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The barriers to sobriety

Old 12-29-2017, 04:29 PM
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The barriers to sobriety

Merry Christmas everybody. I hope you've all had a good one.

If people are contemplating stopping drinking, they're doing so because they know it's having negative impacts on their life; it might be making them tired all the time, leading to too many hangovers, leading them to saying things that they regret, health problems, dependence, feeling like a hostage.

People might be ambivalent because they may also see costs in stopping drinking. Common fears might include;
  • How wil I cope with bars, pubs and party's and not feeling like I'm being deprived
  • What will I do if I can't go to pubs and bars, I don't want to be a hermit & have no social life
  • Will I lose friends? Will people think I'm boring? How will I explain to friends
  • How will I cope with boredom and loneliness?
  • Will life without drinking be a constant battle against cravings?

These are questions and concerns that those who're considering stopping drinking should be helped with. Rather than throwing about accusations of being in denial, we should give these things serious attention and discussion.

We should find ways to work past these, focus on ways to build a better life without booze, focus on alternative ways to cope with things that booze has helped to cope with. Living sober needs to be appealing, not like being a good boy or good girl and forcing yourself to avoid the thing that gives you comfort. These genuine concerns must be addressed.

Emotional needs that are not met need to be addressed and acknowledged. People shouldn't be shouted down and accused of being in denial for addressing these very real barriers to getting sober.

I believe that finding alternative ways to socialize, ways to cope with social situations, reducing boredom, reducing loneliness is key. If you're contemplating stopping drinking and those concerns apply, then stopping won't look very apealling. If you have stopped, and those concerns havne't been addressed, then you'll get the belief that being sober sucks, which is very dangerous, since if you relapse, you might be less willing to give-up drinking. I have a gut feeling that this is so incredibly important to address. The thing is, where's the advice about all of this? Finding ways around these concerns and meeting your emotional needs without alcohol, and finding ways to cope with those situations which you have used alcohol to cope with is important. There needs to be a lot more attention to this.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:43 PM
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Well, these are things we talk about all the time on here.

Are you struggling with these things? Are you sober now? Those bullet points are things that we can give you our answers for or you can give yours?

Where was this shouted down?
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:18 PM
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Hi Vulcan

I've been following your threads for a while.

You may perceive it as such but I don't see you've been shouted down here.

What I see happening is you post substantially the same post,with the same concerns or caveats, and the same reasons why you can't get sober.

I've yet to see you really engage with any of the counter arguments put forward except to argue that your POV is valid.

It's kinda like arguing you're getting burned cos your house is fire - and that thats a valid response.

I hope this thread might be an exception .

I think you'll find a lot of good advice and wisdom here - if you want to move from where you are?

D
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:30 AM
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I had LOTS of reasons why I couldn't stop drinking for good. At the end of the day, they were just excuses that kept me stranded in my addiction for nearly 30 years. I needed action to break free, not analysis.
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:37 AM
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Wholeheartedly agree with Dee and the others.

My $0.02 here is that there simply cannot be any barriers to sobriety. It has to be a permanent, non-negotiable choice. Learned behaviors like the good ones you mention are the after-thoughts, so to speak, of that first decision.

IMO and IME - and here at 22+ mo sober and still young in sobriety, and growing- focusing on what I need to do, listening to others and staying in my lane as I look for and continually use support that's available from people more astute than me, has led and keeps leading to my life in recovery.

Best to you.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:23 AM
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All barriers to sobriety can be overcome, and I cannot think of one that has not been discussed here.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:07 PM
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I can only give my personal experience, everyone is different.

I got sober. The rest of the world didn’t. Nor should they. If someone can enjoy a few glasses of wine with dinner or a few cocktails at a party, who am I to judge?

For the first four months of sobriety I didn’t trust myself around partying. I finished outpatient, isolated for a few weeks, did AA, then outpatient (cognitive group) and learned a number of skills to deal with cravings. I spent 40 years learning and perfecting a drinking and drug habit. In those four months I did everything I could to make sobriety a habit.

The foundation was laid in rehab. Step One happened; the only logical behavior was to take drinking off the table. Completely and forever.

Evidence began piling up that sobriety was far better for me than using.

I can absolutely be around people who are drinking or doing a little coke or whatever. Do I miss feeling that way? Not at all. Intoxication is a creeping veil over reality, and reality is wonderful, and badass. I see people getting a buzz on and having a good time. I also see that fuzziness start to take over, the laughter gets forced, conversation becomes increasingly loud and inappropriate. Why would I want that when I’ve found the gift of being truly present in every moment? No, I can’t be around really drunk or high people, not because I miss it, but because their behavior disgusts me. I can’t believe I was like that.

My drinking habit was not social. I’d party and have a few, then drink a half bottle of vodka, alone. So I can be out at a party or a bar and not be tempted.

I shared this today at a meeting, and another guy said that is him exactly. He has been sober for three years, and he’s a bartender. He said that before he became sober, he would have a few at work, but that he couldn’t wait to get home and REALLY drink.

So I have a great social life with the normies, and I also have good sober friends.

I ‘m rarely lonely. My cravings happen strongly, but very infrequently. If it gets bad, I always allow myself to leave a situation at any time. I can always go to a meeting.

All because I took drinking off the table, got into the sober habit and worked like hell in the early days to get there.

Everyone is different. I’m lucky that I can still function in a normie world. But if I had to go to daily meetings to stay sober and never be around drugs and alcohol I’d be ok with that. Why trade a lifetime of happiness and awareness and true joy for a few moments of drunken “pleasure,” which really ain’t even all that? What are you REALLY giving up?
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:47 PM
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these aren 't barriers to sobriety. they sound more like fears....and yeah, i had some of those.
you can find them talked about all over SR. almost every person newly sober or not sober yet mentions these concerns.
and i agree with you: they need to be addressed. which is why you will hear so many longer-sober folk talk about how staying sober usually requires lots of changes in the "rest" of your life.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:02 PM
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These concerns you mention Vulcan are all valid yes, but i dont see people getting shouted down here.

You say getting sober needs to be appealing but here is the problem as I see it: it isnt always appealing at first (other than day one or two where one is in the regret phase of the drinking cycle) To get sober oftem means taking an action that you dont initially believe in , sometimes you cannot see how you will manage. It is day by day at first for many. It takes being sober awhile to really feel it and reap the benefits. It is with accumulating sober time that you want to be sober.
Consider too that denial often plays a very prominent role in keeping people in active addiction and playing on ones fears.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:24 PM
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For me, I didn't need to think and plan to get sober, I just needed to do it. That may sound simple, and it is, but it's definitely not easy. A person has to want to stop drinking more than they want to keep drinking. Sober, there are plenty of times I'm lonely, overtired, out-of-sorts, depressed, grouchy, bored, anxious, or sometimes craving. All of those are part of life, and can be managed much better without alcohol. There's lots of conversation here about both the good and the mundane of sober living.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:36 PM
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Hey vulcan,
For myself, I figured out after a while, I saw only what I wanted to see, when I was still drinking.

There were and are no answers for me to be had until I quit drinking and learned to just deal with that for awhile.
... crawl before you walk type thing.

When I am sober I can look at a lot of things I perceived as barriers for myself a lot more rationally.

I did a combined 12 weeks of outpatient/inpatient treatment.
You strip yourself of the outside world in inpatient treatment, but most importantly of all, you completely remove yourself from the addiction.
And you know what I learned?
Once I got sober, like real and earnestly sober, life wasn't that appealing.
It was scary. All the wreckage left behind, all the things I had lost and learning that the only way to get through life and be ok was to accept life on life's terms, NOT mine.
The jumping off point was putting distance between me and that first drink.
I stripped my soul bare and did some really intensive work on my recovery for over a year. It was hard. But, it was rewarding. Appealing, well that's in the eye of the beholder because everything you take out of life is what you make of it.

No amount of work or making sense of all the things that were wrong with me, with my life, and with the world around me was enough to keep me sober if I couldn't utilize the tools I had learned JUST TO KEEP ME SOBER.
And when I'm not sober, nothing makes sense. Life gets put on pause. Because it's a good way of getting away from dealing with life in our addict brains.

First we stop beating the crap out of ourselves by not abusing drugs and alcohol.
Then we can learn to deal with the rest.
6 weeks of sober intense inpatient treatment, I walked out of there pretty raw and nervous.
It's never enough until we're ready to throw denial out the door and really commit to shutting the door and dealing with life. We don't get to call all the shots.

I say this from a place of compassion and empathy and because I truly do care. I am hard headed, and stubborn, but at some point I got so sick that I had to take a leap of faith that something had to give for me to get it.

Have you thought of treatment? I'd say it was a lifesaver for me. Now I'd say that it was a big jumping off point because I'm definitely not out of the woods yet. There is a vast wealth of support and community and knowledge available to us if we are willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

But if we kid ourselves that life is going to be easy on the other side, we are surely setting ourselves up for a relapse, or an inability to hit the tipping point that gets us to put down the drink.
But you will find bit by bit, you're not alone, it's doable, and the more distance you put between you and your last drink, the stronger you will get, and the more work you do, the more you will get out of it.

Forgive me, I am not one for being good at short and to the point
You are among SO many friends here. Keep posting and reading. Try to keep an open mind. Don't give up. Don't be afraid of those who say it like it is. I once was, I got past it. You can too. Don't lose hope, don't lose faith, and don't ever give up on yourself.


An important thing to point out too is that... a lot of what I post, and other people post, is not only to share our experience, strength and hope, but to help reaffirm for ourselves what he have learned in this journey.
And journey it is, one that we will continue to learn and grow through.
Sobriety and recovery is not a destination. And after awhile, the things we hear over and over become important because it took us a long time to get drinking rooted so deeply into our brains. Time to dig up that useless, deep-rooted weed and start planting some better seeds, no?
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by vulcan30 View Post
  • How wil I cope with bars, pubs and party's and not feeling like I'm being deprived
  • What will I do if I can't go to pubs and bars, I don't want to be a hermit & have no social life
  • Will I lose friends? Will people think I'm boring? How will I explain to friends
  • How will I cope with boredom and loneliness?
  • Will life without drinking be a constant battle against cravings?

These are questions and concerns that those who're considering stopping drinking should be helped with. Rather than throwing about accusations of being in denial, we should give these things serious attention and discussion.
Hi Vulcan, here's my feedback:
How will I cope with bars, pubs and party's and not feeling like I'm being deprived
Personally, I had to stay away from them for the first couple of years Ė it was too much. It took me probably a year before I was comfortable going to a restaurant with a bar. The old saying is that if you hang around barbershops, eventually youíre going to get a haircut. I donít hang out in bars anymore, though that was my home away from home for most of my adult life.

What will I do if I can't go to pubs and bars, I don't want to be a hermit & have no social life
Truth be told, drunk people are dull. There are lots of people who donít drink like I used to, they were the people I used to avoid because they were uncomfortable with how drunk I got, and I was uncomfortable with being the only ďlivelyĒ person in the room. Is it hard to learn to socialize without booze? SureÖ but a small price to pay.
Will I lose friends? Will people think I'm boring? How will I explain to friends
Our old drinking friends can be an issue. We tend to surround ourselves with people whose choices mirror our own. I lost one old friend in particular, he laughed when I told him I had been in rehab. The rest have adjusted, and it turns out that many of them actually donít drink that much and are fine to abstain when we get together.
How will I cope with boredom and loneliness?
If you donít want to be lonely Ė be a friend. Boredom is just a sign that you either canít stand to be alone with yourself, or that you arenít challenging yourself. Get a hobby, take on that degree you always wanted, learn a new sport, volunteerÖ what you do with your spare time is a reflection of your interests and talents. So, who are you and what are your talents? Put them to good use!
Will life without drinking be a constant battle against cravings?
For the first month or two, yes. It goes away with time, but the clock seems to reset with each relapse. Quit now and you only have to suffer once. Personally, I fully expected the rest of my life to be a non-stop grudge match with me forever being pissed off that I can no longer drink. The truth is, my life and my outlook are so much better than I dared to hope. Is my life perfect? Absolutely not, but through my working a program I have learned how to ride out the rough patches, and no longer need to crawl into a bottle every time life gets ugly.

We all have to reach a point where the known costs of drinking exceed the perceived costs of quitting. For some of us, it comes down to life or death. What truly matters is that we get to a place where we accept that our drinking is beyond repair and will only get worse if we continue. My first sponsor told me, "never forget your last drink, or chances are you haven't had it yet." My last drink was 8 years ago, I had no idea what "recovery" meant, but I tried nonetheless. If you are absolutely ready to change your life for the better, dive in like your life depends on it because if you are an alcoholic, sooner or later, it will.

Good luck, please stay in touch!
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MindfulMan View Post

The foundation was laid in rehab. Step One happened; the only logical behavior was to take drinking off the table. Completely and forever.

Evidence began piling up that sobriety was far better for me than using.

I can absolutely be around people who are drinking or doing a little coke or whatever. Do I miss feeling that way? Not at all. Intoxication is a creeping veil over reality, and reality is wonderful, and badass. I see people getting a buzz on and having a good time. I also see that fuzziness start to take over, the laughter gets forced, conversation becomes increasingly loud and inappropriate. Why would I want that when Iíve found the gift of being truly present in every moment? No, I canít be around really drunk or high people, not because I miss it, but because their behavior disgusts me. I canít believe I was like that.

My drinking habit was not social. Iíd party and have a few, then drink a half bottle of vodka, alone. So I can be out at a party or a bar and not be tempted.

.................................................. .................................................. .....................................


So I have a great social life with the normies, and I also have good sober friends.

I Ďm rarely lonely. My cravings happen strongly, but very infrequently. If it gets bad, I always allow myself to leave a situation at any time. I can always go to a meeting.

All because I took drinking off the table, got into the sober habit and worked like hell in the early days to get there.

Everyone is different. Iím lucky that I can still function in a normie world. But if I had to go to daily meetings to stay sober and never be around drugs and alcohol Iíd be ok with that. Why trade a lifetime of happiness and awareness and true joy for a few moments of drunken ďpleasure,Ē which really ainít even all that? What are you REALLY giving up?
That is incredibly well put.

I like the "creeping veil" metaphor for drunkenness.

Being around people drinking heavily and acting foolishly makes me remember my own embarrassing behavior.

That happened on New Years Eve when a bunch of drunk 30 - 40 year olds sat at the tables near us at dinner.

Who would want to be that way?

Particularly because i have had a fairly "normal" life ever since i sought help for my alcoholism and followed the directions they gave me in treatment.
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:34 PM
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Delizadee, I know my posts here are more about me also...they are affirmations for myself, no matter how much it seems like I'm trying to tell someone something. What the heck do I know anyway....feels like nothing most of the time, I just stay sober. The rest if it I'm still figuring out.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:43 PM
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I think there's a fundamental problem with trying to logically rationalize stopping drinking by looking for answers to questions like these, certainly before you've stopped drinking for a good while and seen how things are on the other side. Weighing things in the balance, developing a warm cozy feeling about quitting, how great it will be, what you'll do in this or that situation, having everything lined up, etc., just doesn't ever work in my experience - quitting just plain sucks at first, if you're an addict, and there's no way around that reality. We cannot think our way out of a drinking problem, because that very same drinking problem clouds our rational logical thoughts that would otherwise let us see how illogical it is to think our way out of addiction. The one and only way out is to stop, not tomorrow or next week but now.

For people with a minimal drinking problem, perhaps it makes more sense, but the same reality applies: You won't know what is and isn't a real issue until you quit and stick with it for a while. Otherwise, it sounds a lot like rationalizing continuing to drink, by waiting until you have all those answers in hand before you stop. You might wind up waiting until you die.
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
I think there's a fundamental problem with trying to logically rationalize stopping drinking by looking for answers to questions like these, certainly before you've stopped drinking for a good while and seen how things are on the other side. Weighing things in the balance, developing a warm cozy feeling about quitting, how great it will be, what you'll do in this or that situation, having everything lined up, etc., just doesn't ever work in my experience - quitting just plain sucks at first, if you're an addict, and there's no way around that reality. We cannot think our way out of a drinking problem, because that very same drinking problem clouds our rational logical thoughts that would otherwise let us see how illogical it is to think our way out of addiction. The one and only way out is to stop, not tomorrow or next week but now.

For people with a minimal drinking problem, perhaps it makes more sense, but the same reality applies: You won't know what is and isn't a real issue until you quit and stick with it for a while. Otherwise, it sounds a lot like rationalizing continuing to drink, by waiting until you have all those answers in hand before you stop. You might wind up waiting until you die.
there seems to be a lot of that around here, the cart before the horse mentality. People rationalizing drinking because they aren't "fixed" yet, as if fixing all the problems will make quitting easier. Quitting isn't easy period, no matter how much you think you've got your **** together.

Quitting is hard for the mentally ill, it's hard for the poor, it's hard for the rich, its hard for successful people, for people with no support and people with tons. It's just hard. Once you're addicted there is just a storm to go through at first and it's an equal opportunity storm, sort of like mother nature, it happens no matter where you are in life.

Only way out is through. If you want to go out in liver failure, accidents, suicide and loss of everything important, stay drunk. Some people clearly make that choice. That's why drunks go out like that. There was never a right time to quit. If people want to do that it is their choice, but coming here and making the statement that they can't quit because of xyz is dishonest. People are not unable to quit, they are simply making the choice to drink.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:22 AM
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Society itself is a barrier the opinion and discrimination of addicts.
The people who run things do not like addicts because when they look at them they see their own addictions and everyone has some kind of addiction.
People who like to think they are perfect frown upon addicts due to it bringing down the walls and making them face reality that they to are the same as them in a different way.
Those addicted to power and money are no different than a junkie or a drunk yet do not want to realize this as it will make them upset.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:36 AM
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I realised I had no reasons to carry on my daily drinking, only excuses.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by PeacefulWater12 View Post
I realised I had no reasons to carry on my daily drinking, only excuses.
What do you mean reasons?
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Old 01-05-2018, 02:45 AM
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Not to be forward, but you sound like me: trying to find excuses to keep drinking - even though you shouldn't be or can't handle it. I went through that phase for over 2 years!

Many times we find the only barrier to sobriety is in our own head!
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