Sebastian is a beautiful fishing town. A town with wonderful restaurants and bars on the river, live music, recreation, and lots of fun and beauty. In a town that harbors many drinking opportunities, most drink responsibly and have a great, safe time, but for others, one drink leads to another, and misery and consequences.
How do you have fun, live life sober in Sebastian?
Many do it successfully and live full lives, dancing, fishing, recreating, eating at restaurants that serve liquor. It is a choice being sober, sometimes made by the individual because they are done being sick and tired.
Sometimes people are mandated by the courts due to reckless behavior and DUI’s. Not everyone is an alcoholic because of consequences; they may have just had too much to drink and made a bad choice or two, still drinking with repeated consequences is an ominous sign.
Consequences can be avoided by planning: having designated drivers, using cabs, limiting your intake of alcoholic drinks, and sticking with your plan. To truly stay sober, tips are not an option for how to drink safely; total avoidance of alcohol is needed.
Some folks do become powerless over alcohol and need help staying sober. The most successful have looked for help, and gotten into programs that are offered throughout the county, as well as personal relationships with others who have been through it.
There are many options and opportunities to learn how to live and continue to live a sober, happy life. It’s best to do that in the company of others who have been through it and left it behind.
There’s a big difference: many have “quit” by white-knuckling their cravings, but so many become severely unhappy, and most will relapse before long. It tends to get worse each time. Abstinence is not the same as sobriety (or recovery).
Resources for getting and staying sober:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Indian River County Call (772) 562-1114, and they will promptly connect you with someone who can help, at no charge. They offer a schedule of meetings and offices all over the country and the world. It has a strong local presence in our little drinking village with a fishing problem.
AA is the “grand-daddy” of recovery programs with many offshoots for other habits, abuse, and behavioral issues. Still, as many times as it has been imitated, it has never been duplicated.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope to solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; it is self-supporting of its contributions and is not allied with any sect, denomination, organization, politics, or institution.
Regardless of what you may have heard, its primary — sole — purpose is to stay sober and help others to recover, and maybe have a little fun along the way. AA does not provide legal or medical advice.
If you go to a local dance-music spot — let’s face it, it’s usually a tavern — you will see people having loads of fun without drinking alcohol. The premise of AA is teamwork; abstinence is a start, but if you can’t quit completely yet, those who have been through it can help.
There is a LOT of AA/recovery in our little town because there is a lot of drinking! If you meet one of the members, they will invite you or direct you to a meeting in a community location. They tend to adhere to a code of anonymity; that is, they will not announce themselves publicly through the press, radio, TV, etc.
It is an entirely democratic and personal fellowship; no one is “in charge.” The Central Office (also called Intergroup) exists only as a communications and distribution hub.
The results of people who commit and follow-through to life-long recovery one day at a time speak for themselves. It is for people who WANT sobriety, not just those who need it.
AA was founded in 1935 and continues to grow, even despite COVID-19 and the obstacles of closed clubhouses. Meeting hours and locations are subject to change due to COVID-19. Thousands of online/Zoom meetings are available daily or weekly.
Local churches have ministries to help those with such troubles, and there are also national religion-based groups. Small organizations like Moderation Management attempt to allow sufferers to moderate, or as is said, “learn to drink like a gentleman.”
Narcotics Anonymous works very similarly and has a local presence.
Al-Anon Family Groups is for the family and friends of people having a problem with drinking. Learning the nature of the situation and one’s reactions to it is very helpful for all parties. Again, an invitation, not an obligation. Al-Anon has a very strong local presence.
Moderation Management, a secular support group for “non-dependent problem drinkers.” A program called “Rational Recovery” is self-based.
It was founded in 1996. While AA has maintained its status as the far and away #1 group support option for alcoholics in recovery, Rational Recovery numbers were always a very distant option for those who had trouble with the allegedly “religious; or “God; aspects of AA and its 12-step Program. RR has morphed into “Smart Recovery,” said to be science-based and subject to change. Their meeting in Melbourne is open.
The county has a longstanding United Way supported agency called the Substance Awareness Center that offers advice and support. Call (772) 770-4811 for more information.
For a small town, there are many resources to help one learn to live a sober life.
Mark A LaPorta MD FACP
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