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Some difficulties I'm having stopping

Old 01-28-2017, 07:32 PM
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Some difficulties I'm having stopping

Hello again,

One of the problems I'm facing when I try to stop drinking is missing it. The problem Iím having is that the more of those lonely miserable evenings I go through without drinking, the more I desire it. The thing is, I can grind through maybe two or three without alcohol, but come the third evening, itís just too much. Not drinking on a string of lonely evenings is akin to breath holding, by the time that second or third lonely evening approaches, itís like Iím gagging to surface.

The problem is for me, not drinking=torture, emptiness, misery, boredom, gluttony for punishment. Iíve put myself through the hell of enduring the gut-wrenching loneliness, Iíve had enough and I also feel that Iíve been Ďgoodí. Itís this thatís a major barrier.

The longer I've gone without alcohol, the more I feel I've been 'good'.

I think that the right question to ask is, how to make those alcohol-free days less painful. Grinding through on sheer willpower is clearly not a sustainable solution.

As I've rightly identified, the only solution is to get my needs met for the right sort of social contact, intimacy and activity. That's the only way to reduce the pain on those no alcohol days. The problem is, my situation is so painful, that those evenings of not drinking=horrible, don't want to go through that again' to my brain.

Has anyone had this problem? Feeling like stopping is depriving you?
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:41 PM
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Yep, it's very common and its called addiction. It doesn't make sense to miss something that is so destructive, but yet we do. And you are also right that willpower alone is usually not enough to stop the feelings....that's why it's so hard to stay stopped. Most of us need help via outside resources like forums, meetings, recovery plans in general.
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:45 PM
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Has anyone had this problem? Feeling like stopping is depriving you?
I think everyone, ever.

From this point looking back I know I had to make a decision without knowing that life sober is a million times better than a life drinking.

I couldn't know then that what I'd find was not deprivation, but freedom.

I could fill pages with my fears back then - but in the end I just had to make a leap of faith.

I found a lot of stories here that suggested things would be better so I went with that.

I'm glad I did. I think you will too Vulcan

D
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:18 PM
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Most people, when releasing addictions of any kind, realize that part of the value (to them) of that addiction is that it was their "ready friend." Alcohol, heroin, cigarettes. The friend that didn't miss a beat. The friend you call every time you're lonely. The friend in your pocket.

Sadly, this friend is jealous, selfish, greedy, & often deadly.

But we get so lonely that we think - wait! I don't need to feel this emptiness! There's a friend in my pocket! (Or in my purse, or at the bar, or in the fridge).

If they were our lover, we would be in an abusive relationship, but still defend it.

And if you leave that abusive, controlling, demanding lover - you find yourself in a silent apartment. Safe, but all alone.

Some people resolve this by filling that space with meetings & the busy, bustling community of NA or AA.
Some people get used to the silence, & start filling the space & time with building model airplanes or painting the bathroom.
Some people take a second job. Some people learn to salsa dance. Some people write quietly in their journal at a cafe.

It is hard to fill the space. If you are single & don't have children - it is a lot of space.

You just keep trying things until you figure out what you enjoy. It is awkward & lonely sometimes.

That abusive friend is always lurking. They want to reclaim you. They really want to hang out.

Your choice. It's just hard. But there comes a day where you forget the friend in your pocket & realize you happily spent the whole evening building a shelf or having dinner with people. It fills up, if you fill it.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:32 PM
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vulcan30,

That is why having a plan to substitute healthy activities for the drinking is important. It takes courage to make changes to our lifestyles, but it is vital.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:54 PM
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At the end of the day you just need to decide if what is behind door A sobriety is better than what is behind door B addiction. I used advice all over SR from lots of different sources during my trial of quitting all the way till today. One really cool part I enjoyed while initially quitting is the My story section where people lay out how they got through it. Good luck and God Bless!
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by vulcan30 View Post
I think that the right question to ask is, how to make those alcohol-free days less painful. Grinding through on sheer willpower is clearly not a sustainable solution.
Well said Vulcan, and if it's any help I think you're getting there.

I had made attempts to stop drinking using will power, only to cave after a few days. Many people associate drinking with stress, but drinking as a reward is very common as well. Our minds will rationalise any way they can to justify the drinking. It's a reliable sign we're addicted.

What made a difference to my attitude was that I educated myself about the harm drinking can cause the body and mind. If you want an example google the stages of alcoholism. There was also an ad on telly, in Australia, about how alcohol can increase your risk of cancer. This resonated with me because a couple of heavy drinkers I knew had just died from cancer of the throat.

Another convincing factor was talking to my doctor frankly about how much I drank. He wasn't much help as such, but sharing it was good for me. He prescribed me some pills, Campral, but they had unpleasant side-effects and didn't help, so I stopped them and quit on my own.

With all the prep work something just clicked in my head, and after that it was easy, seriously. Will power didn't come into it because I had made up my mind.

I still had lots of cravings, but learned to cope with those. PM me if you'd like to know how, or browse through SR which has lots of hints and tips.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by vulcan30
I think that the right question to ask is, how to make those alcohol-free days less painful. Grinding through on sheer willpower is clearly not a sustainable solution.
No...but leaning on support is

Very few of us will tell you quitting is a walk in the park...it's not...my first 30days were very hard...

but, honestly the fear of facing getting sober was much much worse for me than the reality.

D
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:03 AM
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I relate to the bit in your post about feeling worse the longer you are away from a drink. That is clasic for an alcoholic of my type, the hopeless variety. One of the barriers to any serious effort at getting sober was that my experience of being sober was horrible. I just got more and more uncomfortable, fearful, lethargic, withdrawn. There was NOTHING attractve about sobriety that I could see.

However the physical and mental sickness became so bad, and the misery so great, that I turned to the one solution I had been trying to avoid. Only after everything else had done no more than bring the same miserable result you understand.

I bought into AA, the program, the god thing, with all the willingness I could muster, and I had and still have, a thing called a spiritual experience. The world seemed to change. Instead of cold and forbiding, it became warm and welcoming. Sobriety became joyful instead of miserable. My life suddenly had purpose, and I felt better inside than I ever have before. And it has just kept getting better.But it seems I had to hit a really low spot to open my mind to new ideas. It is always darkest just before the dawn.
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by vulcan30 View Post
Hello again,

One of the problems I'm facing when I try to stop drinking is missing it. The problem Iím having is that the more of those lonely miserable evenings I go through without drinking, the more I desire it. The thing is, I can grind through maybe two or three without alcohol, but come the third evening, itís just too much. Not drinking on a string of lonely evenings is akin to breath holding, by the time that second or third lonely evening approaches, itís like Iím gagging to surface.

The problem is for me, not drinking=torture, emptiness, misery, boredom, gluttony for punishment. Iíve put myself through the hell of enduring the gut-wrenching loneliness, Iíve had enough and I also feel that Iíve been Ďgoodí. Itís this thatís a major barrier.

The longer I've gone without alcohol, the more I feel I've been 'good'.

I think that the right question to ask is, how to make those alcohol-free days less painful. Grinding through on sheer willpower is clearly not a sustainable solution.

As I've rightly identified, the only solution is to get my needs met for the right sort of social contact, intimacy and activity. That's the only way to reduce the pain on those no alcohol days. The problem is, my situation is so painful, that those evenings of not drinking=horrible, don't want to go through that again' to my brain.

Has anyone had this problem? Feeling like stopping is depriving you?
No offense, but it sounds like you really don't want to quit drinking.

I went through this same thing during my 27 years of daily drinking.
I knew that I needed to quit drinking or at least not drink so much so I tried not to drink here and there. But not drinking made me want to drink more and it was all I thought about. I always talked myself into drinking again saying to myself things like "I'm not that bad" "I work hard, so I deserve it" "everybody does it" etc.

You have to really just be fed up with drinking and really want to stop the madness.

97 days ago I hit rock bottom and knew in my heart that I had to quit drinking or I was going to die and/or go insane.
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug39 View Post
No offense, but it sounds like you really don't want to quit drinking.


You have to really just be fed up with drinking and really want to stop the madness.

97 days ago I hit rock bottom and knew in my heart that I had to quit drinking or I was going to die and/or go insane.
This.

I was VERY sick when I quit (I am 341 days sober) and I was just DONE. Finally. I knew I had to choose an uncertain (sober) future over certain death by alcohol.

It took me awhile to get the physical effects evened out and I will always work on the mental and emotional - now I think about "emotional sobriety" and how I live my program, not simply about physical sobriety. That takes time.

A complete mental change about how you view alcohol in your life- can't be in it- and everything else was necessary for me to get to the wonderful life I have now and be able (choose! get to!) to have whatever is coming.

You can quit- if you want to. Everything really is better on this side- I'd trade my worst day sober for my "best" day drinking every single time.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:16 AM
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Wow could have written the original post. I've spent years on that roundabout! For me it is having to look at the reasons why i cannot make connections with people and then working forward to allowing myself to do so. You must have heard the phrase of being surrounded by people and feeling lonely; unfortunately as i was almost always drinking when in this social situation it was easy to blame the alcohol and it would have been amazing if that was the issue but the alcohol for me was self medicating and a emotional crutch as i could not stand the pain. For me the pain started way before the age i could take the first drink and this is something i now have to work through with help in therapy and outside. Change is really difficult and takes time. Unfortunately it is a case of sitting with the pain, trying not to medicate and seeking a guide as i could not fix myself. I did try over many years so points for trying, maybe?!
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:18 AM
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This is another great thread. Thanks to the original poster, and my deep thanks to so many SR denizens who so generously and so compellingly describe what this experience was like for them.
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug39 View Post
No offense, but it sounds like you really don't want to quit drinking...

You have to really just be fed up with drinking and really want to stop the madness.

97 days ago I hit rock bottom and knew in my heart that I had to quit drinking or I was going to die and/or go insane.
I respectfully disagree, Doug.
I think it sounds like Vulcan does want to stop but is frightened of life without the crutch of booze.

I imagine nobody comes to SR because they are having a great time with their poison. There are always reasons to keep drinking/using.
The best reason to stop, in my view, is that life is better as an ex-drinker than it was as a drinker.
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:36 PM
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I never could have stopped drinking without the support of AA. I think it's impossible to simply trade drinking with not drinking, as you pointed out it's too difficult.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:38 PM
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Every time I tried to give up I felt just like you. This time however I became so unwell and I was about to lose everything and all of a sudden I wanted to give up. I always wanted to before, but I think I was hoping just stopping would make me feel better and it would carry on from there.
This time it feels different, I am only 4 weeks in but it's been a lovely 4 weeks. This time I don't feel like I'm forcing myself to stop, I truly and utterly want to. I don't know if this makes sense, and I don't know if people have to get to such a bad stage to want it enough to truly end and be happy about it.
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by vulcan30 View Post
Hello again,

One of the problems I'm facing when I try to stop drinking is missing it. The problem I’m having is that the more of those lonely miserable evenings I go through without drinking, the more I desire it. The thing is, I can grind through maybe two or three without alcohol, but come the third evening, it’s just too much. Not drinking on a string of lonely evenings is akin to breath holding, by the time that second or third lonely evening approaches, it’s like I’m gagging to surface.

The problem is for me, not drinking=torture, emptiness, misery, boredom, gluttony for punishment. I’ve put myself through the hell of enduring the gut-wrenching loneliness, I’ve had enough and I also feel that I’ve been ‘good’. It’s this that’s a major barrier.

The longer I've gone without alcohol, the more I feel I've been 'good'.

I think that the right question to ask is, how to make those alcohol-free days less painful. Grinding through on sheer willpower is clearly not a sustainable solution.

As I've rightly identified, the only solution is to get my needs met for the right sort of social contact, intimacy and activity. That's the only way to reduce the pain on those no alcohol days. The problem is, my situation is so painful, that those evenings of not drinking=horrible, don't want to go through that again' to my brain.

Has anyone had this problem? Feeling like stopping is depriving you?
I guess when the time comes to quit you will value that more than not.

Do you want to get old and look back and wonder where 10 or more years went as you partied them all away? Do you think you'll be an old man drinking and still parting? Can you picture yourself at an older age 10 or 20 years from now adding up all the booze you drank into the tens of thousands of dollars and being okay with this? Are you okay with sub-par health and a face that shows you drink too much? Trust me that face will show it in time.

I think the most important idea here is would you hang out with all your drinking friends while you are all sober? Could it even happen??

By deciding to party your life up and put your life on hold, many years later you will find yourself as if you did nothing with your life in that time. Maybe you did do something on the side here and there but you could have been sober and progressed your life forward instead of chuckling at a bar destroying yourself.

Hopefully you can imagine yourself at the bar all old and grey, money on the bar and nobody sitting around you because half of them died or they are young people you don't know and they think you are a drunk.

The drunken end is not better than sobriety. When you are ready you will quit. And those boring days will be filled with useful projects you task yourself with and the lonely nights can be filled with a friend who is as well sober and in control of their life.
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