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Drinking and Television...

Old 01-01-2010, 03:52 PM
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Sober Date 12/21/09
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Drinking and Television...

A couple of months ago I didn't pay my cable bill and my service got interrupted. It would be a few days before I could pay it, so I just let it go for a while. Then something unexpected happened. I started having massive anxiety attacks. For three days I went through an emotional hell without my TV. I had such a visceral reaction to losing it that I knew something was up and had to dig deep to explore why I was feeling that way.

I blogged about it and really explored my feelings and came to the conclusion that I was addicted to TV. So I made the radical decision to have it removed from my house permanently. I even started a blog about it to see if, after six months without tv, how my life might change.

You see, I had gotten into this habit of waking up some days, just not caring about anything and I would drink all day and watch TV. I work for myself so I have no boss, no real obligations and no one driving me, but me, and I'm a lousy boss. So I figured that TV was the problem.

But what I've realized now is that while TV is a trigger for and me and something I can never have in my home again, it was really the alcohol that was driving it. When we lock ourselves away in our homes to drink in isolation there is no better companion than the television set. It requires nothing of us, never gives us grief, judges us or complains and is always there to entertain.

It was a bottomless pit for me and it had to go. At the end of the day it's all about excuses, rationalizations and devices to help us escape from the things in our lives we don't want to deal with. And it doesn't really matter what those devices are: TV, the internet, computer games, gambling, sex, drugs, relationships, etc. We use them to help us escape and alcohol loves them all.

I wanted to bring this up so that others might look at triggers, habits and patterns they fall into that helps satisfy and drive their drinking.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:03 PM
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Sunset- I have realized one of my triggers early on (only sober 5 days) and am working on how to rid myself of the trigger..........the only problem is i dont think i can get my boss to quit because she is a definite trigger..........your point about the tv is a good one.......i too would sit and watch tv while i sat alone and drank myself to the point of passing out.......not sure that it is a trigger but it gives me something to think about.......kudos to you for figuring that out and giving me something to ponder in my own journey to staying sober....happy new year
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:27 PM
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Cooking is a trigger for me. Especially grilling. I'm on day three with no alcohol (or cigarettes!) and I cooked all day for friends. I had a couple of cravings, but by the time I was done I was so tired I just wanted to take a hot bath. I don't know if it is so much a trigger as it is a habit. I drank when I cooked, I smoked when I drank. I'm not missing the smoking too much, thank goodness.
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:37 PM
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Cookie, cooking used to be a big trigger for me, too. I used to love nothing more than ending my work day around 5:00p and spending the next 2-3 hours in the kitchen drinking wine and taking my time making a nice dinner.

The only problem is I was starting my drinking at 5:00p and going all night! That ended up being a lot of booze! I don't cook as much lately, not because I don't enjoy it, but more because I realize it was another thing I was justifying "loosing myself" in for hours on end. Also, the calories were really adding up. I still have 15 pounds to lose due to all my indulgences in food and alcohol.
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:58 PM
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I used to get all messed up on pills and drink and just listen to certain songs. Pretty pathetic and now when i hear a certain song on the radio, my mind starts to remember those using times, so i have to switch the tuner or else i'll start thinking and then scheming and that's somewhere i choose not to go anymore. Great post, those pesky little triggers are everywhere but now we can recognize 'em!
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:08 PM
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I used to sit and watch TV all day too. Don't know how I did that LOL.
Like you say, it wasn't the TV that was the problem...it was simply the least invasive thing to do while drinking and smoking all day

D
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:55 PM
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Even though I'm 12 days sober and LOVING IT! I still don't want the television to come back. Even sober it can be an unwanted and unhealthy distraction. Also, I think if I were to sit down and watch tv at this point I would crave a drink like crazy.

I still get stunned reactions when people come over and ask if they can turn on the game or something. "What! You don't have television?!" You'd think I had admitted to whacking Hoffa or something.
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:35 PM
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hehe, I think most of my friends realize I'm a little eccentric anyway, so I don't get comments about my lack of a TV.

And I DO have a TV... I just never feel the need to buy cable or satellite or anything. Sometimes I like to watch a movie. I... forget ... to watch TV. For months on end. And then someone will talk about some show I like, Bones or something, and I'll think "yeah, I like that show. I should watch it." but I very rarely do. I usually forget about it before I slow down enough to sit.

However (and this is the point of my post, for those of you asking "Goat, what's your point?"), when I was drinking I watched TV non-stop. I'd plant my butt on the couch, turn on a movie, or one of the 6 channels I can get with broadcast digital TV out here in the middle of nowhere, and become part of the furniture.

When the alcohol went out of the house, TV was turned off... I didn't even think about it. I have no interest in TV without alcohol.

-Goat
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Old 01-01-2010, 07:18 PM
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I love tv! It got me through early sobriety and still gets me through bad days.

I totally relate to your panic attacks though. I had a panic attack with I cut up my credit cards and made a commitment to stop using them. I am a compulsive spender and I racked up nearly $10k of debt in a few months. It's now another thing I put on my programme. Each day I acknowledge that I am powerless over drugs, alcohol, food, money and debting and ask my HP to help me stay safe from them today, and to free me from the obsession/compulsion around them.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to have a credit card again, but like getting rid of your tv, it was good to be able to just cut it up and know that it's just not available.
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