To date, The Twelve-Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been the top approach to overcoming alcoholism. That long-standing position has been predicated upon assumed efficacy, which, until the last decade, has been largely shrouded in mystery. Many sources, including Dr. Lance Dodes psychiatrist, author, and director of the substance abuse treatment unit at Harvard’s McLean Hospital, now state that the Twelve-Step Program of AA has a success rate of 5-10 percent. That is not exactly stellar results. Since The Twelve-step Program is used in 95 percent of all U.S. treatment centers as a primary modality, it would be safe to conclude that the success rate of conventional treatment is roughly the same. If you have been searching for ways to stop drinking alcohol, the alternatives to AA meetings to have been limited.
Common, Self-Help Ways to Stop Drinking Alcohol
Sure, there are some common, self-help strategies available to stop drinking without AA, but I don’t believe they are effective. Most of these methods fight the effects of alcoholism instead of attacking and eliminating the causes. For example, one of the strategies is cravings management. To me, this should be categorized with stress management. Why would anyone want to manage their stress? Likewise, why would you manage cravings? From a rational perspective, eliminating the causes is a more logical approach. Another example is avoiding triggers. Basically, remove every drop of alcohol from your home and avoid every social gathering or establishment where alcohol is served. In my mind, that is equivalent to making your drinking problem everyone else’s problem. There’s a stark contrast between use and alcohol abuse. Doesn’t it make more sense to drill down to the core of what is causing the alcohol abuse and decisively address the issue or issues? I can assure you; there are reasons and issues. If you want to quit drinking on your own, you’ve got to understand and address them.
Why you can’t Stop Drinking Alcohol
The reason you have found it difficult to stop drinking is because alcohol is serving a few needs. If you revisit AA for a moment, and examine how members actually get sober, you can then begin to understand those needs. After the research I have conducted over the past decade, I believe that most AA members achieve sobriety through behavioral transference. In other words, they trade alcohol for AA meetings and ideology. AA then serves the needs that alcohol was once serving. The question then becomes; what are those needs? Based on my research and experience, they are emotional management and escape. When anxiety, emotional distress and depression reach tipping points, and coping mechanisms fail, alcohol is used to alleviate and/or manage symptoms. When negative self-thinking and self-loathing become unbearable, alcohol is used numb thoughts or as a form of emotional escape. The entire process of alcoholism is based on avoidance and escape. Someone or something is causing your anxiety, stress or depression. And, someone has crushed your self-esteem, usurped your personal power or distorted your personal identity whereby causing your negative thinking. Instead of dealing with those issues, and eliminating them, you are avoiding and escaping them. If you’re searching for ways to stop drinking without AA, then you must take a stand and stop running from the issues.
2 Ways to Stop Drinking Alcohol without AA
To stop drinking on your own, you must work the following two steps:
1. Take a Dysfunctional, Relationship Inventory
In a perfect world, our personal lives would be filled with wonderful, loving and supportive relationships. Our professional lives would be overflowing with positive and mutually beneficial relationships, which contribute to success. Well, we don’t live in a perfect world. This is the foundation for alcoholism. If you are battling alcohol addiction, this is the direct, fundamental cause. If you’re searching for one of the most effective ways to stop drinking alcohol without AA, this is it. Take a relationship inventory, set boundaries accordingly, or, if necessary, sever the relationship altogether.
2. Significantly Reduce or Eliminate Anxiety, Stress or Depression
Anxiety, stress and depression are the drivers of alcoholism. When these emotional states reach tipping points, alcohol is used to alleviate symptoms. This can also be described as self-medication. Anxiety, stress and depression are either self-endorsed or self-induced. In essence, you are creating them by condoning dysfunctional behavior, or you are self-inflicting these states through patterns of dysfunctional behavior you have learned. If you want to learn how to stop being an alcoholic and give up drinking for good, you must address these issues and eliminate the drivers.
For more tricks to quit drinking on your own, and a 5-step plan, download my free e-guide “Stop Drinking Secrets, Revealed” on the home page.
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