From time to time, I hear this question about self-recovery: Can I quit drinking on my own? People want to know if they HAVE to enter a treatment program to get well. I did not enter treatment when I got sober in 1995, so in that respect I guess you could say that self-recovery is possible. I did, however, get lots of help from the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
You can see when you read My Story of Recovery from Alcoholism that my ultimate motivation in life was to prove to myself and to the world that I was OK - that I was NOT an alcoholic. So when treatment was suggested to me by a psychologist, I absolutely refused. Then my neighbors would know; my employer would know; my co-workers would know. I would be found out!
When I hit my absolute bottom, when I'd finally had enough after drinking heavily for 25 years, I drug MYSELF back to AA for the third time, determined to get sober. It worked! I have been sober since September 11, 1995.
Can you do this by yourself? I COULDN'T. That much I know. I needed help. And in my opinion, the best help is from other recovering alcoholics - those who know and understand you. So in that sense, self-recovery is not possible.
Can you do this without going to treatment? I did. But I also did not go through severe psychological or physical alcoholic withdrawal that required medical treatment. I honestly don't know why my withdrawal symptoms were more “mild to moderate”. Believe me, I drank a LOT.
Recovery from alcoholism is such an individual process. Whether or not self-recovery is or is not possible I cannot say. My purpose in creating this website is to give hope to the seemingly hopeless, based on my personal experience in recovery. I would never presume to know the best path to recovery in terms of treatment. All I can do is share my own experience.
In my mind back then, it was utterly impossible for me to go much more than a day without drinking. Three days tops. But my desire to get sober finally overpowered my desire to get drunk. I wish I could tell you exactly how I got to this point in my thinking. But once I was there, I knew that something changed dramatically. THAT is what folks in AA and other recovery programs call a SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE.
How did I get sober back in 1995? HERE'S HOW:
I simply went to a LOT of meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. I set my pride and ego aside as best I could and resolved to be teachable. I became like a sponge - drinking in (no pun intended) every bit of the information, advice, and wisdom that was shared in those early meetings. My goal was 90 meetings in 90 days, and I just about reached that goal. I got an AA Sponsor. I read the A.A. literature like I was studying for some major exam or preparing for a masters thesis!
I stayed sober in the days and weeks that followed by diligently working through the Twelve Steps as best as I was capable at the time.
I stay sober today by continuing to work those Steps.
I know many, many A.A. members recovering from alcoholism who have followed a similar path of "self-recovery", that is they did not enter a treatment facility or rehab. But that is not to say that treatment is not an important and viable option for many.
My recovery led me to a strong and lasting relationship with the "God of my understanding", Jesus Christ. It's been a wonderful journey, and it just keeps getting better.
As I continue to develop this site, I hope to share the incredible ways my life has changed for the better - all because I made a decision to seek help through Twelve Step Recovery. Please come back often as I write more of my story!