Your Own Way Could, In Fact, Be the Best Way
“Make mistakes, take chances, be silly, be imperfect, trust yourself and follow your heart.” — Anonymous
Two years ago when Lena (my wife) and I went out for a Saturday night dinner with one of our favorite couples, Willie and Leelee, we had no idea that night would be the last one that either of us would drink alcohol.
It just came out of nowhere. I hadn’t really been thinking about it THAT much.
Sure, there were some times that in the back of my head, I knew that I probably drank a bit more than I should, but I was always the one able to wake up the next morning and get some work done or hit the road to run 3 miles or so.
I would use this thought process to convince myself that I didn’t drink that much and all was well as long as I could still be productive during the day.
This Sunday morning, however, things felt a bit different, as I thought about how things were going with my business and where I was in my life at 38 years of age, and I thought that perhaps I should just cut back a bit and see what life would be like without it.
And that was it.
Capisce. Done. No mas.
As spoken by the Roman Statesman, Cicero, “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”
I can’t really explain other than to say that it just felt like the right thing to do. It was a spur of a moment decision that has stuck. In fact, I am so far away from that decision that it’s actually a bit hard for me to remember what life was like before I made it.
Spontaneous sobriety is the act of quitting drinking without any formal drinking program.
Studies have shown that many of the formal programs that are recognized through the nation have anywhere from a 5–10% success rate, while those individuals who quit on their own without any type of program have about a 33% success rate.
Of course, much of this study is biased in that perhaps the people who are in such a state that they feel they need to join a program are at a much higher level of alcohol dependence than the average drinker. Therefore, the chances of them being able to quit on their own or even with a program would probably be much less than someone who hadn’t quite passed that threshold of alcohol severity.
With that being said, it is even more of a reason that perhaps spontaneous sobriety is a better avenue to quit than any hard-core abstinence program. As shared in Why You Probably DON’T Need AA to Quit Drinking, most people don’t fall into the category that would constitute the need for such harsh restrictions and regulations.
YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
One reason I think spontaneous sobriety tends to have better results than a traditional program is that you are allowed to create a plan that is customized to what YOU need to do to be successful in your alcohol-conscious journey.
I share my tips and strategies each week because these are things that I learned during my AC journey, and I hope that I can save you time and energy to not have to learn these same lessons the hard way.
However, I do also acknowledge that everyone has to do things in their own way and in a manner that works for them.
In the AINYF newsletter each week, we share articles from other writers with tips and strategies on things that could help your alcohol-conscious journey because we don’t have all the answers.
When you try to sign up for a regimented program that doesn’t give you much room for flexibility, it could turn your mind off to identifying other strategies that could be more beneficial than the one already suggested.
In my program, The MEDS, there is still room for flexibility, as individuals have to find the methods that best work for them. I give an overview of the program and the specific of what worked for me, but ultimately, you have to craft it to meet your long term needs and circumstances.
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to help as many people become alcohol-conscious as possible. Whether it was from following a strategy that I found worked for me or doing the exact opposite, as long as it works, then I couldn’t care less.
With spontaneous sobriety, many people just decide that drinking alcohol is just no longer for them. There’s no big pomp and circumstance or announcement about the decision. It’s just a feeling that can happen one day when your heart and mind tells you it’s the right thing to do.
And while no one can be sure when this day will happen for them, just being open to it will greatly increase your ability to accept it when it does.