Day 3 today.. no real cravings yet, just positivity and hope. Scared about tonight though, because my son goes to his mom's house for a couple of nights. This is generally when I go on my 'benders'.. and justify them by telling myself that since my son isn't around to witness my drinking I can go nuts. I've already committed to not drinking tonight.. I marked the day on my calander already which is my way of 'notching my progress'. It's been helpful to (as suggested in an article on this site) immediately put all 'good thoughts/ memories' about drinking out of my mind the moment they surface (romantasizing the good times). I'll continue with this and come up with something to reward myself tonight that doesn't involve drinking. Still trying to figure out what that will be though.
For me, in the early days, I had to really take it one day at a time, because to think about eternity (or a month, for that matter) seemed impossible! The more time I have in, the more I see this has now become a way of life for me, and now I get to focus on other issues, without the alcohol as a buffer or obstacle. There is something physiological that comes with 90 days (so they say), and something physiological that comes along with drinking again after a quit (kindling). So, now I don't have to count days, of concentrate so hard on staying sober, but I always have to remain vigilant for that sense of complacency that will tell me that it is ok to have "just one". I like your approach, James G., because it acknowledges that sobriety is a long-term state of being, like marriage and graduation, and that you are embracing it!
p.s. Jeff, good for you! Remember that you are doing this for yourself, that is why you aren't drinking, not for your son's benefit (although he will benefit from your sobriety). And kids always know anyway, whether they see you or not! They figure it out on a cellular level. Stay strong!
Whew, weekends are the hardest for me, for some reason they take on a different energy and not drinking becomes more of a challenge, but im happy to say, and you all are the only ones i can tell right now, that i made it 2 nights out with friends and no drinking! Ive had trouble before cutting out socializing along with drinking in previous attempts and ended up feeling lonely, so this time around im trying to still be social without the drinking, its working, someone asked me tonight why i wasnt drinking, and i felt like, well, i just kinda like being sober, i think im on like day 14 or something, i like what people have been saying about each day being day 1 though, thanks everyone, it has helped me to read about everyones experience and help me remember the places we can be
Yea, i found it, it was posts 239 and 240 by James G and Eric, I like your thinking guys
Morning of day 4.. longest I've gone without drinking in about a year. I got the best sleep last night.. 10 glorious, un-interupted hours that I desperately needed. It is so nice to sleep through the night, rather than waking up at 3 in the morning after a buzz wears off and knowing that the only way to get back to sleep is to drink more.. such a vicious cycle. My wild Saturday night consisted of reading a book (another thing I never do while drinking), and falling asleep at 8:30; but that's ok. I will not drink today.
Way to go Jeff!!! It is the simple things in life that we seem to have forgotten how to do - like read a book and fall asleep early. Enjoy your morning coffee or tea and savor the clarity of your mind right now - isn't life grand!!
Jeff -- Yes that was the first benefit kicking in from not drinking the luscious sleeps. My pattern was the same as yours. Wake up at 3AM. Sometimes terrified and paniced from things at work that I had drugged myself to ignore. Drink to sleep at 3AM. Then wake a few hours later to morning and more drinking with breakfast. Then off to work trying to get my first cup of coffee in my mouth before meeting anyone who might smell the vodka on my breath.
Sally -- Having coffee toast and jam this Sunday morning before family wakes. I must be a recluse I really treasure time alone. It is very nice
I had a drinking dream last night. This is the first or one of the first. I don't remember it too well but the last scene was sitting with people on a train a chilled white wine in front of me. I think I took a sip and then stopped to think. Must have woken up at that point.
Hello everyone, good morning! I have not been posting lately but have been reading everyday. Everyone sounds great and positive, so here's to everyone's continued success. It has just started what seems to be a three day period of heavy rain here, and in the past that was a trigger for me. It has really helped me to make a physical list of triggers that used to send me straight to the bottle so that I can be aware of them and have a plan for defending myself against that alcoholic voice. So take that, stupid voice in my head!
Yes, the complete lack of quality sleep and dreams was one of many important factors driving me to quit drinking. Nothing like waking up fully refreshed in the middle of a beautiful dream. I used to wake up at 2am so many times that it was a regular routine. I would never drink myself back to sleep, though. I would sit on the computer and look at things until about 4:30 or 5am before getting one more hour of sleep. I love having the quality sleep now, although, some of the alcoholic induced insomnia is creeping its way back into my sleep patterns. I was expecting this and it is something else to work through.
I have an excerpt from a great article I want to pass along to everyone. Hope it helps.
The stop word or stop-phrase.
We all have an inner critic. The critic can spur you on to get things done and to behave in way that gains acceptance from the people around you. But it can also drag you and your self-esteem down.
The inner critic whispers or shouts thoughts in your mind. It could be thoughts like:
You are lazy and sloppy too, now get to work.
No one really likes you for who you are.
You always fail in relationships.
You aren't good at your job at all and someone will figure that out and throw you out.
You are worse or uglier than someone else.
Now, the inner critic can as I mentioned help you to be productive and so on. But there are alternatives that are better. If you want to become more effective then it will for example be healthier and more productive to remind yourself of your major reasons for doing what you do each day. You could write down the most important reasons why you are focusing on this project, on these classes in school and so on and put that note where you will see it every day.
But, as you start going on that other, healthier path, you also have to stop the critic so it does not start to drag you down. You have to talk back to it.
You can do so by simply creating a stop word or stop-phrase that you say or shout in your mind whenever your critic pipes up with a distorted and self-esteem hurting thought.
Simply say: Stop!
Or use something else. I like these two phrases:
No, no, no, we are not going there!
No, that is just stupid.
They have worked well for me to get the inner critic to shut up. Try these ones out or create one that feels good and works for you.
Then use it to not get dragged down by your own inner critic when it may get triggered by for example criticism or a mistake in everyday life. And as you use the word or phrase and it becomes a habit and as you find healthier paths towards what you want your critic will pop up up less and less.
Be kind and understanding towards others (and yourself).
By being kinder towards and more understanding of others if becomes easier to do the same to yourself. One simple way to focus on being more understanding and kind when you feel the need to judge someone is to use helpful questions. One I find to be really effective is:
What parts of this person can I see in myself? How is he or she like me?
This one helps me to shift my perspective from what is different and what I feel the need to judge to what we have in common instead. This tears down the mental barriers between us and I can feel closer to and more understanding of this person.
Try it out whenever you feel the need to judge someone, no matter if it is someone close to you or someone you don't even know.
By doing so it becomes more natural to extend and use this more understanding and kind frame of mind when you view yourself too. And by behaving in this way towards others you will feel better about yourself and in that way raise your self-esteem too.
Love that, Ken! I actually catch myself saying "stop it" out loud (lunatic!). But it works.
I had to share this article I found particularly moving and helpful in my quest for lifelong sobriety. It is based on her book by the same title. I will list her website at the end.
Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware (yes, Bronnie)
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Wow, Ken, thanks for sharing. This kind of ties in with your post, but I had a thought this morning while getting around for work. I was thinking about the comment Carol (I think) made about the age you start drinking is when you stop maturing, and I wondered if it somewhat also relates to the people around the drinker. I was 9 when Mom started drinking, so responsibility set in very early for me. Now, in some ways, I still act like a kid. I feel like sometimes I look to others to make decisions for me, I definitely have lived much of my life holding myself up to others' expectations. For a while, I lived an almost double life - partied with certain people, and held myself in the responsible/respectable light with others. There are still very, very few people who know all sides of me.
I heard a Neil Diamond Christmas song on the way to work, one of Mom's favorite singers and songs, and I wished she was sitting in the car with me. Missing her really bad. The winter is when both my mom and dad passed away, so it's always kind of had a sad overtone, no matter what was going on. What's funny is last year, I had the best Christmas I've had in a very long time, because my daughter was born just before Christmas. This year is the first one without Mom and a hard one in a lot of other ways, and I just feel bummed and alone. I want to cry, but I'm going to keep my head up and make it fun for my little girl.
Erin...so sorry. But now new beginnings with your daughter. And kids get such a kick out of Christmas.
Ken thanks that's good to share.
Erin, it was actually Ruth who said that, but I resonate with it too. It's a tough time of year I think for all of us. My dad went into the hospital the day after Christmas several years ago, never to return home, and passed on a couple of weeks later. Two weeks later my younger granddaughter was born over 2 months premature; she made it and is doing fine. I felt like my dad was watching over her and it was like the cycle of life going on. You carry your mom with you, good and bad. It's good you can remember the good parts and not just the alcoholic bad parts. So maybe she is watching over you and your daughter.
I'm doing well but this time of year does bring up all kinds of things. The joy is great, the melancholy I used to deal with by drinking. Just feeling and going with it is something I'm still learning. It reminds me of a sermon where the minister, who was sports-minded, said we can run the highlights reel of our lives or dwell on the lowlights version. That has stuck with me, since each of us has both in our lives. So especially at this time of year when I feel sad, whether missing my dad or feeling bad about not being there for my kids when I was drinking, I let the lowlights reel run for a bit but then stop and think about all I have that is good, all those highlights.
And one of the biggest highlights right now is being free from alcohol!!
Have a great day, and don't drink no matter what!
I'm really thankful to have people like you in my life, who allow me to whine and then redirect my focus to the blessings I have. Thank you very much! Suck it up, buttercup!
Erin, I know how tough the holiday season can be and agree with Carol, one great thing you can do is to be grateful for all the things you have in your life, no matter how small. I try to remember to thank God everyday for this day, my health, my home, having plenty to eat, and for you your daughter. It's good to remember the one's we love and lost but not to dwell on it too much because grief can overwhelm you if you're not careful to redirect that energy to the present. So no regrets, and maybe this will help; troubles are inevitable but misery is optional.
Ken, I agree that misery is optional. For so long I chose to be a victim - a victim of life, a victim of my own drinking - and did nothing to improve myself. I now accept, along with being an alcoholic, that getting better is my responsibility. I no longer expect some magical change in my luck to suddenly make my life great. Thanks to everyone here sharing their stories and the articles on the main site, this has become abundantly clear to me.
Eric, I'm a big Brian Tracy fan and one of the things he teaches is that you are 100% responsible for where you are in your life right now by the decisions you have made. Don't like where you are, make some changes. Sounds simple but we know better. Like you say, it takes massive action and that all begins with a decision that you are not happy with your current situation. I also recall seeing a PBS special with Wayne Dyer where he said something that stuck with me, "don't die with your music still in you." Basically we all have so much unused potential, don't get to the end of your life with regrets that you can do something about in the present.