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Fighting the urges

Old 04-08-2010, 10:30 PM
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Fighting the urges

So this is my first post. I'm not really good at talking about my problem, so I usually just read other peoples posts. Anyways, here goes.
I've been working on my sobriety for 4 months now. But I keep having small relapses. I seem to do ok most of the time, but then when I get a craving or urge to drink, that's when I usually slip up. I don't have a sponser yet, and even if I did, I don't think I'd feel comfortable calling them.
I was wondering if any of you had any things you did to combat the cravings, besides calling a sponsor.

Thanks,
James
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:41 PM
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Remembering the dumb and crazy things I did is enough for me to not want to pick up another drink in my recovery. Not to mention the 2-3 day hangovers that included throwing up all day. Life is amazing sober and I cannot believe it took me this long to figure it out.

Good luck to you and your sobrity...
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:46 PM
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Luthin,

Welcome to SR! There's lot of wisdom on these boards. Have you tried a hard candy? That used to help me. I liked the mint ones. Have you tried journaling? That helps me too. Just write down your feelings and thoughts.

Also, CarolD used to time her cravings. She says they only last 4 - 7 minutes. Try that, too!

Love,

Lenina
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:14 PM
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Hi James

I think support is pretty important.

It can get pretty lonely just dealing with cravings by yourself, so thats why most people join groups - they post here, or join AA and get a sponsor, or they join some over recovery group, or get some counselling

It might be worth some more thought.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...resources.html

My advice apart from that is if you're finding you're always going back to drinking (however small the relapse) maybe you need to change some more things?

Ask yourself some defining questions like:

What situations/feelings make you crave? What can you do to safeguard yourself?

Can you vary your routine and be busy at the times you'd usually crave?

What can you do other than running out to the liquor store?

Can you get online and try to post through it here?

Like Mahi Mahi suggested play the tape through - what happens when you drink - what are the negative consequences?

You'll find a lot of support here, James
Welcome
D
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:16 PM
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Luthin, for me I have had thoughts creep in, but I haven't had the kind of "urges" that are enough to get me to actually put my coat on or get in the car to go get some - or pull into a place as I am driving by. I tried to quit smoking very recently and lasted 5 days (that was huge for me, I never really tried to quit) - and when I compare the two experiences, they are very different. It's like the alcohol is behind a wall in my head and I know there is despair behind it and all the by-products and hassles of drinking that are not appealing - like the chronic sloppiness, not wanting to prepare food, feeling like a loser when carefully trying to go to bed, dealing with all kinds of ^#^&)&^%% bottles to get rid of, the embarrassment of showing up at the same place to buy more or rotating to the other places to buy it, worrying that you can smell it on me or that you can see in my face that I get drunk every night - those are some examples of the things that I don't welcome back. It's just a whole other plane, not the same as smoking for me, not that smoking is being a great, enviable person. I suppose it also depends on where each person is at in terms of their personal suffering with the substance, the addiction. People talk about reaching their rock bottom state, and that varies as much as personalities do. No idea where you see yourself as far as the suffering goes and whether you have had what you call a rock bottom or not. In fact, I don't think I had one of those before quitting. It was just a moment and I grabbed on to it, and now I am trying to take care of it like it's a precious thing. That's the more psychological stuff.

The more concrete "what do you do when ___" stuff for me would be things like making sure I get physical activity in as much as I can, watch what I am eating, avoid too much negative stuff for the mind, like bad news or literature/programming. I also look back at things I had written down and it gives me a bit of pride or sense of comfort in having moved past the darker period. Sometimes I also write lists of things I want to do and refer back to them. I don't always stick to them like checklists, but it helps just because it creates a sense of order to get it written down or typed down; and then I can proceed to the next day. I created (or returned to) habits that I associate with pleasure or contentment - even washing the dishes or cleaning around the house is a happy thing now instead of a "toil." Whatever it takes to feel like you own your day and deserve a fraction of happiness. Hope that gets you thinking on a wavelength that works for you.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:25 AM
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Hey James and welcome to the board. I'm just curious as to how you can judge something , like not feeling comfortable calling your sponsor, when you dont even have a sponsor to begin with? From my experience, I was more comfortable doing the recovery in MY WAY. I soon found out that my way just didnt work. Sure, doing it your own way might be more comfortable and you probably even justify that it works. Looking at your post, you mentioned that you keep having small relapses. These are signs that you might want to re-evaluate what you have been doing because it doesnt sound like it has been working.

These are one of those things where you really have to come to the decision yourself. You can have 100 people on here post their responses but when it comes down to it, you are the one who has to take action. I'm still new into my sobriety with 38 days today but I'm done trying it my way and I'm giving AA a chance. Really, what do you have to lose? Try several meetings in your area and if things go well, maybe ask someone to be your temporary sponsor.
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:26 AM
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I remain mindful of the fact that my thoughts are not facts, that i absolutely do not have to act upon what i think, and that no matter what i think, it will pass, usually much more quickly than i think. Meditation helps me to practice and understand this phenomenom.

Also, i utilize recovery tools such as meeting attendance, sharing in meetings and talking with my sponsor and recovering friends. Service work helps too.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:44 AM
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Welcome to SR! At four months sober I'm finding my cravings to drink are getting less and less. And when they do hit, I have only to ask myself two questions: one, will drinking improve the situation; and two, do I want to wake up tomorrow full of regret and feeling sick as a dog?

Since I know from sad experience that drinking will NOT improve ANY situation it's now relatively easy to dismiss cravings as I know it's my alcoholic voice trying to lure me back to the hell of drinking. I used AA meetings earlier in my recovery, not so much now, but still have the 'tools' I learned from AA to help me stay sober.

I also see an addiction counselor once a week which helps a lot. I wish you the best in your quest to stay sober.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Luthin View Post
I was wondering if any of you had any things you did to combat the cravings, besides calling a sponsor.
I had to get recovered by having a spiritual awakening as the result of the 12 Steps. The purpose of a sponsor was to guide me through those Steps, not somebody to call when I was about to inevitably succumb to the mental obsession of alcoholism.

The result was that I no longer had to combat cravings. The problem was removed.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:15 AM
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Hi,

I would say the best thing to do is to distract yourself for a short time, and the craving will usually pass. It's the same with quitting smoking, the cravings usually just last for 3 minutes or so and then are gone. Eventually, your brain will start to rewire a bit and the cravings will get less and less.

Watch a youtube clip, text a friends, take a walk, whatever. Just something else besides sitting and thinking about it will help.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:17 AM
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Welcome to SR Luthin, I have a sponsor & sponsor people as well, the one thing that has been found in AA to stay sober that works the best is "One alcoholic helping another alcoholic to stay sober."

This is done via meetings & phone calls.

When I first got into AA I really did not want to call other people because in my head at the time I was scared I was bugging them & they did not want me calling them..... but my sponsor had made the suggestion to me to call at least 3 people evy day even if it was just to say "Hi. how you doing? I am doing pretty good."

I did follow my sponsors suggestion though because you see I was willing to go to any length to stay sober & my sponsor knew a lot more about staying sober & if calling people helped him stay sober I did it! What I learned first was that the people I called were glad I had called!!!

The second thing I learned was that when people call me, I like it & it helps me to stay sober as well.

For me developing a relationship with fellow SOBER alcoholics was crucial in me being able to stay sober almost as much as me developing a relationship with a power greater then myself of my choosing & understanding.

You say:

but then when I get a craving or urge to drink
The ways I used/use when I can not call someone is prayer, meditation, reading, posting & reading on SR, but I have not found one single thing that can hold a candle to face to face support, the closest thing to face to face I have found to stay sober is calling some one..... ANYONE, but preferably a fellow alcoholic in recovery BEFORE I even begin the process of getting a drink.

I have discovered that a drink does not magically begin to go down my throat!!! It is a DECISION I make BY MYSELF!!! But that decision alone does not put the drink down my throat............. I have to take multiple actions before I can put the drink down my own throat & if I REALLY want to stay sober at any time while I am taking the ACTIONS needed to get that drink I make a decision to either go to a meeting or call some one who is also in recovery it derails the entire process of me taking a drink.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:28 AM
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i lost every fight......kinda like holding my hand up to stop a steam train.
i cant think it away either.....in my experience that has the opposite effect.

there isnt many things i didnt try to stop drinking or to control my drinking.

my then sponsor pointed me towards a solution laid out simply in the BB.
That was his experience and thats all he could give me.

it talked of "recovered".........i was 100% sceptical.
thinking if my willpower cant do it.....nothing will..

i was wrong......later i find i was wrong about alot of things.
i havent felt the need for a drink for a while.......life has new meaning and direction..i am free at last.
contingent on a few simple measures.

how is your step work going?........do you have a sponsor to guide you?
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:43 AM
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The purpose of a sponsor was to guide me through those Steps, not somebody to call when I was about to inevitably succumb to the mental obsession of alcoholism.

I am curious about this statement. If the purpose of a sponsor is to guide you thru the steps and not someone to call when you're having problems, why do people always recommend calling your sponsor before you pick up a drink? And why do sponsors usually tell you to call them often, with questions or just to 'check in' with them?

I have called my sponsor when I had the urge to drink. It was very helpful just talking it out with her and when the call was over I no longer had the urge to drink, I had 'talked it out' of me.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:50 AM
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Least I concur, my sponsor's primary purpose was to take me through the steps...... BUT he was also the first person I tried to call when a craving hit & if he was not there I had a network of folks to call..... heck I found that if I left a voicemail & never spoke to any one that the urge to drink at that time was gone because the voice in my head shut up when it saw that I was willing to do any thing including calling people to where I would not drink.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Luthin View Post
So this is my first post. I'm not really good at talking about my problem, so I usually just read other peoples posts. Anyways, here goes.
I've been working on my sobriety for 4 months now. But I keep having small relapses. I seem to do ok most of the time, but then when I get a craving or urge to drink, that's when I usually slip up. I don't have a sponser yet, and even if I did, I don't think I'd feel comfortable calling them.
I was wondering if any of you had any things you did to combat the cravings, besides calling a sponsor.

Thanks,
James
I'm new to this also. I've tried meetings and I can't stand when those long winded guys go on and on... so I don't attend. I have identified what triggers my urge and it is brought on by anger or stress. If I feel this way I try to go for a long fast walk to feel better.


Hope this helps
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
I am curious about this statement. If the purpose of a sponsor is to guide you thru the steps and not someone to call when you're having problems, why do people always recommend calling your sponsor before you pick up a drink? And why do sponsors usually tell you to call them often, with questions or just to 'check in' with them?

I have called my sponsor when I had the urge to drink. It was very helpful just talking it out with her and when the call was over I no longer had the urge to drink, I had 'talked it out' of me.
Hi Least,

Do all sponsors do this? I had a sponsor who suggested that I didn't call unless I had done the last thing he had asked me to do i.e. step work. He said I could call but whatever the problem was he would ask me if I had done what he had suggested.

The urge we are talking about here is not a physical craving (which goes within a few days sober and only returns when you take the first drink) but the mental obsession to drink. No human power can take it away - so sponsors can't take it away.

The solution is to have the mental obsession to drink, removed. Working the 12 Steps removes the obsession, therefore the alcoholic no longer has to fight the urge to drink because it doesn't exist.

This is the miracle of the 12 Step program.
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