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Pressures to drink

Old 04-23-2010, 01:46 AM
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Pressures to drink

i'm a day away from being 20 days dry, and it feels amazing. Physically i definitely feel much better. My sleep is great and i no longer wake up in the middle of the night, drenched with sweat and unable to get back to sleep. Lack of sleep used to be an important trigger for me. I was very afraid of not being able to get to sleep, and having a rough time at work the next day, so would that as an excuse to 'drink to help me sleep' (which was of course the last thing it ever did!). Well last night, I had a bit of a rough night sleepwise, couldnt get to sleep, but no urge to drink. It seems that as I made the decision to stop drinking, I lost my 'fear of insominia' probably because it was one of the dirty tricks my mind used to convince me to keep drinking!

I cant believe I didnt do this earlier, I get slightly upset when I think of all the time i've been cheating myself of feeling good. When I first decided to stop for good, 20 days seemed like forever, yet here I am now, and I don't even feel like its been a long time.

This isnt an immediate issue, but one of my anxieties is that in a social setting, either with collegues/family/friends, people pick up that I am turning down alcohol. I've been able to avoid many situations so far where drinking was the sole activity and the few occassions when i've had to go, I've had something non-alcoholic. (There was that one time, i even pretended I had rum in my coke!). I know I have an alcohol problem, but I really am not too keen on involving other people now. Trouble is, in some situations, there is intense pressure to drink, and several folks insist on knowing why you wont have a drink (hence the rum in coke ruse!) any better ways to handle the situation?
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:13 AM
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Pricey, I was talking about this with somebody here yesterday. I'm of the opinion that if you have to lie so that you avoid embarrassment and hassle, then do it. The more I say this, the more people that recognize my screenname are going to think I am a big fat liar, but I can't help it: I can't think of anything smarter to say! I compare it to another sensitive topic that is not worth exposing in all its nudity in front of others. Like giving "too much information" or casting a black cloud over a situation by mentioning something that sounds sad. It doesn't sound like "lying" when we keep such things to ourselves in that light; it's just decorum. Not everyone is ready to hear the full truth, let alone capable. So: I would construct the best response. People usually suggest using "my doctor doesn't want me to drink while I am X" or "it hurts my stomach" or "I haven't been able to ever since I got sick that time I had food poisoning" - something like that.

People also suggest avoiding the situations, but there is only so much of that you can avoid or should avoid. All depends on what your recipe for healthy living is.

I think you should remember that it is going to be a process, that you can't solve everything in one minute. At least this is what I have told myself, and I have often wished that I could. I think it's a form of perfectionism, if I understand what that means in the first place. I avoid the temptation to picture huge mountains to climb. It's taking a little getting used to, because I like looking at the big picture, or at least believing I know what it looks like. Sometimes we should accept that things are taken in small steps instead and learn to relish those. And we build (hopefully) one block of confidence on top of the other. Anyway, if that makes sense, maybe that will help you with the building anxiety you have noticed when thinking about upcoming social contexts and the whole "How come you're not drinking?" malarkey.
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:28 AM
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I avoided wet places in the first few months until i plain just was not interested in going to them anyway...i had reason to attend a couple of events which were pretty dull so left when the non-alcoholic people did rather than be the last one to be poured out of the door after starting verbally on someone, which was a nice switch!

I got confortable pretty quick with not drinking and it was a massive relief for me to not have to do so again...i did a lot of work on myself in the first few months in AA which was suggested and now i am completely comfortable saying i dont drink, have been out on a few social occasions and had a couple of discussions about alcoholism, me with a diet coke and them with a pint...

Some people never get that comfortable...i guess it depends on how far you are willing to go and how much you are willing to put into this sobriety thing to determine the level of freedom that you will have from your alcoholism.

I have lied all my life and i am not prepared to do so anymore, it is a threat to my sobriety so if asked direct am i an alcoholis or do i attend alcoholics anonymous i will say yes and have done...if i lose a job or lose a friend i would take that anyday over losing my sobriety which after a time will cause me to lose my life. That and i quite like the guy who looks back in the mirror now and he isn´t ashamed of who he is anymore.

Just my experience:-)
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:20 AM
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Hi Pricey

I guess there's a range of approaches you get here - but to me all anyone ever needs to know is that I'm not drinking.

If you feel compelled to say more, tell them you don't want to, you're doing it for health, or for your family, or that you're old enough now you don't need to follow the pack...whatever you like.

There's more than enough valid reasons without lying, or using the A word if that concerns you.

I'm not sure I like the lie approach - there's something that worries me about pretending you're still a drinker.

In the end, Pricey you have to decide whats more important - what you think or what other people think?

D
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:48 AM
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Hi Pricey,

Fwiw, when asked why I (the previous overachieving drinker) am not drinking, I have said that I am trying to be more productive at night and also that I am trying to lose weight. Both are true and people just nod their heads in agreement. Works for me But I agree, you do what you need to do to keep you sober.

And congrats on your 19 days! Awesome

Last edited by Reubena; 04-23-2010 at 04:52 AM. Reason: added something
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Old 04-23-2010, 05:07 AM
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My suggestion is to stay away from places and people who are drinking. I HAD to do that or I wouldn't have made it.

And, remember, you do not owe anyone an explanation as what you're drinking.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:04 AM
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if i lose a job or lose a friend i would take that anyday over losing my sobriety which after a time will cause me to lose my life.
I think yeahgr8 makes a gr8 point here. If a friend pushes me to drink, then they aren't really a friend. The job thing is harder for me, but the principle is the same. We have to do what is best for ourselves and sometimes this change involves losing part of our past drinking life.

Pricey, best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:49 AM
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I relate, priceyjunk. Are there a few trusted, close people you might tell? It might seem less scary to explain things to these casual acquaintances after you've told close friends (and they may surprise you by being super supportive -- I know mine did). After the initial few people were so helpful and supportive, it didn't feel like as big of a deal to tell my pseudo friends (especially the drinking ones) that I'm abstaining from alcohol. I'm in a similar boat, though -- terrified about what family members will ask when I visit them later this summer. I plan on saying, "Well I'm not PREGNANT" and hoping that will shock them enough to leave the matter alone. Eek.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:09 AM
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Avoid drinking places till you u declined the relapse factor....
Then go out and just don't care about people offering you/convincing you...
You'll see that many often give you a hardtime at first, but after a while they'll like you and respect u for being sober...
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:33 AM
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You can go back to 11 months ago and read some of my early posts on this topic. Yeah, I've had a few people hassle me about not drinking, and all the clichés are true: They're typically the people that probably have a problem of their own. In the final wash, the pressure from those folks was kinda pathetic and likely had the opposite effect, meaning it increased my resolve to remain sober.

There's only person whose pressure on me to drink has been nearly overwhelming at times: my own. I've gotten through it through SR and remaining steadfast and resolute to the principles of sobriety and promises to myself that I set during the first few weeks of quitting booze. That was my biggest hurdle, and I suspect it applies to nearly everyone here. As for social settings, you've already got that dialed in. Plan ahead and bring NA beverages of your choice. I'm a corn-syrup-free root beer and Coca-Cola guy. (I find some grocery stores carry Coke from Mexico, where they still use sugar!)

When you find yourself in a troublesome zone, Pricey, log on to SR. I have many, many times.
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:33 PM
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I've been in the very same place and it wasn't as big a deal as i made it to be.

I just say, it doesn't mix well with my meds...and if I'm at someone's house I often bring my own beverages with me....seltzer, or herbal tea...in reality, nobody really cares what I'm drinking...I was the one blowing it out of proportion.
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:46 PM
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I now feel totally comfortable telling people that I'm a recovering alcoholic. No need to unless you're pressed on the issue mindyou, but I definately don't lie. I have nothing to fear as I am totally comfortable with my sobriety. They can tell that I'm genuine and I guess they're lucky I ain't gonna take em up on that drink! LOL. They would soon realise that I don't drink like they do!

This comes with time though and much work on your recovery. I Avoided places where drinking/drinkers would be hanging out at as I value my sobriety as a matter of life or death. Besides I don't want to feel like a martyr for not drinking booze. I don't drink because I'm an alcoholic.
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:54 PM
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Congrats! I can't even imagine 20 days yet. I hate that waking up in the night and not being able to get back to sleep.

Keep up the good work.
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:17 PM
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:53 PM
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Thanks everyone. Yes I feel that I should do anything it takes to stay sober. For whatever reason, I'm not currently at the stage where I have to struggle strongly against myself to stay away from drink, still living off my earlier anxieties over the threat to my physical health. It is true that some people i come into contact with have a problem with abstinence, and I try to minimise contact with them. An inability to tolerate alcohol is seen as a sign of weakness, however the same group also view alcoholism as a weekness, a loss of control. (i'd bet many of them have issues of their own).

Anyway, I'm glad to be where I am. My blood pressure has finally returned to a healthy level, so its even more evidence of how bad alcohol is for me. I do feel there is something special about my current attempt of sobriety compared to the last half-hearted one (which still managed to last 6mths!) because I think I am more prepared to look at the psychological consequences of my alcoholism. Hope I make it to 30days!
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:08 PM
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there is your "built in" reason/phrase right in front of you....."drinking affects my hypertension levels, my doctor tells me".

i am the same way, my HTN meds are now cut in 1/2 dose since I stopped drinking.
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by priceyjunk View Post

This isnt an immediate issue, but one of my anxieties is that in a social setting, either with collegues/family/friends, people pick up that I am turning down alcohol. I've been able to avoid many situations so far where drinking was the sole activity and the few occassions when i've had to go, I've had something non-alcoholic. (There was that one time, i even pretended I had rum in my coke!). I know I have an alcohol problem, but I really am not too keen on involving other people now. Trouble is, in some situations, there is intense pressure to drink, and several folks insist on knowing why you wont have a drink (hence the rum in coke ruse!) any better ways to handle the situation?
Its amazing how often this comes up, I struggled with this at first too. Its funny when you think about it... would someone ask you in detail about why you didn't pick up a turkey leg at the dinner table??? Then make a big deal about it and if you didn't pick one up take a bite and tell you how you can just have one bite of it. Then start insisting that you have just a bite because they are having one so you should too :wtf2

I went with the "health" issues/Doc's orders thing for a while. most people didn't press much from there. At first I would answer their questions (high blood pressure, high sugar readings etc.).

Now its "I don't drink" to those that don't know me & I don't drink anymore to those that do.

I am getting better at "no thanks, I will have a water or juice if you have it"

Welcome to SR ;-)
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:49 PM
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Most are not interested why i dont drink.......its no big deal ..lots of people dont.

occasionally someone will angle at why i dont drink...mostly i tell them i have an alergy and get sick if i drink.

Only twice in the time ive been sober did people pressurize me to drink......
You know the type.....on and on and on and on.....
i had a quiet chat with them and it didnt happen again....

A drink will kill me......i dont except pressure from drinkers.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:35 PM
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I think you've gotten tons of great suggestions. Mine would have fallen right along with "I'm choosing to be more healthy, so no alcohol for me!" And then I have to agree with Anna, I would avoid the drinking situations. For me that's just setting myself up for a relapse that I would later completely regret.

Good luck!!!
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:43 PM
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When approached with "how come your not drinking?"

my usual response "how come you ARE?"

and most of the time we laugh and onto the next subject.
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