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10 Tips for Living Drug, Alcohol, Smoke-Free: What Works for Me

I have firsthand experience with both sides of the alcoholism scenario: with family members as well as myself (I'm now in recovery).

You Don't Have to Be a Slave to Your Addictions

Are drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes ruling your life? Have you tried quitting only to pick back up again—even though you really, really want to stop? Stop beating yourself up. You are not a failure. You're an addict.

A healthier, craving-free life awaits you. Here are 10 ideas to get you on and keep you on the road to recovery.

If I can do it, you can do it—I promise!

Tip #1: Accept Help

It doesn't matter if you're a meth addict or a pill-popper, a binge drinker or bottle hider, smoke three packs a day or six joints a day. The chances of kicking your habit on your own—and sticking with it—are slim at best. It is extremely difficult to fight true addiction with sheer willpower. It's a physiological and psychological craving—it's not always practical to "just say no."

But you've probably already figured that out. So now what?

If you have an honest, trusting relationship with your healthcare provider, mention to them that you're trying to quit. Many health plans offer smoking cessation and chemical dependency programs.

You'll also want to check out how other people—who have been through the struggle just like you—live drug or alcohol-free. Go to an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting. They're free and have no obligation. The members will welcome you with open arms and share everything you need to know. Peer-to-peer support is incredibly powerful and effective.

Tip #2: Do Whatever It Takes

You likely didn't develop your habit overnight, so don't expect to break it overnight either. It takes time, patience, and work. Yes, work. You need to be committed to changing yourself.

If at first you don't succeed, try something different. For some people, attending 12-Step (AA or NA) meetings is enough. However, many individuals require more help. You can try an outpatient program where you take classes to learn about yourself and addiction. These programs will test you to make sure you're not using between sessions. For some people, this level of accountability is sufficient.

For others, an inpatient rehabilitation (aka rehab) is needed. These 30, 60 or 90-day programs immerse you in the recovery process. One to three months in a drug/alcohol-free environment can be a great way to jumpstart your clean and sober life.

If you're trying to put down the cancer sticks, there are different schools of thought. Some people advocate going cold turkey for best results. But, then again, not everyone is the same. That's why they make nicotine patches and gum! There's even a smoker's anonymous group. If one method doesn't work for you, try a different one.


Tip #3: Change Your Attitude

Those irresistible cravings will go away in time. To keep them at bay and keep yourself safe from relapsing into old behaviors, you'll need to change your mindset from "addict" to "in recovery." As you learn about the reasons behind your addiction, you will discover some very interesting things about, not just yourself, but other addicts as well. This is why accepting help from others who have walked the path before you really works.

Changing your attitude serves two purposes. First, your relationship to your drug(s) of choice will shift. They will stop being the center of your universe. You'll stop romancing and depending on it to get you through the day. You'll start viewing it as poison—lethal and disgusting.

At the same time, your attitude about yourself and your place in the world—including what the world owes you or has or hasn't done to/for you—will evolve. The process of giving up an addiction is actually a process of "getting." You get a positive outlook—an outlook you likely haven't felt since you started using, if ever.

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Tip #4: Change Your Playground

So much of recovery is about breaking routines as well as actual habits. I bet you've worn a groove in the route to your local liquor store or favorite bar. You know exactly where your connection lives or hangs around. If you continue to go to your old haunts, you're putting a lot of undue pressure on yourself. Why tempt fate? Take a different route home from work so you don't pass your usual supplier.

So what about your home? Obviously, you'll want to cleanse your home of anything and everything that might trigger a relapse. It's not uncommon for newly sober people to move from rehab into a transitional sober living situation to give themselves a stronger foundation before going "back there." It's usually not necessary to relocate, but it's an option if your home environment is just too toxic.

A note about smoking. Over time, as your eyes, nose, and throat become sensitized, you'll realize what others around you have been complaining about. It's a good idea to ban smoking in your home and car and seek out smoke-free environments to support your recovery.

Tip #5: Change Your Playmates

The decision to live without alcohol, drugs, or smoking is a selfish one—but selfish in the best possible way. It means you are serious about taking care of yourself and your health.

It also means you are going to have some weeding out to do. Some old "friends" will naturally fall by the wayside. When the main thing you have in common with someone is getting loaded, and one of you stops getting loaded, what's left? Nothing. If you're used to hanging with a hard-drinking crowd, you will suddenly notice they're not nearly as entertaining when they're slipping into silliness while you're sober.

Believe it or not, some people may not support your new lifestyle. They may not like the "new you" and seek to sabotage your efforts. Many people don't quite understand addiction and recovery and may (even naively) offer you your old favorite. "Just one drink won't hurt you!" Actually, it can. These people may or may not mean well. Regardless, you can't let their ignorance or ulterior motives get under your skin.

Can you realistically "fire" every person from your old life? Obviously, that's impractical. But successful people in recovery end any toxic relationships and replace them with a support system of clean and sober friends.


Tip #6: Feel Your Feelings

So you've cleaned out your body and are feeling pretty good. You've cut ties with the old gang and made new friends to support you in your new life. That part's all good.

But, after numbing your feelings for years with drugs/alcohol, you've forgotten what they feel like. Re-experiencing true happiness, joy, sadness, grief, frustration—whatever it is—can be unnerving at first. Accept them and experience them fully. Don't worry. You'll get used to it!


Tip #7: Revel in Your Relationships

Tip #5 advised you to get rid of unhealthy relationships, but there will be other relationships—family, friends, bosses, coworkers, teammates, neighbors, even strangers—with whom the opposite is true.

As a clean/sober person, you get to "reinvent" yourself in the eyes of people you care about (and have probably hurt). Focus on being the best "you" you can be every day by being kind, helpful, and generous. As you find yourself more engaged with other people, you'll discover you're much better able to deal with conflicts and problems. This is an example of an area where the "selfishness" of recovery leads to becoming more selfless.

Tip #8: Do Things—Even Amazing Things

Think about all the energy you used to devote to your addiction. Planning, thinking about, buying, hiding, lying, using, recovering from using. That's a lot of wasted time and effort.

Take away the alcohol, drugs, and smokes and you find yourself with a lot of extra time, energy, and money on your hands! I bet you once had interests that you gave up (to some degree, if not totally) because of your addiction. I bet there's at least one dream you'd love to pursue.

With a clear mind and cleansed body, you can rise to a new level of personal excellence. It's not uncommon to take up new hobbies, change careers, or go back to school. On a daily basis, you'll find opportunities for accomplishment where you once found frustration and failure.

Tip #9: H.A.L.T. and Be Gentle With Yourself

It's all too easy to get trapped in guilt, shame, and remorse. With all these feelings flooding back, you may be tempted to feel like a failure or a bad person. You are NOT a bad person, and you are anything but a failure! You are a miracle!

People overcoming addiction have escaped the clutches of a progressive, fatal illness. If you had survived cancer or a heart attack, would you beat yourself up for getting sick in the first place? Of course not.

It is important to stay in touch with your body and your feelings. If you start to feel restless, unsettled, or angry with no obvious provocation, H.A.L.T.—Never let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

Trust me, it's much better to tend to these simple physical and emotional needs than to risk relapsing.


Tip #10: Celebrate Each Day, but Don't Get Cocky

Recovery is a combination of carrots and sticks. There will be days when you feel great and love life. There will be days when everything seems to challenge your sanity. That's perfectly normal. You're human!

The key to living without your former crutches is to recognize that both good and bad days are good for your growth in recovery. However, both days are potentially dangerous if you don't stay vigilant.

Remember, you're dealing with a foe that's cunning, baffling, powerful, persuasive, and extraordinarily patient. You may feel like you've got the tiger by the tail, but if you let down your guard even momentarily, that tiger will pounce.

Happy occasions are just as likely to invite relapse as stressful situations. But as long as you keep your guard up and don't allow yourself to be seduced into thinking you're "cured"—you're not, yet—you'll be fine.

If at First You Don't Succeed

You're definitely not alone. Very few people recover—or quit smoking—on their first try. Don't despair. Go back to Tip #1 and ask for help. Recommit yourself to trying again. As they say in AA meetings: "Keep coming back, it works!"

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


john deepak ekka on June 16, 2014:

No addiction

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 23, 2014:

Congratulations, Jerome.

34 years is a long time to have a habit and give it up.

I smoked for a long time too. Drink in one hand, cigarette in the other.

I never did the wake up in the morning and have a cigarette before

getting out of bad routine, though.

I'm glad to see your giving up the grits (as my hubby calls them) did not affect your work. You can still work without triggering a


Congratulations, too, on your new website.

We'd love to have you come write here with us on Hub Pages!


Jerome on May 23, 2014:

Nice article. I stopped smoking over 2 years ago but lead (to me at least) a very decent, healthy and responsible lifestyle. Candidly, I enjoyed smoking (and still do as a matter of fact) but decided to stop after 34 years. I used self hypnosis on myself and it worked. I am into internet marketing and the times (which are many) when I sit at my computer is when I smoked. I mean, for instance, I just completed this site and I remember well when I would have smoked a pack just writing 2 articles. :-)

Anyway, nice stuff once again.

India Arnold from Northern, California on August 30, 2012:

What a great hub, Mighty Mom! Google+ loves it too!

HubHugs, my friend~

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 27, 2012:

Thank you for your positive comments. This advice is tried and true -- I personally use all these tips and am here to say they really work!

Cheers, MM

Prasanna Marlin from Sri lanka on April 26, 2012:

Great advice. Thank you for sharing these excellent points.

chamilj from Sri Lanka on April 26, 2012:

Great advice! Voted up and shared!

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on April 26, 2012:

Great Hub. It will surely help many addicted people. Voted up and shared.

Java Programs from India on March 04, 2012:

Hi Mighty Mom,

Even if we try to quit all of those stuffs , we leave those things for 2-3 days but start without unknowingly on the third is day because we dont have control on our sub conscious mind.... whatever we taught him by doing it performs that well .... As soon as you make him teach something unusual it gets reluctant .....

Thanks for the hub .... keep the good work up ......

drn22 from Kolkata, India on January 22, 2012:

Nice tips..its really good..that you have described point wise...actually main thing is all of points is..divert mind to other good things from addicted things which are dangerous for life

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 12, 2012:

Hi billybuc,

Thanks so much for the positive comment. I like the crowd you roll with, dude. Bill w and Dr. Bob are still the best. I wouldn't be here to write this without them!

Glad to meet you. MM

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 12, 2012:

As a friend of Bill and Dr. Bob I applaud your subject choice and enjoyed reading your article. You did a nice job of dumbing down the subject matter and making it easy to understand for any newbie out there who may be considering recovery. Very nice job!

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 11, 2012:

Hi cc,

Love, love, love comments like that! I am glad my experience is helpful to you! Have a chemical free day!


cc on January 11, 2012:

i love this article love love love thankyou thank you

princesswithapen on November 27, 2011:

Mighty Mom

Tip #4 and #5 are often the hardest to do but can be the most effective and powerful weapon against smoking, drugs and alcohol.

"..some people may not support your new lifestyle. They may not like the "new you" and seek to sabotage your efforts..." Although what you've written here is hard to believe, it is absolutely true. A group of friends may not accept one of their own trying to break out of bad habits they all indulge into.

I like this hub because it gives crisp and straightforward advice, just the way it is supposed to be! I truly hope this reaches out to people who need to read it.


Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 06, 2011:

Hello thir3dpart.

Congratulations on your 25 year milestone.

And the 5 years without smokes is HUGE.

I like your attitude about keeping things healthy and constructive. It's easier to do when we know we CAN"T go back there. Forward healthy is the only alternative.

Always good to keep that last "taste" in our heads, too.

Not to romanticize it, but just to remember it was a part of who we were. And we are not that person anymore.

Good luck with staying positive and healthy, esp. with the Hep c. Yours in serenity, MM

thir3dpart on November 06, 2011:

Gave up everything 25 years ago; 5 years ago quit smoking due to Hep C treatments. Structuring positive leisure and social time helps; developing healthy and constructive habits. It's even ok to sit back and dream. Thanks for the good info especially since for me 25 years is not so long ago.

RalphGreene on August 19, 2011:

Great advises here. Very informative hub.

Ravi Singh from India on August 13, 2011:

I have one friend of mine who is looking to leave smoking.I will surely recommend your hub to him.Thanks.voted up!

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 27, 2011:

Thank you for commenting, ubanichijioke and fashion.

All tips are tried and true from my own experience and/or the hundreds of clean and sober people in my life!

Glad you found them useful. MM

fashion on July 27, 2011:

Great hub packed with really useful information.All tips are practical.Thanks for sharing.

Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on July 27, 2011:

With this hub, you re indeed a mighty mom. I love all the tips cos they are practical. Thanks for sharing.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 22, 2011:

Hi Freegoldman. Thanks for your comment. I think each person gravitates toward the tactic(s) that work best for them. Thanks for bringing up the subject of herbs. My family have recently hooked up with an acupuncturist/herbalist and she has been a godsend. When our bodies feel better our minds become more clear, and vice versa. They're definitely connected!

Anyway, glad to hear you are doing well. MM

Freegoldman from Newyork on July 21, 2011:

Tip #3 Change Your Attitude for Living Drug, Alcohol, Smoke Free is the most imp one.All that matters is your mental strength and positivity to get rid of these things.Using Herbs is really beneficial.At least i have been benefited.Great Hube.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 26, 2011:

Hello chelky,

Congratulations on making a positive choice to live chemical free. That's awesome.

A year without drugs is a huge accomplishment. One month without alcohol is incredible, too! Keep up the good work!!

I wish you the best of luck with conquering ALL of your addictions. Cigarettes can be the hardest.

If you find that you need that crutch for a little while longer as you get used to living completely sober, don't beat yourself up. Just keep trying again and again.

I'm glad your family and friends are supportive.

In the event that -- for whatever reason -- you end up going out and doing more experimentation -- I hope they will understand and still be supportive.

As they say in the rooms, "Keep coming back." Even better, as you seem to be doing, "JUST STAY!"

All the best to you, MM

Shell halpi from Queensland, Australia on May 26, 2011:

Thanks for an amazing blog MM I could go into the ins and outs of my addiction in details but i have started to blog instead ...I have been drug free for over 12 months and alcohol free nearly 1 month ciggies i have only conquered day 2 of ..I found your hub really encouraging and uplifting ..I believe that you always have choices can choose to be a "victim" forever or you can choose not to be ..I am lucky to have support from friends and family and realize that a lot of people don't which makes me sad ,, everyone is valuable ..Again thanks for your insight :)

Fluffy77 from Enterprise, OR on May 22, 2011:

I believe in today's world most of us have either suffered and addiction in the past our selves or with a close loved one. Or maybe are still suffering through it everyday still. I have been recovered myself for almost four years now from alcohol and smoking both. It's not easy, but it can happen and people supporting and caring is so needed it really is key to success. Thanks for sharing this here.

alispaisley on May 19, 2011:

Thanks for the tips. Thanks for sharing.

glowingrocks from New York on May 16, 2011:

Way to go!Up vote.Thank you.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 10, 2011:

Hello dear commentors. I am logging onto HP for the first time in several days. How exhilarating to see fellow people in or interested in recovery. It's always a pleasure to hook up with others who've walked the path -- however they are able to find it. God bless you all.Thomas -- I'm particulary interested in your story. I know a few people who were able to do it alone. But kicking heroin? That's monumental! Congrats to you. I will check out your blog.

celeBritys4africA, thank you for visiting. Yep. A mini-guide is what it's intended to be!

Sending serenity to all, MM

celeBritys4africA from Las Vegas, NV on May 09, 2011:

Your tips are very useful. Your hub looks like a mini-guide.

Thomas Retterbush on May 06, 2011:

Great article! I wrote a similar article on my Addicts Not Anonymous blog called, 10 Essential Steps to Permanent Addiction Recovery Success. Your number 2 step, "Do Whatever it Takes" was my number 1 step, "Determination".

The main difference is, I believe that there are people, like myself, who can do it without outside help. I was addicted to heroin for almost 30 years. I quit primarily using determination and have not used in over 4 years now.

But you did put what I believe to be the most important, essential ingredient in your plan; "Do Whatever it Takes" so you're okay by me.

Thanks for helping the many people I'm sure you've touched with this article.

zduckman on May 05, 2011:

WOW, what a fantastic Hub. I really appreciate you writing this. It gives insight to those that may still be struggling, and hope to those of us who are on the road of recovery. I especially like that you mentioned H.A.L.T. This was very powerful knowledge when I first learned of seems so obvious, but had never occurred to me, that these are triggers for me to use.

I also like what you said about feeling your feelings. This is why I started using in the first place as a youth. I wanted to bury my feelings and would hide from , or run from them by escaping into oblivion with drugs and alcohol. This worked....until it didn't work which point I tried to kill myself. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I have since had an amazing spiritual experience and am 1yr 3 mo sober as of this writing. I am currently looking to share my experience, strength, and hope with others.

Thank you


Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 01, 2011:

Hello again, allstayathome! I would be interested to know your experiences on Squidoo. Some people have good experiences on other sites, some don't. HP is gooing through a major change due to the Google algorithm changes. But I LOVE this community. The Admin Team is fabulous and caring. The hubbers are ALL wonderful (even the contentious ones).

Glad to have you here with us.

Now, as to those online meetings.

Go to the forums and look under topics, find mental health. In there you will find a recovery community page. You can either respond to an ongoing thread or can start your own. I would love to pparticipate in some fellowship today (or any day).

Cheers and God bless, MM

Jeanne Barnard from Fristco, Texas on May 01, 2011:

That is awesome. Big Congrats on 7 years. I love connecting with others and look forward to meeting even more people on here with similar interests. So far I am really enjoying Hub Pages. I tried Squidoo and was not too thrilled. I would love to know more about those online meetings.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 30, 2011:

Hello and welcome allstayathome. Congrats on your sobriety. I just celebrated 7 years (talk about miracles!). I look forward to your writings of your own experience, strength and hope. There are quite a few of "us" here on HP. Sometimes we have online meetings, but we ALWAYS support each other! Cheers, and God bless. MM

Jeanne Barnard from Fristco, Texas on April 30, 2011:

This is a great hub and hits home for me. Alcoholism has been a family tradition and fortunately I stopped before it was too late. Every day I pray for the strength to continue to live without a drink and am grateful that I am learning to live without alcohol. Some great info here.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 22, 2011:

Thanks for reading, youngdubliner. I hope my ideas are helpful! MM

youngdubliner from Dublin, Ireland on March 22, 2011:

great hub. thanks for sharing

thedutchman on March 22, 2011:

I like this article very informative. Thanks!Keep it up.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 07, 2011:

Hey Kosmo -- Just getting around to commenting on your comment. A bit late. I like your three-step method. And I agree with the order of your steps, as well! Commitment isn't #1, changes and action are #1 and #2!!

Sinea Pies -- You and me (and quite a few other hubbers) both. I don't miss the drama and destruction either. Life is so much calmer now.

Glad to have another recovery pal here on HP. Thanks for visiting! MM

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on March 07, 2011:

Thankfully, I gave up alcohol years ago but I was on a fast road to destruction until I did. Don't miss it. Love waking up in the morning feeling good! Great hub.

Kelley Marks from Sacramento, California on March 05, 2011:

I can't believe how many comments you've gotten for this hub, though it certainly deserves many, of course. (You might consider flip-flopping the comments capsule so the most recent are on top.) Yes, staying clean and sober is about changing your life, staying busy and making the commitment to quit. That's Kosmo's three-step method to sobriety. Thanks. Later!

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 23, 2011:

Ditto your reply Mighty Mom, as you know I have stopped both cigarettes and pot. Cigarettes for over 2 years now and pot for over 5. Just working on reducing the alcohol now.... once step at a time. :)

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 23, 2011:

hello canning8. i hear so much pain and frustration in your post. cigarettes are really, really physically addictive and getting off them takes a lot of willpower. But man, between weed and cigs, I don't wonder that your lax skills have declined. I know it's possible to play and party, but smoking butts is just brutal on your lungs and today's pot is soooo strong, too. Sounds like you are struggling with keeping your partying under control. If there's anything I can do to help, I would be glad to. Been down this road more than once and I am living proof that it CAN be done. Good luck to you! MM

canning8 on February 23, 2011:

im sorry to say but there all crazy hard to stop.ill quit pot for a couple of weeks then ppl i know will do it and there having so much fun and it just brings back memmories that i miss so then i say ill take a hit then that becomes a couple bowlSS....and cigs are so hard. if i dont have one with in like 12 hours ill feel like i cant sit still my belly hurts there so if you know any one how didn't start yet or is thinking aout starting tell them its going to be one of the biggggest misttacks ever.i mean it.i play lacrosse i was like really good then i started smoking and drinking and other stuff now i blow.JUST NEVER START DRUGS,CIGS,OR DRINKING TRUST ME

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 10, 2011:

Thanks so much, Joesy Schmoesy! There's quite an active recovery community here on HP...!

Joesy Shmoesy from New England on February 10, 2011:

Unbelievable! What a great Hub, and the comments just keep making it better. Bravo for the helpful words. Thank You so much Mighty Mom.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 31, 2011:

Congrats to you, Caroline! I will have 7 years in March! Time flies when you're actually living and loving life, doesn't it?

Thanks for the comment. Always great to meet others in recovery. MM

Spiritual Growth on January 31, 2011:

Great Hub! Thanks for that. Coming up 4 years sober, and look at life totally differently now.

Sending you love,

Caroline xxx

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 20, 2011:

Hello veritasvilla. #6 is definitely not an easy one, I know. But is as important as any of the others. Thanks for sharing your insights. MM

veritasvilla from kerhonkson, ny on January 20, 2011:

Completely agree with the previous commenter who said that #6 doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. It seems that a lot of people battling addiction are looking for one single thing that they can do to deal with their issues, when, in fact, it is a process of MANY things, which interconnect. Thank you for posting such a helpful, informative hub.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 11, 2011:

Hello vrajavala, ABSOLUTELY! in-house rehab gives any recovery a better chance at success because the addict gets some sobriety/clean time under their belt away from their usual triggers.

And thanks for raising the point about chemical imbalances. The correlation between brain chemistry imbalances and addiction are very high. It's like bipolars (and others) intuitively try to manage their wacky chemistry by self-medicating. And even when the substance(s) of choice are out of the equation, it still may not solve the chemical imbalance issue. Hence the need for "outside help" for MANY alcoholics/addicts.

Thanks so much for bringing that up. MM

vrajavala from Port St. Lucie on January 11, 2011:

good advice. However, as you say, very often an addict does need "in house" rehabilitation, as the addiction may stem from chemical imbalances, etc.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 28, 2010:

Why thank you, smokingtimeline! I agree. New Year's resolutions and all that... Thanks MM

Smoking Timeline on December 28, 2010:

What a fantastic article. Great tips for quitting smoking. It's that time of year when many people resolve to quit smoking. Let's hope they are successful.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 07, 2010:

Thank you, I hope so, too. Especially this time of year! MM on December 07, 2010:

I really like you hub. I hope that this will help all those people who have vices and even their family can use this for them. This is very informative.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 06, 2010:

Dear Fiona,

Thank you for sharing your situation here. Congratulations on recognizing your problem and taking steps to get sober. You are right to be wary of environments that will be tempting for you.

I have a couple of ideas.

1. The safest place for any alcoholic is within the folds of an AA fellowship. No matter what your needs are, you can reach out and ask for help. And help WILL be given you. You may well find someone who has an extra bedroom you can live in temporarily while you sort out your next move.

2. There are probably other alcoholics at university who would welcome your fellowship. I'm sure there are boards where you you could post a "looking for a sober rooming situation" notice.

3. I sense from your language that you are somewhere in the UK. Here in the US there are such things as "sober living houses" where groups of people transition out of rehab and live together in a house where they can be accountable to each other. It's like having "training wheels" for living sober on your own.

How to find such living situations? Try your local AA hotline. Ask at the rehab you went to for referrals. Look in the phone book or online...

4. I also suggest you write a post here on Hub Pages in the forum about alcoholism and recovery. There are a LOT of recovering alcoholics here on HP and I bet you will get a lot of good advice -- possibly even from someone who lives close to you!!!

Good luck to you.

P.S. I did not mention the most obvious thing about accountability. GET A SPONSOR!

P.P.S. By way of encouragement, I have a beautiful sober sponsee who flunked out of college due to her drinking and partying. She was young and had a lot to learn. She relapsed seriously but came back into the program and recently celebrated 4 years. She has been able to get back into university and is loving every sober moment.

And you will, too! MM

Fiona on December 05, 2010:

Hi, My name is Fiona, I am a 26 year old alcoholic, and wanting to go back to study ( I was at Waikato before I went into Re hab for 16 months) I have been out for a year now and living with my Dad ( who has recently become sick, I can no longer live with him, but am scared to live somewhere where I am not held accountable, or have flat mates who drink. I cannot afford my own place either, and the drinking culture that surrounds most uni students is too worriesome for me to contemplate the Uni Halls of residents. The whole process of University and flat hunting has been very anxiety provoking, unfortunatly even worse for my Dad. I pro-lapsed two days ago, and know Christmas will be hard unless I bounce back. I am looking for accomodation that has non judgemental, supportive people around me while I get back into study, and try to battel this disease. I am willing to be tested randomly and can only pray sombody on this site has any ideas that dont involve homeless shelters rehab or environments where alcohol is tollerated ( eg caravan parks, or motels). At the moment I am spending days and nights with a variety of friends who are home during the day, or have beds at night, to stop myslef from relapsing. I would very much apriciate any advice, chances to get back on my feet, or offers of support. Thankyou.


Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 29, 2010:

Hello Eiddwen,

I'm so glad you got a remedial lesson from my hub! Congratulations on quitting smoking! That is an accomplishment that will pay off for the rest of your life!

Living with an alcoholic is hell on earth. Sounds like you are into a healthier relationship space now -- that's good, too. Now if only you could get your ex to read this (I have several others aimed at alcoholics, too -- it's a subject near and dear to MY heart).

Well, thanks for commenting! MM

Eiddwen from Wales on November 29, 2010:

Hi thanks for sharing this hub with us all. I can't believe that I haven't come across you before now.

This hub has touched serious topics. Smoking, drinkling and drugs.

I don't take drugs, I gave up smoking last year and I will never smoke again. I was married for 26 years to an abusive alcoholic and it has put me off drinking alcohol as well.

Hubs such as this one which reinstates everything that we already knew but maybe we needed to be reminded once more.

Thank you so much for sharing and I now look forward to reading more of your work.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 24, 2010:

Wow, fucsia. I don't remember putting all that into this hub, but thanks for your comment!

And congratulations on being an EX-smoker!


fucsia on November 24, 2010:

Any kind of addiction leads us away from ourselves.

Your page is full: of help, experience, love, vitality and joy.

Thanks for sharing

( I am an happy ex-smoker )


Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 22, 2010:

Hello Tristan,

Thanks for visiting, commenting, and sharing the link to your blog post. Your premise is intriguing.

I suspect you are not a smoker or an addict or alcoholic. Financial consequences -- especially so far off in time as to be "invisible" would have absolutely NO influence on getting a truly addicted person to stop. Any more than the threat of getting a DUI will stop a drunk alcoholic from driving drunk. It just doesn't compute. NOTHING computes except feeding that craving.

But, having said that, I suppose (certainly HOPE) there are folks out there who are concerned about their retirement. I know I partied away at least a $million in my lifetime (ok, that may be an exaggeration...) MM

Tristan Isfeld on November 22, 2010:

I like the whole idea of what you had posted here to stay smoke and alcohol free. There is another often more overlooked reasoning sides to these as well, and it pertains to your personal finances. We all know that smoking and drinking can cause people to become effectively broke.

Today I wrote an article about how smoking cigarettes alone can prevent someone from retiring with 1.9 million dollars, and if that isn't much incentive, I don't know what would be. Here's a link and hopefully your readers here could take some use from this as well

I explain it on the opportunity cost basis. But really great post!

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 14, 2010:

Hello AutumnLockwood. Love your rose! Yes, a lot of people find themselves chemically dependent and have a tough time getting the poison out of their bodies and their brains.

But... it CAN be done!

I hope you are not one of them, but if you know people who suffer from addictions, I hope you will be able to help them. Yours in serenity, MM

AutumnLockwood from Northern California on November 14, 2010:

Thanks for the post. This definitely helps a lot of people hooked into unhealthy lifestyle.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 09, 2010:

Hello Tiffany! Hooray for you! I hope that you are able to quit those nasty cancer sticks easily. Believe it or not, cigarettes are one of the hardest to quit. Different people say different things. I believe "cold turkey" is the best way -- but to each his/her own. The important thing is to get your lungs back!

I will happily check out your hub. Thanks for the link.

And please do keep us hubbers posted on your progress.

Blessings right back atcha! MM

Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on November 09, 2010:

this article made me smile. i plan to use it next week in family devotion. i have been prepping my kids (along with myself) for my quitting smoking trek beginning next week on the great american smokeout. i am excited and this article will be one of the things that keeps me going. if you get a chance sometime, i would love for you (or anyone else) to visit my hub.


Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 26, 2010:

Thank you, raranmk. I will check out the link you provided. MM

rarunmk on October 26, 2010:

your article is an eyeopener. could get more info @

Barbara Badder from USA on September 18, 2010:

I'm quitting smoking and I liked your concept of Halt. I think that might be where I have gone wrong in the past.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 30, 2010:

Hello doyouknow! Congratulations to your son. You must be so relieved to see the progress in him. You got it exactly right. We become powerless over our addiction AND our lives become unmanageable.

Alcoholics never stop being alcoholic. That is a disease that's always there, waiting to take the control back.

BUT, living in recovery we do get to live a manageable (and blessed) life.

I'm so happy for your son, for you, and for everyone else in your lives who gets to see the change in him. God bless, MM

doyouknow! on August 30, 2010:

My son was an alcoholic for 14 years and he was powerless over addiction and his lives had become unmanageable. But after 14 years now he is sober. With some Sober Living Program and now he is able to manage his lives.....!

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 27, 2010:

Thank you, lyndria. Attitude is really important! Candle62, thank you for your comment, too! MM

candle62 from London on August 27, 2010:

This is very informative and can help lots of people live free with out drugs and alcohol. Thanks for sharing

lyndria from Singapore City on August 26, 2010:

I think a lot of people forget about the attitude part of it without realizing this.

ankigarg87 on August 25, 2010:

Really good Hub

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 21, 2010:

Hi SweetSusie. I don't think I've ever heard of smoking making someone an outcast in the community! But if the consequences for you are that severe, there is definitely a reason you are hanging onto the habit! Hmmm.

Sweetsusieg from Michigan on August 21, 2010:

No, it really is a good idea. I have actually pondered for some time my reasoning for continuing smoking, when doing so has made me an outcast in the community. I'd hate for it to be a pity party though!! LOL

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 20, 2010:

I am all for soul searching as well as soul BARING. And HP is just the place to do it, too!

But don't feel like you have to write hubs just becuz I suggest them and I think they would be interesting. Write what YOU want to!!! Your friend, MM

Sweetsusieg from Michigan on August 20, 2010:

OMG!! You are too cool!! Well now that you mention it, I suppose I should write a Hub about that. It might require some serious soul searching on my part tho... I'd have to figure it out... Hmmm, now ya got me thinking... LOL

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 20, 2010:

Susie, you're already well beyond most people. You know WHY you are engaging in self-destructive behavior!

Sounds to me like the beginning of another Susie hub -- you up for it? MM

Sweetsusieg from Michigan on August 20, 2010:

I have discovered why I continue to smoke. I know it hurt my Dad at my daughters graduation when I made the comment I made "I'd smoke 10 cigarettes at a time if I could". The pain inside my head, not physical but mental, is causing me to be in a self-destructive mode. It my own fault of not wanting to hurt the ones I love. My lack of success in my life and fear of being successful and in the same breath.

Thank God for Hubpages, so I can get my thoughts out and possibly move on with my life!

Awesome Hub!! Very thought provoking as well.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 16, 2010:

Ah ha! The old linked hubs trick!!! LOVE THAT!!!

lxxy from Beneath, Between, Beyond on August 16, 2010:

It's now on a hub that needs this sort of view to offset mine; or, if you will, it encourages those who can't safely cope with these substances to try and work their selves off of them. ;)

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 16, 2010:

Thanks, Ixxy. Hmmm. Where could you mean? On the mirror? On the refrigerator where the beer is?

Oh well -- doesn't matter as long as it potentially helps someone. Serenity rules... MM

lxxy from Beneath, Between, Beyond on August 16, 2010:

This is awesome sauce, MM. I know just where to put this...

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 15, 2010:

Hi Martin O. Hamann. Personally, I agree with you. The best way to stop smoking is to go cold turkey and just get through the withdrawal. However, I do know people who have been able to taper off with patches. I also know people (prone to addictions, in recovery) who chew the nicotine gum like candy. Substitute addictions are very real.

Thanks for your perspective.

Sounds like you've been there!

Martin O. Hamann on August 15, 2010:

Thank for the nice advice, but nicotine patches and gums are absoltely useless. Its not a nicotin replacement therapy, its a full nicotin therapy-u can not get rid off from a drug by consuming it- NRT only extends the withdrawal symptoms.

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 09, 2010:

Congratulations, Rachel. 3 days without a drink is HUGE. I know everyone's path is different, but I firmly believe that sobriety is meant to be shared. Walking into an AA meeting and announcing you have 3 days could be just the inspiration someone with 1 day -- or no days -- needs to keep going. We were all there at one time.

Getting off that vicious merry-go-round is not easy. But man, getting rid of that guilt/shame/remorse of "failing" once again feels so good.

I hope you hook up with other sober people, especially women. Being in the middle of a support system is safe.

Trying to white knuckle it and "hoping" this will be your last attempt is a lot of pressure on yourself that you don't need.

Please keep me posted on your efforts. We do have a recovery topic in the HP Forums -- great place to post on what you are feeling and get support/feedback!

God bless, MM

Rachel8710 on August 08, 2010:


Thanks for you're article, I found it at a really good time in my life. I have kicked all the drugs but having an insanely hard time with the alcohol.3 days sober now, trying to stay that way for about the hundreth time, hopefully this is my last attempt, I'd really like to be sucessful this time. I need to be. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for all your advice and taking the time to post it. I will keep it all in mind and visit often to see if you have any other wonderful words of wisdom!! Thanks again

Sunnyglitter from Cyberspace on July 18, 2010:

This was an excellent article. I battled addiction in the past, so I could really relate.

tom hellert from home on July 16, 2010:


My methood is easy and it follows the ancient Chinese proverb-

"the walk of a thousand miles begins with one step" and ":

"you will never reach your destination until you start to walk".

I never got hooked on anything because i never tried alcohol or drugs. I a, teaching my boys that what is right is best


Frederick on June 22, 2010:

It is not easy to quit smoking by the control of feeling and emotion. I've used nicotine patch and gum before, not really working. Must use some phyco.

jazmine on June 14, 2010:

ilove cannabis well marajuana but i am 12 i spend £"40 pound a week may not be a lot but i love cannabis

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 11, 2010:

Hi riminiurlabuer. Sorry to hear about your son. For many teens it's a rite of passage. I don't think there's much you CAN do about it without your efforts totally backfiring. At that age they think they are invincible so the health-related facts go in one ear and out the other.

Of course you can express your disaproval and withhold allowance if it's being spent in a way you don't approve of.

On the plus side, your son may decide voluntarily to give it up. Mine did when he got sick and tired of the hacking cough and chronic colds....

Good luck!


riminiurlauber on June 11, 2010:

I am very glad, that I never started smoking! My son (14) is smoking and I don't really know what to do abt it...

Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 01, 2010:

Hi johnsams, I would say our experiences of recovery are quite different! I have learned that being strong willed is "old behavior" and actually NOT a good idea if you want to get/stay clean and sober. Gotta give it up to a Higher Power.

The other thing I have learned is that while using, we crave and chase excitement and drama. Being in recovery is about accepting and reveling in "serenity" -- a quietness of the brain and soul that enables us to "just be."

But learning to make our lives beautiful -- yes, we do agree on that one! Life DOES become beautiful once we stop numbing ourselves and living in negativity. What once seemed like a horribly boring existence now is beautiful -- one day at a time!

Thanks for visiting and your personal (?) or professional (?) perspective.

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