If you are struggling to quit drinking alcohol and this has become a recurring problem for you that you have never been able to conquer, then you are probably what could be labeled as a “chronic relapser.”
This is not uncommon and in fact many people who eventually do sober up for good go through a long process that spans years or even decades in which they struggle to find success in sobriety.
Do not feel bad if you have tried and failed to stay clean and sober. This is normal. Almost no recovering alcoholic “gets it” on the first attempt at sobriety. Most take at least 3 tries and many take more than that.
Breaking out of the cycle
The problem of course is not in just quitting drinking, but in being able to abstain for long periods of time. All of us, even the most hard core alcoholic in the world, stops drinking for at least some period of time.
Someone might drink every single day but eventually they get thrown in jail, or they run out of money and get really sick, or whatever. Every drunk, no matter how hard core they are, goes through brief periods of sobriety.
So the problem is not in quitting booze. The problem is: how to stay stopped.
The fact is that every alcoholic drinks because they like the effect that it produces on them, and they have become dependent on that form of self medicating.
In order to produce long term sobriety, they have to find a way to deal with their life in a way that does not depend on alcohol.
You quit drinking, and then…..life happens.
Just because you sober up does not mean that life no longer throws you curve balls. You still gotta deal with stuff.
Bad things still happen in recovery. Not every day will be coming up roses. You are gonna need a way to cope, a way to recover, a way to deal with life without being drunk all the time.
Doing something different other than self medicating with alcohol
I would contend that you need to find a new way to live, and that doing so is a very long and sometimes challenging process.
If you look at the success stories from AA you will see a person who has gone through this long learning process, and they have learned how to cope with life without using alcohol.
Now you might do well in AA or you might be totally against the idea.
That is fine. You don’t HAVE to use AA as your solution.
But you need to find something. You need a solution.
You need a plan of action that is strong enough to give you the tools and the support that you need to deal with your life every day, without running away to the bottle.
For some people this might consist of counseling or therapy. For others, it might mean getting involved in a church. Some people might just need to get into shape, and start taking positive action and using their energy in a more positive manner.
On the other hand, breaking out of that cycle of addiction can require serious committment and drastic action in some cases.
For example, I lived in long term rehab for 20 months in order to kick off the 10 years+ of sobriety that I am now enjoying. I don’t believe I would be sober today if I had not lived in rehab.
The prescription for a chronic alcoholic and what they should do
The best advice to give to a chronic relapser is this:
Consider the treatment you have had in the past, and then go do something more intensive than that.
So if you have tried inpatient rehab and going to meetings once a week, try going to inpatient rehab and then going to meetings every single day.
Or, try going to long term treatment, and living in rehab for a while.
Can’t committ to that? What if you died because of your addiction? What would you say then? I would say you made a mistake when you declared that you don’t have time in your life for long term rehab.
If you want results that you have never got before, then you have to DO what you were never willing to do before.
“Step up your game” so to speak. Time to get serious.
How bad do you want recovery?