When you have had one too many disastrous experiences under the influence of alcohol, you realize that it’s time to stop drinking. You may talk to people who are in recovery and realize that the cornerstone of Alcoholics Anonymous is abstinence. You panic. You probably don’t want to stop drinking permanently. You just want to learn how to control your drinking. “What do you mean I can never drink again?” you ask. You can’t imagine how you will be able to live without alcohol. Your social life has revolved around drinking. You don’t know how to be social at all without alcohol, and you think life won’t ever be fun again.
Don’t Drink Just for Today
It’s true that Alcoholics Anonymous recommends abstinence and members practice exactly that. The core of the program is to stay away from the first drink. I’m sure you can admit to yourself that many of the times you have gotten completely drunk, that was never your intention. You only meant to have a couple of drinks with your friends. You didn’t mean to make a complete fool of yourself, crash the car or get arrested. You didn’t mean to embarrass the people close to you or lose your job. You only meant to have a drink or two. But for anyone who wants to stay sober, one drink is too many and a thousand will never be enough. The way to be sober is to stay away from the first drink. If you don’t have the first drink, you can’t get drunk. No one is asking you the day you get sober to plan to never drink again for the rest of your life. Few if any members of Alcoholics Anonymous will unequivocally state that they will never drink again. Recovering alcoholics stay sober one day at a time. All that is being asked of you is to stay away from one drink for one day. The only day you have to commit to staying sober right now is today.
Where Just One Drink Can Lead
Many of us wish on some level that we could drink socially like other “normal” people. We wish we could have just one or two drinks with friends, just so we could relax and be sociable. Alcoholics or problem drinkers are not like other people. If you fit in this category, once you start drinking there’s a good chance you won’t be able to stop. The things you haven’t experienced yet may be in your future. If you haven’t lost your job or family yet, you’re lucky. You still could. If you haven’t been arrested for DUI or other crimes such as domestic violence that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t drinking, those things could be in your future too. The downward spiral starts with picking up the first drink. There’s a good chance if you pick up one drink you won’t be able to stop. You’ll have another and then another, and you won’t be able to control what happens next. Is it worth the risk to you?
Having Fun in Sobriety
If you have relied on alcohol to lower your inhibitions and help you to be more sociable, you probably think life without alcohol will be dull, boring or lonely. It doesn’t have to be. In Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery support groups, there is a lot of fellowship among people who can really understand what you have been through and what demons you may still be struggling with. You will meet an amazing mix of people of all ages, and you will meet both men and women who share the same feelings and cravings that you do. You will develop a fellowship with people that you may never have imagined you would get to know. In sobriety, you can have the opportunity to get up in the morning and see the sunrise without a hangover. Whatever you enjoyed while drinking, you can do sober, as long as you don’t drink too. You can sing and dance, go out to dinner, enjoy picnics, sports and just about any other enjoyable thing you can imagine. Best of all, you will remember what you did and who you spent time with. Giving up alcohol can open the door to a brand new life full of friendship and good times. You can avoid a disastrous future in prison over crimes committed during an alcoholic fog, or health problems caused by continuing to drink throughout your life. Giving up drinking can help you to save yourself from a ton of loss and embarrassment. With a clear head, you can truly enjoy experiencing life. All you have to do is give up drinking just for today, not necessarily forever. You only need to stop drinking for the next 24 hours, and then do the same thing tomorrow.