • p

    i am writing these words knowing they are going to be the words someone needs to hear at the right moment. or maybe i just need to let this out.

    i am 3 weeks sober. when i say sober, i mean from drugs and alcohol; including cigarettes.

    you see, i quit doing coke and hard drugs and drinkng heavily about four years ago.

    for the next four years i just smoked pot and cigarettes heavily. i figured, i wasnt doing hard drugs or being an alcoholic so it cant be too bad.

    well i was simply replacing one habit with another.

    for the last year or two i have really struggled with stopping smoking pot and cigs, but have never been successful until now.

    it wasnt an a-ha moment. it was years of this idea growing in my head. of me knowing in the back of my mind i didnt want this for myself. i didnt want this to be my life. i wanted all the pain and hurting to stop. i wanted life to stop being so fucking awful all the time. i wanted to go back to the sweet innocent kid i was. the intelligent, likeable, funny sweet kid. who had dreams and potential. that kid who had motivation. it was never hard for that kid to get outta bed. i wanted to be sober, but found it too much to handle, too much pain.

    i havent lived a sober life in over 7 years. but now im making the decision to do so. im taking my life back. instead of watching the next 20 years go by with the same cycle…broke…work a job i hate…to use…to feel soemthing…to feel nothing..to make myself feel worse cause im broke…and have to work a job i hate…to use….etc.
    instead of watching that cycle repeat, id rather take a chance on all the dreams i had. go back to being that sweet innocent kid. and take this as a learning experience, but to move on in my life as a stronger person.

    it is hard at times, because my body is learning how to function like normal again, its not getting the drugs it is used to getting so it puts me through extreme ups n downs trying to persuade me to feed my body drugs. but i wont do it. i am determined to find something greater in this life. to find my purpose, my meaning. to offer someone something. to find a moment of true happiness.

    because all the drinking and drugging in the world hasnt brought me any happiness. and it is all i truly want, is to be happy. and i know i need to abstain from all drugs and alcohol to be happy. what kind of healthy body needs poison to flourish i ask

    it feels very good to be a person again. to have a mind and thoughts. and feelings. and senses. and intuition. and faith. thats a big one for me. having faith gives me hope. it lets me know that even through this hard time, there is a good time coming to balance this out.

    it also has to do with your thinking. if you wanna sit there and feel sorry for yourself or make a list of all the reasons you are the way you are, think of all the terrible things that happened to you in your childhood, then go ahead. weve all been there, and most of us are still there. its just a stage in your journey and if you have faith in yourself, you will pass that stage. but taking responsibility for the decisions ive made in life and the ones i choose to make has set me free. and knowing i will create my future, gives me great joy. knowing i can choose to be an alcoholic or i can choose to take an art class…its all up to me.

    i dont know if im rambling or if these words will really help anyone. but i know i feel great after writing.

    bless all your souls,

    join me in sobriety
    i can assure you its the only way to live happy :)

    cheers

  • Brian B

    Substance Abuse….. Wow last night I woke up and stared at the ceiling, I just sat there, I cried a bit because before going to bed last night I stood in my bathroom and did not recognize myself. I did not plan to stare into the mirror but when I did all I could think was: you may not be an alcoholic like the rest of your family but you are a substance abuser…. THAT HURT I never thought I would be here….

    I am 36 year of age, I have Cerebral Palsy and live with daily chronic muscle spasms and pain. The entire left side of my body hurts and I can get no relief unless I take codeine, mixed with some pot or wine…

    The constant body pain started when I was about 28 years of age. I never drank, as I had watched several family members kill themselves drinking.

    Today, I am sitting here knowing that I have a problem, wondering how in the world I will cope with the daily agony of the CP without the pot, pills or wine… I can’t even fall asleep without them… I now know that regardless of why I use the chemicals that I am enslaved by them… I appreciate the honesty that was shared on this site….

  • Patrick

    @ Brian B – that is an intense situation with your chronic pain factored in….I would seek out a good Doc who is experienced with substance abuse (they do exist!) and work with him to find a way to live sober with your condition. This may take some digging and persistence on your part….good luck.

  • hreframnt

    trying to live sober is like wiping ur ass with sandpaper!!! I relate to all of your stories,still havnt found a way for me yet”27 yrs of watching life just pass by” I get hope from those who have found the way! But your stories give me strength to make it through at least 1 day!!! Thank you!!!

  • J

    I have been sober for 6
    Months now and have just quit an industry I have hated since I started. I am now in the process of becoming a fitness trainer being sober opens doors you never thought could be opened just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I promise in the centre of fear is nothing. Go for it. Make your smile real. Enjoy life it’s scary but trust it will be ok.

  • Marc

    Drinking for way too long. Just moved away from my wife & 2 children, was living as a family for 18 years now i am living alone in small flat.Due to me drinking…
    Some days are worse i can get freaked and wake up at 4am and hit the bottle….i am self employed and know when i am half cut i turn the phone off. Months behind in bills and its getting worse…..
    Miss my kids so bad…..drink to kill my feelings of lonliness and fear……oh well

  • Marc

    Day 1 – it’s all i can do to type my whole body is shaking….i have gotta do this…..
    Living on own…cant think straight at all.
    Plus eviction from flat is soon….

  • Jonny

    Stick with it mate I was were you are a short 18 months ago contact an AA group a member will come and see you you cant do this on your own God knows I tried a million times after 72 hours the alcohol will be out of your system and physically youll feel a bit better but mentally it will be a little tough.

  • Marc

    Thank you………. i screwed up & cant do it. still drinking. In bad place. No job, no income just bad…..

  • Marc

    Hospital detox………………11 days cleans so far.
    Any one out there you can do it !! Stick with it and stay positive please……good luck & best wishes to all !

  • Sunshine

    Day one…God please help me!

  • Marc

    Hi Sunshine……..you can do it !! Find a locall AA or NA group ask for help, support, advice…see your doctor if possible to you may get a referral to a detox hospital. I know sounds daunting but believe me it works !! 6 weeks clean so far…..
    YOU CAN DO IT !! Sunshine stay strong my friend higher powers will helop….be positive !! Best wishes….
    Marc

  • Paul

    Brian,

    I am in the same situation. Want to get sober but can’t. I’m 44 as well. How do I change? Its the only life I’ve known.

  • Marc

    Hi Paul,
    Its 1 day at a time………find a local AA group, google them, they will help you no problem.
    Remember you can do it !! Thousands have….i know its hard my friend but you really can do it !!
    Time, trust in yourself and the will to want to stop – you have already stepped out and said i want to get sober…..one day at a time, even 1 hour at a time to begin with…..YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!

  • Dom

    my goal is to live a sober life. Its not easy but i’m living without alcohol. I wanna start doing other things, get passionate about something other then the party or a drink. Join a gym maybe? Not sure..

  • Dom

    If my boyfriend and I are both taking our sobriety seriously (both alcoholics in their 30’s) Can we really come out of this together and sober together?

  • Marc

    Hi Dom,
    Yes you can ! Depends on both of your habits, amounts etc etc but with help, support and each other you can do it !!
    Plse dont be discouraged if i say phone the AA for some help, advice – they are very good and really helped me….
    After a short while of sobriety your thoughts change so much that sobriety almost becomes addictive !! Sounds a little crazy but trust me……try getting a little help, some advice but most of all beleive in yourslves – YOU CAN DO IT !!!

  • April

    i am 24 now and since i was 17 i had been drinking heavily and i would smoke pot on occasions. 2010 i would rarely drink but that when i got into smoke pot more often and also experimenting with other drugs. In oct. of 2010 i had a bad mushroom trip and ever since then i have not smoked pot anymore or experimented with drugs either. i have drank a few times since then and i feel i can have just a couple of drinks and stop myself after but even if its just a couple i feel guilty. and ever since my bad mushroom trip i really havent felt like myself. i feel like i am just going thru lifes movements but i am not really there if that makes sense.

  • Rick

    Wow! A lot of touching stories on here. It gives me that all important word/feeling…HOPE. I’m from Boulder County, Colorado and am an addict. I believe I, now going through some court ordered classes, have been an addict since I was a child addicted to anger. Anger which lead me to heavily abuse substances starting at 16. I am 37 now. I’ve had enough of this prison I’ve been in for 2 decades. This article hit home and helps my resolve. It’s only been 3 days now. But, I’m stubborn and my will is gaining. I will defeat this. May the universe bless us all! Keep up the fight!!!

  • Chris

    I’ve been in and around AA since I was a teenager. I’ve seen my Grandfather die from surosis of the liver, my Grandmother and Father were alcoholics and I know better. I’ve became a master at hiding and displacing my alcoholism and have drank for over 20 years. I have had three failed marrages and have finnally with a counselor come to understand that I and my alcohol addiction is and was the problem. I’ve been to four AA meetings and have only managed to remain alcohol free for a day or so. I’m a single parrent with a five year old and I am what they call a functioning alcoholic. I’ve abused alcohol for my insomnia and used it as my “gas” because my life is non stop. I can drink from early morinng but landscape my entire yard, clean the entire house, get all the laundry done , cook dinner and care for my daughter. Before I know it, by the end of the night I’ve consumed an entire liter of wine. I’m glad I’ve found this posting and I have definately recieved inspiration. Thank you for helping me redouble my efforts to stop drinking!!

  • Steve

    sober recovery takes a long time but benefits can be realized early with gratitude, humbleness and openmindedness. at first you crawl, then walk and in time – running. we tend to look for short-term gratification and recovery is a process of breaking this cycle. don’t ever give up. it is the best thing i ever did for myself. my life is great now but it took a lot of work, trials and pain.

  • joseph

    hi for me it is arly days however i have a desire to help others to not only beat addiction but to lead a fulfilled life and what i observe is some who achieve a degree of sobriety then fall into the trap of being holier than thou.help me to help others without falling into the same trap

  • Meka

    Hello, My names meka I’m at 51 days sober. Its still a struggle for me everyday. I’m only 24 but my drinking was really bad to where I would pass out anywhere everywhere even one time woke up in my own vomit (ick) and for some reason at the time I thought it was fine that I kept drinking. I was drinking myself sick. I’d been binge drinking since I was 18 and in the military. It cost me a lot of things my government clearance, a job and mostly my sanity. I think its good that people should quit drinking. I found it helpful to find a hobby. I never knew I didn’t have any actual hobbies outside of partying. But I’m glad I do now and I’m also working on my degree. The choice to be sober is the best decision and I know each day will always be a stuggle. I haven’t gone to AA yet I haven’t found one close enough to me that I can get to :-/

  • Christina

    10 months clean and sober this week, it CAN be done! With the help of my meetings, friends, higher power. Slowly the insanity is leaving me, I can look at myself in the mirror again. Don’t have that crazed, haunted look in my eyes anymore (most of the time).
    Hang in there, I pray for you!

  • karen

    Hi it has only been two days since I quit drinking and I know if I don’t get some help I will be back at it. I have made all the excuses in the book but, bottom line I can’t drink. Funny enough I work in the health food industry and know all the bad things it can do to the body. I have convince myself just because I don’t drink that often I must not have a problem. My partner drinks and smokes pot so it is going to be a rough go I have to be strong.

  • Jacquie

    Hi, I realise I have a problem and gave up for 12 months thinking that the abstinence would cure me. I have tried having a drink socially but still feel the pull and the loss of power over my ability to say no. Sometimes I can’t even say no to the second glass let a lone the 3rd or 4th. I am going to give up (again!!) but the hardest part is the peer pressure. I lost friends (or should I say I thought they were friends) last time. People look at you as if you have 2 heads when you say “no thanks” to a drink. I want to succeed, I want to feel in control….. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to rise above the peer group pressure?

  • gina

    Hi! I’ve been sober for over a year, drugs for more than that & tobacco free almost 2 years now. It all started by wanting to lose weight, which I did (30 lbs) & the rest fell in place. I quit it all on my own, because I wanted to, period. I will have a glass of wine for a holiday, then feel totally guilty & apologize to my body.
    My partner still smokes & drinks daily & did the entire time I was trying to quit.
    Now I’m totally vice free & it sucks. I’m a super health nut now, work out daily & don’t even think of drinking, drugs or smoking anymore. They just aren’t part of my lifestyle.
    My problem is I can’t stand to be around people who drink. I don’t party like I did anymore & if & when I do go to an event & people are drinking, my tolerance level is like zero. People seem to change even after one drink.
    I don’t want to attend AA meetings & here everyone else’s stories, nor do I want to get up in a room full of strangers & share mine.
    I did it, it’s over, time to move forward.
    Any suggestions of where to meet up with similar people without the AA thing?
    I am 59 & live in southeast florida.

  • Patrick

    @ Gina – sobriety is its own reward. This is obvious to the hard core alcoholic or addict who has been “run through the mill” and is now living sober.

    If you cannot tolerate drinkers then I would avoid them entirely. I have changed my own life around to do exactly that. I used to hang out with them exclusively. Now I don’t have anyone in my life who drinks regularly.

    Normally I would not suggest AA to anyone necessarily but because you are resisting it so much it might actually be the best idea for you to explore. It is not a lifelong commitment or anything….

  • gina

    @Patrick,
    Thanx for your comments. Where did you find your group of sober friends, AA?

  • Patrick

    Mostly from long term rehab, more so than aa/na…..

  • Fran

    @Jacquie,
    I have been sober for a little over 3 months now and was feeling the peer pressure also. I now explain to my friends that Alcohol is an Allergy for me and I can not drink like they can so it was best for me to quit. All of my real friends support me 100%, the others just vanished. When I realized I was powerless over alcohol and my life had became unmanageable, I had already completed the first step. Recovery is a slow life long commitment and I am already noticing so much more positive things happening in my life. Good luck to you and keep it simple!

  • Fran

    @Gina,

    I disagree with Patrick completely. AA is a life long commitment if you choose to remain sober from alcohol. I have only been in the fellowship for a few months but have seen and heard stories of people with sobriety stop going to meetings and right back out there again. My sponsor has well over 20 years of sobriety but he is one drink away of being back to square one. Most of the people in my group who have tons of sobriety tell me,( I came here for the drinking, but stay here for the thinking) Good luck!!

  • randydeewilliams

    If a person chooses to make AA their way of life in order to stay sober, that’s fine. If it works keep working it! However, I feel that AA/NA is one of several tools that the alcoholic can use to stay sober. If anyone reading this submission has read some of my other post, they know that my alcoholism and I.V. drug use was chronic, extreme and end-stage. I found that I cannot LIVE in meetings to stay sober and God is the only person that I have true 24/7 access to. Not a sponsor. Therefore, I needed a multi prong attack to address my chronic addictions. This involved MASSIVE POSITIVE ACTIONS to address my problem. This includes, AA/NA, an active spiritual involvement with my faith and a holistic approach to repair my damaged nerves and liver. My “program” is a DAILY dose of massive positive actions that includes living a life of self-sacrifice . I do not want to live in therapy rooms or become married to any particular philosophy that says I need “it” to stay sober. Besides, the 12 step model in AA was originally based on bible principles and the concept of meeting together and sharing was derived from the first century Christians. See Hebrews 10:24-25. Confession, healing and doing our inventory can be found in the letter of James in the bible. I think we get it. The key is to find your path and go for it if it keeps you sober. If this is AA, that’s fine too!

  • Fran

    @ randy
    Your message is very powerful and I thank you for sharing this. Your faith in God will pull you thru and heal you body and soul. It’s obvious you have great recovery and what your doing is working. I do believe in a Higher Power and have found that sharing my story and listening to others has helped me tremendously. My faith in God and my sobriety have started to give me my life back one day at a time. And yes, you are totally correct. AA principles came from the Oxford Group who principles came straight from the Bible. Thanks again for sharing, and God Bless!

  • randydeewilliams

    @ FRAN
    Thank You Fran. Your positive spirit and our higher power in the heavens is making us well. We must thank Patrick for this great site! I will keep an eye on all of your post…..

  • visman

    The last words I heard under the influence of alcohol went something like this;
    Wife; This can’t go on,You have to do something about your drinking because me and the children can’t live with you like this.You’re an arsehole when you’re drunk.
    I’m not taking any more.
    That was a Sunday morning 2 years ago.I went to bed sober ,couldn’t sleep and spent the whole night convincing myself that I could live without alcohol,I could do it. I needed to do it for myself and the people around me.I had taken the first step.I had a drink problem and I wanted to stop.I had known for 20 years this day would come.
    Sober since that day I have gotten a new lease on life,when I kiss my daughter goodnight she does not complain about my alco breath,My wife says it’s almost like living with a new person in a great way.I now have quality time playing with the kids.
    Do I miss it? yes,I had a love for alcohol from a young age( about 10) and prob had a drink prob by 18.
    Am I tempted? never,I’m having too much fun finding the real me I never knew.
    There is so much spare time now and I sleep better.My mood has improved and I have much more patience.It’s a joy to be calmer and less erratic/volatile.
    I think it was easier for me because at 46 y/o there really was nothing left in alcohol consumption that I hadn’t seen or done and there was no fascination left. less and less good times and more and more misery.
    Oh yes nearly forgot,I did go to AA twice but it wasn’t for me, though telling my long boring story in front of a room of people who could relate was useful,if emotional.Could not get past the whole”we admit we are powerless over alcohol”could not disagree more, of course I wasn’t! I had complete control and I was going to do something about it!
    Anyway, to all of you thinking of stopping “come on in the water’s fine”
    Go to AA if you need to but don’t be afraid to take what you need and leave the rest.It worked for me,and knowing they are there if I need them is enough.Good luck

  • Patrick

    @ Fran – I made a commitment to total abstinence and I was in AA for 18 months of my recovery.

    Then I left AA completely. That was a full ten years ago.

    I have been clean and sober ever since. Many of my friends in AA have relapsed and a few have even died from the disease.

    For me, AA was NOT a lifelong commitment. However, I did make a very strong commitment to myself regarding total abstinence from drugs and alcohol……

    YMMV….