Can alcoholics drink again?
No. Alcoholics can’t drink “normally” again. Why? Because a true alcoholic triggers the phenomenon of craving when s/he drinks. This is why abstinence is favored over “moderate drinking” for alcoholics. More here on why alcoholics should re-consider drinking, and a section for your comments or questions at the end.
Why alcoholics can’t drink again
Alcoholics or drug users usually start drinking because they think they don’t have a drinking problem. The alcoholic may think they can handle having a couple drinks and be OK. But deep down inside they know they can’t drink again. How alcohol makes you drunk is physical. But persistent, irrational thoughts compel old patterns of use and are often more dangerous to an alcoholic than anything else. Where does this thinking come from? And what can be done about it? Plus, is it possible to stop drinking without Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholic stinking thinking
Alcoholics are programmed to think they can drink and go back to their old ways. The brain is a postive-reinforcing organ and tends to remembers the good times associated with drinking, even glorifying alcohol, without weighing the real-life consequences of drinking. The loss of friends, family, relationships, or even work. Among certain circles, this type of mental cue is called, “stinking thinking”. Stinking thinking means that an alcoholic can come up with a countless number of positive reasons to drink and be ok. But alcoholics who think this way are likely to not be focusing on their recovery in a proactive manor. And anyone diagnosed with an addiction who wants to remain clean and sober needs to remember frequently WHY they stopped in the first place. If you need motivation to stop drinking, be sure to account for both the good and the bad in your past drinking history…but in a real way.
How to stop thinking about drinking again
There a certain mental and behavioral triggers that you can CHANGE in order to help manage and reduce your cravings to drink. While 12 step programs have become the alcoholism treatment “norm”, other models exist such as Rational Recovery, S.O.S. Sobriety, or Women for Sobriety. You can further look into alternative programs such as SMART recovery or work with a licensed therapist to identify and move beyond such thinking. The point is that as long as you are actively exploring options to CHANGE your thinking, you are headed out of alcoholism. Should you try to drink again normally, for real alcoholics, this leads to developing a returned tolerance for alcohol and drinking the same as previously. In other words, it’s a DEAD END.
Alternative programs to A.A.
Again, I want to stress that you can address drinking issues and thinking about drinking in many ways. Alcoholics can go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to focus on their recovery. If these types of gatherings do not work for you there are alternative ways to focus on your recovery. Yes, there are many alternatives to AA. Often alcoholics and addicts think that 12 step support groups are the only way to maintain sobriety. Many people think that we have to use this model to achieve and maintain sobriety. That is simply not true and I consider it a big urban legend.
There is nothing wrong with A.A. – these are A+ support groups that have and do work for alcoholics. They never worked for me. I tried many different paths to get sober though A.A. I even went to different chapters to see if one would be a better fit. Unfortunately, these groups didn’t give me personal strength to be sober. I took valuable information from A.A. and applied it to my recovery that worked for me. I focus on my recovery by watching the show, “Intervention” on a&e. Just like any show, they have seasons with a certain amount of shows to watch. When I ran out of shows, I decided I need to connect with my inner alcoholic in another way.
Writing about addiction
I further focus on my addiction by blogging about it. I feel the need to give back to everyone affected by alcoholism, or drug use. I can reach a considerably larger target audience through the internet and give back in more ways than I ever could conventionally. Plus, it keeps me on target, as well as accountable. If public writing isn’t for you…start a journal or express yourself artistically. But drinking again isn’t an option for this alcoholic. May you stay sober, as well.
Photo credit: Scott Ableman