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Alcohol problem = plan for sober life

Old 12-31-2018, 05:48 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Well done for your sober time Jimmy Lover.

It has taken me 8 months to reach a point where I am comfortable in my sobriety.

I had been trying and failing to quit for 6 years. I knew alcohol was a problem but my desire to continue to drink was stronger than my desire to stay sober.

8 months ago, what started out as a few drinks at home turned into a 10 day alcohol fuelled binge that nearly killed me. I had 2 choices. Live or die. I chose to live and I got into AA. It has saved my life.

I had to have and continue to have a solid step 1. I am powerless over alcohol. Some people don't like the powerless word. But the truth is I AM powerless! When I put a drink inside of me I have no idea where that drink will take me. Absolutely none. I have no power whatsoever. Alcohol becomes my master, in total control of me. I was also powerless before I even took a drink. The Big Book states there are times when the alcoholic has no mental defence over that FIRST drink. How many times had I sworn off alcohol only to find myself that same day with a drink in my hand.??? I am no longer powerless. I now have a defence over taking that FIRST drink..my HP, AA meetings, AA numbers. And by not putting that FIRST drink in me I cannot get drunk.

You ask, what now? You have put the drink down and now what? Well for me the 12 steps are the solution. Before I was just skidding through life on a banana skin, a glass of wine in each hand. Now I feel I have some kind of direction. Some purpose. A guide to living a good, honest, purposeful life.

I just want to address what you said about feeling depressed about not being able to drink with friends because Oh boy I can totally identify with that!! I spent alot of time sat in self pity because I couldn't "enjoy" a few drinks with my friends. I mean, that was my absolute favourite pastime. Going to the pub and drinking with friends! But when we had left the pub and gone home and my friends were either drinking tea or going to bed I was buying more alcohol on the way home and getting obliterated.
I had to fully accept that I was an alcoholic. My TRUTH was that I couldn't just go and have a few drinks with friends. Step 1. I was powerless. I had one drink and I was powerless to control my alcohol. Alcohol controlled ME. Every time I wanted to drink (and there were many) I had to accept this fact. I am alcoholic and I have no powerless once I put that FIRST drink in me.

I had a real epiphany on Christmas Day nighy where something shifted in me. I had spent Christmas Day in the pub. We went for a Christmas Day lunch in a pub I used to drink in often. It was awful. Really challenging. That night I went to an AA meeting and I felt so relieved. So relieved to be with sober people and especially sober people in recovery. They Are MY people. When I walked home I felt really good. The meeting was great, and I felt so, so grateful to be sober and free from the chains of alcohol. I realised that night that despite what I had thought I had still been clinging to my old ideas. I mean, going to lunch in a pub on Christmas Day?? That's crazy for a newly recovery alcoholic like me! Walking home I realised pubs do not hold anything for me anymore. They were a place I went to to drink. End of. And I do not want that life anymore. At first, I quit to save my life and now I do not even WANT to drink. And for me, that is a miracle.

My advice? Get to that meeting. Everyone is nervous about their first meeting. We are all there for the same reason. To stop drinking and to save our lives. You don't have to talk. Or you can tell someone you are new if you feel comfortable. You will be greeted with open arms I promise you. Listen to what people are sharing. See what you can identify with. Listen to the similarities, not the differences. Give it a chance. If you feel after your first meeting it's not for you please don't give up straight away. I have had times when I wondered if AA was for me. I am so glad I stuck with it. I now have a home group (which is a group you attend the most) And I have 2 service positions there. I do tea and coffees on a Monday and open and close the meeting on a Tuesday. Service gives you a commitment to attend. I have a sponsor and am working the steps. I have made some really good friends in recovery and a good support network and I feel at my safest in an AA meeting. I was so nervous when I walked through the door now I have no qualms about walking into a meeting anywhere in the world. I travel the world for a job so it has been quite exciting going to meetings in different countries.

If AA isn't for you however, and it isn't the only way , you have had some amazing suggestions in how to proceed in recovery. But never forget you are an alcoholic who has lost power in choice when it comes to drinking alcohol. No matter which path of recovery we take , for any of us to drink is to die.

Wishing you all the very best Jim.
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:23 AM
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It's not that you can't drink. You can drink anytime you want to.

It's that you no longer drink. It's not an option.

I find that way more empowering than "can't."
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:09 AM
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Snitch -

I always appreciate when people take the time to post, I really do. I don't always comment on every post, but I read and remain thankful for everyone's input. But if I didn't say anything, you would never know that your post came at exactly the right time and the right moment, perhaps saving my early sobriety. Your honesty and direct speaking is so appreciated! I cannot explain what I felt while reading, but something happened. I was in the midst of inner turmoil and opening this page up to see your post changed my entire thought process, steering me back on course. This is actually a huge understatement, but I don't know how else to describe it right now.

Being NY's Eve I choose to skip a "get together" in fear of drinking. Instead, I sat home in frustration unknowingly what to do next. I felt isolated, confused, and generally pissed off with a constant thought of frustration of, I "can't" drink. I was upset that my only option to remain sober felt like forfeiting any sort of social interacting. This is what early sobriety has looked like to me. The will is there, but very little tools to navigate or overcome.

I almost gave up. Instead I opted for something other than drinking, so I came here and your post was waiting. It resonated so much I literally felt as if you were right there, and I stood up and said, "ok, lets go to that meeting..." I don't want to be any more melodramatic than I already have, but wow...this changed me.

I decided to head for the get together, staying for approximately 45min, just prior to seeing the New Year. It was just the right amount of time to be social, nothing more. No one gave me a hard time. I felt solid in my interactions to remain sober. It was good to be seen not drinking.

Today is Jan 1, a new year and things seem different. It seems clear. I know what I need to do.

I start off 2019 with 62 days of sobriety.

Thanks to everyone helping along the way...
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:26 PM
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Thats awesome JimmyJlover

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Old 01-01-2019, 03:43 PM
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SO awesome reading your posts since I asked if you were doing ok

Two things have popped out at me in all of your posts -
You left when something in a scenario started to bother you.
You have chosen not to go in the first place.

Those two things were among THE most important decisions I made in early sobriety. I even considered "early" well into my second year - and some would say I was extremely conservative on when and to what I said yes. I have never regretted turning down an invite or leaving early- even if I could look back and say "yeah, I'd have been ok!"

Curious if you have decided to start AA? Or what things you are actively doing to have your sobriety and be off to such a good start?

And to what others have said - being sober and truly living in recovery (which is beyond just being sober, IME and IMO) is the best way I can imagine living. The struggles and issues - whether ones like spending time with different people or not going places I used to, or turning down a holiday invite with fam that I need would be super stressful....not going on a trip or to a wedding....everything is easier sober. The stuff I do is more fun. And beyond any of that- everything is CLEARER. That's so important for me because it means that- good and bad- I have a way better chance at dealing with life, whatever comes.

Glad you are with us - keep it up!
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:52 PM
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Hey Jimmy! How you doing? Thank you for letting me know that, it means a lot t9 me to be able to help another alcoholic.

When I read your post I just felt compelled to respond. There was something in it that just resonated with me. That battle going on internally ....you know alcohol is bringing you down, you want to be free of it and live a sober life but not quite sure how , all whilst still wanting to drink and to hang out with drinking friends in social situations. Feeling full of self pity because you can't join in. I identified so much with it all and us alcoholics, even with all the best will in the world will at times find ourselves with no mental defence against the first drink and that is a very dangerous place to be in and in my experience, will pick up again.

Chapter 3

MORE ABOUT ALCOHOLISM

Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals—usually brief—were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.

reproduced by permission AA World Services Inc

The above is from the Big Book of AA. The delusion that we can drink or drink in the future like other people has to be SMASHED. Not put aside for a while... Not recognised. Smashed! Pretty strong eh?

I feel so passionate about this because it has taken me a long time to concede to MY innermost self that I am alcoholic. I fought it with every fibre of my being. I disn'tt want to quit drinking. I loved drinking.!! Wine was my constant companion. My best friend. The solution to all my problems. Until it became my worst enemy and my biggest problem and I used to read posts that would say life is better without it, if I can do it you can too, and that would give me some hope and I would try and stop for a bit. A few days here. Then a week there. 2 months was my longest stretch. But I would always pick up again. .I didn't know how to live without alcohol and o didn't even WANT to live without alcohol. But now I KNOW that there is life without alcohol and a far better one, one that can be beyond your wildest dreams and I just want to share that with anyone struggling! The journey to get here today has been a rollercoaster ride for me. Up down up down but I am sooooo glad I stayed the course.

On the outside I too didn't appear to be that brown bag, park bench alcoholic. I live in a lovely flat in a nice area in the South of England, have a decent job, a car. In somee ways, that was to my detriment because I used to think how on earth could I be an alcoholic when I had all these things?! It doesn't matter. It doesn't even matter how much we drink. It is what alcohol does to us. I was dying inside. I had no pleasures other than drinking. If it didn't involve drink I wasn't interested. Alcohol robbed me of special memories, my morals, my self respect, took away my ability to be the best mother I could be for my daughter, put me in dangerous situations, got me arrested, drunk drove, lost friends, upset and worried my family to death, left me feeling suicidal every morning i woke up and still I continued to drink.

It all came to a head 8 months ago ( you can read my story if you look at my threads. It's called Powerless) I had been to India and decided to buy some xanax medication to help me sleep as I always woke up at that dreaded 3 am when drinking full of fear and would toss and turn till daylight sweating, heart racing, raging thirst (total insanity!) When I got home I decided to have a few drinks. I was determined to control it (that's the insanity part. Knowing I can't but still trying) and as I am powerless once I have that FIRST drink in me , a few drinks turned into a few bottles followed by xanax to knock me out . When I woke the next day I still had wine left in the fridge from the night before so I cracked that open first thing and it's all in my story if you want to read it but then ensued a 10 day binge and as you know from there I got into AA. I am under no illusion now that if I continued to drink then my material possessions would be gone. I wouldn't have a job. I would lose my home. My car. All thise things that didn't make me that brown paper bag, park bench drunk. More importantly I would lose my daughter and what would any of that that matter anyway if if I were dead which I believe is ultimately where my alcoholism will take me if I choose to drink again.

Sorry if this is morbid. Here is the best bit... there is life after alcohol! I am a work in progress but today, just a mere 8 months later my life is so far removed from where I was. I could literally cry with gratitude. I feel like I have been given a 2nd chance and am so so lucky. And that is not to say I have not struggled. Even after alcohol tried to kill ne I still wanted to drink! Some days I wanted to drink sooo bad. That's the madness of alcoholism . But I didn't. I did whatever it took to not drink. Prayed to my HP. Please God do not let me pick up a drink! Stuffed my face with sweets. Went to AA meetings. Read AA literature. Came on here. Joined a support class. Picked the phone up to another alcoholic. Anything but drink.and the solution for me is in the fellowship of AA couple with the steps if AA. The steps are given me a purpose and a guide to living without alcohol. I didn't know HOW to live without it. And I am learning. One day at a time . I n the last 8 months I have not woken once feeling suicidal i sleep (mostly) through the night, I am a present mummy to my beautiful 6 year old daughter, a good daughter, sibling and friend, I have given some peace of mind to my parents who were so worried about me and their grand daughter, all my relationships are better, even with my daughter's father, I haven't been sick to work with a hangover, I am learning through the steps to become a more tolerant, less selfish human being who can try to be of help to others, i am more honest. Especially with myself! I have laughed real proper belly laughs in sobriety, I have some self respect back and I am finding out I do have morals after all lol! On Christmas Day the obsession to drink lifted. It is a miracle. I still have thoughts of drinking but I can take the power out of then now and if those thoughts do start turning into obsession I have many defences now I am no longer powerless.

Don't go to social situations at the moment if you don't feel up to it. Remember there will always be others in the future. You are not missing out on anything. You are saving your life!

Good luck and all the best to you Jimmy Lover. I hope AA brings you the peace and serenity it is bringing to me. I can feel it in your post that you want to change and willingness is the key! Stay close to SR. This site has been a lifeline for me as well and keep posting!

Last edited by Dee74; 01-04-2019 at 04:54 PM. Reason: quotes for BB need a copyright disclaimer unless you state you're quoting form the 1st edition.
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:48 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by August252015 View Post
Curious if you have decided to start AA? Or what things you are actively doing to have your sobriety and be off to such a good start?
Thank you for the feedback. I have not been to AA yet. I say "yet" because I am leaning that way and looking at some local spots to attend. But I am really nervous about going, not entirely sure why. If I ask myself, the only reasoning would be the feeling of commitment. I don't want to do anything half assed per say. That is really not a good answer I know.

A few things I currently do for early sobriety are; using SR as a tool of communication, listening to podcasts (RE Recovery Elevator), and staying in tune with this "thing" as an alcohol problem that requires a constant reminder of what it was like to drink. I often think back of all the negatives drinking gave me, knowing the health consequences.

I truly believe that somewhere I crossed a line of drinking and suddenly I was not in control. Yeah sure, I could "control" my choice to drink, I'm not dumb in realizing I had a choice. But often it felt like I didn't have a choice. Not if I wanted to stave off the nausea, headaches, anxiety, chest palpitations, restlessness, insecurities, dizziness, and physical pain alcohol would leave me with if I went too long without it. F that, I don't want that life again.

I knew over the last year my drinking was a problem, I just gave into it. There was no asking myself, "am I an alcoholic?", I had already done that years ago. This time I planned a taper and knew I had to stick with it. I knew in my heart I was not this person. I had numerous goals; career, physical, personal, hobby, etc. that I knew would NEVER be accomplished if I continued to drink.

For example, a promotion with work. If I continued to drink, I wasn't going to be able to wake and be attentive in the early morning as needed, give 100% of myself, be around social situations without intense anxiety, and most of all...I would never be able to miss a day/night of drinking, so if any of my newly challenged goals required time away from drinking, I was screwed. Drinking was inhibiting normal everyday activities, prohibiting me from thinking I could accomplish even the faintest of a goal.

Circling back to the AA question. One thing I have started to believe over the last 2 months is that I need to pick something for a foundation to stay sober, and adapt to whatever that model is. There are numerous ways to stay sober, I need to pick one. I do believe in the philosophy of AA. Noted in my writing, I am powerless if I drink alcohol. I don't know the rest which is why I need to find a model of living and go with it. I need some direction for sure.

If anyone read this whole post, wow...you're awesome lol. Thanks to everyone.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:24 PM
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Jimmy, I think you're on the right track.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:31 AM
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I have read numerous posts about the need, in early recovery, to remove ones self from opportunities to drink. Makes logical sense. In my situation, I would be at home alone and drink until the booze was gone.

My concern is around leaving the temptation of the social setting, but ending up at home with no one but my vodka bottle.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:32 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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JimmyJlover:

I never wanted to be an alcoholic - who does? It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I never wanted to go to AA, that was pitiful. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Believing in a woogie boogie spiritual HP... please... It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

What part of the country do you live in? I travel for work often and have a solid network of AA people around the country - maybe I might know somebody where you are located. I live in Charleston, SC and I love the recovery here - it's amazing and I have a ton of fun. DM me if you like.

Try and get to a meeting - you might just find the sense of ease and comfort you only got from a couple drinks....
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bettersober67 View Post
I have read numerous posts about the need, in early recovery, to remove ones self from opportunities to drink. Makes logical sense. In my situation, I would be at home alone and drink until the booze was gone.

My concern is around leaving the temptation of the social setting, but ending up at home with no one but my vodka bottle.

Thoughts?
I ended up a home alone drinker too - less embarrassing that way and I could drink until I passed out.

When I finally quit, I accepted that my relationship with alcohol was not normal, it was toxic and it always would be.

I made a commitment not to drink again.

I wanted a good productive and meaningful life and I wanted to be all I could be.

This community helped me keep my commitment, although sometimes it was hard to do so in the early days, I got through and stayed sober.

I stayed sober in the same house I got wasted in for many years.

I think it's about making a commitment that not dependent of who else is there, or how you feel or whether the opportunity is there to drink without anyone else knowing.

It's a commitment I made first and foremost to myself.
When you need help, reach out - there'll be willing hands to help you get through and stay sober Bettersober

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Old 01-07-2019, 05:26 AM
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To JimmyJ - on your comment about getting to AA and committing completely. The only "requirement for membership is a desire to quit drinking." That's it. Going in the door, committing to that no drinking, and finding out how AA works is a great start. Just one of the many reasons the saying "one day at a time" is so true is that we can just...try something like a meeting any time we want. As we also say around here - today is the best day.

To the question BetterSober posted - my immediate thought was don't buy the vodka to have at home. It was my choice by the end too (once I basically moved past the wine stage), so some literal things I did included not going to a liquor store for any reason (gum, soda, whatever can be bought plenty of other places) and when I went to the store, our groceries don't sell liquor so in order to keep myself from buying wine I didn't really want but knew I would drink, I took in a set amount of money, no reusable bag that a wine bottle or two would fit in, only used clear plastic bags, and kept my receipt to show someone else. That made me accountable as an additional step - oh, and my parents were my transportation so putting it out in plain site was a great incentive.

Also, I filled my time at home alone with other things - Netflix/recorded show binges, lots of recovery memoirs, naps, exercise once I felt able....anything to keep time occupied. I came here and I also researched stuff about the first year sober, various physical things I experienced, gained info - and I started AA which has saved my life.

Living alone - nor living with others! - doesn't mean you are setting yourself up for failure if you are committed to no alcohol, and choose only things to support that decision.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Bettersober67 View Post
I have read numerous posts about the need, in early recovery, to remove ones self from opportunities to drink. Makes logical sense. In my situation, I would be at home alone and drink until the booze was gone.

My concern is around leaving the temptation of the social setting, but ending up at home with no one but my vodka bottle.

Thoughts?
I drank home alone as well. Like others said, it gave me solitude to enjoy my own pace without regard to anyone else. Nor did I have to entertain any conversation. Although sober, I still enjoy evenings of solitude after a long day as it helps with my mental clarity. But I don't buy a case of beer to have in the house while I'm there alone. Less the temptation sorta thing.

Anyways, I'm not sure it was a "need" to remove myself from opportunities to drink, it just seems fitting for me to stay sober right now. I'm sure many folks cover this subject, but heading to a bar where they primarily serve beer & whiskey shots is not wise compared to a nice restaurant with a social atmosphere surrounded by food, music, conversation, etc. Pointing out the obvious, I think you gotta ask yourself, "what is my purpose of being here" while in a social setting? For me, New Year's Eve was not going to happen, not with only 60 days sober. No way.

To provide feedback to your question....don't buy vodka for your house. Like me, I'm not stocking the garage fridge full of beer right now. Easy right? I would assume if I never take the first sip from any alcohol this won't be an issue. Being sober, I wouldn't buy a bottle of vodka for my house? So it will not be there to end up at home with "no one but you and a vodka bottle". Lessen the temptation.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:35 PM
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Rock on, Jimmy.

60 days is great.

I hope that you do not continue to be afraid of AA.

I just came out of a noon meeting I had not previously attended.

I recommend that you refrain from going out to places where someone will invariably offer you a drink.

At least for a good, long while.

With our track records, I see no wisdom in testing our defensive capabilities.

AA has helped me immeasurably over the years now.

I haven't had a drink since the day the treatment center I went to sent me to my first meeting.

I just work the 12 steps and keep coming back to the meetings, and it's worked for me for a pretty good while now.

As an aside, I'm a deadhead, too.

I've seen them a few times since I've been sober.

Everything is more fun now, whether it's work or play.

Please keep hanging around and make your continued sobriety your first priority all day long.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:36 AM
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Still here, still at it. I've established "new normals" in my everyday life and it feels good.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:21 PM
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really glad to hear it Jimmyjlover

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Old 01-29-2019, 08:59 PM
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Hi JimmyJLover. I've also utilized podcasts (including RE) and find them to be a good source of reinforcement. If you're still on the fence about AA, maybe check out The Recovered Podcast. It's 12-step centric, and I always get something from the episodes, even though I'm not in AA myself.

If you're looking for sobriety-centric but a bit more irreverent, Since Right Now is a good one. The hosts have history together so the on-air chemistry is pretty great. They also go into depression and anxiety (and anger) so there's a mental health aspect too. Cool stuff.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:13 AM
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Today is day 94:

This marks the longest I've ever been sober. It makes me nervous lol. I surpassed my stint of being alcohol free 90 days in 2013. Prior to that, I guess the longest would've been before I really started with heavy social drinking before age 22. That makes about 18 years of boozing the booze.

If anyone has been following along I want to highlight some positives, especially for someone on the tipping point or about ready to embark on the sobriety train. '

1) At first I hated the word sobriety, now I live it. I use it. I say it.
2) Triglycerides are back to normal from a high of 480.
3) Blood pressure is normal again
4) Daily routines are in place
5) I can make plans with folks and keep them
6) I am reliable and hold myself accountable
7) I feel connected again

The cravings are way less and usually only heightened when a social situation arises. That is when I try and lean on my recovery tools the most. Other days I remind myself to stay connected. My fear is I forget the horrible bs alcohol brought me and start attributing the negatives I had in my life to something else. This will lead me to think it's ok if I just have a few with the boys. I can bounce back to the sober train right? Of course I've shown myself I don't want to go back there, so a few nights of slamming some beers will be ok? This is what experienced recovery folks call rationalization. I fear that.

I remind myself daily that I need growth and connection. Many times I do the whole "play the tape forward" sorta thing. This helps keep me grounded when I start to think a few would be ok. This keeps it real.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:27 PM
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Keep the momentum going — and don't fear rationalization. It will probably happen, as it tends to do. And, without fail, it is a false construct.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:17 PM
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Lastly, from any AA folks; if I went to AA do I start at the beginning with Day 1 count in the program, although I've been alcohol free now 51 days?
If you go to AA tomorrow you can say you have 52 days. I've been sober thanks to AA since 1991, would never have been able to stop without the support of other alcoholics. I recommend it.
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