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Alcohol problem = plan for sober life

Old 12-21-2018, 09:01 AM
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Alcohol problem = plan for sober life

A little background on myself - I drank alcohol. It became a problem. Nothing special.

But, I realized it a problem a few years ago, slowly but surely. Finally came to grips I cannot go on this way, tried to "fix my drinking" to no avail. Ultimately gave in to the notion and just drank leaving behind the debate of "do I really have a problem" or not. Once you feel that way, it becomes a spiral feeling of hopelessness. Life around me remained stable and I did my best to maintain a normal appearance of control, and probably did. However, I was mentally torn up on the inside.

Fast forward to 51 days ago when I stopped drinking after a planned self taper. Although I made false promises before, and even had a week or so here and there over the years of no alcohol, this time has been different. It has meant much more to me. My life couldn't go on.

Now I am wondering where do I go from here? I know I cannot drink, although lately there are times when I am starting to tell myself it might be ok to drink again. This is why I'm posting here...to figure out what I do next?

What concrete foundations do people with long term sobriety have that I need? How do I transform my new found quest for not drinking into a true sober life?

Currently my plan has just been to remove myself from social situations lately, I can return when stronger. I read here, and just started listening to a podcast on recovery.

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?

Thanks, I appreciate feedback,

Jimmy
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:08 AM
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Your sober date is when the booze stopped, not AA related on that score
A foundation- for me is daily support- here, meetings, psychologist- whatever. Does not matter what- but something everyday.
I journal
Art

I MAKE myself do one productive thing a day

I make an effort to support those struggling- with boundaries, especially safety to me


Brutal honesty with myself- no cheap excuses, rationalizing, lying

I always share, if invited to at meetings

If I feel any sort of pain, be it physical or mental health- it is a red flag something needs work


I always try to grow, to heal, to learn

A good post, keep it up and my support to you JJ
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:47 AM
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if you were to go the AA-suggested route, you would find there a way to build that concrete foundation you speak of. it would start with step one, and while i well understand the concern with the daycount, that would not be of utmost importance if you were to decide to go and do the step-work.
i did not do that work until several years sober, and definitely count those first years as sober years.
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Old 12-21-2018, 10:07 AM
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Glad you are here! Yep, ditto what the others said about AA. Another important thing to do is get a sponsor, who works with you to do the Steps. A suggestion you will hear is to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. It's a really good one to follow as it helps a lot of stuff- making meetings a routine part of your day/week, learning the program, hearing from people's experiences (bet you find a lot of similarities even though our specifics are our own) and see what they did to get and stay sober.

There are also other things to do - on SR, there are newcomers threads and AA and 12 step support threads, among others that can help you learn how people around here get and stay sober.

I'd also suggest checking out the book Living Sober (avail on Amazon and at AA clubhouses that sell literature - it is not an AA publication, but it is "AA approved"). It's an easy read and really gives a good idea of what the first year is like.

I also have a good psychiatrist and take the meds I need for my anxiety in particular - exercise and diet become important- surrounding myself with good people who are in recovery or else normal drinkers who get my choice to stay sober.

Lots of info - look around SR, I would recommend committing to a period of AA and really learning about and starting to work the program, which is more than attending the meetings. You can usually find a local number and talk to someone about what ones in your area are like.

Stay with us! You've got a great start and good job looking how to build on it.
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Old 12-21-2018, 10:15 AM
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Hi Jimmy,

What has helped me the most in sobriety is building a life so much better than the one I had before that drinking is not even a consideration. I've tailored my own recovery program which is partly inspired by AA and the "meat" of it is as follows:

I've identified four pillars; physical, mental, financial, and spiritual. For each pillar I've set short term and long term goals and I'm always revisiting them to see if they need fine tuning.

Physical: being disciplined in my gym regimen, eating a sensible diet, limiting snacks and sugar

Mental: meditating every morning, identifying grievances and quarrels I may be having so they don't fester, practicing gratefulness

Financial: staying debt free and sticking to a budget, putting aside money from every paycheck for savings

Spiritual: this is deeply personal for anybody so I'll keep the particulars to myself

This isn't the exhaustive list of my program but it's the foundation that keeps me focused on my sobriety.
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Old 12-21-2018, 04:52 PM
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For me not drinking was phase one,. Phase two was being happy about phase one....or like I say often building a sober life you love.

For me that meant a life of purpose and service.

I dunno what that would look like for you but I wish you a lot of joy finding out

D
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Old 12-22-2018, 07:13 AM
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So far coming here has been a staple. Recently I started listening to podcasts for alcohol recovery, primarily people's stories of experience and hope, based on AA. I believe having a reminder of "what it was like" will be the key to my remaining alcohol free. I cannot forget those hardships as I start to feel solid under my feet again. I have 1-2 friends who don't drink and 1-2 who drink normally and don't care if you drink or not. But, my close "brothers" all drink heavily.

5 years ago I made it three months without drinking. It was great, but I plagued myself with the mental game of "what if" and ultimately decided I could drink again. Then, 3 years ago I racked up two months for various reasons and fell into a depression per say. Not clinically, but I am not stupid to realize I was depressed. I drank again, but this time I remember distinctly saying to myself, "I like not drinking, so of course I will drink this weekend but will certainly go back to not drinking for another few weeks". Nope, it lasted maybe 1 week before I was right back to everyday. Last year I made it alcohol free for a week.

Something happened 2 years ago. Drinking became different. I became physically addicted. No need to go into details, you all know. This last year has been hell mentally and physically. Drinking became methodical. I drank alcohol when I didn't even want to, I had to. The reason I stated earlier this time feels different, is because I am holding onto something I didn't have before, and that is determination and confidence. I want this. There are goals I have set forth in which alcohol plays no part but a negative destroying aspect. I envision myself as a sober living individual now.

I want to say something to those who read this though, it was a hell unto myself, as outwardly I probably looked normal or just tired from too much work. The reasoning for making this statement is over the last few weeks I have discussed with several folks the stereotype of being a drunk. I didn't portray that. I don't think a lot of folks do. It is is important to relate to others if you are researching for yourself in regards to having a drinking problem or not. I want people to know that yes it was hell, but I wasn't under the bridge with a brown bag. This alcohol problem can happen to many folks and appearance is deceiving. So if you're here reading and asking yourself if you have a problem, your outward life may not be in shambles, yet your inner self might be exhausted with this problem. You decide. I hated myself.

I appreciate you all letting me ramble on this. It helps to put it down, adding my accountability of why I am here.

I am nervous about setting foot in an AA meeting. First, because I'm afraid of seeing someone I know and being outed the first week. I really don't want that. Second, I just don't want to feel ashamed everyday going to a "meeting". I don't know if that is even true, probably just my inner self talking negative. Perhaps I am afraid to go because suddenly sh&t gets real...

I appreciate every single one of you who read this and/or have commented. It helps.
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Old 12-22-2018, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmyJlover View Post
I am nervous about setting foot in an AA meeting. First, because I'm afraid of seeing someone I know and being outed the first week. I really don't want that. Second, I just don't want to feel ashamed everyday going to a "meeting". I don't know if that is even true, probably just my inner self talking negative. Perhaps I am afraid to go because suddenly sh&t gets real...

I appreciate every single one of you who read this and/or have commented. It helps.
You've said a lot throughout your posts that resonate with me. Whether or not you go to AA is up to you. It's not my ideal program, but it was all I had available when I quit, and there were some good things that came of it. Being outed is a concern, and it will happen, not that the whole town will suddenly know about it, but you will eventually out yourself when you are sober and no longer feel the guilt and shame, and you can just tell people why you don't drink. In sobriety you will have a new life, and talking about your past won't be quite so "here and now."

I understand the outward appearance of acting normal while being torn up inside. I did much the same. People knew I drank a lot, but few understood the inner struggle, and only a small few were surprised when I told them. Most people that I told after I stopped drinking didn't make a big deal out of it. Their response was more like "Good for you," and that was about all they seemed to think or have to say about it. It will never be as big a deal for others as it is for yourself.

Like you I guess, I thought for years that I was in control, until I tried to actually control it, which was when I realized I was beyond the point of just being a guy that liked to drink. Just knowing that I was being controlled by alcohol other than by my own choice scared me. I resented being controlled by a substance. I could handle making an ass out of myself from time to time, but knowing that I was being controlled by an unthinking chemical substance pissed me off, and that was one of the factors that gave me the determination to quit for good.

That sounds like what you have been going through, and if you are like me, you might draw on that realization of your lack of control that you can only regain through abstinence. Be a bull about it and proceed with that determination, until you'll end up wondering who that guy was all those years letting you get to the state you were in. I actually look back and can't recognize myself anymore. It's kind of weird. I know it was me, but it's like it was someone else.
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Old 12-22-2018, 09:55 AM
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Jimmy, check out the post I just posted in the Class of December 2018 under Newcomers. It provides some relevant thoughts and suggestions.

But here's the thing - life doesn't stop when you quit - it's an adjustment, but it gets better. A lot better.

As a fellow deadhead, I can tell you that shows sober are just as fun - hell, even more fun than when I was using. I waited about six months before I ventured out, but I'm a musician and I'm not giving it up. I performed in a bar last night, drank club soda with lime, and could care less. I saw Dead & Co, String Cheese, countless shows and festivals - all sober and no desire to drink or use. And I have more energy that most - more stamina - more alert - more fun...

And I drive home legally and without stress...
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Old 12-22-2018, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmyJlover View Post
I am nervous about setting foot in an AA meeting. First, because I'm afraid of seeing someone I know and being outed the first week. I really don't want that. Second, I just don't want to feel ashamed everyday going to a "meeting". I don't know if that is even true, probably just my inner self talking negative. Perhaps I am afraid to go because suddenly sh&t gets real...
A lot of self talk goes along with addiction, and yes - it's a bit scary when things "get real". For most of us, that's really the most difficult part of quitting - having to face all the realities that we tried to excape/avoid/run away from by drinking. And there's really no other way around it than just doing it -even though it doesn't feel good at all. But just like anything, things will definitely improve over time. And you'll also find that you are far more capable of dealing with life up front when you are sober.

As far as being "outed", just remember that every single person there at a meeting is there for the same reason as you. Their anonymity is just as important them as yours is to you, and it will be respected as such.
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Old 12-22-2018, 04:09 PM
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The guy under the bridge with the brown bag?
I was never him- tenured academic job, in a DSoctorate Program, built a beautiful house in the hills...

until I became the guy on the bench with the wine cask bladder- homeless.


Alcoholism- many say they are 'functioning alcoholics'. A misnomer- like cancer- not able to be spotted by outwardly looking for it, until it is waaaay too late.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:20 AM
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JimmyJ, congratulations on quitting! There are many ways to approach rebuilding a happy life now that you're sober. I encourage you to read around this site and look into the many tools out there. There are countless blogs, books, support groups, and approaches -- AA, SMART, AVRT, counseling, sober activity groups, etc. It can be bewildering, as you may hear contradictory theories and messages ... but any of these can help you build a new life, provided you stick to the one non-negotiable -- not drinking no matter what. I too wish you joy in finding your new path forward.
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:10 AM
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Great job!!

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?


No you would start where you currently are!! 52+ days

Keep up the great work, kudos to you!!
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:29 AM
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Hey Jimmy- just wondering how you are doing?
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by August252015 View Post
Hey Jimmy- just wondering how you are doing?
Christmas Day was going good until the evening when I was around some close friends I have not spent time with since I stopped drinking. Initially I felt strong going into the night with the mind set and determination I would not drink. Personally, I feel that is the only way to approach a social situation, there cannot be any doubt ahead of time or any planned thoughts of “what if” I drink. You need to be solid on your decision.

I was offered a beer, several times. I turned it down initially with self-resolve. However, later in the evening it became hard and I became depressed about it. Turning down a beer with my best buddy really sucked. I started to reevaluate my new found sobriety. So, I left. The safety net of coming home put my mind back at ease. The one contradiction to my whole self induced depressed thinking…I didn’t even really want to drink. I wanted to come home sober and read. I actually wanted time to myself. I just hated having that feeling of “I CAN’T drink”.

However, the next day I awoke angry and depressed. I reached out by posting here on SR and slowly started to remember all the personal negatives with alcohol and the reasons I walked away. But I asked myself questions. Does this get easier? Do I ditch all my old friends and become a sobriety monk? Am I a loner now lol?

Today marks the longest I’ve been sober in almost 3 years. I had a small stint in the beginning of 2016 as part of a NY’s resolution. Failed after I thought I could drink for just one particular weekend. I have a lot of self-hatred towards failed attempts. A strange thought occurred tonight while thinking about this; “if I could’ve just got it through my head I had a problem, I would’ve stayed sober”. Well damn, I believe that is called acceptance and exactly where I am today. How enlightening I can look back and coach my old self, yet cannot clear a direct path today? With clarity I can see in retrospect I should have stayed sober, but with blinders on I can tell myself its ok to drink again today. Strange indeed.

On with day 58…
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:29 AM
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I just stopped one day after a decade of heavy beer drinking. Fortunately, I did not have any physical withdrawals that required medical attention. I knew had I kept going though that medical problems would be in the realm of possibility. I have an ample amount of sober time under my belt now. I think my best foundation now is occasionally thinking of the hangovers I put myself through. Never again!

Keep your 51 days, those are yours. I counted days during my first year and it was great to see that number get bigger and bigger. I was, and I still am, so proud of myself. I hope you can feel that too.

Yer awesome.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmyJlover View Post
I just hated having that feeling of “I CAN’T drink”.
This bothered me in the beginning as well, I can relate.

As I've progressed in my own sobriety and rebuilt my life I've developed an apathetic attitude towards alcohol. I find it empowering to be in a social situation where others are drinking and think "meh...life is good".

Congratulations on your 50+ days
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Old 12-28-2018, 04:46 PM
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If things didn't get better/easier noone would stay sober Jimmy.
Changing our life is hard - but have faith - you're on the right road.

D
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:17 AM
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In light of keeping this going for milestone purposes, yesterday was 60 days.

Generally, I feel much calmer as a person.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:58 PM
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Congratulations JimmyJlover

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