Surviving the Early Days after Stopping Drinking
Soon after stopping drinking – and once you have got over the physical withdrawal symptoms. You will feel restless and continuously think about drinking. One of the ways to help you through these early days is to get active so that you are thinking about or doing something else. Once you get into the swing of being sober. The chances are that you will wonder how you ever found the time to drink and will realise how much time you wasted in an alcoholic haze or feeling tired (alcohol eventually drains you of all energy).
Just Stopping Drinking Is Not Enough
It is certainly true that just stopping drinking is not enough. Most of us when drinking actually thought that was all we had to do – just stop. The chances are if that is all we do we will end up drinking again. So get active and learn how to live sober – not just exist! If you just exist and do not do anything to replace the drinking, you will soon forget your fear and misery as to how bad it was and go back to your old drinking ways.
In this last statement lies the clue to first new activity you should take up or at least try – Alcoholics Anonymous. If you go there and meet other people in recovery from alcoholism who are just like you. Meet others who are still in the misery of active drinking and trying hard to stop. You will be reminded of how bad it can be when you are drinking and will hopefully not want to go back there.
Go to AA
You can go to AA to try it out. You don’t need to decide to make a lifelong commitment of it. If you are concerned about being labelled an alcoholic, again don’t worry. You can go to a meeting and find out what goes on and get a feeling for if it might help you or not without necessarily being an alcoholic. If you spent the night in a stable with a horse it would not turn you into a horse.
If you do find that Alcoholics Anonymous is a helpful activity in your early days of sobriety, it is easy to get more involved. You can help clear up after the meeting (usually volunteers are requested). Once you know you want to attend regularly, it is a good idea to take on a responsibility. A good one to start with is making the tea or coffee at the beginning of the meeting.
Meet New People – Fellow People Who have Stopped Drinking
It is an easy way to meet new people and have a brief conversation with lots of people. So you can look out for the sorts of people you want to meet with more regularly and perhaps talk with some time on the phone. You can perhaps greet people at the door to make them feel welcome – particularly newcomers. Or you could look after the literature. Or the birthday book (if there is one – this is usually a sobriety birthday book which records the dates people had their last drink so their years in sobriety can be celebrated).
Everyone is Equal in AA
Everyone is an equal in AA. No particular skill or qualification is required to take on these tasks. But taking a responsibility will give you a sense of purpose. Give you a good reason to make sure you turn up at the meeting even when you don’t feel like going. It is probably at these times when you don’t feel like it that you most NEED to go to a meeting!
The Haynes Clinic is a drug and alcohol rehab clinic offering detox and treatment for those suffering from addiction to alcohol, drugs and prescription medication. Call 01462 851414 for confidential help and advice.