Recovery: Living Sober Book by Alcoholics Anonymous is an excellent resource if you want to learn how to maintain long-term sobriety.
In this three part series, I will present summaries of many of the concepts put forth in this book. It’s only 90 pages, and packed with excellent advice.
It contains, as the subtitle states, “Some methods A.A. members have used for not drinking.”
What I like most about this book is, even if you are not immersed in recovery through regular A.A. Meetings and the sub-culture, you can still benefit tremendously from Living Sober.Read The Entire Booklet Here
19. Remembering Your Last Drunk
One A.A. member puts it this way: “I know that stopping in for a drink will never again be–for me–simply killing a few minutes and leaving a buck on the bar. In exchange for that drink, what I would plunk down now is my bank account, my family, our home, our car, my job, my sanity, and probably my life. It’s too big a price, too big a risk.” He remembers his last drunk, not his first drink.
20. Avoiding Dangerous Drugs and Medications
We are wary of what we take on our own; we steer away from cough syrups with alcohol, codeine, or bromides, and from all those assorted smokes, powders, synthetic painkillers, liquids, and vapors that are sometimes freely handed around. Why take the chance? Chemical substitutes of life simply do not interest us any more, now that we know what genuine living is.
21. Eliminating Self-Pity
This emotion is so ugly that no one in his or her right mind wants to admit feeling it. Even when sober, many of us remain clever at hiding from ourselves the fact that we are astew in a mess of self-pity. We do not like at all being told that it shows, and we are sharp at arguing that we are experiencing some other emotion-not that loathsome poor-me-sim. Such thinking is a great ticket to a barroom, but that’s about all. Crying over that unanswerable question is like weeping because we because we were born in this era, not another, or on this planet, rather than in some other galaxy. The saying “Poor me, poor me, pour me another drink” is apt.
22. Seeking Professional Help
If we now find ourselves sober but still trying to second-guess the really expert professionals, it can be taken as a warning signal. Is active alcoholism trying to sneak its way back into us? Some of us are now aware that our behavior prevented our getting the good advice or care we really needed. May you have the same good fortune in these regards that so many of us have had. Hundreds of thousands of us are deeply grateful to the countless professional men and women who helped us, or tried to.
23. Steering Clear of Emotional Entanglements
OVer the years, we have become strongly convinced that almost no important decisions should be arrived at early in our sobriety, unless they cannot possibly be delayed. This caution particularly applies to decisions about people, decisions about high emotional potential. Another caution: Tying our sobriety to someone we are emotionally involved with proves flatly disastrous. “I’ll stay sober if so-and-so does this or that” puts an unhealthy condition on our recovery. Immature or premature liaisons are crippling to recovery. Only after we have had time to mature somewhat beyond merely not drinking are we equipped to relate maturely to other people.
24. Getting Out of the “If” Trap
Many of us were caught thinking: I wouldn’t be drinking this way…if it wasn’t for my wife (or husband or lover)…if I just had more money and not so many debts…if it wasn’t for all these family problems, etc. Looking back at this kind of thinking and our resultant behavior, we see now that we were really letting circumstances outside ourselves control much of our lives. Tying up our sobriety to any person (even another recovered alcoholic, or to any circumstance is foolish and dangerous. When we think, “I’ll stay sober if–” or “I won’t brink because of–” we unwittingly set ourselves up to drink when the condition or circumstance changes.
25. Being Wary of Drinking Occasions
Great numbers of us (but not all) believe that the sooner we establish the truth of our sobriety with our acquaintances, the better it is for us. We do not have to keep up any pretenses, and most good people appreciate our honest and encourage our efforts to stay fee of our addiction. Occasionally, a really heavy drinker will get pretty pushy about our not drinking. We learn to steer clear of such people. If they do indeed have their own hang-up to contend with, we wish them well. But we need not defend our choices to them or to anyone else. And we do not argue with them, or try to change their minds. Again, our attitude is “Live and Let Live.”
26. Letting Go of Old Ideas
The ideas that got so deeply embedded in our lives during drinking do not all disappear quickly, as if by magic, the moment we start keeping the plug in the jug. Our days of wine and “Sweet Adeline” may be gone, but the malady lingers on. So we have found it therapeutic to nip off many old ideas that start to sprout up again. And they do, over and over. What we try to achieve is a feeling of being relaxed and freed from the bonds of our old thinking. Many of our former habits of thought, and the ideas they produced, limit our freedom. We don’t have to hang on to them any longer unless, upon examination, they prove valid and still truly fruitful.
27. Reading The A.A. Message
There are many good blications on alcoholism, and some not so good. Many of us have also profited by reading in other fields. A.A. neither endorses nor opposes anybody else’s publications. We simply offer our own.
28. Going To A.A. Meetings
Because of the importance of meetings, many of us keep a list of local meetings. We have found that going to meetings is not something to be done only when we feel the temptation to drink. We often get more good from the meetings by attending them when we feel fine and haven’t so much as thought of drinking. And even a meeting which is not tally, instantly satisfying is better than no meeting at all.
29. Trying The Twelve Steps
No matter what type of addict we were, we realize not that we were excessively self-centered, chiefly concerned about our feelings, our problems, other people’s reactions to us, and our own past and future. Therefore, trying to get into communication with and to help other people through the Twelve Steps is a recovery measure for us, because it helps take us out of ourselves. Trying to heal ourselves by helping others works, even when it is an insincere gesture. Try it some time.
30. Finding Your Own Way
As you stay sober, you are sure to think of new ideas not recorded here. We hope so. We also hope that when you do come up with fresh ideas on this subject, you will pass them on. Please do share. The more experience we can all pool, the more problem drinkers can be helped.
The A.A. website is a great source of helpful information, online meetings, and all of their literature. Visit here.