How do Sane people kick drugs/booze? Force of Will?

Say you got a friend, totally not into Jesus or Space Pixies, but knows he/she drinks and ruins it for everyone around them. How do they quit the bottle without embracing the stupid? (ie 12 Step Programs) Does it really come down to, “All right, I’ts just me. Suck it up and Quit, Goddammit!” Or is there something science-based that can help them stop?

No “Hellgramite Worms” please!

On the plus side, AA programs don’t do statistically better than simple self-management (willpower, familial nagging, etc.) at managing alcoholism, so if he doesn’t like 12-step programs, he’s not doing himself any harm. On the minus side, neither of them has much of a long-term success rate.

Some people find that getting “sobered up” once in a clinical setting is easier to maintain, so he could check himself into a rehab or something for a while, and at least start from “clean.” But it’s a minor edge, all things considered.

My sister found her court-ordered alcohol education program to be very helpful. Once she concluded that she needed to quit drinking entirely, she got away from working in bars and hanging around in them. Not feeling that pressure to drink socially has been a big help.

Usually, alcoholism is a symptom, not the disease. There are usually underlying issues (usually involving self-esteem and/or depression) that are the root cause of drinking too much. Stopping the symptoms doesn’t cure the person. My advice would be to tell that person to take an online depression test or see a psychiatrist.

This is just my personal experience but as someone who has had problems, I believe you can’t do a damn thing for someone else if they are not ready.
I had to decide for myself.
Once I decided it wasn’t really about the method, it was about the commitment.

It helps to talk - a LOT, at least it did for me. I realized I was drinking to avoid some things I should have owned up to a long time ago.

But I think this needs to be said again - everyone’s situation is different.
It’s not a fun trip, but it’s worth taking.

For me all it took was me deciding to stop drinking and then just following through on what I had decided. No one else was pouring the booze down my throat. Heck, I had more control over ot drinking than countless other things in my life. Same thing worked for cigs.

May result from some aspects of my personality and, as such, may not work for everyone. But no God(s) or 12-steps were involved. The one necessary requirement, tho, is that I wanted to quit. If your friend does not, there is no way you are going to make him.

A change in life circumstances did it for me. I drank like a fish for years, self-medicating my pain away, until I found out I was pregnant and stopped. I started up again a few years later to manage the NEW stress, and stopped again. You cannot be a good parent AND polish off half a gallon of Carlo Rossi chardonnay every night. If I had remained single and never gotten pregnant, I would be dead today, but there was a reason for me to stop guzzling, I wanted to quit and I did it! … I would suggest, however, your friend taper off. Do NOT go cold turkey. Wish someone had told me that, when I decided this shit had to stop.

Your friend might like the book, The Easy Way to Stop Drinking, by Allen Carr. He’s the same guy with a book for quitting smoking.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with using a 12-step program; I don’t get the hate. It doesn’t matter how you get sober. Everyone’s path is a little different. I’m also a little irritated with your implication that only insane people go to 12-step programs.

What is a “Hellgramite Worm”?

It’s a reference to an episode of *The Twilight Zone *called “The Hellgrammite Method.” An alcoholic is offered a guaranteed method of kicking his addiction - he’s assured that he’ll either quit drinking or die trying. He swallows a capsule containing the “cure,” and afterward discovers that it contained the egg of a nasty-looking wormlike creature (the Hellgrammite of the title). Later he imagines that the creature has hatched and taken up residence in his stomach.

BTW, hellgramites do exist - they’re the aquatic larvae of the Dobsonfly. Eating one is unlikely to provide lasting relief from alcohol addiction or abuse, however.

Good so far! Keep em coming!

How about other drugs?
There is a one-time shot which will forever after make one sick should he/she drink ETOH
There are benzodiazipines (Lorazepam is the one I used) to lessen anxiety associated with withdrawal.
I just decided to quit - was in the hospital for other things, and decided to stay and see if I could dry out. It worked. Wasn’t fun, do not want to do it again, so I have a beer with my pizza, and the occasional mixed drink which I nurse for hours.
Used to go through 300ml of 100 proof vodka/day.
Note YOU will NOT (likely) get ANOTHER to quit. The will power is internal. As an atheist, I will not comment on AA’s Christian (now “higher being”) base.

Remember that its always POSSIBLE to avoid consuming something. Smoking that cigarette. Snorting that cocaine. You’re always able to simply NOT do this, and as simple as it sounds, I’ve found this to be a potent concept. Our drug-use mechanisms are such that we – particularly once we’ve become accustomed – tend to feel that we MUST use, or…or…or…

It’s anxiety. Angst. Agitas.

And it shall pass. Depending on the substance and the situation, you might feel bad for a few minutes, a few hours, or a week – but you’ll get over it.

In my experience, the thing that tended to defeat my intentions was simply overthinking it. For example, I’m at a party, and someone in the background is rolling a joint. Oh, damn, I’d love to smoke that joint…but I’ve got a drug-test in a week…but its a week away…how long does the THC metabolite stick around…its fat-soluble, they say it can be 30 days…but thats only for heavy users…i bet i could take just one hit…maybe I can postpone the drug-test…why do jobs drug-test, anyway…man that bud looks very good…does the week include the weekend, will that maybe allow me to get rid of – THIS.

When you catch yourself pondering the substance, you just have to say “UHP! MOVING ON!”, and – as best as you can – think about something else. If you’re like me, you’re remarkably good at convincing yourself to do the wrong thing, if you give yourself the chance.

Re: benzodiazepines for the anxiety produced by quitting – I strongly recommend against it. I thought it’d be a good idea to switch to benzos, because I figured it would allow me to drink less. Nope. I just ended up drinking AND doing the benzos, and since they’re physically addictive, I added another monkey to my back. Further, you know how when you drink a few beverages, you tend to start craving stuff? Food, cigarettes, or worse? Benzos do the same thing.

There’s one caveat here – if you’re physically addicted to alcohol, it may be medically necessary that you take benzodiazepines to safely detox. If this is the case, a qualified MD will know how to do it as safely as possible. Otherwise, yeah, skip the benzos.

Yeah, it has to come from within. I’m not a fan of AA personally (too much religion and too much of the “alcoholic for life, relapse is inevitable, esp. if you don’t attend meetings for the rest of your life and even if you DO, you are BOUND to fail, eventually” mind-set).

I’m sorry, but the whole “one day at a time” philosophy seems like a perfect set-up for/jusitification OF failure to me. What other huge commitment does one approach this way? Marriage? Parenthood? A mortgage? No. It’s not any of this one day at a time shit, it’s a long-term COMMITMENT you take on with an attitude of “forever” (or in the case of a mortage, damn close to it :rolleyes:)

But at the same time, whatever works for the individual. Some I’ve known thrive with AA and counting the days (even to the ridiculous, imo, point of being clean for years then taking a sip of beer and going back to day one) whatever. If it works for you, I am all for it.

There IS a physical addiction involved that is beyond “force of will”, ime. But beyond that is usually a psychological issue(s) that is far deeper.

BTW, the often heard scare stories about “stopping cold turkey” or “quitting on your own” keeps a lot of people using because they are terrified of what might happen IF they stop outside of a medical setting. Yes, alcohol withdrawal CAN kill you, unlike most other drug withdrawals, but the odds are very small. More info should be made available about how to safely get off it on your own for those with acute physical dependency (gradual decrease of consumption, etc…)

The so-called Rational Recovery method is one that approaches the issue from a “force of will” perspective. It pretty much says cut the BS, make a decision, take control, and DO IT. It works for some. But like AA, not for everyone.

Ultimately, until someone is willing to make that decision and stick with it in whatever way works for them, nothing anyone else can do.

This is what Rational Recovery calls “the addictive voice”…it is not “you”, it is the addiction speaking, forever defending and rationalizing its “right” to the addiction, even if it kills YOU. Their take is that you have to learn to recognize that voice for what it is (not the rational YOU) and stomp the SHIT out of this little asshole everytime he rears his nasty little head and kill HIM/IT with blunt refusals (“I will NEVER do this again, period…I am in control…deal with it.”)

I think they have a point.

My sister isn’t religious at all and uses AA. I’ve been to an open meeting or two with her…no God. The group she is in doesn’t seem to be big on the God thing.

She didn’t LIKE AA at first, and used the God thing as an excuse when she wasn’t ready. But she is in a small town in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t anything like Rational Recovery.

I’m sure I read somewhere that after quitting an addictive substance, your brain tries to replicate the drugged state with its own chemicals? Bad brain! Stop doing that, will you? And aren’t we supposed to have receptors in our brains that are perfectly shaped to facillitate these addictive substances, in some cases?

Pretty much on the mark. For my son, it was drugs. It took an intercession by me to assist him in seeing a clear picture of his future if he continued, but ultimately it was his own successful internal struggle with his demons that got him through it.

It’s more the other way around. We have receptors in our brain for various internally produced substances. But if you take a chemical that mimics one of these internally produced substances it will activate the receptor, and suddenly you feel the effect (ie, euphoria or whatever) without the natural cause.

One thing that I read once (sorry no cite) and that makes sense to me is that a lot of addicts just grow out of their addiction at some point, by way of maturity, provided the addiction does not kill them first.
Of course that last condition is the catch, and there is still the non-repairable damage done to others and to yourself

I have never had a substance addiction, but

[li]with all bad habits I have got rid of (including drinking too much at a point but which did not amount to alcoholism), it was a case of a long period of denial, then getting a more mature perspective, then one point of seeing the problem and saying to myself “screw this, I am not going to do that to me anymore”.[/li][li]with workaholism, it was colleagues who made me aware that it was a problem, a twelve-step-group (that my boss, being concerned, brought to my attention) made me more aware and finally myself who decided to have a sane attitude to my work.[/li][/ul]