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Old 11-24-2022, 08:57 AM
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Hello guys

Hi guys,

I wanted to say hello to everyone and introduce myself. My name is Brian and I'm based in London having grown up in Ireland. I'm 43 years old and was previously a semi regular contributor on the site as I was trying to get sober but have not posted since being banned for rude and aggressive behaviour towards moderators whilst drunk last Spring. I was unable to log in using my old log in and hope that I will be allowed to remain on the forum this time around.

Having unsuccessfully managed to go it alone for a number of years, I eventually said "enough is enough" on July 26 last year and went back to AA meetings - something I said I'd never do. I think my addiction was so strongly against returning because it was determined to keep me isolated, unhappy and most importantly, always coming back to the drink. I haven't drank since that day and am coming up to 16 months' sober. I was confident that one day there would be a "no more" moment but I just didn't know when or how it would come about as I had tried so many different approaches since abandoning AA back in 2018. I will say that several posters here were enormously helpful in pointing out very clearly that early last year I was in a spiritual rut and that a major and fundamental change was needed. As I began to attend more meetings I would hear again and again stuff like: "I realised that, for me, alcohol was the solution and not the problem - the problem was within me and it is that which needed urgent attention" etc. The penny really dropped in a way that it hadn't previously - I guess doing the "dry drunk" thing confirmed to me that merely removing alcohol from the equation was not sufficient to just magically solve all of my problems or keep me sober - I was unhappy and walking around with a large chip on my shoulder. What I needed was a real overhaul. I was able to learn through a thorough step 4 just how self centred my thinking was and how my tendency to make everything all about me led me mired in self pity and bitterness, believing that the world was against me - I was also incredibly arrogant and not prepared to listen to anyone because of course I always knew best! Addressing this and understanding just how damaging my over active ego could be to my self esteem was certainly a game changer for me. But I needed more than that; I needed the support of other alcoholics and the guidance of an amazing sponsor to allow me to see just how important human interaction and being part of a community is to my wellbeing. He wasn't a big God person but absolutely believed in the notion of a higher power and that wasn't a major stumbling block for me - I kept an open mind and figured that a spiritual awakening would happen slowly and surely over time if I remained willing to learn and keep my side of the street clean. He did, however, consume a lot of Buddhist literature and encouraged me to do the same - I must say I love all of that stuff, even if my commitment to meditation isn't what it needs to be to get as much benefit as I could from it. Nevertheless, I love the daily reflections he sends me daily which have a Buddhist angle to the steps. For me, I don't need to get hung up on the semantics and terminology and I often think the God stuff feels like a way of guiding us to be better people and treat our fellows with kindness, love and respect. That's a work in progress for me as I try daily to override very well entrenched cynical and combative traits - that feeling of being under siege. But I know that is a major key to happiness for me. In time, I may have firmer views on the impact of "God" in my life, that would be a nice development; in the meantime I will try to absorb as much wisdom as I can and see where that gets me.

I have been going through various phases emotionally in the last 16 months - very up and down. Pink clouds, lows, sometimes feeling on top of the world and other times feeling like my head is going to explode as I tried to grapple with issues at work, with "friends", with my parents and others that felt in my mind to be a thorn in my side. But it has levelled out. I haven't seriously considered taking a drink since last year so that magical sounding thing they always said about having the "obsession removed" definitely did happen. What a gift.

I wanted to come back on the site as I feel like my recovery has plateau'd a bit of late. I'm not attending as many meetings, not doing as many phone calls (I really got into that side of things to begin with) and lately I have just been feeling a little bit flat as we head into winter. I am not focusing my malaise on any one individual, just been feeling a bit "blah". I do a gratitude list daily, have done that religiously since the start and also say my prayers and recite the just for today card which I memorised. The sensible part of me thinks that life isn't perfect and that recovery isn't a straight line or a guarantee of eternal happiness - but another part thinks I can be doing more, absorbing wisdom from as many sources as possible on how to manage emotional sobriety and just interacting with other humans more. I do have a tendency to isolate and I really need to watch it or I will slip into old ways of thinking and feeling left behind and forgotten - so I want to have as many social outlets as possible, whether virtual or in-person. I do also think I should be doing more to help others and hopefully can do that on this site. I would love to sponsor someone and think I have something to offer on that score - but noone has asked me yet and I guess it will happen when it does - I have heard that focusing on others like that really takes recovery to the next level and I would like to experience that, even if the selfish part of me is concerned about getting lumbered with someone I don't like or can't get through to.

Anyway, that's me, I am sorry for my rude and belligerent behaviour in the past and hope that I will be allowed to stick around this time and contribute to the forum. I hope some of the old regulars are still here and doing well.

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Old 11-24-2022, 09:12 AM
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Welcome back, Brian, to SR and congratulations on 16 months of sobriety and recovery.

Involvement in SR could be the just the boost to your recovery that you are seeking. ďIf you are not working on your recovery, you are working on a relapseĒ is a saying that has always resonated with me.

I look forward to your posts.

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Old 11-24-2022, 09:55 AM
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Hi Brian,

nice to meet you. Iíve been around here for a while too. I seem to make an appearance each year at some point.

itís nice to be back and I look forward to reading more from you.

Jojo
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Old 11-24-2022, 11:59 AM
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Welcome back, Brian. It's wonderful you have 16 mos. of sobriety.
I'm glad you never gave up on having a better life. We think it's helping us to cope , but in the end - it does just the opposite. I'm so thankful we know that now.


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Old 11-24-2022, 12:51 PM
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Welcome back Brian. Sounds like you have come a long way in the past 16 months. Well done
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Old 11-24-2022, 03:16 PM
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well done Brian
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Old 11-25-2022, 06:23 PM
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Great job, Brian. Congrats on 16 months - that's quite an accomplishment!

Many newcomers would find value in how you did it, I'm sure.
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Old 11-26-2022, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by advbike View Post
Great job, Brian. Congrats on 16 months - that's quite an accomplishment!

Many newcomers would find value in how you did it, I'm sure.
Cheers ADV. In a nutshell I put my arrogance, pride and ego to one side, I sought out people that had the kind of life outlook, demeanour and sobriety I wanted and followed their suggestions thoroughly. Prior to this time I did take some action but it was half hearted and without any sort of direction - it was also very solitary and there was little in the way of examining how I interacted with the outside world (and I needed a third party to point out quite how arrogant and obstinate I really was - I couldn't fully see it myself). I eventually had to concede that I could not do it on my own and that I needed help - and that it was those AA "cultists" that were there to provide it when I was ready. Thank God.
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Old 11-26-2022, 11:53 AM
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I am glad you are doing well, Brian.
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:17 PM
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Hi, Brian- and welcome back

I'm exactly on your timeline, about to hit 16 months also and admit that I also feel a bit flat, blah, not really in that sweet spot I was a few months ago. However, I do think that I couldn't have sustained that level of GLEE forever, and think I'm just settling into a baseline of normalcy. It's not bad- it's just kind of.... there. Learning to live with "normal" is probably the best description. I think you're smart reaching out- coming back here.

Congrats on your sober time- I'm sure you will be welcomed back with open arms. We all make mistakes, we aren't the mistakes.
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Old 11-26-2022, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by VikingGF View Post
Hi, Brian- and welcome back

I'm exactly on your timeline, about to hit 16 months also and admit that I also feel a bit flat, blah, not really in that sweet spot I was a few months ago. However, I do think that I couldn't have sustained that level of GLEE forever, and think I'm just settling into a baseline of normalcy. It's not bad- it's just kind of.... there. Learning to live with "normal" is probably the best description. I think you're smart reaching out- coming back here.

Congrats on your sober time- I'm sure you will be welcomed back with open arms. We all make mistakes, we aren't the mistakes.
Good to hear from you Viking and it seems like what we are experiencing is fairly normal? On the one hand, I don't want to get complacent but on the other hand I don't want monitoring my spiritual / mental state etc to turn into an obsession where I am beating myself up for either not feeling amazing or just feeling a bit blah. Also, I don't want the recovery community to be my only life. I know how much fulfilment I get from doing "normal" stuff with "normal" people and just having enjoyable human interaction. So it's important for me to progress into having a slightly more balanced life than what I've been living these last 16 months. And so not being right in the middle of all the local AA action is a good thing in a way?

Also, I do feel like I instinctively practice the inventory stuff day to day - I view pretty much everything these days through the lens of "how much is my fearful, overactive ego influencing my attitude to this situation"? If I'm troubled, sometimes it's justified but more often than not I'm needlessly jumping to conclusions. So I think it's been fairly well engrained into me. If I find myself acting up, being impulsive or impatient or dickish or judgemental then I know where to go immediately: call a fellow, go to a meeting, think about whether my behaviour is justified.

​​​​​​I Spoke to someone the other day who said: "you are always exactly where you are supposed to be in recovery. You will reflect on things that are happening now in 6 months or a year's time and be able to have a lot of clarity around how you've progressed since then". I like that. It has certainly been the case to date. I guess going through problems now and just dealing with them rather than going around them by getting twatted, running away etc in and of itself is building up a body of experience I can call on when stuff gets challenging. That's the hope anyway. Maybe that's the maturing that didn't really happen for the 20 plus years of my addiction.
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Old 11-28-2022, 10:27 AM
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Welcome back, Brian. It gets better. Sometimes I feel like Iíve stuck myself in a nothing kind of life, but as long as I donít drink, I have chances I never would have had before.

The hard part, but also the wondrous part is that I donít know when those chances will arrive. Putting myself in a position to be of service is a good way to be ready.

O
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Old 11-29-2022, 02:26 AM
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My sponsor sends me daily reflections and this one is quite good in terms of monitoring our progress too much and making value judgements on the quality of our sobriety based on how we are feeling at any given time. I like the "Right View" concept.

ďNot UnhappyĒ Oddly enough, how we define happiness actually affects how happy we are. If happiness means a constant state of joy or euphoria, we are going to be disappointed a lot of the time. And this wish to always feel great is one of the driving forces behind addiction. Conversely, learning to live with the challenges of life allows us to maintain more balance and find serenity. One of the ways we do this is by learning to accept that difficult or painful emotions are a natural part of life, not a mistake. Mindfulness and Right View support this. Mindfulness helps us to be present with our feelings in a non-reactive way. Right View reminds us not to take feelings personally, not to build a story around them. And Right View helps us remember that feelings are always changing, so we donít have to fear some permanent state of despair or anxiety. These two elements are what help us to hold difficult feelings in the moment. When we realize that happiness isnít about always being in a good mood, we can start to see that true happiness is about how we live our lives. How do we engage with others? With work? With our own inner lives? What is the direction of our lives? Are we focusing on the things that really matter to us, or are we trying to succeed on societyís or our familyís terms? These are the questions that guide us to finding true happiness,. Today, ask yourself if you are fundamentally happy. Are you living the life you want to be living or the one that somebody else laid out for you? How can you find authentic happiness?
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Old 11-29-2022, 07:36 AM
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Welcome back!
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Old 11-29-2022, 07:47 PM
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Great thoughts, Brian - appreciate it.

I didn't really remember the concept of Right View (and the eightfold path), and it seems like a natural and powerful way to gain acceptance of life, and happiness. Liked your brief synthesis of that and mindfulness - good stuff. Will read more about it. I have a 12 -step book somewhere that is based on Buddhist teachings - maybe I should read it, haha.
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Old 12-05-2022, 12:58 AM
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Hi Brian, nice to meet you. Welcome back.
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Old 12-08-2022, 03:32 AM
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Loved your post and welcome back.
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