Dopers who have successfully fought addictions

A co-worker and I were discussing the nature of addictions and overcoming them. At what point did you say, “That’s it. I’ve had enough. I have to stop this.”

How many Dopers have had addictions and have overcome them?

How did you do it?

How much do you think sheer willpower has to do with it?

The “okay, I’ve got to stop” point came when my best friend – absolutely the smartest human being I have ever met, with whom I spent a lot of time drinking and drugging – killed himself.

How I got clean: A month in treatment in a hospital setting, followed by very active involvement in AA and NA for several years. I am now less active in these groups as organizations, but continue to live my life by the steps they advocate.

What willpower has to do with it: Just about nothing. Alcoholism has been described as “self-will run riot.” What you want doesn’t always have that much to do with what you do do, or what it’s a good idea for you to do. Wanting to quit drinking and drugging is an asolutely necessary beginning, but much is needed in addition to that – and AA/NA can provide the help we all need.

twicks, clean 19 years, 6 months, 27 days

What twickster said. I have not beaten my addiction; I’m continuing to recover from it. And it took wanting to not drink/use more than I wanted anything else. And willpower had nothing to do with it. When I finally surrendered and just did what the 12 steps suggested I do (after resisting doing so for over 6 years) I found I no longer had to drink/use anymore.

That was over 15 years ago now.

It’s taken a hell of a lot of work, pain, time, and effort for me to do what a functioning adult should be able to do: Not drink or use if I can’t do so responsibly. I don’t think I deserve any credit from normies for acting like a grown-up. But I’ll give and take congrats to and from my peers who are also wanting or working to recover.

I have encountered people who want to stop whatever addiction they have, but deep down, they don’t really.

The co-worker in question smokes. He wants to stop, knows he should stop, but can’t stop. I asked him if he really wanted to stop. He thought about it for a minute and told me no, he didn’t. He enjoyed it too much. I would hate to think it would take a nasty health scare (AFAIK, he’s okay) to do it. I’d rather see him stop if for no other reason than to have a better chance at seeing his daughter grow up.

I wonder if he were to go into a program, how much his deep down desire would conflict with his success.

My take on 12-step programs: If you really, really want to get clean, they’ll give you the tools to enable you to do so.

If you don’t really, really want to get clean, there’s not a freaking thing in the universe that will make that happen.

Ditto for smoking. I kept my two-pack-a-day habit going for another 13+ years after I got sober.

I will second exactly what Twickster and ** Qadgop** have said. You must believe in the system for anything to work for you.

For me…My wife said: “Choose between me, or the vodka…period…”

I oblidged.

I was caught up in so much work and stress that Booz was the only thing that helped…

Now…I’m caught up in something different.

Life and living.

I love my life and my living…but the 12 steps have helped unbelievably.

Mr.Blue.Sky - what do you need right now?

I grew up with a father who drank and smoked. He was abusive when he drank. THAT was more than enough to veer me away from alcohol. When I tell people I’ve never had a drop of alcohol, they’re sure I’m lying.

I watched my friends get wasted in high school (on alcohol, mostly beer, and drugs). Not appealing.

Smoking never appealed to me at all.

I always wondered if I had an addictive personality, but I’d rather not find out. At least, not with toxic substances.

I drink regularly. Not normally to excess, but once in a while yeah. Say maybe 1-2 times a month. Most evenings are a beverage or two.

In my youth, until I was about 23 (Ok, June 16th, 1983), I had spent the better part of the last couple years shoving peruvian marching powder into my nose in whatever form I could. That day, I stopped. It’s a long sad story but the bottom line is I had seen in the month just previous: the murder of a guy I had been buying from the year before, the OD of a friend of a friend, and a near fatal crash with a friend directly related to his own use.

That afternoon, my best friend and I sat in his living room and lied through our teeth to each other. I knew he had some left he wasn’t sharing, he knew I did, but we just ignored that. I went home and spent the night wired, and I’m sure he did the same after I left.

That night, I finished my last bit, and tossed the base pipe, the glass, and all my toys into the neighbors trash. never had another line. This snow had been a major part of my life for the past two years more than daily, almost constant.

But I kept smoking dope until July 26, 1995. I had a job crisis, a ten year old and a new house and quit smoking that out of necessity. Again, my constant companion had been the G-Graphics 18 inch bong since I was 19.

Was I addicted? Certainly psychologically, probably physically. I’ve never had the need or the driving urge to stop drinking. Could I? Hell yeah. Would it be easy? Hell. No. Neither of those other experiences were, and I don’t pretend that I could split a joint and be satisfied, I know if that started, I’d be right into it again.

I hear, and I believe that addictions can’t be beat without help. Don’t think from my quick story that I did this on my own. In the first instance, my friend quit the next morning. It was the buddy system, learning new friends, and new patterns.

In the second I had a great wife and outside pressure to stay clean (I gotta piss in what?).