I think I know what my biggest problem is...

Old 01-13-2010, 01:47 PM
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Sober Date 12/21/09
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I think I know what my biggest problem is...

There are several other posts on here that prompted me to bring this up, but I didn't want to hijack those threads and make them about MY problems. So I thought I would start this one and maybe others with the same problems can relate and/or chime in:

Here's the biggest issue I'm dealing with right now:

I am a struggling filmmaker with several projects in various stages. I say "struggling" because even though the film business is why I moved to LA ten years ago, I haven't really made any money doing it. As matter of fact I've been developing and self-financing my own projects, and it's run up my credit cards to the tune of $100k plus. And I'm being sued by all the credit card companies because once the economy tanked I couldn't keep up with the payments anymore and just stopped paying them.

The stress of this debt, the unfinished projects and my own fears of success and fears of failure, combined with massive self-doubt are what led me to drink so much in the first place.

Now that I've been sober for just over 3 weeks, I'm trying to figure out "where it all went wrong". I thought the clarity and solutions would come to me instantly in sobriety, but they haven't.

When I first moved here I was full of vigor and hope. I went out almost every night to socialize and network, as that is how the entertainment industry works. I quickly made some good contacts and had several projects I was trying to put together. The first three all ended in disaster as I quickly found that people out here don't have the same motives and intentions I have. I ran into a lot of railroading, back stabbing and deceit.

I was crushed and basically shut down for the next 5-6 years, wondering if I have what it takes to make it out here. This is when the really bad drinking started. I buried myself in endless distractions, from poker, to men to drinking, to television, to cooking, anything that would keep my mind off my failures and disappointments.

I was hoping that if I quit drinking I would instantly feel strong and fearless again, like when I first moved here. While I don't have any more funds to throw at my projects, there is probably about a year's worth of writing and editing that I can do on them, as well as I should be trying to raise more money. But I don't.

I still feel like I did when I was drinking. I wake up some days and just don't want to do anything. I stay in bed and watch movies, or just sleep. The guilt and shame from ignoring my projects is killing me inside. But I immediately shut down every time I sit in front of the computer to write or edit. I feel that if I don't get these done, someone else will and I'll feel horrible that I didn't make it happen because of fear and procrastination.

How do I get back to being passionate again and doing that I claim I love? Am I fooling myself and maybe I don't love making films as much as I thought? Why is this process shutting me down? I'm not sure. I just know that there's nothing else I want to do. But I'm really not even doing this!

I'm trying to be patient with the recovery process, but I've already wasted so much time. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can get back on track with my projects/career? I feel like I simply don't know how.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:26 PM
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Hi Sunset,

It really does take patience to recover, it's so important. I try to remember that I am exactly where I should be at this moment. The years of addiction were not wasted. They helped you get to the point that you are now.

And, I also had to come to terms with accepting that 'Yes', I did deserve a good life.

Set small goals for yourself and do something each day to further your projects.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:28 PM
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It took me MONTHS of sobriety before I started detangling the mess I had made. I think it would have gone far quicker if I had joined AA right away, because their 12-step process is designed to shine the light on all of our fears and resentments, and it gives us healthy ways to move past all of it. But I got there mostly with the help of people on SR, and reading good recovery books. When I look back, the main difference I see in my life, is the spiritual connection I have. Call it the universe, mother nature, God or what ever, having FAITH that everything in my life happened for a reason, and having FAITH that if I do the right thing, and keep a connection to a higher power, everything will work out has left me almost without fear, anger and shame. Being able to forgive yourself, knowing you did this best you could, and making an attempt to move on living in the most honest and helpful way you can is such a powerful gift.
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:53 PM
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I think the thing I've learned about sobriety is it didn't solve all my problems...but it puts me in a much better position for me to solve my problems, if I want.

Anna's right: it takes patience.

I think it's a pretty good cosmic joke - most of us spent our lives wanting things NOW...recovery's about learning to wait and being grateful with what we have right now a lot of the time.

If you're like me, you drank for years - we don't recover from that in a month, Sunset - it's just not the way it works.

I'm much closer to the man I always wanted to be now - but it took time.

It will happen - if you stay committed to recovery

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:10 PM
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Are you trying to do this all yourself?

There were events in my life, situations, disappointments that I dealt with by drinking, and other stuff... And then, well, I just liked to drink...

It takes a lot more than just not drinking to recover.

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Cubile75 View Post

It takes a lot more than just not drinking to recover.

That is something I have heart alot in the rooms of AA. It really does ring true to me and since Sunset and I are on a similar track, it makes sense that she may hear what I hear.

It really is the mind part that plays the games and I fight with my own head daily, I know that will take time so in my opinion, dont beat yourself up girl, take the time to allow yourself to go through this, try and be patient.

Right now, all I try and do is remember to not pick up that first drink - the rest will fall into place when it is supposed to!
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:39 PM
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I too had to put in the time...sober order to get my life back within my control. Its good to be at the helm again 'ODAAT'.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:53 PM
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I agree, Sunset - it's early days yet for you. It took me months to feel semi-normal. There was alot of healing that needed to happen before I could tackle anything major.

Don't become disheartened - the way you're feeling is completely normal and to be expected. I know it's disappointing, but give yourself chance to recover from the devastation of drinking. Then you'll be able to make better decisions & choices about where to go with the rest of your career.

I'm glad you shared this with us.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:02 PM
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Not all better, getting better
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I bet all of these replies can come off as a bit depressing!! The last thing we addicts/alcoholics want to hear about is patience!! I know that was the case for me at least. That's one of the things I loved about using, the reaction was instant, I didn't have to wait around, or do any actual "work" for me to "feel better". Of course, when the buzz wore off, I was right back where I was, but there was always more booze to drink, or in my case, pot to smoke.

I wanted everything to be all better when I first quit, to be honest, I still do!! At least now I understand that is just not how it works (Can't blame a guy for still wanting it to work that way though!!) It took time for us to dig our holes, to lose our inspiration, to reach that point where we will willing to go through all the $hit we go through to try to "beat" this.

As someone already suggested, it's a good idea to get some help with this, someone to keep you in perspective. Lot's of folks use AA, some go to theripists, some use both or other methods. Posting here is a good start, but it really can only take you so far. It sounds like you have more time on your hands than money, so why don't you check out a meeting, they're free, and a big support for many people. A lot of theripists, especially those specializing in substance abuse, will see people on a sliding scale if you can't afford what they normally charge.

It does get better. How long it takes is different for everyone. One thing for sure is that if you give up and go back to the bottle, things will only get worse. There is a saying in the rooms of AA, "Don't leave before the miracle happens." Don't give up. It may not happen on your time table, in fact it probably won't, but if you stick with it, keep reaching out for help, it will happen. Just about everyone on this site with any degree of recovery has been right where you are right now. It will get better, with time, and patience. I can't tell you how many times I "quit" then gave up and went back to using before I figured this fairly simple concept out. Keep plugging away!! Take care.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:53 PM
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I still feel like I did when I was drinking
so did i.............and had all the traits of a drunk.
i see quite a few posts like this recently......ive stopped drinking and life seems to get worse or stay the same.
carrying around all that horrible shame........still walking around with my head down.

one of my favorite sayings is....."nothing happens if nothing happens"
it is so true for me........even today sitting on a resentment without dealing swiftly with it can bring back those old feelings of........"oh f it"

AA 12 steps unraveled my twisted perception of me and the world around me...i realize how sick mentally i was.
so when all else failed.........and i tried plenty of finally wound up at AA with all hope lost.


i was told my mind was as sick as my body..........i was told i would not get better by doing nothing.

9 years ago i said to myself.........."f it.. what choice do i have"
this old man better be telling the truth
that i could recover.........IF.........i followed precisely the instructions laid out by a bunch of drunks in the book "alcoholics anonymous".

A small part of the story is i never drank again.....and i dont plan to.
a big part of the story is i finally found a peace with ME and the world around me.
i finally felt like that round last i didn't feel insane anymore and life has a new meaning. wasnt/isnt......100% easy 100% of the time.
but is a long way...a very long way from the old me.

I'm a baby in AA really.........and if Ive only tasted a bit of what is available to me and my family..........well I'm in for the long haul...

god be with you.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:01 PM
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You're still in very early recovery. Please be gentle with yourself. And this thread is really an awesome one! Good luck to you....I hope you stick around SR.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:17 PM
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Sunset -

As everyone else has said, this is very normal - yet still hard for all of us in sobriety.

The key here is to work on a program of recovery, not just abstinence.

Abstinence is not drinking and being unhappy about it.
Recovery is not drinking and feeling good about it.

As we get sober, all our problems (that we were covering up with alcohol) are still there. As Dee said, it just now gives us the best chance of dealing with them.

I too found that I let my life stagnate. I am paying the price for it now, but every day is getting a little bit better than the last. I wouldn't pick up a drink now even if you told me you would get me back to my place before I stagnated - because back then I was really unhappy. I was doing well by some measures, but I wanted to control everything in my life and when I couldn't (which was often), I got really stressed and down on myself.

Today, I have bad days, but I have learned some tools to cope with that. I know that life is a winding path that will have setbacks. I also am learning what true friends are now, the importance of family, and I am learning how to be good to myself.

By being sober, I was able to make plans that were grounded in reality and not just a "hope". With a few more weeks/months of sobriety, I bet you will begin creating plans that will begin the process of getting off your bottom. You have a lot of life left and so try not to dwell on the past too much. There are ways of starting fresh financially, and so you might investigate whether any of those options can help you. It sucks, I know, but there is little you can do about the past. All you can do is to focus on being happy today and not drinking. And, I have learned a lot from my past, so this will help me in the future.

My recovery plan includes AA + SR + helping other alcoholics. It has worked for me so far and I hope you find peace with yourself. You are not alone.

Take care, NewMe
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