Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
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Luna_
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Luna_ »

Hi - just browsing the threads and remembered this one...
How's everyone doing these days?

I was just pondering the issue with cycles - and how even after all this time, I still fall into the trap.
As long as we still are "curious" about alcohol, thinking "just one" or "this time it will be different - we'll never get off the rollercoaster.

Right now I feel like I did when my abusive ex ditched me (3 days before I was scheduled for major surgery). It was dreadful and I felt betrayed - but I also felt a relief that the cycle of abuse was finally broken. Alcohol has been my toxic abuser ever since - but now I'm the one doing the discarding. I'm just sick of the deceit - it promises relaxation, stress-relief, euphoria, comfort - but it delivers none of these things - quite the opposite in reality. And it sucks us into the deceit - and we get stuck in the cycle of abuse.

I have tried all sorts of analogies, read lots of books and articles. But now I am finding it helpful to feel like I am removing myself from a toxic abusive relationship. The famous 3-4 day cycle is so similar - major disaster, then suffering the cold-shoulder, the accusations, the misery - then being forgiven after 4 days - and rewarded with a drink. And round it goes again.

Making a decision to end abuse is hard. There is such a thing as Stockholm's syndrome, which I had. It kept me in the cycle of abuse for 6 years longer than I should have tolerated it. We know it's bad for us, but we can't leave - and get totally and utterly addicted.

I am going to think of it this way for a while and see how it goes. Getting rid of an abusive element in my life.
;)?
I still have Faith, but right now I'm reaching for the moon.

Rose13
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Rose13 »

I thought I’d post here as I am definitely in a 3/4 day cycle . I very rarely get past day 4. Day 1 and 2 go ok and then by day 3 or 4 I start feeling like I can do this I’m in control and bam I’ve drunk too much again. Witching hour is about 5oclock when I start cooking. I wonder how I can get out of the cycle . It’s clear to me now when I write it down but as soon as I get to 5 o’clock it goes out the window

SouthLondon1972
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by SouthLondon1972 »

This definitely makes sense to me. By Sunday morning I have usually had four very heavy drinking nights. So I promise myself: 'the new week starts now'. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are relatively easy, Wednesday during the day is fine, but I almost always slip up on Wednesday night, which then, for me, writes the week off and I'm back to drinking a lot on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and so on. For as long as I can remember, Wednesday (day 4) seems to be the slip-up day!

This week I didn't even make it past Monday (w) didn't drink Tuesday, but did last night - hence why I'm here. It's all become a bit all-over the-place.

So, my Plan B to try and rescue this week (taking it a day at a time of course) is a song I remember from my youth.
If any of you were around in the 80s(!) you may remember a pop duo called Mel & Kim. They had a hit called 'Get Fresh at the Weekend'. and, when I was sober, I used to think of it when I woke up on Saturday or Sunday mornings with that lovely fresh, alcohol-free feeling. I used to whistle it to myself on Friday and Saturday evenings if I felt tempted!

So I'm going to give that a go to try and get through that all-important dry weekend which I find really helps.

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Cowboy
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Cowboy »

Thanks Newt.

I'm bumping this thread. Breaking the cycle of life that for me includes drinking and smoking dope - usually together. It really is beginning to have a negative effect on me. Physically, mentally and spiritually. In my early 60's I am not getting any younger and need to make more healthy choices in all facets of my life. Take more time to walk or ride my bike. Walk in the woods that are literally 5 minutes from my door. Spend less time in front of the TV. And most of all replace drinking and smoking with other activities that make me feel better about myself and don't put so much wear and tear on my body and my internal thought process. So unhealthy to get wasted and then feeling guilty about it. I mean what's the point?

I have picked up my guitar and begun to play it again. Lots. It's my go to form of meditation. My fingers are getting calloused and I have learned many new songs and lyrics. I pick it up in the morning. I pick it up during the day. I pick it up during the night. It makes me feel good about myself again. I have never had a great singing voice but I can sing on key and guess what? My singing is getting better as well. But it really doesn't matter. It's not like I am going to be a singing star. I sing for myself and my family and they enjoy it.

Do I feel embarrassed to write this down for folks to read ? Absolutely, but when it comes to kicking these bad habits and taking on a new lifestyle humility cannot enter into the equation. Times they are a changin.
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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Newt
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Newt »

Ringo Starr wrote:That's all drugs and alcohol do, they cut off your emotions in the end.
Cowboy wrote:I have picked up my guitar and begun to play it again. Lots. It's my go to form of meditation.

That is one giant leap forward mate, even a few chords lazily strummed revitalises the soul.

Take some time out and pour your heart out, into that one great song we all have in us :D

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Cowboy
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Cowboy »

Thanks for that Avocado but I don't do that great in front of people I don't know. I'm very shy in person when it comes to meeting new people and making new friends which is probably a big reason that I started in on the drinking in the first place. I used to be quite a jock and made friends that way but as I grew older and it was harder for me to be in team sports I kind of drifted from that lifestyle and started playing music ... and drinking ... and smoking pot ... and most of the time both. It seemed easier to me then to socialize and make new friends. Then I guess I got in with the wrong crowd as the cliche goes and as an adult began to drink alone. Not much but a little. Later as the stress of life, work, family, responsibility and all that kicked in I used drinking and pot as a way to mellow but it just got out of control in my later years.

It's strange because I love my sobriety so much. I love the hangover free mornings and getting up and putting out my bird feeders at the shack by the cliff. Drinking a strong morning coffee and just watching the different species of birds come to the feeder and interact. It's a simple way to spend time but I'm fascinated by how the parent birds interact with the youngins and how the different birds interact. And then we have these red squirrels in my neck of the woods that are quite the little chatterboxes and they come and chase the birds away and then the birds swoop in on them. Pretty simple enjoyment of life and living yet I choose to spoil it some days with artificial joy.

Now I'm determined to break the cycle of drinking and smoking. It's all gone out of my place. Nothing here. All in the garbage or given away. The cupboards are loaded up with all types of goodies and the fridge has all those fancy sodas - elderberry, ginger beer, sparking lemonade. And if all that fails ... well ... there is a big old tub of black cherry ice cream. Here I go.

That's a bit of my story anyways.

Hope you are holding up OK and treating yourself with kindness and healthy rewards.
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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Cowboy
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Cowboy »

All these internal thoughts running through my head and most of them negative. For me breaking the cycle is going to have to definitely include finding a way to change that internal negative voice. Yes I admit I have turned to drinking in an attempt to stop the negative thoughts but all that does is turn me comatose and guess what? They are still there the next day - on top of a hangover. Fortunately I can choose what to think and more and more I am succeeding at changing those negtive thoughts. Just move on to something else. I liken it to those ticker tape stock prices you see on that channel you never really watch. Just pick another thought. It's actually quite easy to do once you get the hang of it.

Do I continue to have those negative thoughts? Well yes - I think we all do for the most part but you can catch yourself. You can change the thought subject. It helps me quite a bit these days.

Went for an hour bike ride this morning. Don't picture one of those people all decked out in the spandex gear and helmet on one of those expensive road bikes. Picture an older gruffy looking guy with a baseball cap and sandals peddling slowly but surely along a dirt country road beside a corn field. Imagine being in such quiet and pretty surroundings and having that internal discussion with my internal critic and just stopping myself and saying out loud - wtf are you doing? Take this in Cowboy. Enjoy the scenery, breath in the country air, smell the smells, listen to the birds and crickets - it's not all about you and that critic beating you up from inside. It's about enjoying time on this planet. The further and further I get away from my last drink the easier it is to catch myself from that negative thought process.
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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SoberBoots
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by SoberBoots »

Hey Cowboy, good to see you! We're so often our own harshest critics. I totally relate to what you're saying about taking the perspective outside yourself and being present. I feel this too, with an increasing urgency which I suppose is age-related. I just don't have time to waste on my addiction anymore.
The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The second best time is today.

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Cowboy
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Cowboy »

Thanks for that SoberBoots.

It's quite clear to me at this stage of my on again off again drinking journey that there is so much more to sobriety that gritting my teeth and counting days. Such a hectic life I've led particularly in my chosen career - which unfortunately sometimes took precedence over the important aspects such as family - that I really never took the time to take that perspective looking at myself from the outside in. I've been very, very fortunate that my drinking hasn't landed me in much bigger trouble than it has. Sure I have some bridges to mend - mostly with my adult kids but I am being patient and empathetic and making very good progress. That anger and resentment that was installed at an early age and which I carried with me my adult life is slowly being replaced with kindness and understanding. My kids see this and comment frequently in an encouraging way which literally brings tears to my eyes and I don't try to stop those tears with anger or drink anymore. I let the emotion come and at the end of the day I feel better for it.

My mother is still alive and it's quite difficult for me to deal with her and the bitterness and resentment she has (and always has had) but I see a more fulfilling path forward into those so called "golden years" and I know deep down I will never be like her at the end of my days on this planet.

Why? Because I am breaking the cycle of not only my drinking but also suppressing those emotions that make us human. It's quite liberating.
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: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Tai »

Loved reading this Cowboy. Our inner critics may always be with us but we can learn techniques to help dial down the volume just as we can learn to focus elsewhere and work to turn all that anger and resentment into compassion and empathy. Not an easy trail to walk that one and it certainly takes time, but isn’t that true of all worthwhile pursuits in life?

It’s been my experience that when I feel frustrated at the slowness of my progress what I really need to do is exercise some of that compassion and empathy towards myself. It’s often only in retrospect that we see just how far we’ve come along our chosen “new path”. Well worth giving ourselves credit for the changes made so far I reckon no matter how imperfect we might still feel. We are all works in progress after all. <:)>
A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.
Khalil Gibran

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Cowboy
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Cowboy »

Thanks for that Tai. It means a lot to me.

It feels good to work on those positive changes and even better to see them acknowledged - here and in my daily life. When you really look at it some of those things that you thought were so important in life - a career, a new car, a big house and all those toys - don't really mean much at the end of the day. It's love for yourself and others that should be the real goal in life. Some people get it some people don't. Some people live out their days and never get it.

I am working on breaking the cycle.
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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LucyLucyLu
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by LucyLucyLu »

Hi Cowboy,

I haven't posted for so long... maybe a couple of years? Every few months I log in to check on a few of my old buddies, one of them being you, to see how you're doing.

Today I got an urge to log on and your post was the first to come up - so just wanted to check in.

That old familiar cycle eh? So so tough to break. I was stuck in it for years. Sometimes a 3 or 4 days cycle (the sun - wed sober resolution and then rapidly downhill again). Sometimes weeks, or the odd time months.

This time... things are very different. After a very bad spiral back in March I checked myself into rehab for a 28 day intensive... and it was the best decision I've ever made. The therapy, the exercise and nutrition plans, the friendships, the wakeup call... were all incredible. It's based on the 12 steps and I was anti AA (or at least, neutral) but I embraced it and did the first 3 steps before leaving.

It's not the daily white knuckle ride that sober days were before. It's not a constant "thinking about not drinking". It's enjoying sobriety and all the things it brings like new random hobbies like pole dancing (yes, pole!!!) that not only need strength and fitness, but also take up 2 evenings and a Saturday morning.

So wishing you all the best CB, my friend. I'll no doubt keep checking in to see how you're keeping on.

Sending you a big hug,

Mouse xx

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Cowboy
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Cowboy »

Hey Mouse. Bless your heart to take the time to send that inspiring post. I'm genuinely happy to see you doing so well. Always loved our dialogue in these parts and great to hear from you. Lots of therapy and addiction counselling for this old cowboy and starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I took special note of your words around enjoying your sobriety rather than white knuckling through and am certain that is the key to long term sobriety. In other words wear your sobriety with pride and not shame.

I also believe that it is of key importance to respect and love that one key person - me. I'm getting there but it's hard work and it's difficult for me to let those childhood emotions come through. I was always told as a child that I was "over sensitive" but the truth is I was just a normal kid with normal emotions. Take note parents out there. Your children's environment when they are young and tender is ... well ... young and tender. Just sayin.

Thanks so much for checking in. Take care Mouse. Cowboy.
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: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by LucyLucyLu »

Hey Cowboy,

Yes... young and tender. I have 4 children and feel the responsibility (and guilt!) of parenting every single day.

I read once that our lives can be either a warning or an example.... I made the decision a while back to use my struggles as an example to them, not a warning. And I try to keep that in clear focus.

I know they're already proud of what I've achieved and will look back in the future and hopefully take some positive learnings from what I've been through. Have to think that way, eh? The opposite would be to wallow in self pity and guilt and there is certainly no point in that for them or for me.

Sending little mousy hugs your way.

Mx

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Pink Panther
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Pink Panther »

Just browsing and spotted this thread and conversations and wow....just loved reading them.

Cowboy :\: my dear friend.....your honesty is amazing and I thank you for what you wrote, I am sure it will help many.

Liking the look on the bike too and who cares or needs Spandex :D

We truly do only get one life and how baffling it is that each year, each decade that turns, we continue to say 'we will sort it' and yet we make the decision to continue to drink even if it is on and off. You are quite right, there isn't really time to keep on doing this but there is never a time when it is too late either. Doesn't mean we should keep on pushing those addiction buttons just in case we tip things into another dimension. Get any help on offer to crack this.

I love the fact that you are still here, love the fact that you never give up and if you can muster (if you haven't already) the determination and choice making to put a lid on the addiction by zapping the life out of it (not feeding it), I am confident you can continue on that path.

I am right behind you too as being sober and losing the weight to reverse my health issues are my number one priority (my actions may not always show this) but poor choices doesn't necessarily mean there is something fundamentally wrong with us (which I learned on recent training courses) it is all part and parcel of being addicted to substances or the likes.

When we have used something that is now so ingrained, it can be tricky to resolve but certainly not impossible. You have the want and desire, turning our energy to getting well from this rather than fighting against it may be the next step for many of us without looking over our shoulders this time.

Do not forget how far you have come, how strong you are and how you and only you holds the key to the next door. Talking to myself here too when it comes to this and other subjects which = self harm.

Hi to everyone :\: <:)>
Love yourself and be proud of the steps you take to overcome addiction....peace is at the tip of our fingers <:)>

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Cowboy
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Re: Breaking the cycle/gaining traction

Post by Cowboy »

Thanks Pink Panther. Had a little blip but the end game strategy remains lifelong abstinence, eating well, exercise and mental/spiritual support. No excuses. Cowboy.
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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