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Old 01-06-2018, 07:51 AM
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Hello!

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I probably spent a little over a decade of my life (entire 30's) at the bottom of a bottle.

Started with bar hopping in college and law school, then somehow progressed into every day drinking in my late 20's and early 30's. My friends all started getting married, having children and moving away from the city and I became a shut in--wok all day, drinking from 6 PM to 11 PM during the weeknights and all day and all night on the weekends (I'm talking about getting up at 6:30 AM, seeing the bottle and continuing the session from the night before).

There but for the grace of God, I've had zero problems with the law (i.e., no DUI's) and I've been able to hold down a job. My health did suffer, as I must have gained about 50 pounds from the booze and late night food deliveries. Plus, I suffered from severe depression and anxiety and have been on an SSRI and benzo for the past fifteen years---daily drinking and psych meds do not mix, as I am sure many of you know.

Anyway, I have been sober for the past year (well, it will be a year at the end of this month). I've dropped that 50 pounds and then some. My wife, God bless her, has stuck with me through all of the terrible garbage I've put her through. I'm certainly in a much better place now.

I did try AA in the beginning but it wasn't for me. I left AA after a week and a half and just....didn't drink. That's how I've managed to stay sober. I just don't put alcohol in my mouth.

I don't struggle with cravings or the desire to drink. I do struggle with guilt, embarrassment, shame and intense regret. I'm hoping that will work itself out in time.

Just wanted to say "Hi." Thanks for reading.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:06 AM
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Welcome, WT, and well done you! You've figured out the key -- "don't put alcohol in my mouth"-- that works 100%

I understand struggling with guilt and regret .. i had some of that too. Mostly for me this heals over time, as i commit myself to not making the same mistakes -- not drinking, and also trying to be kind and considerste to myself and others. Some folks also benefit from counseling to work through some of those feelings -- have you considered that option at all? You deserve to forgive yourself.

Congratulations on quitting and making possible a much better life!
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:17 AM
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You quit all that by yourself? No program? By just not putting alcohol in your mouth???

I am so, so impressed. You're obviously incredibly strong. And yes, guilt and regret are hard. What I try to do is remind myself I had a REAL medical problem (for some reason, "disease" does not click with me) and that I need to cut myself some slack as a result. I've already been punished by having the medical problem, it doesn't seem fair for me now to be also punished with guilt and regret because of the medical problem. I mean, then when does the cycle end??!! Should I drink more bc of the guilt and regret, then feel more guilt and regret, etc. Just like you just stopped putting alcohol in your mouth (I love how simply you put that), just stop beating yourself up. You don't deserve it. You DO deserve real praise for what you accomplished. Really. You're an inspiration.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:22 AM
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Welcome, WinterThunder!

Congratulations on almost 1 year.

I struggled with guilt as well. It did ease up the longer I was sober. However, I also made amends where I could. Living in gratitude and giving back to others helped me regain my balance.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:29 AM
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This is a great thread. Thank you winter thunder, glad you are here.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:46 AM
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Welcome and well done! That's quite an achievement. Have you found your mental health issues have been helped? I know my anxiety has been so much better, so much so that my partner commented on how much more confident I've been lately.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:50 AM
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welcome, Winter Thunder, and congratulations on your ongoing sobriety and coming out from lurking.

I do struggle with guilt, embarrassment, shame and intense regret. I'm hoping that will work itself out in time.
that is a nice hope, and i had that hope, also, when starting on this journey. and then found that it did not work itself out but that i actually had to do some things, fix what i could, make some restitutions, have a bunch of conversations....you've been lurking, so will likely have read about some of the different ways people have addressed these issues, or not.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Sohard View Post
You quit all that by yourself? No program? By just not putting alcohol in your mouth???

I am so, so impressed. You're obviously incredibly strong. And yes, guilt and regret are hard. What I try to do is remind myself I had a REAL medical problem (for some reason, "disease" does not click with me) and that I need to cut myself some slack as a result. I've already been punished by having the medical problem, it doesn't seem fair for me now to be also punished with guilt and regret because of the medical problem. I mean, then when does the cycle end??!! Should I drink more bc of the guilt and regret, then feel more guilt and regret, etc. Just like you just stopped putting alcohol in your mouth (I love how simply you put that), just stop beating yourself up. You don't deserve it. You DO deserve real praise for what you accomplished. Really. You're an inspiration.
Thank you for the kind words. Yes, I just didn't put alcohol in my mouth.

I was and am quite aware that if I drink, if alcohol goes into my mouth, I stand to lose to my family, career and then my life. Those things are absolutely going to happen if I drink and I am very lucky I stopped before they did happen.

I made previous attempts to quit, but it was only when I realized, truly realized, that I could not drink again that I was ready.

And God do I wish made that decision sooner.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by scaredikklegoth View Post
Welcome and well done! That's quite an achievement. Have you found your mental health issues have been helped? I know my anxiety has been so much better, so much so that my partner commented on how much more confident I've been lately.
My anxiety and mental health have improved substantially.

I used to need a Xanax every morning to survive the hangover and steady myself (this is after chasing the final drink of the night with a Xanax).

Now those pills are not needed. I still take an SSRI. Not mixing it with booze probably helps.

Regular exercise and cutting a lot of junk out of my diet helped as well.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:13 AM
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Welcome to SR Winter - and congrats on your decision and action to quit. It's pretty amazing what can happen when we quit pouring poison down our throats every day, isn't it? :-)
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by fini View Post
welcome, Winter Thunder, and congratulations on your ongoing sobriety and coming out from lurking.

I do struggle with guilt, embarrassment, shame and intense regret. I'm hoping that will work itself out in time.
that is a nice hope, and i had that hope, also, when starting on this journey. and then found that it did not work itself out but that i actually had to do some things, fix what i could, make some restitutions, have a bunch of conversations....you've been lurking, so will likely have read about some of the different ways people have addressed these issues, or not.
I understand what you are referring to.

The largest regret I have is lost time and missed opportunities. This is something I am trying to work out on my own. If I cannot, I will try therapy. At the end of the day I can only move forward and try to make the best decisions and stay sober.

As far as other people are concerned, for personal and professional reasons, I am not going to broadcast my sobriety or that I had a drinking problem (although I am certain that was evident to quite a few folks).

I will make amends and have discussions quietly when I can. I have asked for forgiveness and had conversations with the most important people.

I do appreciate the feedback and really appreciate these message boards.
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:23 PM
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Inspirational stuff.
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Old 01-06-2018, 02:08 PM
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It's so good to read your story, WinterThunder - congratulations on your upcoming year sober. I'm so glad you were able to reclaim your life.
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Old 01-06-2018, 02:19 PM
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Congrats on your sobriety WT,

Why do you say AA isn't for you? There many other types of recovery programs. Recovery programs address the issues you are having now. Guilt, remorse, shame, and resentments are the top reasons we relapse. I hope you find a program that you can use to keep you on your sober journey.
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:06 PM
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Wow! A year on your own, that's amazing, also unusual...I suppose I could do the same as I too am done with drinking, but I just find the support so comforting when I feel like the only sober person I know...

Nice work though!
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by WinterThunder View Post

The largest regret I have is lost time and missed opportunities. This is something I am trying to work out on my own. If I cannot, I will try therapy. At the end of the day I can only move forward and try to make the best decisions and stay sober.
I understand 100% what you are saying. I started drinking in college and continued on through graduate school and in my twenties with my friends in NYC. Eventually, they all moved on with their lives, got married, had kids, and I was still sitting there: drinking a bottle a night and kinda okay with it because I so enjoyed having that bottle. I realized I wasn't moving forward, but I sincerely didn't realize the alcohol was holding me back. Now that I'm no longer drinking, my state of mind is so much clearer and forward thinking. So, I really get what you mean about lost time. What makes me feel better (in case it helps you) is to not compare myself to other people and what they accomplished during the time I was sitting on my couch pouring alcohol down my mouth. There is no point. I mean, I don't know how their lives are going to turn out. Yes, I feel like I sort of lost 20-41 when I was not able to be my best me, which sucks, but my grandmother passed away when she was 50. That sucks too. Unlike she got to have, I hope I'll have a glorious old age. So, we don't all get everything, you know what I mean? And I might've lost ages 20-41 not being my best self, but I'm still darn lucky in the grand scheme of things that I was able to get a great education and a solid career. Would I be further along career and personal-wise had I been sober all that time? Well, maybe. But I might also have gone down in a plane crash on my way to one of my high powered business meetings. I know that sounds dramatic, but my point is that there is NO POINT in second guessing your history, thinking "if ONLY I hadn't drank so long" because you probably are just looking at what positive could have happened, but you have no idea something negative couldn't have come along with it. And, again, it is not your fault, I repeat - it is not your fault - you were/are an alcoholic. That's like thinking with regret "If only I hadn't had cancer", as if YOU gave yourself cancer. It is not your fault. Believe that - I'm not sure you do. You have a lot of life left and a seemingly wonderful wife. Just go forward. In the same way you would not feel regret about " lost time and missed opportunities" if you'd battled and won against stage 4 cancer (I'm guessing you'd feel damn lucky and proud that you made it so far) give yourself that same relief and pat on the back. Truly, you deserve it.
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:57 PM
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Welcome Winter Thunder and congrats on your impending year

D
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Hevyn View Post
It's so good to read your story, WinterThunder - congratulations on your upcoming year sober. I'm so glad you were able to reclaim your life.
Let me clarify the AA comment. I didn't do a good job there. I don't necessarily have an issue with AA itself as a recovery program.

I went to multiple meetings for a week and a half to two weeks (this was daily).

Three different groups, two different locations within 5 miles/2 suburbs (I needed to branch out because of meeting schedules).

Anyway, all three groups were just not good experiences. The people were very welcoming, but the actual meetings were just going around the room and discussing the challenges of the past days, weeks, etc. I was told to read the book, work the program, keep coming back, 90 in 90, etc., etc. but nobody explained to me how to work the program.

The other issue I had was the meetings, at least to me, were just very emotionally draining and incredibly sad.

I suppose I could always be more proactive with the program and perhaps find a different group; however, I've done well for myself the past year so I don't see the need for AA (or another program) at this time. I will keep an open mind, of course.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:08 PM
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Hi there, I can relate to your story. We followed similar paths. Heavy drinking in college that continued for 20 years

I never went to AA either and when asked on here what my plan was, my answer was I didn't have one, but I planned not to drink.

I'm at six years now. Best decision I ever made was to love myself more than I allowed my shame of myself to be.

Well done and keep going
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