“You cannot do this alone.”Halfpoint/Shutterstock
Author Heidi Heath Garwood, started drinking heavily in her early 20s and she didn’t get sober until three days before her 50th birthday. “I always knew I drank more—and more obsessively—than anybody I was drinking with. Then drinking began interfering with my work and daily life,” she said. “The last time I got drunk, I woke up at 3:30 in the afternoon with no idea of what I had done that day.” Garwood turned to her faith to help her recover. “I prayed and asked God to take this from me. The obsession lifted the moment I turned it over to a higher power. For years, I had tried to do it on my own, but the minute I asked for God’s help, my drinking was over.”
By attending AA meetings, having a sponsor, and being a sponsor, Garwood was able to move forward. She also prays and meditates daily to help her get out of her own head and stay in the present moment.
“You never can tell when the use of alcohol or drugs might become a disease.”BlueSkyImage/Shutterstock
Alan Charles didn’t battle alcohol until he began using cocaine at age 24. Because he was bouncing between the two substances, he could drink more and for longer periods of time. This led his habits to quickly spin out of control. When, predictably, his life began to fall apart—he lost his job, his wife filed for divorce, he was denied visitation rights to his children—Charles knew he had to clean up his act fast. Thanks to dedication, therapy, and AA and CA (Cocaine Anonymous), Charles has been sober since December 8, 2007. The experience has taught him just how dangerous even one sip or puff can be.
“Everyone is played Russian roulette when they try alcohol or drugs,” he says. “Unfortunately for me, I was one of a small percentage of people who are addicted right from the start. The key message is that you never can tell when the use of alcohol or drugs might progress to a disease. Once that happens, you lose the ability to make a decision to stop. My weakness led me to a 24-year addiction; I’m incredibly lucky to be alive.” If you’re looking to cut back on alcohol, follow these 17 tips.