To count days, or not to count..

Old 01-03-2010, 08:57 AM
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To count days, or not to count..

Okay, so I'm 79 days today, and wonder how the whole day-counting aspect of recovery works for different people. I have friends who are in the thousands of days (sounds more like a compulsive disorder at that stage) and wonder that at a point, isn't a person merely clinging to their drinking self and not "letting go"....and being their new person?

I'm always leery of turning one obsession into another - and ultimately becoming a slave to that next thing. That got me thinking about day counting - is its roots in 12 steps?/AA? - how & why people start/stop/continue to count.
Just musing and wondering about others' thoughts/experiences on this.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:04 AM
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Interesting post. I started counting the days during the first year and now I more or less look toward the anniversary of my quit. I guess the obsession has been lifted in respect to the days I haven't drank and now its a pleasant moment to recognize when my anniversary date comes up. That's my opinion any ways. It may change, but I still make the pledge everyday not to quit. That's important to me.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:10 AM
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Hi WatsonC, I remember being consciously aware of the amount of days sober I had upto 90 days. After that period of time I started to count sobriety length interms of months and then i guess after that it will be in years. I have no idea how many days I now have but I know I have 6 calendar months exactly 8th January. But I ain't anal about none of this tbh.

I try and take it One day at a time but don't dwell on it all too much if I can help it as ity can all get a bit tedious. I do like knowing that I have the sober time I have now though as it's an achievement that I never believed would have been possible.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:19 AM
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Never heard of counting days actually advised by AA, they do give out chips at some meetings though, y'know like 30, 60, 90 days then months...then years...

I remember counting days when i did my dry drunk stint for those 5 months, it was like holding my breath...was i don't count days this time nor feel like i need to, but that's just me:-)

We had a guy who was going on about his 6 month mark in the meetings, he got it eventually after a month build on 6 months and a day he was so depressed...kind of like now what?! Hehe shouldn't laugh but was crazy to see?! Hes still not drinking, not sober either but hey either he will start working the program or disappear i guess:-(
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:22 AM
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Hey Watson,

Good post. This is something I've thought about as well. Are we just replacing one obsession with another? However I can say that even if that's the case, at least it's a much healthier one! LOL

I put my sober date in my title as a reminder so I don't have to keep up with the days all the time. I can just look at it from time to time as a reminder of my accomplishments. But I don't really struggle with it every day. I rarely have urges to drink. I'm afraid that may change after a couple of months, but that's where I am now.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:27 AM
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I counted days for a while.. and honestly all it did was remind me how much further away from my last drink I was, which I think is pointless. After a few months (and some therapy), my counselor and I talked about how counterproductive this could be to someone, as it does nothing to address how close the NEXT drink could be. Along the way I began identifying myself as a non-drinker instead of someone who had 'quit drinking' x many days ago. I stopped counting, but will never forget my sober date, and sometimes pay it notice (like when I was at 6 months, and a year).
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:33 AM
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There was a time when I had the days marked on a calender (not obsessive at all Now I do not give each day a thought. I just know that I'm not going to drink today. I've went from keeping track of days to weeks to now I still keep track of months (only in my head).
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:41 AM
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Whatever works for the individual. Do what you feel comfortable with and enhances and maintains your sobriety.

We may all be 'alcoholics' but we sure as hell ain't all the same.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:59 AM
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I counted days for awhile, simply because I was so amazed that I had managed days and weeks without drinking, but eventually I stopped counting and just carried on.

Whatever works for you!
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:07 AM
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Thanks - so many voice what my inner-OCD-self is saying. That at 79, I'm tiring a bit of the counting. I keep a journal (yes, 19 years worth of daily nothings obsessively recorded!), and this year forced myself to buy a teeny-weeny one so I could stop being a slave to filling long pages. You guessed it though; at the top of every page for the last 79 days is the Day # dutifully enscribed.
I'm trying to take control of my life, instead of it having me - and losing obsessions seems a piece of that. I'm probably making no sense here. But I do feel a bit mentally trapped by the counting - as though there's an end point in sight. Is it merely Relapse Planning Gone Awry?! Ugh, enough, will stop focusing on it all for a spell.
Love reading everyone's perspective on it. Maybe I'll hang in there until Day 90...
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:40 AM
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Pardon the cliche...

"Don't count the days - Make the days count."

OK, I did count "months" up until the first year but couldn't resist the slogan opportunity...
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:51 AM
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Maybe addictions differ? Most opinions here are from people who are addicted to alcohol. I don't remember NA having such a strong obsession with days. The standard 30, 60, and 90, but I've seen people who didn't really pay attention to their time. They were just happy to be clean. It might be totally individual too, rather than differing based on what were addicted to. There are more than drugs and alcohol to be addicted to. Some good, some bad, and some that can be all bad if we go to far. I know my boyfriend has a car habit to be rivaled by very few in this country, but he never misses a bill or a day at work. And he never lies about what he spends on his cars and car parts. I'd say it's more than a hobby, but not a full blown addiction. I had the same thing with cars, before crack, but didn't lie about how much I spent. I did miss mandatory overtime at work, family functions, and even was late on a couple bills due to my racing obsession. Drag racing came above all else, on the weekends. And while it does show we can get obsessed or addicted to many different things, I'd RATHER be obsessed with NHRA than CRACK. LOL..
Though I have to be honest. Both of them are expensive habits. VERY expensive. The nicer difference is drag racing, at a sanctioned track, is VERY legal! And a lot more fun. The rush lasts longer and I always drag raced at tracks with a LOT of friends! Made new friends at different tracks. Drag racing never had to be hidden and it cannot be done alone.
Anyway, what a nice thread to happen upon as I celebrate my 11th month of being free from crack cocaine! I do count, by the month. I wouldn't say I am obsessed with it. I don't think about it constantly. I do write about it when the date comes by. And I do celebrate it with gusto. I know I do take one day at a time, but I am at the point where I might be a bit obsessive over the next month as I count down to a full year! I cannot believe how time has flown by! At first it seemed like 30 days was forever. 60 and 90 days too. I didn't think I'd make it.. But wow.. I am excited about the time now. It's really just so neat that 1 year is coming up.
I know I will make it. I am so happy to be free! Maybe the time won't mean so much after one year, or it may mean even more. I spent two years on crack and almost fell all the way down the rabbit hole. I wasted two years. So I imagine, knowing me, I will celebrate two years of freedom, and from there, well... We'll cross that bridge when we get there.
I'd say, if you feel you are being obsessive about counting the days, you can work to change yourself. Or not. Maybe enjoy being obsessed with how many days you are free from your addiction. Maybe you can turn it into something positive for yourself. Buying things will clutter your house, but maybe donate a couple bucks to a worthy cause, find an arcade and play some games, or get a nice ice cream/soda/junk food treat (pretzel or cookie) from your favorite bakery... Nothing you cannot walk off later.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:54 AM
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90 days is a big marker for me. I haven't been able to do it (30 days for that matter) since I started down the wrong path four years ago. I'm counting up to 90 and after that, I'm just going to look forward to living sober and use my sobriety date to remind me of the day I finally started crawling out of the hole.

Whatever gives people the path of least resistance to sobriety is the one they should take.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:01 PM
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I was sober for a several years and counted days. Before I slipped I had over 2000 days. Now I don't total up my days, it would take me too long to get back to where I was before I slipped which would be kinda depressing to think about. And really, what would be the point? Now I just pay attention to my days 1 at a time.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:10 PM
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I'd say if you find counting days helpful to your recovery, count them. If it is bothering you, don't count them.

Personally I found that when I counted it was counter productive. I would often relapse right before an aniversary ie: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, never made it past that until this time!! I have a general idea how much clean time I have, about 8 months or so, but I couldn't tell you my sobriety date, it was sometime in May. It's working for me. Find what works for you and stick with it. Take care.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:19 PM
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same planet...different world
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watson -

we truly only have today.
anyone - ANYone on this site ...
is only one drink away.

at the same time -
there are times
I feel that my length of sobriety

is all I have that's truly mine.

But for the most part -

I'm in today.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:56 PM
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Hey watsonc,

Today is the day!

Which one, I am not quite sure.

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Old 01-03-2010, 07:03 PM
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Hey...interesting question...the definition of addiction though I feel is when it overrides everything else in your life...I doubt that counting days will ever do that. While in early sobriety I clung onto the amount of days I was sober I tend to just count the months now. Sometimes though I go into sober time and have a look at how many days I am...I remember when I was over 400 (am nearly 600 now I think) I was totally blown away. Days felt like years when I was using and minutes felt like days. Sometimes its just a bit of a boost to realise just how long it is you've been sober.

Wishing you all the the days....or maybe years to come!!
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:24 PM
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Interesting thread. I counted the early days....mostly because I was so proud of being sober. Around 2-3 months I lightened up a bit...and then started counting months. I remember posting here for each month getting to that year mark because I was just so shocked it was happening and happening to me!

I have a year and a half now. Don't really even think about it much anymore...I"m sure when 2 years comes up I'll shout it out here.

I like reading threads of people celebrating their sober time. One of my favorite parts of SR.
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