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pennylane2009 09-29-2009 08:16 AM

Avoidance
 
Over the past week and a half, since I decided to stop drinking, I've been taking an inventory of where I am in life. It's not such a bad life. I've got a great job, great kids, a great house, a great husband. And yet I've been drinking to avoid everything. Drinking a lot. I'm so glad I decided to quit, but that means facing up to everything I don't do, and actually doing things.

The first time I got drunk, I was 18 at college. I think even then I knew I had a problem. I loved the feeling of being drunk so much, that the next night I went on a hunt around campus to find more alcohol. And the next night. And the next night. I wanted to be drunk all of the time. Weekends started on Wednesday night most weeks, and I spent every day until Sunday drunk. I used to run a daycare at a church on Sunday mornings, and most mornings I showed up completely hung over. I never went to class much, put off writing papers until the very last minute, and somehow skated through.

Drinking is just one example of how I deal with most of my life: By avoiding things. Even when I'm sober, I avoid everything. Household chores, work assignments, signing the kids up for school activities, calling my mother, taking care of my garden, walking the dog. Everything. Everywhere I look, you can see what I avoid. I used to call it "procrastination", but procrastinating means that at some point, you finally get around to doing the thing you're procrastinating. Not me. I have picture frames all over the house that are empty -- because I am avoiding putting pictures in them. Stacks of paper all over the kitchen, because I'm avoiding dealing with whatever is in that pile. My email box has 5,800 emails in it, because I can't take the time to delete some. Seriously.

I'm committing to getting a lot of that cleaned up, and to start living life instead of avoiding it. A big part of that means not drinking. I'm worried I'll get complacent and start drinking again in a few weeks, so I'm mostly writing this down to remember.

Anna 09-29-2009 08:27 AM

That's a great post Penny!

But, don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Maybe you could make a list of what you want to accomplish and cross off one or two items each day. Hopefully you will feel proud of the things you will be completing.

Carrie36 09-29-2009 08:31 AM

It's like looking in a mirror I swear..lol

I guess avoidance is typical behavior of addicts..


Right now I have pictures of my two sons on the wall and my third sons frame fell and broke....six months ago...meant to replace that frame and just didnt do it. Poor guy prolly wondering why the others are up there and not his!!


I got a filing cabinet last year because i was tired of rifling through papers to find stuff I needed...all I did was start shoving the papers inside of the drawers instead of sorting them and filing lol

I have reschedule appointments I have for myself or kids all the time, rarely keeping the original appt time.

Drinking let me say to myself...ok i am DONE for today, now I get to relax and screw anything that needs done....day after drinking allowed me to say...uhhhh I feel like crap..ok I will tackle stuff tomorrow...when I felt better I wanted to drink again...

So, now that im working on becoming sobor I should also try and work on my avoidance issues as well. Baby steps......lol

Aysha 09-29-2009 08:32 AM

I know for me I started out using because it felt good. It was fun. And thats what most people at that age did. Party. But after awhile it wasnt for fun anymore. It became something to make me feel 'normal'. Alot of alcoholics I know and grew up around NEEDED it to function. To not be sick. Then it just becomes a vicious cycle.
I think once you get past all that drinking to stay well part. And then you can sit down and look at things a little more clear headed. It can be pretty overwhelming.
But as we learn in our recovery. You take things as they come. Do what you can. Dont pressure yourself to do it all at once.
Because that will bring on the stress of wanting to hide again.
Maybe tackle that pile of stuff little by little. Incorporate little chores a little everyday or even every week to get back into the routine of it. Just dont over do it.
That should keep you busy and hopefully get your mind off other things less healthy for you.
And yes..Keeping reminders of why you shouldnt drink is huge. Getting comfortable can be dangerous. But you dont have to be a nervous wreck about it either.
Good luck and just hang in there.
Do you work any type of program? And by program it can be anything that keeps you focused on staying sober and learning to live without alcohol. I think it is very important for all addicts/alcoholics to have some sort of a plan in place. Something to work on for their sobriety everyday. Even if it is the littlest thing. And having a support system is crucial for me.

pennylane2009 09-29-2009 08:32 AM

Thanks, Anna! I am trying to take it in small steps, although I probably went overboard cleaning on Sunday. Yesterday, I tackled some of my email, and I hope to have my inbox down below 1,000 by the end of October.

It's hard to find a calm spot, where I'm OK with taking it slow, because now that I can see what I've been avoiding, I want to clean it all up NOW. :)

pennylane2009 09-29-2009 08:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aysha (Post 2383427)
Do you work any type of program? And by program it can be anything that keeps you focused on staying sober and learning to live without alcohol. I think is is very important for all addicts/alcoholics to have some sort of a plan in place. Somehtin gto work on for their sobriety everyday. Even if it is the littlest thing. And having a support system is cruciasl for me.

So far, I have been using online resources like SR and another email group, plus reading SmartRecovery information and S.O.S. I have been thinking about going to an AA meeting (there's a beginner's meeting at noon today) but the religion aspect really really puts me off so I'm still undecided on that. Plus, I have four good friends who don't drink (but I haven't yet told them I'm not drinking anymore) so I know I will "come out" to them sometime soon.

Mark75 09-29-2009 08:36 AM

You know, I can relate to what you wrote, I am very blessed with Home, Family, Work.... so what the heck happened??... what was missing in my life that I had to fill it with alcohol and pills??... yea, I was avoiding something, that hole...

Mark

pennylane2009 09-29-2009 08:42 AM

Mark, I can tell you what happened to me, but it's a sob story and I'd just rather not right now. But I was avoiding dealing with that, as well. Sorry to hear you have a hole to fill, too, but it's better than avoiding it, right?

Mark75 09-29-2009 08:43 AM

Yep... I am filling now... Glad to here you are well!

pennylane2009 09-29-2009 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carrie36 (Post 2383422)
Right now I have pictures of my two sons on the wall and my third sons frame fell and broke....six months ago...meant to replace that frame and just didnt do it. Poor guy prolly wondering why the others are up there and not his!!

...

Drinking let me say to myself...ok i am DONE for today, now I get to relax and screw anything that needs done....day after drinking allowed me to say...uhhhh I feel like crap..ok I will tackle stuff tomorrow...when I felt better I wanted to drink again...

Carrie, what is it with picture frames? LOL. My brother in law always makes fun of me and my empty frames ...

I also avoid the post office. Not sure what it is with me and the USPS, but we don't mix well together. I have my godson's birthday gift from when he was turning three still sitting on the counter, plus his Christmas gift from last year. Guess what? He's four next week.

And I hear you on the "I'm done for today" delineation. I never understood people who could make their kids' school lunches the night before. Once dinner was done, so was I.

Saphie 09-29-2009 08:47 AM

It took me three years to cut down some masking tape off the door frame that was there since I painted. Well at least I did that. You are not alone.

pennylane2009 09-29-2009 08:51 AM

Saphie, that reminded me: My curtains. I pinned them together when we moved in here, and meant to sew the panels together. That was five years ago. I keep getting stuck with pins whenever I close the curtains at night.

I can't think too much about all the things I need to do, because that gets overwhelming, too. Baby steps is good advice ...

ANEWAUGUST 09-29-2009 08:53 AM

Penny,

I can relate so much to everything you have shared.

I can become so overwhelmed with EVERYTHING I need to do. Then that emotion comes into play, and I avoid/procrastinate even more.

Try to set some short term goals. This is what helped me, take onne room, or one project. Work on it for 15 minutes. Then, take a break and either continue, or go onto something else for 15 minutes. Try to allot yourself a chunk of time, that you devote
to this 15 minute mini-tasks. Then, that is it, and move on. You can do this for several days, or every other day..whatever helps keep you moving and motivated.

I always remind myself that this alkie didn't become one overnight, so, it was going to take just as long to start and get my life back on track.

Saphie 09-29-2009 09:04 AM

At least you take the time to close your curtains. Mine stayed shut for a while. :c032:

mariechi 09-29-2009 09:11 AM

Avoidance
 
Thank you for this thread. I know I do that. Me too, me too. :c029::c011:Is that part of the puzzle??

Mrak 09-29-2009 09:21 AM

Hi pennylane2009,

Congratulations on your decision to live sober.

I don't have words of wisdom but I have words of experience - my own experience.

Patience - It took me many years to become a drunk so it will take time to get my life back in order. That doesn't give me a license to procrastinate. I wanted it all done now, I wanted it all fixed now. Patience and perseverance has paid off.

Overwhelmed - So much needed to be done and I didn't know where to start. So I started right in front of me. One thing at a time. I avoided multi-tasking. Dishes first, next laundry, then organizing papers, etc. Small successes helped me feel like I had control over my situation.

Rewards - Getting drunk offers instant gratification. Being responsible offers delayed gratification. I'm an addict, so I need some instant gratification. I took "before and after" pictures of cleaning projects. I can see what I accomplished. I reward myself after a task has been completed. The reward may be as simple as taking my dogs for a walk, reading for an hour, or making myself a good meal.

Do for others - I try to help others with their projects. This gets me away from my own environment for a while. I'm not avoiding my own situation. I realize that as long as I don't wake up dead tomorrow all my projects will still be waiting for me.

Stay busy, be patient and don't hesitate to tell your sober friends about your plan. They may be more helpful and supportive than you imagine.

Best of success to you.

Dee74 09-29-2009 03:31 PM

hey PL

I wasn't sure it was going to 'take' either when I first got here, so I wrote everything down - it helped both at the time in a cathartic way, and again later at the times I started to rationalise again...it worked :)

As for never getting around to stuff - me too. I'd like to say I'm cured but ask my partner LOL...

I do deal with the important things now tho...prioritising just what is important and then dealing with everything in little steps really was the way for me.

D

Emily2002 09-29-2009 04:03 PM

Penny... Thank you so much for starting this thread. You've allowed us -- well apparently several of us -- to see that we're not alone!

I'm the same way. My four kids are mostly grown now, older than yours, but I've had this problem for as long as I can remember. It used to hurt my feelings when my father used to refer to me as having two speeds... "slow and stop," but he was right.

Is it ADD? Depression? Procrastination? Feeling overwhelmed or powerless? An unwillingness to accept responsibility and grow up? Perhaps a bit of all of the above. Frustrating.

I stayed home from work today to "get things done" but no surprise... I accomplished very little. Reading people's suggestions here, though, gives me some hope, some incentive.

Had to laugh about the picture frames... I've bought several things to hang on my walls -- shelves, pictures, etc. They sat in my dining room for almost a year and I finally had to move them into the basement to make room for guests at my twin daughters' graduation party. We've been in this house for 15 years, and I started sewing curtains for two different rooms and finished just one set per room.

I think I'll try the "baby steps" approach by making a list of just three small things to accomplish each day. Then I'll add one more: Pray for a little more stick-to-itiveness!

Maybe we CAN do this?

Carrie36 09-30-2009 12:33 PM

I have a wall that was drywalled and mudded...its been waiting to be sanded and painted for three years...


I started rug hooking and bought a christmas poinsietta to do, I got it half finished, its only taken me 2 years, maybe this is the year I will complete it! Its like an 8x10 size..lol


I have a Sudoku puzzle book with half the puzzles started and never finished..


I laugh about it, its a part of me that I need to work on it seems :)

tallcactus 09-30-2009 01:22 PM

Good thread.
Made me laugh, because I find my hubby in most of these posts and he does not drink/drug and never has but, yet he can't finish most things....Oh well, very frustating 4 me.
Me, on the other hand, very organized and always write lists, I get the satisfaction of crossing an entry off each day. My goal is 2 always do 3 things.


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