Even though it's March (a time when I'd normally spend more time thinking and writing about the 3rd step....), I've found myself going back to the 2nd and even the 1st step this last week or two. I think it's because I have a god son who I believe is struggling with this dis-ease of alcoholism. And I'm trying to figure out what I can do to help him find a solution to that problem. His father, a close friend of mine, just recently suspected that his 25 year old son is an alcoholic and is somewhat ashamed that he hasn't seen all of the signs of that addiction over the last five or so years. How could he not have seen it?
So anyway, he went to his son and suggested that he might be an alcoholic and that maybe he should try going to an AA meeting. Although the son seemed to be in agreement that he had a problem with drinking, he was just not going to go to "one of those fucking AA meetings!" The father called me and asked if I would a "huge favor" and talk to his son. He said that John was open to talking to me after learning that I was a recovering alcoholic and that my son is a recovering addict with more time clean that I have. John was open to talking to me... I've called him and left a voicemail but haven't heard back from him yet (it's been 2-3 days now since I called and left the message). Sent him a text message this morning. Still no reply. I've now sent some recommendations to his parents regarding Alanon so that they start getting some help themselves. I might take my own recommendation and attend some Alanon meetings myself!
Now, someone reading this blog might be wondering, Why did you call this post "How to Stop Drinking" when you really haven't talked about that at all? Well, there's a reason to my madness.
Since I haven't heard back from John yet, I thought to myself, "what's probably going through his mind and where might he search for an answer (if not from Mike L.)?" Well, methinks "Google"!
John might try one last ditch effort to avoid both AA and Mike L. by searching Google for a easier and more palatable solution to his problem. Assuming he has some inkling that the problem might be his inability to stop drinking, I thought he might do a Google search for "How to Stop Drinking". Such a search might now take him to this post. If so, "Hi John!" If you are not John, but are searching for the secret to stopping drinking, you've come to the right place.
I too searched for a way to stop drinking. Of course, that search to find a way to stop only began later in my life when I reached a point in my own drinking when I simply couldn't stop drinking. Prior to that, or for most of my drinking career, I wasn't seeking for a way to stop: I was seeking a way to control my drinking. Ultimately, that effort began to fail more and more frequently. And things got so bad for me that I sought not only to control, but to stop completely. That day didn't come until January 2001 when my son began his own recovery program to deal with his drug addiction. He was 15 and he reached the point of no return much much sooner than I did.
Until that day (I was 48 years old and I had been drinking for about 30 years), I had been able to stop! In fact, I proved that "I could stop" thousands of time between the age of 18 and 48. But at age 48, there came a day when I knew without question that I couldn't stop. And I didn't. I kept drinking for another 10 months. Hiding my drinking from everyone but me.
Then one morning, I woke up and realized that not being able to stop drinking is called, "alcoholism". I knew (from some education I'd received while my son---Pat---was going through treatment) that alcoholism was a disease and that I just happened to have it. All of a sudden, I looked back at all I had been doing to escape from alcoholism and all I saw was alcoholism. I stopped running that morning and I stopped stopping. For me, the answer to the question, "How do I stop drinking?" is "I can't."
That may sound strange coming from someone who's now been sober for 7+ years, but I never say that I stopped drinking back then. I say that what happened that morning was "I stopped trying to stop drinking and began trying to stay sober, one day at a time." I've been able to do that for awhile now and I'm no longer expending huge efforts at trying to stop drinking. Turns out, it takes zero effort "not to drink" --- it takes huge efforts to try and control my drinking! And it takes huge efforts trying to stop drinking! But "not doing something" actually takes no effort at all.
There is effort involved in staying sober, but I've found it nothing like what it was taking to try and hide/control my drinking. The effort involved with staying sober will be different for each person: mine involved getting to meetings on a very regular basis, getting a sponsor that I could trust and talk to about all that was going on with my life now that I was sober, talking in meetings, figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, etc.
Whatever. I've found a way of living that exceeds all past expectations. Take care!
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