Okay so I hate offering suggestions because my ideas are not necessarily solutions for others. Everyone chooses a different path that works for him or her. But I still feel that I want to share the options I discovered because it may inspire others.
When I went to rehab, I was completely sure that I will immerse myself into AA’s program. During the last couple of months I realized that AA was not for me. I don’t want to go into details. I know it saves lives and I am grateful for AA (I am not very OK with the legal system though that sends you to AA and it is mandatory no matter what. More research is needed to find various approaches). AA has a lot of pros. One of the cons however is that almost the entire medical field considers it as the best (and often the only) option for everyone.
Here are other tips that I found useful and appropriate (I have not tried all, many of them were described in a study that was based on people’s real stories):
- CBT: Cognitive behavioral therapy is probably the second most popular approach after AA. It can be taught in group or 1-on-1 therapy sessions. It focuses on how we can modify our behaviors and learn new ones by realizing bad patterns and thinking processes. For example, I could say that today I am tired and stressed so I deserve a drink. Being tired and stressed has nothing to do with deserving a drink and drinking will not eliminate stress. That’s it in a nutshell. You unlearn the old behaviors and replace them with new ones.
- REBT: I explained it in my REBT it post.
- Other groups: We can discover professional or peer support groups, such as SMART recovery, SOS, and Rational Recovery. SMART recovery actually matches my thoughts on the recovery process.
- Powerless or not?: I understand the “powerlessness” concept and I agree with it. However, many people think that taking charge over life and addiction can motivate them. I tend to agree with this too.
- Past, present, future: To me it is useless to focus on the past except when I try to figure out past traumas that could contribute to my drinking. Pondering on what did I do before I started drinking is also a good idea in my opinion. That helped me with my triggers (what did I do in a similar situation without alcohol?). I hate the “one day at a time” idea. It’s like focusing on drinking all the time by saying just today I won’t drink. It makes me feel stuck. I will not drink ever again because I will never be able to drink normally. Period. This decision about the future actually created determination.
- Lifestyle changes are essential: Changing doesn’t only mean exercise, better diet, meditation etc. It means reformed thinking, new habits, and discipline. It is interesting that since I stopped drinking I need to schedule my activities. I need to stay occupied and I love my little plans.
- Some people can quit with the help of small interventions: I talked to individuals who said that marital or health problems made them wake up. I know that when the doctor told me that my liver was inflamed, that scared the crap out of me. I am aware that health issues might not do the trick but it supported the fact that I needed serious change.
- Fighting boredom: That is a big one for me. I found new ways to avoid boredom. Walking, talking to people, coloring, reading, and writing mean a lot to me. I experience less stress and more satisfaction.
- I am not an alcoholic: Sure I am but I hate using that word and not because I can’t accept my disease. I am not AN alcoholic. We don’t have words like cocainic or heroinic and diabetic people don’t call themselves A diabetic. I am a person, not a category. I am a human being who have alcohol use disorder (the medical field actually started using this term). My new physician wrote the following down: Alcoholism in remission.