Getting Sober Takes More Than Consulting the Internet

Gillian May
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One of the best and worst things about the internet is the number of supportive resources available for addiction and sobriety. It’s fabulous in that it’s easy to find others who’ve been through the process of getting sober. But it’s also limiting for the same reason. There’s a good and not-so-good outcome of finding lots of sobriety information right at our fingertips.

On the one hand, the info is super helpful, validating, and might even give us tips for getting through the tough times. On the other hand, it’s easy to get lost in the info, or worse yet, not find yourself in the info at all. Then we start thinking that no one can understand us. For some of us, we went to the internet to find a path towards sobriety through another person’s experience, only to discover that we don’t relate at all.

The truth is — no one can tell you how to get sober. People can share what worked for them and give you lots of tips for doing it. But really, we’re on our own — each of us a world unto itself. We have unique personalities, experiences, traumas, health issues, associations, and belief systems. All of these play a part in getting sober.

For example, some people swear by AA and claim they could never stay sober without it. However, someone else will talk about a bad experience they had with AA, and still, others will say that it did anything but help them stay sober. Is AA good or bad? The fact is, it’s all relative to the person seeking sobriety help.

Take me, for example; I got sober through working intensely with Ayahuasca and integrating trauma energy over 6–7 years. It wasn’t until the last several Ayahuasca ceremonies that I finally decided to quit drinking. I had been working up to it for almost a decade. Would this experience work for someone else? Maybe yes, maybe no, it depends on the person.

The more we try to “find ourselves” in other people’s sobriety stories, the worse we often feel. Many people who struggle with addiction do so because of the pain (both emotional and physical) that alcohol soothes. This pain and its severity are going to be entirely different from person to person.

Some people require detox, while others can quit on their own. And still, others can handle a grueling process like Ayahuasca while others can’t. The point is, we can find a lot of good stories and experiences on the internet, but if what we read doesn’t match our experiences, we may feel more isolated than ever.

Another critical issue is that some ways of getting sober are hazardous for some people. For instance, while there may be many of us who got sober on our own, some people shouldn’t attempt that. People who drink heavily, perhaps daily, should ideally consult a detox program, as withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous for heavy drinkers. Also, if a person uses other drugs like opioids and stimulants, they really should consult a medical professional before quitting.

When it comes to Ayahuasca, people who’ve experienced a psychotic episode should never do Ayahuasca or hallucinogens as it can make their psychosis much worse. Also, people using certain medications (like mental health medicines) can have a very adverse reaction when combining them with hallucinogens.

So you see, the process of getting sober will naturally and rightly vary from person to person. It’s essential to find what works for you and then use what you read on the internet as extra support.

Just don’t take everything you read too seriously.

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Former nurse turned alcohol and health writer/researcher. I have extensive experience in administration, frontline care, and education in mental health, public health, and geriatrics. However, after 20 years, I needed a change and always wanted to write. I have personal and family experience in alcohol addiction and mental health. Also passionate about trauma recovery, psychedelics, and psychology. Join my Substack community.


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