How do I stop?

I am posting today on a subject near to my heart, and shrouded in mystery. This mystery, how to stop using mind altering, mood changing substances that are detrimental to my life is the subject of much speculation and conjecture. As my profile states, I am a former school teacher and writer (Creative, Academic, Article writing, Fiction, and whatever else is needed) with a wide range of knowledge and life experience that lends itself to the writing field. I am not new to HubPages, yet I must admit it is a little used resource for me. Due to the “How to” flavor that is this medium, I have avoided the urge to enlighten in the face of actual paid projects on other sites. I discovered a basis for elucidation today as I perused the Social Networks I am subscribed to. I happened on an essay on the best way to stop drinking alcohol. This is a topic of which I bear a somewhat intimate amount of knowledge of.

I am currently enjoying the benefits of long term recovery from the disease of addiction. What and where and how much I used is of no real consequence in this discussion. A testimonial on my experience with getting tanked-up-down- or sideways is not the crux of my point. What I can and will tell you is how to cease being unmanageably inebriated.

As a point of interest, after reading a somewhat dubious testimonial on the ineffectiveness of 12 Step Programs, I decided to do a Google Search. I typed in a phrase, “How do I stop drinking” and received 110,000 results. Going a little further I tried another phrase search "How do I stop using alcohol and drugs without a twelve step program?" and got no returns. I deleted the quotation marks and got 2,860,000 hits. Scanning the first five or six pages led me to advertisements for all kinds of treatment programs that promise “quantifiable results”. As long, that is, as you have either insurance or enough money to pay a multi-thousand dollar bill per month (Or is some cases per WEEK) participation fee. I take exception to the use of terms such as “quantifiable results.” We are talking a topic that is in no way enhanced by relegating human beings into something that needs or can be counted. An argument on statistics will simply reveal the old adage…there are lies, then good lies, the statistics.

During the course of a rather eclectic life and diverse professional experience I had occasion to spend some 30 plus years as an imbiber of spirits. The ingesting of said spirits could be said to have acted as a driving force in the diversity of my professional life. At the tender age of 38 it became apparent to me that something was negatively impacting my success in life. Being somewhat of a discerning intellect, I took up a search for the remedy. This sojourn took me four years with stops along the way into the disciplines of philosophy, religion, self-help books, group therapy, private therapy, and ultimately a strong desire to end my existence on this plane through my own efforts. What I discovered at the end of this long and winding road was…a telephone.

That telephone led me to a 12 step program and that program brought me here, 16 years later without the use of any mind altering mood changing substances. Now, it would be simple if I went away right now and let you find the twelve step nirvana for yourself, but that would not fulfill the “How to” element I am searching for. In that search I spoke of earlier I found almost three million ways to cease the slow death that is the disease of addiction. The truth I have found is that the best way for a person to stop drinking and drugging is to do just that. STOP. Any attempt to change the happenstance of your life will not work if your perception of life is skewed due to outside chemical influences. In order to find the twelve step program I am still a passionate member of, I had to be lucid enough to realize that I needed help. That help did not begin to be of use until my body was drug free.

My panacea has been accused of not working for a large percentage of people. The same can be said of other methods of treating the substance abuser. There is evidence to be shown that none of those three million some remedies that the Great God Google has enlightened me of have any chance to work. I found that the substances were the start of my problem and that after they left my body I had a spiritual void that needed to be addressed. The 12 Steps have seen to that vacuum in my life, so I can personally tell you that those who think the twelve steps do not work are wrong.

While I can state, unequivocally, that a twelve step program works, the other nearly three million attempts at teaching recovery can and probably do admit to success on a grand level. I know many people in recovery and each of us will state that they can only speak for themselves. They can also report that it is the stopping that counts. That stopping is the same no matter how you choose to achieve it. What happens after you stop is another story. What a person does to remain abstinence after the initial cessation of using is a personal decision. The decision to stop is what anyone seeking a life without crapulence must first make before all the rest, and there is quite a lot of the rest coming to anyone stopping the overwhelming desire to escape life through artificial means.

But first YOU must STOP!!!

Comments 2 comments

Laura Schneider profile image

Laura Schneider 4 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

A powerful, important story of self-triumph over a killer monster, tlloydreilly. Thank you for putting your story into words. "Enjoyed" isn't the right word for it, but, both personally and as a professional writer, I was fascinated at how you unfolded your story, twist and turn, delicately like a paper flower. May you always keep that monster, and all others, at bay and enjoy your victory over death. I only wish that nobody else reading this story would be able to really understand what you went through and the strength it took to get where you are today. However, the monsters you chased away probably found other hapless victims, who are hopefully reading this story and relating to it in their own lives and triumphs--or triumphs to come.

Pat Garcia 4 years ago


I agree with this. Why? This is the way I stop smoking 35 years ago. On a Sunday afternoon, I smoked my last cigarette and said that is it. Of course, being a heavy smoker, I went through some changes and they were pretty hefty, but thirty five years later and I have not smoked since then. It is a good feeling.

Very good story and thank you for sharing it.



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