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The Road to Abstinence.

New Members thread, SOS thread, Daily chat and Support, Cutting Down, Abstinence and more.
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Cowboy
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Cowboy » 27 Oct 2019 13:06

As usual really inspirational reading here. Obviously sobriety is where to be. All of the permission thoughts in the world don't make drinking the right choice for me in any circumstance. Acceptance is going to be key for me. Been there and have had that feeling. It's in me somewhere. Just need to search harder to get there. Like the preverbal safe cracker listening intently closely for those tumblers to fall into place. Then open that safe door to a way better life. One sober day at a time.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Mark Twain.

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by squirrel » 27 Oct 2019 14:18

I've really enjoyed reading these posts. I've not drank for quite a few weeks now (not going to count them) and because my self hate is beginning to ebb I'm thinking well whats next to look forward to? Every day and every social event used to be hand in hand with alcohol. I'ts trying to get my head into focusing on other pleasures that don't come from the bottle that's hard. I need to find the equivalent to your dancing Shadowland.... Thanks for the good reads

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Tai
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Tai » 27 Oct 2019 17:18

Hi there Cowboy, I can only speak from my own experience when I say please don’t wait for a feeling to appear before you stay sober. I did that waiting thing ... always thinking that there’d be a better day to start getting sober some way in the future. Funny thing was I never really valued my sobriety that much in the early days or even weeks and months if I’m honest.

It was as the time mounted up (probably about the six month mark) that I felt like I had a lot to lose and started making that mind shift towards safeguarding my sobriety ... treasuring it as hard won.

And even then I had those close shaves we all know all too well, but I’d learnt some techniques here on BE and at my support meetings that helped see me through. I never kid myself that I’m ever more than a stupid spur of the moment bad decision away from diving back into active addiction. It helps me to understand that addiction is not something that disappears no matter how long we stay sober. It’s hard to accept something as unpalatable as a lifelong condition but there it is.

So I would say get sober, stay sober ... the days mount up and our lives improve as we recover from the effects of active addiction. We start to see and value ourselves and our sobriety. We learn from the hard lessons of the past and use that knowledge as part of our armoury against relapse ... and we do recover. But it all starts with staying sober today, that’s the point I really want to emphasise. Day 1, feels like a failure and yet it’s not ... not as long as we’re endeavouring to recover. I hope you find the strength to stay sober today mate.

Squirrel <:)> good to see you here. I know for me in early sobriety every social occasion felt like an enormous challenge. People here told me to break it down into manageable chunks ... arriving late, leaving early, bringing soft drinks, volunteering to drive etc etc. It took time but the more social things I got through sober the more convinced I became that I could move beyond merely coping and started to actively enjoy myself. Being sober is such a freedom in that we can be our true selves in every situation. Pure gold that is.
A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
Khalil Gibran

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Saturn » 27 Oct 2019 21:07

Hi Tai

Thank you, I do feel good about it definitely ☺️.

I know what you mean, as I'm sure most people here do, about the morning determination dwindling into drinking later on. I have been rereading some of my old messages on here, and despite already understanding how alcoholism works in theory, I was just totally caught up in that dreadful cycle. I was still allowing myself to be controlled by the obsessive thoughts, as though I thought if they were there I had to act on them. Now I know you don't have to act on them at all. They have appeared at times over the past few weeks, but I just observe them in a kind of detached way, then remind myself of the dreadful potential outcome of drinking. Since I am firm now that the thoughts will no longer lead to drinking they tend to subside quite quickly and I just resume thinking of other things. And life really is so much better without that all consuming obsession. Not perfect of course, but a vast improvement 😀

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by SueDenim » 28 Oct 2019 00:24

Tai, I didn't see any comments about the people on the 7-day thread. My comment was about how I felt when I was on there - not about anyone else. I remember well the feeling of misery when I gave in (again), and did so many times. I was not preaching at all.

The only other comment was from someone who said that she didn't want to post on there in case it deterred other people, which I thought was considerate and wanted to say so.

I'm not sure how you thought those comments were meant, but speaking for myself I meant absolutely no disrespect to anyone at all; but I did mean what I said.

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Tai » 28 Oct 2019 06:36

Hi Saturn. Yes I think observing our thoughts in a more detached way is a great strategy. For me this stuff was rocket science ... thoughts were just thoughts and feelings were just feelings, neither good reasons to drink. I never realised I was caving in to something I could resist because it didn’t feel like that at the time, and to my mind feelings were facts and not to be argued with. So like you said I was led by my obsessional mindset into believing that the only thing to do to deal with these thoughts and feelings was to drink to smother or obliterate them.

Getting free from the affects of drinking does take time but realising that thoughts and feelings are not facts is a huge step in the right direction ... one of the major tools in our fight to stay sober.

Sue <:)> my concern was not what was said but how it might be interpreted that’s all. People in early sobriety are vulnerable and thin skinned (aren’t we all), and I was just worried that what was posted might make our 7 day warriors feel put out. I know that lots of people read across threads they rarely post on hence my concern. I’m certainly not looking to start a disagreement on here, and if I’ve caused offence to you or anyone else I unreservedly apologise.

I got a text message last night from a friend who is just 3 weeks sober. I picked her up 3 weeks ago to take her to a support meeting and poor thing she was in a dreadful way, shaking, jittery, sweating, etc etc. Roll forward just a few weeks and she’s sending me piccies of food prep done for her entire family for the week! We forget sometimes how much time drinking takes up. My friend has more hours in the day now than she knows what to do with so she’s taken up DIY in a big way as well as these massive food prep days. It’s just amazing watching recovery in action it really is. Makes me remember and feel grateful for my sobriety that’s for sure.

Have a good day Roadies xx
A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
Khalil Gibran

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Cowboy » 28 Oct 2019 10:57

Here I was getting all philosophical around letting tumblers fall into place so I could accept moving on in a sober life and leave it to the veterans on here to simplify it. Just do it. Coincidently, I have managed a couple of days sober which is good. I feel, for now, in a better place but there's a lot going on in my life head these days and we will see if I can be courageous as some of the folks on here and just keep my head down and do this - again

I'd like to make a point around thoughts and feelings if I may. I don't think we can simply lump the two together. I believe they are very distinct and independent of each other. We can control how we choose to think but we don't get to choose how we feel - really feel inside our bodies. Feeling and thinking are so separate. I know because I think constantly whereas feelings, real feelings, come to me very rarely. I can choose to think positive. I can choose to think happy. But those feelings? They are the connection to our true selves and not so easy to control. It's important for me to have that distinction. Probably not making any sense but I tried.

Have a great AF day roadies.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Mark Twain.

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Tai
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Tai » 28 Oct 2019 19:07

Yes it’s funny that Cowboy because I’ve often been told that we are fundamentally emotionally led or driven creatures ... that we let our hearts rule our heads ... trust our guts regardless of the evidence etc etc. I trust the evidence these days as much as I can ... of course we filter stuff and disregard other stuff so as to fit in with our preconceptions, but that can be fought against by striving to keep an open mind. Trying to see the evidence for what it is rather than how we’d like it to be.

I tend towards the opinion that I can sometimes alter the way I feel by looking at things from a different perspective .... by thinking it through. But sometimes I just feel because those feelings are there, triggered by events or memories or I don’t know what. I’m not sure I can control what I’m thinking though ... I can certainly focus my mind to concentrate on tasks at hand, but even then random tangential thoughts intrude and distract me. I can disregard certain thoughts as unhelpful but that’s not control, that’s recognising, making a choice and responding.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not sure how much control I have over my thoughts or my feelings ... but I always have complete choice in terms of how I respond, particularly in terms of controlling what I do, regardless of what I’m thinking or feeling. I hope that makes sense.

And I hope you are managing another sober day in the saddle mate. Day at a time and all that.
A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
Khalil Gibran

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Shadowlad
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Shadowlad » 28 Oct 2019 19:57

squirrel wrote:
27 Oct 2019 14:18
I've really enjoyed reading these posts. I've not drank for quite a few weeks now (not going to count them) and because my self hate is beginning to ebb I'm thinking well whats next to look forward to? Every day and every social event used to be hand in hand with alcohol. I'ts trying to get my head into focusing on other pleasures that don't come from the bottle that's hard. I need to find the equivalent to your dancing Shadowland.... Thanks for the good reads
Hi squirrel, thanks for sharing :) Its really important what you say, now that you have moved away from that awful self berating and are feeling brighter, it can feel a bit like a wide empty space in front. Its interesting what you say, that every day and every social event equated to drinking for you. When we have drank for so long its hard to remember that there was once a time when we were in our natural state (AF) and that was when we were children. When we cease drinking as adults it can be so hard to find new activities/ interests to kill the boredom or distract from drinking thoughts. One thing that helps some people is to cast the mind back to things you loved doing as a child and reinstate those things. It can actually bring a bit of pleasant nostalgia and escapism in what can be mundane grown up existence. The social events may present a bit of a challenge to begin with but i would not worry and just take things a step at a time. Please don't feel pressured to go to anything that you don't want to go to. If you still get stuck for ideas for what to do that is AF, then come with me in a spontaneous dash to the ballroom haha :lol:

Seriously though, you are doing great, and i wish you well <:)>

Hi to all our roadie friends, Tai, Cowboy, Saturn, SueDenim, Leslans, TC, Jjjj, Action, Mackintosh and anyone i may have accidently missed ! <:)>

Going for a swim now but will finish more posting on here soon xx

Love to all xx
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

Dennis P. Kimbro

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Action » 29 Oct 2019 15:39

Hi Roadies,
I just wanted to say how much I value all your comments and the time and effort you put into explaining your experiences. You all help me so much and it all makes sense - I can relate to it all really. <:)>
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Shadowlad » 29 Oct 2019 19:38

Its good to talk and share isn't it ? :) I really value everyone's comments too, being here with like minded people helps me remember that i still have this affliction, laying dormant. The good thing about sober years is that it builds sober muscles, and a life free from the obsession. On the flip side though, addiction is so insidious that we can become vulnerable after many years sober, and forget why we have stayed AF all those years ! So for myself maintenance is key, keeping those batteries charged.
Tai wrote:
28 Oct 2019 19:07
I’ve often been told that we are fundamentally emotionally led or driven creatures ... that we let our hearts rule our heads ... trust our guts regardless of the evidence etc etc. I trust the evidence these days as much as I can ... of course we filter stuff and disregard other stuff so as to fit in with our preconceptions, but that can be fought against by striving to keep an open mind. Trying to see the evidence for what it is rather than how we’d like it to be.
Really interesting chat about feelings, thoughts and emotions. I so agree with the wisdom of those words Jos, trust the evidence as much as possible and strive to keep an open mind. Its difficult to do but well worth practising. Emotions can be so up and down, so intense, especially in those early weeks/months of becoming abstinent. Infact, often for the first couple of years of sobriety. I used to be so worried about what people thought of me when i first stopped drinking, and i would often misread facial expressions as people dissing me. Also i was convinced i knew what everyone was thinking, and it was never good ! All this kind of thinking was never based on facts, and it was a therapist who first suggested i turn each negative thought around into a question " Is there any evidence ?" There was such power in that question. So now i also try to deal in facts and evidence. It certainly simplifies things and takes the paranoia/worry away.
Cowboy wrote:
28 Oct 2019 10:57
We can control how we choose to think but we don't get to choose how we feel - really feel inside our bodies.
Yes this makes sense to me though i still get confused about the two and how much they are entwined . I used to be unable to cope with strong negative emotions and respond in a disfunctional way to them. The same with intense positive emotions. These days an intense emotion may arise but it is quickly followed by newly learned and effective thoughts and action. This helps regulate the emotion/feeling again which i never believed possible in the past. I remember a period of depression where i worked each day to train my negative self hating thoughts into kinder ones, which in turn made my feelings bearable and lighter. Heavy stuff but the brain is an interesting organ !
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

Dennis P. Kimbro

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Trojan » 29 Oct 2019 20:29

When we numb out on alcohol or other addictions, we lose sight of the reality that our feelings are supposed to operate as a self-regulating system. The natural ups and downs are how we find our way in the world, and artificially altering that balance leaves us not happier or more contented, but simply lost.

Dwelling on some passing unhappiness will often lead to it deepening and hanging around. The origin of the feeling is often impossible to grasp, and we are left just focussing on the reality of the feeling. To that extent our thinking can directly affect how we feel. It may sound obvious, but I got to almost fifty years of age before waking up to that one :?

It’s important to recognise when we’re entering that negative feedback loop, so we can draw back. I still find it hard to articulate, but I found this article good when I first came across it…

https://mrsmindfulness.com/the-four-key ... gfor-good/

Thanks to all for your interesting perspectives. I will try to get back here when I’m less tired :-)
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Topcat » 30 Oct 2019 06:51

Trojan wrote:
29 Oct 2019 20:29
It’s important to recognise when we’re entering that negative feedback loop, so we can draw back. I still find it hard to articulate, but I found this article good when I first came across it…
Helpful link Trojan - thanks ;)?

Morning Roadies :\:
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Action » 30 Oct 2019 09:34

All this kind of thinking was never based on facts, and it was a therapist who first suggested i turn each negative thought around into a question " Is there any evidence ?" There was such power in that question. So now i also try to deal in facts and evidence. It certainly simplifies things and takes the paranoia/worry away.
That’s a useful technique Shadowland. I will try it. Funny, I was only thinking this morning before touching base with BE, that I should make a note of all the negative thoughts/worries that I have during the day. If I become more aware of them I can practice overcoming them, or turning them around, as your therapist suggested.

I will check out the link Trojan. ;)?

Quick question for everyone. It might just be early days but in the evening I really lack any sort of motivation and energy to do anything with my time. I find it really frustrating sober because I’m almost watching the clock until I go to bed. I can’t go to bed too early as I don’t sleep but I would dearly like to be able to combat this inertia. I hate the thought of just wasting my time. Does anyone have any suggestions? I love to write, draw and make things but I just don't have the energy or ability to concentrate. Will this eventually disappear?
Last edited by Action on 30 Oct 2019 13:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Trojan » 30 Oct 2019 11:54

Action,

Things do improve greatly in terms of energy and concentration, but they also improve s - l - o - w - l - y.

One addiction counsellor I saw in the early days (there were several) said that a part of recovery involves giving up instant gratification as a lifestyle, and instead allowing life to unfold at its own pace.

Sometimes that will mean that we’re better off not over-preparing for an event. This leaves room for a more natural and spontaneous response, rather than every detail feeling scripted or straitjacketed.

At other times – and especially in the early days – we need to prioritise down-time and self-care, otherwise we can end up overcommitting in a misguided effort to make up for “lost time”.

What both situations have in common is that we need to re-learn how to just be, without artificial stimulation and without committing every waking moment to worthy tasks.

Since you’re keen on writing and craft, maybe journaling and letter writing would be worth considering for the evenings? You could do a little or a lot depending on your energy levels, and it’s not weather dependent ;)?

Sorry that all went a bit longwinded :? In a nutshell, when we turn away from addiction, and commit to sober living instead, the upsides are just as inevitable as the downsides were before, but it’s a process that takes time. The short answer again is that with time things will inevitably improve greatly :-)
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Action » 30 Oct 2019 13:27

Thank Trojan, you weren't long winded at all - you hit the nail on the head there.

I am the world's worst when it comes to pushing myself to achieve as much as possible and having every detail planned down to the last minute during the day, trying to make up for the time lost in drinking no doubt. I am sure this is driven by guilt but also a need to appear capable and prove to myself and others that I am capable due to living with disability for years.

I was thinking of writing in the evenings. I was thinking that I ought to have a worthwhile writing project ... but my approach to it demonstrates the same principle doesn't it. I need to just enjoy the writing without turning it into some intense life experience where every word counts. I am my own worst enemy. :roll:
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Trojan » 30 Oct 2019 14:41

Hi Action,

I've crashed and burned plenty of times with over-elaborate schedules, so now I mostly avoid anything too prescriptive.

For me anyway, what works is to allocate a time box for X or Y activity and dive into it, without getting too hung up on the outcome. A loose fit and a small number of categories seems to work best. This gives me a picture of where my time is going, and blocking out time for my priorities in advance means that they consistently show up in my schedule (a Filofax, natch 8-) ). Sometimes I will achieve a lot; sometimes very little. Both are okay, because the repetition over time will eventually bring benefits.

At first it can be tricky spending more than 10 minutes writing in a journal, while writing even a short letter still takes me a silly amount of time :? But habits form through repetition – often despite ourselves – and what seems awkward at first can go on to become a really valuable and cherished routine. Just keep going with it :-)
Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible.
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by SoberSelf » 30 Oct 2019 23:28

Hi,

I've made a commitment to stop drinking completely and I'm feeling very happy and positive about that.

I've been thinking about posting for a long time. The trouble is, I can't stand the thought of intimate information being available online for anyone to look at. I want to have some kind of connection with other people who have stopped drinking (or are stopping) and I know this website offers that to many people. But making publicly accessible posts is just not something I feel comfortable with.

So how do you meet sober people (online or in real life) in a way that feels a bit less exposed?

Thanks.

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Tai » 31 Oct 2019 06:22

It’s good to “meet” you SoberSelf and welcome to BrightEye. It’s great that you’ve made a commitment to stop drinking. That’s a hugely positive step forward. It certainly takes some getting used to, being a member of an online community, I’d never done anything like this before I stumbled across this site, desperate for help with my drinking. I had exactly the same reservations as you’ve expressed ... discomfort at having my posts read by potentially all and sundry. Being online and being accessible is how everyone who needs help can find it but the flip side is that our posts are readable by anyone who has the time or inclination to browse the site.

It is anonymous though. No one from our day to day life need know we’re members here. And we need never reveal any more than we feel comfortable or able to. There is no pressure or coercion of any sort. I’ve found that being here has allowed me to express things I’d have found almost impossible to say out loud to someone face to face, especially in the early days of my efforts to stop drinking. I was amazed that whatever I posted (thoughts, feelings, fears, etc), I was met with understanding and acceptance. People here “got me” in a way that I wasn’t experiencing in my day to day life. I’d become so adept at hiding my drinking problem that I’d cut myself off from anything but the most superficial interactions with the people around me ... so scared was I of being “found out”.

So, I’d encourage you to take the plunge and post. Once you’ve been here a while I’m sure you’ll feel right at home <:)>

I certainly echo Trojans sound advice about avoiding elaborate or complicated planning. I know for me planning was just another form of avoidance .... structured daydreaming and procrastination ... a way of making me feel I was achieving something when all I was doing was dreaming up ways to achieve things. Add to that setting the bar so high that I’d almost immediately abandon my efforts as abject failures ... and then start the whole planning phase all over again. A cycle of sorts. Result? Loads of plans but very little action. Planning is important don’t get me wrong, but doing is just as if not more important ... it’s the doing that gets it done after all.

Have a good day Roadies <:)>
A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
Khalil Gibran

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Jjjj of Old » 31 Oct 2019 07:37

Welcome to BE, SoberSelf!

I cannot think of any way of replying that wouldn't simply repeat what Tai has already written so more superbly than I could. I totally agree what she says and I do hope you will take the plunge and join in here. We've all benefitted so hugely from the forum ;)? <:)>

There are lots of other excellent replies above from the last couple of days that I also want to reply to because they too are excellent and thought-provoking, but I have run out of time, sorry. Off on holiday later today, so all I can do for now is wish all Roadies a good, happy and productive week \:)/ <:)>
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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