The answer to the above question is quite simply an emphatic; YOURS!
Now there is nothing wrong with getting a little help along the way and I’ll get to that, but the bottom line is that you were the one who made the choice to use in the first place and therefore you are the one who has to make the choice to stop.
If you’ve made the decision to end your dependency, then congratulations! You now have the opportunity to reclaim your life and transform it into one that is both authentic and fulfilling.
Again, you have made a CHOICE and that’s kind of the point and at the heart of the whole “recovery”
It’s not a disease, it is a choice and that choice, at the end of the day, is yours alone to make.
If you are contemplating making this choice to appease a spouse, your children or your employer, there is nothing wrong with that. Those are all very good motivators indeed. That being said, however, your
chances of success go up dramatically if you are motivated by the desire to improve YOUR station in life.
So how to go about it? One of the first things you need to do is to admit to yourself that it is even a problem and that there are issues that you need to resolve.
For most, there are underlying issues that need to be uncovered, addressed and overcome. For the other folks for whom there were supposedly no issues to speak of and their dependency was simply a result
of it “getting out of hand” over a period of time, be honest and at least admit that while there may not have been any underlying issues per se, there are certainly issues or ramifications at this point in time. Otherwise, why would you even be here reading this?
So you’ve become dependent for whatever reason and you are now willing to address and overcome it. Yay for you! You have a lot of internal work ahead of you but it’s all quite doable if your motivation
and intent come from the heart.
So now let’s talk about getting “outside” help and what’s available and worthwhile and NOT.
OK, I won’t say much about AA because I’ve said it all before but here it is; For many, many folks, making the “decision” is hard and virtually nobody in your immediate world (family, friends, employers) quite get it. Add to that the loneliness factor when you first pursue this, and it can be quite overwhelming. This is where AA’s one useful element can be beneficial. It is a place to go where people do “get” what you have confronted. Outside human contact is ESSENTIAL in overcoming dependencies so initially it’s not a bad place to go. There are MUCH better self-help groups but let’s face it, AA is everywhere and most of the alternatives simply are not.
Just ignore the stupid 12-Step posters, the chanting, “The Promises” etc…. basically ignore ALL of it and just go to be around people that won’t judge or analyze you. (Oh, they will do all that but not usually right away). While doing this, however, start thinking about other “real world” groups or pursuits that you might want to check out.
Other self-help groups that are more useful because they actually attempt to address underlying issues, faulty thinking, cognitive methods, etc… include SMART RECOVERY and SOS. Again, the problem here
is that there are very few meetings and depending on where you reside, there might not be any! They do however, have on-line venues.
Now, what about overcoming your issues and then returning to moderate drinking? I’ve written about this as well and here is my take on the subject. If you figure out what was causing you the pain, anxiety or whatever the underlying issues may have been and resolve them, then a return to mature and responsible use is absolutely possible for many, many people. I think where it gets a bit dicey is when the dependency was of an extremely long duration. I do believe that some neurological or brain stuff does occur with
such extended abuse and for those people (I consider myself to be in this category) a return to moderate use is extremely difficult. I actually think I could pull it off but I think that it would be so taxing, time consuming and just all around annoying that it just wouldn’t be worth it. I don’t do moderation in anything well. I drank for the effect and without “going for it”, it just isn’t all that. I LOVE the taste and the warm fuzzy feeling of a Dewar’s on the rocks but…..not enough to have to discipline myself over its consumption.
So, each individual has to weigh the pros and cons of going there.
I think we owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and even the outside community or world at large, to fulfill our potential to the best of our ability. You just can’t do that if you are stuck in a self-absorbed dependency. I’ll take it one step further and state that I think we are here to help one another reach that status. Some will say that they are not “people people and that if they are not causing themselves or others any harm, then that’s good enough. They are absolutely right but for me personally anyway, it was when I developed better listening skills, began to show empathy to others and took an active interest in what was going outside my little internal world, that life took on a whole new direction filled with satisfaction, joy and fulfillment. Try it, you just might find that you like it. Even if it’s only to simply convey civility and every day kindness to those you
encounter on a daily basis, it matters.
So the bottom line……….The responsibility is
YOURS and if given a chance, you will find that the efforts and results are way
worth the effort.