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Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
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mikew
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Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by mikew » 21 Jun 2008 22:52

I had a relaps after about 6 months of beig sober, Im a stay at home dad, my wife was on a business trip, my daughter was on a sleep over, I had a reunion with 2 old friends in london who i had historically drank with, i went with the best intentions, but seeig as i had no parental responsibilities and my wife was away i was tempted to have a couple of drinks, it turned into a 2 day bender, look out for potentally hazardous situations, in hindsite I should of phoned my friens and reschedulad the reunion or not gone at all.

pacy
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by pacy » 21 Jun 2008 23:12

Thank you for the warning, I know I need it, that kind of situation is such a trigger for me <:)> I'm sorry you are feeling regret. But, it's over, get back on the wagon, and forgive yourself. At least you know that having limited responsibility is one of your triggers. You had noone to be accountable for or to. I am still in the stage where a weekend without my husband around and my 2 best friends in town, would definitely be a HUGE temptation for me to drink, or binge. Eventually, identifying your triggers will get easier-or at least, that's what I've been told. I feel like having a constant reminder of some sort, can help prevent binges. I am working on what that reminder will be for me, but I need it. Could you commit to logging on to this web site everyday, or holding yourself accountable to someone other than your wife when she is out of town?
Your right though, planing ahead is so important always. Sometimes I have to make a commitment to be somewhere else on the days or nights when I'm with friends who drink a lot, so that I just go hang out with them for an hour or 2 before and then keep my commitment. If I have no place to be the next day or later in the evening, I very easily stay and drink uncontrollably. Anyway, good luck to you!

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byron
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by byron » 27 Jun 2008 05:54

Hi Mik and Pacy

Mik - thanks for that- this is something we all need to be aware of - especially after abstinence for a long time (complacancy can strike).

Lapses are often a necessary part of full recovery and you have shown from your post that you learned a huge amount following your lapse - thats what I was told we would do (alcohol key worker) - you reflected on it and saw what may have gone wrong that you ended up on a two day binge. That shows a huge amount of personal insight. Pacy is right about knowing and understanding our triggers. Its a bit like knowing thine enemy I guess. I agree It is a good idea to plan ahead when a big event is coming up - think of coping stratagies. You remind me that we have to be on our gaurd with EAF even after months of stopping.

Julie
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by LittleBigDave » 06 Jul 2008 12:08

I think for me, boredom is the worst thing... When I am keeping busy I can go for months without drinking. I can even go to bars with friends and happily drink water. It's when I am sat around, with nothing to do and boredom kicks in that I always seem to end up drinking... Then, once I have started, I'll use any old excuse to KEEP drinking, but 99% of the time it's boredom that triggers it.

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Stephen_A
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Stephen_A » 15 Jul 2008 05:32

Hi Mike,
Sorry to hear about the relapse.
Pacy and Julie have offered excellent advice. I hope you don't mind if I mention something that is certainly a sensitive area. We aren't alone in this, and a number of our friendships might have been built on drinking sessions. Stopping drinking demands a lot of jolts by way of honesty to yourself, and facing telling friends is certainly a daunting task.
When we give up the booze we move on, and this might entail moving into a new area where it's hard to sustain old friendships. However, I'd say if a friendship is worth preserving it should survive one of the parties making it clear that he or she is an abstainer.

Stephen.

farrel
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by farrel » 02 Aug 2008 11:09

I dont think that I have ever visited this relapsing thread before I dont know why but I must have thought ,not that I wouldnt drink again because that wasnt my aim but that I didnt think I would have anything to offer it apart from what others have said like dont get to tired ,hungry or thirsty this is when the alcohol cravings are bad at the same time as you are needing to respond to something your body requires , I would also agree that its important if friends are drinking especially heavily then its best to try and stay away for a while , but another trigger I have not aknowledged before is not speaking up keeping things inside and holding on to resentments certainly are not good for me , I think I dont like speaking up or being assertive is because I have bees so ashamed of my actions that you get used to keeping a low profile so its a viscious circle.

sue
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by sue » 02 Aug 2008 22:10

Farrel,
From your posts you sound so confident and so difficult to imagine how you wouldn't speak up for yourself. Guess its a whole lot easier cyber posting rather than facing people. But thats no problem; I think sometimes we all feel a little insecure and feel others are more interesting, more confident or more anything........... As for being embarrassing in a drinking situation!! Gosh, can most of us relate to that!! We are all individuals, all worthwhile and all deserve to be treated with respect whatever we have done in the past.
Big hugs <:)> <:)> <:)>
Sue xx

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Mike
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Mike » 12 Oct 2008 03:38

Might it be considered a dangerous situation if you went to a pub, possibly your local, shortly after you had stopped drinking ? You may have decided to visit the pub to keep in contact with your old drinking buddies, or you may have been invited along to celebrate a birthday. You were always a beer or lager drinker. Now you are holding a glass of fruit juice or Diet Coke. Whatever you have in that glass it is obviously not a proper drink, not a man's drink.

How do you feel about it ? How do your friends feel about it ? You may feel thoroughly fed up that you are not sinking pints of best bitter or amber nectar. Or you may be determined to make sobriety work. But although you may feel that way initially, will you last the whole session ? Even uninfluenced by your friends, might you weaken and decide to join the crowd ? And what about your friends ? Will they take pity on your self imposed exile from all things alcoholic, and try to treat you to your usual tipple ? In my experience they won't. They will respect your decision and not twist your arm to join in the jolly drunken japes. You might make them feel uncomfortable, but after they've had another drink they won't care too much. But you must make an effort to look cheerful, even if you're not. Looking sullen in a pub is incorrect etiquette.

No, the decisions are all down to you, all evening. Either you can hack it or you can't. If you can't, don't go. At AA they say 'stay away from wet places', and that is not bad advice. It doesn't mean you can't go to Wales, but at first it is best to stay away from pubs, for several good reasons. Self protection is the first obvious reason. If you can't trust yourself with a bunch of pissheads, stay away. At first, stay at home where there is no booze, hopefully, or go out to the movies instead. The second good reason is the economic consideration. Soft drinks are ridiculously expensive in pubs. The only inexpensive drink is tap water and lime. Keep your money in your pocket and drink non alcoholic drinks at home.

Lots of people find difficulty in socialising without alcohol in their system. Stop for three difficult months, and then stay stopped for three more, and watch your self confidence grow. You will no longer need a drink to be the life and soul of the party. Check out the joke thread here on BE and learn a couple of rib tickling tales before you set off. Wait till everyone around you is drunk, and then crack the gags. They will laugh at anything after a few drinks, even our jokes, and you will be a star. Either that or you will be forcibly ejected from the premises. It's always a risk.

Mike

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Stephen_A
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Stephen_A » 12 Oct 2008 16:00

This is a bit like icebergs. When someone attends a wet event or goes to a pub having made a resolution not to drink, this declaration and the refusal of at least the initial drink may only be the tip of the iceberg. Ninety percent of any resolution must lie under the surface and this is the unpleasant and distasteful necessary groundwork we must all do. This includes onerous acknowledgment of the problem, facing it, compiling detailed lists of what we want from sobriety, and having grim reflections on what drunkenness has done to us. This is the painful process of owning up, coming clean to ourselves about the issue. All of this is part of the renewal process.

Without all these chores, resolutions are merely superficial, and it is conceivable a person may go to a wet place full of temperate intentions, ostensibly to enjoy the event sober, but in fact is ready to let themselves be tempted. Then he or she may blame the situation saying that the pressure was too much when in fact they allowed themselves to succumb. A little more honesty might even reveal that the person had intended to yield all along. This is a kind of destructive deviousness we commit against ourselves. Much of an alcoholic’s life is made up of different kinds of self-deception anyway; this is one more.

So I couldn't agree more with Mike that going to a bar or a barbecue or any other significantly alcoholic event is something I would strongly discourage anyone who is still at the uncertain stage of sobriety. Having said that, I have read a few accounts on these forums of people who have just quit and gone out with boozers and then stay sober. I feel these stories are exceptions.

As Mike says, you can’t stand around in a pub looking sullen. Nursing a soft drink and looking like a rainy funeral at any social event only serves to encourage individuals who try to cheer people up by pressing drinks upon them. It could indeed be that this is what the miserable looking person intends, once more giving in to external pressure and blaming it for the lapse.

Declining a drink is one of the skills that a recovering alcoholic has to cultivate. And like many of our other competences which wither under the onslaught of alcohol, we have to re-learn it, and do it with the cheery good humour and nonchalance that these events require. And as Mike says, a couple of gags from the joke pages won't do any harm.

Stephen.

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Mike
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Mike » 12 Oct 2008 17:39

Hi Stephen,

It was one of your posts on the 'abstinence' thread that started me thinking about the 'abstainer in the pub' scenario. You implied that the drinkers would usually try to persuade the nervous twitching soul to give in and have a drink. And as you quite rightly say in your post above, if he or she were still in that state, ie nervous and twitching, with little or no underlying resolve, there would be absolutely no immunity from temptation.

I found my friends were embarrassed when I stopped drinking. It must have been such an incongruous sight, the red faced man with the beer belly clutching a glass of diet coke in the locals' bar. A good friend actually took me to one side and said, "For goodness sake, can't you drink Kaliber, or something that at least looks like beer ? ' It wasn't for goodness' sake or for my sake at all, but rather for his sake to spare his discomfort.

So I stopped going to the pub, for my sake, and out of consideration for him and to spare my other friends from further embarrassment. When I do return occasionally now,I drink whatever soft drink I fancy, and everyone is used to the idea. The big difference between now and then is the change in my attitude that time, AA and Bright Eye have collectively conspired to achieve.

I had never thought of the iceberg analogy, but it's a good one, although for us it's the other way around. All that is exposed of us at this time of year in the UK is our heads and hands. It's true than in my case the unexposed part represents at least 90 % of this recovering alcoholic. But for an ex-drinker, the head and hands are the parts that potentially do the damage. Visiting a wet place without months of rigorous mental preparation to stop me picking up a drink would be a recipe for disaster. My personal Titanic, a vessel of hope with all its luxuriously appointed good intentions, would be well and truly sunk without trace. I would be in the icy waters with only fantasies of Kate Winslet to cling on to. Sorry, I got a bit carried away there.

It took months of continuous sobriety to rid myself of the cravings, and to halt those feelings of envy whenever I saw any of my friends or family put a glass of lager to their lips. To all those of you who are still struggling, I should like to say that the struggle pays off, so please stick with it.

All the best, Mike

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kellyojoe
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Re: plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by kellyojoe » 21 Oct 2008 09:43

Excellent words, I can imagine going into a pub at 3 days sober, its hard enought o avoid the stuff in the shops atm!! Im planning ahead, not too far, keeping it in the day...hour..lol. Weird dreams, broken sleep, although I still feel better than if Id drunk.
Success will never be a big step in the future, success is a small step taken just now. ~Jonatan MÃ¥rtensson

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teodora
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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by teodora » 17 Nov 2008 22:05

Dear All,

Thank you for starting this thread. How to plan ahead successful? Every time I go out I have my flash cards and go thinking that it will be just soft drinks and water and then, all the sudden, I order a little wine, and another and another. Go to the toilet, try to read the flash cards but they seem all so pointless. Put them back in my wallet and go back to the table to drink more. As if I am fighting the flash cards and the good on me.

Teodora

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Stephen_A
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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Stephen_A » 18 Nov 2008 08:02

Hi Teodora,
Although it’s usually not a good idea to categorize people, it still remains there are some drinkers like myself and perhaps like you, who should not, ever, under any circumstances, drink. This is because when we do drink it trips a switch. When that happens our personalities divide. The sober aspect of our personality that wrote all the carefully laid plans and notes is bullied into submission and the drunk one takes over.
It would be lovely if people like us could one day return to ‘normal social drinking.’ I have decided though that this is not going to happen to me. I’ve had my fun, so much fun in fact that the price is I can never have that particular enjoyment again.
For the time being what you need to focus on is the fact that there is no such thing as ‘a little wine.’ For me and many others there is no such thing as ‘just a small beer.’ If we have that first one it’s just the first one in an inevitable procession; we’re on the slippery slope to a bender with all the good intentions evaporating.
Plans necessarily involve some discomfort and sacrifice. The first one I’d suggest you do is to go out with a firm resolve not to drink anything at all. You say you ‘…suddenly order a little wine.’ You need to get a very firm grip on this impulse and determinedly remind yourself ‘No. I mustn’t.’

Stephen.

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Liquid Child
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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Liquid Child » 27 Nov 2008 16:23

Hi,

Please just some more advice, I keep on asking I know. I really want to give support but have to sort this out I just read Stevens post and I have to say "I mustn't", I mustn't buy wine tonight.

Explanation is: I've been cutting down to just 3/4 bottle of 15% for the last two nights but was smoking draw so of course thats affected the alcohol detox. The draw is gone and mum has control over 1 bottle to have half and half tonight and tomorrow.

I'm stuck. I really dont want any, especially half a bottle that isn't going to do anything other than frustrate me more so than if I have none, but mum and dad are out tonight and I've got something telling me very strong to sneak out and get another bottle but also just want to chuck this one instead because I know I dont need it or any more and tomorrow will be back to square one and much worse if I give in. The desire for both is so strong and I want this to end so much. I know when it clicks from in the past and I do the right thing it feels so much better and I smile even if suffering. If I get more wine tonight it's just not going to help anything. I dont need it and hate it but cant stop myself but it has happened before so I can do it but right now I'm still planing how and when to sneak out. I know what the answer is, is dont sneak out and chuck the wine I've got left. This is like a mountain tonight. I must be totally truthful and tell you if I get some, I hope I dont because I really dont need any.

Glenn xxx

I'm sorry again for all this crap and not giving any support for weeks on end

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Bela
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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Bela » 27 Nov 2008 16:30

Hi Glenn,

I really haven't introduced myself, so I'll start by saying hi, I am Bela.

Chuck the half . . . that's the first step.

I am not going to tell you do not sneak out, but if you chuck the half maybe that will be a help to you.
At least it will be gone.

Hard-going, I know. Stay on board here for support.
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by qwerty » 27 Nov 2008 17:12

Hi Glenn, just read your post. I Know what you mean when you say 'half a bottle will just be frustrating'. Thing is, you do have a choice, drink or not drink. Either way you'll feel sh*t, but with the second option, you probably won't feel as sh*t in the morning as you would with the first. xx
Liz. xxx.
Oh would some power the gift he gi us...to see ourselves as others see us

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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by DJ1 » 27 Nov 2008 17:16

Hi Glenn,

Again, don't think we have really met before so hello, I am Donna (DJ).

I feel like I will be in a similar situation as you are right now tomorrow. My mum and dad have been taking time off work lately to ensure that I am never on my own and cannot sneak out and buy wine. Tomorrow though they are both going to be out at work and I will be in the same position of "I could sneak out, nobody would know" but of course I will know and I won't be able to stop at just the one either so of course they will know when they come home and find me wasted; it is just not worth it. At the moment I am trying desperately to regain their trust to be able to do things on my own without them worrying I am off sneaking wine. It is extremely difficult and I know tomorrow I will be very fidgetty, but have to find other constructive things to occupy my time.

I agree with Bela, chuck the half away. If you drink it, you will only be more tempted to sneak out and buy more and feel worse tomorrow.

Keep posting.

DJ x
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them"

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Kitty
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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Kitty » 27 Nov 2008 18:12

Glenn,
Only just logged on and saw your post. It is a bloody mountain isn't it. Is this detox something that was discussed with the councellor? I feel like telling you not to drink it but I'm not sure what's going on with you at the moment, has this been a controlled/supervised detox?

Kitty <:)>
"Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough" Billie Holiday

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patty
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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by patty » 27 Nov 2008 18:28

Hi glenn,

I cant really add to whats already been said but you hit the nail on the head saying the 1/2 bottle will only cause you frustration, so try not to drink it. I know its hard but just give it a try. Tip it down the sink!!! Good luck anyway.

Love patty xx <:)>

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Stephen_A
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Re: Plan ahead, be aware of dangerous situations

Post by Stephen_A » 28 Nov 2008 00:50

Hi Glenn,
I can only reinforce what others have said. The greater the distance you can put between you and drink, the longer time between now and your last drink, the better it will be. If you've fixed it in your mind that you want to give it up, and this is your aim, you target, there is no reason to postpone it any further.
Having drink in the home makes it harder. An alcohol-free home means you have to do the mental machinations to decide to have a drink, then put your coat on, find money and make the effort to go out. At any of these junctures it's possible to exercise some self-control ('No, I mustn't...') and come to your senses. When the booze is in your home it makes it double difficult.
Bingo. Then the night's passed and you've got one clear day under your belt and it's onward to the next one.

Stephen.

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