Finding the best way to sobriety
I am not going to lie. Getting sober isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I have tried my best way to get sober many times and failed; justifying the next bottle on work, stress, life and sometimes just because I needed a break from the harsh world, or whatever. Recently, after a year of sobriety I came to a few realisations about the whole journey to sobriety and it starts with the terminology around it. Calling yourself an addict, or an alcoholic is part of the process, right? I thought it was but let’s be honest; no one really likes the term outside of the very same circles upon which it is relevant, i.e. addiction recovery. So what’s the point of this all then? I am going to show you how I found the best way to get sober, a way to sobriety and it starts with saying it out loud.
Calling yourself an alcoholic skips past the small talk and helps a person get the support needed to get life back on track. There is massive power in taking a label and transforming it from a negative to something positive. It is empowering to take ownership of a label you have spent years denying or bargaining with. Identifying as an alcoholic can be the first step of getting sober. It isn’t however, the only way.
Various types of alcoholics exist and there is a spectrum to this destructive rainbow
A ‘high bottom alcoholic’ (HBA) is something of a strange miracle. They drank alcoholically but managed not to lose everything in the process. Looking at them, they seem like they have it all together. They don’t. Being an alcoholic comes at a price. Waking up is a painful experience, be it the headaches, sore stomach or fatigue, or the fuzziness and lack of clarity. There is a lot of anxiety and it’s a continuous game of catch up with the rest of the world. Many of these types of alcoholics have stories hidden behind the perfect curtains, and those stories often involve anger, divorce, violence, prison, morning drinking and so on. The HBA is another way of saying that drinking problems exist on a spectrum. ‘HBA’s often quit (somehow) before they become physically dependent and lose it all because of alcohol. As I said, this is the best way to get sober as there is a spectrum, a scale and it only makes sense in a place that has alcohol as the barometer.
The best way to get sober -More than a word
Once you hit the road to recovery, through your own persistence or through a place that offers support such as Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres, you get sober friends who will tell you that “alcoholic is just a word” and it doesn’t really matter what you call yourself as long as you and booze don’t mix and you work out your best way to get sober.
And then it hit. The term ‘alcoholic’ is actually outdated. The real, modern term now used by medical professionals is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). I know. Mind-boggling.
Here’s the real cracker. AUD is the term used to signal the presence of this destructive and baffling pattern of human behaviour. Now instead of using the classic, ‘Hi my name is John and I am an alcoholic’ line, try, ‘Hi my name is John and I have an AUD.’ See the difference? Don’t get bogged down by the fact that you have heard the word alcoholic, wrestled with it and finally come to terms with it ( see the opening paragraphs above) only to be told about AUD, it’s natural. Here’s my question to you. How many people go back to drinking because there is no best way to get sober or way to identify with the word ‘alcoholic?’ Plenty. Maybe you did too. Addiction is sneaky and we rely a lot on what our friends say to cope, and words can empower or knock the wind out of your sobriety sails, in an instant. The choosing of the right word is therefore essential. Could you understand the disease without assigning a label (as misunderstood as that one is?) Who knows? But who knows and what-ifs don’t solve anything.
Stop with the gaslighting
Gaslighting is defined as manipulating someone by psychological means into doubting their sanity/argument. You don’t need to have a trail of evidence in memory or physical to document how destructive your drinking was/is. You need to stop gaslighting yourself and start taking ownership of the situation. It gets harder, trust me. I was, at the start, surrounded by friends and family who could not see a best way to get sober(or make) the connection between the problems I was experiencing and the alcohol I was drinking. But I did. And that is what counts. If you don’t you start thinking about the idea that maybe it’s not such a big deal and maybe it’s not a problem. That’s a mistake. Don’t pay attention to the laughs or the dismissive actions of others. Find what works for you. You also do not need to wait for alcohol to take over and become a problem. You can quit simply because you actually don’t want to poison the one body you have. Or maybe you actually want money for the new hobby you just took up. Or pet. Or whatever. If your drinking is a problem FOR YOU, then your drinking IS A PROBLEM. Read that again out loud.
The cure is right here, The best way to get sober is right now.
There is great news. Despite Covid-19, and this new normal that the pandemic has created, there is no better time than right now to get sober. I learnt this when I saw the great depths people were going to in order to find things to do during the intense stages of the lockdown. With no access to booze, hobbies, crafts, sports, training, nature and so many other wonderful things replaced the booze train that occupied my life for so long. There is a lot to life, it is intricate and vast and the process of the best way to get sober is so character building and life-enriching that it is something really hard not to brag about. Plus you get to know your family, friends and loved ones that much better. 7am hikes on a Saturday used to be a laughed at dream, now I am in the bushes spotting birds before the sun has even hit the clouds!
Find your tribe
For me, the best way to get sober is to seek out and find a community that you want to be in. Do the work. Learn to be present. Enjoy the journey and accept who you are and love that person. Your potential is limited to your own stock-take, so don’t short count! As I conclude I want you to test yourself. Here are a few things you can try to see if perhaps it is time to call time out on booze. If you fail this experiment or you believe you have failed, then you know. Remember only you can be the master of your destiny and only you can find the best way to get sober.
Here are the tests:
Do whatever it takes to stay sober for 30 days:
Give your booze away, flush it. Visit a doctor, chat to a Rehab Centre (Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres are great, and based in Johannesburg) take up a challenge. Any thought of quitting, or if you fall off the 30 day sobriety test, or find the pang for alcohol too bad, chances are, you know the answer. There is an entire community of people just waiting to help you.
If you’re ready to start treatment now and are in need of assistance please do not hesitate to call for more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself help and into rehab to start a new life. If you’re ready for it, you may want to discover our addiction treatment choices, many individuals find that receiving a kick start at Houghton House can be highly motivating and the best way to get sober and stay sober.
call Houghton House now: office hours: 011 787 9142
24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532