I’m an alcoholic and was addicted to alcohol for over 25 years, but in the spring of 2006 I quit drinking for good. I had a chronic problem and I could not handle the idea of going without a drink for one day (let alone the rest of my life). I would start each day with a 1 litre bottle of strong white cider and would continue drinking throughout the day and I’d repeat this pattern 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I was always under the influence of alcohol and would put my drinking before everything. I was on a self destructive path which was putting everything I loved at risk and there seemed to be nothing I could do to beat my addiction to alcohol. I tried cutting down,but that never worked and within days I would be drinking the usual large amounts of alcohol. You will find a number of sober living houses in nj which practice habits that help them overcome drinking.
After an unsuccessful suicide attempt whilst I’d been drinking, I decided I had to do something to stop because if the alcohol didn’t kill me then suicide would. I tried Alcoholics Anonymous,but it wasn’t for me as I needed to be able to quit on my own. I needed to prove to myself that I had the strength to beat my addiction and so I looked for alternatives to AA on the internet.
I found a method called Rational Recovery which involves recognizing that your addiction resides in a primitive part of the brain, the part of the brain which is responsible for your survival. The mid brain controls all of our vital living processes including the beating of our heart, our breathing and indeed every unconscious process responsible for our day to day survival. This part of the brain believes that alcohol is essential for your survival and that is why you may feel a sense of panic at the thought of living without it.
The good news is that out conscious brain is more powerful than this primitive part and with a little effort it is possible to to stand up to your addiction. It is as simple as saying “No!” when this part of the brain tells you that you need a drink. This may sound impossible if you have a severe drinking problem, but believe me it does work.
Giving up drinking can be droken down into four simple steps which are summarized as follows:
Understand why you drink and the psychology behind your addiction. The primitive part of your brain falsely believes that you need to drink alcohol to survive.
(Before you stop drinking YOU MUST seek medical assistance, I was a chronic alcoholic,chemically dependent on alcohol and without medication I would have put my life in danger. Seeking medical advice must not be avoided, and the medication prescribed can make the withdrawal process easy to handle)
Make a commitment to stop drinking forever and notice how this thought makes you feel. When I first asked myself this question I was overwhelmed by panic. I simply couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol. This is the response that the primitive brain will give. The primitive brain is not logical and does not understand that you can survive without alcohol and this reaction is perfectly normal. Rational Recovery suggests that you respond to this argument with an answer that will appease the primitive part of the brain. For example, when you hear the inner voice panicking just calmly respond with. “It’s okay I’ll start drinking again in a hundred years from now!” That may sound stupid, but then primitive brain has no idea about the concept of time and it will accept this argument as silly as it may seem.
Think of this primitive part of the brain as being separate from yourself. Give it it’s own identity and when you think that you need a drink understand that it is “IT” than needs the alcohol and not you. It’s almost like a little Devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear, think of it this way and it becomes easy to tame and tho conquer.
Recognize that you have a choice not to drink and whenever you feel the craving come on,respond with, “I can drink if I want to, but I choose not to…” I found this train of thought was incredible powerful because I was making a conscious choice not to drink and not suppressing the desire. This is very empowering and worked very well for me.
Congratulate yourself for being strong enough to conquer the primitive brain and reward yourself for your abstinence. Take up a new hobby or help other people to overcome their addiction by setting up a website, blog or online support group where you can share what you’ve learned with other people.
If your friends offer you a drink say, “No, thanks I’m quitting…” It isn’t hard to do and if your friends have a problem with you not drinking,then maybe they were not such good friends after all.
Understand just how strong you are as an individual and that you have the power to overcome your alcoholism. I have been able to resist my alcoholic urges since 2006 and have never relapsed once. There have been times when I’ve been depressed and challenged by the primitive brain but I’ve never let it eat me and I can say with all honesty and conviction that I will never drink again. I am living proof that this technique works!