Going it alone

alone by ElenahNeshcuet

This piece sounds like someone trying to quit drinking without a community of recovery:

For decades I defined myself as a drinker, spent weekends and evenings in the cozy confines of a nice, steady stupor, but now I confronted a problem bigger than the mere practical issue of where to meet. Indeed, it was the central crisis of my life: I did not know what to do with myself. For a year, I had buried myself in work. On Saturdays, if I felt itchy, I took long walks along the Hudson River — six, seven-hour walks, listening to podcasts compulsively. Having shifted around my job to create more free time and transferred myself back to a city that moved at roughly the pace of a slow waltz, I felt an anxious emptiness without my laptop in front of me. I did yoga. I read books. I went to meetings that served bad coffee. But real, live human interaction — I missed it. This is a high-class luxury problem, I know, but still, it plagued me as if I were an angsty college sophomore: Who am I, and what do I like to do?

This article is all I know of the author, but “meetings that served bad coffee” may hint at some mutual aid attendance but, ” “real, live human interaction — I missed it” suggests that if there has been mutual aid attendance, there has not been mutual aid involvement.

Obviously, some people recover with a solo approach but it sounds like a long lonely road. Bill White has described some of the mechanisms of change and support in 12 step groups:

  • problem recognition and commitment to change;
  • regular re-motivation to continue change efforts;
  • counter-norms that buffer the effects of heavy drinking social networks and alcohol and other drug use promotion in the wider culture;
  • sustained self-monitoring;
  • increased spiritual orientation;
  • enhanced coping skills, particularly the recognition of high-risk situations and stressors;
  • increased self-efficacy;
  • social support that offsets the influence of pro-drinking social networks;
  • helping others with alcohol and other drug problems;
  • exposure to sober role models and experience-based advice on how to stay sober;
  • participation in rewarding sober activities;
  • 24-hour accessibility of assistance; and
  • potentially lifelong supports that do not require financial resources.

Are 12 step groups an easy fit for most members? Probably not, but solo recovery doesn’t sound too easy either.