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I Can't Stop... Or Can I?

Posted: 11 Aug 2008 22:55
by Mike

You can't stop. You have tried and it doesn't work. You have a feeling that you should stop, and you have tried in several different ways, but you can't. Did you go to the pub and start off on soft drinks meaning to carry on like that all evening ? What went wrong ? What happened to that promise you made to yourself that you wouldn't open a bottle of wine tonight ? You are already on the second bottle. And you did say you wouldn't go back to the off-licence again today didn't you ?

So what are you going to do ? How are you going to get yourself to stop ? There must be several different options.

You have read through BE and posted. Keep on trying with BE ? Why not ? Have you tried BE counselling ? They say it is very helpful.

Have you asked your doctor about local support services ? You can be referred for NHS or private counselling. Your doctor can prescribe a range of drugs which all help in different ways. There is a drug which can give you a hangover after one drink. There are drugs to stop you getting pleasure from alcohol. (There is something similar to stop you getting pleasure from sex. It's called marriage.) And you can use tranquilisers to help you withdraw from alcohol.

You may find a local alcohol/narcotics drop in centre. You may decide to do this in preference to seeing your doctor as you may consider it to be more anonymous.

And on the subject of anonymity, why not try AA ? It has worked for thousands of alcoholics who are now "sober". All you need to do is turn up for meetings and put £2 in the kitty to cover the costs of tea and biscuits etc.

Or you may need detox. Where will you go ? Which clinic will you choose ? Will it be in the UK or elsewhere ?

Post your problems here and maybe someone can offer you advice. It could be that vital piece of information you need to set you right. Give it a try.


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 12 Aug 2008 13:53
by Mike
Hi again

It's embarrassing to start a thread nobody likes. I'll tell you about me when I couldn't stop. It was over a year ago now. I used to visit a local pub with a friend who knew I shouldn't be drinking. I would drink a soft drink while he did the same to keep me company. When he went home I stayed on at the pub and switched to Stella. Dishonest to him and to myself.

I realised I couldn't stop. I asked friends at AA for advice and was told about a reasonably priced rehab clinic in South Africa. When I called them they said they could arrange to admit me within a few days. But I changed my mind and went to stay with a Muslim friend in Florida instead. He doesn't drink and neither did I for one whole week. When I came home I never restarted. I stayed on medication for a couple of months. I still go to AA meetings.


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 12 Aug 2008 14:15
by byron
hello Mike

I think its a good thread but sometimes threads can just be missed.

I decided to stop in 2001 when I found myself drinking vodka in the afternoons at week-ends. I also started hiding it then. Thats when I realised I may well have a problem. I remember I phoned AA around that time but never went.

I became pregnant so stopped - it is a good motivation. I had nothing until my son was 3 months old. Then I started again, but controlled and not daily - odd wine here and there.

By 2004 the intake had crept back up to 1/4 bottle of Vodka twice a week. Still worried about it but able to justify it was not so much.

in 2005 I had a serious and traumatic event - huge stress and anxiety - I started drinking much more regularly - at least a bottle of wine a night.

By 2006 this had started to creep up with no resolution to stress I was using alcohol medicinally. I also stopped for periods of one or two months at a time but still lapsed back to my medicine when stressed. - I was really worried now - 1/4 bottle of vodka nightly and more at weekends. I went to AA and stopped for three months. Couldnt get to all the meetings and couldnt get my head around the now having power over alcohol. But they were great people and I am grateful to them. Also felt not drinking enough - my problem felt miniscule next to the stories i heard.

through 2007 things were going from bad to worse with increasing depression and stress and anxiety (vicious circle caused by the drinking) and drinking much much more now - up to half a bottle vodka most nights and one bottle often at week-ends. Much more suicidal thoughts now - not coping with the stress in my life which was imense at the time. my only coping mechanism was drinking and I was loosing my grip on my relationship, and life in general.

In Oct 2007 after a huge amount of alcohol one week-end - my OH phoned an ambulance and I was admitted. That was my turning point. I asked for a phychiatric opinion because I thought I must have mental health issues. The phychiatrist said no mental health problems just get rid of the alcohol. I linked up with an alchol outreach center and found a key worker and counseller. I was still drinking but managing to back down to 2004 levels or there abouts. In Feb 2007 I found this site. On the 6th of March 2008 I had my last drink.

Phew.......took a bit of getting there but did in the end.


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 12 Aug 2008 16:08
by Mike
Hi Julie

Thank you so much for sharing on this thread. You have been through a lot over a long period with a fairly sustained effort to kick the habit, which you have finally done with the help of Bright Eye.

You are such a source of inspiration here on the site yourself. You are so knowledgeable about this illness, you always come across directly to newcomers with words of comfort, reassurance and totally appropriate advice. You always seem to have a web site address or two up your sleeve for any and every occasion.

That sort of advice can only come from having been there yourself, by drawing on your own experience, and knowing there is a way out.

Thanks again. Love, Mike x

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 14 Aug 2008 15:06
by Stephen_A
Mike, this is a good thread, it’s much needed and I’m sure it will attract traffic in the future. The thought of ‘I can’t stop’ is a common enough one.

We ask too much of relationships and of life in general. We expect relationships to be perfect instead of what they are, a series of compromises, and life to be variagated tones of happiness. The popularity, if not obsession, with ‘self-help’ books contributes to this in my opinion, as I feel that they encourage a kind of self-deception by dumbing down people's personal issues so that they fit in with some half baked new age claptrap. Little wonder then that we tend to be disappointed much of the time. Faced with this disenchantment, the comfort of drink is potent and to some people irresistible, for while intoxicated we can achieve a frame of mind close the ideal. Alcohol is a way of making life exactly as we want it, or at least produce an illusion of it.

My own ‘I can’t stop’ happened after I started drinking daily. This descent into my personal hell, which sometimes visits again in bad dreams, began with the dangerous precedent of the daily cycle when you drink the day following a session to alleviate the rottenness that the previous session had left you with. I was self employed and could therefore organise the day around boozing. I tried to stop. I really did. I had always been a morning person and on the less bad mornings I would wake up and write hopelessly optimistic promises in a diary that this day was the beginning of sobriety, only to find myself the following night looking at these fulsome exhilarations through an alcoholic haze.

But Freud pointed out the repetition compulsion, even of self-injurious patterns. There is a strange comfort in familiar pain, and so we go to get hammered time and again, because it’s something that we know, a well-worn habitude.

I often used the complaint 'I can't stop' as motivation to continue drinking. Years of quiet struggle slowly brought the thought to the forefront that thinking you are unable to stop is a delusion. It is caused by the predicament one has got oneself into by creating an artificial world devoid of the normal vicissitudes that accompany life, which we should normally face up to each day. The idea of being unable to stop is one of the many pretexts drinkers use as an excuse to surrender themselves to the bottle.

Little by little I empowered myself until I found I could limit it to weekly raising of the beer flag. Then one Sunday I picked up my first drink of the day. It turned out to be the one after my last drink because I didn't even open it.


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 14 Aug 2008 16:34
by Amber
Stephen, what a thoroughly thought provoking and interesting post. You are very right,we do ask too much from life,some much more than others.I have always been an idealist and even in relationships,I have found that if the man has not fitted in with what I wished to be my so called soul mate,then it would be doomed.31 years old and still alone,I think it maybe time to wake up to myself.Life doesnt fit into neat boxes that we can file away and feel safe with.It is unpredictable and painful.But instead of shying away from it with a glass full,we should embrace it.What joy would we receive if everything in life went swimmingly all the time.If things were predictable and safe,it would become tiresome and not present us with the challenges we so need to grow into better people.
Thankyou for posting,your words have certainly hit home with me <:)>

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 16 Aug 2008 08:39
by C F
Its interesting, Julie, where you say you started hiding your drinking. I was hiding my drinking AND the bottles.

Sometimes I had already had 2 glasses of wine before my husband came in from work at 5.30. He didnt seem to realise because 2 glasses wasn't really much for me and I could 'handle it', so to speak.

I found an empty bottle in a bag I no longer use the other day, another in the wardrobe and a couple in the drinks cabinet.

Ive just posted the newsflash on another thread that, last night, I went to the pub and had two bottles of J20!!

2 days now without drink. Im feeling ok but I do still have that, 'oh, maybe I can just have the one....'

Canary Fairy x

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 17 Aug 2008 22:11
by byron
Hello Canary

Love your avatar :D . I hid my quarter and half vodka bottles in my underwear draw and I boasted on the 'positive things I notice without alcohol' that I could go in that draw and now pull out what ever I liked without fear of a bottle clattering to the floor.

I have found empties in the christmas tree box, various draws, cleaning cupboard and the bag where I store christmas baubles (must have been a bad Christmas :oops: ).

I dont find any now :D


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 18 Aug 2008 07:46
by C F
Hi Julie

Hope you had a good weekend in London. Is your neck better? I hope so <:)>

Hiding bottles isn't good, is it? I found another one yesterday stashed away in the cupboard where I keep all my papers :shock: My ex-husband has found bottles in the past and I was embarrassed.

Well Im 4 days on now. Its going so slow but the weekend has to be harder than workdays. Thats what Im thinking anyway!

Take care and have a good week <:)>

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 18 Aug 2008 09:09
by byron
Hi Canary

Brill on 4 Days. I do think week-ends are a big trigger so brill for getting through this one. I found the more I was able to get through my trigger times the less of a trigger they became until eventually there is no trigger. which is a lovely feeling.

Yorkshire week-ends are still a trigger for me which I discovered this week-end but I know that given time that will also be beaten.

Isnt is just awfully embarassing when OH presents you with an empty bottle he just found. I have gone through that. When I moved back into my own flat last year following a period of refurbishment I was horrified when I kept finding empty vodka bottles - All I could think was what OH would have thought if he saw just how many I found. And where I found them. I had visions of the christmas tree being put up decorated with empty voddie bottles :oops: :oops: :lol: - I can laugh now but its really not funny.

The problem is by the time I came to hiding the empty I was past caring where I hid it and naturally the following day would not remember where I put it in any event - so they collected up in the most bizzar places :oops:

Dont ask me why I didnt just use the bin - I think I was afraid he would see them or hear them.


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 20 Aug 2008 13:08
by Jemima
I love this thread, Mike. I had to smile at the stories of finding empties in weird places, and here i was thinking i was the only one sad enough to had done that!

[quote Jaycee]I always knew I could stop drinking because I did stop for many years. What I did was use a different escape mechanism instead, so I wasn't stopping really ... just using a different substance to run away from life. In the end I had to get help to learn how to live my life in the real world without constantly feeling the need to escape. Being here on the forum got me a long way towards sobriety, but sometimes you need to address some fundamental stuff in your life so you can start to build on a firmer foundation. I am doing this through counselling.[/quote]

I really agree with you Jaycee. I am going to counselling, not for alcohol, but for just being able to cope with life and find some self esteem - because i don't want to replace alcohol with something else just to escape.

Thanks again, Jem

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 21 Aug 2008 10:56
by Sunshinespirit
I think people should do what works for them, whatever that might be. I went to AA for six years on and off, trying to 'get it' and felt entirely brainwashed at the end. I felt it was a religous cult and sought escape. The problem was that once their slogans and drink and die philosophy is ingrained, it is very hard to remove it. That process took two years :shock: There parting shot to me was 'you'll be back on your hands and knees when you've suffered enough! God forbid I ever have to endure that.

I found this site this morning and love the fact is is NON AA based. Its refreshing to see

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 22 Aug 2008 18:49
by Jan
This has been copied from an email I received. I thought it might be motivational for one of you lovely people. I will take no credit or abuse for it's message! Hugs to all, Jan

A common question many people want to know is why they lose their motivation so fast... they'll set a really juicy goal that, if they achieved it, it would make a giant difference in many parts of their life.

Major benefits. Health, relationships, esteem, career, mental, education, financial, new stuff, etc.

But usually within a day, or a week, a month or a few months, it's over.

The dream shattered... again.

And people want to know why...

...Why can't they end a bad habit and start a good one even when it would mean so much to them if they did.

The real answer is that there are potentially hundreds of reasons for each person, but here are a few that stand out:

1-- Other people
Since other people often don't give a hoot about your goals or dreams, people you know will often invite you to go places and do things that are in direct opposition to your goal.

And if it's attractive enough, you do it... especially if they push and beg and plead and shame you and give you every reason why you should do the thing you promised yourself you would not do.

"What's the matter, don't like my cooking?" Or, "We never see each other. Just stay a while longer."

And so you can't let them down. You cave. And it's over... and then you beat yourself up about your failing to make sure you know how lame you are, making you that much less likely to ever even set that goal again in your life.

You must be able to cultivate a bit of selfishness in order to stay on track. When your own wishes become as important as others, you can finally start achieving some major success in life.

2-- Distractions
Email, TV, the sofa, the bed, the party, the project you forgot about... distractions of all types.

There are thousands of attractive temptations that can take your mind off your goals. But think about this...
there are a lot of people who can say no to them in order to stay on track. So if it is possible for them, it's possible for you.

3-- Impotent goals
If you are not clear on what you want, when you want it, how you want it and how you will get it, it's not a real goal, just a fantasy. You need to be able to see it, feel it and taste it. Again, go back in your mind and think... whenever you got what you wanted in your life, you had a clear picture in your mind what it and you would look and feel like after you got your goal.

4-- Reluctance to ask
If intelligence and hard work were the only ingredients to high level success in most areas of life, there would be a lot more getting done in the world. But the average person goes it alone. And when they see that they can't do it on their own, game over. Quitting time. But the most successful people in every part of life are at the top because they can get other people interested in helping them.

5-- No faith
When you don't believe you can achieve some objective, why would you bother setting a goal and attempting to achieve it? Answer: You wouldn't. Confidence in yourself, in others and in the situation are critical.

Another factor is seeing problems as huge in your mind.
This kills motivation like few other things. In fact, this is one of the core mental failure patterns. A key skill is to be able to mentally shrink the size of problems and represent them in your mind as nothing bigger than a speck. Do this and you'll be able to reach speeds that you never dreamed possible.

Guilt is a swift motivation killer. When you can't let go of feeling guilty over your success when others, "just as worthy as you" don't have what you do, self-sabotage is the only answer. You must be able to see yourself as worthy and be able to let go of guilt over what you've earned (or lucked into).

Comfort is a dagger to motivation. If you are too much a creature of habit, anything outside the normal routine is going to be rejected. Falling in love with change is the only way to stop this motivation stopper.

As mentioned above, inability to keep your mind on why you are doing a thing is probably the number one killer of motivation.

Because desire, the basic emotion of "WANT" is the first and most important mental habit you could have in your pursuit of any goal and of a better life.

Desire stands above all else.

Because when you want something bad enough, it almost doesn't matter what you lack. When your desire is strong enough, in the face of all adversity, you'll find a way.

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 22 Aug 2008 19:29
by Jan
....drink does nothing for me unless I can get rat arsed.

How very true. One glass of wine is useless - one pint just whets the appetite for more. I don't drink for the enjoyment, I drink to get drunk, drunk as a skunk plastered, pie-eyed, pickled.

But no more! Day 27 and cruising through it. I'll catch you up soon HH.
<:)> `

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 23 Aug 2008 13:37
by Jan
Hello Darcy, Jaycee and HH,

Darcy, thanks for asking. My back is healing nicely. It may suprise you to learn that I am glad it has happened. It has bought me time to sort out my priorities, my business etc - I have stepped off the merry-go-round for a while. It has given me the kick to make me stop drinking. It has made me realise how valuable and how nice my friends are; how kind people are. In turn, it has made me a nicer person.

Also, having been off the sauce for 4 weeks, I am quite amazed at how different I look. I have lost weight for starters - but my face is different too. I used to avoid the mirror because every time I glanced or caught sight of myself I saw my mother - sometimes even my grandma. God I looked rough.

But now, I am not afraid of the mirror. I think I may be turning into a Lulu look alike. I have even started experimenting with make up. My hair is longer than it has ever been and its still in good condition. In the olden days it used to get very dry and snap off which is why I always had it cropped - I kid you not. I'm turning into quite a pretty person - and that is just amazing!

HH and Jaycee,
Yes this site is brilliant and I am proud to be a part of it. If you were to tell a stranger about a support forum for alcoholics - they would think of it as grey and dingy, sad and pathetic. But it is nothing like that at all. People have a stereotypical idea of an alcoholic as the bloke on the bench with the paper bag - but look at us - all smart, intelligent, professional people, blowing that stereotype out of the water. The support here is fantastic. When I was in hospital I got as much support from you peeps as I did in 'real life'.

But hey, this is real life; real people and real emotions. I have met some of you and am looking forward to meeting more of you lovely people.

Where would we be without each other? I think we would all still be trying to go it alone. We would still be ashamed, embarrassed and drunk. We would still all be crying into our beer.

But its not like that now. We are all helping each other. We are learning so much from each other. We are learning not to be ashamed - but to stand up and face the Evil Alcohol Fairy. We are learning cookery tips from delicious Duane. We are getting motivated to get down to the gym, go swimming. We help each other in so many ways.

I repeat that I am proud to be a part of this. I am proud that I am no longer drinking and not afraid to confess that I would still be crying into my beer if you guys weren't here.

It's not like me to get mushy - so forget everything I said above! I'll get back to winding up Anna and flirting with Duane!

Group Hugs to one and all..

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 24 Aug 2008 00:13
by Stephen_A
Hi Jan,
Congratulations on day 27...28..28 You're putting a bit of history behind you now. Not only can you celebrate the anniversaries of the weeks, but soon you'll be doing so for the months. I've found that this makes you even stronger, and your post shows every indication that you are getting stronger by the day.

''The bloke on the park bench with a paper bag'...? Nah. That was never me. I was the bloke under the park bench.


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 24 Aug 2008 01:34
by Jan
Thank you HH and Stephen,

You are right - it gets better every day.

Stephen, do you like living in Hong Kong? Are you having a monsoon at the moment? I know the flights in and out are a bit dodgy at the moment. I know these things.... most odd.

Goodnight one and all.

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 24 Aug 2008 11:08
by Stephen_A
Hi Jan,
Yes I love living in Hong Kong; at least most of the time. There is a huge amount of energy, it's truly multicultural and you can walk around anywhere at any time in complete safety. You're right. There was a typhoon on Friday and many flights were cancelled. It was a bit stressed at the airport. Do you have friends or relatives out here?


Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 24 Aug 2008 12:09
by queenie
hi peeps

i really like this thread. what you have all written is truly inspirational. i am not doing so well at the moment and what hh and jan have written about the mirror is true for me - a fat old lush stares back. i used to be a bit of a looker but no longer, and most of it is because of booze rather than age. i have a lot of motivations to getting sorted out - particularly my husband's op coming up soon - but somehow i am just rubbish at the moment. i like it when i don't drink - i look better, feel better and sleep better but somehow i am back in pit of it all again.

but unlike previous times i am confident that with the support and help of you folks here on bright eye i will be able to come back from it and get back on track. it is brilliant to hear people's stories of how they have kicked it or got it under control. i just need to find that key again. :? :?

Re: I can't stop.

Posted: 24 Aug 2008 13:22
by Jan
G'morning Queenie,
Would you like more inspiration?
Last night I walked down into the town to meet some friends for supper. They didn't recognise me! The lady in the group said that she saw an elegant woman with the poise of a ballerina walking towards them, and that her first thought was that she would like to be this woman's friend. She saw confidence and poise. (Walking with a bad back makes me pull my shoulders back, my hips forward and my multiple bellies pulled in).

They didn't recognise me until I said hello - and then their faces were quite literally gobsmacked. All through the meal they talked about how I had lost 10 years, lost weight, gained grace. They had not seen me for all of two months - but the changes are radical.

One of the party there and then decided that he would give up drinking. He wanted some of this new-found beauty and confidence. It has certainly been a boost to my ego - but whether or not that is a good thing remains to be seen!

Keep trying Queenie. It's worth it. <:)>