How to stop drinking - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information


Rate this Entry

How to stop drinking

Posted 12-07-2020 at 01:18 PM by red3215
Updated 01-28-2021 at 01:52 PM by red3215 (Polish it up a bit)

Here's a simple plan to stop drinking for good. No plan will work for every single person, but following these steps is what got me sober when NOTHING else worked.

Quitting alcohol is never EASY. Be ready to experience a temporary roller coaster ride, emotionally. It will pass. Most people trying to stop, who keep slipping up, are serious about quitting. They just haven't found a plan that works for them yet.

These are mostly my OPINIONS based on things I learned from a therapist, reading about alcoholism, and sobriety groups I was in for a long time.
Alcoholism involves physical as well as psychological addiction.
Everyone who quits has found a way to end their psychological dependence. Not much you can do about the physical part.

These steps focus on getting rid of the psychological dependence, by conditioning your mind to react differently to thoughts of alcohol. In the same way flash cards train a person think of an answer as soon as they see a particular card.
Or like military personnel hops to attention at the sight of a Captain, with no delay. It's kind of the same concept.

1. Those with alcohol dependence need to accept that they can never drink safely again. Stay away from moderation websites, or anyone telling you that you can control it someday.
I've seen many people relapse after years of sobriety, because they believed all that time that they were sober changed their brain somehow, so they could drink normally. And it never worked out.

They quickly wound up back to drinking regularly again, and having an even harder time quitting. It's like their alcoholism continued to progress, even though they weren't drinking during all those years.

Thirty sober years may pass, but that doesn’t mean a person will have control if they start up again.

Also, be extra vigilant around milestones. Not drinking for 30 days, 90 days, a year, etc. can make a person feel like they have conquered alcoholism and can drink responsibly again.

This is what makes alcoholism such a beast. Whenever someone stays sober for an impressive amount of time, the more likely they are to feel in control, and feeling in control of drinking is what leads to relapses.

But knowing that milestones will likely be your weakest periods, you can work harder at staying sober during these times, and be alert for any signs you might be slipping backwards.

2. Make staying sober your TOP priority each morning. Or rather, make it your top priority not to take a single drink. Drunken binges start with one drink.

It’s hard to forget a priority if it’s your most important one.
Put up on your ceiling, or near where you lay your head at night, to read first thing in the morning: “I have a life threatening condition, and it’s gradually getting worse. I must take this condition as seriously as I’d take other life threatening conditions, like cancer or heart disease. I have this condition even when I feel like I don’t.”

This is a suggestion only. You may find a more creative way to remind yourself in the morning.

You won’t always have to be so intensely focused on alcoholism, but if someone’s actively drinking, then learning to quit drinking alcohol should stay their top priority, until they sober up.

Some day, after you’ve been sober for a while, staying sober won’t have to be your top priority anymore. You won't have to think about alcohol so much.

3. Spend time, every. single. day, working on the alcoholism. Alcoholism is the result of a massive illusion. The illusion is what keeps a person drinking, even after drinking has stopped making them feel happy.

The illusion, made up of convincing lies, comes and goes like waves that ebb and flow. The illusion is a pack of convincing statements, like “One won’t hurt”, “I’ll control it THIS time”, etc. These lies are powerful, not based on anything factual, yet they’re very believable when they're overwhelming a person.

You may not want to drink when you wake up. You might feel like you'll be sober all day. But if you've already acknowledged you have a serious drinking problem, the opposing belief that it’s not a big deal to drink is a sign that the illusion is taking over again.

When you feel like your drinking isn’t that big of a deal, that’s when you need to work on your sobriety the MOST.

How to work on it?….The following list has some suggestions, and this is how some sober people I know spent time fighting off their alcoholism.

a. Buy the books Rational Recovery, and The Big Book from Alcoholics Anonymous. These books oppose each other ---there is some good and bad in both. But you can just underline the things that resonate with you, or that you believe can help you later. Re-read your underlined parts throughout the day.

The only part of The Big Book I strongly recommend is the chapter called Bill's Story.

b. Watch documentaries about drunk driving incidents, and other common problems that occur when people's drinking gets out of control.

My last year of drinking, I was arrested four times for alcohol-related incidents, even though I never got arrested before or since. One of my arrests was for DWI. Never in a million years did I think I’d be a drunk driver on the road. And that's what many drunk drives say afterwards.

Watching a video of the realities of drinking too much can help tear down the illusion.

c. Find a support group for alcohol addiction. I like this forum best, but there are other good ones. Log in throughout the day, and post when you’re struggling to stay sober.

d. Make a list of reasons you should stop drinking. This one is a must. Review the list throughout the day.

4, Never, ever fantasize about drinking. You might discover this is extremely difficult, since much of alcohol dependence is simply an addiction to a fantasy. Addiction to an illusion that brings you joy and hope while it's taking over your thought processes.

I discovered I was addicted to the fantasy of drinking more than the reality of having alcohol in my body. I didn’t even enjoy drinking anymore towards the end of my alcoholic days.
But I got super excited right before I drank, while I was caught up in a fantasy, and somehow convinced for the 1,000th time I’d be better off if I drank.

Many alcohol dependent people admit later that it was only the expectation that drinking would make them happy, that made them feel happier. But actual drinking wasn’t fulfilling at all.

A lot of people with alcohol addiction have vivid imaginations. If you intensely feel like you want to fantasize, go ahead and fantasize,

Imagine socializing, escaping pain, or whatever you imagined drinking would make happen. But picture yourself being sober doing these things instead.

When I got urges to fantasize, I would switch my thoughts to eating my favorite sugary desert. I’d wind up craving the desert I imagined, and forgot about drinking. You’ll eventually crave whatever you fantasize positively about. Thinking positively about alcohol will only build up the illusion you’ve worked so hard to get rid of.

5. Make sure there’ll be repercussions if you have just one drink. This is in case you slip back into believing the lie that you can “just have one, no big deal.”

Some ideas:

a. Have an accountability partner you know you can be honest with, someone who will check in with you at the end of the day to make sure you’ve not taken a single drink.
You must commit to being honest no matter what.

Accountability partners, and getting people around you involved, like friends and family (only ones who are mature and want to see you sober), can be influential and help make you more reluctant to having “just one” since you’d have to report it, even if you did stop after one.

B. There’s also a sobriety medication called Antabuse. The purpose of this medication is to make a person feel sick if they have any alcohol at all. Knowing this will happen makes people lose interest in having a drink. I’ve mostly heard good things about this med.

It’ll still be important to work on alcoholism in other ways while on this medication. It’s not a cure-all.

There are some dangers to taking Antabuse. Some people’s urges are so intense that they wind up drinking even when they’re on it. And then there are others who stop taking it for a few days, think it’s out of their system so they can drink safely, but turn out to be wrong.
Best to read up on Antabuse and talk to a doctor before trying.

c. Count sober days. Keeping track of every day you didn’t drink can be extra motivation not to slip up, since even one drink would mean starting the count over.

The goal of this plan is to get rid of urges, which means being proactive even when no urges are present. Instead of waiting til urges come, and getting overwhelmed by them, nipping them in the bud early is best, so they don’t come at all.

When an alcohol addicted person gets urges, it means there’s still an illusion pouring lies into their head, and they're still thinking like an alcoholic.
Urges, and feeling nonchalant about a drinking problem, are signs that more time needs to be spent countering the false messages that make an alcoholic want to drink.

A plan to fight urges when they come is also important. Some people say that “urge surfing” and “mindfulness” are good ways to end urges when they hit. I never did those things personally so can’t say much about them, but I’ve known sober people who say that using these methods was incredibly helpful.

If I’ve left out anything or said something you believe is incorrect, feel free to let me know. Thanks for reading.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 201 Comments 0
« AA meeting     Main

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:57 PM.