A LifeRing Keeper: Support, Information and Experience

Here’s a post from one of the LifeRing email groups. It’s a response to a person who was expressing their despair over how difficult it was to quit drinking. In it, the writer tries to give both support and information while drawing on their own experiences, something common in all LifeRing venues. Ah, it all sounds so VERY familiar. I don’t know if it helps or not, but just about every drinker has been exactly where you are — waking up in the morning vowing that this time, I really, really will quit drinking, only to succumb to the urges in the afternoon or evening. That was me, for a very long time.

So you know that doesn’t work. The decision to quit has to come from somewhere else inside of you. Somewhere besides the sour stomach, the aching head, the angry spouse or the deep regrets. These things work differently for different people, but maybe you have to not only want to get away from a destructive and degrading habit, but also want something better. Think about what you want, not just about what you want to avoid. Think about what you want to be, and stop the self-condemnation.

You say your story is “nothing interesting (just like the rest of my life)”. But in fact, your story, like all of our stories, is fascinating. Spell-binding! As I said before, we’ve all been there. But each of us is a little different, and each of our stories conveys reality in a slightly different way. That’s what makes people so interesting! I’m a bookseller. I’m not as well-read as that occupation might imply, but I do know that the best literature isn’t about people who are ‘special;’ it’s about ordinary people facing challenges that may be extraordinary or may be the most common imaginable.

You can quit drinking. You must not think it’s impossible. Your path, like all of our paths, is hard to discern, partly because we never know ourselves well enough and partly because of the haze that addiction causes, making the truth hard to see. But it’s there for you, just as it is for everyone.

I wish I could tell you “do this, and you’ll succeed.” But only you can figure out what “this” is. It may be something that, in hindsight, looks ridiculously simple (for example, changing the way you think about drinking). Or it may be excruciating (changing your friends). To start with, try changing your daily habits and see if that helps. Go out to a fast-food dinner and a movie (at which you drink lots of soda), aiming to get home and go straight to bed. You can’t do that every night, but maybe there are other things you can plan that would make getting through the evening without drinking seem easier. You know sitting there and hoping the cravings won’t hit doesn’t work, so try new things.

But whatever you do, don’t give up. And don’t get down on yourself. You’ve read the messages here — you know how much we all have in common, the courage, the persistance, the willingness to offer support to others even when we’re drowning. We’re the bravest people on this planet, I sometimes think. And you are very much one of us. I’m proud to know everyone here, and I’m proud to know you.

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LifeRing Secular Recovery is an organization of people who share practical experiences and sobriety support. There are as many ways to live free of drugs and alcohol as there are stories of successful sober people.

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