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What do you do when nothing can be fixed?

Old 10-22-2021, 06:03 AM
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What do you do when nothing can be fixed?

I registered for these forums long ago, but this is my first-time post. I began chronically drinking a little over four years ago. My use problem preceded that, but was something that for a while I could manage with long periods of abstinence.

Iíve fallen apart, particularly these last two years. I work from home and feel trapped here, in a house I donít want and a job that I donít want, but need to have to pay for the house I donít want. I recently checked myself into a IOP program, and for 70 days was sober. I screwed up on Tuesday, three days after being discharged. Self-pity is one of my danger signs. That morning, I was rummaging around in a closet to find a light bulb, and my daughter texted my wife that she was worried I was scrummaging for alcohol. That evening, I took my son to baseball practice, and as I was backing out of the driveway I bumped into some gardening platers that I had earlier dragged out to clean up. I was sober, but he immediately accused me of drinking.

After I dropped him, I stopped and bought a pint of vodka. I was so upset that after all my work, I was still just a drunk to my wife and kids. Surprisingly, I only drank half of it, before I stopped. Thatís unheard of for me. I donít even think my wife knew I had been drinking, but the next day I told her. I felt I needed to, and sheís hated me since. We had a huge fight last night Ė I was sober and trying to disengage, but she would not leave me be. I just wanted to be alone in my shame, and focus on keeping this as a lapse, and not a relapse. She wants to get divorced, and my kids wonít even talk to me.

I feel there is nothing I can do to change things. I tried. I sought help. I fell down but got back up, butthey still hate me. They have no idea what this is like. My parents (and theirs) all had drinking problems. I canít escape this disease or find the support I need. I know this is my fault but I cannot escape the shame a guilt, and I get no credit for the progress I made. I asked my wife to attend therapy with me, but she would not. Itís pointless to her, because this is my problem.

I donít know how to fix this.


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Old 10-22-2021, 06:20 AM
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Two things come to mind:

1. I have come to conclude that there is a type of alcoholic who can only stay sober by fully committing to the program of recovery set forth in Alcoholics Anonymous. I am one of those alcoholics. PM me if you want to chat more about that.

2. A perhaps relevant quote from the Big Book: "Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job - wife or no wife - we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house."
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:41 AM
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Hi Joelr,

You're welcome here.
Sounds like you are having a hard time. I drank almost immediately when I came out of rehab. In fact, I'd say it's not uncommon.
I did very well in rehab and my family were really hopeful that I had "cracked it" whatever that means.
So the horrible disappointment they felt when I drank was hard on them.
I think it's unrealistic for me to expect my family to see me as a different person until they can get used to seeing me acting differently.
And in your case, you went and bought vodka. So why would they think you have changed?

You didn't drink in rehab, so you've proved that you can survive without it. Admittedly, it's more difficult in the real world but you should remind yourself that you don't have to take that drink. You have the power to control your life.
Guilt and shame are useful in that they can spur you on never to feel them again. But not as an excuse to drink.

I wish you well.
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:53 AM
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Some of us have to lose something very important to us before we really get the message.

I'm sorry you drank. I don't think your family is being unreasonable. Maybe if you do get sober and stay that way they'll see that you're serious. That's really the only solution.

I hope you can find your way back to health, regardless of what others in your life decide they need to do to take care of themselves.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:18 AM
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It's great you are self aware enough to know that self pity is one of your 'danger signs' - Self Pity often comes with a sense of helplessness and a feeling that other people 'should ' help them. But in our case, the case of those of us who have drunk far too much, only we can stop our hand from picking up that bottle or glass, no one else has power over that hand!
Your wife and kids? - they might see things differently, see you differently, if you can take responsibility for your own actions. I speak as one who has had to do that.
I am sure you can do this!
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by joelr View Post
I donít know how to fix this.
By staying sober.

It's going to take more than 70 days sober to make up for years of drinking. Years where you probably didn't give much thought to the impact of your drinking on your wife and kids. It is going to take time to earn their trust back. Get sober, stay sober, and you will have a chance to fix this.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:44 AM
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You do know what to do to fix this. You have been doing it. Keep doing it. Keep on recovering and keep yourself focused. Recovery is not linear for some. It was not for me. I had many starts and stops and It was BRUTAL. This forum and the members here have so many tools to be shared. Support. Compassion. Empathy. Recommit and continue moving forward despite the anger your family has. Do not be defeated. You can be sober and you can be happy!

There is a lot to be grateful for in the world and in our lives. There is a lot that we are blessed with. Your house, your job, your family and all that you have are blessings. Gratitude is a skill set. It takes a bit of time for people to learn how to be grateful and to learn how to change what they think and what they believe. If you can start to implement a bit of gratitude in all that have and all that you do it will make a giant difference.
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Old 10-22-2021, 03:38 PM
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It's going to take time to repair things with your family. Certainly a lot longer than 70 days. Be kind to yourself. You are doing a wonderful thing for yourself and for your loved ones by getting sober. One of the things I had to do to get and stay sober was creating a life I didn't need to escape from. What is your plan for staying sober now? What is your plan for when you feel like drinking? If you don't have a plan, it's time to make one. Maybe make a list of things you can do when the cravings hit or when you start to feel triggered. Coming here and sharing what is happening for you should be at the top of the list. There are all kinds of recovery meetings both in-person and online, all over the world, in all time zones. Maybe start checking some of them out. There are even AA 24/7 online meetings so you can join at 2am if you start feeling bad. I am not a member of AA but I do go to online open meetings from time to time. I have found Buddhist recovery and meditation practice to be good for me. You have lots of things to try and many things you can add to your sobriety toolbelt. Don't use this lapse as an excuse for self-pity and resentment because those two things will definitely lead you back to drinking. Congrats on your first post. You're welcome to join the Class of October 2021 in the Newcomers Daily Support thread and start getting to know your fellow classmates. You can do this. One moment at a time.
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:58 PM
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I feel your pain brother! So sorry youíre going through this! Youíve just got to keep on trying! Donít give up! Keep coming back! Get fired up!

Heck I listened to an AA speaker a while back and it took him 30 treatment centers before he finally sobered up! No joke! He now has long term sobriety and is giving AA talks around the country!

It took me 3 inpatient treatment centers and a bunch of out patient centers before I finally got and stayed sober! I now have 29 years sobriety! You can do this!
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:13 PM
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Hi and welcome back Joelr

I drank for 20 years - let a lot of people down, told a lot of lies when they accused me of drinking or lies to get out of responsibilities so I could drink.

It took more than a few months for people to trust me again...but they did - cos they could see I'd changed, not just telling people I'd changed.

Being accused falsely sucks - but responding to that mistrust by drinking again just serves to make those trust issues more problematic.

D
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Old 10-22-2021, 06:45 PM
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I can so understand and sympathize with what you're going through because I went through similar circumstances. My drinking estranged me from my 2 daughters. Even after 4 years sober, my youngest sarcastically said I am "supposedly sober." In some ways, our loved ones become so jaded from repeatedly hoping and praying for our recovery, only to be disappointed time after time. No one can promise you that those relationships will be repaired, but I can promise you that if you don't repair yourself, you're going to feel much more hopeless and defeated. The fact that my kids want no contact with me whatsoever hurts worse than I can express, but I've had to accept that it's out of my hands now. I've done all that is in my power to do, and the ball is now in their court. All the best to you. Don't beat yourself up and make it worse. Be on your own side. Above all, don't drink over it and prove them all right.
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Old 10-24-2021, 04:56 PM
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Hi, joelr. It sounds like part of what's going on is you want your family to know that when you have been sober, that you really have been sober, in order for you to stay sober. That's not going to work when they won't believe you, or believe in you, to give you support. With that kind of situation, you instead get support at places like AA and here.

But there is a bigger picture to all of this, though. Stopping drinking is just the first part. Everyone who gets to long-time sobriety has to look around inside and find out what is making him/her drink to begin with, and then do something to fix it. If you don't find out what is making you drink and then fix it, you will continue to stop and start drinking. Only you can do the fixing. Just my personal observation, some alcoholics take-on finding out why they drink, and then do something about it so they become sober, as the greatest adventure of their life and look forward to it every day. I was an adventuresome one.

What I might suggest is getting help with organizing what you have that will help you stay sober, and from what you wrote you have A LOT, and keep going the right direction. I've been sober for many years with zero slips, but had some false starts at first, same as you. Hey! If I made it, so can you!
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Old 10-24-2021, 06:15 PM
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It seems like you want other people's perception of you to change *now* — and I get it. While 70 days is a big step, healing relationships and learning to forgive yourself and overcome shame take time and work. The first step is committing to the sobriety — it’s YOUR sobriety, no one else’s. It’s not about convincing others, it’s about convincing yourself. Your family and others in your life will see the changes in due time… but only if you really commit and cut the addiction out like the cancer it is.
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