6 Steps to Sobriety

Hi. I’m Kevin Alan McGill.  Welcome to The Possible Ks “6 Steps to Sobriety”.

I want to share with you what I have learned from others about getting and staying clean and sober. This program comes from years and years of working with and listening to real people. This is what real people who needed to get clean and sober, who got and stayed clean and sober taught me.

  • Step One: Keep it Simple, Simon
  • Step Two: Find your own reason for quitting
  • Step Three: Find The Trickster
  • Step Four: Find something else to do
  • Step Five: Find some people to help you follow the steps
  • Step Six: Allow something good to happen

When people followed these steps they were able to get off and stay off addictive substances such as alcohol, marijuana, crack, meth, heroin and other street drugs and certain problem medications.

Follow these 6 steps and you can too.

It takes effort. However, you can do this.

So let’s get to it.

Step One: Keep it Simple, Simon

People taught me that in order to get and stay clean and sober, you have to keep it simple.

For instance, in simple terms, if you don’t take that first one, you can’t take the rest. So quite simply getting and staying clean and sober is finding ways to keep yourself from taking that first sip, toke, shot or snort.

An important part of doing that is simplifying your thinking about these drugs.

These drugs are meant to change how we think. We take them because they change how we experience what is happening in our lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. They don’t change life; they change how the brain reacts.

Pay attention to this “changing your brain” idea. Pay attention because not really recognizing that the drug is changing your thinking is what gets many people into trouble. For many people this thinking change means coming to believe that you just have to use drugs. And, even if your use causes you problems, you will come up with what you think are very good reasons to continue to use. You might blame yourself or those around you or society or even the physically addictive qualities of the drug. The drug will hide from you that it is the drug itself that is causing you to believe that you have to keep using!

That’s why these drugs are so powerful! After a while, you won’t recognize what their actual power is.

It might help to think of this “I have to use” thinking as simply a sort of psychological side effect of these drugs.

To fight that kind of power, the power of the drug itself, we need to keep it simple.

Quite simply, despite how we may have come to think, a person’s body actually doesn’t need alcohol, marijuana, crack, meth, heroin, etc.

These drugs are actually not needed in order to lead a good life.

Eventually these drugs create problems, not solve them.

So Keep It Simple Simon.

If these drugs are causing you any trouble at all, the simplest and safest solution is to not take that first one. Regardless of what your brain may be saying, your job is to not take that first one. Not taking the first one is what the rest of these steps are all about.

Step Two: Find your own reason for quitting.

Never mind what other people are saying. Pay attention to what you know! How do you know that your use is causing problems? Because you have already tried to get around those problems in order to keep using. So stop wasting time arguing with others. You know if you have a problem. Your reactions to this program are probably all the proof you need.

Let’s get to work on it.

Let’s use those problems as your own personal motivators.

Here’s how you do this:

Make a list of all the problems, big and small, that your alcohol and other drug use has caused or is causing. Review that list everyday. Use that list to remind yourself each day why you are working at not taking that first one.

Step Three: Find The Trickster!

All cultures have stories about “The Trickster”, a mythical creature that tries to get people to make a fool of themselves. Drugs are The Trickster. You find The Trickster in any thought that tells you that you just have to use addictive drugs.

This thinking includes getting lost in the great “why” questions – why did I start using and why do I continue. Instead of working at staying clean and sober, people focus on their reasons for using. And they keep using and they keep adding to their troubles and The Trickster continues to win.

Look, it’s not that your issues aren’t important. They are. In order to live a manageable life, you will need to sort them out. However addictive drugs don’t care whether you had a bad life or a good life. They are chemicals. They do what they are made to do. And what they do is make life worse while telling your brain that it is getting better.

Incidentally, you’d be surprised how staying clean and sober for a while makes your great big problems seem not so big after all. You find the strength to meet those life challenges you thought were way too hard to handle before. You learn that thoughts come and go, emotions however strong come and go. Cravings come and go. You learn that you really can handle this. You start feeling better about yourself.

If you still need an answer to the great “why” questions, here it is:

The reason that you started using these drugs was because they were there. Alcohol and other drugs were available and somehow you got the message that they would help you feel better.  So you used them. And they did make you feel better, or at least different, so you used them again. And like I said, once you start using them, they are very good at getting your brain to tell you that you need to continue to use them.

Here’s what you do about The Trickster:

Ask yourself – “What reason do I give myself for why I just have to use alcohol or other drug?” Tell yourself that this is just the drug trying to get you to keep using. Say to yourself “Not this time Trickster”. Then go to Step Four.

Step Four: Find something else to do

 Something that does not work is sitting around trying to not use. People have a great deal of trouble trying not to do something. Instead, do something. If you don’t know what to do, keep it simple. Just do something different.

First thing, take care of your health. Do the best you can with exercise, rest and nutrition.

Get yourself onto some kind of routine. Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself.

Volunteer; find a particular hobby or activity for those restless times. Find some work that needs doing; spend some time learning new things. Stay away from compulsive activities like gambling. And follow the HALT rule. Never get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

And remember to keep a lookout for The Trickster trying to get you to use.

Step Five: Find some people to help you follow the steps

Too much time with your own thoughts is an invitation to The Trickster.

Back in 1935, a man found himself alone in a new town desperately wanting to drink. He had heard that sometimes talking to someone else about his addiction and his need to stay sober could help. He found someone. He talked about his need to stay sober. He stayed sober that day and thereafter Alcoholics Anonymous was born. AA is the most successful drug recovery program ever.

And it is a simple program. You get together with other people who are working at staying sober. You admit your need for help. You focus on what helps rather than on your problems and you work at staying sober one day at a time.

If you aren’t going to AA, or maybe NA, Narcotics Anonymous, at least find and stick with people who are working at staying clean and sober. Avoid people who are using or complicating their lives.

Step Six: Allow something good to happen

This step is a little trickier. This step is about surrendering. It is about admitting what you can’t control and putting your energies into what you can control. In some ways, it is just as much about not doing rather than doing.

In strict addiction terms, to surrender simply means accepting that you aren’t in control of the drugs and never will be, that they are the problem and that you need help to stay off them.

Yet it is more than that. It is about allowing life to happen and being thankful that you have the chance to live and learn and feel.

This step is about what you let be most important in your life. You can make getting high most important. You can make feeling sorry for yourself most important. You can make anger most important. Or you can let go of all that crap. Instead, you can allow yourself to be on the look out each day for simple little wonders in life. You will then begin to see what you couldn’t see before because you were too busy being high, depressed, angry and demanding.

When people surrender, when they are sincerely willing to let go of all the crap and work at not taking that first one, they feel “an energy” enter their lives that wasn’t there before. They call this energy “Spirituality”, The Higher Power, God as you understand the idea of God, whatever.

When you truly let go, “something better” will enter your life. And there is alot of “something better” to have in your life.

 

Don’t believe me? Go talk to some people who got and stayed clean and sober. Maybe they can help explain it to you. After all, that’s what they had to do. In order to get “it”, they had to let go and talk to other people about getting and staying clean and sober.

  • Step One: Keep it Simple, Simon
  • Step Two: Find your own reason for quitting
  • Step Three: Find The Trickster
  • Step Four: Find something else to do
  • Step Five: Find some people to help you follow the steps
  • Step Six: Allow something good to happen

“6 Steps to Sobriety”

Now go out there and live a better life … one day at a time!