How can you stop drinking and create a new life for yourself?
To the alcoholic who is trapped in a cycle of addiction, this question can seem baffling, even preposterous. But there is hope for a better life and overcoming alcohol addiction if an alcoholic is willing to follow a few simple steps:
(Note that there are a million ways to get sober, this is just one suggested path. But it’s one that worked for me):
1) Go to a treatment center for detox – This is especially important if you are alcoholic, as alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. Yes, it can kill you not to drink in some cases, so best to get yourself under professional care if you are going to be going through detox.
There are other benefits to detoxing in a drug rehab as well….for example, you will usually have access to a residential treatment program as well, and a proper detox facility can potentially assist you with medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and sometimes even with drug cravings as well.
2) Stay for residential treatment as well – this is what used to be a 28 day program, nowadays it usually only lasts about 2 weeks or so. Still highly recommended for the sheer value of giving you a moment’s peace from drug addiction and alcoholism, as well as to give you a chance to learn about recovery and some coping skills for when you get out.
3) Follow their recommendation for aftercare – If the treatment center recommends long term treatment, then go to long term treatment. Pretty much everyone who goes against these types of recommendations usually regrets it.
4) Focus on staying clean and building a recovery network in early recovery - This is early recovery. Stay clean and network with other recovering addicts and alcoholics. For most people this will mean heavy AA or NA meetings and/or sponsorship. This is the foundation of your life in recovery. The trip to rehab was just a small blip on the map; now you have to live the rest of your life.
5) Transition to a purposeful and creative life - Start branching out and doing new things, as well as revisiting old dreams. For example, my sponsor in early recovery pushed me to go back to college in my second year of sobriety, and I’m so glad he did. This is about living life, not just hitting meetings. Diversify and explore.
6) Embrace the creative life in recovery – Once you see the power of the creative life in recovery, you should embrace it as your long term solution. Find creative ways to help others….bonus points if they happen to be recovering addicts and alcoholics, although this is not necessary. Seek spiritual growth, but also tend to other areas of your life, such as nutrition, mental health, physical fitness, and so on. This is about empowering yourself to succeed in multiple areas of your life, not just limiting yourself to “spirituality” or “recovery.”
7) Approach long term sobriety holistically - Now you have completely transitioned out of “early recovery” and you are creating a new and exciting life with passion and purpose. Seek health and balance in all areas of your life with a holistic approach.
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