12/04/2013 16:28 BST | Updated 12/06/2013 06:12 BST

Don't Admit You Have a Drinking Problem

The first step to getting sober is admitting we have a problem-right?


Not even close.

The first step to getting sober is to stop drinking. The second step to sobriety is to keep doing it.

That's it.


We've got it all backwards. Horribly backwards. And its killing us. This awful catch 22 situation. If we wait to admit and accept we have a drinking problem in our society? We are waiting for end-stage alcoholism. Or alcoholic Alzheimer's. Or being arrested. Or being injured horribly. Because we have raised the bar of tolerance so high for alcohol abuse. Because It's now a problem so blatant and so obvious that we can't even see it any more.

And now we are a nation in crisis.

Stop drinking. Keep doing it. Then admit you have a problem. If you want.

No one is going to help you unless your problem is so severe it is life-threatening. No one is going to encourage you to seek help unless your behaviour is so bad during drinking sessions that there are severe social consequences.

If you are waiting for help?

It's not coming.

Stop drinking. Not because you admit you have a problem. Stop drinking. Just stop. Stop because something is wrong and you don't know what it is but you know it ties in with alcohol. You don't need to go any further than that. In fact any further than that and the justification begins; it is a disease, it is genetic, it is psychological. The more detail and labels and excuses we give this thing, this need? The more we open the door for denial. And then we are right back where we started. Overwhelmed. And what happens when we face an emotion too big too handle? We drink it away. Again.

It took me 10 months where I stopped drinking and kept doing it before I admitted I was an alcoholic. Ten months of sobriety. Having this conversation with myself on a constant loop:

Me: Don't drink right now/this minute/this hour/this afternoon.

Brain: Why?

Me: I don't know why. Just don't.

It worked. And yes now I admit I did have a problem. But admitting it wasn't an integral part of my recovery. And I don't have a problem any more. And I never will again.

Don't admit you have a problem and expect the drinking to stop accordingly. In fact the admitting we have a problem step is just a natural conclusion to the cycle of recovery. In the cold light of day, months and months down the line we are fully able to step away from our problem and see it for what it is. So then okay. Then fine, if you want to-take a pause, acknowledge you are ready to admit you have a problem. A problem you've already dealt with. Not backwards. Finally in the right order.

Then carry on with your sober life.

And never look back again.