Clean and Sober… Mike’s Story:
Many clean and sober people who have a problem with their drinking avoid Alcoholics Anonymous because they don’t want to be forever labeled a ‘recovering alcoholic’. Mike is one of them…
There is no pragmatic information which verifies that AA helps problem drinkers get sober or stay sober.
Yes, you can point out story after transformative, inspiring story, as can I, but that’s all just hearsay.
AA is a secret community with no precise involved participant tally and no quantifiable success rate. An article in Cable on the organization’s 76th commemoration stated that, from the best data accessible, AA doesn’t work!
Several certified sources state that AA participants fail to stay off the booze more often than they succeed.
Does AA help in any way?
Cable records that it does and I think that it does. Cable also reports that group talk therapy like the discussing that happens in AA helps people recovering from cancer and pathogen-driven illness like tuberculosis.
What I have taken away from this is that it helps people suffering from a difficulty to gather with other people suffering from the same hardship to speak about their experiences. Because of this, I uphold AA as one possibly helpful device when trying to quit drinking but it’s not one that serves me.
In no way is AA or the 12 steps the be-all and end-all of recovery its strictest followers would have you believe.
I describe myself as clean and sober due to the fact that I don’t consume booze and I am constantly away from addictive substances.
It’s not simply that I don’t drink hard liquor or wine or lager; I don’t drink non-alcoholic lager, I don’t consume alcohol free wine, I stay clear of food I know has alcohol in it.
I even threw out the vanilla extract my girlfriend used to cook with when I saw its huge booze content.
One of my best friends, James, is abstinent. But he is a passionate Christian so several times a year, he drinks a gulp of alter wine as component of the religious services he attends.
I don’t do the 12 steps; James puts a great quantity of religious belief and work into them.
When we vacation together, James smokes pot all the time; I hardly ever do. I eat magic mushrooms a couple of times a year; James would never consider such a thing. Once in a while, I’ll make a dumb bet with a buddy or play cards; James has a gambling problem so he won’t wager a nickel or even play solitaire.
Do we both understand ourselves as clean and sober?
Oh yes. I get to define my own sobriety since my teetotalism means almost nothing to you compared with what it implies to me. James taught me how to drink. He and I have pushed against our addictions long enough that we have drawn the map for the entire flood plain. We have placed the sandbags, we have carried the rocks.
We know the distinction between a harmless trickle of water and the forerunner to a flood. And we’ve become professionals at diversifying between both due to the fact that it’s our own selves that are at risk of being rinsed away.
The shrooms are a continuous sticking issue and it’s absurd. I mean, even my mom ate shrooms once, and not when she was in college.
I once tried to date a girl who had grown up a straight-edge hard rock musician with a profound investment in doubting the government and the virtuous majority.
By the time we met, she had loosened up her position sufficiently that she allowed herself to get drunk on a regular basis. However, she mercilessly mocked my occasional use of mushrooms. When I attempted to get at the essence of her objection to them (since she thought alcohol use was fine and normal), it boiled down to the fact that booze was legal (according to the authorities) and everybody consumed alcohol (the moral majority). So much for thinking on your own, or even thinking at all.
Just because alcohol is legal does not make it safe!
I’m indifferent to AA.
- I don’t believe in The Lord or a Higher Power or piousness of any type.
- I’m resistant to the twelve steps.
- I am not broken – I am not weak willed.
I suffer bouts of low-spirited mood swings and also fits of temper. All these factors taken in sum can not make me a recovering alcoholic.
Why? Because when I stopped drinking, I filled up that gaping gorge in my life with the reverse of alcohol consumption. I found out how to repair and customize electric guitars, I learned to run, box, kick box and endure happily the agonizing workout sessions my trainer devised.
I finished a great deal of hollow relationships, deepened my connection with good friends who, clean and sober or not, were good for me, fixed my relationships with my dad and older sibling and invested greatly in my connections with my nephews and nieces.
I ate my veggies and took my supplements and did my homework.
I stopped doing silly things I wasn’t happy with and did a bunch of hard things I knew were really good for me. But in some way still could not feel proud of because they were so “recovery-by-the-numbers” like growing plants and doing meditation.
Of central significance to my change was keeping my scheduled appointments with my counselor. I didn’t want to go so I forced myself to go. I didn’t want to be truthful so I compelled myself to be truthful. When I really did not want to tell him anything because I knew his response was going to irritate the heck out of me, that was the first thing I forced myself to say to him.
A number of these things were really rewarding, a great deal of it sucked plus all of it was hard work. Don’t wipe out all my vigilant efforts to change by calling me a recovering alcoholic just because I get angry when I get a parking ticket.
I am angry because parking citations suck, that’s an universal constant.
Not because I can’t cope without a beer!
Have I switched out one addiction with another?
You bet. Much like you, I am hooked on pleasure… oh and air and water and just life generally. Humans are biologically programmed to look for pleasure and avoid fear and pain.
Eating, drinking, sleeping and having sex bring us enjoyment due to the fact that those activities ensure the vestige of the species.
I swore off booze, not enjoyment. It’s not essential to pathologize my every move simply because I am an alcoholic. I don’t run because I’m a workout addict, eternally chasing after the “runner’s high.”
Sometimes, I take pleasure in running but mainly I go through the discomfort of running simply because I know it increases both the stretch of my lifespan and the quality of my lifespan and I hate running less than I dread death and the unavoidable sensation of dying.
Just because I have been addicted to booze, it doesn’t mean my life after booze is necessarily simply an empty sequence of desperate cravings and desperate injections of enjoyment.
When I pat your doggy, I am not chasing after “doggy patter’s high,” I am simply patting the pooch.
Because, at the end of the day, yes, I’m an clean and sober alcoholic, but I’m also a bass player, a gear nerd, a writer, a runner, a guitar wrangler, a troubadour, a mediocre kick boxer, a solid friend, a grand uncle, a sibling, a step-brother, a foster brother, a son and a flawed, faulty but mainly happy individual.
The Stop Drinking Expert method works so well because it does not require you to label yourself a recovering alcoholic. It does not treat you like you are broken, weak willed or have some weird addictive personality that renders you hopeless everywhere you go.