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Struggling in Recovery

Old 04-19-2010, 09:10 AM
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Struggling in Recovery

I quit drinking 213 days ago, and made it 6 months without having a sip. Then I just decided I didn't want to be sober anymore, I guess you could say I relapsed. So for the past month or so I have been drinking just about every other day, sometimes just 1 drink, sometimes until I get so hammered I throw up and have a lovely 3 day hangover. I just don't understand why I do this to myself. I made a commitment to myself to quit drinking and was very happy for the 6 months that I was sober. Now I'm miserable and living with guilt on a daily basis. I am ready to give it up again, but I am wondering how common it is to relapse and how people get past it. I know what alcohol does to me and I don't like it, so why is it so hard for me to stay sober? It seems as though it should be so simple..
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:19 AM
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When I was 24, I quit smoking cigarettes after having smoked for about 8 years. It took several attempts, and was very difficult. However, quitting smoking (for me) doesn't hold a candle to quitting drinking, and my alcoholism isn't as severe as it is for many.

So, don't be hard on yourself if you relapse. It's very common. The important thing to focus on is staying sober right now. If you let yourself drift off into dwelling on your failures, you'll just feel worse (and maybe feel more inclined to drink). You did it for six months. You can do it again for good.

Having support here can be very helpful as well.

Rev
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:21 AM
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Welcome....

I too returned to drinking after various periods of sobreity.
Very fustrating situation ....

Were you making lifestyles changes to stay sober?
That's what I had to do.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:22 AM
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It seems as though it should be so simple..
It IS simple, just not easy. I too relapsed too many times after vowing to stay sober. I tried to learn from my mistakes, forgive myself, and move forward again. Have you given any thought to a recovery program like AA or one of the other programs? What about counseling? Use any recovery tool available to you. Keep trying until you can stay sober. It helps too to keep in 'just for today'. 'Forever' is a long time, but 'today' is manageable.

Welcome to SR! I'm glad you found us!
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:29 AM
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Hi, some very good advice given. Like Rev said try not to be so hard on yourself. It a lot easier saying this or rather writing it, because I just relapsed 7days ago. I still have my foot stuck somewhere, or rather my head stuck somewhere.
Good luck
Dean
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:34 AM
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From what I gather...relapse happens to many of us and it's often a part of the process (but not always). Do not beat yourself up. The trick is to get back up on the horse and start again. Try some new things this time around as other have suggested. It's good that you chose to write about it here. Best to you.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:41 AM
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Hmmm i did the 6 month thing many times, i went to AA and got sober when i had enough of picking myself up and starting right over again...it is real insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results:-)

Oh welcome btw didn't mean to jump on you! Didn't see it was your first post!
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by wendyjane40 View Post
I quit drinking 213 days ago, and made it 6 months without having a sip. Then I just decided I didn't want to be sober anymore, I guess you could say I relapsed. So for the past month or so I have been drinking just about every other day, sometimes just 1 drink, sometimes until I get so hammered I throw up and have a lovely 3 day hangover. I just don't understand why I do this to myself. I made a commitment to myself to quit drinking and was very happy for the 6 months that I was sober. Now I'm miserable and living with guilt on a daily basis. I am ready to give it up again, but I am wondering how common it is to relapse and how people get past it. I know what alcohol does to me and I don't like it, so why is it so hard for me to stay sober? It seems as though it should be so simple..
Welcome to SR. This is a great support group if you want to be sober. 6 months is a long time and I am sure you learned some ways to fight through urges at that time. When you relapsed, was it just a spontaneous moment or was it a "planned" relapse? I ask that because when the thoughts of relapse enter your head that is the time to step up the recovery program. I think when we relapse after a long time of sobriety that we do it way before the drink hits our lips. Know what I mean? Yes people relapse, but many don't. The ones that do and want to recover for good pick apart what caused the trigger and then defend themselves heavily so it doesn't happen again. If you've learned from this relapse then it wasn't a total loss.

Whatever you do don't give up! As has been said, just get right back on the horse now. It won't be easy, but do whatever it takes for the next 24 hours and then repeat tomorrow.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wendyjane40 View Post
I quit drinking 213 days ago, and made it 6 months without having a sip. Then I just decided I didn't want to be sober anymore I guess you could say I relapsed. So for the past month or so I have been drinking just about every other day, sometimes just 1 drink, sometimes until I get so hammered I throw up and have a lovely 3 day hangover. I just don't understand why I do this to myself. I made a commitment to myself to quit drinking and was very happy for the 6 months that I was sober. Now I'm miserable and living with guilt on a daily basis. I am ready to give it up again, but I am wondering how common it is to relapse and how people get past it. I know what alcohol does to me and I don't like it, so why is it so hard for me to stay sober? It seems as though it should be so simple..

Welcome!!!

Jme, I wasn't very happy with the idea of abstinence-for me, there's a difference between abstinence and sobriety-and my first go round lasted somewhere north of 5000 days.

Thing was, I never accepted to any real degree my alcoholism, lack of acceptance eventually led me back to denial, repeat the cycle.

Took me nearly 5 years to get back, now I am in that happy place called acceptance, at least regarding my alcoholism. And I have outside support and a blueprint for living, which helps tremendously.

Keep coming back, you'll find a lot of support here.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:57 AM
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Welcome to SR. I to have been sober many times and relapsed many times. Man I tell you this is a hard road.
I am again 27 days sober. This weekend I had a horrible time, It was 85 degrees outside and a beautiful day, and we had a BBQ. I made it and am happy I did. You can do it, dont be hard on yourself we all make mistakes hang in there.
You know what helps me is knowing, I will not wake up crapping my brains out, and my kids looking at me thinking you look like crap dad. I had horrible stomach problems when I drank, and now my stomach is about 80% better. Thats worth it to me.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:17 AM
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Wow, thanks for all the great advice!! I don't know why I relapsed, I just changed my mind for some reason and decided I didn't want to be abstinant anymore. But that's what is messing with me because I DO want to be sober. It's like there's a battle going on in my mind that is confusing me. I know I need to be sober and make healthier choices, I have a family now and people depend on me. I think I teeter on the verge of drinking because I can remember my earlier, younger days of drinking and used to have so much fun. I think a part of me thinks I can go back to that, but deep down I know I can't. I was attending AA, then I quit going mostly out of laziness, but also because I felt like going to AA means I am a "full blown" alcoholic and wasn't really ready to admit that, I guess. But I've known for a long time that I am 100% alcoholic. I just have to remind myself that that doesn't mean that's all I am, I am a lot more than just an alcoholic. Thanks again for all the advice!!
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:41 AM
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Welcome to SR... We all share a common goal
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by wendyjane40 View Post

...Then I just decided I didn't want to be sober anymore,

... I just don't understand why I do this to myself. I made a commitment to myself to quit drinking and was very happy for the 6 months that I was sober. Now I'm miserable and living with guilt on a daily basis. I am ready to give it up again, but I am wondering how common it is to relapse and how people get past it. I know what alcohol does to me and I don't like it, so why is it so hard for me to stay sober? It seems as though it should be so simple..
If you have the same ISM as I have, then;

1. You never "decided" you didn't want to stay sober.

2. No amount of "commitment" can stop you from drinking.

3. You really don't know "why' it is so hard to stay sober.

These riddles are the result of crossing the line of the ISM part of alcoholism where decisions, choice and synthetic knowledge are extraneous issues.

What you need is to find a higher power than what self-reliance or human-aid can offer you.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:45 PM
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Hi wendyjane

For me, I could never quite let go of the idea that one day I'd be able to control my drinking and be like everyone else.

It took me 20 years to accept the fact I'm not like everyone else

I've been in recovery now 3 years or so - the difference has been not only have I accepted I can't drink, but I've done a lot more than just not drink.

I'm happy living this way - I want to be who I am now....and I think, for me, that's the key

D
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:03 PM
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Such wonderful experiences and insight shared and I do believe that we learn from relapse because all we are back here on the road to sobriety. What I have learned from this relapse has given me so much more determination to stay sober. I am personally stronger for it and I know more so then ever than being sober means I can't have 1 drink period ever. I also learned from detoxing alone in my house with no one and certain that I was going to going to die (and I should have everyone from what I did) meant that I didn't do this for anyone but for me. I want to live, I want to help others and I want to be the best person I can be. I had the worst week of hell I have ever fully endured in my life (maybe my divorce was the same or 2nd) but I dumped that bottle out and I haven't touched nor ever will again. My calmly typing this out alcohol free without anxiety, waiting on some word when my hubby will come home is proof that we can survive relapse and come out stronger then ever.

God Bless and stay strong!!!

Kim
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:20 PM
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Wendy, I think relapsing is probably pretty normal. This is only the first time I have tried to go more than 2 weeks without. Maybe you can dissect why you are upset with yourself, put down all the positives and negatives you can think of about drinking. That would be a way of taking the good out of the experience of gong back to drinking this past month. Having gone for 6 months would be something to build on, because you've seen you have the ability to do it. There must be something that requires change in your life though in order to maintain it - on any given day - so that it is not just abstaining until the next time you give in. I am not necessarily sure I have it figured out, but I do observe my thinking behaviour when I become exasperated or defeatist or become tempted to snuggle up to nostalgia that goes nowhere. It's like coming out of the warm shower with nothing to cover with sometimes when I try to think the "proper" way and avoid these familar traps.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Boleo View Post
1. You never "decided" you didn't want to stay sober.

2. No amount of "commitment" can stop you from drinking.

3. You really don't know "why' it is so hard to stay sober.
Exactly my experience with alcoholism. That delusion that I changed my mind and decided to drink as opposed to being powerless not to.

After what drinking had cost me, there is no way any sane person would ever pick up another drink. But there I would be, 'choosing' to drink again.

If I could choose to drink or not, then sanity and plain common sense told me I shouldn't. So what the hell was going on with me all those years? If it was my choice, why couldn't I choose not to drink? Why couldn't I make a decision and then manage that decision?

Insane and delusional. My mind was curiously warped when it came to booze, and my will power was strangely weakened. This is what alcoholism is all about.

The only way I started to recover was to realize this fact for me.
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:13 PM
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thanks

Again, WOW, you guys are all so full of advice and knowledge. : ) And right on about a lot of it. For 1 - I do struggle with the idea that maybe some day I can "teach myself how to drink responsibly" and for some reason, even knowing that I can't do that, that makes it hard to focus on staying sober. 2 - there is still that part of me that doesn't want to give up drinking. But I suppose that part will never fully go away. I do need to sit down and make a list, just to remind myself of all the hurt it's caused me and struggles. One of the things that I think makes it more difficult for me, is that I have never really hit rock bottom. Getting a 3rd OWI is reeeally bad, but for me it wasn't rock bottom - a royal pain in the ass, shameful and expensive, but I'll get over that... I've never lost a loved one because of my drinking, I have never emotionally or physically harmed anyone while drunk, I've never had people quit wanting to be in my life because of it, I always pay my bills on time, I go to work everyday, etc. My problem is not being able to stop once I start drinking, and making bad choices - like driving - when I'm intoxicated. I'm sorry, it's like I go back and forth in my head, kind of like I'm hoping somebody somewhere is going to say, hey, ya know what, maybe you're not an alcoholic! (pathetic - I know I am an alchoholic) Grrr.. I will start going to more AA meetings and share my thoughts before they start building up in my mind as I think that is part of my problem. Thanks again everyone!! I appreciate your feedback, it helps a lot.
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:17 PM
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There are other people who feel like they didn't necessarily hit a rock bottom when they came to the point where they were ready to quit. In fact, some people say they actually did NOT hit one, but they stil went forward with the quitting. I recently said I fell into thar category (that it was not a rock bottom), because I can think of worse periods. But maybe that isn't right, because I have also said that it felt like the soul was drained out of me. Who knows.

It sounds like the "inventory" exercise on what is good and bad about drinking is something you can do easily, since you like to have debates with yourself, and are aware that you also have the ability to rationalize behaviour (and listen to the angel with the horns instead of the wings). I suppose the last 8 or 10 years of my drinking was similar to this idea of knowing how to take the inventory and yet stick with "but I still want it" and "there is more time." Along the way there was a haunting feeling about how much longer I would live though - and then I told myself: Why "consume" (or destroy) all that remaining time by continuing with the drinking if i can access some type of benefit through zero alcohol if I only have 6 years or 6 months to live after all this self-abuse.

It might be that you need to go through more time before reaching the golden moment when you really stop, but there might be a really negative consequence to that, medically and otherwise. If you think of that way, that might make a difference as you achieve the Days of no drinking. Maybe it's a mixture of things you need to look at?
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:23 AM
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I am sure you can do it wendy
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