Staying Sober

Author, Paul Carr is staying sober, but can his process work for you?

Carr drank for years and years, but could convince himself that he did not have a problem because he never drank alone. The problem, he could see in hindsight once he stopped drinking, was that he could never stop drinking. Once he had a single drink, whether is was 8am or 8pm, he “couldn’t stop until my body shut down and I passed out in a pile on the floor.”

On his 878th day of sobriety, Paul had an article published in the Wall Street Journal called My Secret To Getting Sober. He did not seek abstinence the “normal” way, which he believes includes AA meetings, but instead he developed his own steps to sobriety. His goals were to repair relationships, get physically and mentally healthy, start a new career, and what he call “setting aside character flaws.”

In order to start recovery and to stay sober in the long-run, Paul believes that each alcoholic must truly assess his or her own level of alcohol use. What is your relationship with alcohol right now? Do you socially enjoy a couple drinks, but then stop? He compares alcohol to sex in that enjoying the act of sex does not make you a nymphomaniac, and enjoying alcohol a bit does not make you an alcoholic. What do you think?

Paul created his own set of steps to live by, that he credits with his success in getting and staying sober:

Step 1: Ask Yourself: “Do I really have a problem?”

Step Two: Quit Publicly

Step Three: Don’t Fear Failure

Step Four: Pull Yourself Together

Step Five: Stop Lying

Step Six: Stop Apologizing

Step Seven: Rediscover Dating

Step Eight: Replace Your Ridiculous Drunken Stories With Ridiculous Sober Ones

Step Nine: Spend Money on Stuff You Won’t Lose

Step Ten: Take a Difficult Test (by which he means an HIV test)

Step Eleven: Work Nicer, Not Just Harder and Smarter

Step Twelve: Forget Everything You Just Read

Paul Carr realizes that what worked for him, and continues to work for him in staying sober will probably not work for anyone else. He recommends creating your own plan and sticking to it.

If you are familiar with the Twelve Steps, then you know this is a completely different approach to staying sober. Without a community of people working through the same steps though, how do you know if you’re making enough progress or avoiding parts that you don’t want to face?

Staying sober is a daily choice. What tools or steps do you need to continue making the right one?

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