Tips on how to get sober and stay sober

Alcohol is only a symptom of an underlying problem.  Anyone can stop drinking but it’s staying stopped that’s the problem. Long term sobriety is rare with many people falling off the wagon after a few weeks, months, years and even decades after giving up self-medicating with alcohol.

Admitting that you do have a problem is the first step to sobriety.  People in denial will go to any lengths to prove to the world that they are not alcoholic but the world, being family and friends, know better. The alcoholic is only fooling himself/herself when they look in the mirror and try to look alert, healthy and sober.

The first thing you need to do to help yourself stay away from alcohol is to balance your brain chemistry with an essential amino-acid.  This non-essential amino acid is necessary for the manufacture of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy, stable mood. The dopamine neurotransmitter is the centre of satisfaction and reward.   Why do you drink?    To feel satisfied and rewarded.  Information regarding essential and non-essential amino acid formulas obtained through our web site

To stay sober, you will need to learn how to undo learned behaviour that has been part of your lifestyle for a number of years. Co-dependency is learned behaviour growing up in a dysfunctional environment and contributes to self-medicating with alcohol and food.

You will also need to change your thinking to change your thinking (emotions) to change your behaviour. Use meditation CDs specially selected to help anger, resentment, self-pity and a special CD to learn how to accept life on lie’s terms.  Also use DVDs to help people identify with their own alcohol issues instead of blaming other people.

We suggest the following DVDs available from Amazon:

  • “My name is Bill W” (the true story of Alcoholics Anonymous) with James Gardener
  • “Shattered Spirits” with Martin Sheen
  • “Flight” with Denzel Washington
  • “28 Days” with Sandra Bullock
  • “Days of Wine & Roses” with Jack Lemon
  • “When a Man Loves a Woman” with Meg Ryan

There are many modalities available to the alcoholic to help him/her get sober and stay sober, one day at a time. AA is a free organisation with meetings in every suburb around the world. You can attend most meetings as a visitor to see if AA is for you.

To get sober and stay sober you need courage and the meaning of courage is commitment, doubt and action.  Without a certain amount of doubt there is no courage.

We also recommend a very good work book called Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life by Scott Spradlin.  I have never met Scott but I do like his work in explaining dialectical behaviour therapy and his work book takes a pragmatic approach to changing your thinking to change your feelings (emotions) to change your behaviour.  This book is available worldwide through Amazon or Fishpond book stores.

Think of the 4 stabilising questions whenever you are tempted to take that drink:

1. Is the issue life threatening?

2. How important is it? 

3. Is it fact or fiction?

Alcoholics are great drama actors/actresses and need to ask themselves, how real is the problem they are facing. More often than not, it is pure paranoia and the problem is not really a problem at all.  It’s something that gets in their way of not getting their own way.  Step 7 of Alcoholics Anonymous puts it this way:

“The chief activator of our defects has been self-centred fear- primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded. Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration. Therefore, no peace was to be had unless we could find a means of reducing these demands. The difference between a demand and a simple request is plain to anyone.”

4. If it is fact, then what are you going to do about it?

  • Drink plenty of water – don’t let your body dehydrate.
  • When you feel a craving coming on, visualise your last drink.  Was it worth it?
  • When you get so close to picking up a drink, just put it off for 10 or 15 minutes and busy yourself with something else.  Say to yourself: “I won’t have that drink just now but maybe later.”   When the feeling comes back, which might be an hour or so later, do the same thing and say to yourself, “I won’t take that drink just now” and put it off for another couple of hours.  At the end of the day, you may have won the battle and stayed sober – one day at a time.
  • When you put your head on your pillow at night, ask yourself, “What have I done to improve myself today?”
  • Try to take your mind off yourself by phoning a friend and asking them for advice or just say “hello”.
  • Learn how to breathe to calm yourself.  Learn Yoga or Tai Chi to calm yourself naturally during stressful situations.

Don’t forget the HALT reminder:

Don’t get TOO hungry, TOO angry, TOO lonely or TOO tired.

We recommend amino acids to help balance brain chemistry and a good liver tonic to help repair liver damage. Specific amino acids are essential for the liver to breakdown toxins and drugs and also for efficient metabolism in the liver.

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