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Steps To Staying Sober For The Stubborn Alcoholic

Updated on June 6, 2010

After traversing the doors of alcohol rehabilitation centers, and Alcoholics Anonymous for over twenty years without success of becoming sober, I finally found the key or steps. It is simple really, and over thinking the following will get you back to where I kept failing for two decades. Making a decision to becoming sober and staying that way in thought can be evasive, and less than permanent. The word decision does not hit home, be it from lack of understanding of the word, or maybe just a short circuit in our alcoholic and or drug addict thinking.

Identify Alcohol As The Enemy It Is

The first part is identifying the enemy, and it is alcohol. Even if you have not lost your family, home, car, or job you find that live is difficult, and you are constantly miserable and things do not go your way. Your responses to situations are borderline insane and lashing out at everyone who defies or questions you. In effect, we have become the functioning hung over race, or the walking dead in spirit and physical condition. AA describes alcohol as cunning, baffling, and powerful, and this is true. When we fight to not drink, the allure of alcohol and our twisted thinking makes it almost impossible without help to defend ourselves. Put a face on the enemy, if the aforementioned attributes of alcohol were put into a human that was your enemy, then you would want to accomplish two things: one kill them, or two have them thrown in prison for life.

Avoid your enemy as he has you out flanked and is much more cunning than you can ever hope to be in your lifetime. Treat liquor stores, the section of grocery and convenience stores that have beer and wine on their shelves, as if they are on fire, or rigged to explode. If you have ever put your hand in a fire or touched a hot frying pan, you remember not to do that again. Alcohol is so subtle in it’s magnetism that you have to attach a pain association to the poison that has kept your life on hold for these many years. It seems impossible after a period of sobriety to remember how miserable we were after waking up from a five day drinking bender. So associating that feeling with pain will help to remind us of the struggle that we lived in for so long.

Attend AA Meetings Religeously

Start attending meetings at your local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting place. If you have been there before, do not worry about it; we all have had slips from sobriety, and some more than others. If you are one of those people that just cannot seem to get the sobriety thing and have played with the notion for a long time, then change your actions, and thinking. Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different outcome. Look at the results you want to attain and change your approach to accomplish the decision to become sober today.

Hardcore alcoholics need hardcore action to become sober, there are some that is seems almost too easy to stay within the bounds of not drinking, and we are not a part of group. It is suggested that we attend ninety meetings in ninety days; this is not enough for the boozehound that has had little success previously. Making a meeting everyday, two a day if possible for one calendar year is the minimum for drinkers like us. That may seem a little extreme, but think about how much energy we put into drinking, hiding it from family and friends, and the money that was wasted, and hours lost at our job or business. This action is a small price to pay compared to what we paid in time, effort, and cash while practicing our vocation of drinking.

Sober Living - AA Symbol

Striving to live a life of sobriety is the only path.
Striving to live a life of sobriety is the only path.

The Importance of Getting A Sponsor and Having A Spiritual Life

Get a sponsor immediately at your first meeting, if you do not help yourself by putting your hand out and ask for help then nothing will change. Listen during that first meeting, and the person that makes the most sense and somewhat irritates you, but has a good length of sobriety is the exact person you need to sponsor you. Why would you want to put up with someone who you do not become fast friends with immediately? Because, you are not at this point in your life to be babied and nurtured like a child, but have arrived here to get sober. Get their phone number, and you give them yours. Call them twice a day to check in, and ask them to call you if they would like. A good sponsor will call you, to let you know someone cares out there.

The spiritual part can be hard for some of us, but without it, we will have little if any chance of staying away from the liquor store. Get on your knees when waking up in the morning and just say “God, please keep me sober today”, and nothing else needs to be said. Then at night before turning in get back on your knees and say “God, thank you for keeping me sober today”, not asking for anything else, as this is the number one priority in your life, and everything else will take care of it’s self. Even if you have your doubts about a God existing do it anyway. Replacing that black hole in our heart and soul with anything less than a spiritual existence, is just asking for our own personal defeat on our path to staying sober.

Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous

Fellowship and working with other alcoholics at your local meeting or AA club. Associating with like-minded people will help you succeed with any goal. If you think about it, we use to hang out in bars with our “friends”, and we were all like-minded in the fact that we wanted to drink. This is no different, except the location and people with different goals, plus you will be drinking coffee instead of whiskey. AA has many meetings in every area of the United States; even a small town of ten thousand people may have half a dozen or more locations for meetings to take place. Visit them all and find a home base to stay sober, and socialize. Make friends, and hang out with your new friends at your home or therehome . Make plans to eat out after meetings, or just go for ice cream to chat and enjoy life. The point is to fill your life with just the opposite of what you had before.

Diligently work the twelve steps with your sponsor, and go at your own pace. Some have so much trouble with step one that they will need extra time to swallow the fact that they are defenseless over alcohol and cannot drink again, ever. Lightly glancing over the steps will get you nowhere if you are that stubborn and self-centered individual that fights everything but drinking. They promote progress not perfection in the program, and gaining an inch toward sobriety is so much further, than sliding a foot back towards drinking. When you finish the twelve-step process, then it is time to start over at step one again. Please remember that I am talking to the person who cannot seem to get sober, and needs that extra help, and guidance to obtain that elusive, but great way of life he or she wants to live.

Be of extreme service to others, and be willing to help in the program anyway you possibly can. Putting your hand out and getting a newcomers name and exchanging phone numbers. Making coffee, cleaning up after the meeting, bringing a newcomer a hot meal to their home when they are drying out will go a long way in goodwill, but the big payoff is it will help keep you sober.

In summary, getting out of your own head, and helping others while working your own program will immensely help in keeping you drink free. However, the journey has just begun, as our way of life and thinking will need to evolve into a healthy pattern of living. If you have been like me and have been a drunk for so very long, then expect that journey back to a good life to take maybe just as long. The progress you will make by sticking to the above will improve your life exponentially in a few short months, but the key is to do these actions with the same diligence and effort that you put into your drinking career.

Moreover, if you need to find a meeting just type in “AA meeting”, plus your zip or postal code into Google and it will reveal a map of the meetings in your area.


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    • Milkman Mike profile image

      Milkman Mike 6 years ago

      I'm new to Hub and it's good to see others writing about how to recover from Alcoholism. Hope to read more from you.

    • JonSterling profile image

      Jon Sterling 7 years ago from Houston Texas - United States

      Thanks John - :D

    • johnshade profile image

      johnshade 7 years ago from Pandora

      this is encouraging thanks.