Maybe you are drinking more than you would like to lately.
Maybe you have experienced some unwanted consequences from your alcohol consumption. Maybe they were even embarrassing consequences.
For whatever reason, you have decided that you would like to gain control again.
How do you go about doing this? What steps do you take?
I would like to help you figure out the path to either sobriety or reduced alcohol consumption. My first suggestion would be for you to figure out just what your real diagnosis is: Are you a problem drinker, or are you an alcoholic?
If you are a problem drinker then that generally means that you have problems when you start drinking. You drink some alcohol and then you end up drinking to excess. But as long as you are not drinking at all then there is no problem.
An alcoholic is different from this. A real alcoholic will have problems when you remove the alcohol from the equation. The true alcoholic will still be acting out and finding other ways to self medicate if you deprive them of alcohol.
When you remove alcohol from a problem drinker, the person does not constantly obsess over the possibility of getting drunk or high again. The real alcoholic, on the other hand, will constantly think of how they can become intoxicated again.
If you happen to determine that you are “just a problem drinker” and not a “real alcoholic” then I honestly do not know how to help you other than to suggest that you drink less often, and that when you do decide to drink, you limit your consumption to 2 beverages at the most. I have heard this advice given to others and I have never tested the advice myself, and I am not a “problem drinker” myself, so I cannot vouch for this advice. It does sound like sound advice though if it actually fits your situation.
Now you might find, however, as I once did, that I was not, in fact, a problem drinker. I had to come to the realization at one point that I was a “real alcoholic.” Meaning that when you took away the alcohol from me the problem that existed in my mind did not stop. My mental obsession and compulsion to drink remained. I could not figure out how to live any kind of life, especially a happy life, without self medicating using alcohol or other drugs.
I was a real alcoholic. I needed a solution for living. I needed a lot of help.
If you find yourself to be a real alcoholic, the kind that cannot function well unless they are self medicating using alcohol or other drugs, then I can help you.
Here is what you should do: Start by admitting to yourself that you have a serious problem, and that you need help. Admitting this to other people may feel like the right thing to do, but honestly it doesn’t matter much and I do not believe that shouting your new problem from the hilltops is going to help you at all. Instead, YOU have to know that you need to get help. It has to come from you, from deep within, the desire to change your life.
Then you ask for help. My suggestion is that you call an inpatient rehab center and ask them for help. Ask them what has to happen for you to check into rehab. If they cannot help you directly, they should be able to give you the next phone number that you need to call in order to meet your needs. If that fails then simply call another rehab center. If you persist in this then eventually you will find yourself making an appointment to check into rehab. If you do not have an appointment yet then it just means that you have not made enough phone calls yet and found the right people. Someone can likely help you, depending on your location and insurance situation, of course.
Once you go to inpatient treatment you will start on the path that will lead to freedom from alcoholism. All you have to do at this point, quite honestly, is to follow directions and do what they tell you to do. Really, that is the big secret. The only problem is that no one wants to do this because they are too busy trying to maintain control of their life, trying to maintain their dignity, trying to protect their ego, or trying to convince themselves that their problems are not actually all that bad.
But the secret of beating alcoholism or drug addiction is to simply let go of everything and allow yourself to be “reprogrammed.” You will find that if you trust in this simple process that you will not lose your identity and that the person that you become in recovery is far, far better than the person that you were in active addiction.
I was honestly worried that if I went to rehab and AA and allowed myself to be “brainwashed” in recovery then the likable person that I was in the past would be gone forever. This turned out to be false. The truth was that I became an even better version of myself in sobriety, and I actually continued to improve myself and my life over and over again as I remained clean and sober. This is what it means to keep “reinventing yourself” in recovery, to keep pushing for more and more positive change, for more personal growth. Self improvement is not the same thing as being “brainwashed,” as I had feared. I was still me, but I was better.
The way that I regained control of myself was by going to rehab and then rebuilding my life from the ground up. I had to get out of my own way enough to start taking advice from other people, listening to their suggestions, and actually following through and doing what they were suggesting that I do. So I started going to AA meetings, I got a sponsor, I worked the steps, I started writing in a journal, I started exercising, I started meditating, and I slowly started to build new and healthy relationships with people who actually wanted to see me remain clean and sober.
This was how I left my cravings behind for alcohol and other drugs–by building a new life for myself that I was actually excited to be living.
This takes time. And the fact that it takes time for all of this good stuff to accumulate in recovery means that you are going to need to have some faith while you are waiting for the miracle to happen.
You need hope so that you will surrender, so that you will ask for help, so that you can dive into treatment and recovery programs.
But you need faith so that you will stick it out, so that you will keep taking suggestions and doing the work while you are waiting for this amazing new life that I keep talking about. Because it doesn’t happen overnight, and it honestly takes a couple of months before you have that moment of awakening where you realize “Hey wait a minute, I am actually happier today in my recovery than I ever was during my active addiction!” And that moment is a miracle. You have to experience it for yourself to really feel the full gratitude behind that realization. And it can take a few months of real work in recovery before you have that magic moment.
So give yourself a break. Give yourself a chance to experience this moment of gratitude by putting in the work to get yourself there. It takes real commitment and dedication. And that means you must surrender in full. Good luck to you on your journey!