In the spirit of Christmas and Recovery Here is a story (Fictional to protect the innocent). Told by an old man who has been in recovery for decades.
Well it was a few years ago when this young fellow approached me and asked simple questions about his recovery (although at the time he was not aware that he was asking for recovery advice). He came to me and asked kind sir how do I stop drinking beer while still being able to enjoy other drinks that I have no problem with?
Young man, I said, if you want to quit drinking beer simply focus on the other drinks without considering the beer. But beware that you might then want to quit the other drink at some point.
The young man said: But I only have a problem with Beer. I don’t feel the same way about the other drinks.
I responded: With years of walking my life path I have learned the lesson I am about to share with you. I was once ‘just a beer drinker’ and had a problem with just the beer but when I removed it I found out that it wasn’t the beer that was the problem. It was the experience behind it. I could escape problems, become the life of the party, and find a new side of me when I drank. When the beer was gone another drink became my favorite and I believed it was the problem. For several years I went from one drink to another without realizing the background of it being the experience. Finally I said to myself, all forms of this drink were dangerous to me. I worked with others to stop drinking only to find that something else gave me the same experience. Next it was Drugs of different kinds and I fought it off. Then another and another. Finally I said I will not ingest any of these things and sought help with it.
At some point I experienced the same feeling with gambling and because of past experience I realized that to be safe I should avoid all forms of gambling. It didn’t matter if money was involved because I had realized that the feeling was in the action and not in the form that action took.
Please heed the warning of the old sage and focus on that which matters in life. Remember the lesson of addiction: It isn’t the specific activity or substance that is the problem but rather the nature of how it affects me.