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Old 03-04-2010, 12:50 PM
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Another Newbie here!

Hi. This is my first post. I found this site a couple days ago and have been reading many of your posts. I feel like I don't need to go into details about my life of drinking, as I've found that I've read many other stories that are very similar to mine. I'm a male in my late 50's and have been drinking my entire adult life, in varying quantities over time. Lately, way too much.

What I do know now is I am an alcoholic. I also know I will never be able to drink in moderation or "control" my drinking. I've tried to quit so many times I can't count and the "I'll learn to control my drinking" is always the excuse I use to start again. But I am looking for guidance on a couple subjects and it sounds like I'm talking to the right folks.

First, I'm not really interested in the 12 steps. The whole religous aspect doesn't fit with my beliefs. Also sitting in a room with a group of strangers spilling my guts just isn't me. I am interested in speaking with a counselor or psychologist that specializes in alchohol problems more one on one. Is there any special accreditation or counselor type that people have had success with that you'd recommend.

Second, any books that you've found particularly helpful? I recently bought a couple but didn't find much useful info in them.

Also, one of my biggest challenges is that my wife is also an alchoholic. She has no intention of quitting. She feels that she deserves her "one vice" and I'm not going to try to change her. But I'm interested if others have had similar "challenges" and if so how they succeeded, (or not).

So I'm 4 days into my latest attempt at sobriety. This is the first time I've ever shared this with anyone (which is a huge step for me) so I'm hoping by talking about it and sharing that my results will be better.

Thanks for any advice you can give.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:06 PM
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Welcome! Glad you are here. This is a great place for support. I do go to 12 step based recovery groups, but there are others who do not. Just gotta find what works for you--something that you can stick with>something/someone to help hold you accountable...at least that's how I look at it. Living with another alcoholic isn't easy, especially when they aren't interested in seeking help. Been there myself. True--you can't change anbody else--only yourself....speaking of your own behavior/actions. Keep reaching out. You are not alone.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:33 PM
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"First, I'm not really interested in the 12 steps. The whole religous aspect doesn't fit with my beliefs."

You may want to eventually want to give AA a try.
Just sub higher porpose for God and it works. I'm not religious and have issues with organized religion as social institutions.

Re: private therapy: Find a Psychologist or Psychiatrist that specializes in addiction. Individual sessions with someone you can relate to is one of the most effective ways to go in my opinion.

Some great general infor on addiction can be found on HBO's website as well as the NIDA government site. Also google the SMART program. It's DIY cognitive therapy (great worksheets). For me it's a little heavy on the stimulus/response; man as machine angle, but, I learned alot from it as a suppliment to the other things I do. Best of luck and keep us posted.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:33 PM
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Emmy69,
Welcome, and congratulations on your decision to quit. I am a newcomer to this Forum, but I have been sober for several years. I did it with the help of AA, even though I no longer attend meetings. There are other mutual support groups, both f2f and on-line. I think that in the final analysis the content is similar: It is just the dressing that looks different. In any event, I have no vested interest in "selling" AA other than it did provide me with a good foundation for living sober. My initial concerns about AA were very much like yours, but once I went to a few meetings I learned that I had the wrong idea about the 12-step program. More on that later.
I never set out to become an alcoholic---and after all these years I've never met anyone who did. But with that first drink I knew that I had found my answer. At least for the moment. I spent several more years chasing the illusion that alcohol made everything "right," and when I began to have trouble as a result I tried all sorts of ways to make it work: I paced my drinking, switched liquors, drank only on designated nights, drank only after dark.....but the outcome was always the same. No amount of booze could ease the self-loathing, and in fact, it only gave me cause for more. A couple of DWIs later, too many blackouts, too many bounced checks, too many failed relationships....I surrendered. I just couldn't do it anymore: Alcohol had beaten me. But what next? That was the part that frightened me, for I had no idea how to live without drinking. That is where AA came in, and I discovered some basic "tools for living." There is nothing particularly novel about the 12 steps: They address the basic issues most people face in life. Like you, I was discouraged by what I thought was a religious orientation, so I was relieved when I discovered it is spiritual. There is a huge difference. I also found that it was a fellowship of people sharing experience, strength, & hope----not sitting around spilling their guts or reminiscing about the good old days.
Credentials for addiction specialists may vary from state-to-state. The CSAC (Certified Substance Abuse Counselor) is recognized in most states, but some Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) may specialize in addictions. Some psychiatrists do, also. I like the book Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days by Kelly Madigan Erlandson. It is a compact, practical little book. You can find it on Amazon.
This seems like a very helpful on-line support, and I hope others will be around to welcome you soon. Good luck in your endeavor.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:44 PM
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Welcome!

I'm 50....drank for 30 years and got sober almost 2 years ago.....my hubby still drinks....so our stories are quite a bit the same.

I didn't use AA to get sober. You don't have to use it either, but you have to use something.....SR is a great start down that road.

Best wishes to you. It CAN be done.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:07 PM
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Thanks for the good ideas and thoughts!

It's great to be able to be honest (out loud) about my situation and hear such positive (and informative) feedback.

I wasn't trying to knock the AA program. I know it's done wonders for millions. I think the religious aspect may be part of my hesitancy. Also it's the picture of myself standing in front of strangers talking about my failures. That would be terribly uncomfortable for me, and why I think I may want to start with one on one counseling first.

In any event I'm glad I found SR and really appreciate the kind words and suggestions.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:33 PM
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Welcome to SR - I agree with Coffeenut, there are other ways than A.A. look around, get a feel of whats about. Sobriety is the first step
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:42 PM
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Welcome!

I`m glad you found us and you will find lots of support here.

I am not an AA person either, but I do work on my recovery every day.

And, SR is my lifeline.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:44 PM
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Welcome Emmy! I too am older and finally "got it" when I found SR and could at last be honest about my drinking. No one in my life understood what I was going through. Here, I could tell everything about what I was going through, and no one was judgmental or lectured me.

I had to go to AA meetings after one of my DUI's. God or religion was not mentioned in any of the meetings, and I was never asked to spill my guts. I knew I'd probably never stand up in front of a room and say, "I'm Joanie and I'm an alcoholic" like in the movies. I might now, but certainly not back then. I do think you should give it a try - I may attend myself in the future, just for extra support. For now, SR has been my miracle, and the people here have given me the support & courage I needed to quit.

I look forward to hearing more about you. My sympathies regarding your wife - I had that same situation with my first husband and he has now passed on - never did see the light. (Be sure to visit our Friends & Family Forum for support too.) Congratulations on your desire to have a new life! I drank for over 25 yrs. and never thought I'd make it out of that hell - but I did. You can too.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:52 PM
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I would say that the God portion maybe substituted with "your brain is more powerful than you can ever imagine" that is your higher power. One of the ways to stay sober is to help other alcoholics, so just being at a meeting helps others. I hope you find your way but you have a map of what has worked for millions of people and it gives you so much. I know I am helped alot more with talking to people who are/were in trouble with alcohol rather than talking to a guy with a degree in a chair. I would try everything.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:54 PM
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The best thing for me was 10 or so people saying "look" this problem is well known, you have a problem or you wouldn't be here, you aren't special, you are human....you think you are somehow different than us? Nope we are all bonded that we want to quit. Just have to be honest with yourself, help others, and work at it.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:37 PM
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Welcome.

I understand the not wanting to spill your guts to strangers, this completely freaked me out as well. Once I got over it, I did find a few benefits of attending AA meetings:
a) My emotions were all over the place in early recovery, and AA meetings were a safe place to vent
b) Everyone in meetings is there for the same reason, to get sober and stay sober, people in meetings really want to help you
c) There are a lot of road bumps along the way in sobriety. You can look up Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome if you want to read something about it. You will meet people in meetings who have been through early sobriety, and will give you tools to help manage.
d) I did have a counseller in early sobriety. However I found meetings more helpful because I could go to a lot of them (at least daily). Whereas a counsellor is typically a once a week meeting.
e) At least in my area, the religious component is very small. People can choose their own Higher Power. For myself, I just had the AA groups as my Higher Power, as I believed that I could become sober with the help of other people.

As for books, I thought Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp was quite good. I found in general that reading didn't help me, however. Sobriety is more of an action pursuit than an intellectual one, in my experience. I didn't need a theory as to why I was drinking and how to get sober, I needed tools to get through the day without drinking. So for me at least, the most effective tool in early sobriety was frequent AA meetings, including spilling my guts to strangers.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:08 PM
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Thanks HPS, those are all good points. Your reply along with many others give strong arguments for AA and probably at some point I'll try it. One other concern I have I hesitate to bring up which is confidentiality. I know that it's strictly against the rules for attendees to ever discuss who else attends but...... I live in a small town. I may be paranoid about it but like I said I live in a small town and I don't want other people knowing my problems unless I want to tell them.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:20 PM
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Not sure if I'm allowed to recommend a book on this forum but here' goes since you asked.

I found a great book which is like an interview of around 250 people who have stopped drinking for 5 years or more. It goes into summary about how they did it (many different ways) with or without the help of AA (half did with, half without)

It's a great book just to get feedback about how people felt at certain situations and how they overcame difficulties. Some found reading, some exercise, some AA meetings to get through the hard times.

It's called "Sober for Good" by Anne M. Fletcher and I thoroughly recommend it. I've read many recovery books and this is my favorite so far.

Good luck by the way, it seems like you know in yourself something has to be done now which is a great attitude.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Sometime View Post
Not sure if I'm allowed to recommend a book on this forum but here' goes since you asked.

I found a great book which is like an interview of around 250 people who have stopped drinking for 5 years or more. It goes into summary about how they did it (many different ways) with or without the help of AA (half did with, half without)

It's a great book just to get feedback about how people felt at certain situations and how they overcame difficulties. Some found reading, some exercise, some AA meetings to get through the hard times.

It's called "Sober for Good" by Anne M. Fletcher and I thoroughly recommend it. I've read many recovery books and this is my favorite so far.

Good luck by the way, it seems like you know in yourself something has to be done now which is a great attitude.
I was going to say "Sober for Good" as well as "7 Tools to Beat Addiction."
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:21 PM
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Welcome to SR! Glad you joined the family. There are lots of ways to stay sober, AA is the most well known, but there are others. There are also lots of people here who use SR as their primary recovery tool. I see an addiction counselor once a week and she has been tremendously helpful. I wish you all the best as you begin your recovery. It is possible to live a sane and sober life - and very much worth the effort it takes to stay sober.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SusanE View Post
I was going to say "Sober for Good" as well as "7 Tools to Beat Addiction."
Thanks SusanE that's another one for me to buy!!
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:07 PM
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Just a couple of quick notes on AA from someone who had not even the slightest use for it for 21 years (and now thanks to its program and fellowship has been sober for a little over one):

1) You could, if you so desired, go to a meeting every day forever and not have to say a word, nor have to stand in front of anyone.

2) People choose to what degree they protect their own anonymity, but you'd be hard pressed to find a person in AA that wouldn't go to the ends of the earth to protect yours -- it's literally one of the twelve foundations the fellowship is rooted on. Especially in a small town, where the odds are good you'll run into your neighbor's boss (or your neighbor), a teacher or two, a whole bunch of guys from the bar, and just about anyone else you could imagine.

Welcome.
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Emmy69 View Post
It's great to be able to be honest (out loud) about my situation and hear such positive (and informative) feedback.
If you think that's great, imagine in one hour having the same experience with a bunch of people from every walk of life, of every age, that you can see and hear and talk to. To literally no longer be alone in where you're at, and where you want to go and what you want to become. That's a revelation.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:45 AM
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Glad you are here sharing with us Welcome!
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