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Old 08-12-2013, 12:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Provoked to remember the importance of staying vigilant


I was watching that Craig Ferguson video again because someone posted it on this site - his famous monologue on Britney Spears and alcoholism. For one reason or another, probably because of his delivery, it really sticks with me. One of the things he said is especially important: "We don't have a drinking problem, we have a thinking problem". So true.

Today's Monday, I just got home after a long weekend out of town. I noticed there was a baseball game on the television - somewhat unusual for a Monday at 11:30am. But I was particularly interested in this game for some reason. And then it hit me: I was thinking, somewhere deep down, that today would be a great day to be a drinker.

You see, before I'd gotten clean, I'd quit my job and become a full-time alcoholic. I had plenty of money for that brief while as well because I drained my 401K and converted it to straight cash. I'd often drink during the day, and it would always perk me up to see a sporting event on television during weekdays, because that meant I could also gamble money on the game.

Drinking vodka, watching a game on my big screen, and throwing down $200 bucks on the Blue Jays on a Monday morning? To normal folks that sounds pretty sad. But for this alcoholic, that was HEAVEN. No friends were going to call me for a get together on a Monday morning, nor would anyone even suspect I was up to this behavior. I could give my addiction my undivided attention and feed it from every angle. It was, simply put, perfection.

And my brain still thinks that way. Which is probably why my ears perked up when I noticed a ball game on this morning. Which is yet another reason, as Craig Ferguson mentions in that video, why we need to be CONSTANTLY VIGILANT about our condition. It doesn't matter if you're sober 1 month, 1 year, or 10 years, this kind of thinking problem is hard-wired in our brains. We must remember to continue to work on our condition every day, and never forget how easy it is to go back to that dark place.

For the record, here's the video, for those who haven't seen it: Craig Ferguson Talks About Life As A Recovering Alcoholic - YouTube
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Old 08-12-2013, 02:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good post. I can relate. There were a few "perfect" drinking scenarios for me. One involved solitude, travel, reading, writing and the money necessary to make it all happen My perfect oasis I guess.

I think it would be me in some random country, some nameless town, just off the beaten path... sitting in a tiny cafe on the street... cobblestone streets... flower tucked behind my ear... a book in hand, and total strangers around me... anonymity and solitude. Lol!

That actually happened for me. I had a pic taken with that rose in my hair, and it was a cobblestone street in some tiny old Mexican town. I thought I'd just move there and be happy forever Lol, I was around 24 or 25... and my drinking career didn't happen quite that elegantly.
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Old 08-12-2013, 02:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Great post! I have a few of those moments. A huge one is Summer. Yes, the season. Every Summer I get more desire to drink. Barbecues, more (outdoor) parties, sun, bikinis, etc. summer to me is a party season.

Next, putting on a record. I always associated sitting and just listening to music with drinking.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had to learn to cook and watch TV without a wine glass beside me.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsombrero View Post
I was watching that Craig Ferguson video again because someone posted it on this site - his famous monologue on Britney Spears and alcoholism. For one reason or another, probably because of his delivery, it really sticks with me. One of the things he said is especially important: "We don't have a drinking problem, we have a thinking problem". So true.

Today's Monday, I just got home after a long weekend out of town. I noticed there was a baseball game on the television - somewhat unusual for a Monday at 11:30am. But I was particularly interested in this game for some reason. And then it hit me: I was thinking, somewhere deep down, that today would be a great day to be a drinker.

You see, before I'd gotten clean, I'd quit my job and become a full-time alcoholic. I had plenty of money for that brief while as well because I drained my 401K and converted it to straight cash. I'd often drink during the day, and it would always perk me up to see a sporting event on television during weekdays, because that meant I could also gamble money on the game.

Drinking vodka, watching a game on my big screen, and throwing down $200 bucks on the Blue Jays on a Monday morning? To normal folks that sounds pretty sad. But for this alcoholic, that was HEAVEN. No friends were going to call me for a get together on a Monday morning, nor would anyone even suspect I was up to this behavior. I could give my addiction my undivided attention and feed it from every angle. It was, simply put, perfection.

And my brain still thinks that way. Which is probably why my ears perked up when I noticed a ball game on this morning. Which is yet another reason, as Craig Ferguson mentions in that video, why we need to be CONSTANTLY VIGILANT about our condition. It doesn't matter if you're sober 1 month, 1 year, or 10 years, this kind of thinking problem is hard-wired in our brains. We must remember to continue to work on our condition every day, and never forget how easy it is to go back to that dark place.

For the record, here's the video, for those who haven't seen it: Craig Ferguson Talks About Life As A Recovering Alcoholic - YouTube
Thanks for the video, it was excellent!

I can really relate to your "perfect" scenario. Been there many times.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bigsombrero View Post

... we need to be CONSTANTLY VIGILANT about our condition. It doesn't matter if you're sober 1 month, 1 year, or 10 years, this kind of thinking problem is hard-wired in our brains. We must remember to continue to work on our condition every day, and never forget how easy it is to go back to that dark place.
I wish more people in recovery would talk about this "thinking problem" we have. I have found that every single defect of character. Every single incident of bad behavior and even drinking itself was do to one and only one shortcoming - delusional thinking.

I have also found that there is only one thing I need to continue to be vigilant of -delusional thinking. I have gotten the best results in both recovery and spiritual growth simply by staying focused on this one dark place in my thinking.

When I use the term "delusional", I am not saying it is stupid, foolish or even inferior thinking. I am specifically referring to the self-deception aspect of it. I catch myself lying to myself hundreds of times a day and that is only the tip of the ice-burg as far as I can tell.

Is it no wonder that delusional thinking is considered to be the equivalent of original sin in Eastern religions?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have also found that there is only one thing I need to continue to be vigilant of -delusional thinking.....When I use the term "delusional", I am not saying it is stupid, foolish or even inferior thinking. I am specifically referring to the self-deception aspect of it. I catch myself lying to myself hundreds of times a day and that is only the tip of the ice-burg as far as I can tell.
Yeah I concur. Examining my alcoholism has been like taking a finger out of the dyke, and I'm astonished when I examine all the cracks. As you inferred, this is not just when it comes to drinking - there are many aspects of my life that are affected by this "thinking problem". I've also said before that I truly saw the light when I started being honest with myself, and also trusting myself for the first time in years. I had lost so much confidence in every decision I'd made for so long, I'd forgotten the meaning of the word.

It's scary, exciting, and interesting to start living life with open eyes. Also very challenging, to stay focused and vigilant on some issues (don't drink) while exploring new ways to live and new ways to view life as a whole. Glad to hear others have noticed this as well.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had to learn to cook and watch TV without a wine glass beside me.
Yes! How could I forget. Cooking and drinking go together for me!
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think it boils down to mindfulness and knowing one's self. Triggers for drinking are cognitive (thoughts), emotional and situational. For example in my case, if I was happy, time for a drink, moody or sad, need a drink, angry, yep I'll have two. Going to a party or a get to together, a drink in hand is compulsory, BBQ is not the same without a beer.
All these things still happen but without the drink or any other prop except maybe coffee.
Which is funny, because that thought just made me realize its time for coffee.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I had to learn to cook and watch TV without a wine glass beside me.
Took me 4 months to realize that was why my Sundays were off... I used to spend Sunday cooking and drinking and it felt weird after I quit.

It is all in the thinking... I started drinking late and I can remember my thinking being weird prior to drinking. Thanks for the reminder!
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