Mostly Sober

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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Going out to lunch today. Not a way to lose weight. Except that I haven't eaten breakfast first, so my tummy is rumbling.

And the problem is, what to wear. Hmmmm
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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Woken up after a very short night's sleep (2 hours), in the middle of a rather terrifying dream. I was a prison warden in an all male prison of rioting occupants. All very big, angry men. So I'm feeling very groggy. But sober. Which happens so rarely these days, it's worth commentating on
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swordgirl.
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by swordgirl. »

Well done Danny! That dream sounds horrid by the way! Hope you have a good day and a better nights sleep this evening <:)> <:)>

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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Thanks swordie I missed a coffee meet up this morning, but made a new creative writing group this afternoon. Just got to keep going now, until I finish work.
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by swordgirl. »

Hi Danny - how are you doing today? <:)>

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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Hmmm. I went to a sleep clinic yesterday, and was loaned a machine to wear in bed. I'm really hopeful this will sort out a lot of my tiredness problems, so was almost enthusiastic about wearing it. However I didn't get the 'seal' around the mask right. I breath through my mouth, which means I dribble (attractive picture I'm painting for you, right?) and I'm (in my sleep) trying to wipe away the dribble - so the 'seal' gets broken. Not sure if this is the answer, but I'll persevere.

How are things with you?
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by swordgirl. »

Wow, Danny, sleep deprivation is the worst. Is it a CPAP machine? I hope you get to grips with it. I think we all dribble a bit to be fair ;) Hope your shift at work was ok.

I’m ok, did a weights session as I’m trying to up my fitness, wondering how stiff I will be tomorrow! I’ve been trying to tidy up the house, which is a task akin to painting the Forth Bridge. I’ve made a dent in it but it doesn’t last long. Really should make my kids help but I’m rubbish at giving them jobs to do. I’ve realised this week that I am a bit loath to ask anyone for help or to do anything for me. Done a food shop, and got a few other bits, made a bit of dinner and spent the evening trying to do a general knowledge crossword, if anyone had told me this would be my Saturday night activity 20 years ago I simply would not have believed them. More constructive activity tomorrow ()o

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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Just reading back.

SG giving others jobs to do. Resonated with me. Being Mummy was a huge role in my life. If I delegated I felt I'd taken away some of my own self implied importance. Yet, looking back, giving my children chores to do, would have trained them to be better adults. (Not that they're not good adults now, but I know my youngest struggled with having to work when she left school. Out of school was holiday - when she played. My bad parenting as she grew up). I also struggled then, when they'd both left home. My identity was all about being mother/dogs body and that disappeared overnight. A real struggle. I don't want to be a burden on them, don't want them to feel they have to phone home daily, but I get very lonely and miss them.

Not today though. Today I'm visiting eldest daughter. We're planning a dog walk and eating out somewhere. Roles are reversing. Out walk yesterday was quite a muddy scramble over rocks in places. I needed a hand for balance from time to time.

And it's odd. When I'm home alone, I drink. While I'm visiting I don't. I'm wondering if boredom/loneliness are bigger triggers than I realised - drinking away my life.

Mostly sober ATM.
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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

I was home last weekend. Home alone after visiting big girl. So I drank. As though it was inevitable. I'd visited Big Girl for 3/4 nights and hadn't missed it (even though she drank, I didn't want to). Home alone? Alcohol.

This week I've been visiting Big Little Sister. (She's older but smaller than me). Lots of chat. No alcohol. Didn't miss it.

And now I'm visiting Youngest Daughter. The grandchildren are very young. And now, as I write, is the first time I've thought of alcohol. I'm not missing it. So why do I know (with a sinking heart), that when I get home, this relationship between alcohol and me, still has a way to go.

Today though, today I'm mostly sober.
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by swordgirl. »

Morning Danny
I think it is hard if you are on your own, to stop. After all, who is going to see, or judge? It almost feels like drinking has become as essential as breathing, I couldn’t contemplate a single day without it when in my home environment. But like you, when I was away from home I would end up drinking less or not at all. However if you’re not drinking when you’re in company then it’s not essential is it? But I know you already know that.

It’s difficult because rationally we might know the answers for why we’re doing it, the effects of the amygdala, the ego wanting us to be comforted, the desire to escape from trauma, whatever it may be, but we don't stop. It’s easy to carry on because it feels comforting even though you know how destructive it is. I think you already know all the routes for stopping, you can keep trying what you’re doing now, you can reach out for help although support services can vary. There’s also all the other stuff you need to put in place like healthy eating, seeing friends, having interests, having a fulfilled life, they’re all pieces of the recovery pie as it were. What do you think you would like to do? <:)> <:)>

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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Sensible chat SG.

I'm nearly 70. I'm hoping to sell property soon, which should give me sufficient to consider retirement. Which I could do now, but I know that if I had no reason to have to stay sober, I'd probably drink for a few months then DIE!!

My sister and I were talking this through. She has been retired for several years. What would I do in my retirement? I'd like to do more with the U3A. I'm seriously looking to downsize and move to the West Country. Then my lazy self kicks in and says 'can't be bothered. Stay at home. Bored. Drink.'

Self control eludes me for most of the reasons you stated. Home alone, no one sees.
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Mark.
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by Mark. »

I think that's an absolutely brilliant post, Swordie - perfectly put! ;)?

I'd just been sitting here, pondering what Danny had written, and the other thought that occurred to me was that we often really blame and berate ourselves for not being able to quit, as though quitting ought to be easy with just a little willpower alone.

Firstly, as Swordie says, it is really tough not to drink when you're alone. If no one's there to see or judge, you can con yourself beforehand that having a wee drink tonight won't matter - the event almost won't exist, if you're the only one who knows that it happened at all. (Does the falling tree make a noise if nobody's there to hear it?) And you'll stop tomorrow and not do it again, so where's the harm?

But then you wake the next day and feel terrible because of the hangover and/or the guilt and disappointment caused by giving in to the craving yet again. And then you castigate yourself for having such weak willpower.

We often think that our willpower in general is strong and that saying no to drink ought to be easy. After all, willpower gets us up in the morning. We have our breakfasts, go to work, get the car serviced or take the dog for a walk in the drizzle - all these things achieved through willpower, often when we'd much rather be doing something else instead.

But, actually, I don't think my willpower's really that great at all. When I think about it, I make innumerable promises to myself that I quickly break and usually forget about. I say I'll be less gossipy, less uncharitable in my thoughts; I'll work harder today; I'll eat less meat this week. I'll play Siouxsie & The Banshees slightly quieter in the mornings because it probably does annoy the neighbours... I'll look into getting a new bank account; I'll fix the cold water tap in the bathroom; I'll practise gratitude more regularly...

And I break all of these daily/weekly/yearly resolutions routinely and without compunction. And the only reason, I think, that I used to feel much more guilt for giving in to drink is because the immediate consequences were so much more noticeable: the hangover and/or the guilt and disappointment caused by giving in to the craving yet again.

So, please don't beat yourself up, D, that you find it so easy to cave in to drink when you are alone. We all cave in to so much more than we realise; it's just that with most broken promises, there are few immediate repercussions. Drinking is perhaps different because it hits us physically and psychologically so quickly after the event.

Of course, avoiding alcohol does ultimately come down to willpower, but it's Willpower Max. And sometimes the initial Willpower Max isn't simply a case of saying no to the first drink, it's the act of finding the help needed to make not drinking possible - whether it's learning distraction techniques or even jumping through the hoops of seeing a GP and being prescribed medicinal support. As Swordie suggests, it's about looking into every avenue of help available to find which ones work for you: it's about putting together all the "pieces of the recovery pie".

Finally, never ever forget that alcohol is a physically addictive substance. Breaking its hold over you really isn't solely a case of mind over matter. I only need willpower to avoid swearing in front of customers at work when I'm annoyed; but we need Willpower Max to avoid drinking, because it's not just our mind but our body too that is reliant on it.

Even though you can avoid alcohol when in the company of others, your body probably does miss it more than you realise. You just don't feel it because you have other distractions going on, or stronger reasons for staying sober in the company of those people.

I know this is the case with nicotine addiction. Years of smoking create literally millions of neural pathways that take a very long time to erode. On a daily basis, I could go for hours without a ciggie if I had something better to do. I thought I was avoiding smoking during these hours through willpower. So it disappointed me HUGELY that I couldn't just quit for good through the same willpower. But the physical addiction ran much deeper than I realised. Even over a year after I quit, my brain is still wired to suggest every now and then that a roll-up would be a really nice thing. To stop, and to stay stopped, requires more than willpower - it needs Willpower Max.

You'd have to research the science, but I am sure this must be the same with alcohol addiction.

Anyway, I have a terrible feeling I am waffling, so I will desist.

I just wanted to say how much I liked Swordie's reply, and also to try to reassure you, D, that you shouldn't feel disappointed that avoiding drink when you are alone isn't as easy as perhaps you assume it should be. It's not at all.

I'm really lucky. My wife doesn't drink and doesn't like the effect drink has on me, so not drinking in her company becomes easy, and I'm in her company most of the time. But I sometimes dream of the times she will go away (which she does, from time to time) and indulge the idea that I could drink then. I've had to learn to get through these absences, because I can't spend the rest of my life waiting for her to go away just so I can get drunk. And I guess you can't spend the rest of your life visiting others just to avoid drinking. We have to learn to live with these times alone. And it is really hard, but it can be done, and it is really worth it.

Anyway, enough! I need to have my breakfast (and listen to Siouxsie & The Banshees at a reasonably acceptable level ;) ) <:)>

PS. Just crossing, but I think my point ties in with what you say. We don't have the amount of self-control we think we have when it comes to booze. It's not laziness. It just requires a slightly bigger push than we expected ;)?
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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Thank you Mark. A lot of this is 'if a tree falls in an empty glade, will it make a noise' type thoughts. I make the same resolutions "smile at the customers, listen but don't gossip." At the same time, I am very aware of drinking because I am alone and have only me to answer to. If I smile at customers, they notice, if I don't gossip, I hope people learn to trust me.

In the meantime, I'm trying to do creative writing. I need a clear brain for that.
Last edited by DannyD on 10 Feb 2022 09:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by swordgirl. »

Yep, it’s really really hard to stop. I expect many people who struggle just stop posting. I certainly have in the past. It’s a particularly determined kind of person who keeps coming back to BE and posting and searching for a way to stop. I have absolutely detested myself for years and years because of not being able to stop. However I’ve also lived through some of my most challenging years since I found BE as well. So maybe that’s why it has been such a struggle. You know what, I think drinking so much has turned me into a boring person. I have very few interests or hobbies or plans, it robs us of who we are. Anyway, have you had your house valued Danny? Moving to the West Country sounds like a splendid idea!

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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by Mark. »

swordgirl. wrote:
10 Feb 2022 00:38
I have very few interests or hobbies or plans, it robs us of who we are.
It robs us of so much energy and time, doesn't it? So much effort goes into drinking. Everything else gets put aside.

I used to think I drank to accompany my hobbies (writing, playing guitar, etc), but quickly the hobbies become very secondary to the booze: you can't hold a pen or strum a guitar with a glass in your hand, let alone think straight enough to use them as well as you could.

And booze then robs you too of the imagination to think how else you could spend your time and energy. It takes over. First, I stopped writing and playing guitar. Then I forgot I'd ever enjoyed them in the first place. I didn't want to do anything but drink. Then I couldn't think of anything to do except drink.

Alcohol is just such a corrosive substance in each and every way, isn't it?

Mind you, my former boozing does also mean that I get to enjoy an awful lot of TV repeats now. It's like seeing them for the first time, although it can be embarrassing to sit watching a programme with my wife, knowing that we saw it together before but unable to remember anything that happened in it! :oops: :lol:
DannyD wrote:
09 Feb 2022 16:55
In the meantime, I'm trying to do creative writing. I need a clear brain for that.
True, Danny! I hope it goes well ;)?
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Oh Mark. You've commentated on my creative writing. Be afraid. Be very afraid. It is my new baby, and like every parent with a new baby, I want admiration. I will bombard you, bombard I say, with my efforts. For which I will expect a certain amount of praise in which to bask like an old alligator that's just been freed of it's tyre necklace.
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by Mark. »

:lol: Bring it on, Danny! ;)?
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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Sloping silently through the back door.

I dropped out of the creative writing. It became quite dictatorial. You must attend all of meetings at set time on a Thursday afternoon (I traditionally work on a Thursday afternoon). You must send your writing to everyone in the group by a date (no problem with that). You must attend a zoom call on a different-to-Thursday afternoon, and read out your writing - problem with that. I'm on my electronic device making the zoom - but so is my writing. How to do both? The teacher was neither flexible, understanding or helpful. Out I dropped (after she threatened to 'sack' me).
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by Topcat »

DannyD wrote:
13 Apr 2022 09:33
Out I dropped (after she threatened to 'sack' me).
I'd say you're well rid of her Danny. Sounds like a horrid individual.
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DannyD
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Re: Mostly Sober

Post by DannyD »

Retired teacher - a bit controlling. I loved the idea of a creative writing group, but not the reality (of this one).
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