Updated: Oct 10
I've been alcohol-free since 2007. That may seem like a long time to you, or perhaps it doesn't. I suppose it all depends on your personal perspective. For me, having not consumed alcohol for more than 15 years (as of this writing) is an astonishing accomplishment.
Giving up alcohol was not easy for me, partially because I didn't know where to turn or who to ask for help. Coupled with the fact that my pride usually got in the way, I made numerous halfhearted attempts to quit that all ended in failure.
I was always looking for the easy way out. I tried for years to quit drinking on my own. I tried countless remedies to alleviate my dependence on alcohol. However, none of them worked as I hoped. The only thing I accomplished was a series of setbacks and relapses which ultimately led to a compounding of guilt and shame.
I had reached a point in my life when I was tired of feeling bad about myself, tired of hangovers, tired of making horrible decisions. I had grown tired of living in a nonstop cycle of partying, meaningless pursuits, and empty relationships. While drinking had once made me feel confident and happy, alcohol now only brought me disappointment and sadness.
Finally, through much trial, error, and heartbreak, I reached out to a friend who was already sober. That friend led me to the program which ultimately resulted in my recovery. It’s impossible for me to express my deep gratitude not only for my own sobriety, but to the many people who helped me achieve the life I live today.
Today my life is filled with abundance, hope, love, and most importantly self-respect. There was a time not too long ago when most of these attributes were absent from my life. It wasn't until I was able to get the help I needed that I was able to experience all that life had to offer.
The fear, anxiety, and hopelessness I once experienced daily are now nothing more than bad memories. As long as I continue to work on my own recovery and to remain alcohol free, my future abounds with possibility.
Much of my time now is dedicated to helping others achieve an alcohol-free life (or at least a life with less alcohol). The main vehicles I use for sharing my own experience with alcohol, and my subsequent sobriety, is through my books, audiobooks, podcast, and coaching service. Over the years, I’ve discovered that many people (millions around the world) are trying to understand why they drink alcohol to excess and what they can do to reduce the amount of their drinking or how to quit entirely.
People are looking for answers. I suppose you’re looking for answers as well, which is probably why you're reading this article. It's not always easy to find the correct answers or to decide which direction to take when it comes to alcohol abuse.
Alcohol plays a significant role in most cultures around the world. In particular, Western culture suffers from wide scale alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Many people from all walks of life struggle with some form of alcohol abuse. You’re not alone in this! No matter what your age, gender, or socio-economic background, alcohol can have an enormous and often negative impact on your life.
One of the biggest challenges with addiction (of any kind) is that we often don't recognize that we have a problem, or we choose to ignore it, often waiting until it's too late.
It's important to recognize that the longer you wait to fix the problem, if indeed it is a problem, the worse it will get. This has been proven millions of times around the world since alcohol first appeared. For thousands of years no generation has been exempted from the fact that alcohol, when abused, has a highly negative impact on human life, not only for the person abusing alcohol but also for people close to them.
Historians have discovered evidence of alcohol in various civilizations from around 7000 BC. That means people have been getting drunk for more than 9000 years. Over the course of that time, it's quite certain that millions and millions of people have suffered with, and subsequently died from, alcohol abuse.
Prior to the early part of the 20th century there was very little information about the destructive side of alcohol and how to reduce or quit drinking. People were left to guess how to achieve freedom from alcohol. Doctors quite often evaluated alcoholism as a form of insanity which resulted in institutionalization for anyone who couldn't stop drinking on their own. Likewise, alcohol abuse has led to countless people being incarcerated for long portions of their life because they were unable to curb the destructive behavior that resulted from drinking.
Today things are very different, thankfully. There is an abundance of information and compassion about addiction including what we can do to reduce or stop destructive drinking.
People use and often abuse alcohol for a variety of reasons. No two people are the same when it comes to destructive drinking. However, we do know of certain common underlying issues that affect most people who struggle to reduce or stop drinking. At the top of that list is good old-fashioned fear.
Fear comes in a variety of different forms and disguises and attacks all of us in different ways and at different times of our lives. People who struggle with addiction of any kind often struggle with an inability to navigate life free from the corrosive effects of fear.
Social anxiety, depression, mental illness, and boredom, also play significant roles in addiction of any kind.
As stated earlier, if we wait too long to address the issue the problem always gets worse, never better. So it’s in your best interest, if you think you have a problem with alcohol, to address the issue quickly and effectively.
Addiction to any substance can have a tremendous negative impact on your life. When you’re stuck with a drinking problem, no matter how advanced, you will suffer from myriad issues that accompany the problem. These include poor decision making, broken relationships, emotional instability, bad health, unstable finances, family problems, as well as shame and guilt.
These days, there are many options to choose from when deciding how to reduce or quit drinking. Most people are familiar with the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. But this is not the only option you have if you want to slow things down or stop drinking altogether. Controlled drinking, harm reduction, sobriety coaching, and other methods are readily available to anyone interested in making changes to their drinking habits.
Ultimately, what all of us want to achieve is to live a healthy, productive, vibrant, joyful, life unburdened by the negative effects that drinking often brings. If you can reduce or quit drinking, you will find that your life will begin to quickly mend, and you will achieve many things you never thought possible.
It’s not uncommon for people to experience greater self-respect, more self-confidence, a clearer conscience, better relationships, improved health, greater financial freedom, and spiritual happiness as a direct result of living alcohol-free. Equally important, people usually go on to pursue and achieve many of their dreams.
Reducing the amount you drink, or quitting entirely, is possible if it’s what you want to accomplish. This is not a hollow statement, but rather a statement of truth based on research, history, and lived experience by the author of this article.
If you’re ready for a second chance and a new lease on life unburdened by the discomfort, sadness, frustration, and destruction that alcohol has created in your life take the time to do some serious research on how you can fix the problem. It’s never too late for a second chance, so don’t wait any longer.
Good luck on your journey and if you need some help along the way, I’m available.
Sobriety Coach Dirk
Learn About Sobriety Coaching: https://www.sobrietycoachdirk.com/