Dealing with reality

Old 11-06-2016, 08:16 PM
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Dealing with reality

Hello everyone. I am 16 months sober and I talked to a family member about drinking. My family of origin is very dysfunctional. Sobriety has forced me to deal with a lot of the sick things from my past. A lot of it involves violence, mental illness, deceit, depression, etc. Alcohol was a way not to deal with reality. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with facing the truth in sobriety? It kind of hurts to know that I come from people who hurt one another.

Did sobriety give you strength to deal with this kind of stuff? I have felt alone my whole life and I always felt more comfortable doing intellectual work. There was never any peace in my childhood and I was in a chaotic relationship when I got sober.

Sorry to ramble. I am very depressed, alone, and burned out. I am trying to finish law school and I feel very hurt at 16 months. I can see, for the first time, how sick I was from drinking for so long. I want to fix some other areas of my life but I just feel worn out. Do you just have to bear it and continue to grow? My recovery book I read said that I have to live an authentic life and be honest. Getting away from my sick family makes me feel alone, but if I try to learn something about them I just end up feeling worse. The people with whom I share DNA are very ill. One of my relatives had electro shock treatment.

Anyway. I used to drink to just escape reality. Now that I have some consistent, strong sobriety I am very scared. It just hurts to look at the truth.

But dealing with sobriety makes us stronger, right? Getting sober requires strength and endurance, yes?

I just feel stuck and I no longer want to be stuck.
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Old 11-06-2016, 08:23 PM
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Have you had any counselling Acheleus?

Sometimes the roots of things go so deep it can be valuable to have someone help us get to them?
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Old 11-06-2016, 08:26 PM
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Yes I have a good counselor now. Just started seeing her.
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Old 11-06-2016, 09:15 PM
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.... ... If I may, please not try to think of ALL that right now. You maybe at some point come to term with bit and pieces of you past and family issues. Or not. To get twisted up in that not gonna help you right now. You got enough on you plate to make the very wise decision to get help for you self and see where that take you.

Sobriety is not panacea for all that wrong and f*ck up in you life. But is necessary if you wish any kind of genuine life, so you just gotta commit to that first. Other stuff will unfold as it unfold. And it may take it time. Not get all twisted over wanting to fix everything right now. I know is very anxious feelings when lot of things is unsettled. But as you get stronger and clearer, decisions will manifest without having to stress.

Is very common to feel lonely, depress and exhausted in sobriety. And yes, life can hurt. But that not exclusive to addicts so not let that trick you back into using. You keepa go, okay?

PS. Law school? Good on you!
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Old 11-06-2016, 09:22 PM
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Definitely keeping going. I just can really see a lot of things now. It is scary but I will focus on the moment right now. Maybe a part of it is burnout.

I am very proud to be sober. I know I am strong enough to deal with the past.
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Old 11-06-2016, 09:37 PM
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Reality very scary. Brutal even. We just having big discussions in my thread about what even is "reality." Who know? All you got is you perspective and you consciousness. You making decision to do best you can for you self. You should be very proud for this.

Time will get tough, of course, but, if I may quote Samwise:
It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were,
and sometimes you didn't want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy.
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.
But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something.
Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?

Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
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Old 11-06-2016, 09:44 PM
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Yes it did. I had a counsellor but found myself unable to be 100% honest with her (only told her the bits that left me in a good light and everyone else as evil villains picking on me -so not much haha). What worked for me was the 12-step program with a sponsor in AA.

I wish you well in your recovery. Bb
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:08 AM
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yes, never thought i'd say this, but doing the step-stuff after years of no drinking. after really 'getting' i was stuck in sobriety with no real 'solution' and needed one.
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:38 AM
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Many in my family have mental illness, myself included.
The only way that I could face my truths was with another alcoholic.
I could never be 100% honest with a psychiatrist.
Perhaps that's why working the 12 steps with a sponsor provided a solution to my problem(s) when psychotherapy could not.
Or, maybe, I had simply reached a point of desperation.
Willing to go to any lengths.

It works for me.
Not saying you need to go to AA.
But, I would highly recommend some sort of face-to-face help.

Accepting the truth really can set us free.
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:40 AM
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I would agree, the concept of dealing with reality was a new one for me. I started drinking on a regular basis when I was about 16-17, so I never really learned how to face it my entire adult life. I would argue I'm now learning in my mid-40s's things that I've never learned because I simply ran away and hid/drank for the better part of 3 decades.

For me it's involved a LOT of different things - Sobriety work, counseling, but at the end of the day what it really takes to get the ball rolling is to actually DO the things that make us uncomfortable. As we do them more, we get better at them, just like anything in life.

An example my counselor gave once: If you are afraid of riding a bicycle, you won't get over that fear by reading about how to ride a bike, watching other people ride bikes, learning how to fix or make a bicycle, etc. You have to actually get on and grab the handlebars and start pedaling. Maybe just a few feet the first time, or with training wheels, or with someone holding you up - but you need to get on and try. And sure enough, over time you won't need that help anymore.

You have already made lots of great strides forward Ach, and you should be proud of it. Your therapist can be your "training wheels" and so can we here on SR. Keep working at it!
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Old 11-07-2016, 09:18 AM
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It honestly sounds as if you are making good headway and progress in your life in order to distance yourself from the unwanted and otherwise unwarranted actions of your family.

Going to law school is great. You can do a lot of good with that degree. You can help a lot of good people out with that degree. Devote your time to making sure you make it through law school (sober) and then after life calms down (does it ever really calm down enough?) try and pick up the other pieces. What is important right now is what you do for yourself. Better yourself through education and being sober. The rest will eventually fall in line.
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:15 AM
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I am trying. Today I want to stop smoking. I had quit before but you know...So I just plan on reading instead of smoking. I will take a walk instead of smoking. Maybe I should not have contacted a family member last night. Live and learn. We talked about my sobriety and alcoholism in family and in people she knew.

I am just tired but I have to study and get stuff done. Heading to a 6 o'clock meeting.
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:26 AM
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I think that you're about on par for 16 months sober. There's a lot of self-discovery that goes on once some of the crazies of the first year settle. Some of that self discovery -- and relationships with others (most of whom, if you're an alcoholic, are likely more than a little disturbed themselves ) -- is quite depressing. I got real depressed about who I was until I just gave up wishing my life had shaped up differently and felt strong enough to shape my future differently. It took quite a while to feel that way. Sometimes I backslide mentally.

Talking to my family is still hard. With most of the few that are left, I see them for a few hours once or twice a year--more only if there's a funeral. Even at that it's disturbing. It's an 'oh well.'

Keep in touch here. Let me know what you're reading, anytime
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:53 AM
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Well I do have to memorize a big real estate transactions book for an exam this month. I was reading the diaries of Anais Nin to just keep my artistic spirit alive. I played guitar and piano at a lawyer's birthday last Friday so that was fun.

I guess I need to get over some things. I also am trying to get through Middlemarch. I did read The Magic Mountain over the summer. Lately out of class I have just been a chain smoking, worried mess. So I will read instead of smoke.

I just hate feeling stuck. Things are clearer but I wish I had not made big decisions in early sobriety. But oh well.

Get out of the self-pity right?
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:59 AM
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OMG this is what I dealt with all weekend.
Sobriety gave me stress induced eczema.
This weekend I just could not DEAL. I couldn't deal with one more thing. Family. Friends. Work. Drunk sponsees. Relationships. People wanting things from me CONSTANTLY. Not sleeping because of the stress of being sober.
I walked 22 miles to try to get away from my dark thoughts this weekend. I cried a lot over weekend. Stress always gives me an eczema flare up on my eyelids and under my eyes. So, my eyes hurt so bad. Last night I went to an AA commitment, came back, eyes hurt but was in better mood and not thinking so negatively. I filled humidifer up in the sink and plugged it in, set on back of toilet with thing whirring round and around blowing cool steam. I thought to myself "ok, this is nice, I can relax now" take two steps back, catch my foot on cord, thing goes flying, little fan still whirring, water all over the floor, whiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrr and I stand there in disbelief before collapsing on the bed crying. And I wonder at times like this how I am ever going to get through life sober. Forever. How is this even possible?
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Old 11-07-2016, 12:26 PM
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"But dealing with sobriety makes us stronger, right? Getting sober requires strength and endurance, yes? "

I don't think its sobriety that makes us stronger. I could put down the bottle but not face anything or do anything to change and still me miserable.
its facing life on lifes terms and the action doing so that makes us stronger.

yup, sobriety requires strength and endurance.
it was quite a lot for me for a while. I had no clue how to live life on lifes terms- I faced everything by drinking and when I got sober I saw how good that didn't work. I did a lot of trudging(enduring).
but it got easier as I learned who I was, started loving myself, and started learning how to live life on lifes terms.

theres a couple terms I had printed and put on my mirror for some time to remind me
first things first
keep it simple
live and let live.
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Old 11-07-2016, 02:20 PM
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"First things first" really helps me when I'm
mentally paralyzed.
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Old 11-09-2016, 04:11 PM
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I went to a meeting last night and it was on the tenth step. Most of the people shared about resentments and how they are luxuries an alcoholic can ill afford. So I guess I just struggle with calming down and turning things over. Now that I can see how destructive my drinking was I feel a little scared of it again. It helps to understand that I am trying to grow and learn. Thanks for all the helpful posts.
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Old 11-09-2016, 06:23 PM
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I have found strength to deal with my past, but it was not exactly directly because I stopped drinking. I knew my drinking was causing destruction and chaos and confusion in my life.. but there have been many layers in my recovery and getting off alcohol was just the first. So I had to go through the withdrawal and I then I had to deal with all the emotions I'd been numbing with alcohol? It was excruciating but I am SO GLAD I FINALLY DID IT! AND I SURVIVED!

That was the biggest and scariest step, but absolutely had to be the first step.. nothing was ever going to get better til I got sober. So then I did manage to learn why I had the feelings I had, and how to put them in proper perspective.. For me it was from coming here and reading certain books that helped for my personal situation... For others, it comes from AA or counseling... You acquire more power and more perspective... Eventually things will start falling in to place... I didn't start feeling sober til two months after I stopped drinking... Why do I say that? My thinking had not caught up yet, it was still addictive thinking.

I feel like I have been rambling and not cohesively... the thread title made me think of a line I read in Codependent No More just a few hours ago: She says much of our anxiety and fearfulness stems from constantly telling ourselves we're just not up to facing our world and all its situations. Nathanial Branden calls this "a nameless sense of being unfit for reality"

That struck a major chord for me... I'm not different from anyone else, what ever made me believe I was somehow uniquely unfit for this life, my life. It would seem to me I'm the one most qualified and capable to live it.

We need to stop telling ourselves, first of all, that we are different for doing and feeling the same things everyone else does and feels.
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