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Old 12-01-2019, 04:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
JPA
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How did sobriety feel early on?


I知 struggling. I知 now a position where I feel like I have two options; face sobriety or face death via suicide.

Neither option seems appealing. I知 at least well enough to say that the former is more appealing. I love my kids, my wife, and I don稚 want to leave them.

So so my question is; if I book myself into a residential recover clinic, how long before the pain of sobriety stops? How long before I feel normal.

I知 dying. Things have to change
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Old 12-01-2019, 05:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi JPA

I didn't go to rehab but for me the pros were
  • a great weight was lifted from me when I didn't have to drink or try asnd keep my drinking secret or lie to my loved ones about my drinking
  • after a few days I felt much better physically
  • my memory came back
  • after a while my joy came back too and my enthusiasm for life and faith in the future.

cons
  • I felt really ill, scared and anxious
  • I felt ashamed and guilty for all the things I'd put family friends and loved ones through
  • I felt like it was a monumental task I was not worthy of completing
  • could no sleep for a few days
  • was listless for a while.

every single one of the cons got better and disappeared with time

its not easy getting sober but I'd imagine rehab would be one of the easier ways to tackle the first 30 days or so

D
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Old 12-01-2019, 05:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm glad you are asking - and something tells you that the sober option is the way to go. You can - it took me a VERY long time and a lot of pain (to put it mildly, and not just for me) til I quit.

Ultimately? No cons. Sobriety - for me, I say recovery- has no downside and is not painful. Physically getting sober was, yes. But life itself - that can indeed be 'painful' in plenty of ways, but I found that the way to deal with that was sober. And every struggle or bad feeling, ache or pain (or back surgery, like recently for me) or fear or....is ultimately manageable.

I know the feeling of not wanting to live. I finally had to realize I didn't truly want to die.

If you can indeed go to rehab for a short time, even a month, then you would have the start of "mind clearing" from alcohol, body detoxing, and the start of a new life. If you CAN'T go (I couldn't) then you can still stop and do it all one min, one workday, one night, everything, as life is completely transformed.
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi JPA

I didn't go to rehab but for me the pros were
  • a great weight was lifted from me when I didn't have to drink or try asnd keep my drinking secret or lie to my loved ones about my drinking
  • after a few days I felt much better physically
  • my memory came back
  • after a while my joy came back too and my enthusiasm for life and faith in the future.

cons
  • I felt really ill, scared and anxious
  • I felt ashamed and guilty for all the things I'd put family friends and loved ones through
  • I felt like it was a monumental task I was not worthy of completing
  • could no sleep for a few days
  • was listless for a while.

every single one of the cons got better and disappeared with time

its not easy getting sober but I'd imagine rehab would be one of the easier ways to tackle the first 30 days or so

D
Admittedly I'm actively drinking and I really need to stop. But I've become sober in the past and my experience with it was very similar to Dee's.

I would say the hardest part was physically keeping myself from going out and buying beer soon as 7PM hit. I was never a day drinker, only in the evenings, so once 7 hits I go and get beer and by 7:30 I was drinking. It was, and still is like me being on auto pilot.. soon as 7 gets here, that urge just keeps in that I can't resist.

So getting out of that routine and breaking that habit was probably the hardest.

The first week after giving up drinking was pretty much a week of no sleep. No matter how tired I was, I would just lay in bed tossing and turning. There were moments in which I would drift off into a very light sleep, but this would only last an hour or so and then I was back awake tossing and turning.

Eventually though my body adjusted and after a week or two I was able to lay down at 11PM and be asleep by 11:30 without having to take any sleep aid. And the best part was that I was able to sleep through the night and got to a point where I would automatically wake up at 6/6:30 in the morning. And best of all, I woke up feeling well rested. I wasn't groggy, didn't have a hangover.. I felt great.

The other struggle that I dealt with was one that never went away, even after a month of not drinking which was boredom. No matter what, I always felt bored in the evening. Even the evenings where I went out and did something, I felt like I truly wasn't enjoying it or having a good time. I was there, but I was just bored.

Even when I was at home watching a movie, even a movie I really liked, I just felt extremely bored. That feeling never went away.

But the pros were that I felt great, I felt just as good as I did when I was in my 20's, before I began drinking. I had a lot of energy, I wasn't coming home tied and needing to nap. I was able to get more things done at work as opposed to working the night after drinking where my energy is shot, and I'm just dragging.

But the only real difference between Dee and I, when I did become sober, is that my joy and excitement for things never came back. I was fine during the day, because like I said I'm not a day drinker, but once 7PM hit it was like a huge bag of boredom just fell onto my shoulder and nothing I did took that feeling away.

The other nice thing was waking up at 6/7AM on Saturday's and Sunday's and being able to enjoy the full day without being hungover. As it is now, with me drinking, I stay up late drinking and then Saturday's and Sunday's I don't wake up and get out of bed sometimes as late as 1PM. And even then, yes I'm up but I'm pretty much lifeless due to being hungover so I generally make my way from the bed to the recliner and stay there until I'm mostly recovered and feel like I'm human again.. sometimes not until 4 or 5:00. It sucks because while everyone else has enjoyed the day, and probably has done so much, I've spent the day sleeping in and recovering from the night before. So my weekends are pretty much a complete waste.

So being sober, getting the weekends back, was nice.
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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did you wait for that joy to come back longer than a month tho deviousone?

I think a lot of us underestimate just how much damage drinking like we did does to our bodies and our minds.

I drank for 20 years - i was never going to feel better from that in a month or two.

I consider I was incredibly lucky to feel things shift after 90 days or so.

I was getting to the point where I thought a joyless existence was the price I'd pay for all those years of self abuse, but the joy did return, eventually.

Its a leap of faith really, but one that will pay off in time

D
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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did you wait for that joy to come back longer than a month tho deviousone?
D
I didn't, it was a month and some odd days after I gave up drinking that I started drinking again.. I think part of that had to do with the boredom and just tired of always being bored that got me back to drinking.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So so my question is; if I book myself into a residential recover clinic, how long before the pain of sobriety stops? How long before I feel normal.
There's really no way to answer that since it is a different experience for each person who gives up drinking. For some people who quit drinking, going back to living a normal life can come quick, for others it may take months. I know when I gave up drinking last year for about a month and some odd days, I never truly felt normal. I think for some people that's why people fall off the wagon and go back to drinking, because to them when they drink is when they do feel normal. I know from my own personal experience that's kinda what led me to go back to drinking.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I知 struggling. I知 now a position where I feel like I have two options; face sobriety or face death via suicide.

Neither option seems appealing. I知 at least well enough to say that the former is more appealing. I love my kids, my wife, and I don稚 want to leave them.

So so my question is; if I book myself into a residential recover clinic, how long before the pain of sobriety stops? How long before I feel normal.

I知 dying. Things have to change
It's so sad to see a parent contemplating suicide as a way to end the self-abuse. I remember being there and I had convinced myself they would be better off without me. With a clear head, I can see it would have devastated them. I'm so thankful things didn't go that way and I gave myself, and them, a different future.

Sobriety isn't painful but recovery most likely will be. That's probably what you meant but I find it very important to choose my words wisely in regards to this matter. Also, you're not facing sobriety but escaping the cycle of addiction.

To give a direct answer to your question I've heard: the only thing harder than the last 2 years of drinking was the first 2 years of recovery. That rang true for me but it's wasn't misery like the last 2 years of drinking. It was just really hard. I didn't do it alone though and you don't have to either.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I didn't, it was a month and some odd days after I gave up drinking that I started drinking again.. I think part of that had to do with the boredom and just tired of always being bored that got me back to drinking.
yeah I often talk about building a sober life I love.
A drinking life doesn't really require much - a couch a TV and a bottle and you're good to go.

Take that bottle away and the couch and the TV won't be enough.

Its all about finding the joy again - whatever that means to you

D
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I didn't, it was a month and some odd days after I gave up drinking that I started drinking again.. I think part of that had to do with the boredom and just tired of always being bored that got me back to drinking.
Something I learned about in out patient therapy was Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.
There are a lot of symptoms we experience coming off alcohol that can last for months and one of the possible symptoms is anhedonia-the inability to feel happiness or pleasure. Sometimes it can take months for your brain chemistry to get rebalanced so you can feel good doing things again.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I’m struggling. I’m now a position where I feel like I have two options; face sobriety or face death via suicide.

Neither option seems appealing. I’m at least well enough to say that the former is more appealing. I love my kids, my wife, and I don’t want to leave them.

So so my question is; if I book myself into a residential recover clinic, how long before the pain of sobriety stops? How long before I feel normal.

I’m dying. Things have to change
Jpa,

I’ve looked over many of your posts, you’ve described many of your nights drinking and in most of them, you ended up unconscious.

In one, a romantic getaway with your wife ended up with her needing help to get you carried to your room at 10pm.

In another, your friends in Munich had to get help carrying you to your room as well.

It’s taking less and less booze to make you really drunk, which has physiological causes of course but also means that every time you drink, it’s totally unpredictable.

I point this out because I know there were many more nights like this, that you haven’t posted about, and I had nights like that too.

My husband would have to hold me up, I’d slide off my chair to the floor during nice dinners or reunions with old friends, I’d fall on the way to the bathroom, I had to be carried out to cars, I had to be pushed into ubers, I’d wake up with giant dark bruises all over my butt and thighs that took weeks to heal, I’d bleed in scary ways.. I’d pass out every weekend. Eventually I just carved out entire weekends or 3-4 day weekends to devote to 24 hour drinking. Withdrawal felt like imminent death and it happened every week before workdays.

I’m at two years sober now and I’ve had those thoughts you have. I’ve had them more than once. Getting sober was like being in a black chasm for months and I often was so overwhelmed I’d check out and didn’t know where or who I was, I had dissociative episodes because sobriety was too much for my brain. But I did it anyway.

I want you to look forward one month, two months, six months from now, I want you to imagine taking your wife out to dinner. You have sparkling water, you eat something awesome, you have a nice conversation and you smile and laugh and touch her hand. You pay for the meal, you stroll to the car with her and you drive her home. You spend the rest of the evening with her as a sober husband and you get in bed and sleep on your own. No one holding you up. No dissolving in tears or rage or one way illusive thinking patterns that go nowhere. No passing out. No throwing up. Just you, your bed, and sleep.

When you wake up in the morning, what you’ll feel is something you haven’t felt in a long time. Dignity. Calm. Quiet pride. A sense of knowing yourself. And guess what you can feel this thing that feels new while at the same time still sad, or anxious or craving or unsure. You can feel this because the way your life is unfolding, each day, each night, each morning with those children, your workdays, your wife in the evening, are yours. You’ll still kind of hate it because the healing takes a long time. But you’ll realize one thing: your life is yours again.

You don’t have to love it or accept it to just do it. Little by little as life unfolds as a sober person, you’ll get you back.

I’ve been where you are. I’d like nothing more than for you to feel again like your life is yours. Even if it’s hard, it’s yours, because it no longer belongs to alcohol.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I’m struggling. I’m now a position where I feel like I have two options; face sobriety or face death via suicide.

Neither option seems appealing. I’m at least well enough to say that the former is more appealing. I love my kids, my wife, and I don’t want to leave them.

So so my question is; if I book myself into a residential recover clinic, how long before the pain of sobriety stops? How long before I feel normal.

I’m dying. Things have to change
You sound like I felt 7 days ago when I woke up to having done something shameful and just came to the decision that -that's the last straw... I'm not going to do this to myself anymore.

I'm not sure why, but it hasn't been too hard on my body to quit. I read I would experience unpleasant physical symptoms- but I did not. My problem lies in resisting the triggers, and the craving.

I was looking at my alcoholism as slowly committing suicide and for many years even though I knew what I was doing to my health, I kept choosing to poison myself.

I've had more energy, have lost that all day foggy feeling, I'm working very hard to replace the bad addiction with health goals. I actually lost 4 lbs this past week just by cutting out the booze.

You have to replace what you've been doing with something positive. Gym, family, anything that fills the void that the addiction leaves. This past week I've cleaned my place top to bottom, cleaned my car, done copious loads of laundry, rearranged my closet and sent 6 garbage bags of unused clothes and shoes to the GoodWill, painted the baseboards in my kitchen. Small accomplishments, but positive distractions nonetheless.

There really is something to be said about literally getting your house in order. It feels good, it feels like I can take another step forward because my home is organized. Sounds weird I know, but it's made me feel good.

Don't approach your sobriety as being something too painful to face, or you won't fully commit. That was my problem with stopping in the past- I convinced myself it wasn't achievable. Now I'm 7 days into recovery, because I just committed to wanting a better life for myself. I can't speak to long term, this is what helped me through my first week. I am still committed.

You can do it- don't think you can't. Make the commitment.
Hugs.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:21 AM   #13 (permalink)
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What Sassy said- it is much like my story and the ending part is the best, most essential - and possible - part. My life no longer belongs to alcohol. That's freedom, and my new normal is beautiful, and perfectly imperfect.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:20 AM   #14 (permalink)
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if I book myself into a residential recover clinic, how long before the pain of sobriety stops? How long before I feel normal.

I’m dying. Things have to change
I hope you are serious about entering a recovery clinic. If sobriety is painful, you are doing something wrong. By "wrong" I mean, just putting down the drink. Sobriety is not drinking. Recovery is learning how to live without drinking. Big difference.

Inpatient will go a long way in teaching you how.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:56 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Wishing you the best, JPA, it sounds to me like you won't be sacrificing anything in giving it a go - you're at that point where drinking is giving you nothing and seemingly taking a lot. Same for me.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi JPA,

If you have the opportunity to go to rehab that would be a great way to kick start your recovery, and help you build up a toolbox to support you on this journey.

I will be four years sober on January 1st, and life is so much better without alcohol. However, life is still hard sometimes, and you need to have other healthy ways to deal with situations you were used to numbing with alcohol. You will also learn that It痴 okay to feel emotions, it痴 okay to be sad, angry, frustrated, and you will find ways to help get yourself through these feelings. I try to go for a walk outdoors every day. It helps to clear my head, and the combination of exercise and nature always helps to calm me.

Another thing that has helped me is mindfulness. I work really hard to remain focused on the present moment. When I was first getting sober I focused on making one good decision and then another..l have found some breathing techniques, meditation apps, and yoga (which I don稚 get to enough) to be extremely helpful.

I also find there reading and posting on SR daily is an excellent support. I hope you will consider that after you return from rehab.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Rehab kept me away from drinking for about 34 days. Then I drank. I paid the bill.

AA was free. I went and found a sponsor and worked through those steps. 8.5+ years later and I am still sober.

Rehab taught me how alcohol and drugs work in the body and other things. AA gave me a sober life.

I wish you well on your sober journey!
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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for me the first couple of days was clouds and rainbows then the next few months were the worst thing I have ever gone through. then it started getting better. When ever I'm thinking a drink sounds good, I think of those first few months and dont know if I could quit again. like you, I didn't want to die, and the writing was on the wall.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:14 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hi JPA

I didn't go to rehab but for me the pros were
  • a great weight was lifted from me when I didn't have to drink or try asnd keep my drinking secret or lie to my loved ones about my drinking
  • after a few days I felt much better physically
  • my memory came back
  • after a while my joy came back too and my enthusiasm for life and faith in the future.

cons
  • I felt really ill, scared and anxious
  • I felt ashamed and guilty for all the things I'd put family friends and loved ones through
  • I felt like it was a monumental task I was not worthy of completing
  • could no sleep for a few days
  • was listless for a while.

every single one of the cons got better and disappeared with time

its not easy getting sober but I'd imagine rehab would be one of the easier ways to tackle the first 30 days or so

D
This reflects my experience to a T. I'd add that my confidence came back too. My confidence had been dramatically eroded, in large part because I was physically declining, and also because I was leading a double life, lying to everyone and I felt terrible about myself and what I was doing.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:44 AM   #20 (permalink)
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For me, the first week was definitely the most difficult (both times, had a relapse once after a couple years of sobriety) both physically and mentally. Then the frequent and often unpredictable, intense cravings for alcohol that lasted for months... how to tolerate them and how not to act on them. No recovery program helped me with the cravings, really just had to let it ride its course. Sometimes I had bad anxiety but nowhere near as horrible as during the countless cycles of heavy drinking and short stints of abstinence, and I'd always had anxiety, even before starting to drink, so that was not too hard to manage. In general after the first week, when I was not momentarily flooded by cravings, I was reasonably well. Had other challenges on/off, but I don't think those were related to drinking/sobriety per se, more just general life and the nature of who I am. Several years sober now, I am doing probably the best ever, but it's related to many things including a different lifestyle, significantly increased practical security, and aging (now 45) has also been playing a very positive role for me mentally at least. I've become much less interested in intensity, much less prone to excess and unhealthy-type unconventional patterns.

If I had to name the biggest challenge of early sobriety for me, it would definitely be the monster cravings. They got worse at first for a while but then gradually much lighter and less frequent. If I had to give advice to someone very similar to me, I would suggest that they explore some of the now available medical treatments to potentially ease the cravings in the first months. Maybe they wouldn't work but alleviating even just a bit that torture would be worth the trial for me. Other than that, I had to focus on learning how to reward myself positively and for that, living in an environment that is generally highly stimulating, diverse and compatible with me really helped. I think it would have been much harder being in a life condition that I did not like although probably not impossible.
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