How to get sober and stay that way!
It seems obvious to all but the person abusing alcohol. If you are a problem drinker then just stop!
The difficulty is that once a person is dependent on alcohol it’s just not that easy. Once you’re actually addicted to alcohol it can be life threatening to quit drinking without medical advice and supervision.
This is a critical point because if you, or someone you love, is drinking enough alcohol that they start to shake and sweat or feel disorientated without the alcohol, it’s important that you don’t advise them to quit drinking on their own.
Whilst withdrawals from alcohol can be horrid, there are some superb drugs that mimic the effect of alcohol on the brain and today with medical advice quitting drinking is relatively easy. The detoxification is over in a maximum of around 7 days and then the real work starts.
In the earliest stages of the recovery process, those with the disease of alcoholism who want to quit drinking for good, it’s important that they get the help and advice that they may find it difficult to ask for. Anticipating the alcoholic’s needs and ensuring that they’re met can be a thankless task in the early days of their recovery.
Those trying to quit drinking rarely reach out for help. Most often it’s the family and friends of the alcoholic who make first contact with a rehab and seek assistance in developing a stance that may prove fruitful in getting the problem drinker some advice.
The good news is there is help available to quit drinking. In most cases our advice, although not always possible due to financial constraints and other family or work obligations, is that the ideal first step towards quitting drinking is a period of alcohol rehab.
There are many fine Primary Care residential clinics in South Africa, the UK and Thailand that provide beautiful scenery, professional staff and great advice on not only how to quit drinking, but how to stay stopped and be happy!
If we can’t teach you be happy sober, it’ll all fall apart as soon as you grow weary of being miserable.
Whilst enrolling in the programme at an alcohol rehab is not the only way to sober living it is certainly the most helpful first phase. This 12 step plus approach can really be a huge boost to your early recovery as you try to quit drinking.
When an alcoholic has acknowledged problem drinking and shows signs of wanting to quit by seeking advice, the opportunity to both understand the condition and support to develop the tools to stay stopped provided by a quality alcohol rehab is undoubtedly the best start.
It is essential that any alcoholic wishing to achieve sobriety undergo a managed or supervised period of detox. This is best done in the secure environment provided by an alcohol rehab centre or primary care facility. Alcoholism is a life threatening condition and the alcoholic trying to quit drinking needs care and understanding in this process.
The ongoing programme provided by our registered alcohol rehabs will give the alcoholic in early recovery the advice and help to implement the needed changes in their life which will allow them to remain sober and to actively enjoy their new found sobriety.
New behaviour and mixing with new people in alcohol free environments are a good idea for the recovering alcoholic. The start provided at an alcohol rehab will be continued with active participation in the readily available groups of recovering people at A.A. and other 12 Step Fellowship support groups.
Many alcoholics also feel a connection to other 12 Step Fellowships such as N.A and will find an equally warm welcome there. Getting a fellowship sponsor, someone who is already enjoying the benefits of a sober life and regular meeting attendance will give the recovering alcoholic the ideal platform to maintain their sobriety.
People, places and things are always going to cause a “trigger” effect for the alcoholic; this may lead to an urge or craving to drink. In early recovery it is best to avoid these “triggers” when possible. It is advisable to avoid nightclubs and parts of town that have drinking associations for you.
In sobriety the cultivation of new habits gets easier the more we practice these new behaviours. An alcoholic can develop these new ways of behaving to replace their old “triggers”.
People trying to quit drinking by regularly attending meetings, talking with other alcoholics and developing a support network can become a positive influence on others who are seeking advice to stop drinking.
Often alcoholics can respond poorly to advice, as they can feel that no-one really understands what it’s like to walk in their shoes as they try to quit drinking. The 12 step support group of AA are full of people who have successfully quit drinking and who will gladly share their experience of how they’ve done so.
Generally people who’ve quit drinking will also be careful to frame their ‘advice’ as their own experience, their won way out of the mess that their drinking had become. By doing so, this ‘advice’ is so much easier for the newly recovering alcoholic to pick up and run with as his or her own. This ‘advice giving’ is a very useful way to circumvent the newly sober alcoholics pride and ego.
Dangerous Places – in early recovery it helps to avoid bars and bottle stores, there’s generally no need to be there if you’re trying to quit drinking. AA meetings and coffee shops or cafes are safe places to mix with others in recovery.
Staying away from dangerous drinking related ‘things’ – the key is change, anything that reminds the alcoholic of old behaviour is best avoided, at least initially whilst the quitting drinking is still a new behaviour. Creating a new set of habits particularly round key drinking times is a great help, it’s no mistake that AA meetings are scheduled at peak drinking hours.
The alcoholic trying to quit drinking may find developing an interest in new hobbies or reigniting neglected hobbies good advice to keep their minds occupied and away from the mental obsession that their drinking had become.
Staying sober is about abstinence and change, and, although change can be difficult the help to quit drinking is available.
Primary Care alcohol rehab is a great jump start, preparing the way for the alcoholic to begin creating the support network that will help sustain sobriety. By mixing with the right recovering people, exchanging phone numbers and getting a sponsor the alcoholic begins to build their network, gain advice from kindred fellows and begins to get well.
Alcoholics Anonymous, and other 12 step support group meetings, are the right place to start to change social behaviour and strengthen the recovering network beyond the meeting environment. Talking openly with other alcoholics will provide advice and very real, practical solutions to common problems....
If you have the fortune to attend a quality alcohol rehab and get to hang around a few AA meetings, you may find some advice on dealing with the challenge of quitting drinking and getting into recovery. I once heard an alcoholic patient say that keeping it simple was best – Do Treatment, Do Meetings, Do find a sponsor, Do use the phone, Do avoid old people, places and things and DO ENJOY LIVING SOBER.