Positive Sobriety

A plan for those who don't (or won't) do AA.

Posted Sep 23, 2019

New Thinking Sobriety Method

Not to take anything away from twelve-step programs, but they have been around for three-quarters of a century, and in my most humble opinion, some updates have become necessary. The world and the people in it have changed and gotten a lot more complicated. There is now literally an epidemic of addiction due to opioids and the wide availability of drugs and alcohol.

In addition to support groups, medical intervention, and a variety of rehab programs, there are now computer apps with very good programs to assist you. There’s no one right way out there for everyone. However, if you need to get sober, here is a five-part plan to help you get started. This plan will not present you with all of the answers you may need, but if you follow these guidelines, and continue your quest for a better life, the answers will come. Don't forget that there is a lot of help available out there.

1. Acknowledge and accept your addiction. Research what it’s all about and decide, for sure, if you want to take back control of your life. This process is going to take from one month to one full year, so get your expectations in order and start forgiving yourself.

2. Take action. Get professional support, and that means real therapy with a licensed therapist who treats addiction, because, according to research, that’s the way most people get and stay sober. Also, get a complete medical checkup, and if necessary, see an addiction medical specialist and/or a psychiatrist and follow their directions.

3. Rally the troops. Tell someone else. Tell as many people as you feel comfortable telling. Ask them to help hold you accountable. Write down your decision and why you made it; keep it short because you will need to refer back to this a lot in the near term. And keep a journal.

4. When a craving comes on, wait one full minute and reread your reasons for stopping, and in that minute, call or text someone for support. Do this for as long as it takes for the desire to dissipate. Even if it lasts all day, eventually it will cease, and you will have won.

5. Learn to meditate. This will actually take the place of any substance you have been using. In combination with exercise and diet, meditation can make a huge difference in how the world affects you. The same demons will be out there, but you can invite them in for coffee instead of wine.

This plan does not take the place of therapy, group support, family support, medical intervention, and your own desire to change your life for the better. It’s hard being human, but everyone I know who has overcome an addiction does better with life than they did before.

Do not let your life get to the point where you hit bottom and lose everything. You can get better if you take charge and follow through with a plan. Start by just reading more or going to some twelve-step meetings, if you like. There is a lot you can learn from the stories in those rooms, but I also suggest other forms of healing. Holistic therapies, like yoga, acupuncture, and nutrition counseling, can help in getting you to the mental and physical place you’d like to be.

Once you make the decision to have a healthier life you can see fairly quickly that it is a better way to live than being controlled by any substance. I wish you the best on your journey.