Overcoming Alcohol Addiction: My Path to Getting Sober


For me getting sober didn’t happen overnight. Ultimately it took about 40 years! So, I have a lot of experience of attempting many times to win the struggle of overcoming alcohol addiction.

I finally overcame because I had faith in something that I could not adequately verbalise even to myself, a faith that I would overcome. This faith, stronger than belief, enabled me to persevere against all the odds, for that interminably long time.

This faith is part of Spirituality, one of 7 aspects I shall briefly discuss in this short explanation of how I overcame alcohol addiction.

These seven aspects are denoted by the acronym SANE MAP.

My Spirituality (S) is eclectic, very personal, and ever-evolving and deepening. It has involved and continues to increasingly do so, exploring in-depth diverse philosophies as well as of the major religions. It has always formed a sturdy bulwark against the relentlessly tormenting attacks of alcohol addiction, eventually leading me to a place of growing reliance on my deepening knowledge and understanding of my human predicament and practical spiritual solutions.

I have always believed that my Attitude (A) is foundational, not only to recovering from alcoholism but guiding me to a place beyond recovery and a time of radical well-being – here and now. For me, Attitude is fundamental to a healthy and happy life. It is one of the few things in life that we do have considerable control over. It is essentially a personal choice and decision.

I am a firm believer that Nature (N) ‘talks’ to us if we would but listen. Often its greatest speech is its silence. If we are fortunate enough to experience Nature in some way, especially if we can exercise outdoors, we are privileged indeed. A natural healing remedy for many ailments and an antidote to stress; stress acknowledged as being one of the silent yet savage killers of the modern age; and heightened by irresponsible alcoholic behaviour.

Even in my pre-teens I was running around the neighbourhood roads, way before this became popular. Exercise (E), more so than sheer raw talent, enabled me to excel in sport at school and university. Exercise played an essential and vital role in my recovery from soul and physical destroying countless weeks and months and years of alcoholic depravity. As soon as I had recovered sufficiently, I would embark on some form of exercise, especially walking and hiking. The healing and energising effects were almost instantaneous, especially mentally. The ‘feel-good’ endorphins released kicked in virtually immediately.

My current work is an active step forward to assist others to better themselves, to raise their consciousness levels so as to also be of beneficial influence in the world.

Meaning (M) I derived especially from my interactions with people; I experience great joy in uplifting others and enjoy bringing humour into the equation. I believe more in the concept of what is the meaning of me to life – in a selfless, not selfish way – rather than what is the meaning of life to me, which is rather more philosophical than being active in its approach.

An area that has been my biggest struggle is Action (A). I am contemplative in nature, and this has served me well, especially from a health point of view. But it has been somewhat unbalanced by being less action-orientation. It took a long time before I took action, and that resulted in me overcoming alcohol addiction. My current work is an active step forward to assist others to better themselves, to raise their consciousness levels so as to also be of beneficial influence in the world.

I thought throughout my alcohol addiction that there was an underlying Purpose (P) to it, that it wasn’t just fate that the gods had thrown me into my ways, but rather that it contained an implicit message for me: my understanding and acceptance of it being, if I accepted the challenge, it would afford me the opportunity to radically improve myself as well as, very importantly, be of benefit to others.

Did these 7 aspects of the SANE MAP provide the thrust that helped me get sober? Truth be told, not completely. That will be explained shortly. But what they did render, and dramatically so, was an exceptionally fit and healthy human being at my core, a staggeringly surprising condition given the alcoholic onslaught endured for most of my adult life. When the final halt call came, the body, mind, and soul were very well prepared and equipped and eagerly awaiting the invitation to live the life of radical well-being.

Mystical Love

There were two subtle yet profound spiritual insights that I experienced, both occurring while hiking alone in the mountains around Cape Town. The details of these will be elaborated upon elsewhere, but for now just these: the first, that an answer to my overcoming alcohol addiction lay in the direction of investigating mystical love, having very recently been devastated by a romantic love rejection.

While not wishing to define mystical love – I think narrowly defining concepts can be limiting as well as bringing in my own personal slant on the subject – I understand it as being a much deeper, inner experience rather than a purely human, emotional happening. The human, more romantic-oriented love is by its very nature often temporary, changeable, and varying in its degree of intensity. Mystic love, on the other hand, I perceive as being an ongoing exciting and adventurous seeking, exploring and discovering of this more permanent, authentic love for another.

The Unholy Trinity of God, Alcohol and I

The second spiritual insight was realising that in the combination of ‘God, alcohol and I’, the option of ‘God and I only’ was possible for me in my life in the future; with alcohol not aggressively resisted but instead gently laid aside.

Here my use of the word ‘God’ is intended to convey as wide as possible any interpretation by the reader. Whatever your religious or philosophical beliefs may be, your interpretation, translation, or meaning of ‘God’ is what I intend it to mean or describe.

Details of these two insights, related elsewhere, allow it to be more compelling, but that is the essence.

Alcohol not aggressively resisted but instead gently laid aside.

Interestingly, the concept of SANE MAP also came through to me while hiking in Nature. Very tellingly for me the origin of SANE (Spirituality, Attitude, Nature and Exercise) incorporates a word well known in addiction and recovery circles – sane.

Embodying and practising the 7 aspects of SANE MAP has allowed me to go beyond overcoming alcohol addiction, beyond a sane recovery, and into my current state of radical well-being.

I invite you to join me, and other like-minded people, on this exciting and adventurous path of self-discovery and self-advancement. Let us raise our consciousness levels together so as to be of great benefit to the world. It helps us shift the paradigms of our addictive behaviour into a fresh, new and creative way of living, which holds wonderful meaning and purpose.