You don’t. Sorry, but its true.
You’ve probably heard the saying Nothing Is Forever and its true. Forever is one of those words like Always, Infinity, Endless, Eternal. Its often used to talk about a REALLY LONG TIME. Its NOT impossible for a human to stop drinking alcohol forever, I mean you can quit until you’re dead, and then you’ll never drink or do anything ever again. So technically you’ve quit drinking forever, booze will never touch your lips again.
But that’s not how you actually QUIT drinking. You cant just say I will never, ever, ever, drink alcohol, ever again and make it so. Well, there are probably a few folks out there that have done that, but if it were that easy then you wouldn’t be reading this post now would you?
If you’ve recently decided to give up drinking, you may have done just this and now you’re looking for more help. Perhaps you’re like me and you thought that you could control your drinking, and when that failed you went online searching for answers. Maybe you’ve decided to kick the habit for a week, a month or a year to prove you can.
While you might find some success, it might not be what you expected. You don’t quit drinking by quitting for a week, month, year or eternity. Real progress doesn’t come from setting a distant goal and holding on for dear life. You wont get better by waiting out the days like a soldier trapped in a foxhole, just waiting for the war to be over.
Instead, you quit drinking for 24 hours. At the end of 24 hours, you do another 24 hours. That’s it. That’s all. Its that simple and complicated at the same time. But why?
Like the soldier in the foxhole, there’s an entire world going on around you. You wont benefit yourself by thinking you can wait it out. If you think taking in a movie instead of the bar a few weekends in a row is going to calm your drinking, it wont.
Unlike a war fought with guns and soldiers, the war on your drinking isn’t fought against an external force. The soldiers of Budweiser, Seagrams and Smirnoff will not come busting down your door, they stand silent and wait for you to come to them willingly! The alcoholic inside you is the person you’re fighting, and they can wait just as long as you can.
Even when you’ve decided to tackle your demons, and even get professional help, you will learn that you don’t try to quit for the rest of your life. What if you live 60 more years, how can you really expect yourself to be sober that long? Recovery is not about the END of your life, its about RIGHT NOW!
And that’s the thing; right now is when you’re having issues, RIGHT NOW is the time you need to be living in. You want to be the better person you know you can be RIGHT NOW, not in 10, 20 or 60 years. Think about the RIGHT NOW, and then everything that’s 60 years in the future fades away.
So if you were thinking about how hard it will be to quit drinking forever, then don’t worry about it. You don’t have to, and I definitely wouldn’t try. Try 24 hours. Once you quit for a day, you might realize it was easier than you thought and go for another 24 more. You can use some of that time to figure out if its really what you want/need.
The One Day at a Time idea comes from Alcoholics Anonymous, a program dedicated to helping alcoholics stay sober. Their program, and any addiction program is about a lot more than a few basic concepts you can read from a blog. If you are struggling with addiction consider getting help. There is no shame in asking for help, getting help is what separates humans from (most) animals.
NOTE: the writer of this blog post is not a doctor or an addictions specialist of ANY KIND. If you are having issues with drugs or alcohol you can get more information here: http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/Pages/home.aspx.
If you are attempting to quit drinking and are experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms, please contact a doctor.