Hi all. First time posting and I could really use some guidance and help. I’m at a point that I need/want to stop drinking permanently. (Continued below)

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As someone who has struggled with addictive issues my entire life and (unsuccessfully) worked a 12 step program for a while, and also read various books, listened to professions podcasts etc… I can confidently advise that in this case AA is likely your best shot. Most people contend with the spiritual bit, but it’s possible to make that work in your own way. I’d recommend picking up the big book and just hit a meeting to see how you feel when you leave. Though I have not successfully worked the program, I did experience the effects and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Gotta start somewhere.

likehelpful

Here’s where my 22 years started:
Went to a meeting
Got a sponsor
Read the big book
Followed suggestions
Did the 12 steps (an ongoing process)
Looked for fellowship (going to meetings after meetings/before meetings) to develop a new social circle and support that was real
Established home group that I always go to and always share in
Got commitments (I distributed a lot of literature)
Started sponsoring others
Pray daily to try to get myself out of the way
Meditate daily to hear the river of unconscious thought and be aware
Stopped trying to know it all or be in control of too much

So start at the beginning— just go to a meeting. And go to a lot until you find one you like.

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Hi there! So glad to hear about your journey. I know it feels awful right now, but you’re exactly where you need to be. And you’re exactly right about not putting it on your SO. I think meeting with an addiction specialist is a great start.

There are many paths to recovery and sobriety. I myself am in AA. I was like you, as a recovering catholic I thought they would kick me out bc I’m not religious/spiritual. I also thought I would feel ridiculous and a fraud praying to something I don’t believe in. After reading the literature I learned there are NO requirements for AA besides a desire to stop drinking.

In fact, the one time Vice President of the atheist society was a member and got through the spiritual part with room to spare. For me, it was just being willing, bc of course I thought that part was ridiculous. But to be honest, I had nowhere else to go. I was so desperate for help. I would have sat under and table and whistled if that’s what you told me to do. 8 years later, AA has kept me sober. And although I’m not religious, I cannot believe it’s not something bigger than me they got me here.

Last thoughts, my first “god” was
Gift
Of
Desperation

I was so desperate, I would try anything. After a while my “god” became:

Group
Of
Drunks

A group of drunks that found a solution to their drinking.

Finally, and this is my favorite. “Dog” is god backwards. The way my dog loves me, lights up when I walk in the room is how I imagine a higher power loves me.

Again, I can only speak from my own experience, sending all of the love and light to you friend. Happy to DM if you want to chat.

likeuplifting

I’ll take you up on the DM offer. Thanks for the advice.

Hi there! I just want to chime in and say welcome, you’re doing the right thing, and echo others who have said that recovery in AA/NA/12-step is possible without being religious, or even very spiritual. I continued to drink for many years because I was unwilling to be open minded to AA because of the spiritual aspect. As soon as I was beat up enough to try anything, I learned that the the program is very flexible. As long as I care about something greater than myself, that’s enough. Anyway, feel free to PM if you ever want to chat about society. Good luck!

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I'm in AA and have 3 years sober. Your concerns are what I have heard most often from new people. And it's ok not to have all the answers right now. The point isn't perfection. It's being willing to progress towards something that works for you.

I've seen the spectrum - from "believers" to atheists (in the religious sense) - make it work. If you read the Big Book with an open mind and boil it down to its most basic parts, the program can be summed up in three parts: Become willing to believe that you have a problem you alone can't fix, that something more powerful than you can help, and tap into that "power" by doing the next right thing. What that "power" is can be anything. It could be God, and it could be the power of one alcoholic helping another alcoholic stay sober (I see it as the "human spirit"). It doesn't have to be religious for you for it to work.

But you have to start somewhere. Meetings are helpful if for nothing more than to hear other people with the same struggle and realize where you were, where you are, and where you can end up if you dont try something different than drinking/drugging.

And as a word of caution... the drinking pattern you've described was me to a T. First AA meeting I went to, I wasn't wiling to just listen and put everything into perspective of "what could be" if I didn't stop. I heard people losing marriages, homes, kids and thought: that's not me. I'm not that bad. 45 days later I was unemployed, on the verge of divorce and sitting in a bed in a treatment center.

The good news? I don't have to live that way now. The fears I had about the stigma or faith are trivial now compared to the benefit of my sobriety. I hope you find what works.

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I’ve talked with my SO and they are very supportive. I’m struggling with how to set myself up for success. I’m feeling horribly ashamed at myself for letting my relationship with alcohol devolve into something I can’t fully control. I can’t imagine telling friends or family. Other than my SO, I don’t know who to turn to for additional support in this journey (and I just can’t put it all on my SO). I only know a little about AA but I’m not spiritual at all so I’m concerned that just won’t be for me.

I set time with an addiction therapist this week as a starting point, but if anyone has any guidance at all here I’m all ears. I’m feeling really down, but I also know 100% this is the right choice for me. Happy to answer questions if it helps with the guidance.

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The fact that you are aware and WANT to change is a HUGE deal. You will succeed. You may need to restart several times, but that is okay. I went to AA and am also not spiritual, but I loved it and found it extremely helpful.

Also just seeing those videos that are pinned at the top. Seems like maybe I should carve some time to watch those. Yes?

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They’re actually just audio, so you can put them on with earbuds in and listen at any time. Joe & Charlie are awesome and help explain some of the unnecessary fear that we all have when we first get to AA.

The point isn’t that you have to be spiritual to “get” AA; rather, come as you are and just start working the steps with a sponsor, and go to meetings. It’s amazing what can change over the course of a few months if you just surrender and do whatever is suggested in the book. Old ideas are replaced with new ones, and somewhere along the way, the obsession to drink is lifted. You might just find a version of spirituality that works for you along the way, and that truly is the most beautiful thing.

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I’m struggling so much with the actual identification of an “alcoholic” right now. I can’t fathom saying that out loud to friends and family. Hence why AA even just is so hard for me to consider. This is all so scary.

I don’t know if this helps… but my situation is one where I basically end up drinking too much anytime I drink. I can stop for a month at a time without an issue (though I think about drinking a lot during that time) but as soon as I have 1, I need more and get straight drunk. I’m actually not concerned about stopping just day to day… but I’m scared that social events, work events, pressures of just social life will loop me back then things might end up worse later on. It just doesn’t seem worth it. I used to love a good whiskey or red wine… now I honestly feel like I look at it as a future buzz and have lost the enjoyment of the actual flavors which was another big flag.

But I also seriously can’t imagine telling my friends and family. Is part of AA basically making this known to your network? Or can you take it sort of as “I just gave it up” externally to people and not make that part of it. I know they would be supportive of I just said hey I’m not drinking anymore… lifestyle change. But I also know their opinion of me would massively change if I told them I was an alcoholic. Which crushes me.

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The AA process is slow and by the time you got to the point to tell your friends and family, the shame you feel will be mostly gone! I always thought being an alcoholic meant drinking hard liquor every day, but the truth is you are also an alcoholic if you can't control the amount you drink, even if you only drink on weekends.

helpful

I hit my bottom a year ago, just frustrated, angry, and disappointed with myself. From outside I looked like I was doing great-good career and happy family. But I was drinking ALOT-couldn’t wait to have a drink “at the end of the day” which became earlier every week. And it got to where I was having 8+ drinks per day. I just decided I had to make a change or life was going to crash and burn. After a lot of soul-searching, I started the 30 Day Sobriety Challenge. Got me to think about a lot of different things. I read parts of the big book (a lot of it didn’t seem to apply to me…yet!) went sober for 9 months and then started having an occasional glass of wine (that I now enjoy!) still have to be careful not to give in to the “pull” to over-indulge but now it is a choice I make to have a glass, not a compulsion. It’s been about a year and I feel so much better about myself, have a better relationship with my wife, and am much healthier!

You can do it! Taking that first step and being honest with yourself is critical.

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I don’t think in terms of forever. I think in terms of right now (“I am not going to have a drink at this event”), today (“I’m not going to drink today”), this week/month (I’m taking a break”) and just happen to have strung together triple digits of events, then days, then weeks, and it builds from there.

For me, it’s never been about forever and I reflect on that occasionally. What I also have realized is that tts minute I start thinking about the “well when is that day in the future” and “what does that look like” that I can also recognize the anxiety and obsessiveness of thought that comes with it and then can calmly reinforce “not today”. The more time that passes, the less I think about it or care about it, but it still sneaks up when I think it’s gone!

Follow below things strictly, u can overcome ur drinking habit.
1. Wake before sunrise
2. Run a bit where there is bright sunlight, so that u get some vitamin D.
3.Exercise & Yoga. Pranayam can overcome many things
4.Sleep early

Hope this helps! :)

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I highly suggest AA. I came in as an atheist and they didn’t push their beliefs on me- when I decided I was ready to explore (not commit) I started exploring and found something that worked for me. I’m sober 5 years now and a completely different person than I used to be. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

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Just take it one day at a time! Go to a meeting and feel the release of hearing others in the same position and sharing how you’re feeling. It’ll be okay, all we can do is get up in the morning and do what we can that day. I remember I was scared at first to tell my family, friends, etc. but after working on myself for awhile I was able to let go of that fear. Of course these fears come back sometimes, but I feel like I have the tools to address them and move on calmly now. It’ll all be okay, progress not perfection ❤️

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