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Scared Newby: Day 1 of Sobriety

Old 03-29-2010, 04:48 PM
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I saw this post this morning and wanted to answer, but was busy with a 4 month old until, well.. about 5 minutes ago I did want to answer these from MY experience, because I wondered the same things, and the same anxiety about quitting drinking kept me drinking and "planning to quit" until it about killed me.

I would venture a guess that most alcoholics think they are 'high functioning'.. Lots o' delusions with this stuff I tell ya!

I'll take a shot at these, briefly (napping baby, could wake at any moment);

So, I ask the group (and myself) IF I am successful at quitting drinking then what???

Then the rest of your life begins. I know.. cliche.. but true. Don't stop at simply dropping the drink.. you got a lot more to work on after that.. it's well worth it, I promise.

Will I be a happier & healthier person?

More than you've ever been.. more than you can even comprehend now.. but not just from quitting drinking, from working on recovery. Quitting drinking is the easy stuff.. it's the rest of the work that creates a better life than you can even think of!

How do I fight the urge to order a drink when I walk into a cozy bar and hear the buzz of conversation and the familiar clinking of glasses?

When I quit drinking, I avoided bars for a long time. I thought my 'friends' would miss me. They've yet to call me, and I've been out of 'my' bar for over 15 months. I don't drink, I don't go to bars.. mostly because I don't want to be around drunks. They're annoying and smell gross, and talk really loud about things that I'm not interested in.

What are the benefits you think I will realize (besides the not making an ass of myself or waking up with a hangover)?

That's a huge question, with an even bigger answer. I will say in my experience I benefitted from better relationships with my husband and family, my REAL friends who had been pretty neglected due to my wanting to party all the time.. My self esteem grew immensely, once I really worked on myself and got rid of a ton of life's toxicity (alcohol and other destructive thoughts and behaviors). It's a life change.. it's not like deciding to no longer eat a certain food.. there's an entire drinking culture, having to learn to live in a completely different way was terrifying, necessary, and the best thing I have ever done for myself.

What do I replace a cold beer with as a reward for say mowing the lawn on a hot day?

Bring the kids outside and squirt them with the hose.. roll around in the freshly cut grass with them. Pop a Mountain Dew. Teach the kiddos how to make and eat/drink root beer floats. Who says you get a reward for mowing the lawn anyways? lol.. joking..

What am I going to do with all my spare time when I am not drinking?

Everything you've been putting off because you HAVE been drinking/hungover, etc. When I quit drinking I threw myself into two things.. counseling (one on one), and the gym. Neither have harmed me so far! I also got back into cooking.. actually reading books.. watching LOTS of movies (and remembering them!), taking up photography again, I became more thoughtful (that sounds so cheesy, but bear with me) with my friends and family.. I put more effort into their birthday gifts and celebrations, I found treasure in conversation and quietness spent with people I love. I hadn't done that in eons. I can't believe the time I had wasted.

What do I tell my friends when I go over and they offer me a beer and I say no thanks?

Well if you've already said "no thanks" you really don't owe anyone anything else. Sure you could pull the "I'm on some medication" lie, or whatever, but hey.. I lied enough when I was drinking all the time. It actually felt good to just say, "I don't drink anymore.. I drank enough, I'm done!", with half a chuckle.. I didn't generally get anymore "why?" "can't you have one?", because I surround myself with people that CARE about my well being. Friends wouldn't want you to do anything you've made a choice not to.

How do I have fun when I go out with a bunch of people to a bar?

I can't answer that, because I don't go to bars. 15 months later I still abhor the scene. They weren't my friends, there's other things to do. I actually drive by bars now and pity the people I see hanging outside smoking their cigarettes wobbling from a drunk buzz.. that's not life... at least not my life.

I'm a generally shy person and admittedly have used alcohol as a "crutch" in social situations. How am I going to overcome that and conquer my fear without alcohol?

You will be amazed at the skills you learn that have been hiding inside you. I was really surprised to find out that I'm not anxious, shy, or boring. I'm really funny sometimes, sober even! My anxiety went away when the booze did. I found it less important to 'perform' in any way socially. Sometimes I'm quiet.. sometimes I don't care to socialize much. My life is complete with my family, husband and new baby boy. I'm not in some sort of performance, I live a simple and full life.

Ha.. see, I thought I'd type really short answers but look what you got. Thank my lil 4 month old for taking a nap longer than 10 minutes for once!

Best of luck to you.. it's a great choice, sobriety. There's lots of ways to get there, and stay there. Look at all the responses here, the journey of sobriety is as different as we all are. Some folks jump into AA and it's awesome, some go with outpatient group therapy.. or like I did, counseling and 'bibliotherapy' (reading tons of therapist recommended books), and countless other ways. The number one thing is support.. you'll find TONS of that stuff here!! Welcome to SR.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:18 PM
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In the same boat

Hey Jack,

I'm right there with you, starting day #1. I have never "officially" quit drinking, but have had my share of hiatuses. I have a great life, marriage, great kids...sooo much to be thankful for, but have come to realize wine (my poison) has been coroding my happiness. I do great not drinking for a while and then get with family & friends and indulge. Always, the same, I feel yucky & guilty in the morning because I can not function to the best of my ability.

I have realized that I need support. I am not in a position to go to a class, but maybe in a month or two I will be able to. I am going to try to reach out to you all who have experienced what I am going through. I am hoping this will help me when I have to enter a situation where alcohol is present...it seems to be everywhere

I know there is a better tommorrow being sober and I am at that point where I am done with the pattern. I wish you the best of luck and hope you are able to get to a better place.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:35 PM
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Welcome to SR cleanlivin

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Old 03-29-2010, 06:00 PM
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Welcome Jack, greeneyedlady & cleanlivin!! It's wonderful that you've joined SR. You are no longer alone - you have all of us.

I know just how you feel - and it's great you are bringing your concerns here. There are so many excellent responses already. I'll just add my support and congratulations on recognizing what needs to be done. As you already know, alcoholism is a progressive disease. What was once fun and exciting is no longer safe & we can no longer predict what might happen after that first drink.

I drank for over 25 yrs. In my 40's I was still able to control my intake a bit. (I never thought to question my drinking habits like you are!) Yet 10 yrs. later I was a trainwreck - it took huge amounts of booze to achieve the same effect. It was never relaxing or a way to celebrate - it was a necessity. I was drinking every day - becoming sloppy and careless. This never has to happen to you. Contratulations on seeking a new life - you can do this!
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:40 PM
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to you all!

All of us here have had our Day 1's and know exactly how you feel in making such an important life-changing decision. The thought of 'never drinking again' is scary - that's why it's best to just focus on right now, today, not next week, next month, on vacation, at weekend bbq's, etc. - just today.

All of these today's strung together make for long term results - looking too far ahead in the future is self-defeating I think - like any goal, set it realistically and ask for help. It's great you're all here. Awesome support.

AA is some people's program of choice - there are others - check out info on other forums here on SR for addt'l methods. I had a LADAC in early recovery and he saved my life. It was one hour, one night per week for the first year (length of time was my choice). He was also living in recovery for quite some time so had firsthand knowledge along with professional training. The things I learned from him helped build a strong foundation for my contented life in recovery as opposed to just not drinking and there are big differences between the two.

Again, welcome. Look forward to traveling along your journey with you!
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:42 PM
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Welcome to all of you. I'm newly sober as well - today is day 9. I am in the beginning stages so I don't know what I can add that hasn't already been said, but wanted to say welcome.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:00 AM
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Bump for jackfrost, I'm wondering how you are doing. Hoping you made it through Day 1, are on to Day 2 and continue to post on your journey towards sobriety and recovery. Please keep us updated, ditto for greeneyedlady.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:52 PM
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thanks

thanks for the boost ksplash. I CAN do this and I think I will give AA a shot. This is a tough thing to do on one's own.

jack


Originally Posted by ksplash5 View Post
jackfrost....thanks for your sharing; you've created a great thread.

you can do this. with your attitude and loving wife and other blessing in your life you can do this. You may add blessings of some recovery friends at aa meetings. i will give you a suggestion here...if you try AA, then go to a few different meetings and make up your mind after going to 3 or 7 meetings or something. now if you like the meeting you went to of course go back to that one.

Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are 3 spiritual principles that are often heard around AA. you sound full of all 3 of them.

thanks
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:10 PM
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Definition of alcoholic

I guess I am such a newby to this that I don't have much of a clue how to answer it.

I know that I do have a drinking problem. How severe I'm not sure how to gauge. I know it is more than the daydream of "wouldn't it be nice to be curled up with my wife by the fire having a glass of Cab".

Probably about half the time I end up drinking more than I intended to. If I intend on having one or two it usually ends up as three or four.
I usually don't end up falling down drunk but, on occasion that has happened too where I've lost all sense of perspective and had maybe 10 or more drinks, can't remember large portions of the night, wake up with the odd bruise on my body.

During the week I can function just fine without having any alcohol or literally having one glass of wine on a couple of nights. I don't crave it except after a particularly stressful day a drink or two is something I look forward to. Like I said if I cross what seems like a magic barrier of 3 or more it just "triggers" something where I just want more and more.

I have noticed that if say I am having a few drinks at dinnertime on the weekend and I take a break to put the kids to bed or something it serves to "break the spell" as it were than I can easily shift into drinking water. If I don't get that break I tend to keep on drinking.

I'm usually pretty responsible during the week and make it to work and manage to perform at a high level.

It' s the occasional Friday or Saturday nights where we might go out to dinner, I'll have say three drinks, we come home and I'll say "well, I'm just going to download a few tunes here on the PC" and well, I might as well have a little glass of wine while I'm at it" and one thing leads to another and the next thing you know I am blasted and it is 2 in the morning.

So where that all puts me on the spectrum of "alcoholism" I'll leave up to others to judge (and I am very curious to know what others think).

thanks,

jack


Originally Posted by getr345 View Post
By that I mean "alcoholic"...a somewhat misunderstood term to say the least. When I came to SR, I actually thought I knew what it meant, boy was I wrong. I have since come to learn what the characteristics of true alcoholism (or a true alcoholic) are; very interesting indeed. I used to think it meant, but was not necessarily limited to, somebody who drank a lot for a long time. Turns out that does not necessarily make you an alcoholic. There is so much more to it. In any case...

I'm not suggesting that you are anything other than what you say you are and only YOU can determine if you are or are not an alcoholic (sounds like you have determined that you are, OK)...BUT, as most alcoholics will tell you, there is a huge difference between the legitimate cravings they suffered for alcohol and quaint romantic thoughts of how nice a wine would be by a fire. There is a huge difference, so I am trying to get you to think about the type of symptoms you have experienced, and the type of drinking and behaviors you have engaged in that causes you to conclude that you are an alcoholic.

What are they, if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:14 PM
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Day 2

Thanks for asking. Well, I am doing fine on Day 2. Got a halfway decent sleep last night. Have been busy as heck at work though did find time to workout.
No urge to drink now but, had a slight sense of panic a little while ago when I thought of the ski weekend coming up (and how nice it would be to have a beer or a glass of wine. Yes, I know, I know "don't romanticize drinking" but, for us newbies I think it is hard not to because the memory is so fresh).

jack


Originally Posted by getr345 View Post
Bump for jackfrost, I'm wondering how you are doing. Hoping you made it through Day 1, are on to Day 2 and continue to post on your journey towards sobriety and recovery. Please keep us updated, ditto for greeneyedlady.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:18 PM
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romanticizing drinking

Thanks diddy for the reality check. I absolutely hear you on your prior and my prior approach to vacations. It was an excuse to get liquored up at lunch, at dinner, at night and then feeling so much like crap it was hard to do the actual fun things the vacation spot has to offer.
I will ABSOLUTELY keep that in mind when I go to Cancun.

jack


Originally Posted by bdiddy5522 View Post
I really have to agree with what Getr345 has to say in regards to the romanticizing the good times with alcohol. The "nice glass of wine or margarita" and all that crap. That is the disease, or rather the "evil conscience" sitting on your shoulder. Oh, one drink won't hurt you, it would be so nice, you deserve this, etc etc. It is all crap! If alcohol was all nice and fuzzy, none of us would be here. You have to get rid of those thoughts, and over time they do disappear. I too am going to Puerta Vallarta Mexico the first week of May to an all inclusive resort for a week. Usually I had taken full advantage of those trips as an opportunity to drink as much top shelf liquor as I could to "get my money's worth". But in reality I was just drunk and sick the whole week I was gone. This time I am going to enjoy early morning coffee on the ocean, workout on the beach, swim, snorkel, go on excursions, zip-line, parasail...... ALL the stuff I couldn't do before because I was either drunk or getting drunk or thinking about getting drunk. How much fun will a vacation be when you can truly take in the peacefulness of the location without alcohol clogging your mind?

I hope you find the great support on this site like so many of us have. Stick around, this site is great. I found it is a great supplement to my recovery. I needed more (AA) to truly make my sobriety stick.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:24 PM
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Thanks Chicubs

Thanks for telling it like it is and not sugarcoating anything. And it sounds like it ain't easy but, it does get easier. 3 months, that is a major accomplishment. Congrats to you.
You actually make it sound like a clear positive (the NOT drinking) and I believe you. Whereas before, I'm thinking I know I need to make a change but, I'm going to miss so much of the drinking "lifestyle" I was questioning whether it would be worth it?
You give me hope that not only can I still have a good time without the booze but, actually can have a BETTER time.
Now that sounds like a good deal to me: don't feel like crap, don't make ass of self and still manage to have a fun time. I like the sound of that.

jack


Originally Posted by chicubs1 View Post
You're exactly where I was three months ago (and your story sounds very familiar), Jack!

A couple of things I learned from my experience that I hope can help you through this:

How do I fight the urge to order a drink when I walk into a cozy bar and hear the buzz of conversation and the familiar clinking of glasses?

Stay out of the bars for at least a month if you can. The call of the of the clinking glasses is very real and can be a very frightening sound. I waited almost 2 months before going back into a bar. The other thing I did was to avoid going with some of my heavy drinking "friends", who, as luck would have it, have started falling away now that I'm not out getting blasted with them.

What are the benefits you think I will realize (besides the not making an ass of myself or waking up with a hangover)?

You will see EVERYTHING more clearly - the good, bad, and ugly. Once the fog starts lifting (I can almost guarantee you'll notice you really were in a fog you didn't know existed) you'll appreciate everything more.

What do I replace a cold beer with as a reward for say mowing the lawn on a hot day?

Tough one - I took the drastic step of removing all alcohol from the house and guess what? I found out after awhile I didn't even miss it (in my case my 10PM wind down beers on days I didn't hit the bar).

What am I going to do with all my spare time when I am not drinking?

Anything you want! You'll find that that bar time was sucking the life out of you. I work out more - I have so much more energy now that I'm sober its crazy. I'm also more excited about doing things with my wife and family than I was and (after making amends with him) spend a ton of time with best friend and we're more inseparable than ever and having even more fun than we did before.

What do I tell my friends when I go over and they offer me a beer and I say no thanks?

Nothing. You'll instinctually know what to say to people, but if you're not drinking, it's none of their business. Again, you'll find some of the hard core people will be uncomfortable - good riddance.

How do I have fun when I go out with a bunch of people to a bar?

You're going to have a blast. Once I started going out again, I found out I had just as much fun as before with the added benefit of staying out later and actually being functional the next day - you'll love it! In my case, I love seeing bands and now I enjoy them more. As I've said repeatedly, you might to lose some friends (I'm going through that now), but you'll find new ones and also find that the booze was just as you said a crutch and you really don't need it. In my case I found out some mutual friends didn't want to be around me drunk and now actually want to spend time with me.

Hang in there! It's going to suck but after the short 3 months I've been sober, the positive totally outweighs the negative!
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:31 PM
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Thanks hps

Thanks hps for taking the time to offer your advice. 18 months, wow that seems like a lifetime to me at this point. Similar to some other posts I like the general tone of the answers. You can do this, life will get better and your point about being able to handle stress better really resonated with me.
Many times when I am jonesing for a drink it is because I am stressed out about something: the boss being a hardass, the kids screaming, the wife being angry about me having too much to drink, the freaking dog pooping on the neighbors lawn or whatever. My answer? Grab a beer. It has been shown that is not an ideal solution, in fact is a very poor choice for stress release. Another importnat lesson I have gleaned off this site.
I thank you very much,

jack


Originally Posted by hps View Post
Welcome! I believe I have a similar age/job/family to yours, but am now about 18 months sober. I found the initial few months being sober quite hard, an emotional roller coaster (you can read up on PAWS). So you may want to prepare for this and also consider a support network such as AA meetings.

Below are my answers to your questions:

Q: Will I be a happier & healthier person?
A: I feel a lot better about myself. Life has been tough for me lately, so not sure whether I'm happier, but I'm much more able to deal with the stresses. Plus I have a huge feeling of accomplishment for kicking the booze habit.

Q: How do I fight the urge to order a drink when I walk into a cozy bar and hear the buzz of conversation and the familiar clinking of glasses?
A: I just order large glasses of Diet Coke or Sprite. I actually enjoy bars more now (though frequent them less) because I don't have to be anxious about getting booze, getting enough booze, or getting too much booze into my system.

Q: What are the benefits you think I will realize (besides the not making an ass of myself or waking up with a hangover)?
A: Self-esteem, self-respect, ability to manage stresses and problems.

Q: What do I replace a cold beer with as a reward for say mowing the lawn on a hot day?
A: Cold soda works for me.

Q: What am I going to do with all my spare time when I am not drinking?
A: I went to lots of AA meetings initially, which helped fill the spare time, and more importantly helped me cope (as I no longer had booze to help me cope). Now I just tend to do more of what I did before, cooking, reading, talking to my kids...

Q: What do I tell my friends when I go over and they offer me a beer and I say no thanks?
A: I'm not drinking, or I'm on Diet Cokes at the moment.

Q: How do I have fun when I go out with a bunch of people to a bar?
A: Because I don't have all the booze anxieties, I am more relaxed and can talk to people more.

Q: I'm a generally shy person and admittedly have used alcohol as a "crutch" in social situations. How am I going to overcome that and conquer my fear without alcohol?
A: I am pretty quiet myself. But now, instead of getting anxious about my quietness, I no longer worry about it. If I have one or two interesting conversations in an evening, I figure I'm doing pretty well. And if sometimes I am quiet and am not talking to people, that is ok too. This is where feeling good about myself helps out as well.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:35 PM
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Hi fellow Day 1-er, cleanlivin

Or should I make that Day 2-er?
I'm with you my man (or woman). I wish you the best as well and I think we can all pull through this with a proper support network on and offline.
Good luck to you and keep us posted.

Jack


Originally Posted by cleanlivin View Post
Hey Jack,

I'm right there with you, starting day #1. I have never "officially" quit drinking, but have had my share of hiatuses. I have a great life, marriage, great kids...sooo much to be thankful for, but have come to realize wine (my poison) has been coroding my happiness. I do great not drinking for a while and then get with family & friends and indulge. Always, the same, I feel yucky & guilty in the morning because I can not function to the best of my ability.

I have realized that I need support. I am not in a position to go to a class, but maybe in a month or two I will be able to. I am going to try to reach out to you all who have experienced what I am going through. I am hoping this will help me when I have to enter a situation where alcohol is present...it seems to be everywhere

I know there is a better tommorrow being sober and I am at that point where I am done with the pattern. I wish you the best of luck and hope you are able to get to a better place.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:36 PM
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Hi Jack,

I'm glad you're still here and doing well.

I think you are fortunate to recognize you have a problem with alcohol before it has caused a lot of damage in your life. It's unimportant, I think, whether or not you call yourself an alcoholic. The main thing is, if alcohol is causing you problems, remove it from your life.

And, know that you can do this. I never would have believed I could get through any bad day, or good day for that matter, without alcohol. It was inconceivable to me. But, I did and you can too.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:48 PM
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I agree with Anna Jack - from my experience it's far more important to deal with the reality that you do have a problem - let the labels and the spectrum sort themselves out later.

The only one who can really decide those definitional issues is you anyway - you're the only one here living your life and living in your head

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Old 03-30-2010, 02:48 PM
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Thanks Flutter

That was a great response. It was inspirational and I want to thank you for taking the time out to post it. I took a lot away from it as I hope others did as well.

I like your approach to "bibliotherapy". I am a big reader and was wondering if there were some favorite books that helped you particularly?

You are absolutely right it is not like deciding to give up eating peanut butter or something. Drinking is a "lifestyle" so is that much harder to break. And that is what has me so scared. Scared of the unknown, scared of whether I can really do this, scared of who I'll become - judging from your response and many others after a difficult and indeterminate (but, relatively short time) some of the benefits become apparent.

It is hard for me at only Day 2 to even envision that but, I'm going purely on faith here. Faith that all the supportive people I've met so far, including yourself, know of what they speak. And I'm sure you all do.

thanks again, take care and I know I've been posting like a man unhinged this afternoon, it is just that I wanted to thank each and every person who took the time to respond to my original post and plea for help and guidance. thank you and be well.


jack


Originally Posted by flutter View Post
I saw this post this morning and wanted to answer, but was busy with a 4 month old until, well.. about 5 minutes ago I did want to answer these from MY experience, because I wondered the same things, and the same anxiety about quitting drinking kept me drinking and "planning to quit" until it about killed me.

I would venture a guess that most alcoholics think they are 'high functioning'.. Lots o' delusions with this stuff I tell ya!

I'll take a shot at these, briefly (napping baby, could wake at any moment);

So, I ask the group (and myself) IF I am successful at quitting drinking then what???

Then the rest of your life begins. I know.. cliche.. but true. Don't stop at simply dropping the drink.. you got a lot more to work on after that.. it's well worth it, I promise.

Will I be a happier & healthier person?

More than you've ever been.. more than you can even comprehend now.. but not just from quitting drinking, from working on recovery. Quitting drinking is the easy stuff.. it's the rest of the work that creates a better life than you can even think of!

How do I fight the urge to order a drink when I walk into a cozy bar and hear the buzz of conversation and the familiar clinking of glasses?

When I quit drinking, I avoided bars for a long time. I thought my 'friends' would miss me. They've yet to call me, and I've been out of 'my' bar for over 15 months. I don't drink, I don't go to bars.. mostly because I don't want to be around drunks. They're annoying and smell gross, and talk really loud about things that I'm not interested in.

What are the benefits you think I will realize (besides the not making an ass of myself or waking up with a hangover)?

That's a huge question, with an even bigger answer. I will say in my experience I benefitted from better relationships with my husband and family, my REAL friends who had been pretty neglected due to my wanting to party all the time.. My self esteem grew immensely, once I really worked on myself and got rid of a ton of life's toxicity (alcohol and other destructive thoughts and behaviors). It's a life change.. it's not like deciding to no longer eat a certain food.. there's an entire drinking culture, having to learn to live in a completely different way was terrifying, necessary, and the best thing I have ever done for myself.

What do I replace a cold beer with as a reward for say mowing the lawn on a hot day?

Bring the kids outside and squirt them with the hose.. roll around in the freshly cut grass with them. Pop a Mountain Dew. Teach the kiddos how to make and eat/drink root beer floats. Who says you get a reward for mowing the lawn anyways? lol.. joking..

What am I going to do with all my spare time when I am not drinking?

Everything you've been putting off because you HAVE been drinking/hungover, etc. When I quit drinking I threw myself into two things.. counseling (one on one), and the gym. Neither have harmed me so far! I also got back into cooking.. actually reading books.. watching LOTS of movies (and remembering them!), taking up photography again, I became more thoughtful (that sounds so cheesy, but bear with me) with my friends and family.. I put more effort into their birthday gifts and celebrations, I found treasure in conversation and quietness spent with people I love. I hadn't done that in eons. I can't believe the time I had wasted.

What do I tell my friends when I go over and they offer me a beer and I say no thanks?

Well if you've already said "no thanks" you really don't owe anyone anything else. Sure you could pull the "I'm on some medication" lie, or whatever, but hey.. I lied enough when I was drinking all the time. It actually felt good to just say, "I don't drink anymore.. I drank enough, I'm done!", with half a chuckle.. I didn't generally get anymore "why?" "can't you have one?", because I surround myself with people that CARE about my well being. Friends wouldn't want you to do anything you've made a choice not to.

How do I have fun when I go out with a bunch of people to a bar?

I can't answer that, because I don't go to bars. 15 months later I still abhor the scene. They weren't my friends, there's other things to do. I actually drive by bars now and pity the people I see hanging outside smoking their cigarettes wobbling from a drunk buzz.. that's not life... at least not my life.

I'm a generally shy person and admittedly have used alcohol as a "crutch" in social situations. How am I going to overcome that and conquer my fear without alcohol?

You will be amazed at the skills you learn that have been hiding inside you. I was really surprised to find out that I'm not anxious, shy, or boring. I'm really funny sometimes, sober even! My anxiety went away when the booze did. I found it less important to 'perform' in any way socially. Sometimes I'm quiet.. sometimes I don't care to socialize much. My life is complete with my family, husband and new baby boy. I'm not in some sort of performance, I live a simple and full life.

Ha.. see, I thought I'd type really short answers but look what you got. Thank my lil 4 month old for taking a nap longer than 10 minutes for once!

Best of luck to you.. it's a great choice, sobriety. There's lots of ways to get there, and stay there. Look at all the responses here, the journey of sobriety is as different as we all are. Some folks jump into AA and it's awesome, some go with outpatient group therapy.. or like I did, counseling and 'bibliotherapy' (reading tons of therapist recommended books), and countless other ways. The number one thing is support.. you'll find TONS of that stuff here!! Welcome to SR.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:58 PM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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thanks Bee

Yes, that is exactly what I am looking for: "A contented life in recovery" as opposed to "just not drinking".
thanks for that pearl of wisdom

Also I like what you had to say about focusing on the here and now and not worry about the upcoming big ski trip, the next vacation, the next company party etc.
One day at a time, right?

jack


Originally Posted by HumbleBee View Post
to you all!

All of us here have had our Day 1's and know exactly how you feel in making such an important life-changing decision. The thought of 'never drinking again' is scary - that's why it's best to just focus on right now, today, not next week, next month, on vacation, at weekend bbq's, etc. - just today.

All of these today's strung together make for long term results - looking too far ahead in the future is self-defeating I think - like any goal, set it realistically and ask for help. It's great you're all here. Awesome support.

AA is some people's program of choice - there are others - check out info on other forums here on SR for addt'l methods. I had a LADAC in early recovery and he saved my life. It was one hour, one night per week for the first year (length of time was my choice). He was also living in recovery for quite some time so had firsthand knowledge along with professional training. The things I learned from him helped build a strong foundation for my contented life in recovery as opposed to just not drinking and there are big differences between the two.

Again, welcome. Look forward to traveling along your journey with you!
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:33 PM
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Hang in there!

Originally Posted by jackfrost View Post
Thanks for telling it like it is and not sugarcoating anything. And it sounds like it ain't easy but, it does get easier. 3 months, that is a major accomplishment. Congrats to you.
You actually make it sound like a clear positive (the NOT drinking) and I believe you. Whereas before, I'm thinking I know I need to make a change but, I'm going to miss so much of the drinking "lifestyle" I was questioning whether it would be worth it?
You give me hope that not only can I still have a good time without the booze but, actually can have a BETTER time.
Now that sounds like a good deal to me: don't feel like crap, don't make ass of self and still manage to have a fun time. I like the sound of that.

jack
It only gets better - hang in there. I've learned in a short time that hearing it "like it is" is the only way to get through this. Your situation sounds so much like mine it's scary. This forum is a great resource especially if you're like me and AA isn't for you. Great people and great advice. If you have any friends who have gone through it, seek them out. They can be a valuable lifeline when its seems like its impossible. I'm not a religious person at all, but thank God everyday I have an amazing friend who's been through it and is always there for me when it gets tough. Again, hang in there - it's totally worth it!
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:35 PM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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Hi Jack and all the other newcomers. Glad you are here.

Thanks for your posts. I remember my first days well... lots of unknowns and fear, trying to label myself, trying to put myself along the high-to-low bottom drunk spectrum.

I agree with Anna and Dee that labels like "alcoholic" and "HFA" are actually not as important as you deciding whether you want to do something about the cunning and powerful alcohol.

As a logical guy, one of my favorite quotes about the "Am I an alcoholic?" question comes from the book Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp.

When you question your alcoholism, you say to yourself: If I am an alcoholic, I shouldn't drink and if I'm not an alcoholic, I don't need to. That's a nice piece of logic. You say: People who aren't alcoholics do not lie in bed at two-thirty in the morning wondering if they're alcoholics. A good reality check.

In the end, what I learned was that HFA or not, I was not living life. I was using alcohol as my solution to my actual problems. I was basically drugging myself and not experiencing life.

I know that it seems tough now (e.g. What will I do at a baseball game without a beer?), but the reality is that you will be fine. Now that I no longer drink, I am much more present in the life of my family. I am mostly happy. We all think that alcohol makes us happy, but it just delays the truth.

I ask that you do something for yourself. Read a lot about alcoholism. Read SR, read the Big Book, learn that you aren't unique nor are you alone.

If you aren't an alcoholic, then stop drinking. It won't bother you.

But if it does, then you may be on an elevator that only goes in one direction. You can choose to get off at a higher floor with your family, job, finances, etc. still ok. Or, you can try to find an easier, softer way to keep alcohol part of your life. Most have failed and ended up much worse off.

In the end, don't do it for anyone else. You can only do it for yourself. When you are ready, there are many people willing to help - in SR, in AA, and in other programs. The key is that you need to work at a program of recovery. You can't just use self-will to solve this problem. This is different.
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