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I need to do this but why do I fail?

Old 05-14-2022, 08:33 AM
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I need to do this but why do I fail?

Heavy drinker on and off for my whole life (in my fifties now). Went totally sober for ~3 months between late 2021 and early 2022 and felt better than I had in a long time but fell off the wagon in February and am back to daily heavy drinking since. What am I missing from my toolkit, why can't I lock into this for the long term and break out of this pattern?
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Old 05-14-2022, 08:37 AM
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Well, it's pretty simple (though not that easy.) I do not pick up an alcoholic beverage and put it in my mouth.

*No matter what*

There is no safe level of drinking for someone who has "graduated" to heavy drinking.

I come here every day. Every day I am mindful of anything in my life that may cause me to feel un-centered in any way. Anger, frustration, self-pity, resentment, fear. Any of those can trigger a thought to have a drink to make it go away. I need ways to deal with those kinds of emotions.

What have you tried? AA? Counseling? Reading books about alcoholism and recovery? Rehab? Out-patient programs? Podcasts? Reading here? Posting here daily?
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Old 05-14-2022, 08:59 AM
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What's missing is the acceptance that alcohol has nothing left for you, and you only have good things to gain from stopping. Every other thought is a lie your brain tells you- that drinking passes the time better, that it feels good, it makes you happy, you NEED it- all bold-faced lies. When you begin to live without it, like bim says- it's simple but not easy- that's when the anxiety goes away (much of it if you don't have a pre-existing anxiety disorder) your energy returns, your focus improves, you can THINK clearly (it takes time, but it happens) and there is this shift of thinking- and then there isn't anything anyone could do to get you to drink even one drop. Because eventually, you know the lies when you hear them, no matter if they are from others or from your own head. The struggle is truly over. The work continues, but it's not a labor any longer- it's lighter and more focused. The first step is don't drink, the second step is keep on not drinking. There are lots of different ways to do that second step- but you will find it. Keep trying, never stop trying.
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Old 05-14-2022, 09:16 AM
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Its really hard to say with people like us, we are all so different.

Some need to get a sponsor and work the steps. I did, maybe I needed to, maybe I would have gotten sober without it. Maybe its kill a flea with a sledge hammer but for many it does kill the flea. Maybe the AA approach isn't for everyone.

Then there is the fellowship of AA. For some I guess its not enough but I think its definitely beneficial to have a place to go. Especially as broad a network as it is, you can be on vacation 1,000 miles from home at noon on a Thursday and probably find a meeting within 5 or 10 miles.

Maybe its on the spiritual side. I found reading the Bible, the newest versions in actual English and some commentary on verses made me feel a lot less depressed. Meditation and/or looking at other religions and philosophies that are not too mainstream in Western culture.

Physical exercise has been really important for me in staying sober. It gives me much of that physical ease and comfort that I would get from taking a few drinks. Plus I think its important for mental health. The human body and brain were designed for physical activity.
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Old 05-14-2022, 10:28 AM
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Glad to see you posting, Lascaux.

I was older when I got sober for good - so I know you can do it too. Unfortunately, I had to have very bad things happen in order to get the message that I could never touch a drop. In the back of my mind was always the thought that I could somehow be a social drinker, if I just tried hard enough. Nope! Every time I attempted to moderate it led to being drunk & stupid. I did things I swore I never would - like driving impaired. It's horrifying to think back on it now - but those memories keep me vigilant.

You can kick it out of your life and stay free. Keep talking to us.

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Old 05-14-2022, 10:46 AM
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Without knowing what's in your toolbox and how often you take it out and use it, it's kind of hard to say what's missing. I'd hazard a guess that maybe there is a tool you've rejected because it's 'not for you' or you have another one that's 'close enough.'

The maddening answer is that in order to stop drinking, one has to not drink. Ever. What a ridiculous answer, right? I know. I remember years back doing youtube searches on the topic and one guy actually posted this as his miraculous cure - "The way to not drink is to not drink." Thing is... he's 100% on target.
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Old 05-14-2022, 01:21 PM
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It's hard to answer your question, because everyone's journey is different. For me, it helped to realize that stopping drinking was really quite simple: all I had to do was stop drinking.
I didn't have to be perfect, I didn't have to be happy, I didn't have to be well-adjusted, I didn't have to be polite, I didn't have to be wise, I didn't have to be emotionally stable, I didn't have to have all the answers, I didn't have to be self-actualized, I didn't have to be happy, I didn't have to be a recovery expert. I just had to not drink.
I used to think I had to be all of those things in order to stop. And since I wasn't all of those things, I used to feel that stopping was impossible, or too hard, or not worth trying.
For me, making it simple helped.
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Old 05-14-2022, 02:17 PM
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Sound advice here.
It's time to accept, commit, and apply vigorous effort...
You've done a straight 90, so you know it's doable. You've mentioned a big problem with alcohol, so now is the time to stop.
Don't buy it, don't store it, don't accept it, don't drink it. Don't hang with heavy drinkers, don't hang in bars. There are sometimes lifestyle changes involved, where you break bad habits.
You have to be All In on sobriety.
Challenge yourself to return to that 90 day feeling again.👍👍
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Old 05-14-2022, 02:27 PM
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Thanks, everyone, this is so helpful! I think where I've failed is because I've really pulled back from social contact (easy to do over the last couple of years) so could drink heavily after work every day - no one knew, no one cared. I have to do some serious recalibration of my life to include community. I'm checking out some local churches as a start. I'm in an area with not a lot of volunteer opportunities but am looking into those as well. I'm rather introverted so a bit anxious about joining AA groups, but any suggestions on support would be welcome.
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Old 05-14-2022, 02:29 PM
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I knew how to stop, but not how to stay stopped.
For me that meant connection with others and purpose.

Volunteering is a great idea

D
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Old 05-14-2022, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Radix View Post
It's hard to answer your question, because everyone's journey is different. For me, it helped to realize that stopping drinking was really quite simple: all I had to do was stop drinking.
I didn't have to be perfect, I didn't have to be happy, I didn't have to be well-adjusted, I didn't have to be polite, I didn't have to be wise, I didn't have to be emotionally stable, I didn't have to have all the answers, I didn't have to be self-actualized, I didn't have to be happy, I didn't have to be a recovery expert. I just had to not drink.
I used to think I had to be all of those things in order to stop. And since I wasn't all of those things, I used to feel that stopping was impossible, or too hard, or not worth trying.
For me, making it simple helped.
exactly true for me tooógreat post!
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Old 05-14-2022, 02:51 PM
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If you can overcome anxiety to check out churches (great idea), you could certainly handle AA. 🙂

You donít have to say a word if you donít want to. People will understand.

I highly recommend giving it a shot. Tip: the first time you go, arrive 5 minutes early so you can follow someone else in. That reduces my anxiety about finding the room.

O
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Old 05-14-2022, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascaux View Post
why can't I lock into this for the long term and break out of this pattern?
Because alcoholism is a riddle that very few people understand! Many people think you just put the bottle down and leave it alone for good and problem solved! For many alcoholics that wonít work! Cause you still have to treat it even after you quit drinking!

Itís not so much that you canít handle your drinking! It has more to do with you canít handle sobriety after you quit drinking!

Thereís no cure for this! But the problem can be solved and you donít have to suffer after you quit drinking!
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Old 05-14-2022, 09:39 PM
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Alcohol use only creates bad outcomes for so many of us.

Keep trying.
Days, weeks, even moments sober are so much better than drunken times.

I hope you’ll find a really good path that works for you.

keep posting.
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Old 05-15-2022, 05:09 AM
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Getting sober and then learning to live each day sober, day in and day out over time, these are complex skills to learn. You haven't learned them yet, but the experiences of all the sober heroes here at SR, and yes at other groups like AA, testify that it's a very doable thing, that these crucial life-or-death skills can indeed be learned by just about anyone, including you. I learned them here at SR, the basics, by logging in every single day and spending hours and hours reading posts, posting myself, joining the monthly groups in Newcomers, just total immersion. And counting the days, lots of counting.

In the thread title you ask "Why do I fail?" Imagine a future version of yourself, maybe several months from now, asking "How did I succeed? This is how I learned to stay sober!"

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Old 05-17-2022, 01:01 PM
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Please read Alcohol Explained, by William Porter. He lays out all the physiological reasons it works this way. We quit for good, then pick up again. Why? We've all done it Lascaux.. and felt the shame..

It really helped me to understand the actual process that happens. Once you understand it, its easier to power through the first 90 days, and it gets easier after that.
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