What is Sobriety?
What is sobriety? Technically speaking, you are sober if you don't have any chemicals in your system like alcohol or drugs. But for the alcoholic, just being sober is not enough.
The reason is, and you may have experienced this yourself, being sober is not a solution to the problem.
Most of us alcoholics have been able to stay sober for brief periods of time. We were, at times, able to fend off the urge to drink for days, months, and in some very rare cases, years.
But for the true alcoholic, the time will come when they drink again. So just being "sober" is not enough to give us the happy and free life that we used to feel before the drinking got too bad.
The term "white-knuckling" or "dry" comes into play here. It's like holding on for dear life, our knuckles white from the hard grip and our bodies feeling empty, hollow and dry. It is truly no way to live.
People who are just "sober" are sometimes worse to be around than when they were drinking; irritable, angry, hateful, and full of rage.
They are absolutely miserable. They know they can't drink because it's caused too much damage in the past or maybe their spouse has given them an ultimatum: "Quit drinking or I'm leaving you".
Maybe the law is on top of them to stop. So they quit and boy do they make everyone pay for it! Maybe the miserable one will throw in the martyr card for good measure: "I gave up drinking and this is how you repay me"?
Just being soberly dry is not enough to keep an alcoholic away from the booze. There has to be something better to keep him/her sober...and happy.
What is Recovery? Recovery is where the sober alcoholic will find happiness, contentment and freedom. It involves a support group and being with other people who are staying sober and living happy, purpose-filled lives. Recovery is a "one day at a time" process. It seems a bit cliché but there is good reason behind it.
An alcoholic who drinks almost everyday will find it impossible to imagine quitting for the "rest of their lives". It's an overwhelming, self-defeating thought. "I can't stay sober forever. No way. I might as well get drunk". In comes the "24 hours a day" thought.
We know you can't stay sober forever, but can you stay sober just for the next 24 hours? The alcoholic, still alone and not accepting help will know they can't do it.
But the ones who do accept help will find they can do it, one day at a time, for the rest of their lives. It is a proven method that works and has worked for millions of alcoholics for over seventy years now.
Most sober alcoholics accept the fact that booze was just a symptom of their problem. The problem is ourselves and the malady inside of us. So, we need something to fill in that huge hole inside that alcohol once filled.
The solution to that has to have meaning and can't be superficial or shallow.
That solution is recovery. But recovery can't be done alone. It is done with people who were once just like us, hopelessly alcoholic and miserable, but have found a solution to their problem.
They no longer drink and are happy. To an alcoholic who is still drinking, this seems impossible but it's true. If you are an alcoholic looking for a solution to your problem, what do you have to lose?
Overcoming an addiction to alcohol or drug can be a long and bumpy road. At times, it may even feel impossible. But it’s not. If you’re ready to stop drinking and willing to get the support you need, you can recover from alcoholism and alcohol abuse—no matter how bad the addiction or how powerless you feel. You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom; you can make a change at any time. Read to get started on the road to recovery today. Read Below:
Most people with alcohol problems do not decide to make a big change out of the blue or transform their drinking habits overnight. Recovery is usually a more gradual process. In the early stages of change, denial is a huge obstacle. Even after admitting you have a drinking problem, you may make excuses and drag your feet. It’s important to acknowledge your ambivalence about stopping drinking. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to change or you’re struggling with the decision, it can help to think about the costs and benefits of each choice.Alcohol treatment and recovery 2: Set goals and prepare for change
Once you’ve made the decision to change, the next step is establishing clear drinking goals. The more specific, realistic, and clear your goals, the better.
- Do you want to stop drinking altogether or just cut back? If your goal is to reduce your drinking, decide which days you will drink alcohol and how many drinks you will allow yourself per day. Try to commit to at least two days each week when you won’t drink at all.
- When do you want to stop drinking or start drinking less? Tomorrow? In a week? Next month? Within six months? If you’re trying to stop drinking, set a specific quit date.
After you’ve set your goals to either stop or cut back your drinking, write down some ideas on how you can help yourself accomplish these goals. For example:
- Get rid of temptations. Remove all alcohol, barware, and other drinking reminders from your home and office.
- Announce your goal. Let friends, family members, and co-workers know that you’re trying to stop drinking. If they drink, ask them to support your recovery by not doing so in front of you.
- Be upfront about your new limits. Make it clear that drinking will not be allowed in your home and that you may not be able to attend events where alcohol is being served.
- Avoid bad influences. Distance yourself from people who don’t support your efforts to stop drinking or respect the limits you’ve set. This may mean giving up certain friends and social connections.
- Learn from the past. Reflect on previous attempts to stop drinking. What worked? What didn’t? What can you do differently this time to avoid pitfalls?
Whether or not you can successfully cut back on your drinking depends on the severity of your drinking problem.
If you’re an alcoholic—which, by definition, means you aren’t able to control your drinking—it’s best to try to stop drinking entirely. But if you’re not ready to take that step, or if you don’t have an alcohol abuse problem but want to cut back for personal or health reasons, the following tips adapted from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism can help:
- Set a drinking goal. Choose a limit for how much you will drink. Make sure your limit is not more than one drink a day if you’re a woman, or two drinks a day if you’re a man. Now write your drinking goal on a piece of paper. Put it where you can see it, such as on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
- Keep a "diary" of your drinking. To help you reach your goal, keep a "diary" of your drinking. For example, write down every time you have a drink for 1 week. Try to keep your diary for 3 or 4 weeks. This will show you how much you drink and when. You may be surprised. How different is your goal from the amount you drink now?
- Watch it at home. Keep a small amount or no alcohol at home. Don't keep temptations around.
- Drink slowly. When you drink, sip your drink slowly. Take a break of 1 hour between drinks. Drink soda, water, or juice after a drink with alcohol. Do not drink on an empty stomach! Eat food when you are drinking.
- Take a break from alcohol. Pick a day or two each week when you will not drink at all. Then, try to stop drinking for 1 week. Think about how you feel physically and emotionally on these days. When you succeed and feel better, you may find it easier to cut down for good.
Some people can stop drinking on their own, while others need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. Which option is best for you depends on how much you’ve been drinking, how long you’ve had a problem, and other health issues you may have.Withdrawing from alcohol
When you drink heavily and frequently, your body becomes physically dependent on alcohol and goes through withdrawal if you suddenly stop drinking. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to severe, and include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Stomach cramps and diarrhea
- Trouble sleeping or concentrating
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually start within hours after you stop drinking, peak in a day or two, and improve within five days. But in some alcoholics, withdrawal is not just unpleasant—it can be life threatening.
Alcohol treatment and recovery 4: Find new meaning in life
While getting sober is an important first step, it is only the beginning of alcohol recovery. Rehab or professional treatment can get you started on the road to recovery, but to stay alcohol-free for the long term, you’ll need to build a new, meaningful life where drinking no longer has a place.5 steps to a sober lifestyle
- Take care of yourself. To prevent mood swings and combat cravings, concentrate on eating right and getting plenty of sleep. Exercise is also key: it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.
- Build your support network. Surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself. The more you’re invested in other people and your community, the more you have to lose—which will help you stay motivated and on the recovery track.
- Develop new activities and interests. Find new hobbies, volunteer activities, or work that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. When you’re doing things you find fulfilling, you’ll feel better about yourself and drinking will hold less appeal.
- Continue treatment. Your chances of staying sober improve if you are participating in a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous, have a sponsor, or are involved in therapy or an outpatient treatment program.
- Deal with stress in a healthy way. Alcohol abuse is often a misguided attempt to manage stress. Find healthier ways to keep your stress level in check, such as exercising, meditating, or practicing breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques.
Cravings for alcohol can be intense, particularly in the first six months after you quit drinking. Good alcohol treatment prepares you for these challenges, helping you develop new coping skills to deal with stressful situations, alcohol cravings, and social pressure to drink.Avoiding drinking triggers
- Avoid the things that trigger your urge to drink. If certain people, places, or activities trigger a craving for alcohol, try to avoid them. This may mean making major changes to your social life, such as finding new things to do with your old drinking buddies—or even giving up those friends.
- Practice saying “no” to alcohol in social situations. No matter how much you try to avoid alcohol, there will probably be times where you’re offered a drink. Prepare ahead for how you’ll respond, with a firm, yet polite, “no thanks.”