Wouldn’t it be nice if all it took to get sober was simply just to strain real hard and focus your mental energy on the problem? You would just sit in your living room, close your eyes, and imagine yourself as no longer addicted to heroin, and then *puff*, all would be well. Yes, that would be wonderful, and while it may work for people who are either hard drinkers or heavy drug users, for people with alcoholism and addiction, this method always fails.
As human beings, we are given a tremendous amount of mental capacity. I mean, think about it for a minute. Our brains are an amazing creation, and with them, we have conjured up some of the most brilliant works of art ever. We have built entire cities, flown to other planets, and even combatted mother nature, but yet with your brain you cannot think yourself sober.
This doesn’t just seem right, does it? A person with the capacity to image anything should be able to think their way into sobriety. I mean, why shouldn’t they be able to? Oh yea, that’s right, because alcoholism and addiction are illnesses of the mind, and therefore you can’t think your way out of it. Rats!
Why You Can’t Just Think Yourself Sober
As much as the opening there was sort of ridiculous, the topic at hand is actually rather serious. Each year, thousands of people attempt to think their way into sobriety and die as a direct result. Each day, they wake up believing that this will be the day that they can finally overcome their mental obsession through thought power alone and unfortunately, that day never comes. Many of these individuals die clinging to the thought that if they only manage well or think hard enough, they can undo all of the damage and start over fresh, but they fail to see that in order to do this, they have to take action and not just thought.
Yet it is understandable for you to believe that you can think yourself sober. In fact, it is so understandable because it is a major part of the illness of addiction. Addiction operates in a way where it will do anything to keep the sufferer sick. It will attempt to convince them that it doesn’t exist and this is why so many people stay in denial for so long. Once the addiction is exposed for what it truly is, it then resorts to attempting to convince you that you can think yourself sober. That you can use the same mind that created the problem, to fix the problem, and it is only after this is shown as false that a person can truly attempt something different.
If You Can’t Think Yourself Sober, Then What…
I am not even kidding when I say that I have heard people argue on a number of occasions about whether you can think your way into the right action, or act your way into the right thinking. While I hold no dog in this fight, I personally believe that in order to change, there must be action, even when the thought process is not there to back it up.
For instance, a person who is just coming into sobriety may not believe that the Steps will work for them. They may be devoutly against the idea of God, or anything spiritual, but if they work the Steps to the best of their ability, they will ultimately find that their obsession to use goes away and a new spiritual identity is created. Why this works I am not sure, but since you cannot think yourself sober, you must act yourself sober. You must take the necessary steps in order to create the change within you, and in time, your thinking will follow.
Are You Sure That I Can’t Just Think Real Hard and Change?
I am almost 100% certain that a person who suffers from addiction or alcoholism cannot think their way into sobriety, the reason for this is because I tried for years and I know many other people who tried and failed.
For longer than I care to admit, I tried to manipulate the nature of my illness by doing things like attempting to cut down on my usage, using different substances, using substances in a different manner, and all of it was for naught. I honestly believed during this time period that at some point I would unravel the mental twist that caused me to use the way I did and then I’d be able to use successfully, however I now understand that this was a fool’s errand. That nothing I would have ever come up with would have worked and that is because I am an alcoholic and an addict and those monikers are stronger than my brain.
Every time I tried to think myself sober, I failed and usually made things worse, and it was only after I gave up on doing so, and trusted the dictates of someone else, that I was able to be free from my addiction.
There are some things in my life that I have been able to think my way out of, but addiction was not one of them. I had to put aside my intellect and operate on faith in order to overcome this affliction, and while doing so wasn’t necessarily easy, it also wasn’t that difficult. Once you arrive at a point where you know that your thinking is off, then the only thing to do is to ask for help. When this occurs, you are well on your way to healing and you are well of your way to acting your way into sobriety.