Please Note: This article has been guest written by the Saint Jude Program, an alternative to alcohol rehab that is non-12 step and non-treatment based. These are the views of this organization and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AlcoholFreeSocialLife.com
Why do 12 step alcohol rehabs tell alcohol and drug users they have to resort to a higher power to overcome substance use when there are more practical and logical ways to overcome substance use problems? There are a few incredibly important life lessons you should keep in mind if you are either trying to abstain or moderate alcohol use. It is possible to stop a drinking problem if you desire that change in your life. The power of your thoughts can help you change into the person you want to be.
Fully understand and believe you are not diseased or addicted. The number one misconception today is that addiction is a disease. The truth is you are not sick or diseased like 12 step programs will tell you. Alcohol has no power over you; if it can’t tie your shoelaces it can’t raise a bottle to your month. You do have control. People that understand they have control over alcohol claim it is the most liberating feeling they have ever felt. The people that know and believe they can change their habits and behaviors are the ones who have the most success in stopping.
Every day, people that are labeled as chronic addicts simply stop or moderate their usage on their own and can move on with their life. It is as if the “addiction” that is so easily identified, simply vanishes. This fact has always been the problem with the theory of “alcoholism.” Millions of habitual drinkers (and drug users) all over the world have simply stopped with no treatment, whatsoever, and have thought and acted their way back to health.
No Short Cuts to Happiness
There is no shortcut to sustainable long-term happiness. People who have successfully quit or moderated their drinking realize that they need to find better avenues for achieving happiness. Many times substance users are unhappy with several areas of their lives and find the best way to overcome their problems or temporarily forget about them is to drink. However, there are no shortcuts to happiness, and it is important to seek out ways to achieve lasting happiness without drinking.
The most important thing to remember is that drinking will not fix your problems or take them away. The happiest people work hard for what they have and thus have found productive habits that provide them with satisfaction. They face their problems head on and seek solutions rather than seeking instant gratification. Happiness can take many different shapes, whether through exercising, a new career, or a closer relationship with a loved one. The important thing to do is map out a list of goals you want to achieve that you believe will bring you lasting fulfillment in your life.
The Need to Think Differently
You are what you think. Many people react differently to situations, some however choose to turn to alcohol when situations get tough. While it is always a personal choice to drink or not to drink, you can formulate positive, problem solving skills to adapt to different circumstances and life changes (such as a car accident, loss of job, unexpected divorce)that do not include alcohol use. You can build strategies that are more effective by understanding your thoughts and how you react to difficult situations to help with future challenges.
An example of this would be to go for a walk if you are angry due to a fight with a significant other instead of drinking. Dealing with problems in a more productive manner is also a choice, and sometimes requires practice to master.
AA versus other types of treatment
Twelve Step rehabs will tell you that you are an alcoholic for life which means you are always under the power of alcohol. In fact, in AA the first step is admitting you are powerless over alcohol to a room full of strangers! Admitting that you’re a powerless alcoholic is extremely counterproductive to overcoming alcohol problems. By believing that you are a failure and are forever sick, you are leaving yourself in a victimized and powerless state. This mentality can be very difficult to change after continuously hearing you will fail, but it is possible.
Instead of believing you are powerless and cannot change, start believing and picturing your new life without alcohol. There is something to be said about the power of positive thinking and how your thoughts are incredibly powerful.
Learn how to control your drinking in the privacy of your own home without going to AA or expensive counseling with the Give up Alcohol Course.