The good AA answer to this is that none do. I keep myself sober by following, participating in and practicing the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, but even then, it is a truism of the program that at certain, unpredictable times, there will be nothing between me and a drink except my higher power.
I wrote about my closest call so far and honestly, it may or may not have been the hand of my higher power that saved me. I don’t know. I don’t need to know. The other time that comes to mind is when my ex left me with two small children and a terror of sending them to child care. I was really frightened and at times the thought of drinking crossed my mind. I had about seven years of sobriety at that time. I would, then, think the drink through and picture my six-year-old daughter trying to get up and get herself ready for school. I believe that she would have done that. The thought was unacceptable to me, and so I didn’t drink, but this very thought process shows me that sanity had returned.
When I slipped and slipped and slipped, I may have admitted that it would probably not end well, but I held out the hope that it would. So I tried. By the time I thought of drinking with seven years sober, I knew that it wouldn’t end well. I knew that the scenario where my daughter tried to get herself to school was a very good scenario. More likely, I would damage her in a drunk driving accident, or burn the house down, or something even more tragic. A power greater than me had restored my sanity.
That’s what kept me sober then. I knew that if I drank, I would sacrifice everything on my gratitude list, if I was lucky. If I was unlucky, I would suffer one or more of the tragedies I’ve heard about in the rooms, but haven’t experienced for myself, yet.
The things, outside of the program, that help enhance my sobriety (but do not keep me sober) are many. I will include books and friends and church. But it all comes back to the program, because there I learned to interact with and benefit from books and friends and church and such.