Why Can’t I Get Sober on My Own?

I’m going to stop drinking tomorrow. Perhaps you’ve said this more than one time, only to find yourself picking up another drink within a few days or a few weeks. It’s not uncommon for the average to heavy drinker to have the desire to stop drinking or at least cut-down. It’s also not uncommon to not be able to stop for a considerable amount of time.

If there’s one thing a recovering alcoholic will tell you, it’s that getting sober wasn’t a walk in the park.  In fact, for many, it took relapsing over and over before they finally made the final break.  In fact, relapse is pretty normal for most people entering into recovery. A relapse is simply picking up a drink or drinking more than you set out to.

For some, not being able to stop drinking becomes an excuse to go off the deep end and continue drinking or binge drinking. For others, a relapse simply means a setback, where they dust themselves off and resolve to begin again.

As you know, alcohol can be quite addictive, so giving it up for good can be quite difficult for some people.  Though experts aren’t sure exactly why stopping drinking comes easier for some, the reality is that stopping drinking is possible.  It will take some hard work, a treatment plan, learning about triggers and cravings, and more, but it’s worth it!

Common Reasons Why You Can’t Get Sober

Are you struggling with getting sober or stopping drinking? Have you tried over and over to stop without success? If you’re wondering why you can’t get sober, take heed the following 5 reasons why some people just cannot enjoy long periods of sobriety or have trouble stopping drinking.

  1. Your living arrangement is chaotic and dysfunctional

Chances are if you are living in a place where it is chaotic and dysfunctional, you’ll have a tough time getting sober. Why? Because many people tend to cope with such living conditions by drinking in order to attempt to feel better.  For example, if you’re living in a home where another person is an alcoholic, mentally unstable, or has emotional or behavioral issues, you’re more likely to keep reaching for alcohol to deal with the chaotic or dramatic environment.   At the same time, if you’re living in a situation where you feel lonely all the time because you live alone, that can be a trigger to pick up a drink as well.

  1. You don’t have any support

Another reason some people struggle with stopping drinking is that they do not have any good support around them, encouraging or helping them get on the road to recovery.  If you are isolating yourself or only hanging around other people who drink, you will find it more difficult to stop drinking and stay sober.  Those that reach out for help and surround themselves with positive people who will encourage and support them are much more likely to get sober and embark on the road to recovery. This support may come by means of an alcohol rehab, substance abuse counselor, AA meeting, mentor, friend, or anyone you can trust to converse with about the issue.

  1. Alcoholism is a disease

Stopping drinking can be challenging because alcoholism is a disease. Sometimes there are people who are not alcoholics who are not very supportive because they think you should be able to stop drinking without a problem.  They may think that someone who cannot stop is weak-willed or just doesn’t want to. This is not necessarily true. Alcoholism is a disease of the brain, so essentially if someone is trying to stop, they really do want to, but their brain continues to scream out for more.

It’s as if a part of their brain has been hijacked and it thinks that if it does not get more alcohol, it will die.  Granted, this is not true, but the brain does not know this, so it will prompt a person to crave more and the body will go through withdrawal.  As a disease of the brain, alcoholism can be tough to overcome, so some people struggle with stopping drinking due to this reason alone. It does take a good bit of willpower, but it also requires some support and many times a strategy to stay on the road to recovery.

  1. You aren’t taking recovery seriously

Some people have trouble stopping drinking because they think that they can just put down the bottle and everything will be alright.  This is not always the case, as putting down the bottle is really just the beginning of recovery.  Then, you have to face life on life’s terms without drinking, so when problems arise, things go wrong, and your emotions go haywire, you have to learn coping skills that do not involve drinking.  You may need to learn effective communication skills, anger management skills, and get some therapy on top of that for unresolved emotional issues.  Recovery is more than just dropping the drink; it requires some inner work.

  1. You don’t really want to get sober

Some people have trouble stopping drinking because deep down they don’t really want to stop drinking. This pertains to those whose family, friends, or maybe even the court system puts pressure on them to stop drinking and they try but find themselves relapsing over and over again.  They may want to quit drinking a little bit, but they still like drinking and partying, so it’s tougher for them to stay sober. Some may never get entirely sober if they feel this way and some will eventually get to the point where they want to give it up for good. Oftentimes the greater amount of pain they begin to suffer as a result of drinking, the more they want to get sober.

  1. You’re in so much inner pain

Oftentimes heavy drinkers have become accustomed to drinking because they like the way it makes them feel. Perhaps they’ve experienced some sort of trauma in childhood or as an adult that has caused them to feel intense emotional pain. As you can imagine, feeling emotional pain is not pleasant, so taking to drinking alcohol sounds like a logical way to contend with this pain for some people. They feel better when they drink, so they essentially self-medicate.

The problem with this is that alcohol is not a solution to emotional pain. Getting to the very root of the emotional issues is the true avenue to healing. That’s the true path to finding and experiencing peace and joy. Alcoholics become trapped because they drink to numb out, escape, or lessen the pain, and at the same time, they become psychologically and physically dependent upon alcohol.  It isn’t until they realize that alcohol is doing that more harm than good, that they’ll be more up to reach out for help and have success stopping drinking.

  1. You’ve embraced a victim mentality

Some people who have trouble stopping drinking have embraced a victim mentality. They’ve disempowered themselves because they think that they cannot get sober. They think that they do not deserve to have a life full of peace and freedom. Maybe they’ve been living in despair and depression for so long that it feels familiar to them and some sort of security is attached to it.

Sometimes an alcoholic who has this type of mentality grew up in a home where there was or abuse or addiction. They may have even taken on the role of caretaker or people-pleaser, figuring it was their job to try to fix the family. This can land them in the role of a victim that can carry on over into their adult lives. Trying to get sober when you don’t feel like you’re worthy to live a good life can be challenging. This is why it’s important to really get underneath the addiction to alcohol and try to discern the thoughts and behaviors going on under the surface. Oftentimes a season of professional counseling is necessary to really start digging through the layers to get to the core issues, as well as learning effective coping skills and relapse prevention techniques.

Are you starting to see yourself in the one or more of these characteristics? Are you beginning to build a portrait of your drinking habits, and perhaps excuses as to why you think you can’t stop drinking?

If you’re having a tough time getting sober, maybe you fall into one or more of these categories.  Check yourself and if you resonate with one or more, do what it takes to contend with such. If need be, reach out for help via an alcohol rehab, substance abuse counselor, 12 Step meeting, etc.  Creating some type of plan moving forward can prove quite beneficial for you. If you’re not clear on exactly what you want when it comes to sobriety and the plan that you want to try to take to get there, you’re like a sailboat with no sail. You’re just kind of floating around and not getting anywhere.

Tips for stopping drinking

Set your goal, with a specific date in mind as to when you want to quit. Come up with your individualized treatment plan. There’s no right or wrong; just see what works for you. Some people get a lot out of alcohol rehab, and others live by the principles of AA. It really is what works for you, and making changes to your treatment plan as you go along. The key is just to get started and get the momentum going toward making that final break when it comes to drinking.

You do not have to live a life struggling with alcoholism, as freedom can be obtained. There is a beautiful life on the other side of alcoholism awaiting you. No matter how many times you’ve tried to get sober, try again. Reach out for help today.