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Old 02-03-2010, 10:49 AM
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Maintaining Recovery

Hi everyone!

I have been doing some of my usual mind muddling and wonder if I can get some input. Recently, I have read about some members who, IMHO, had some decent sobriety under their belts (6 months to 2 years, maybe even more) and then relapsed. I've always been the kind of person that once I've gotten myself going in a particular direction, am able to maintain momentum. But this scares me. I know that my alcoholism is like a dormant volcano and I have no doubt that with one drink, I would fall hard and fast and I want to be proactive and avoid that.

I am a member of AA and have done most of the Steps (1-7). I also do a lot of self-help books, as well as therapy and online forums. I try to keep recovery as part of my daily living, to the best of my ability and never take my sobriety for granted.

Getting sober was harder for me than maintaining sobriety (so far, at least). What would make someone, who has a fairly firm foundation, choose to go back to a hellhole? I hope that I will never suffer from the delusion that I am cured, becasue I know that that isn't possible. That being said, I know myself well enough to realize that I want to address and issue and then be done with it, but I know that my alcoholism can't be "treated" that way.

What more can I do to insure that I don't lose this precious gift?
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by HideorSeek View Post
I am a member of AA and have done most of the Steps (1-7). I also do a lot of self-help books, as well as therapy and online forums. I try to keep recovery as part of my daily living, to the best of my ability and never take my sobriety for granted.

What more can I do to insure that I don't lose this precious gift?
Well, I'm assuming you'll finish all 12 Steps and then practice them every day, at least to the best of your ability?

My experience is that recovery always has to be at the forefront of every day, so I live, eat, and sleep recovery. I too read plenty of self-help material, the Bible, attend meetings for different programs, stay active here on SR and be of service whenever possible in my daily life.

Some people think it's too much. Too much recovery work makes Astro a dull boy. But sobriety has filled my life with so many gifts that I refuse to take it for granted. Alcoholism never "rests on its laurels" so my recovery can't either. I can't risk losing the gift, and yes it is very precious.

Keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting. That goes for the good, as well as the bad
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by HideorSeek View Post

What more can I do to insure that I don't lose this precious gift?
Give it away.
Next time you see a newcomer in a meeting, ask him to go for a coffee with you afterwards. Working with others is a major component of what keeps me sober.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:33 AM
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Hi,

I am not an AA person, but I do work on my recovery every single day and have for years. And coming here to SR is very helpful for me on a daily basis. I think I have incorporated my recovery into my daily life in a way that works very well for me. I walk, I pray, I spend time with myself and I come here.

Maybe it's not one single event that makes people begin to drink again, after long sobriety. Maybe it's the slippery slope thing. What I have learned is that depression is a big player in my life. There are times when I want to go to the dark place, because it's familiar, because it's easy and because my body chemistry leans that way. I can take a fleeting look at that place, but I can't stay more than a moment, because if I do, the slippery slope will beckon.

I, too, have many gifts of recovery, including two grandchildren this past year, so that helps to keep me focused.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:43 AM
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I am a member of AA and have done most of the Steps (1-7). I also do a lot of self-help books, as well as therapy and online forums. I try to keep recovery as part of my daily living, to the best of my ability and never take my sobriety for granted.

I don't know how much time you have. But, delving into too many self help books can muddle anyone's mind, particularly someone in their first year.

I've known those kinds of relapsers. One of which was a sister sponsee. She had grown so much. She became another person. The program does many things to us. It opens our minds. We can get so wrapped in the awe of enlightment that we lose sight of the most basic law: We can't drink. No matter how insightful or spiritual we become.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:37 PM
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Thank you, everyone, for your input! I understand how hard it is is early sobriety...finding oneself, finding alternate activities, revamping the way we think, and discovering a gratitude that is in direct proportion to our previous despair and hopelessness and I, myself, slip and slid more times than I care to admit, just to get sober. But going back out, after being sober..that's what baffles me. Anyone who is sober (well, at least I assume so..which may be inaccurate) cannot help but feel their life is better - maybe not all light and roses, but certainly better---how could they not? At the very least, they sleep better, are less anxious, feel better physically and have better self-esteem. And yet when faced with ???, chooses to pick up again. Is the answer because we are alcoholics? That explanation has always confused me and scared me because I am not sure I understand what that statement means. Is it impulsivity...which seems to be part of it all? I understand that we learn how to cope with resentments and other triggers, but is that enough?

I guess I'm just looking for "insurance" (which I understand intellectually is impossible). I will do everything and anything to keep what I have attained. I just can't imagine going back and pray I never come across a hurdle that makes me question that seemingly rock hard conviction.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:39 PM
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My first sponsor used to describe ongoing recovery as roller skating uphill. There is no standstill point. If you stop pushing, stop moving forward, you start sliding downward. And the hard part, he said, was that the view looks the same. The same scenery, the wind in your hair, life goes on alright. And you don't really know you're moving backwards until you hit the bottom.

At this stage of the game, I don't really distinguish between what I do for recovery and what I do with the rest of my life. Recovery is life. The principles of the 12 Steps are principles to live by, whether I'm in a meeting or at work or at home with family.

Somehow by doing that, the passion and enthusiasm for working with others has remained strong. I do that because I love doing it, just like I do life because I love living.

The biggest threat, I think, to maintaining recovery, is to stop growing.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:44 PM
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You've probably heard it said that relapse is part of the disease, but it's not part of recovery. Drinking is always optional, alcoholism is a sleeping tiger, always waiting to pounce if I get too careless.

I'm just as close to taking a drink as the next guy, it'll always be an arms length away. But just for today, I'll choose not to.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:33 PM
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Thumbs up Being Sober Is The Cure For Being Drunk

Originally Posted by HideorSeek View Post
Anyone who is sober (well, at least I assume so..which may be inaccurate) cannot help but feel their life is better - maybe not all light and roses, but certainly better---how could they not? At the very least, they sleep better, are less anxious, feel better physically and have better self-esteem. And yet when faced with ???, chooses to pick up again. Is the answer because we are alcoholics? That explanation has always confused me and scared me because I am not sure I understand what that statement means. Is it impulsivity...which seems to be part of it all? I understand that we learn how to cope with resentments and other triggers, but is that enough?
Anyone who is in the moment sober will not drink in that same moment. No one who is a sober alcoholic "chooses" to drink. Relapse is not a process of recovery. Relapse is a process of active addiction.

Im an alcoholic and i have no choices over my drinking or picking up a drink. Being sober i dont have to have those limited and self-serving choices. Being sober i have better choices such as:

I do have choices over my quality of sobriety and when i choose a sobriety that has rigourous honesty in my daily affairs; when i choose a recovery path that has responsibilites and consequences to myself and others; when i choose to have a higher power takeover what is powerless in my life; when i choose to be sober and not be drunk in my day to day life; then i can and will remain sober regardless of any triggers or surprises be what ever they may be.

Seriously, being sober is a guarantee of not being drunk. It is just impossible to be sober and drunk in the same moment. My last drink was in 1981. Alot of water has run under the bridge since then... lol. Many triggers and whatevers have already happened and more are in the future. Not a problem.

For me to get drunk now would require me to not be sober. For me to not be sober would require me to live a drunkards life and that would eventually require me to become very dishonest and outright untruthful with myself and my life. I simply don't live that kind of dishonest life. Anymore. When i did, i was drunk and drugged of course. When people who have extended lengths of so-called sobriety get drunk it is totally because they only had so-called sobriety. let's not be foolish with ourselves. Sober people don't get drunk.

So yeah, don't worry about getting drunk if you're already sober. Do put honest effort into the quality of your sobriety though everyday. Every single day. Forget about getting drunk in the future and think about being sober today.

Have a nice day!



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Old 02-03-2010, 01:56 PM
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Coming here every day is a big part of my recovery. Especially on bad days when it's tempting to just get numb and say to hell with it. Days like that are when it helps me a lot to come here and welcome newcomers and/or just respond to a desperate post. The newcomers' posts remind me of where I came from and where I don't want to go back to. So it helps me stay sober by helping others.

I also like to remind myself of how much better my life is without drinking. No wasted money or wasted days or feeling sick and unable to function. I don't miss that at all and am glad to be done with it.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:17 PM
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Again, thanks one and all for your input. The sense I get is:

Be honest with yourself and others

Practice vigilance

Stay connected, spiritually

Focus on service

Be active with your recovery

And I'll add, because I have found these are important to me:

Cultivate gratitude

Nurture humility

Never forget that I am one drink away from disaster and am an alcoholic for life

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Old 02-04-2010, 12:05 AM
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Well I only just got here and everyone said what I would have LOL.

I think growth, and gratitude, and giving back are the keys for me.

I often think - 'you have this great life now....if you take any of this for granted, you open the door to calamity'...

I don't see you taking anything for granted E

D
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:31 AM
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Finish the steps, get the promises, work 10,11,12 on a daily basis and enjoy your sobriety...that's it for me...real simple:-)
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:06 AM
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HoS
What more can I do to insure that I don't lose this precious gift?
it was said to me, a grateful drunk, will never drink again.

come'n up on seven years next month.

so far, the gratitude bit has worked,

and sincere gratitude...

good wishes HoS
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:07 AM
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Gratitude is a biggy for me as well. I have bruises from all the pinches I've given myself...or maybe they're from the Pilates (<<<<< that was for YOU, Elroy )

Seriously, though, my life has changed so much, I feel like it would be insulting to my HP, were I to take it for granted.

Thanks again, everyone!
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:38 AM
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(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Steam)))))))))))) )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

It's so great to hear that you are doing well! And you reminded me of the sense of peace I feel. At first, I felt a sense of resignation, but it has morphed into serenity (at least, so far).

I've brought this up b4 (and we're sort of switching focus, which is fine), but there are real parallels between Kubler-Ross's description of the dying/grieving process and what I feel I have gone through...

Denial>Anger>Bargaining>Depression>Acceptance

After Acceptance, comes the work: persistence, as you say. This is particularly tough for me (again, as I have said b4) because I'm much more of a sprinter than a long distance runner. That worries me that I will lose momentum, which leads back to another poster's comments about roller skating uphill....no resting possible, lest we start to slide backwards.

Anyways, I am thrilled that you feel a sense of peace. I think that getting to that stage (acceptance) is more than half the battle. It puts to rest that "this time...." option.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:38 AM
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One of the things I hear repeatedly on SR as well as in RL amongst those that relapse is the belief that they are "cured" and that they can now drink in moderation. When I go to church and go up for Communion I have the choice between a thimble of red wine or a thimble of white grape juice I always choose the juice. Because I believe and accept deep within that even 1 sip of alcohol could and would lead me back into my own hell and I don't want to go there nor disappoint those who care for me. For me acceptance of my problem and accepting that there is no "cure" other than abstinance is what keeps me sober.
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