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If alcoholism is progressive, is recovery too?

Old 04-14-2010, 10:07 PM
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If alcoholism is progressive, is recovery too?

There have been so many threads and polls on SR lately about number of hospitalizations, arrests, DUIs, etcs. we have had because of drinking. It made me wonder.... is there a different recovery path for those of us who have had none of these things happen in our lives.

In other words, does the level of our addictive destruction have an impact on what we need to do to recover? So, if alcoholism is progressive is recovery progressive too?

I have been feeling like I really don't belong here because I am not struggling with not drinking and have never had any external negative things happen because of my drinking. Yet, my recovery is just as vital to me as anyone elses here is to them.

There is a new member here who calls himself an 'amateur alcoholic'. I fit in there too. Is there a forum here for us? Dee helped me find a place for parents of kids with disabilities, is there a forum for people who have had a gentler time of it?


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Old 04-14-2010, 10:28 PM
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I don't hold with all the gradations and 'us and themery' myself, 55.

I don't doubt we're all very different, even down to our history and drinking habits...but nevertheless it's all the same boat, as I see it, and I've no reason to suspect that's not the same for recovery as well.

As for recovery being progressive - I think so - but maybe not in the way you mean - I'm not sure...

Recovery's an all encompassing thing for me. It seems I can stay sober ok, but I'm constantly finding I can do better in my life, or as a member of SR, or as a human being...or whatever...and I try to do that.

I think recovery is a process for sure - I don't think it ends really, not for me anyway.

And I've learned stuff from the newest newbie and the most thumpingest Big Booker along the way, so I'm glad there isn't a multitude of fora for different 'types'

D
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:47 PM
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55,

I never had arrests or been fired, DUI's or tickets. I mostly drank alone. Other than some embarrassing "crocked-o-dialing" and canceling appointments because I was too hungover, my misery was my own, if that makes sense.

I h
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:32 PM
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55, that is an interesting question. I am similar to you in the sense that I have not had my world crumble recently as a result of my drinking behavior. Times were worse in the past. I was trying to describe this the other day on a different thread somewhere. It didn't "just happen," but it wasn't a huge dramatic event that prompted me to see the light. I was in the process of making changes for myself in other ways, like work and my outlook on things....I needed a challenge and to feel alive and scared and lucky again. So quitting alcohol got put at the top of the list; I tried stopping; and then the days just went by. One of the reasons I wound up in here in the first place was my curiosity (sort of like yours) about what had been happening to me, HOW DID I DO IT (it was kind of surreal and I checked my bank records multiple times to make sure I was not deluding myself on the last time I bought alcohol)...and I also wound up here because I wondered what wasin store for me physically and in how my vanity might benefit (will my face look like a rodeo used it for much longer, etc). Then I just got dialoguing with people and the rest of that is history.

I am only going to have 5 months in a couple of days, so I am not exactly Confucious about alcoholism and recovery. But from my perspective today, I would say that there is a range of experiences and many of us touch on those at different points in our drinking history, and then there are differences too. We aren't alone in our experience of not having been absolute rock bottom, maybe we were just mentally drained; whatever the case may be. Doesn't mean we are not able to see resemblances with other people or exchange in a productive way. I guess the recovery is progressive in some ways for me, but then again, I am not all that different from any other time (I've always had confidence problems and going up and down the scale with it).

As far as not drinking goes, I would define a struggle as either going back to it outright or putting my shoes on and getting ready to buy some - for ME. I haven't come close to that. Smoking was a different story; I put the jacket on in the evening and marched to the store and &)^#&* bought cigarettes. I have had thoughts enter my mind though. Not in the sense of "I guess I can handle this, it won't hurt to go back." A different kind of cunning thought that I can't put into a sentence. Sometimes it's the nice weather and sometimes it is something that annoys me or makes me worry. Alcohol is a remembered substance asociated with manufactured, induced comfort. But it's a fake one and a fake solution.

Up to you how you use the site. I just roam wherever and sometimes I get more involved than others. Sometimes I even come back and scrounge through pages wondering if so-and-so came back. Other times I let it go, because I can only do so much. The beauty of the site is not that different from alcoholism and life, in that you can find a common ground with just about anyone when you let yourself - at least when you're having good moments. I would say to keep checking around both inside and outside the site.

Hope it keeps going well for you.
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:48 PM
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Sorry about my mis-post! My computer was possessed!

Anyway, I was saying, my recovery has been progressive, I think. I heard that alcoholics and addicts get "frozen" at the emotional age they are when they first start drinking and using.

As I got sober and began recovery, I began to mature emotionally. I got more patient, less likely to jump to conclusions and able to "go with the flow" instead of sinking into depression or flying off the handle.

I had some private therapy, went to AA and read a lot about recovery. A 12 Step Program is a good plan for emotional growth, I think. I suppose that's why it's used so much. The basic principles are sound.

I hope this makes a little more sense.

Love,

Lenina
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:59 PM
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I dont believe it does, you are either an alcoholic or you aren't...if you are a heavy drinker then that is a completely different ball game...i love these comparisons and the other thread about High Functioning Alcoholic, i know people in recovery that earn more in a year than most in a lifetime and no-one would ever suspect them an alcoholic and i also know people that have come in the rooms at a very young age after embarassing themselves mildly at a party and have stayed recovered...at the end of the day are you an alcoholic or a heavy drinker, if you are an alcoholic all this HFA and am i as bad as him BS is just the insanity talking and perfectly normal for an alcoholic that has stopped drinking and has changed little else...

I hope that comes across ok because for an alcoholic all this rationalisation will only lead back to the next drink, regardless of whether it be a day or 5 years...

That said this is sober recovery not alcoholics recovery, so who knows you might just be a heavy drinker that needs a bit of support to quit and you will be on your way...only you can answer that:-)

Whatever...lets all have another great sober day!
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:58 AM
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I knew I was an alcoholic when I tried to stop drinking and couldn't do it. I drank alone at home and never had the legal problems of some or losing anything huge (not counting losing the respect of my kids). My bottom was mostly mental.

As to recovery being progressive... I've never thought of it that way so can't address that issue. All I know for sure is that labels don't matter much. Alcoholic/heavy drinker/problem drinker - it doesn't matter much cause we all need support and encouragement from time to time.
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:28 AM
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Well, I remember seeing a flow chart or something, the disease progresses downward past all these milestones... dui, losing family, health... stuff like that. And the it falls to nadir, which for some is death, but those who recover, it progresses upward...

Chart looked like a big "V".

Your bottom is what you choose it to be. Recovery can be as simple as just not drinking, and, if that's the case, that's it. The drinking stops, life gets better, all is well.... For alcoholics... if truly alcoholic... well, when they put down the cup, life gets worse, not better.

IMHO... The "alcoholic" label is probably best thought of by qualitative, rather than quantitative, criteria... ie... powerlessness over alcohol.

For those alcoholics who didn't skid too far down, those who still still have health, employment, freedom, family.... well hell yea, the journey, particularly at first, may not be as rough. But it is the same journey.

That's why recovered (ing) alcoholics listen for similarities, not differences, in other people's stories. If one wants to get the most out of SR, I recommend doing the same here.



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Old 04-15-2010, 06:21 AM
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I'm with Dee on this topic.

An addict is an addict and once you cross the invisible line, you can never go back.

I think to recover, you need to accept that you are addicted to alcohol, and whether or not you drink every day, once a week, or once a month, if you lose control when you drink, you are an addict.

I also believe that recovery does progress, definitely. There are often many layers to work through, but for me recovery is an ongoing process.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 55438 View Post
There have been so many threads and polls on SR lately about number of hospitalizations, arrests, DUIs, etcs. we have had because of drinking. It made me wonder.... is there a different recovery path for those of us who have had none of these things happen in our lives.

In other words, does the level of our addictive destruction have an impact on what we need to do to recover? So, if alcoholism is progressive is recovery progressive too?

I have been feeling like I really don't belong here because I am not struggling with not drinking and have never had any external negative things happen because of my drinking. Yet, my recovery is just as vital to me as anyone elses here is to them.

There is a new member here who calls himself an 'amateur alcoholic'. I fit in there too. Is there a forum here for us? Dee helped me find a place for parents of kids with disabilities, is there a forum for people who have had a gentler time of it?


55438
is Recovery Progressive? IMHO.. Yes! My First Sponsor's Favorite Saying: "The Recovery Process is Every Bit As Progressive As The Affliction"! Good Thread Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by yeahgr8 View Post
I dont believe it does, you are either an alcoholic or you aren't...if you are a heavy drinker then that is a completely different ball game...
I think you are correct, but that this is where misunderstanding begins for MANY people on both sides of the bottle and on both sides of the problem.

Can you help me to understand the key differences between the two and the characteristics of both?

And can a heavy drinker become an alcoholic just from heavy drinking or is "alcoholic" something you simply ARE and something that you can never actually become, like for example; a heavy drinker?

Seems anyone can become that and many do...
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:17 AM
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getr... great question

IDK, I think each person's experience is just that, their experience. I hear many people say they were alcoholic at birth, or that they were alcoholic the first time they drank. That's not my experience. I always liked the buzz, always.... I don't think that's what makes me alcoholic, although I may have been considered a heavy drinker by many for years.

My experience with alcoholism points to the time I reached for a drink to calm this inner discontentment that had developed within me... and that discontentment was just there, for no knowable reason... a hole in my psyche, or soul, if you will. I remember that drink, and many, many more after that. Recalling that drink is part of my step one experience. The draw to the bottle and drinking for no good reason, even when I told myself I wouldn't, is another part of my step one experience.

I wasn't really a binge drinker or black out drinker. I drank everyday.

Good Stuff!

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Old 04-15-2010, 07:25 AM
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AA's Big Book talks about this in a few places. There is no distinction made between someone who has gone farther down the scale than others. The distinction is how you react to booze and how you react when not drinking. Can you leave it alone entirely? Or, do you have little control over how much you drink?

Originally Posted by AA BB 1st
But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly any exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge.

If anyone questions whether he has entered this dangerous area, let him try leaving liquor alone for one year. If he is a real alcoholic and very far advanced, there is scant chance of success. In the early days of our drinking we occasionally remained sober for a year or more, becoming serious drinkers again later. Though you may be able to stop for a considerable period, you may yet be a potential alcoholic. We think few, to whom this book will appeal, can stay dry anything like a year. Some will be drunk the day after making their resolutions; most of them within a few weeks.

Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not.
So you can ask yourself the only questions that matter. Can you always control how much you drink when drinking? Can you quit drinking entirely?
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:35 AM
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I attribute the high number of relapses in early sobriety to people wanting instant satisfaction.

Anything in life worth while has to be worked for. In early sobriety, I wanted the sobriety of the old timers. I've heard them say, I couldn't handle it. All my speed bumps in life now would've seemed like mountains sometimes in the early days of recovery.

I've got a few 24 hours under my belt now but, I still have to go out and make the best of each day. I live each day as if, this my be my last one. I might not wake up tomorrow morning so, I'm going to fully enjoy today no matter what!
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:43 AM
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My bottom was a dui...and even before that I had tried to quit drinking ( I didnt drink everyday, but when I drank..the glass was bottomless) The dui became a blessing in disguise...do I wish it didn't come to that...yes...but I don't honestly think I would have been almost 3 months without it....it made me wake up and realize that I am an alcoholic...I give everyone a thumbs up who nips this drinking in the bud, before anything bad happens....
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by getr345 View Post
I think you are correct, but that this is where misunderstanding begins for MANY people on both sides of the bottle and on both sides of the problem.

Can you help me to understand the key differences between the two and the characteristics of both?

And can a heavy drinker become an alcoholic just from heavy drinking or is "alcoholic" something you simply ARE and something that you can never actually become, like for example; a heavy drinker?

Seems anyone can become that and many do...
I do need some comments on this one.

I used to have a mate who was a heavy drinker, we drank the same amount and he would go to bed (NB this is 9 years ago, the frequency got worse). The following morning he would be up at 7am cooking breakfast for the kids and i would be shivering under the duvet, feeling like death and emotionally shot to bits, anxiety, regret, fear, sadness the lot... and absolutely adament that i would not drink again ever. So i would stay at home, not go out to social occasions and feel better after a week or so and venture out again and do exactly the same thing, whetver the occasion and i would leave the house saying i wont drink tonight and would end up drunk.

IMO i think the big difference between alcoholic and heavy drinker is how the booze affects you...an example...

Lady i know, very wealthy and sober for 10 years now, used to drink once every couple of months...she always drank very expensive wine as it made her feel like the drink was then worth it...she would always drink more than she wanted to on the night and then regret it the next day but it doesnt stop there...

Her pattern was get drunk then spend the next 2 months doing the following:

Working every hour God sends
Going to the gym at least 4 times a week
Eating healthy
Staying away from social occasions

All the above sound like very good things to do and they are but the reason she did all the above was not to better her life but because of the guilt and fear from the last drunk. The guilt saying she should be making up for that drunk night and the fear saying that if you work, exercise, stay away you can protect yourself from the next drunk. This is not normal behaviour and no heavy drinkers i have ever known behaved like this...

So, for me and this is just my ESH, the line is not quantifiable by a drink, like i wonder which drink it was in the last 20 years that i crossed the line with? I crossed the line when i tried to control it and/or stop and was unable to...and that was in my late teens, early twenties...i just didnt realise it at the time...
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:28 AM
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Hello 55438.

One thing I have learned from being here at SR is there seems to be just as many paths to recovery as there people in recovery. Its best for me to focus on what I need to do in order to live a healthy life free from my addictions as well as support others in whatever healthy path they choose to live drug free too.

IMO everybody deserves just as much respect with their recovery path no matter how addiction affects them. Its still a life or death malady regardless of where they were emotionally, mentally, psychically and for some spiritually when it became necessary to enter addiction recovery.

You belong here because you say so...and that's good enough for me.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:51 AM
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me too. actually I think this has become a pretty cool thread
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:52 AM
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I used the title "Amateur Alcoholic" as a way of saying, "Not everyone who has a drinking problem is Jim Morrison." We don't all open a bottle of Jack and chug half of it down, black out and wake up in jail in Tijuana, etc. However, if you listen to the media portrayal of alcoholism, you might think you had to be that way to have a problem.

I'm on Day 5 of my most recent run at sobriety, and I'm not climbing the walls. Actually, being able to talk about it here really helps. I don't feel like I'm doing it all alone. I still know I have a problem, tho. Otherwise, what was I doing stressing about "my drinking" for these last 20 years?

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Old 04-15-2010, 12:32 PM
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being a drunk is a lot of work, but so is recovery.
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