Half-assing recovery won’t work. People try to hold on to their old way of life, just little bits and pieces, but recovery won’t really work until a person is willing to let go completely. Failure isn’t always instant of course, which leads to a false sense of comfort or worse, accomplishment, but in the end the wheels always fall off for the alcoholic.
It’s sort of like gravity; you can fight it for a bit, but sooner or later the sudden stop is going to get you.
So the magic happens just before the sudden stop, that’s where I needed to be to be willing to quit. In my case, the evolution was pretty impressive – how it all happened. I went from a whole heap of trouble to a fifth chance, to in-patient treatment (certain I’d be drinking again as soon as my court requirement was met), to DT’s, to that profound point where I knew there was no more running, inside of about three weeks.
Friends, I went from positive, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’d drink again, to ready to quit in just two weeks – and I’ve managed to hold onto that willingness for decades with the simple knowledge that if I choose to drink again I will go from a wonderful life to that point just before the sudden stop in no time (if I had to guess, it would take three weeks to lose my job, another two before my wife left with the kids – and that’s generous – and give it another month or so before I was in the gutter with nothing). That’s how alcoholism and addiction works.
The only way I know to really enjoy sobriety is to remember just how close that point of sudden stop is from where I’m at right now. Anything less and I’d probably get cocky. And anyone who knows anything about recovery knows there’s no room for cocky.