Just For Today I will Not Drink One day at a time.
Posted Nov 13 2009 10:02pm
How many times have you quit drinking? Every alcoholic or problem drinker comes to the point with their drinking when they make a promise to themselves or to someone else that they will not touch another drink. It may be after an embarrassing bender or it could be a heartfelt promise to a loved one. However this pledge is made and to who is not really the point.
Did it work for you? How long did it last?
For an abusive drinker, making a promise not to drink is akin to a person dying of thirst in the desert and passing an oasis because there just isn’t enough shade – it isn’t going to happen. Promises not to drink are made and broken for many reasons. Putting a time limit on your next drink is something to which all problem drinkers can relate. This usually occurs after making a fool of one’s self when drinking or after waking up feeling lousy one too many times.
These self-inflicted timetables are useless when trying to quit an alcohol addiction. Rarely will someone who has acquired a dependence on alcohol be able to rustle up the discipline needed to stop drinking outright, and permanently. I’m not saying it never happens but it is certainly the exception to the rule. By the time alcohol has you in its grip and you are at the point where you question your consumption, even considering self-moderation, it is likely too late to do anything about it personally without professional support.
Therefore, quitting, stopping, taking a break from or simply testing your ability to do without alcohol is a loser gamble that seems a rite of passage for so many alcoholics. Is this a compulsory step to eventual capitulation to professional assistance? Is it necessary for all excessive drinkers to suffer through the shame and guilt of failing to live up to promises made? There has to be a better way and there is.
One day at a time.
This is a well-known phrase that has real meaning to any alcoholic who has experienced or is going through early recovery, determined not to pick up a drink no matter what. Why would someone want to put the pressure of the pledge on him or herself – no more drinking, period! Why not just say I will not drink at all today. You have no control over tomorrow and if you drank yesterday, well, today is a fresh beginning so focus on what you can control now.
If the desire to have a drink is strong you can break it down to smaller time increments, I will not have a drink in the next hour and you won’t touch a drink until the compulsion to have that drink passes regardless of the timing used. Hopefully your life without alcohol will have some distractions in it so you won’t just be sitting around wondering about alcohol and having a drink!
Rather than think long-term sobriety or never having a drink again, it’s much easier to manage your commitment to staying sober if it becomes a daily pledge. Most people can control their urge to drink for a 24-hour period, specifically those who are only considered problem drinkers. The initial withdrawal period for an alcoholic may require some medical intervention but post physical withdrawal, that desire to have a drink will become a coercive mental issue necessitating the need for daily vows of no alcohol to get past the compulsive thoughts of drinking.
Making and breaking promises is something our family and friends are used to so they don’t have much use for further vows of sobriety from you. Who can blame them after all the false intentions. Be fair to them as well as to yourself and start planning to stay sober daily. Tell yourself when it is necessary that just for today you will not drink.
To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D., Call 1 (866) 285-3400 toll-free or (617) 620-2230,