Welcome to this wonderful forum Grad and Olivia. I'm on Day 51 now. I drank almost every day for the last 8 years and fairly heavily since my late twenties. I'm 43 now. Sometimes I've drunk amounts that would kill others, on one occasion comatose in hospital. Had enough, found this site, and although I cant say I havent looked back, I've coped, good days, bad days, still sober, life is so much better.
Keep posting and the stories and encouragement of others will help you.
Eric, sorry to hear that, its bloody hard to stop, I know. Can you plan different things to do when its your usual time to start drinking? Go to a movie or something, then get to bed? I did that at the beginning and it really helped so I didnt have that long evening time thinking about it, trying to fill the emptiness with drink. Didn't the evening's fly by! I still think about alcohol loads and loads but as I've gained more days I feel more powerful and I have a pause and think button now which I didnt before. Think about how you felt when you were playing with your kids sober as your incentive, you could have that feeling always, just being there for them. Try to plan out the next 3 days so you've filled them with non-drinking activities. Make tomorrow Day 1 and work towards getting through those 3 days first. Are you at work most of the day?
Only you know how much you need to do this. If you need help from your wife or others, can you ask them directly for it?? Why do you think you are having trouble stringing a few days together?? Is it the detox process is too severe? Do you think you will need medical supervision to get through it? If that is not an option, then perhaps you should make a plan to slowly wean yourself off, before you go cold turkey. I don't know anything about how to do that, but I think a few folks on here did that so detox wouldn't be so bad when they finally started day one. One thing that helped me was to really look at it as a challenge between the real me and devil me. My competitive nature kicked in and I just wasn't going to let it win. I know that sounds corny, but it worked for me for some reason. I am using same strategy for exercise challenge..
Just don't get discouraged..it is just a complex challenge and you just need the right key/solution for you. Keep posting. I think that helps too to see your thoughts down in black and white.
We are here for you!
Mairianna and Casey.... Day 51..it has such a nice ring to it.. I don't think I've ever been sober this long before. Wow. It feels good.
Keep your head up Eric,...I know how you feel. Sometimes I just wish someone would step in and tell me "you have to quit,..you have no choice". My wife is really the only person in my life that could possibly do this,..but she drinks quite a bit herself and would not want to be a hypocrite,...plus it might force her to look in the mirror. Obviously I don't know you or much about your situation. Are you in any position to go to some sort of week long treatment center? Somewhere where you could check yourself in,...somewhere comfortable and stress free, where you could be totally away from alcohol for a while? I don't have any experience with this, but I often think to myself...."if I could just go somewhere and GET AWAY from it...etc." I've just not been able to completely make up my mind to quit, and to take the drastic/neccessary steps. If you have, then this would be my advice to you if you are able to do it.
Originally Posted by Eric
Good morning all,
I started reading "beyond the influence" as somebody on this forum had mentioned it a while back. Very informative book that makes a very strong case that alcoholism is a neurological/physiological/hereditary disease. A lot of what they write I clearly can identify with when I was drinking and also now during the post-drinking recovery process.
Anyways, 6 weeks today since my last drunk and very grateful to be sober. I am now getting a sneak preview of the benefits of sobriety...I can't wait to see the whole movie !
I still have brain fog going on but the physical fatique is very minimal now. Still have ups and downs but the "REAL" sober me is clearly taking root.
I am for the first time in years facing some personal issues head on now instead of ignoring them or pretending they don't exist by drowning them out with beer.
I still got a long way to go but I am feeling a little more hopeful as each sober day passes by.
Hang in there gang and stay sober and if you slip up never give up trying to quit.
Regina = you are right it is a new season. Still so hard for me to let go past memories/ seasons which are very strong in my mind. I lost a close lover and her kids, pets and some close family of my own over the few years. Some was part to drinking but the problems didnt start that way. I was escalating them with trying to drown them. That is why now Im just doing a day by day. I will commit to 30 soon but Im trying to adjust to getting the old habits out of the way without overwhelming myself. Probably not the best Idea but its what my mind is allowing me to do today without so much bargaining. By the why Dragonfly I have read the 30 day exercise try and even thought im not sure I want to start posting on that I do walk, bike and train in a home gym daily..(with the exception of the weekends. Itís the only way I can get tired enough to sleep but also keeps my mind from driving me crazy thinking personal issues and what else I could be doing about them the wrong way.
Good morning everyone!
First congrats to Vic! Keep it up! It is great to read about your success and it just motivates me (and probably others that read this!) to hang in there!
Again I would like to thank everyone that has welcomed me to the forum! It really does help to come here and write some thoughts. I have been dealing with the guilt of what I said and what I have done while drunk. It is so hard to push past that. Even after I have talked with family and been forgiven. It is my motivation to not drink. My relationships with family and friends is the most important to me! It is just one day at a time and working hard to grab that bottle!
Kevin - Just saw your post as I was typing mine. I see a lot of my old ways of thinking in them. If I may I would like to share my pov on a couple of your points.
1.Sometimes I just wish someone would step in and tell me you have to quit,..you have no choice".
I used to think that all the time until I realized I had to be that "someone". Nobody can save me except myself, I have to be my own lifesaver.
2."I've just not been able to completely make up my mind to quit, and to take the drastic/neccessary steps."
Again I couldn't decide if I wanted to be drunk or sober from day to day. I finally made up my mind that sober was the only way to go for me. My disease had progressed too much and the only way I could live life to the max and start feeling inner peace was through not drinking. I had to finally decide and I did....Keep in mind for me it's a daily renewal to remember that choice.
I have confidence in you and others that when you make up your mind you can succeed.
We all have our own timeline to quit unless we wait too long then death decides for us.
Thanks so much for that Vic,...and I KNOW you are exactly right. That's what is so crazy about this thing,...I absolutly know you are right, and know that it would be right for me also. I've just yet to be able to come to that point of "surrender" that Patrick talks so much about in his articles. I've been close a few times,....then didn't drink for a few days,..then would feel so good that I would start thinking "what was I so worried about??...I don't have a problem"...then start all over again. You inspire me with your resolve, and your attitude towards this fight. I know it's still tough for you but you truly seem to have the mentality for success. I admire you brother!
Originally Posted by Vic
It's not easy Kevin and knowing and doing are two very different things...Trust me I am very familiar with that concept !
But it is definitely worth the effort to stay dry.
A few years ago I was where you are in the sense that I would take 4-5 days off drinking, feel great, wonder why I was so uptight about my drinking "problem" and resume pounding away the beers like it was water. Back then the morning after depression and hopelessness was more manageable and I guess I had not suffered enough(or so I thought..) and was not yet ready to surrender.
Now a few years and 10,000 beers later that decision is easier because like I have posted before the mental blues have gotten waaaay too much to deal with.
I also have stopped fooling myself and now realize how steep a price my drinking has cost me.
Lost many golden opportunities and potential great experiences in life because I chose the company of longnecks instead.
But where their is life their is still hope.
Never give up gang !
Hello everyone, this is my first time posting here. I spent a good 8 hours reading everything on the site last night, and could not resist coming back on here this morning. I have been fighting on and off for several years. I could stop for a few days then back to it. The lady and the love of my life has finally had enough of my partying this past weekend when I told her to cancel a birthday dinner for me that was months over due because everyone was enjoying bloody marries and I wanted to continue. She came back later that day to tell me that was her last try, I am not going to change, and I made my choice to party instead of patch things with her. Luckily I still have a place to live in the room down the hall where I have resided for some time while I am at home because one way or another I make her mad. While recovering during my day 1 which was Monday I reflected in between trips to spill my guts, I made my bed time to lay in it. I have stopped drinking or tried to get it controlled in moderation so many times before that it has driven me crazy. In the past I would not get anything into control I would just hide it. Wait until she goes to work and run to the store, grab a few tall boys then drink those, and my mind would click to get some more, and so on and so forth. I have lost several jobs before, not due to bad work performance, but due to the close living conditions that we have, I travel the world for months at time, and I would drink and do whatever I could find until I would put my foot in my mouth and pass out. Finally I have the job of a life time, I have great control of things on the road this time! The bad part is that I came home and lost control on my month break. Having too much time on my hands drove me back to the beer store. Then the spiral continued to where I am now, finally figuring out that to have the things I want in my life and the person that I want in my life that I cannot drink. This is a bit of hell, the person I want is right down the hallway, and because of my poor choices she does not want me anymore. The good thing is that she serves as a constant reminder that I see everyday not to screw up again. All things happen for a reason, and this is finally my sign. You all have given me great confidence that I can do this. I just need to find things to keep me busy and my mind occupied while I am at home so I do not fall off the wagon again and destroy any slight sliver of a possibility of getting my home life back.
Thanks for responding Vic,...it really helps to talk to people who truly understand,...and the similarities with us amaze me. Your post truly sums it up for me. I hope to get to where you are sooner rather than later. With me,...and the one thing that truly holds me back, is I am the definition of a functional alcoholic. I have a good job and am a very good and reliable employee, am a good husband and father, am very involved with my kids, coach LL baseball, help with boyscouts, get the kids breakfast and ready for school each day, get the family to church most Sundays,...the whole 9 yards. I just KNOW that I should be happier, should have a better marriage, should enjoy things more than I do, should, should, should. I don't know if it's the stresses of my current life, the drinking, aging, or a combination of all of it. I tell myself,.."you're doing fine".."you're making progress".."hey, you drink alot less than you did a few years ago"..."you quit smoking"..."you gave up the weed"..."why shouldn't I still be able to drink my beer??". Vic, that's where I am right now. It's that line of thinking that is holding me back and I don't want to still be having this same inner-struggle 10+ years from now. What finally got you to the point of saying enough is enough??
Originally Posted by Vic
Day 4. Woke up with a headache again and still exhausted even though I slept for over 9 hours. Fight with boyfriend before he left this morning. Can't tell if I'm being irritable or he's being insensitive. Probably both. It had nothing to do with drinking. Bleh.
Someone had mentioned that they were curious about "what Patrick's recovery philosophy was" so I decided to spell it out as clearly as I could.
Here it is, and this is also posted on the main website as well right here:
My philosophy of life BEFORE I got clean and sober was really, really screwed up.
I pitied people who did not desire to go through life with some sort of buzz. I thought it was pathetic and boring to not be drunk or high.
I thought that life was way too easy and way to boring without being self medicated all the time.
I could not understand how anyone was happy or content if they were not stoned out of their minds. I looked down on sober people. I felt bad for them, and I cherished the “gift” of intoxication. I worshiped it, glorified it.
I saw no point in living sober. It was not for me.
Obviously, as some point, that changed. Exploring that moment of change could be the subject of entire books, so I’ll skip it here. Suffice it to say that I finally surrendered.
Early recovery and what it was like for me
Like I said above, at some point I became miserable enough in trying to stay drunk and high all the time that I simply gave up. I realized that I would never be able to really make it work by self medicating all of the time. I realized that I would never have enough cash and drugs and booze to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin. I finally saw that I was on a treadmill, and that it was a dead end. So I decided to try sobriety again.
I had already tried to get clean and sober twice before. Neither time was a true surrender on my part. Both times I was holding back, holding out hope that I could still self medicate in some way.
This time was different in that I surrendered fully. I was willing to attend 12 step meetings, even though I hated them and was terrified of them. I was eager to move into long term rehab, because I knew that anything less would lead to relapse for me.
I had become willing.
My philosophy for the first 2 years of my recovery was: “Take suggestions. Do the work. Follow through.”
I was attending meetings, even chairing one on a regular basis, and I was doing heavy amounts of stepwork, journaling, therapeutic writing, etc. I got a sponsor, did a few of the steps. Got another sponsor, did a few more. Never completed all 12 in a formal way with a sponsor, but if you tried to argue that I did not live the 12 steps, you would have a tough time of it. I was heavily immersed in recovery and living in a long term rehab. I stayed for 20 months.
I was very much trying to do the right thing, do what people suggested, and follow “the program.”
Before I left the long term rehab, however, I had already drifted away from regular meeting attendance and sponsorship. I was already finding a new path in recovery, one that did not rely on meetings or programs.
What my recovery is like today at 10 years sober
The transition from 2 years sober to 10 years sober is very much about what I call “creative recovery.” This is my recovery philosophy today and that how I try to live my life.
With “creative recovery” the bottom line is this, at least for me:
You create your own success in recovery through goal oriented living and creative effort.
That means that you set goals for yourself and achieve them. It also means that you seek to create positive things in your life through everyday actions.
So what does this mean in practical terms?
For me, today, it means:
1) Exercising on a regular basis.
2) Helping others in recovery on a regular basis.
3) Nurturing relationships with friends, family, and real human connections.
The whole “spiritual element” runs through all of this, of course, and can be taken on as the central thing that holds it all together, OR as a completely unnecessary component of recovery. Really it is all up to the individual as to how much or how little their actions hinge on the spiritual element.
How is this different from a 12 step program?
I would argue that my personal recovery philosophy is actually 2 steps:
1) Don’t use drugs or alcohol no matter what.
2) Take positive action every day to improve your life.
That’s it. We can easily get swept away in the details, looking at “holistic health” and looking for various aspects of our lives to improve, and so on. All well and good.
For example, at some point fairly early in my recovery I was urged to go back to college and finish up my degree. This turned out to be a positive step for me.
The same thing happened with employment. I was encouraged to go back to work. Again, this was another positive change. I was taking action, making good things happen. Helping people.
I also realized early on that I had to ditch the cigarette habit. I tried and failed many times before I was finally able to stick it out and find freedom from nicotine. Again, this was a huge positive change for me and I also see it as being an important part of my overall health and recovery.
At some point I picked up the exercise habit. Talk about a life changer! What used to be a miserable chore (jogging) suddenly became one of the most important tools of my recovery. Why? What led to this change? I’m honestly not sure what caused this shift in perspective. But once I forced myself to take positive action on a regular basis and the exercise became a habit, eventually it got really easy to go for a run. It was suddenly no longer “work” like it used to be. And that was a very powerful place to arrive at. Now exercise was a tool; a blessing of my recovery.
And so all of these positive changes occurred, and one by one they all had a positive impact on my life. I never backslid. I never picked the cigarettes back up, for example. I never quit running after I established the habit. I never quit working once I was employed again in my recovery. With each positive experience in my recovery, I made sure to lock in the gains. I sought to master each positive change rather than to just dabble in it.
But through it all, the number one thing was never about each positive change. It was always about that first point: “Don’t use drugs or alcohol no matter what.” That is the central focus and that is the pillar of recovery. This is a two step program and one of them is critical and the second one is optional. Do the first step perfectly and then do your best on the second one.
But keep that first step as your ultimate truth. Hold it higher than any and all beliefs you may have. Don’t use drugs or alcohol no matter what. Then, make positive changes in your life every single day.
If you believe in the disease model of addiction, then think about it like this:
Your addiction is trying to derail your life every single day. It tries to funnel chaos toward you so that you get frustrated and relapse. Your addiction is trying to find any way that it can to trip you up, make you miserable, get you to self medicate again.
So the strategy is to fight a daily battle, one in which you seek to counter this negative erosion by making positive changes.
If you exercise today, that will give you a huge advantage in the battle. You will feel better physically. You will reduce your cravings for substances at the physical level. You will get your endorphins pumping and you will feel better all around. Your self esteem will get a boost because you did something that was very positive and beneficial for yourself.
It does not have to be exercise. Maybe you will help someone else in recovery. Maybe you will learn something new. Maybe you will make progress in quitting a bad habit. Maybe you will take on a new job with a promising future.
So the idea of “creative recovery” is really just about creating positive changes every single day in your life.
Everyone who seeks to overcome an addiction has to do this in one way or another. They have a saying in recovery: “You are either working on recovery, or you are working on a relapse.” We do not sit idle and do well. If you are stagnant in your growth then that means you are sliding back towards a relapse.
The way to overcome this is with progress. You must make progress. For the rest of your life, you have to make positive changes in your life every day.
There are always new ways to grow in recovery. There is always another layer of growth to be exposed in our lives. Always something new to learn. Always a healthier way to live.
So that is my personal philosophy of recovery boiled down to its bare essence:
1) Don’t use drugs or alcohol no matter what, and
2) Make positive changes in your life every day.
They tried to convince me that AA was a simple program, but to be honest, 12 different steps was a bit overwhelming to me. For the last 10 years + I have made it work with just 2 steps.
RE: "What finally got you to the point of saying enough is enough"??
I'm not sure it was only one thing Kevin. I've know for a long time my drinking was not normal. Heck I've thought about quitting (and did many times) for well over a decade now. But like you indicated I was a functional drunk with a super high tolerance for alcohol so I figured it couldn't be that bad.
But as I got older the high I got from booze got different, it was more of a numbing feeling than a high. And I just couldn't reach that high of yesteryears anymore even if I drank a river dry.
Of course I could not ignore the fact that my wife grew more and more frustrated with my drinking. The last year or so I would just isolate myself in my home office with a case of beer and ignore her and the rest of the world. Looking back I see I was being very selfish and I am not very impressed with myself (I am trying to make up for that now).
Add to that the HUGE depressed feelings I was now getting in the after mornings during the past 12 months or so and I was nearing the end of the alcohol line.
Other thoughts crept into my mind such as here I was pushing my mid-40s and still drinking like I was in a college fraternity. Or the odd time in recent years I actually made it to a friends cottage for a day, I would bring a whole case of beer-JUST FOR ME- My wife pointed that out yet it took until recently for me to see the absurdity in that.
Then on my last night of drinking I had 35 beers and I felt only numb, shame, hopelessness and overwhelming guilt. Then I started crying 30 years worth of tears and I couldn't stop and didn't know how to for I never was a person who cried much. When I woke up the next day I just knew that it was time to step off the alcohol train for good. I can't really expalin why I just knew that was it for me this time.
That's basically my story in a nutshell.
But I am not cured and I know that, I also know that I must take it one day at a time and be vigilant now and for the rest of my life.
Welcome cdries. Vic = your last post was how I have felt for many weeks. Now if I complete the commitment maybe I can move to where you are. I cant give much advice at my stage but I can say to anyone just beginning to realize. You have to do it for yourself. No matter what your mind is saying it has to be for you or you wont fully commit to it. Maybe Im wrong since I donít have a spouse or kids but I have lost a lot convincing myself I could do it for others in my life at that time. Another thing is start to quit and quit before you have any health problems they start slow but creep up before you know it and you talk yourself out of anything being a problem you cant control just like drinking. Fortunately the body is a amazing machine that can heal some of itself if you let it. But the voices in your head are very strong. Dragonfly I too am doing the cleaning thing trying to let go of the past but its so easy to get distracted. Thank you for those words Patrick. I do read your articles but its nice to hear from you.
The voices in your head are the hardest to fight, especially if your bored, and depressed.
I fell off the train. I started excusing it in my head as it will get rid of my headache, or I'm so pissed off/depressed/upset about the fight this morning that I need it to calm my nerves. I went and bought it and stood and looked at it on the counter for a minute or two before I decided it was worth it today. At any rate, small going away party / pool party (no pool for me, kthx) for Boyfriend's sister tonight... A few drinks won't kill me but I'm looking forward to starting again tomorrow.
Thank you Dragonfly. I'm listening to one of my fav bands (Jack's Mannequin) and waiting for the sh!tstorm that may or may not happen when Boyfriend gets home. Tomorrow is another day. I made some food that seemed tasty at the time, but now I'm just not in the mood. Need to get in a friendly mood. Time to dance in the living room.