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Old 08-31-2008, 08:42 AM
  # 85 (permalink)  
doorknob's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Davenport, WA
Posts: 4,005
Ixnay Eagles

By Jim S., Barbara A., Ben B., Larry D., Scott N., and Jim S.

Jim S. asked for advice:

Ok friends I have a serious dilemma and will pose it thus. I've been invited to travel to Philadelphia Sunday for an Eagles game. I am so damn new in this sobriety business that I'm questioning whether I should attend or not. $60 free tickets. One of my dreams has been to attend a pro football game. I had the good fortune of attending a Pirates game in a private box (again, free of charge) last summer and had a blast. I was drinking but still tremendously enjoyed it. [] I (if I go) will be traveling with a drinker. I have considered being the Des Driver.

Even my wife is pushing me to go with the logic that I didn't get sober to sit around with my thumb up my a_ _. It rather shocked me that she mentioned if I slip I can always start over again when I get back Sunday night. That tells me she has not a clue as to the scope of this most insidious problem. I can't fault her for that since she is not and never will be an alcoholic.

We are a group of people who know what it is to be there. I certainly don't want her blessing to drink and would just like some simple suggestions to stay clean at this early place in my recovery. Something someone said on this list is beginning to sink in to this feeble mind. I will give proper credit to whoever it was since you know who you are even if I forgot. "I want to not want to drink". That is where I am at this time. Can I sustain this thinking? Any and all suggestions will be very much appreciated, taken to heart, written down, read and re-read; hell I'll even eat the notes if it will help. Thank you all for taking time to read this.

Barbara A. answered:

Hello Jim, Everyone.

I'm not usually one to give advice, but since you have asked... I'm not a sports fan, maybe because I'm not eating my quota of 1.5 inch steaks, and I'm trying to imagine an equivalent thrill for me that would include a possible return to drinking ....hummm ...hummm. Well, I'll keep working on that. Anyway, when I was first new at not drinking, finding it hard, the AA advice (see, Ben I have remembered to quote my sources) was - if you don't want to slip, don't go where it's slippery. I could pick some holes in that one now, but the basic message still rings true for me. Slippery for me is not so much an environment now, but a state of mind, but it hasn't always been like that.

Why voluntarily put yourself in an uncomfortable, possibly unsafe position, that may lead back to drinking ?

Answers come to mind as - the possible risk is worth the possible reward - or you're making plans to drink again. I really steered away from those "slippery places" when I was under pressure. You seem under pressure to me, Jim - another very new sobriety, work overload, holiday season, wife who won't be too upset if you do drink again, what else...? How much fun will it be to go to that game if you do drink ? How much fun will it be to avoid the game because it may be a risk to your new attempt at sobriety ? You are young, more good offers will come your way.

Ben B. answered:

It's certainly true that we don't get sober to live a boring life and never get out to have fun, but you appear to lack confidence that you can stay sober through this event. If you choose not to go, what would be an alternative? Try figuring out how much you spent on alcoholic beverages (and don't even count possible peripheral expenses such as increased risk of car damage or a DUI assuming you drove drunk, or more intangible expenses such as reduced job performance/ attendance and strained personal relationships). Figure out how long it would have taken you to spend $60. Maybe a month? Now, when does the football season end? If the season ends before you save up $60 that you would have spent on drinking, then how about next year? Will the Eagles play again in Philadelphia? I've heard about these football teams relocating. (Are the Eagles the Philadelphia team? I'm not much of a sports fan myself) The Falcons have been in Atlanta for 30 years - I happen to hear the sports whenever I watch the TV news, and the Falcons are (ahem) not going anywhere. Again, I've never been a fan and never been to a Pro Football game - perhaps the Falcons are why :-) I think you get the idea - one of the rewards of sobriety can be doing something you've always wanted to do, even if you have to pay for it yourself. If you plan to go to a later game when you'll feel more confident, you'll have time to find another sober fan to go with you.

>... "I want to not want to drink". That is where I am at this
> time. Can I sustain this thinking?
Only you can actually answer that, but it would certainly be easier at a later time in sobriety.

Larry D. responded:

Hi Jim, I've really enjoyed your accounts of your early days a lot, and I'll take this chance to say something back, and add to what Barb and Ben have already offered. As much as we are pulling for you, I don't think many people on this list would feel comfortable trying to tell you what you have to do to stay sober. For better or worse, the SOS program forces each of us to apply the sobriety priority to our individual situation and personality --- whatever it takes is what it takes for you to stay sober, not for me. If for you that means football games, then don't look back, it's bye-bye Eagles. For now, anyway. But if that doesn't include football for you, then Go Eagles! That kind of freedom can be a great to a person who has some sober experience, but I can see where it might be a little overwhelming to somebody new to the game.

Although you don't have to swear off football for the rest of your life, would it make good sense to take a rain check on this one? If it was me, I think a lot of my decision would hinge on the friend I would be going with. If he was a person who already knew I was not drinking, and I knew that he would support me in that even if he was drinking himself, I might not feel too vulnerable. But if I haven't felt comfortable sharing my decision with him and would be faced on my own with a whole host of subtle pressures to drink, I would figure I would either succumb or be miserable, and I would avoid the situation like the plague. And treat myself to the biggest consolation prize I could think of, to ease my temptation to feel sorry for myself. I've never been to a pro football game in my life, so it would be really easy for me to say no. Maybe to you it is more of a once-in-a lifetime thing, and to pass it up would make you feel really deprived.

Of course, if you knew for sure, or even thought there was a pretty good chance that you would drink, your decision would be an easy one. You have a lot invested already in those thirteen sober days, and as you pointed out, your wife's reassurance that you can always quit again, however well meaning it was, just doesn't make any sense in light of that investment. Not only does staying sober get easier with time, our increasing investment in sober time also makes it easier and easier to convince ourselves not to throw it away and have to start all over again. I remember saying to myself many, many times "I sure don't want to have to go through that again!" And I never did have to, once I quit for good.

Reading over what I just wrote, I sound even to myself like a big mugwump, but I don't think I can do any better. Anyway you slice it, it is your call. The sobriety priority can guide you, but you will find a lot of different translations of that principle even among our group. Good luck to you!

Scott N. posted:

I don't know what will work for you, but when I gave up drinking and drugging 10+ years ago, I also quit hanging around others who drink and drug. That was necessary for me at the time to stay sober. I also changed jobs and professions because the stresses and temptations of my old life were a threat that I chose not to dance with. I also moved 30 miles down the road, went into treatment, served 2 years probation rather than a quick 30 days in county that was offered by the judge. I could go on, but my point is that I had to do what I had to do to stay sober. Sobriety was my first priority and in order to keep it, I knew I had to be willing to give up anything that would seriously jeopardize that priority. What I found out is that through giving up my old life so completely, room was made for me to start a new one that was and continues to be enormously more rewarding. I have paid to see both Astros games and Rangers games in the past two years and enjoyed them intensely. Went with my sober wife and son. Hope this helps.

Jim S. responded:

I would like to thank you all for the helpful advice. I will spend the next day or two hashing over options. This is one of those things that I need people to tell me what I don't want to hear. That is the important thing for me. I can justify just about anything given the opportunity. Is that not a trait of alcoholics? Thanks again and keep posting!

And a day later, Jim S. posted again:

Well, I decided to not go to the Eagles game Sunday. I thought very long and hard about what you all wrote and of course you're right. Why chance a slip on a slippery slope? I told my wife of my decision and to say she was ecstatic would be an understatement. She mentioned how "nice" I've been these last couple weeks and would hate to see me blow it. After all the ******** I've put her through these last years she has every right to be selfish yet she is not. I can in fact watch on TV and quaff a few diet Squirts. Funny, I was thinking about one of my 3 older brothers the other day who is nonalcoholic (as are the other 2) and he used to ask me rather nastily if I was that thirsty would I be drinking a 12 pack of Pepsi? I think not. I didn't lie to the gentleman who invited me but told him politely that something important had come up that I had forgotten about and could I take a rain check. No problemo. I do not feel deprived in the least as I did feel uncomfortable enough to ask for advice. In the past that would not have happened - trust me on that one.

I used a model I found in my desk drawer this morning. On one side the blank section had possible benefits of drinking and on the opposite the possible problems or risks involved. Guess which side had the most writing in it? []

Thanks for the support's what I needed, when I most needed it. I really didn't expect to be confronted with this dilemma in the first place. Some people take my gregarious and outgoing nature behind the counter to be the "real" me. I'm a very good actor. I guess you could call that a very important retail skill. I've been offered jobs as sales director, stock broker, you name it. I tell people that I just can't lie<G>. Like hell, I've lied so much during the drinking that the truth became nonexistent. I'm getting better though. Even my employees have noticed a big change in me in this most early stage. They like it better. A sober Jim beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick any day!

Best to you all this fine evening. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Eve and I will lovingly wrap all your hearts safely in bubble paper and give thanks for what I've received from my new friends.
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