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Sharing my story... a lurker no more!

Old 02-14-2010, 10:33 PM
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Post Sharing my story... a lurker no more!

Hi All,

Kinda new here as the title suggests. Been reading this forum for about a month now ~ difficult to describe exactly just how helpful, inspiring and compelling your sharing has been from the daily threads to the stories of recovery, so first I just wanna say thanks for making this community such a beacon of support!

My poison of choice has been wine for the past 10 or so years. I was never a drinker in high school. Didn't drink much in college either because I was an endurance athlete and the rush I got from pushing my body through pain over lond distances was my way of getting "high".

Underlying all of this, was the fact that my father was a hard core alcoholic for as long as I could remember growing up. Knowing that it was hereditary was terrifying to me and the thought the there was a sliver of a chance that I could end up like him. My mother divorced him when I was eight, which by that time, he was practically absent because of his drinking even though he'd be sitting on the couch downing beers after work. I had already witnessed him beating her on more than one occassion in a drunken rage. He also hit me. I was a really good little girl and always did my homework and chores, but when I misbehaved in the slightest (like the time he found rotten sandwiches he made me for school lunch that I had hidden in my room b/c I couldn't eat them since they were disgusting and made with the cheapest processed cheese on white bread you could buy b/c he was spending on more important things like his booze) I would get whipped really hard with a belt. The verbal abuse was a given. Then he started disappearing for nights at a time and I would worry. Then, for all practical purposes, he was gone, but the memory of how alcohol controlled him burned pretty deep. Seeing him, I reckoned I would never ever touch the stuff!

Since I graduated college, I've had "good" jobs and some progress along a career path of sorts but I've never really felt satisfied or fulfilled with them despite working hard and having them be jobs I wanted to do. As it became more challenging to find 2+ hours a day to go outside and exercise / play, and an easier way to unwind by going out with work colleagues or friends, I began going out and drinking like everyone around me. I would have 2 at most and I was good. I couldn't believe how much everyone could put down in a night and still be alright (relatively) at work the next day. Then I took to it and started drinking at home alone after coming from work to relax. I wasn't making much money and it was cheaper than going out and I've always liked alone time anyways. Soon I could put down a bottle a night. I increasingly self medicated b/c I hated my job. This has actually been somewhat of a cycle ~ I start a job, I love it, then like it, then it becomes less and less enjoyable over time before I can't stand it, maybe because I've had really high-stress positions. Anyways, I also had a couple of serious relationships with guys that drank a lot, so socially, I escalated over time. I, much like Pavlov's dog, got to a point where I couldn't wait to go out to have that first glass. Than I had to have another and then another. All the while, it was perfectly normal b/c everyone else around me had this same pattern of drinking and partying. Well, I started thinking that something wasn't quite right when I began having a glass or two before I even went out or I finished a bottle of wine on half the nights of the week and wanted more I was totally miserble at work and depressed from lack of stimulation and self medicating. At one point, I was also put on Prozac for depression and an eating disorder that I had developed over severe anxiety and a broken relationship which strangely made me feel too high and started drinking even more just to level out!

I haven't been working for a few months and, while reassessing my life and how I can make things better going forward these next 10 years, I decided that I no longer needed the wine to self-medicate since the job-related stress is gone for now (and somehow, the job search-related stress isn't as toxic). I hated feeling of being bloated all the time and hungover, tired. What the hell was I doing to myself? And worse, a piece of my dad was staring back at me in the mirror and laughing that I thought I could escape the grasp and lure of booze. I had to stop. I took a break from drinking for a couple of weeks before the holidays, knowing that I would let myself have my "last hurrah" before quitting on Jan 1st. It took a little longer than that, which is OK and was more like mid-January but I was really ready.

I feel like something has shifted inside me, where I have been able to talk the compulsion away and do well keeping it away (especially thanks to coming here and reading) ~ but I have a question for you guys on the "no drinking" vs. on very rare occassions thing. I decided to quit cold and was sober for 20 days as of Thursday. Three days of detox which sucked followed by feeling better than I had in years. A few cravings managed by dark chocolate (quite possibly my new vice), but nothing savage. Then...I had two glasses of wine over a 4 hour period on Friday night. I didn't get drunk and I wasn't craving it, but I had a dinner where it was going to come up as a "thing" if I didn't at least nurse a drink or two over time as I had partied with these industry folks many times before (yes, I realize that sounds off..."that's excatly the mind of an addict talking!", but I am being totally honest and sincere.) Anyways, didn't like the way it made me feel (heart pounding as I was trying to fall asleep) and, if anything, gave me more conviction that I am happy to have made the choice to step away from this lifestyle. Went out last night (Sat) and didn't drink. Not a drop or desire tonight. I recognize that it doesn't mean that I've won any sort of battle, but I take it as a good sign that I'm not leaning towards a slip up. Question is (finally! I know I ramble), I had my heart set on being able to have the milestones of 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, etc. because I'm a little OCD like that and I think it helps keep me focused (and proud!) So friends, I'm wondering ~ can I keep counting it forward as having 22 days since I didn't get sauced?

Anyways, thanks for reading. My story isn't very exciting, I guess, but I wanted to be able to contribute. :ghug3 Bigs hugs and sending you all warm thoughts of continued strength and hopes for a wonderful week.

~LL
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:14 PM
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Hi Lady Luck

Thanks for sharing your story. A couple of things leapt out at me from my own past...

So friends, I'm wondering ~ can I keep counting it forward as having 22 days since I didn't get sauced?
You can do whatever you want LL

I wouldn't - I made a commitment to give up alcohol - I have a history of always inevitably abusing it...of always self medicating things...if I drank, I would have broken that commitment....and I would be open to returning to the treadmill.

All it ever took for me to return to my normal drinking was a night or two of 'controlled' drinking to convince me I'd 'got' it.

Defining what exactly 'sauced' was would be problematic for me too, as I had a nasty habit of moving the goal posts depending on how much I'd drank at any given time.

I didn't get drunk and I wasn't craving it, but I had a dinner where it was going to come up as a "thing" if I didn't at least nurse a drink or two over time as I had partied with these industry folks many times before (yes, I realize that sounds off..."that's excatly the mind of an addict talking!", but I am being totally honest and sincere.)
I used to use this rationalisation too. It made perfect sense to me then.

Now I often wonder, if I was allergic to nuts and everyone was saying you must try the satay?...

Had my industry folks been cokeheads, would it have come up as a 'thing'? Would I have found it ok for me to take a line too?

But...I don't want to give you too hard a time

You'll find a lot of support here, and maybe the odd constructive challenge too...and I hope you take my post in that spirit.

It's great you decided to post and join us, Lady Luck

Welcome!
D
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:20 AM
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Hi,LadyLuck...

..IMHO:if I were to have a beer tonight??

..tomorrow would be...Day 1..

..I need that 'mind-set',otherwise...I'll Fail...tnx..Oz..
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:43 AM
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Hi LL

Originally Posted by LadyLuck View Post
I had my heart set on being able to have the milestones of 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, etc. because I'm a little OCD like that and I think it helps keep me focused (and proud!) So friends, I'm wondering ~ can I keep counting it forward as having 22 days since I didn't get sauced?
Of course you can't. You are sober from the day you last had a drink.

If you choose in your head to count it any different (there's nothing stopping you doing that) then it is just a lie.

Alcohol/alcholism is the big liar. It lies about everything by telling us stuff in our heads which are not true. If you believe the lie that you can still count on from day 22 that means that alcohol has allowed you to drink whenever you want and it will not affect your sobriety date. Alcohol is "cunning, baffling and powerful"
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:08 AM
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Welcome back to SR.....

My sobriety is based on being honest with myself.
How could I say X time if I drank during that period?

Good to know you quickly quit again....
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:44 AM
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There is no shame in starting over. Many of us had a lot of slips and started over each time. But, as Ozy said, if I were to have even one drink today, tomorrow would be day one.

Make this time your last 'day one'. You CAN do this.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:49 AM
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Hi LadyL. I agree with the others - if you bend the rules regarding your sober days, it won't have the same significance for you. Those milestones would lose their meaning, & since you say that's very important to you, I would start over. It won't take long to accumulate those days again!

Your post wasn't rambling at all - and doesn't it feel good to get all that out, sharing with people who truly understand and care? I have never felt alone since finding SR. I'm sorry for all you've been through with your father. I hope you'll get some help in dealing with that sad episode in your life so unresolved anger doesn't spill over into thiis new era you're about to create. You sound determined this time, & we know you can do this!
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:40 AM
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Hi LL -- Just wanted to say I enjoyed your post. I, too, became a wine abuser over time and can relate to all the feelings you described!

I think this is a process and sometimes it's not a straight line -- it can take twists and turns. Fortunately, you only had one night of a diversion. I actually started drinking again on a vacation in November (I only had 14 sober days up to that point... but it was a start!) The drinking lead to casual moderate drinking with me thinking, "See? I wasn't an alcoholic after all!!! I can have two glasses of wine and be done with it." So I kept up the moderate drinking, fairly well, only to have it escalate right back to the full bottle of wine and (EVEN MORE!) in the past few weeks.

I am starting again, with only 3 sober days my resolve is much stronger and my understanding of my drinking problem is better. I think the counting days is less important than the mindset you have -- which determines how strong the commitment is.

I would start counting again from the last time you drank, because if you don't you will always have that little asterisk by the number of days

Good luck!!!
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:51 AM
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"totally honest and sincere"

That, lady luck, is the key to getting well. Congrats, it's in your hand.

My story is much like your own, only my mother was the sick one. Her sick boyfriends inlcuded. Ewww. But, I'll tell ya, when we get well. It turns into a faded story.

You're right on track. You're exactly where someone is when they are on the verge of making headway. Getting consistant clarity. Now comes the hard part, fostering it and having it become bigger. This usually takes other people. The AA program is a venue you should take into consideration. When you are ready. It's not going anywhere.

About your 22 days. I was thinking about this yesterday. My sobriety date is 07/19/07. But, I slipped back in June. I was thinking, the last time I had a *drink* should be one date, and my sobriety date should be when I stopped drinking like an alcoholic! - I dunno, it doesn't really matter at this point!!

Sobriety really begins to happen when steps are taken consistently. When we touch on making ourselves well everyday. Little things of self-improvement in addition to not drinking.

You're doing good. If you ask me, you are working in sobriety right now. So, what's your next step?
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:09 AM
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There's lots of good advice here, LL and I also believe that drinking is drinking. I tried for ages to control my drinking, and it never worked for very long.

I hope you continue to read and post.
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:18 PM
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Hi LadyLuck!! Welcome to SR, great place.

Thanks for your share as well. I don't think there is much for me to add other than as for the sober date thing. I know if I got that in my head it was ok, it would make it ok for me to keep on drinking whenever I felt like it. I just can't afford that, but that's me.

Anyway, glad you decided to post and as the others have said, you'll continue to get great support here as well as tons of insight.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:56 PM
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It does feel good, Hevyn. Thank you for your kind words and support.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:21 PM
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Opps!

I meant to say thank you ALL for your kind words and support. Didn't know there was a time limit on edits and I got to rambling again (!). More later / soon.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:38 PM
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Thanks Lady Luck...I could relate to your post especially about self medicating cuz of hating a job!!
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:40 PM
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Alizerin,

Your post really resonated with the form that my "journey" has taken. Reading here and the suggestion of just focusing on not drinking today has proven very valuable, and where there were cravings during detox, focusing on not drinking for the next 10 minutes! I guess that I've toggled a bit between quitting cold for a while and then possibly returning at some point to drinking in moderation. However, seeing as how drinking makes me tired and unproductive, exacerbates my depression and does not contribute anything positive to my life, I keep coming back to just stopping as the better approach. Why risk an attempt at moderation when it comes with such high risks to those who have overused in the past?

You ask a very good question ~ what's the next step? I would very genuinely answer this minute: keep on putting one foot in front of the other! The thought of AA has crossed my mind but, like many, I'm a bit bashful on the topic as I'm a very private person which is why I never went to ALANON. Picking up the big book to better understand the methodology that has helped so many would be interesting, though I am open to other suggestions, as well.

I feel like I am in a pretty good place, better than I thought in fact. This is not to say that there won't possibly be problems down the line, but just maybe as long as I can not drink and continue to meditate on moving forward in the expansive areas of my life, as opposed to moving backwards in self-destructive areas, I may not need it? I do feel like the switch has been flipped (I'm pretty much an all or nothing gal for better or for worse). I am very curious to better understand what your process and experience has been (sorry if you posted this elsewhere, but I don't recall reading it so if you have, I would appreciate your directing me towards the answer.)

Be well and thank you for sharing your thoughts
~LL

PS - Mom also had a host of problems including those you mentioned but was the only reliable caretaker I ever had. That's a story of its own but, indeed, sounds as if we could compare notes!
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:43 PM
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freespirit78~

What a vicious circle it creates, too! Drinking after work, only to sleep poorly, wake up feeling like crap and then being a stressed out grump on the job instead of working to positively resolve problems with calm, balance and a clear head. Ah, regrets. At least recognizing patterns is a step towards resolution, right?!

~LL
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