The Confession Parlour...

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
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Rachel
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Rachel »

Avocado, first, just to say that it's mortifying for you I imagine (it was for me) that you have relapsed post-rehab, but it is really really common. It took me 15 months after a my first go in rehab before I had my last drink. Other people I met in AA were the same. Life on the outside is tough. Also I was told that a month in rehab was not enough to bear that in mind. Neither of us had the recommended duration.

Second, you have picked up lots of tools in rehab hopefully. Rehab will have changed you. You can move forward. Being in treatment is not going to make this easier on a day to day basis - your brain is still geared towards drinking and will be until you have some months of complete sobriety under your belt - you still have a fight on your hands - but rehab gives you some leverage.

It is a battle, but it's one you can win. You need to strike a balance between being tough on yourself, but not too hard, as the latter can result in just throwing one's hands up and saying 'Sod it, I might as well'. You can do this.

Tonight: list your triggers. Maybe just going home is one. Go home by a different route. Plan something different and distracting to do when you get home. Treat yourself. Try to think of things that will make you feel good/better. Feeling depressed, bad about yourself and anxious are classic triggers. I know there are on going things that you can't control that are triggers, and that's really difficult. I had terrible work things going on in my early days and was also very depressed. It's wretched as it's hard to change how you react to them (which is all you can do) and I failed. Do you have a counsellor? (Sorry I can't remember.) If not and you could afford one it's really worth doing.

Come on here on the SOS or wherever if you are in the grip of what feels like unavoidable temptation or that you are sliding into it. Make yourself do it if you don't want to! (That's a 'being tough' with yourself bit.)

In general I would advise avoiding all things associated with drinking - going to pubs, restaurants, cinema etc (holidays...) whatever, until you are stronger. Doing each of these things are partly what made me relapse on multiple occasions in those 15 months after rehabs. You will need to get used to doing things, but wait a bit. And then one at a time, slowly, cautiously. But for now batten down the hatches. AF cafes and cake if you go out?
Don't try to argue with the voice that tells you you want/need a drink. It's the pyschological equivalent of a pain that won't go away or be reasoned with - you can't reason with a pain.Best you can do is try to ignore it and distract yourself from it.

Your honesty is going to stand you in very good stead <:)>

Did you find any support groups that work for you in the end? I wish my old AA group were still meeting. You could have attended it online. (They would have happily listened to you talking about your diffculties with your ex.)

Many more <:)> and you can do it tonight.
Rachel

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Cowboy
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Cowboy »

Well said Rachel.

I am pulling for you today/tonight Avocado. You can do this. Write down all the reasons that you want to stop drinking. Keep the list with you. Read it when you get those permission thoughts. It has helped me in the past. Most of all. Be kind to yourself and realize that you are not alone.
Recovery is giving up one thing for everything. Addiction is giving up everything for one thing.

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SoberBoots
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by SoberBoots »

Hey Avo,

I don't know if this helps, but I tried to tackle the distortions that alcohol creates in a few ways.

I used to really struggle with sober evenings. When I got home I'd always go straight for the wine, and evenings seemed like great yawning caverns of time that I couldn't imagine facing without a drink. To tackle this, I created a substitute ritual which was posh tea - expensive leaf tea, and infuser, a very special porcelain cup - my own private tea ceremony. This was surprisingly effective, although the ritual itself could be any one of a range of things.
Next, I focused on the morning to come rather that the evening - sometimes I did feel restless, itchy, craving, flat etc, but I kept thinking about just getting to bed sober and then the morning would be another day. This may sound weird, but it actually surprised me that sober evenings were so short! By the time I'd got the chores done, I could be thinking about going to bed in a couple of hours, less if I had a bath.
Then, I thought about the cravings themselves. It seems to me that the perception that they're overwhelming is distorted. I tried comparing my discomfort to physical pain. Seen like that, the discomfort was very mild - nowhere near a stubbed toe say, let alone anything more serious. At worst, it might be the same ranking as a mildly itchy and annoying insect bite - which I wouldn't feel compelled to do anything in response to, I'd just let it sort itself out and know that it would be gone very soon.

I wanted to say a massive well done for getting on here and talking about it (::)
The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The second best time is today.

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SoberBoots
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by SoberBoots »

Oh Avocado, I honestly winced reading your account. You surely do have a lot going on. I was thinking of the relapse triggers they so ofetn talk about on recovery - HALT. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. You could do a bit about some of these - your weightloss is brilliant, congratulations, but you mustn't starve yourself. Your body and mind need good nutrition (that's why you got the injcetions up the jacksie, all drinkers are malnourished and deficiency of B1 is particularly dangerous) and if you're hungry you're more likely to drink. Eat as healthily as you can manage, but don't go hungry - and a brurger and chips is better than booze, any day, when it comes down to it. Angry, you might be able to manage a bit - carving out you time, for a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, doing some relaxation or mindfulness (I like the Headspace app). Lonely - well, sounds like you've got plans to build up your support network which is great. What about using phonelines perhaps, I know the AA have one? And Tired - sleep can be elusive in early abstinence, certainly was for me, but you can focus on as much relaxation and rest as you possibly can, and ask for short-term meds if you need them. Getting sober is s erious project and needs nurturing like an infant - it's quite possibly the most important thing you'll ever do in your life.
The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The second best time is today.

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Rachel
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Rachel »

I think we all need something to look forward to. The trick is to find a substitute. Sometimes it's just symbolic. Something you think of as a treat. I think with booze I felt nice for the first glass and then after that I was chasing that feeling that always eluded me. It was a bit of a phantom pleasure really.
It's the same when extreme anxiety made (and still sometimes makes) me think I 'could do with' a drink. What I could actually do with is to stop feeling 'like this'. The alcohol is a red herring. It has associations, and it's hard to break those, but you can form new ones with things that don't harm you. This takes time. Be patient with yourself and just keep chipping away at it, doggedly if need be.

As SB says do make sure you eat enough and stay hydrated. Food has an immense affect on mood. As someone prone to low blood sugar the difference between th before and after eating 'mes' is astonishing.
Rachel

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Rachel
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Rachel »

I hope it worked out well, Avocado.

You have a lot of balls in the air. Good to put them all down every now and again rather than ending up dropping them all. (Alcohol isn't great for (metaphorical or indeed actual) hand eye coordination either :) )
Rachel

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Rachel
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Rachel »

It rather looks like all the AA ones have gone back to meeting in person. Maybe some of these are of use

https://smartrecovery.org.uk/online-meetings/
Rachel

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Mudbucker
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Mudbucker »

I think this is the right place to post...

Back on day one! I didn't quite make it through day 17, although I'm very positive about getting back to sobriety from today.

There had been a general building of craving, I suppose, along with a couple of mildly difficult situations- my wife had a stressful day at work (she works from home and I work in the evenings, so I get to experience it with her in real time!), and there were some small diary mishaps for me, easily sorted, but they caused a lot of drama from one particular colleague.

At the end of the day my wife, quite reasonably, went for a walk to wind down and had a glass of wine while she was out, respectful of my abstinence. Of course, with my 'boozy-senses tingling' I could tell right away! As I'm sure we all know it is much easier to say no to the first drink than it is the second, so as my resolve began to crack she admitted that she would have liked another glass or two. That revelation was when I turned to jelly, popped my shoes on, and grabbed a shopping bag.

I don't know the etiquette for the level of detail or potential triggers here, so I'm happy to edit or be edited by the moderators if needed, but I picked up my usual home drinking kit of a couple of cans of pre-mixed gin and tonic and four pint-cans of Stella, along with a couple of 'minis' for the good lady. I'll usually empty the gins on the walk back from the shop and crack a tinny as soon as I'm in. Holy crap, those first few swigs of G&T were the most refreshing thing to pass my lips in weeks! :lol2: The evening progressed as one would expect; the buzz was enjoyable, we both relaxed and chatted freely, and shrugged off the troubles of the day, as any normal drinkers do. Naturally, by the time my wife went to bed I was just getting started, so with nothing but crushed aluminium left, I headed out to a late night drinking spot. The one newly opened by a friend was just locking up, but not to worry- it is right next door to 'the last bar in town' frequented by hospitality workers at the end of a shift, students living it up, and the dregs of the day still tying one on for as long as they can. Of course, I walked through the door and straight into the arms of a drinking buddy, who I know almost exclusively from after-hours boozing sessions, and we plowed into the beer and tequila. I'm a very generous drunk, so I'm pretty sure I kept them coming for us both, plus a couple of top-ups for his co-workers who were with him after their bar-shifts.

Today I managed to come to just before midday with a clanging headache and a very light wallet.

Anyway- the important things are the lessons learnt. Stress is a risk factor (well, duh), I will pick up on the tiniest whiff of alcohol in the house, and that first sip remains, for me, the top of a very long, slippery slope. The walk to the dive-bar is long enough that I did have time to reflect on my actions- I may have paused for thought at the same spot in the past, but last night I certainly stopped to ask myself what in the hell I was doing. I nearly turned back. Nearly. Drunk logic can't be trusted at the best of times, but I did find it in myself to question whether another drink was wise. Of course I justified it to myself somehow, and figured that I would probably only have time for one last beer by the time I got there. Note to self- the place is open til 3am. Just because it's past midnight doesn't mean that I can trust closing time to save me before things get out of hand. Also, having had some time off, it is all the more apparent just what a waste of a day a hangover is.

Moderation may be an option in future, but for now I am a On-or-Off drinker, and abstinence is clearly the way forward for me. 24/11/21- Day One.
Last edited by Mudbucker on 25 Nov 2021 01:06, edited 2 times in total.
The regret after drinking is worse than the desire before.

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swordgirl.
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by swordgirl. »

Hi Mudbucker
I just read your post and felt I had to respond. There are tons of people on this site who are much more wise and have a LOT more sobriety under their belt than me, I’m sure one of them will be along shortly with some good advice for you. I just wanted to say that your post was brave and searingly honest. Lots of people would not have given a warts and all account of what happened. It strikes me that you recognised and clearly identified some of your triggers, so what do you think you will do next time you come across one of them? I’m trying yet again for the umpteenth time to stop drinking. This week I’ve written down all the triggers I can think of and started to write down what I could do differently. I haven’t got all the answers yet but writing it down instead of having it whirling around my head made it a bit more focused and real.

Well done for started back on day 1 immediately, some of us would think may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, so credit due to you. Good luck!

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Cowboy
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Cowboy »

I'm with Swordgirl there Mud. Not that I am wise or anything. Such an honest and insightful post. Getting a couple of weeks sober under your belt is no easy feat. Hope that you can make your night of carousing a one night stand and get back on stage. It's worth the effort as you know. Take care. Cowboy.
Recovery is giving up one thing for everything. Addiction is giving up everything for one thing.

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Mudbucker
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Mudbucker »

Thanks swordgirl and Cowboy!

I was dry again last night, despite being in the house band at a blues night in a pub! I think I can consider it a blip, and I'm now back on the wagon; the irony is that I play in venues and pubs 5 nights most weeks, and it was an evening at home, where we don't have alcohol anymore, where it all slipped.

Regardless- eyes back on the prize. My first day of this run was the 24th Nov, so I intend to let you all know I made the full month on Christmas Eve. :D
Last edited by Mudbucker on 26 Nov 2021 10:22, edited 1 time in total.
The regret after drinking is worse than the desire before.

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Cowboy
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Re: The Confession Parlour...

Post by Cowboy »

Excellent Mud. I guarantee you will be thankful that you did on Christmas Day.
Recovery is giving up one thing for everything. Addiction is giving up everything for one thing.

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