Why Getting Sober is Challenging

The Issue at Hand

In the United States, “alcohol-related death” tragically stands as the third leading preventable cause of death, claiming roughly 95,000 lives annually. Over several decades, alcohol-related deaths increased at an average annual rate of 7%, but startlingly, this figure jumped to 27% during the pandemic.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to severe health complications such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and liver cirrhosis. It is also a prominent factor in traffic-related fatalities. Roughly one-third of serious falls among the elderly occur while under the influence. Additionally, the toll that heavy drinking can take on personal relationships is notable.

Crossing the Threshold

For some individuals, drinking is a sporadic indulgence. For others, it is a conscious choice and an essential part of their social life, often without serious consequences. Sharing a rare bottle of wine with friends and family to commemorate a special occasion or having a beer after a pick-up sports game can create cherished memories.

Regrettably, for some, the casual enjoyment of an alcoholic beverage is impossible because their drinking has become a compulsion and a frequent source of trouble for their relationships, jobs, and finances. What was once a source of pleasure has become a behavior they wish to modify. However, cutting back or stopping proves to be challenging, or even impossible. The lack of willpower and the frustration they encounter often surprises them.

Why is Quitting So Difficult?

Determining the root cause for overconsumption of alcohol is not simple, nor is identifying when that consumption becomes excessive. When does drinking cross the line and become a matter that necessitates help?

Despite extensive genetic research, no singular “alcoholism gene” has been identified. Hence, a clear-cut diagnosis of “alcoholism” can be elusive.

Although alcoholism is acknowledged as a medical issue that should be diagnosable and treatable, the success rates are inconsistent. Over the years, clergy members and social care workers have attempted to assist heavy drinkers in cutting back or quitting, but the success rates have been variable.

This inconsistency may be due to the fact that alcohol misuse is a multifaceted behavior influenced by numerous internal and external factors. Further complicating matters, some individuals do manage to reduce their consumption or quit altogether at different stages in their lives.

It’s clear that the problem of alcoholism is complex, and ceasing consumption is, at best, challenging. Worryingly, alcohol does not seem to be losing its appeal.

AA and the Road to Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in the late 1930s by a stockbroker and a doctor, Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, who found success in sobriety by working together. They discovered that collaborating with other alcoholics who share the goal of complete abstinence was a crucial component of recovery. Since its inception, AA has spread worldwide, assisting millions in achieving sobriety and leading happier, more productive lives without alcohol.

The cornerstone of AA’s recovery program, “The Twelve Steps,” is contained within the book Alcoholics Anonymous. This text, first published in 1939 and now in its fourth edition, has sold over thirty million copies and has aided tens of millions in achieving and maintaining sobriety.

A recent literature review by Stanford University identified AA as the most effective recovery program among all those evaluated.

Embark on the Journey to Sobriety – Start Now!

The first step toward recovery in AA is acknowledging to yourself that you have a problem with alcohol.

The next step is deciding to become sober – this is where AA can offer invaluable support.

In AA, you can gain insights about alcoholism from those who have experienced its challenges firsthand and have successfully navigated recovery using AA’s Twelve Steps.

Moreover, they genuinely want to assist you. It’s part of their journey too!

Local Fellowships

If you believe you have a problem with alcohol and wish to quit, a local Fellowship (also called “clubs” or “Alano Club”) can provide help with numerous meetings a week and a supportive community of hundreds of like-minded individuals. These meetings can offer you a deeper understanding of your drinking problem and guide you towards recovery through the Twelve Steps of AA.

The American philosopher William James, founder of the first school of psychology at Harvard, once said, “To change, do it dramatically and do it at once!”

Relief and a fulfilling, sober life await you just around the corner, and the first step is going to a meeting. Google “AA Meetings near me,” to find one today!

Discover more from Pause When Agitated – AA Wisdom

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