1. #5281

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    How right you are Kevin. I so get 'not showing up' because I'd be happily toasted at home. And what about, someone might smell the residue on me so I better just hang out alone? Well, day 7 is here and I'm now starting a wind-up to be a little more social. I've been laying low, taking my time, slowing down. People have been calling inviting me out (to do healthy things, as they always have) and it's coming on time to participate. On my first sober day I stopped at my friend's coffeeshop to say hi. I struck up a conversation with a very pleasant woman who I couldn't read very well. Ended up that the three of us had dinner at a place with no alcohol then she and I departed together so I could deliver her to her car. I only mentioned that I'm reading "The Highly Sensitive Person" and that opened up a whole new dialog. It ends up she has a masters in psychology and is a spiritual healer. We shared stories. We drove to the waterfalls and she gave me a Reiki treatment. The way cool thing is that she is traveling through town and trying to figure out if she wants to stay here. Since I know so many people, I was able to guide her to like-minded sources. She is now saying that I was the catalyst to opening up her world here in our community. She's been out more in the last six days than I have in the last six months! So, to make this long story short...had I been drinking I would never have had that experience. Tomorrow I'm going to meet her in town and hit the Farmer's Market.

    And Paul, yes, I for sure have the tendency to think everyone knows what guilt, shame, etc. thoughts are in 'my' head. I've made such a big deal out of my behavior that I think people are having mind-conversation with me. Being calmer now, I don't feel any need to share excuses or offer information that juggles around in my brain. Just playing my cards a little closer, giving simple answers and leaving it at that.

    Hi Julie, Priscilla, CeeCee, Beth, Sylvane and all others! I'm so glad we are all here together.

    Off to make some geranium/rose lotion. The directions are confusing enough, thank god I'm not drunk :-)

    BTW - I just saw a great posting on Facebook by Wayne Dyer..."You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."

  2. #5282
    Eric's Avatar
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    ww43, memory problems and diminished brain function were the main motivators for my getting sober. I used to have a very good memory and could recall specific footnotes by number when discussing articles and reports. In the end, I might as well have been reading a foreign language because nothing would stick in my brain. Moreover, the drinking made me feel miserable and depressed, easily angered, and basically emotionally immature. That was my bottom. Physically, I was more or less fine except for some extra weight (even though I am sure my insides were taking quite a beating). When I cut out the drinking within the first 30 days my brain was functioning much better; I could remember what I read again. Very importantly, my ability to make good decisions and react like a calm, mature adult greatly improved. I love being sober now!

  3. #5283

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    Hello everyone. I made it through the eve of my 7th day but barely. After feeling positive and energetic about quitting all week, today was awful. Irritable, exhausted, sweating, I even looked swollen and just BLAH. I realize I'm going to crave alcohol for awhile, but since early this afternoon I seem to be having more physical symptoms. Is it possible that the alcohol is just now leaving my system? I'll be glad if I can ever offer someone else advice instead of being so in need of it all the time. Finally putting an end to this day but I'll check in first thing.

  4. #5284
    Eric's Avatar
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    CeeCee, your body will be going through some profound changes after you quit. The severity and duration will depend upon your own physical makeup and the quantities and duration of your drinking career. Feeling tired and irritable are extremely common as your body adjusts. Usually, the symptoms get better after a few weeks, but some can linger for years. For example, alcoholic induced insomnia can still be present two years after achieving sobriety. However, the lack of alcohol creates a sense of peace that makes it much easier to accept and deal with these issues. One thing I have found particularly helpful is physical exercise, this can really help defuse anger, irritability, restlessness, cravings, etc. It only takes a few minutes (5-10) to achieve that effect.

  5. #5285
    Midwest Sue's Avatar
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    CeeCee, you should expect ups and downs in this journey. I had to learn to just let the down times be what they were. Also, women in general have more natural mood/physical fluctuations and it may be hard to determine the root cause for the bad feelings. Be good to yourself, breathe deeply, allow the feelings in, don't overanalyze, get lots of sleep. Know that it will pass and life will improve in so many ways if you hang in there.

  6. #5286

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    Hey everyone, I just wanted to pass this along. I just discovered this concept today and have been reading what I can find about it, it is called Post Acute Withdrawal or PAWS. It explains so much of what we are going through and I think it would be very helpful to check it out. Here is a great article I just found about it: http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org...withdrawal.htm and here is an excellent quote from it:

    "There are two stages of withdrawal. The first stage is the acute stage, which usually lasts at most a few weeks. During this stage, you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms. But every drug is different, and every person is different.

    The second stage of withdrawal is called the Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). During this stage you'll have fewer physical symptoms, but more emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

    Post-acute withdrawal occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal. As your brain improves the levels of your brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium causing post-acute withdrawal symptoms. "

    Makes sense to me. Google that term when you get a chance and check out that article at the link above.
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds. It is something one creates."
    -- Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist

  7. #5287

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    Day 4. And that is big this time around since I have been unable to string even 2 days together for way way way too long. I'm hoping that my brain functioning improves ... also, not looking like crap and feeling like crap. It has been easier with my 'buddy' gone and I need to find ways to deal with the buddy-syndrome. I cave too easily and she doesn't realize exactly how bad my drinking really is (you know the scenario - drink before you go out, drink while you are out, drink when you get home ... except, most people think the drinking is only while you are out. Sigh. God, how tiring.) So far, so good - I'm not complacent, no way.

  8. #5288
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    Thanks for the link, Ken. I remember when I quit smoking, that there were lists of the effects/benefits listed by minute, hour, day, week, month, and year. Too bad there isn't one of these for drinking. My pet interest is how long-term alcohol abuse affects the endocrine system, espcially thyroid. The most illustrative effect, though, is the NIH graphic showing the differences between normal, Alzheimers, and alcoholic brains (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publicatio...images/300.jpg). You know you are an alcoholic if you look at that image and STILL think that drinking might be worth it! :-)

  9. #5289
    Beth's Avatar
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    Good morning all, just checking in. The word for today......Relax. Something I know I can't and don't do. Alcohol was my relaxation and now I must find other alternatives. Ken, great articles. You have diagnosed me and it didn't cost me a thing! What do I owe you? PAWS is me to a T. This has been my whole adult life. The articles give me hope that I can now begin to change and find the life to live happy. I am determined to find ways to enjoy relaxing without the alcohol.
    Eric, great visual and great statement about continuing to drink after seeing that.
    Ww43, thank you for the encouragement. It feels good. Just remember I started this journey in January. It has taken me that long to find the tools I needed. I am always here to go another 30 days with you....Are we starting day 4?
    Priscilla, I agree to at least count the first 30 days. You need to really commit. I not only found that my mind was complete mush but the depression seriously took control of me. Alcohol was/ is the leading contributor for that depression.
    Kevin, I am so happy for you....and your beautiful kids. That is a tremendous success and I am sure wasn't that easy....now reward yourself with some relaxation.....not alcohol meditate or have your wife give you a massage
    Love and Peace to you all
    Last edited by Beth; 05-30-2012 at 03:33 AM.

  10. #5290

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    Eric, Miwest Sue, Ken1, ww43, Mel, and each and every soul on this forum, your presence in my life is so important right now. I got up at 5:30, read your posts, then started researching PAWS. Very good information. I needed to hear that a relapse would alter, okay erase, the progress my brain is trying make in straightening out its chemistry. That it may take awhile, but that the peace I'll quickly gain if I don't drink will make it easier to deal with. Good find Ken1. I'm watching a tropical storm spin closer and closer on the radar, a major trigger for me thanks to Jimmy Buffet I guess. Usually while every one else is stocking up on bread and batteries I'm making a run for chaser. I'm riding this one out dry though. Peace.

  11. #5291
    Midwest Sue's Avatar
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    After reading about PAWS, I realize why keeping a journal in the early weeks was so important to me.
    1. It gave me a place to put all of my random feelings
    2. It helped me organize my scattered brain. I would use it to remind myself of the simplest things that I knew I would forget. What I did today, what I need to do, things I need to buy, how much money I spent, what I ate, etc. It kept me grounded in reality when years of habitual behavior was unravelling.

    I rarely use it now, but it was a lifeline for me. My advice to those starting out: grab a simple notebook that you can keep with you all the time, and start writing.

  12. #5292
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth View Post
    Good morning all, just checking in. The word for today......Relax. Something I know I can't and don't do. Alcohol was my relaxation and now I must find other alternatives. Ken, great articles. You have diagnosed me and it didn't cost me a thing! What do I owe you? PAWS is me to a T. This has been my whole adult life. The articles give me hope that I can now begin to change and find the life to live happy. I am determined to find ways to enjoy relaxing without the alcohol.
    Eric, great visual and great statement about continuing to drink after seeing that.
    Ww43, thank you for the encouragement. It feels good. Just remember I started this journey in January. It has taken me that long to find the tools I needed. I am always here to go another 30 days with you....Are we starting day 4?
    Priscilla, I agree to at least count the first 30 days. You need to really commit. I not only found that my mind was complete mush but the depression seriously took control of me. Alcohol was/ is the leading contributor for that depression.
    Kevin, I am so happy for you....and your beautiful kids. That is a tremendous success and I am sure wasn't that easy....now reward yourself with some relaxation.....not alcohol meditate or have your wife give you a massage
    Love and Peace to you all
    Thanks Beth I really appreciate that. I don't have time to post alot right now but I do want to say that for the last 5 to 10 years I honestly thought I suffered from clinical depression,..and/or anxiety disorder etc. I went to my Dr. a few times about it, but just thought it was something I was going to have to deal with for life. It wasn't just awful, blatent, isolating depression,..but just an inability to experience any joy and happiness doing the normal things in life that any "normal" person would love and enjoy,..I always felt like I had to fake it and trudge on. That's the big lie/trick that alcohol plays,...it's a jealous lover and doesn't like competition of any kind. I was perscribed medication of course and took it regularly,..while still continuing to drink as always,..against the advice of the Dr. and the warnings on the side of the bottle. Meds of course didn't help much and probably made it worse in alot of ways. It's hard to explain but since I quit drinking in early Dec. 2011,..any depression has slowly gone away and now doesn't exist. I only take about 1/3 of the pill I've taken for years (Lexapro) and problably wont' take it much longer,...I don't need it. The fact is, I never did,..my depression was never really there,..it was self-induced from drinking and the guilt and grind that is alcoholism. I've thought alot about this recently,..and I honestly wonder how many of us (and society in general) are caught up in this same lie/cycle. It's like a dog chasing it's tale. Does this speak to anyone else?
    Last edited by kevin2; 05-30-2012 at 09:11 AM.

  13. #5293

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    Hi all! Day 8 here. On my way out the door to the Farmers Market and trying real hard to stay focused and not get drawn off to doing this and that before I go. That's been a habit of mine. I get sidetracked and then stress because I'm running late. So a quick note to wish you all well. We can do this! Kevin, I have the same issue with the anxiety and depression. Now that I'm not drinking I'm gaining the ability to not 'think ahead' of all the things to be done during the day (errands, stops, running into people). My mind already has me at 5:30 wondering if I should go to my meditation group. Those are the things that trip me up. I like to just go with the flow, that's what works best for me otherwise I can get into trouble. So, easy does it, right? I have an appointment with my doctor next month to renew my Zoloft prescription (I've been taking 25 mg for the last 15 years). I'm going to think on that one, since I'm not drinking and keeping a more peaceful lifestyle, well, maybe I'm ready to come off the meds. I'll keep check and see how I'm feeling. I definitely know this time to not go cold turkey though. It was a mess the last time I tried that. Talk about fried, unlinear brain scramble!
    Wash those sheets, Priscilla! I like that idea. I do the same thing and sprinkle essential oil on my pillow! Yesterday I found myself getting irritated at the blowing wind. I paused, thought better of it and decided to sit out in it and visualize it blowing my past regrets off of me.
    Gotta run, cyber hugs to everyone!

  14. #5294

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    Day 5, here we go. I got up this morning and went to the gym - I'm feeling really achy and bloated. Which helps me stay mindful about why I/we do not-should not-will not drink. Good luck, Priscilla with the end of term - that is always a bad bad time for me, I make excuses that I 'neeeeed' to drink to get through it and, what would you think really happens - it is usually a mess and a half. There are a lot of goodbyes happening now with my friends and so another 'party' at a local bar. I'm pretty good about being able to say no (or, at least, that was true in the past) and this place has awesome food. So, I'm thinking special ginger ale with a slice of lime and a wood-fired pizza ... bacon, apple and brie?

  15. #5295
    Midwest Sue's Avatar
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    Kevin,
    Your post about depression speaks loudly to me.
    I've been on 20 mg daily of fluoxetine (Prozac) for over 10 years. Yep, taking it while drinking, against medical advice, since drinking is a depressant and basically cancels out the meds.

    I've also wondered if it's time now to stop the medication. I won't do it cold turkey, or course, but I have an annual physical scheduled in a few weeks. I never told my doctor how much I drank. She thought I was the model of moderation in all things based on what I told her. I also never followed up with a complete blood workup because I was afraid to find out how my drinking affected my health. Better to keep my head in the sand.

    At my upcoming visit I'll let her know how much better I feel without alcohol and perhaps make a plan for tapering off the meds. I am now anxious to know how all my blood tests come out, so I'll go in for a blood draw prior to the appointment so we can finally talk about my health from an honest and informed place.

  16. #5296

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    You got it Sue! Same story here. My counselor said to go see my doc and be honest about the drinking. How can I get better if I'm not truthful? Thanks for the advice on bloodwork too!
    Mel, your meal sounds awesome...woodfired pizza. Yum! Note to self: Must remember to eat and drink lots of water. I'm going to pick up some Volcano lemon juice to add to my water for some good detox.
    Just read a short daily quip from a book I've had hanging around for years... "Each Day A New Beginning" - Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey. It's a Hazelden publication (sorry guys, but it can apply to you too).
    Alright, really out the door. I managed to get myself ready without too much anxiety (what a chore!) and am running ahead of schedule. Wahooo!

  17. #5297
    Midwest Sue's Avatar
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    Oh - the other reason I never went in for bloodwork? You have to fast, including no alcohol, for 12 hours prior. "Stop drinking at 9 pm? I don't think so." Sheesh.

  18. #5298
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    WW43,..I'd bet we would all be shocked at how common this is with those of us here,..and all over the place really, it seems like depression has become the new "epidemic" and the treatment of it is a gold-mine for the drug manufacturers,..and the Dr.s (most) will perscribe them like Skittles. Not to downplay depression at all,..it's VERY real, or the new medications as I know several people who really benifit from them. I was guilty,..as I'm sure tons of people are,..of mistaking the early and then later stages of alcoholism and the guilt, stress, anxiety etc that comes with it.,..with depression, rather than realizing I was causing it myself with drinking and it was snowballing day after day. It's crazy and it creeps up on you so slowly you don't even realize it's happening.

  19. #5299
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    hello friends.... hope everyone is getting/got through hump day this week... sounds like a few of us had real struggles over the long weekend. i sure did... not really equipped to be sober then.. but i can't wait to get home tonite, drink lots of water, play with crazy dogs and crash with a good book... so i'm feeling fine about making it through to Friday.

    the recent discussion on depression is quite interesting... i too medicated using Lexapro... finally quit after a couple of years because it was expensive and didn't seem to do anything but, hey, i don't have a leg to stand on as that extra cash could go you-know-where.. and anyway it wasn't wise to mix it with alcohol.... i'm just wondering if there are more holistic ways to manage depression.... by the way, read an interesting book last year that made a case for not always being happy or striving to be... it was very interesting and made me realize that there is a deeper happiness, or peace if you will, in the thoughtful observance of the world without expecting it to make one happy... it's not to make light of depression at all because it can be debilitating, but to recognize that there is more to a contemplative life that a constant happy state.. i may be be babbling here... it just puts me in the "here and now" mindset. no regret or fretting over the past. no worry about the future. awake at the wheel... man, that is difficult.

    Kevin2, what a great story.. very inspiring as you explained how much you could do when you weren't burdened by alcohol.... i was thinking of that the other day and had a fond memory of something i did as a teenager and prior to drinking. wow, there were good times in sobriety if i just wade through the the fog in between then and now. then, oddly, i watched my dogs act happy and realize they seem fine without anything extra. dogs rock. unconditional love defined. and talk about here and now - i don't think they have any concept of past and future.

    for my early sobriety friends, say less than a week, do you guys feel really tired at the end of the day..? i sure do... i run about 4 days a week, cycle on weekends, and stay quite active but when i string together about 4 days clean the fatigue really sets in...of course, it does after drinking as well... i just plod my way through a long run and wonder where the energy went.. maybe this is a withdrawl symptom of sorts... not to mention waking up at night soaking wet, etc..... i was also reading some liver disease symptoms today at lunch and a few of those gave me a shudder. like some of you have said, i'm too scared/stubborn to take the next step, figuring if i can just stop drinking it will right itself. yet, i'm not so sure....

    off to close out the workday and head home...have a good evening and friends across oceans i hope you are sleeping/slept well...kip

  20. #5300

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    If you are feeling rundown, you might want to consider supplements. I know drinking depletes B vitamins, vitamin D and others; you can always have your doctor test you and see what they recommend. At a minimum you might want to consider a good multivitamin and cleaning up your diet. I am not an MD so please do your own research. I agree with John, you might feel run down for up to a month. According to the PAWS info, the symptoms may come and go for up to two years.

    Priscilla, hope you ace your test tonight!

    Kevin, I'm with you in that Dr's over prescribe anti-depressants. My doctor tried to talk me into taking them to help with my blood pressure! I told him I only have high blood pressure when they make me sit in that tiny room with no window or air for an hour and a half waiting on him. Here's something to think about: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/Development.../ucm114848.htm
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds. It is something one creates."
    -- Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist

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