Hey guys, I want to talk about how to stop relapsing so much from alcohol. I know this very well. I’ve relapsed hundreds of times over the years but I finally got sober.
I’ve been sober for the last 10 years, actually 13 years but I had a couple slip ups. But we’ll get into that later.
So I want to talk about why you relapse and how to stop relapsing. So there’s a couple steps in AA. I don’t go to AA. I did sobriety this time without AA.
So, just hear me out. The first step of AA is what people admit when they step into those rooms:
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol. That our lives had become unmanageable.”
That’s it – it’s to admit that things are unmanageable. Can you admit that? That’s the very first step.
Now, if you still have some reservations about that – if you try to justify your life and say well you know, I do have everything under control, except the drinking, then you’re not ready for sobriety.
You’re going to relapse. People cannot force you to get sober, you have to want it yourself.
So if you still romanticize drinking – if you’re still like I’ll quit tomorrow or I’ll quit next week or I’ll quit when I go back to college or I’ll quit when I get married, if you’re saying any of those things, then you’re not ready to quit.
You have to hit bottom. What is your bottom because you got to look at your life, what is unmanageable about your life?
Because if you’re seriously drinking, and you’ve been drinking a lot for a long time, I bet you anything that most of your life, if not everything, is unmanageable.
i.e. You’re showing up late to work, you’re ignoring your spouse, you’re doing bad things. You’re sneaking around, you got bottles hidden somewhere.
You can’t stop after a couple beers, or a couple drinks, you’re doing things when you’re drunk that you don’t want to.
That’s unmanageable and believing that it’s gonna get better tomorrow and doing the same thing over and over expecting a better result is insanity. That’s Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
I know, because I did it 1000s of times, tonight’s gonna be better – tonight I will remember everything I did. And guess what, it never worked.
I always drank more than I wanted, I did things I didn’t want to do, and I was hungover the next day, and it got worse and worse. It never gets better.
It doesn’t get better because you get older; it doesn’t get better because you go back to college; it doesn’t get better because you have a new girlfriend or boyfriend.
You will find ways to drink, no matter what your situation, because you’re an alcoholic.
So once you admit things are unmanageable that’s the first step. Now, listen to the second step:
“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
What that means is, you can’t do this on your own. You can’t do this with your will, because your self will has created all of this mess, you have to admit it.
No one else made you drink. A lot of alcoholics will blame everyone but themselves. “Well they made me drink. I was stressed, they made me stressed out, so I went and drank. My parents pissed me off so I went and got a couple beers.”
You know, “the policeman pulled me over because my boss was a dick, or it’s sunny out, let’s go drink. It’s raining. I can’t work, let’s drink.”
There’s 1000s of excuses, you can’t control your life. The only person that can help you back to sanity and to recovery is a higher power.
It doesn’t have to be Jesus. But it has to be something outside of your will, because your will was in the driver’s seat and look at your life.
Look at what you did with your life. You can’t blame anyone else. You know, there’s millions of people that had bad childhoods, and they overcame it, and they’re sober.
So you can’t use that excuse. Just turn your will over to God, and that is the third step:
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him.”
So there again, it’s the God that you understand, not what other people say, what you believe is God.
You made a decision that’s all. You made a decision to turn your will over, and your life to the care of God, because you were in the driver’s seat for your whole life, and look back at what that tornado has left.
Honestly, just stop for one second and look back, how many jobs have you lost? How many relationships have you destroyed?
Look at the people around you, are they crying, are they upset at what you’re doing? That’s because your will was in the driver’s seat and all this step is saying is turn your will over to higher power, as you understand God.
That’s it. Those are the first three steps, they’re pretty harmless, but they’re life changing once you truly understand that your life is out of control.
It doesn’t get better. Alcohol gets worse, alcoholism grows, whether you’re sober a week or 10 years.
If you go back out there, there’s only three options for you. There’s insanity prison, or death. And I was nearly dead. I had no friends left. I was getting drunk, twice a day, I wasn’t eating. Do you think that’s normal?
But yeah, I just ignored all of that because I wanted another beer. But I finally stopped, and I didn’t stop because of the things I thought I would stop for.
I didn’t stop because of a heart attack, I didn’t stop because I lost girlfriends and jobs. I didn’t stop because I went to jail.
I hit rock bottom when I was shamed by a guy. And you’ve probably heard my story before, but he shamed me, and I was defenseless.
I was shaking in bed with withdraws, and I was naked because I slept in the nude so I couldn’t get up and kick him out of my house.
I felt defenseless, and I finally opened my eyes wide enough and looked around and said this is frickin pathetic. I am done.
And I’ve been sober many times. I had six months, I had nine months, I had 10 months, I had 18 months, I had 20 months, I had 22 months.
But I always went back out because there was always that what if, what if this time is better. Or, I think I outgrew it, I could probably handle it, or I’m going to switch to wine now.
All of those things have to go away. You have to be done. You have to be at your bottom. If you still romanticize alcohol at all, or if people are still enabling you, and drinking with you, if you’re not willing to let those people go, you’re not ready.
Because when you get sober, you have to change everything, people, places and things, anything that relates to alcohol, that reminds you of alcohol.
So when I got sober, I got two jobs, and for a treat I would have a candy bar at night. I stayed to myself, I only drove to work, and I drove home. I got a gym membership, again, I started to work out.
Then I eventually moved away from that town, so I didn’t have to see anyone that I drank with.
And it’s hard being alone, starting over. Learning how to make sober friends, it’s hard. I’ve been sober over 10 years, I still don’t have friends.
Maybe because of the lockdown, but I have friends online. I have people that I like. They don’t drink, my fiance doesn’t drink. So you can change your life, you can’t get out of it.
And if you’re really deep in it, get some medical help because you could die from withdrawals. So get some medical supervision. Check yourself in somewhere and detox, pick yourself up, start working out, work, and dive back into your hobbies, your passions.
What did you like to do before you started drinking? Revisit those or create new hobbies. That’s it. And once you keep busy with good things, you won’t want to go back to that.
We only turn to the bad things when we’re hurt and lonely or upset, so find things that give you pleasure that are healthy, like working out. I love racquetball. I love playing drums. I love writing poetry. I love doing all those things.
When I got sober, I got my creativity back. Alcohol didn’t kill it, like I thought it did. So I started writing again. And if you think that being a damaged artist creates good art, you know, I believed that when I was in my 20s, I thought I had to be insane to create good art, that’s a lie. That’s an alcoholic lie. That’s demon alcohol lies.
I actually created really good stuff when I got sober. I created several books, I created a music album. I created several blogs, sold a couple of them for a few grand apiece, and I’m still creating content because I love it.
I love waking up now. The last couple months of drinking, when it was getting light out, I hated it. I wanted it to be dark forever. That’s no way to live.
So that’s how you stop a relapse and stop relapsing is you really have to hit bottom, and you really have to look around. Is your life unmanageable?
If so, get out of the driver’s seat and turn your will over to God and ask Him to guide you to a better life. Because it’s very demoralizing.
Being at the very low depths of hell of drinking is demoralizing, doing things you never thought you would do.
I mean, I wasn’t eating. I couldn’t even shower, I was hanging out with homeless people. They’re the only ones that could drink like me, and I was doing stupid stuff every night, and I was wrapped in guilt and shame.
So when you get sober, you’re gonna have to look at the source of your pain. It’s not the alcohol, there’s something deeper than that.
You know, I had very low self esteem. So when I found alcohol, it gave me a temporary sense of confidence, but it was a lie. And it almost killed me. So you have to look at the trauma, under all of your drug and alcohol use.
Did your dad hurt you? Did something happen, you’re gonna have to talk to someone about that, because that is the core, that is the root issue of all of this. Hang in there, guys, I love you, you will do just fine, but don’t drink tonight and see what happens.
Erik C Johnson