Thursday August 28th 2014

How to stop drinking alcohol

Step 1: Make a decision

“I really want to be sober, but I just can’t let it go.”

How many times have we counselors, family and friends of alcoholics and addicts heard this? One minute you are ready to let an addiction go, and then the next, you are vacillating and can’t quite cut back on alcohol, stop an addictive behavior or quit an addictive substance.

Procrastination delays recovery from addiction

I will never forget a poster in a counselor’s office which read, “Not to Make a Decision . . . is to make a decision!”

Many passive-aggressive people sit there and talk a really good game, but when it comes right down to it, they start waffling and try to ride the fence. The only problem is with most of them is that the clock is ticking and they are running out of time. Sometimes they simply wait until someone is taking their children away by a government agency and they are still using drugs/alcohol and then they point at the people around them and start blaming them as if someone else is to blame for losing their children and sometimes their freedom as well.

Some addicts and alcoholics are just plain lazy

“As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed.” Proverbs 26:14

Some people will go to meetings, and groups and get jobs and yet when it comes down to making a commitment to stay sober, they won’t go through with it.  Or some people relapse to prevent drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms because the intensity is too much.

Sometimes jail will wake people up, sometimes not. Sometimes people will spend years in prison and this makes an impression on them, and yet others continue to have multiple incarcerations and still aren’t convinced about giving up their addiction.

So many people have lied for so long, that they think lying to get out of the situation will somehow work again. When it doesn’t work, they often have someone, usually a family member, who will enable them to get out of jail on bond and they go right back to their addiction.

Get honest about the consequences of addiction

“Behold you desire truth in the inward parts.” Psalms 51:6

Getting honest with others starts with getting honest with yourself. Self-deception is an age old game. The addict has lied for so long about everything, it is engrained in their being. Getting honest with yourself is a major step towards sobriety. Honesty cannot be avoided. I sometimes ask people the following question, “What is the most expensive thing in the world?” After a pause and a blank stare from them I say, “It’s the truth.” It’s like gold—it’s expensive and just as rare.

While telling the truth is what is needed, many people can’t or won’t face the consequences as they have tried to fool their family and friends for so long, they wouldn’t know the truth if it was painted on a boxcar of a railroad train with the horns blowing full blast. Some people have waited too late and have drank and drugged themselves into eternity and have forfeited their lives for their lies.

Opportunity cost and addiction

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost.” Luke 14:28

My economics professor in graduate school said that there is such a thing as opportunity cost. When you see an opportunity and you decide to let it go and the business venture proved to be very productive, then you actually suffered a real financial loss because you did not act.

Some people think that they will have an endless supply of opportunities to make the right decision, but that is not the case. Sometimes people will tell just one more lie, thinking if they get caught, they’ll always be there and somehow they will get by with another lie. There comes a day when the family member, or judge will say, “That’s enough! I am done with you.” It has come to an end.

Life choices have consequences and I pray that you will find the inner resolve to make the right decision and act on it. You may not have another chance. Don’t gamble with your life. Determine to seek help, tell the truth and start—a new beginning.

Photo credit: K-tee Snape

Leave a Reply

One Response to “How to stop drinking alcohol
Dave
3:25 am June 30th, 2011

The first step is about admittance of the problem and then seeking help. It all depends at first on levels of physical dependence and safety of withdrawals of the substance. Then learning what is the nature of addiction and doing what it takes to remain abstinent if that is the goal. Help is out there but it just takes the humility to ask for it.

About Jon Penoi, MPH, LADC

Jon Penoi is the author of Freedom From Addiction and Other Life Controlling Problems and has been a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for 14 years. He earned both his B.A. in Psychology, and Master of Public Health, from Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center. Jon also brings extensive experience in sober living management and served as Director of a halfway house treatment center in Lawton, OK for 4 years.