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The Road to Abstinence.

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Shadowlad
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Shadowlad » 17 Nov 2019 10:12

Action wrote:
17 Nov 2019 09:30
people with an addiction are actually strong willed, rather than weak willed, because they will go to any lengths, be resourceful, to feed their habit. So I guess I can apply that strong will to turning things around. Baby baby steps.
Yes i so agree with this ! And look at all the intellectual and successful people on this forum who have battled to get sober, or are still battling. Strong willed and stubborn, also rigid thinking. It all helps a person succeed in other areas of life, but the downside is that these very traits blind us and feed our addictions....until we see ! :)

Your post was very moving Action, and so relatable. I think when we are coming to the end of our drinking journey we start to see reality, as you are doing, and this is so very hopeful. We can make our best decisions based on utter reality. It hits us like a tonne of bricks, and holds a lot of weight, but it is lifesaving and liberating reality.
Action wrote:
16 Nov 2019 23:52
I hit a real low today when thought after thought whacked me in the face. I wanted to cry my eyes out but I couldn’t ...I think if I’d started I wouldn’t have stopped. Funny that reminded me of something a counsellor once told me - that it was okay to let go and to feel ...I wouldn’t break.
Yes <:)> it really is ok to let go. I remember doing the same, i felt weak at first crying so much, felt pretty pathetic actually. I had always dampened my emotion with something, mainly alcohol. It wasn't weakness though, because after my crying episodes there always came clarity. After the clarity there always came small bouts of action. Now i could finally see the wood for the trees and the pressure cooker of emotion was released. It was a huge relief and it is no lie that i have gradually grown more confident from letting go and being true to myself. I never broke, that only happened when i drank alcohol or overdosed.
Action wrote:
16 Nov 2019 23:52
I’m really scared it won’t improve, especially when I have a lot of things to cope with but there are so many things I’d dearly like to do.
No need to fear action because you will cope, whether things improve slowly or quickly, you will cope. I know this because we only have to cope with any given situation for one day at a time. Then we sleep on it and have a brand new day feeling refreshed to cope with another day. Then there are the wonderful reprieves where life is going more smoothly and sobriety feels like the gift that it is. :)

I hope today is good for you, and is filled with hope and optimism. Baby steps as you say, and by putting yourself first.

Lots of love to you and all here,

Love nicky 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 ScarletB » 17 Nov 2019 16:36

I haven’t had a chance to read posts today but wanted to check in. Half way through my fourth day af. It hasn’t been too difficult because I’ve been working. Tomorrow I start four days off work. Of course, as a mom I’m always working, but the temptation to drink, especially in the evenings will be strong. My OH has already began purchasing seasonal beers, one of our favorites which always sells out quickly before the holidays. I’m conflicted with “do I sample, to feel ‘in the spirit’?”, especially because I was expecting last holidays and did not partake of course. There’s a voice in my head that’s telling me “take advantage of this time off to clear your head, rest well, eat heartily, and enjoy your children.” I hope this voice remains strong over the next few days. OH has been cutting back also but will likely tell me, just one isn’t a big deal.

Well that’s what’s on my brain right at the moment. I will check in later when I have time to read recent posts. Best wishes for a happy healthy Sunday for all.

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Mooths » 17 Nov 2019 18:58

Action wrote:
16 Nov 2019 23:52
If I don’t find the courage to rid myself of my chains and my blindfold then I will never ever know.
Action, your words are thought-provoking and reminded me of an excellent blog post I read when I got sober earlier this year (http://mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot. ... ourse.html): I kept going in the hope of meeting the bunnies and it turns out they're there!
“Being extremely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” ~ Sigmund Freud

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by martha » 17 Nov 2019 19:14

Mooths wrote:
17 Nov 2019 18:58
Action wrote:
16 Nov 2019 23:52
If I don’t find the courage to rid myself of my chains and my blindfold then I will never ever know.
Action, your words are thought-provoking and reminded me of an excellent blog post I read when I got sober earlier this year (http://mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot. ... ourse.html): I kept going in the hope of meeting the bunnies and it turns out they're there!
That's a great blog post, Mooths! Thanks for posting it.
Action, I'm sorry things have been so tough. It's good to see you back again <:)>
Waiting for bunnies to appear in the fields.

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Topcat
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Topcat » 17 Nov 2019 19:27

That's a great blog post Mooths and there are most certainly bunnies to be found - lots of 'em playing in the sunshine :D
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Trojan » 17 Nov 2019 19:28

Action, it’s good to see you :-)

Getting a good sober stretch will certainly allow you to unlock your potential and live true to yourself. Begin with self care, and trust that the healing process will unfold over time. Everyone here will be rooting for you <:)>
Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible.
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Action
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Action » 17 Nov 2019 21:59

Mooths wrote:
17 Nov 2019 18:58
Action wrote:
16 Nov 2019 23:52
If I don’t find the courage to rid myself of my chains and my blindfold then I will never ever know.
Action, your words are thought-provoking and reminded me of an excellent blog post I read when I got sober earlier this year (http://mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot. ... ourse.html): I kept going in the hope of meeting the bunnies and it turns out they're there!
Mooths,
Thank you so much for that link. Completely accurate. God, it was exhausting just to read it. I have health issues too so why on earth do I want to keep starting out, running the hard bit, giving up and then doing that all over again? Im still scared but I’m looking forward to some sunshine and flowers ... I’ll swop the bunnies for puppies? :lol:

Seriously though, to all of you, thank you so much. <:)>
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Take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet.

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Tai
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Tai » 18 Nov 2019 16:28

“There were many points along the way where I could have gone off that awful train and I didn’t,” he said. “If I would impart one message to the drinking alcoholics now… if you want to stop you can stop now. You don’t have to wait for it to get worse.”
I remember when I first started going to support meetings and hearing some of the horror stories of how bad things got for some before they managed to step off the train ... lost families, marriages, jobs, houses etc, prison sentences, spells in psychiatric units under section, spells on the streets being homeless, harm and hurt in all directions, ruined lives with lasting consequences.

I found it shocking ... and a part of me recoiled thinking “at least I’m not that bad”. Fortunately I voiced some of my thinking to someone at the meeting after a particularly sad tale had been told. I felt like a bit of a fraud sitting there listening to the horrendous situations some had had to contend with ... how could I compare my experiences with those I’d heard. Maybe I wasn’t bad enough to need the kind of help on offer at support meetings, I felt like a right lightweight if I’m honest.

My new friend told me much the same thing as highlighted above ... that the train of active addiction is going to wrack and ruin, but we can step off at any time. How lucky am I that I stepped off before things got “that bad”.

It’s a bit of a leap of faith getting sober. You have to stay sober long enough to reap the benefits ... and you have to somehow believe that things will get better despite how difficult it can feel some days to stay away from a drink. There’s no fast forward button in recovery. It’s a process, and the results are related to having gone through the process, learning and growing as we reclaim our lives from the effects of active addiction. And it is true that the first days weeks and months are by far the hardest. Healing takes time, and work.

It’s amazing how we can feel like failures despite all the evidence to the contrary. People here told me that I needed to keep trying ... that far from being a failure my hundreds of day ones were evidence of my determination to keep trying. And that that kind of determination wins in the end. Maybe we make it harder than it needs to be ... it sounds so simple, stop drinking and stay stopped. It’s the staying stopped that takes the practise, but it is so so worth it.

Stay strong everyone, if you want to be sober you can achieve it. Patience, practice, perseverance and a willingness to try different tactics pays off in the end. <:)>
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 ScarletB » 19 Nov 2019 03:11

Thanks for that post Tai. It’s a process. It’s a process. It’s a process. That’s a good mantra for me to remember. I’ve completed my first sober day off work in a long time. There were a few times today when I caught myself thinking “oh I’ll get home and make a drink.” Or “let’s go out to eat at a family friendly pub, instead of cooking the meal I’ve planned at home” but I was able to put those thoughts in perspective. I’ve been listening to a lot of Annie Grace lately. Wow. I feel like I’m starting to understand this thing a lot more clearly. Today wasn’t a great day, but it was a good day. It was a valuable day. I spent my time and energy wisely. I was present with my children. I am so thankful. Thank you all for your inspiring contributions to this page.

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by xxxkateyxxx » 19 Nov 2019 10:02

Great reading Tai, I absolutely needed to read that today <:)>

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Cowboy » 20 Nov 2019 13:33

Great reading here as always. Still struggling here to put more than a few days AF behind me. It's so true the further you get from Day 1 - the better. Not to sound redundant but it really is about removing alcohol completely from your system and getting your bearings straight. You get a couple of days of sobriety in and you are feeling better so - for me these days - I feel like a drink. But the remnant alcohol is still in your system waiting, ready to ambush you again and again. And I rationalize one or two won't hurt, blah, blah, blah. And then it goes downhill from there. I know I am sounding like a broken record when I say - mostly to myself - that I need to get this under control. There is really only one way and that is complete sobriety - no rationalizing.

The train analogy is a good one. I've also heard a similar analogy that uses an elevator. You don't have to ride the elevator down to the bottom floor. I mean we can choose to get off any time. Just like we can choose to ride to the basement. Yes I have heard all those stories and luckily I have not had any of those hard luck situations - yet. When we drink we don't think clearly, we don't make good choices, we gamble with our lives. Just one unlucky event from being in one of those situations noted above. Except when you are drinking it's not about luck. You are shooting craps with a pair of loaded dice.

Yesterday wasn't a heavy drinking day but I can still feel the poison that is alcohol in my system. The easy response would be to self medicate and drink. So it will be a difficult day for me but tomorrow will be better if I don't drink.
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 ScarletB » 21 Nov 2019 03:44

Just a quick post to say keep with it Cowboy. Your perspective is spot on. You know what you need to do. Today was my seventh day af, until I had a glass of wine while cooking dinner. I didn’t even enjoy it. I don’t know if I’ll drink tomorrow. I’m not as confident as earlier in the week. It’s really tough with my husband drinking. Going out was a huge part of our life together before we settled down. Then we got into the habit of drinking a little at home while doing the family thing, then more once the kids are asleep. He is supportive of me and recognizes he has to make changes also, but if I decide to cave he’ll have no problem helping me.

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Tai
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Tai » 21 Nov 2019 06:48

I totally get how difficult it is when partners drink whilst we are getting sober. My husband has continued drinking which isn’t an issue for me now but was a major league issue (in my own mind), in the early days. It was so much easier to cave knowing he’d be right there with me pouring the next glass. And I knew that he wanted whatever was best for me ... whilst at the same time not being all that happy about losing his best drinking buddy. Not easy.

I would find myself making deals / rules with him. You know the sort of thing, no drinking on a weekday, one bottle between two of us as a maximum (which quickly became 2 if not 3), only drinking when we had company over or when out with friends ... my goodness and so many more and permutations of the aforementioned. And then I’d set about manipulating the situation to ensure that we would drink ... by which I mean I would drink. I’d had a bad day ... I was stressed, upset, angry, tired, hyped, depressed, bored, happy, sad ... any reason at all really in order to label this day an exception to the “rules” we’d agreed.

This is part and parcel of active addiction. Feeding it with alcohol perpetuates the cycle, whether it’s a glass, a few glasses or a few bottles. For me all least I had to stop, none of the moderation techniques and tips worked for more than a short while because fundamentally I didn’t want to drink moderately, I wanted to get drunk ... that was why I drank. I could kid myself oh yes, did that for years (I’m not that bad etc etc). And that’s why I like the word addiction. It’s a word that strips away the delusion that I had control over my drinking. I didn’t.

ScarletB <:)> it’s easy to lose heart in the early days of trying to get sober, especially if your husband continues to drink. I found it useful to remind myself that it’s me that has decided to change. It does change the dynamic in the relationship, ultimately in a good way but initially I think we both found it quite tough. He’d lost his drinking buddy, I’d lost that ability to hide in a bottle. I felt exposed and vulnerable, but we worked through that and now I’d say our marriage is stronger as a result. Keep going, it does get easier I promise you.

Good to see you posting Cowboy <:)> I absolutely know you can do this. The issue isn’t whether, it’s when ... and it’s how do you recapture that fire in your belly that saw you through the tough days to get to a year sober. Because we both know that truly took grit which is something I so admire when I read your posts ... that grit and honesty. You know I am a fan of taking it a day at a time, but I’m also a fan of the “no drinking no matter what” or “never again” type mantras coupled with reaching out for any and all the support out there (and here). Whatever it takes, I’m a fan of that approach. Because there are many ways to achieve sobriety, but one thing they have in common is not drinking. I hope today isn’t as hard as you fear. Hang in there <:)>

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 Action » 21 Nov 2019 08:46

I would find myself making deals / rules with him. You know the sort of thing, no drinking on a weekday, one bottle between two of us as a maximum (which quickly became 2 if not 3), only drinking when we had company over or when out with friends ... my goodness and so many more and permutations of the aforementioned. And then I’d set about manipulating the situation to ensure that we would drink ... by which I mean I would drink. I’d had a bad day ... I was stressed, upset, angry, tired, hyped, depressed, bored, happy, sad ... any reason at all really in order to label this day an exception to the “rules” we’d agreed.
Oh that sounds so familiar Tai. Always setting out with great intentions but breaking them and continuing to feed the addiction. I don’t see my ‘partner’ every day, he stays at the weekend usually but (in my mind) partner = alcohol. The thing is I question the quality of our relationship, which has been fuelled by alcohol. In all the years we’ve been together we’ve never known sobriety. I think it would be a great thing. Again it’s about moving forward rather than staying stuck in the mud. For me I feel like I’m stuck in the lift and I’m waiting to see whether it’s going to go up or down. The irony of it is I’m in control...I have to press the right buttons.
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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Tai » 23 Nov 2019 07:45

Action wrote:
21 Nov 2019 08:46
For me I feel like I’m stuck in the lift and I’m waiting to see whether it’s going to go up or down. The irony of it is I’m in control...I have to press the right buttons.
I absolutely recognise this in me too Action ... not wanting to make a decision in case it’s the wrong one, and not wanting to act on a decision once made for the same reason ... tossed in with an unhealthy dose of procrastination and there you have it ... dithering whilst wanting to change whilst not wanting to do the doing involved in changing. So me that is.

I have to be in a place where not doing becomes more uncomfortable than doing before I can really get under way with the doing part of changing. And the funny thing is it’s a relief once I do ... I feel like I’m picking up the reins instead of waiting (and hoping) that someone else will do it for me. We can wait forever with nothing changing at all whilst we wish and wish ... without doing.

If I could talk to my younger self now I would tell her to act. Waiting and seeing what happens has not worked out that well for me, wasted years and I can’t go back. I knew I had a problem with drinking and associated avoidance behaviours decades before I finally started to tackle this. It’s a case of better late than never and I have to remember how lucky I am ... in fact I’m reminded often when I hear those sad tales at my support meetings of people whose drinking has taken them to and then through some truly horrendous experiences.

Waking up sober on a Saturday morning still sometimes feels amazing. OH is grumpy with a sore head from drinking too much last night and will now be staying indoors sofa bound, doing the bare minimum all day. I get to go into town meet my mates, have a laugh eat cake drink coffee, do a spot of shopping etc etc. All with a clear head and no grogginess / gut ache and the rest. What could be nicer?

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 Saturn » 23 Nov 2019 10:57

Hi Cowboy

I remember well the cycle of doing a couple of days sober, feeling better for it and then wanting to drink again. That first drink seemed all the more magnificent since I was having it 'clean'. I look back now and clearly see it as a component of the addiction. You feel physically better after a couple of days, so can kid yourself you are, so you reward yourself with a drink. Madness, but then that's what this illness does to us.

For me recognising that the above situation, as well as all the other obsessive thoughts surrounding alcohol, are just symptoms of this illness has helped enormously. We know it's inevitable that after a couple of days sober the drinking thoughts will build up again in earnest. It's just a symptom, it's going to happen. The good thing is you can observe it, recognise it for what it really is, not really you but a symptom of an illness, and then not act on it. Once we truly recognise we don't have to act on it at all, it starts to get easier. Even though the thoughts happen in your own head, you start to feel separate from them, instead of engulfed.

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Cowboy » 23 Nov 2019 12:53

Thanks for that Saturn. I have managed to push through that 2 days on days off cycle and made it to 6 days. I can see my sober self more clearly now and that sober memory and muscle I earned with one year of abstinence is shining through the hedge. People in these parts advised to push through that first week and I finally have - more or less - and I feel fantastic without the urge to "reward" myself with a drink.

Feels good to be back. 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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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Saturn » 23 Nov 2019 15:38

Well done Cowboy 👍If you've done a year you've already proved you know how to stop 😀

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by Winkler » 24 Nov 2019 08:29

I’ve found it progressively harder to stay stopped or maybe, looking at it the other way, getting the motivation up to try another attempt at being AF, every time I’ve gone back to just 1 night off, or, I’m not ‘that bad’ or, I can moderate now, or whatever reason I give myself to drink. I’m not giving my AF status up easily this time round (and I hope it’s my last).

I think it’s something your chimp brain uses against you, the knowledge that it’s got its habit back again that way.
I’m having, not exactly a battle, but a bit of anxiety at some social stuff coming up related to Xmas and the knowledge that, yes, everyone else will be drinking. Apart from those who have a problem with it of course (me). I know it will be noted, and probably commented on although I will not be discussing it in depth, thank you, I’ll say something about it if/when I have to, whatever seems appropriate. I’ll probably try to laugh it off, people can draw whatever conclusions they will and the conversations will move on.

And come January I will be so pleased I didn’t give it up and will be feeling good about it, with no alcohol on my mind. Until the next time haha.

Kind of related to this - I made reference to a friend drinking alone on a group chat thing (I called it a 1 woman party) and felt she was then defended by others in the group kind of saying it was ok. I know my friend has alcohol issues, takes 1 to know 1, but I think some of the others are ‘normal’ drinkers. So yeh, felt a bit put down and then felt I’d said the wrong thing on another chat (there was a lot of drinking normalisation going on there, too although I didn’t comment on it).

So yeh, it’s difficult feeling misunderstood and like you’re the odd one out, like you do sometimes, being a non- drinker. Glad you guys are here <:)>
Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing - Lao Tzu

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Re: The Road to Abstinence.

Post by SoberBoots » 24 Nov 2019 10:49

I know it will be noted, and probably commented on although I will not be discussing it in depth, thank you, I’ll say something about it if/when I have to, whatever seems appropriate. I’ll probably try to laugh it off, people can draw whatever conclusions they will and the conversations will move on.
It does get easier as time goes on. At first I felt like I was acting a part when I was sober at social events. Now I've odne so many sober that I don't give it a second thought. The only people who comment are sometimes those who remember me drinking (heavily) and are understandably surprised that I dodn't any more! I don't fell that I have to explain, but if I feel I want to say something I generally say either that I stopped for a while and felt so much better that I've chosen to make it permanent, or that I noticed that alcohol was having more and more of an effect on me the day after drinking, so I decided to stop - I often also say that I discovered that I have a faulty off switch and find it much easier just not to drink at all.

The main thing is to plan - keeping busy helps, by getting involved with food prep, taking drinks round (ironically), or spotting people who might be feeling awkward and giving them some time and attention. I like to leave early (the small hours are for sleeping these days!) so I make sure I can.

You're doing so well Winkler, it's lovely to see (::)
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