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Old 04-19-2012, 07:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sober and Struggling

Hello all,

I was referred to this forum by a friend who has been trying to help me get my life back together. I'm fairly young but I've been abusing alcohol since my teenage years. It started out as harmless fun and I never thought anything of it, but as the years went on, things started to go downhill.

My drinking increased exponentially throughout college and I started drinking for the wrong reasons. Instead of drinking to socialize, I started drinking to escape the struggles of reality. My parents were experiencing health issues and the thought of life without them started to scare me. I have a sister who is mentally challenged and the fear of being her permanent caretaker was starting to hit me. I work in a high stress environment and I'm surrounded by people who are constantly drinking because of their stress.

What started out as a few drinks here and there has turned into drinking full bottles of hard alcohol and blacking out over and over again. To make things worse, I've become a highly functioning alcoholic and most people cannot tell when I've had too much to drink.

I've been battling health problems over the last couple of years and I've been in and out of doctors' offices. I've been told numerous times that I need to get my drinking under control or I'll risk permanent damage. I've tried time and time again to give up alcohol or to at least minimize my intake, but I've failed every single time. My breaking point finally came two weeks ago after I ended up in the emergency room after consuming alcohol nonstop for 3 days.

Reality began to set in and I began wondering how things got so bad. My parents were scared for my wellbeing and the few friends that knew about my ER trip were shocked that things were this bad. A close friend of mine, who referred me to this site, pleaded with me on the phone to make changes before it was too late. I finally decided that I had to give up alcohol before it was too late.

As of today, I am now 10 days sober and I'm struggling to continue. The initial withdrawal has been difficult to deal with. I'm having trouble sleeping and my hands have become very shaky. I've lost my appetite and I have a hard time staying focused during the day. I'm beginning to worry that I'll fall back into my old ways which is why I joined this forum. I was reluctant to join an AA program, mostly because I'm not sure if its right for me or how the program works.

After reading through numerous postings, I'm hoping I can find some guidance on this site and some suggestions on how to cope with the initial withdrawal. Any words of wisdom or comments would be greatly appreciated. I never thought giving something up would be so hard...
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thank goodness for a friend like that who sent you here! Welcome to a supportive site at SR! AA saved my life and SR has truly assisted when I couldn't get to a meeting or it was late at night (and I only had the use of a smart phone to get here!). I just surpassed 11 months of continuous sobriety and I'll be 51 next week. WOW!

Why not listen to some speaker meetings at xa-speakers.org and go to Alcoholics Anonymous and then to single speakers and take a listen. Couldn't hurt ya and you may stay sober another 40 minutes or so!

Some people use AVRT, and that is also online. Take a read. Lots to read on this site, too!

Glad you are here!
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR! You're in the right place.

If it's any consolation, what you're going through right now is pretty normal. Those first couple of weeks can be tough, both physically and mentally. Some kind of support is really important; SR is a good start and for me it has made a world of difference in my recovery. Can I ask why you're reluctant to try AA? It may not be what you're thinking it is ... the only way to find out is to try one meeting and then see how you feel about it. I'm not saying it's for everyone (it's working for me), but it is worth looking into if it can help you stay sober.

As far as getting through the withdrawals, try to sleep when you can. Get some exercise, even if it's just a couple of walks around the block. Make sure you eat, even if it's something small, and drink lots of fluids (water and Gatorade help a LOT). Keep your head busy with a book or with journaling. Come to SR and hang out for awhile. Just something to distract your mind and body for a little bit at time. And be kind to yourself. You're doing a life-changing thing for yourself and while it takes some time to feel the positive aspects of it, they are well worth the wait.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Congrats on your 1+ year of sobriety sugarbear! That's an amazing feat that I hope to achieve as well. I will definitely check out those speaker sessions that you mentioned.

desertsong - I think my biggest fear with AA is not knowing how to use it as a helpful tool. I'm just not sure what to expect from a meeting and to be bluntly honest, I'm scared. I just don't think I'm ready for that step yet, but I'm going to continue reading through all of the posts on this forum to see if its something that I'll eventually jump into. Thank you for the tips on battling withdrawal, it's comforting to know that others have gotten through the initial stages.

The warm welcome was just what I needed to see and I'm glad SR will be there through my recovery. Failing is just not an option anymore and I'm tired of disappointing myself and the people that care about me.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR BackOnTrack.

I, like you am pretty young as well, I never drank as a teenager but getting into my 20s I started drinking and it definitely increased over the years. It's no surprise that a lot of people's drinking begins in college.
And sometimes you just can't control it and it becomes worse.
I also drank to self-medicate. I too worry about my parents health, boyfriends health, my health...just the future in general...or things that go on day to day...the anxiety kicks in and then I drank to "feel better"...even though the next day I would wake up with a wicked hangover and the problem was still there and the anxiety was worse.

10 days sober is really good! I know that you feel like it's a struggle but as so many people here on SR say - it only gets better...why go back to drinking - make your health problems worse and then go through all that detox and crap all over again?

If you're not into AA then try and check out RR as Sugarbear suggested. Something may click there for you.
Since you are 10 days sober then the initial withdrawal may just be done and over with...now you just gotta deal with the mental aspect of things...the cravings and such - which with a plan can be tolerable and eventually go away (mind you, with your health problems you may want to consult a doc with regards to withdrawal and whatnot).

I have quit in the past...gone a couple of weeks, only to go back to drinking and then afraid to quit...again and again...it isn't fun. 10 days is huge...I think you should stick with it. Post as often as you want on here, people will be supportive and more then willing to listen and give advice.

I can't say too much...as I haven't had a substantial amount of sobriety under my belt...but I keep trying and want to beat this thing and it seems like you want to as well.
But we (and I!) are here to listen!


*edit - typos - now that I am sober I reread and it drives me crazy! Lol*
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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welcome to SR BackOnTrack - you'll find a lot of inspiration and understanding here

D
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for your words of encouragement Bayliss! I know exactly where you're coming from with the failed attempts to quit. I've tried time and time again and I just end up right back where I started with a bottle of liquor. I wish it didn't take a hospital visit to make me realize that I need to make a serious lifestyle change, but I guess it was a blessing in disguise.

What have you tried so far to help you quit? Is there something in particular that triggers you into needing a drink? For me, I've relied on it just to cut the tension off a stressful day. I always start with the intention of only having a drink or two and that leads to a full bottle or more. Fighting temptation has been the most difficult thing to deal with over the last few days, especially when coworkers and friends are constantly suggesting happy hours.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My guess is that at 10 days you are near the end of the worst of the withdrawals.

You don’t need to know a thing about AA to attend a meeting. All you need is a desire not to drink. I would encourage you to go. Lots of folks at those meetings who drank like you did. Just say its your first meeting and people will understand what’s going on with you.

Look back in this forum for threads like “my first AA meeting” to get an idea about the experience others have had with it. When you go I suggest you keep an open mind. No need to say anything if you choose not to.

I have a feeling you are going to feel better physically fairly soon, but staying sober will be a lot easier with the assistance of those who have been there before you. My advice is to learn from the many mistakes of others. Best wishes.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you for the idea, I will search the forum for those threads!

I really hope these withdrawal feelings subside soon, it's getting tougher and tougher to get through the day. The hardest part has been seeking help while maintaining some form of secrecy. Other than my parents and a few of my very good friends, I haven't told anyone about my struggles. The person who referred me to this site has been my biggest crutch, but she doesn't live close by, so I'm fighting temptation alone right now.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, I have definitely had my fair share of attempts at quitting...and some totally half-assed ones at that. I also tried tapering...which I thought would work...but instead of being serious about it...it was just an excuse for me to keep drinking...really. Needless to say, that didn't work...and I was back to good ol' Mr. 1.5 litre.
I know that sometimes it takes something scary to happen to change your mind on things...I can relate...I had an OD scare when I was younger with codeine. I don't know how I could have been so naive and stupid. Now I don't touch medications if I seriously do not have to.

I'm on day 4 tomorrow...I'm not an AA'er...although it worked for A LOT of people on here...I tried it and it's not my thing.
To be honest, I am quite fond of AVRT. I have been reading a lot on it the past few days and to me it makes sense and has filled me with a sense of optimism and positivity (ps. thanks all that suggested it to me!).

Triggers? Hm...anything and everything...I definitely began the heavier drinking to self medicate...my job was stressful...and then when I quit it, I was bored and couldn't find work...so I drank because of that...I found any excuse I could to drink, really.
But I would always say I drink because of stress/anxiety/etc. But that was just my addiction talkin'.

Fighting temptation. Of course...it is not going to be easy. Everyone has gone through it...I have read so many posts...and it takes a little bit of time for you to get over it. I mean, we have been doing this to ourselves for a while. It's routine now...like anything else...we are going to want that drink at the end of the day, at 5pm, etc.
When we are stressed, bored, happy, sad, angry...

Just hang in there...make a plan.
I never made a plan before until now...so somehow I feel like this is different.

As I said...I am only on day 4. There are people on here far knowledgable then I am and will give you fantastic advice.
This is just what is working for me so far...and we need to have hope.
And confidence in ourselves.
Because we can do it.

Good luck - and keep 'er goin'!
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Here is that link: Your First AA Meeting
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Welcome BOT. You have made a good move. The worst of the withdrawals will be over. In my experience recovering is a journey- there are changes over time and I have learnt that it takes what it takes. In my mind I think that the body and brain/ mind really do take a long time to get back on an even keel. I am still noticing changes over 11 months in, with seemingly big transitions at three and six months.

It is worth it - hang in there- SR has been a major part of the change in my life.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I think my biggest fear with AA is not knowing how to use it as a helpful tool. I'm just not sure what to expect from a meeting and to be bluntly honest, I'm scared.
I think when I got to the point I had absolutely no control over alcohol..I'd lost my wife....My house...My job....Many jobs...And I had hurt everyone that cared about me....It was time for me to put that fear to the side and walk through it. AA saved and changed my life....And the only reason I didn't try it earlier....Was fear.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:54 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Hang in there, BOT. Ten days is absolutely brilliant. Things should soon improve for you physically, if they're not already. The habit and the alcoholic thinking will take longer.

Oh, and look out for the point where you start to think, 'Hey, I kicked it. I'm no longer a slave to it. Hallelujah, I'm cured!'

Really. Watch out for that. It's a trap.
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:48 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR! You're in the right place.

If it's any consolation, what you're going through right now is pretty normal. Those first couple of weeks can be tough, both physically and mentally. Some kind of support is really important; SR is a good start and for me it has made a world of difference in my recovery. Can I ask why you're reluctant to try AA? It may not be what you're thinking it is ... the only way to find out is to try one meeting and then see how you feel about it. I'm not saying it's for everyone (it's working for me), but it is worth looking into if it can help you stay sober.

As far as getting through the withdrawals, try to sleep when you can. Get some exercise, even if it's just a couple of walks around the block. Make sure you eat, even if it's something small, and drink lots of fluids (water and Gatorade help a LOT). Keep your head busy with a book or with journaling. Come to SR and hang out for awhile. Just something to distract your mind and body for a little bit at time. And be kind to yourself. You're doing a life-changing thing for yourself and while it takes some time to feel the positive aspects of it, they are well worth the wait.
great post..........
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:19 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Agreed. Desertsong, that was a wonderful post.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:29 AM   #17 (permalink)
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BOT, I've been reading SR for a while and after being able to relate to your post, I decided to finally make my own account, and seek help. I hope you will continue to post about your struggles and successes on here as I and many others, im sure, really look forward to going through the recovery process with you. Please don't think you're fighting temptation alone. You're in the right place- there are many of us that are fighting a similar battle alongside yours.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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BOT, I've been reading SR for a while and after being able to relate to your post, I decided to finally make my own account, and seek help. I hope you will continue to post about your struggles and successes on here as I and many others, im sure, really look forward to going through the recovery process with you. Please don't think you're fighting temptation alone. You're in the right place- there are many of us that are fighting a similar battle alongside yours.
Mintmarbles - Congrats on taking your initial steps to recovery, I know first hand how extremely difficult it is to take the first step. This forum has already been incredibly supportive and a few posts on this thread already have me feeling more positive. The first few days have been extremely tough for me but after hearing the positive things from those have who gone through a similar experience, I'm confident that things will get better soon.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Welcome BackOnTrack, really glad you're here

That was a beautiful post, honest as it comes. That friend deserves a big fat hug!

It's really scary to start out, but trust me, the fear goes away and the journey is worth every single second.

Just take your time and cruise around this site and check out the different recovery options available to you.

P.S. (puts on her worry-wort hat) are you seeing a Dr. during your detox/early sobriety? I didn't realize how risky this phase is until coming here.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:08 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Back, welcome to SR! I struggled to get sober for yrs before I found this site. I found support & encouragement that I desperately needed. I quit almost 100 days ago & it's the best thing I ever did.
The first few weeks are hard but it does get easier.
I like & use AVRT/ Rational Recovery. Look under the secular section on main page.
Best wishes.
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