Good work avoiding temptation Ken !
I agree having goals as part of our sobriety and life plan is a good idea.
Right now I am using the K.I.S.S. principle and my number one goal is sobriety everyday I wake up. I am still focusing on one day at a time even after 4 months of sobriety. My bigger-longterm goal is reaching the 1 year mark, again one day at a time.
The rest of my life is managing itself as long as I stay sober and I am not putting as much pressure on myself anymore to make up for lost time/opportunities. I can't make up for all the lost time or opportunities missed while I was drunk or hungover all those years and I am slowly accepting that reality. I do the best I can each day and leave the rest to my higher power.
Keeping it real simple now because without sobriety their is no use having goals, hopes or dreams.
Maybe further down the road I'll get fancier goals/dreams/desires but right now most of my energy goes to sobriety because I know how easily I can revert back to old losing habits.
Good luck everybody and stay on the sober train.
Vic, as usual, great insight and congratulations on the 4 months plus. I really like your keep it simple approach, there is always great wisdom in not making things unnecessarily complicated. I have noticed a trend with many that seem to relapse when they approach a "milestone" such as 30 or 60 days and how people tend to get angry about a week in. I am using that information to not put that pressure on myself. I marked my calendar on my quit date and do exactly what you said, set a daily goal of just don't drink today. I couldn't tell you exactly how long it has been for me since my quit date. Although I still experience triggers, most of the time I sail by them and don't even notice them.
I do believe that long term goals are important for me to stay sober personally, but everyone is different. I have spent months reading the main site, the Big Book of AA and the SMART program. I took information from each of them cafeteria style, picking and choosing what really spoke to me and it seems to be working. The longer I go the easier it gets.
One thing that has really helped me is remembering to be grateful everyday for the things I used to take for granted. I am grateful to have a roof over my head, to have enough to eat everyday, to be able to walk and talk and see and to just have another day above ground. I have hope for the future now that I'm not drowning myself with a depressant that I thought was the answer to all my pains and problems.
Being grateful is a really good attitude to have Ken, I too try and appreciate what some consider the "little things" in life and I no longer take it for granted.
I also like your cafeteria style approach, it's nice to be able to taylor a sober plan to meet our individual needs.
This new way of living sure doesn't come with a "how to" manual and I am constantly learning on the fly. Some days are great and others more challenging.
I'm very grateful to be sober this long and at the same time I can't believe I've never been sober this long in over 25 years.
Recently I sometimes wonder if my sober life would be easier if I would of quit 10 years earlier, but then I tell myself it's wasted energy on something that didn't happen and I obviously wasn't ready back then to put the beer can down.
Anyways those are my musings today, good day everybody and stay sober no matter what.
Ken - thanks for the links to the articles... I did find them both to be very helpful. It is good for me to read, and read, and read again - each time I seem to get something else out of it. I like that you don't keep track of days and think I'm going to join you in that. I am now into weeks (well, third week, so that counts as plural!) of sobriety doing it one day at a time - so that's how I'm going to continue. Vic - it's terrific that you have 4 months and I'm encouraged by your KISS approach - that's my plan too! Your comment about learning a new way of living without a manual hit home with me. While there are tons of great suggestions in this forum, there really is no 'one size fits all' approach to our common problem. The fact that we're all in it together, however, helps me and I look forward to reading everyone's posts. Like Ken, I'm practicing gratitude - grateful for everyone here, and, frankly, just grateful that I'm alive to tackle sobriety.
This sure isn't easy. I tried, i did good for a couple of days, i got my brain back....I drank again. What do I have to do to get it out of my system once and for all??????
Cordelia, it is extremely difficult to accomplish. The articles on the main site have a lot of good information in them, but the important thing is to do what the articles suggest. In the past, I always got in the pattern of reading one more article, hoping that it would be the answer (sort of like my drinking). Now, I read one article and then spend time actually doing what it says. If it says to go for a 40 minute walk everyday, then I put the article down and I go for a walk. Right then. If it says to make a list, then I make that list, right away. So much of alcoholic thinking is dominated by "one more" and "tomorrow". There is no reason why not to start with a recovery program right now. I just picked one of Patrick's (his suggestions in his articles) and followed that. I can always fine tune it later. However, I spent 12 years trying to find the magic program that would allow me to either drink normally, take an extended break, or quit forever. I failed on all three. I was sick of drinking. It was no longer fun and I wanted to quit. It was not a night and day change, though. It took several attempts to get it to take to even the small degree it has. It doesn't have to take multiple attempts, but for many of us, it does. And I am not saying I have it licked, but each morning I wake up and make a new committment to sobreity and do the things that worked the day before. Keep at it, you CAN make it !
Hi Julie, good to see you back! I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. It sounds like you are still on track, how's it going? I'm grateful for you and for this place as well!
Cordelia, I can tell you from both personal experience and from hanging out here that people are seldom successful on their first, second, or even third try. I relapsed after 4 years sober! I got arrogant and thought I had it all under control after such a long time and could have a beer on the weekend because I deserved it. I was very wrong, and fell right back into heavy drinking in no time.
Every time you try and fail, you get one step closer to your goal of being sober and you also learn something every time. Forgive yourself and try again! Focus on not drinking for just today; don't worry about yesterday or tomorrow, that pressure is unnecessary. Poor decisions made in the past do not have to be repeated in the present. Because something once happened doesn't mean that it has to continue to happen. You will make mistakes on the way to learning anything that is difficult, and although it may be difficult, the end result is worth the journey! Good luck to you.
To all of you hovering out there, please contribute to the conversation. Join us or come back, we need your input as we all learn from each other on this path to a better life!
Hey Ken - thanks! Yes, I'm still on track, and today is a good day. I choose not to drink today. I actually enjoyed Thanksgiving, mostly because very little alcohol was served and very few people drank. I'm hoping that becomes my new normal, and as each day goes by it becomes a more reachable goal. I didn't know you had a 4 year stretch of sobriety - that means you CAN do it, right? I had relapses after two long stretches too, both times thinking that it had been long enough, I had proven I could be sober, and it was time to enjoy a glass of wine every now and again. I dove right back into the abyss, even more quickly the second time. What is that cliched definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome? Geez ....
Cordelia - it isn't easy, but it is simple (I think that's from Ruth). Forgive yourself and never quit quitting - we're all in this together, so I'm sending positive energy your way. I'm afraid we'll always have a bit of a battle with this addiction - getting over it "once and for all" probably isn't in the cards exactly, but it does get easier over time. I'm in my third week now and my head is so much clearer - that alone is motivation to continue. Finding ways to ignore that innocent little voice in your head calling you to use is difficult, but not impossible....and the advice in this forum, and Patrick's articles, is a godsend. Put on some music (see the songs to stop drinking by thread), dance, sing, get out and walk and never quit quitting!
Julie, you are so right, insanity! It is the siren's call, the old "friend" that a tries to lure us back into that cage of our own making. We know better, now we must do better! I was cleaning my office the other day and came upon this. I think it is so fitting for here, and I hope you all enjoy it:
The Rules for being Human
When you were born, you didn't come with an owner's manual; these guidelines make life work better.
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's the only thing you are sure to keep for the rest of your life.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called "Life on Planet Earth". Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation. "Failures" are as much a part of the process as "success."
4. A lesson is repeated until learned. It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it -- then you can go on to the next lesson.
5. If you don't learn easy lessons, they get harder. External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state. When you clear inner obstructions, your outside world changes. Pain is how the universe gets your attention.
6. You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change. Wisdom is practice. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.
7. "There" is no better than "here". When your "there" becomes a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that again looks better than "here."
8. Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another unless it reflects something you love or hate in yourself.
9. Your life is up to you. Life provides the canvas; you do the painting. Take charge of your life -- or someone else will.
10. You always get what you want. Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences, and people you attract -- therefore, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have. There are no victims, only students.
11. There is no right or wrong, but there are consequences. Moralizing doesn't help. Judgments only hold the patterns in place. Just do your best.
12. Your answers lie inside you. Children need guidance from others; as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the Laws of Spirit are written. You know more than you have heard or read or been told. All you need to do is to look, listen, and trust.
13. You will forget all this.
14. You can remember any time you wish.
(From the book "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott)
Awesome list, Ken! I really like that, especially #5 and #9 for me right now! These are right on, and yet so easy to forget. Thank you for sharing!!
I'm sorry to report Ken and and all the gang...After 125 days I got overwhelmed and my life plate was too full for too long and I snapped and I'm somewhat hammered right now and it feels good for the moment (being honest).
I realize it's a temporary copout and total bs and I'll pay for it tomorrow.
Back to Day 1 tomorrow, sorry gang.....
Vic sorry to hear but thank you for posting and reminding all of us that even after 125 days it's no walk in the park.
Even back to Day 1 you still have those 125 Days under you belt that's alot. I don't have that. Most here don't.
Vic, I second John's remarks. Good for you for posting!!!! And I'm holding you to Day 1 tomorrow, unlike "last time" and the one year binge, OK?? You can do this. We believe in you.
Vic, don't you dare apologize, you made it over 4 months sober! You slipped up; guess what, that makes you human like the rest of us. Take all the information you learned from your time sober and put that back into play tomorrow. You now have information about what led up to this and triggered you so you can make a plan against that coming back to cause a second relapse. Do not put yourself down, accept this as part of your process and start again. Remember all the powerful affirmations you have shared with us here that you made part of your daily life: "My sobriety is the most important thing in my life today and I will do anything to protect it, period." Also I recall you saying "I surrender to the fact that I cannot drink alcohol no matter what." Remember this too, you have a lot of people here that care about you, your well being, and your sobriety, so thanks for being honest and lean on us for support. Let me know if I may be of any assistance.
I hear you load and clear Carol and I realize the very bad rabbitt hole potentially awaiting.
Despite my screw up right now I still believe in you, John, Mairianna, Sallly, Billy, Samantha, Ken, Ruth, Christy, Kevin, Connor, Millie, Dragonfly, Regina and the rest of the crew.
Again I apologize and I have no excuse and I hope it's a cautionary tale to all that we are all in for one heck of a battle.
Ken...Thanks for the reminder of my previous thoughts, despite the horrible screw-up right now I stand by those words.
Vic - you have no reason to apologize you have made amazing changes this past year and you will continue to. I slipped this past weekend myself - hit 7 weeks and am now on day4, the important thing is that you don't give up!! Never quit quitting. As someone said this is a journey, not a destination. As long as we keep trying, one day it will click. And you should be so proud of all the days you did go without - major accomplishment in my book!! So have your pity party and get back at it....
Vic, sorry to hear that, its a bummer. Same as me, all came to a head, everything gets too much. I've managed to get through today without a drink and I'm heading to bed soon, so Day 1 done.
I need to have a better plan for coping with stress better, I think you just get tired of the fight, and its almost a relief to have a drink.
I didn't even like the taste!
I did find it quite easy to stop because things started to fall apart even for that couple of days and I didnt want to go back there, I hope that will be the case for you Vic.
Sally, you too, lets not drink tomorrow.
Vic it is one heck of a battle but dont apologize. You have been doing great and its a process to get sober. We all have struggled to get to where we are at. Just keep at it. Tomorrow get the alcohol out of your house if its there and start right up again. We are all here for you. You have inspired and encouraged me and I look forward to many more posts from you!
Vic-we are all rooting for you to get right back on track tomorrow. I know you can do it. We all have to learn from what triggers us and deal with those triggers differently the next time you experience that overwhelming feeling. It's all in the learning process of this disease.