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Old 06-26-2009, 07:17 AM   #1 (permalink)

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Replacing alcohol/addiction with a healthy subsitute??

What is the best thing to replace alcohol with? How do u pass the day having quit booze and with so much time now on your hands?
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:27 AM   #2 (permalink)

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the best thing to replace addiction with is not one thing, or a few, but all of life. if you try to replace you may just end up switching addictions.

when i sobered up i filled my days with work, meetings and sober friends and relationships. it's good to fill some of the empty hours with distraction, but don't underestimate the power of just sitting with yourself and noticing your emotions, cravings and reactions and your newfound ability to work through them, and working on new coping skills and strategies!

good luck.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't think replacing any addiction with another type of addiction is healthy. Some people find that anything can become addictive once you get that obsessive like thinking. I remember the first time I got sober I became a health FREAK! hah would you believe I logged calories, worked out every day, and really replaced drugs with exercise.

Some might say that's healthy, but nothing is healthy when it's not done in moderation, ya know? Instead, invest your time in healthy, sober activities, maybe get into reading books by a certain author, watch movies you've never seen before, exercise some to get endorphins flowing, etc.. Just watch out for substituting an addiction, it's easy to do so keep any non-moderated behavior in check!

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Old 06-26-2009, 07:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have started to read, play games on Facebook, and spend more time with my family. I am going to start working out this weekedn to try and lose this 60 lb beer gut as well.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

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Old 06-26-2009, 07:34 AM   #5 (permalink)

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I've tried replacing alcohol with things: working out, running, music, gaming, etc. The problem I ran into was that if I lost interest or was unable to participate in the replacement, I've now lost the main element in my sobriety strategy.

My suggestion is to certainly find things that you like to do to fill the time that would otherwise be spent drinking, but be careful in viewing it as a replacement. At some point you will have free, unscheduled time on your hands and will need tools to avoid the wrong type of thinking.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Eddie, I think this is a great thread. I'm in the same place. Here are my thoughts:

1. Yoga (or other exercise). I have found Yoga to give me the same kind of calmness (and a much more real one) than drinking. You feel great afterwards.
2. Rent a movie!
3. Get involved in a project -- something around the house that you have been wanting to do, but when drinking... just couldn't fit it in.

My problem is that my schedule is so full already that I was using alcohol to relax when I should have been doing these other things. Alcohol is a much easier thing to fit in when you're taking care of kids than driving to an exercise class, etc. But since it wasn't working... and we know that all too well, time to find some new and healthy substitutes! I look forward to seeing more ideas on here
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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What is the best thing to replace alcohol with?

My biggest fear of sobriety when I was drinking was "What will I do if I am not drinking?"

I have found that every single thing I did while I was drinking I can still do only better! What is really cool is I remember it the next day!!!!

Ah then of course the things one can not do while drinking, learning how to fly a plane, skydiving, sports (Real ones) going to school. Racing!

In sobriety I have fouind there is not a single thing that holds me back from doing anything unless I choose not to do it.

My life used to revolve around drinking, I had no idea that the world was out there just waiting for me to get sober to where I could become part of it!
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I am now addicted to fitness & good health, music & playing guitar, reading every night before bed, the 12 steps, helping other people, and the NA/AA programs.

I love these 'addictions' now... much more than I loved alcohol & drugs.

I don't think I could even find the time for alcohol & drugs anymore.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Great thread and great advice so far. I'd say make a list of INGs, and start practicing the ones that interest you:


This list could be nearly endless. So what are you into? Or what did you used to be into? I have had the pleasure of reconnecting to a couple of old hobbies before alcohol became my #1 hobby.
It is easier to practice total abstinence than perfect moderation
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:24 AM   #10 (permalink)

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Thanks for all your replies, yes yes yes keep em comming!

I used to be into a lot of strange stuff, especially when i was a kid. Birdwatching was one thing, astronomy another. What Ive taken up again that I used to be really good at is sports. Golf especially. It is kind of an addiction, but not quite!

Things that Im gonna do that I never did before..


That should c the rest of the summer out!!
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Newly sober here too Eddie. So far, I've had the luxury of spending quite a bit of time on SR. It's helped immensely. I hiked for the first time in years. I eat breakfast instead of thinking about buying beer. I'm slooowly completing some projects at home. I'm slooowly completing a writing project. I work in my garden. I argue with Keith. So far, so good!

I have a tee-time set for this weekend and also intend to attend a meeting. I have tickets for a Rockies game later this month (haven't been to one in YEARS). I'm reading a novel (not much of a TV person) and thinking about joining a local writing group.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Everything I do now is better, alcohol and drug free.

Exercise was a huge one for me, I went to the gym during the times I'd usually drink..

Here's a sticky on the hundreds of other things to do..
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:37 AM   #13 (permalink)

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Learn to take your pleasure in small doses rather than forcing it all at once with Alcohol. The rewards are many and drawbacks are zero.

I have a morning ritual to make fresh Coffee. It is like the Japaneese Tea Ceremony. Very formal with precise movements (even though I made it all up). I measure and grind a precise amount of French Roast Coffee Beans (from Starbucks) and brew them with bottled water in a French Press or Automatic Drip Coffee Maker. Splenda and Sugar Free French Vanillia Creamer complete the experience. It's to die for.

I figured if I had dangerous and unhealthy rituals to purchase, conceal, and consume inordinate quantities of alcohol, I should replace them with a healthy and uplifting ritual of my own making. The Morning Coffee Ritual.
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:07 PM   #14 (permalink)

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Nice relpy. I must do something like that, I used to skip breakfast when I drank, in fact I used not eat breakfast at all all of the time the last 5 years. So a coffee ritual sounds like a laugh!
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:42 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Through AA and the 12 steps I have a much better perspective on life & how fortunate I truly am. I am no longer obsessed by thoughts about alcohol (or recovery for that matter). I now live my life with renewed enthusiasm.

Most of the time, I just do what I do:

Being a responsible and loving husband, father, & friend.
Put in a good days work.
Stuff around the house.
Make the most of my hobbies (fishing, listening to music, reading).
Entertainment (concerts, football games).
Fitness - strength training, mountain biking.
Couple of meetings a week, read/post on SR.

That's pretty much my life! I'm not saying that it's perfect or that I don't have my off-days but there is no comparison to my drinking days.

I think the key is spiritual growth. You get to a place where you can experience the full richness of just being alive.
It's times like these you learn to live again.
It's times like these you give and give again.
It's times like these you learn to love again.
It's times like these time and time again.

Times Like These - Foo Fighters
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Old 06-27-2009, 07:41 AM   #16 (permalink)
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To fill my time I hang out at SR, work, and take pictures of birds and whatnot.
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:12 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Added note ----

I find myself intentionally doing things that I could not do when I was drinking.

Fitness... I could not work out while drinking, no physical stability.
Reading... I could not effectively read while drinking, couldn't focus or see straight.
Playing guitar... I didn't have the coordination while I was drinking.

Participating in these activities constantly reminds me of what drinking prevents me from enjoying.
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:56 PM   #18 (permalink)

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Can't win folks My husband asked today if I'm ever going to get off of the laptop. Unless I go to the store or out for a run etc, I have been to keep myself occupied (not only but just surfing for hours at a time. My back hurts, my wrists hurt lol... WTF?

4 days in and I'm not sure this is much better
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:07 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I spend more time with my dogs, and they love it!
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:08 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I spend more time with my cats!
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