From Chapter One of the book
How to Quit Drinking Without AA

How to Quit Drinking without AA

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Your Own Special Struggle

“Some of us might find happiness if we
would quit struggling so desperately
for it.”
-William Feather

Part of you is trying to attain happiness through alcohol, but alcoholic drinking involves you in a struggle—one part of you going one way, one part of you another. You fight with yourself. And you fight with alcohol to get what you want.

The reason? Alcohol helps you but it hurts you too. Your thrills tonight become high blood pressure, headaches, nausea, and regrets tomorrow.

So drinking is a challenge. And challenges are fun, right? Alcohol challenges you to get the benefits it brings while finding ways to avoid the problems. Hey, it’s not easy!

You try not to get too drunk here, not to make a fool of yourself there. It’s a full-time job. You work hard at it. You juggle your schedule to fit as much alcohol into your life as possible. You find novel ways to handle hangovers. This becomes a monumental struggle as hangovers get worse and worse. If you’re responsible for earning money, you make an extra effort to get to work on time. You try not to drink on the job, or else try not to drink too much. Sometimes you feel completely helpless. Often you endure a lot of pain.

You’d think, if alcohol causes such distress, it would be easier to quit. And indeed it would be, but for the fact that most of us get completely involved with the struggle itself, so much so that it becomes our own personal life-struggle, the inner story of our lives. And of course we grow to like it.

Here are some reasons we get attached to the alcoholic struggle:

  • It’s a challenge.
  • It gives us a sense of involvement.
  • It’s like a game—we play hard and try to win.
  • Like the concept, “no pain, no gain,” sometimes we need to feel as if we’re suffering before we can have a good time.
  • It gives us something to complain about.
  • It requires strength to keep it up—so it shows how tough we are.
  • It’s like an adventure—every time we drink we don’t know where it will lead.

You may like the alcoholic struggle for any one, or for all, of these reasons. Most of us get involved in our struggles for many different reasons and we may even have different reasons on different days.

“You gotta be tough,” my uncle used to say, as he handed my father a drink. Then he’d insist, “Here…drink up…it builds character.”

He was serious, in a joking-sort of way. But it’s true. Alcohol does build character. The “alcoholic character” deals with a deeper life-struggle than most people can handle. It’s an intense struggle, requiring a great deal of energy.

You feel it every day. You live hard. You go for all the gusto you can get. And even though you look beat most of the time, and even though you feel exhausted, you continue.

But slowly, over time, you begin to lose it, no matter how tough you are. Granted, you may continue fighting on the surface, but alcohol keeps hurting you deeply. Sometimes it feels as if you’re fighting for your very life. And, deep down, this is actually what’s happening.

Alcohol begins destroying your organs faster than your body can repair them. It speeds the disease process in your body and you begin to have more and more serious illnesses. In a way, it’s like reminding yourself of death, so the life you feel is a true exhilaration.

This requires strength to keep it up. But ultimately you must surrender. You must surrender by giving your life to alcohol, or you must surrender by quitting it altogether.

If you choose to quit, you will find something else to challenge you, something else to give you a sense of involvement; something to work on, spend your time on; something more interesting to struggle with. This book will help you. Here, you’ll discover many exciting, workable alternatives—alternatives that will be more fun, bring more rewards and allow you to be a greater success in your life.