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Old 08-16-2013, 07:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Associating alcohol with "freedom" - drinking thinking


I used to associate alcohol with freedom. I nursed those feelings in all aspects of life. Getting home from the office and pouring myself that first drink. Starting the weekend off with a bloody mary on a Saturday morning. Binge drinking during college after exams. Oh and I loved airport bars to kick off a week long vacation, no judgement and no rules. You see, when I was drinking it meant that I was free from responsibility! And dodging responsibility...well, I was good at that. I didn't pay taxes. I lied about my college transcripts to my employer. I dodged bills, even skipped the court appearances that were the consequences of those actions. I just didn't "show up" for anyone or anything.

And those feelings didn't cease right away after becoming sober. I remember when I got out of treatment and moved back to my own apartment, I felt like I needed to embrace being "free" from rehab...so I went to have lunch...at a BAR. I did not drink, but sat at the bar and had fish and chips!

How crazy is that? Even after alcohol cost me my relationship, my job, my friends, and caused constant social embarrassment and terrible health problems...my brain was still under the assumption that alcohol was a "fun" thing. And I grieved and wrestled with my new sobriety, because I was going to miss out on all the fun for the rest of my life!

Today when I walk by a pub, I see the opposite. I see a jail. I see a box. An endless cycle that halts progress and stunts growth. And I just wanted to write this down because I continue to examine how our brains addictive reward centers work. It's not over when you put down the booze - you still have to totally rewire the way you think, and the way you define happiness. Good luck to all out there, and I hope you are all working on changing your THINKING, not just your DRINKING!
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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AA has taught me the paradox of "freedom with boundaries." I used to believe freedom involved no boundaries. Living that way made me a prisoner of booze, fear, resentment and depression. Now I have found freedom within the boundaries of the 12 steps. I see the steps as a box. Within that box I am free. When I start to wander outside I start to get anxious again. People start to annoy me. I start to try and control things again. I once again become a prisoner. One day at a time, trying to live in that box seems to be the path to real freedom for me.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Bigsombrero, FANTASTIC. At 3 years sober I'm beginning to see just how powerful addiction is. I've had to keep a constant control on what I think and sometimes it's almost to much. Rootin for ya.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bigsombrero View Post
I just didn't "show up" for anyone or anything.
For me, that sums it all up nicely. Irresponsibility, lack of commitment, procrastination...yup, freedom. I'm suddenly hearing strains of Janis Joplin in my head

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"...

Yup..that too.
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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"How crazy is that? Even after alcohol cost me my relationship, my job, my friends, and caused constant social embarrassment and terrible health problems...my brain was still under the assumption that alcohol was a "fun" thing. And I grieved and wrestled with my new sobriety, because I was going to miss out on all the fun for the rest of my life!
How crazy is that? Even after alcohol cost me my relationship, my job, my friends, and caused constant social embarrassment and terrible health problems...my brain was still under the assumption that alcohol was a "fun" thing. And I grieved and wrestled with my new sobriety, because I was going to miss out on all the fun for the rest of my life!"

I identify! Boy my definition of fun was certainly distorted through the blur of alcohol. I even rejected step two because if I were to be returned to sanity that meant I was insane! What twisted reasoning and it caused me two more years of “FUN.”
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I love the fact that at any given moment I can choose to turn the keys in my car and go anywhere that I want to.

I love that if someone asks me during the week about coming to a weekend activity that I no longer have to act tentative until I hear what time it's at. Prior to being sober, if it was before 3 or 4 in the afternoon, forget it. Even still, there were things I committed to attending that I had to back out of at the last minute because I was still too hung over at that point. If it was early evening and didn't include alcohol then also definitely no because it would cut into my drinking time.

I can plan ahead for anything and go anywhere that I want. THAT is Freedom
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So poignant what you said about the pubs resembling a jail. At my local, one regular has just died of a heart attack due to years of drinking pints all day and chain smoking roll ups and another oldie there is apparently having his liver scanned next week after having been told he probably has cirrhosis. H toasted the news with a large gin and tonic naturally! Not that you've used the jail metaphor it does seem like those two men in particular have been prisoners to that pub for years and all the while it was slowly killing them. So sad. I now choose to steer clear of pubs in my sobriety as although they don't tempt me I find it somehow wrong for me, someone who's been so awfully affected by this stuff, to stand around and watch others drinking their money and health away. It's like an ex cannabis smoker hanging around in coffee shops in Amsterdam who has to sit and watch his friends getting stoned whilst reflecting on how badly the stuff affected him.

Thanks for the great post sombrero!
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