Recovering from alcoholism is a very difficult process, but it’s also extremely simple. Even the longest ex-drinkers claim they can only do it one day at a time, and if today is one of those days, it’s a good day. It doesn’t really matter the reasons why someone decides they need to stop, whether it’s a brush with death, a series of health problems, trouble with the law, or advice from family members and friends. Everyone who goes through it wonders if it can be done without support groups.
There are many ways to maintain a recovery, and since it is a disease that has no cure, daily maintenance is the key to success. It does begin with a decision on waking up, every day, and deciding not to drink that day. Beyond that, it can be something rather mysterious, and the mystery is where the adventure really lies. Although there are few who recommend going it alone, there does seem to be a connection between those who attend meetings regularly, and those who maintain a solid recovery without becoming a member of a support group.
The key seems to be based in enthusiasm, an enthusiasm for something that can keep the alcoholic focused, so that the obsession for drinking will stay away. These sources of inspiration are numerous, it could be an enthusiasm for a spiritual path, for fulfilling a particular life dream, or based in an enthusiasm for breathing. Again, like the reasons for quitting, the reasons for keeping sober don’t matter all that much. The daily practice is the only thing that does matter, and the daily attitude includes an attitude of enthusiasm.
In the support groups based on the 12 steps, the enthusiasm is embedded in the 12th step, carrying the message to the drinker who still suffers. It’s a part of the program that carries people through whenever things get rough, because helping someone else always takes the focus away from one’s own problems. It’s a question, then, why anyone would want to recover without the fellowship and deep friendships support groups can offer, but if the recovery is working, a day at a time, then there’s every reason to continue, but a group can provide all the support in the world when the days seem a little grey again.