2 Things That Will Get You Drunk

I’ve had the privilege of working with tons of recovering addicts over the past 5 years. Lots of them are doing well today, some of them are still trying to figure it out, and many of them never made it past the first few months.

Why? Well, there are lots of contributing factors, but in my experience there are a couple glaringly obvious things that will get you drunk faster than you can say Cooter Brown.

Check them out…

1. Relationships

There’s an unwritten rule of recovery that says you’re NOT allowed to be in relationships within the first year. I swear, if people would just follow this one rule, the relapse rate would be cut in half in a matter of months. But most addicts refuse to follow this. They are stubborn and don’t like to be told what to do. Real big surprise, huh?

The reason why this is stressed so strongly in most treatment facilities and certainly in the HIA Mentoring Homes, is because addicts early on are just not ready emotionally to be in a relationship. For the first time in years, they are just beginning to feel their own feelings, which means they are in NO position to take on someone else’s.

On top of that, relationships takes energy. Energy we early addicts don’t have. For the first year of our recovery, our full energy should be focused on working OUR program and growing our connection spiritually.

As hard as this is for some of you to hear, early sobriety should be a very self-centered program. There will come a time to focus on others, a time to make amends and start working on finding healthy relationships. But the first year of your sobriety is not that time. This is the time to just focus on you.

Keep your eyes on the prizes, your hands off other people, and you’ve got a good chance at this…

2. Pride

Pride = Relapse

every. single. time.

If you have a big dose of pride, you probably have a very small amount of surrender. I would even go as far as saying the opposite of recovery is not relapse, but pride. Because true recovery starts and ends with humility. Every basic tenant of recovery requires a large dose of humility to accomplish. If you lack humility, then you have no shot.

Pride will keep you from going to sober living.

Pride will keep you from going to meetings.

Pride will keep you from sharing in meetings.

Pride will tell you it’s ok to have a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Pride will tell you that no higher power can ever change you.

Pride will convince you that you don’t need a sponsor.

Pride will whisper in your ear that no one ever needs to know your secrets.

Pride will tell you that however many days you have accumulated, you’ve done it on your own.

Pride is a killer.

If you want to stay clean, start by staying humble.

There is one relationship you can have in early sobriety and it will also help you take care of that pride issue. That relationship is with God. What I hope you find in that relationship is a friend that will stick by your side forever. Someone who will listen to you, love you, and fight for you while you try to change your life.

I use this prayer every morning to help remind me that I need God and that I am not him.

God, I offer myself to Thee. To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! Amen

In summary, stay away from relationships and stay close to God. You do those 2 things, good chance that bottle never hits your lips.

4 ways to lose your sobriety (business edition)

As I re-enter the world of business meetings, client dinners and the really exciting “networking socials” and I say that with heavy sarcasm….. I’ve realized I need an arsenal of tricks to help keep me sober in what is always an atmosphere of heavy drinking and a peer pressure marathon.

Unfortunately I’m not just rolling these thoughts off my tongue.  Each of these tricks came from real life instances where I found myself awkwardly explaining a topic that has come to define my life. I’ve withstood, but would have liked to have been ready to handle the situation. So if you are a recovering addict and stuck in one of these painful events, here are a few things NOT to do, along with a few tips to keep you in the safezone.

1. Walk around the event empty handed – Just because you can’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t drink anything. When you walk in, go straight to the bar like everyone else, do this early before the belligerence begins. Pick up a club soda or coke, put it in a glass and be on your way. This will help you avoid the most common question asked at these things, “Do you need something to drink?”

2. Be unprepared to respond to the inevitable question If you are anything like me and people once knew you as one of the guys who really enjoyed drinking; then people are going to ask you why you are not. The worst thing to do is sit there and stutter through a made up response. If you do, be ready for all those old party buddies to instantly transform into those jerks from junior high that peer pressured you into smoking pot out of some tin foil pipe in your parents basement. They will immediately start to harass you or announce to the group that you’ve found God, regardless it won’t be pretty. So be prepared. Plot your response and be ready to deliver, confidently.

3. Stay out past 10. – Didn’t you listen to you parents? Nothing good ever happens a 10:00 p.m.. Well maybe they said midnight or after dark. But regardless the point here is accomplish your purpose for being there and then get out. As much I would like to think that there is very little quality business getting done at these social events, there are times where networking with current and potential clients in large social gatherings can prove to be productive and worthwhile. However, once the clock strikes ten at these events, the majority of the bar will empty and the likelihood of drinks being forced down your throat by that one annoying, constantly hammered competitor will rapidly increases.

4. Don’t have an exit strategy. – Do you want to lose it all? Or be drug out to yet another bar? Then don’t have an exit strategy. But if you want to keep this wonderful gift of sobriety then know your surroundings, have a plan to get back to where you are staying and have a ride or a cab lined up. Most importantly don’t leave yourself stranded with only people who don’t really know your story. The more people know about you and about why you really can’t drink, the more likely you are to stay in safe situations.

Each one of these circumstances has happened to me. I have survived, but it wasn’t always easy. Now, I know my plan. I have a strategy. I walk in with a Red Bull or water, do a full loop around the room, grab a plate full of h’orderves, enjoy them with a client, do another full loop, then I hit the door. Typically, I try to walk back just to feel my legs underneath me and to celebrate one more victory in my sobriety.

However, most importantly I confidently respond to all inquiries to drink with this, “ No, sorry I can’t I’m actually allergic. But thank you!”

Hope is Alive!



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