“White knuckle sobriety” refers to the practice of desperately holding onto sobriety without working a recovery program. Many programs stress the impossibility of maintaining sobriety by sheer force of will, but there are some—few and far between—who are able to for some time. The problem with white-knuckling sobriety is that it does not allow for one to address all the underlying factors of addiction or grow spiritually and mentally. Every day is an internal struggle to avoid triggers and not drink or use, rather than achieving the peaceful and serene state of sobriety that comes with working a program of recovery. Some people reach a point in their lives when they want sobriety but are unwilling to take the necessary steps to recover. Alcohol and drug use are symptomatic of a disease that affects us physically, mentally, and spiritually. By trying to hang on to sobriety without working toward recovery, they are attempting to treat the symptoms rather than the disease. They may not be drinking or using drugs, but they are often continuing to behave in ways that are dysfunctional and harmful to others. The restless, irritability, and discontentment that often contribute to, and exacerbate, one’s addiction are still present. It may seem easier to choose not to drink based on sheer willpower, but it turns every day into a painful struggle. In contrast, treatment and recovery programs are designed to address and treat all the underlying causes of one’s addiction by addressing both the disease of addiction and the symptoms. Twelve Step recovery, in particular, focuses on serenity and peace of mind as a means of maintaining sobriety. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem had been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.” Rather than trying to maintain sobriety by attempting to exert even more control over every aspect of our lives, we focus on spirituality, serenity, and selflessness. We find that we are not only able to maintain sobriety, but we feel happy, joyous, and free while doing so.
Your story can be one of serenity and peace of mind. You can give up the struggle with drugs and alcohol by making the decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with knowledgeable and compassionate professionals dedicated to helping clients develop all the tools they need to achieve and maintain a fulfilling life in sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777