How to Finally Get Help (And Get Sober)
If you’re in the grips of alcoholism and addiction, getting sober can seem like an impossible mountain to climb. But when you break it down into very specific steps, it becomes much easier.
The Challenge of Getting Sober
If you’re one of the millions of people who find themselves gripped in the throes of alcohol addiction, then you know just how challenging it is to get sober. It’s not as simple as saying you want to get sober and then quickly following through. It’s a challenging uphill battle that’s difficult and demanding.
The first step is recognizing you need to get sober. In other words, you have to admit there’s a problem. Deep down, most alcoholics know that they have a problem. The hard work here is pushing pride to the side and being confident enough to admit that you have a weakness. That’s what makes this so difficult.
If you’re like most, you only need a few seconds to recognize you’re an alcoholic. But for others, it’s more challenging. It’s possible that you’re a high-functioning alcoholic and have never taken the time to stop and admit there’s a problem beneath the surface. If you’re worried that you might be in this boat, here are a few red flags that could signal a need to pursue sobriety:
- Drinking causes you to fall behind with major responsibilities (work, family, etc.)
- You’ve lost/compromised friendships over your drinking
- You need alcohol to feel relaxed in social situations
- You regularly drink when you’re alone and at home
- You drink during the morning/day
- You have a hard time stopping once you start
- You deny your drinking habit, hide alcohol, and/or get angry when people confront you
These are just a few signs that you could have more of a problem with alcohol than you realize. If any of these red flags are present, you may want to take some time to carefully consider what’s going on.
The second step is actually doing the hard work of getting sober. In other words, admitting you have a problem is great, but you actually have to act on it. And though it’s a long, uphill battle, it starts with taking one small movement in the right direction. The only thing you have to do is get sober for 24 hours. Then, once you’re sober for one day, the goal is to become sober for two days. Then three days, and so on.
Tips for Staying Sober
Getting sober for 24 hours is a great start. But the excitement you feel when accomplishing this feat will quickly dwindle if you don’t have a plan for staying sober. In light of this, here are a few helpful tips for actually staying sober:
- Cut off bad ties. This is probably the most important step in the entire process. While many alcoholics drink alone, there’s usually some sort of social pressure involved. And if all of your friends and acquaintances are constantly drinking, it’s going to make it that much more difficult for you to stop. Now is the time to cut off bad ties. If there’s someone in your life who isn’t okay with your decision to pursue sobriety, you must put them at a distance. You can’t afford to be around people who will tempt you.
- Find accountability. It’s not enough to cut off bad ties. You have to fill that void with the right people. You need accountability in your life. This means surrounding yourself with people who are going through the same challenges you are. If you decide to go the rehab route (which is a great idea), make sure you choose a program that works for you. Elysian Sober Services is a good example of a rehab program that’s more than just a “program.” It’s a community that keeps you accountable and makes sure you stay sober by partnering you with a sober companion who has a history of addiction (but who is now living clean and sober lifestyle).
- Avoid triggers. We all have certain triggers that increase our likelihood of relapsing. It’s important that you make a list of what those triggers are (so that you can avoid them). It’s different for everyone. For example, some people find they’re more likely to drink if they smoke a cigarette. For other people, drinking happens when they visit family. It could be any number of things. Identify your triggers and then develop a plan for avoiding them.
If you can do these four things, your mission to stay sober will become much more manageable. It’ll never be easy, but it’ll become more possible by the day. As cliche as it sounds, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.