I have an issue regarding alcohol. I don't know if it's a problem, but I can't stop drinking. It started off as just weekends and special occasions but has become every day. I have missed important events because of my addiction, including the birth of one of my best friend's child. I have hurt people that care about me. I feel ashamed and guilty for what I've done and how I've let people down.
I never intended to become an alcoholic. When I was younger, I enjoyed having a beer but sooner or later it became an issue. I don't know how to stop. Anytime I try, cravings and withdrawal symptoms set in. I feel like a prisoner trapped by my addiction.
I have tried attending AA meetings but left early because people there were talking about their sobriety dates and how long it had been since they'd had alcohol. They also shared stories that made me uncomfortable. I realized that these people were way further along than I was. The truth is, I'm not sure where I stand with this disease. I know that I can't drink and that scares me.
I don't want to lose my job or family because of this problem, but I also don't want to lose the buzz. It's become such an important part of my day. Without it, I feel like a shell of a person. I'm not sure how to deal with these issues. Any advice would be appreciated. -Anonymous
An anonymous alcoholic is in deep trouble. AA may be the only thing that can save him.
First, some definitions: An alcoholic is someone whose dependence on alcohol has brought him to the point where he will go to any lengths to obtain it; he will sacrifice his family's well-being, his health and happiness, and his good name to satisfy his craving. A problem drinker is one who has not yet reached this point but who may be heading in that direction because he or she drinks too much. The difference between an alcoholic and a problem drinker is simple: An alcoholic can't stop drinking, while a problem drinker can-but doesn't.
You're both. You cannot control your intake of alcohol, nor will you try to do so because the very thought of withdrawal makes you anxious and panicky. This is not surprising, since addiction has already taken hold of you. It's a powerful force that keeps you coming back for more no matter what the cost or consequences are.
The first step in getting sober is admitting that you have a problem. You've already done this, which is why we're having this conversation. But there's more to do if you want to get better.
You must attend AA meetings regularly and follow the 12 Steps of Recovery. This will help you develop sobriety skills that enable you to manage your craving for alcohol so that it doesn't control you anymore.
Once you truly understand what it means to be an alcoholic-that you are powerless over. It takes time but it will get easier as the time goes. Be patient.
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