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Non AA sobriety success

Old 08-24-2010, 06:02 PM
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Non AA sobriety success

Everybody wants to know what is the answer to, as Draciak put it "awesomely awesome sobriety". 90% of people, and advertisement will tell you it is the twelve steps of AA, but what I'm interested in hearing about are the success stories for the other 10%. Some people aren't comfortable in AA and they need suggestions because it is hard to find.
When I began my sobriety I started working on the psychological, social and physioligical me.
1) I went through a medical detox and stayed thirty days at a non AA facility to rid myself of the physical addiction to alcohol. Of course I experienced PAWS but was able to handle it with tools I learned from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
2) Once clear of the toxins I was able to successfully go through therapy for depression and on a group basis learn a lot about CBT, which I still follow up with using SMART.
3)Physiologically I am diagnosed with depression and take medicine to help. I am not ashamed to be taking anti-depressants and welcome the relief they bring me. I also take an off label drug for cravings and headaches. I don't know if that helps at this stage but if it does I am grateful and do not discount my efforts or my sobriety because of it.
4)Socially I live a sober life. Meaning all my activities, except for the rare 1 or 2 nights with work people a year, do not involve alcohol. I do not socialize with friends who drink, that was easy since most of them didn't drink anyways. And I will not spend time with family if alcohol is going to be involved. Family is tough enough without libations. Now I understand that there may be a time I have to go to events that include alcohol and I know I can never say never, but I'm pretty sure I don't want one drink to turn into a little alcohol posioning mixed with withdrawals for a year. This cycle almost killed me. I think I'll take sober, happy and healthy over that.
Please share your suggestions.
SH
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:08 PM
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Sounds like you have it together pretty well. I'm happy for your sobriety, however maintained. Whatever works for you is good, no matter what program or lack of a program. I am happy for you.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:08 PM
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Good idea for a thread SH - thanks.

My own programme is not always easy, but it's pretty simple
  • don't drink
  • do whatever you have to do to not drink
  • do whatever you have to do to deal with the underlying reasons that drove you and drink together in the first place
  • help as many other folks as you can along the way, and reach out for help when you need it;
    and perhaps most importantly
  • always strive to be grateful and happy & be the best you you can be.

D
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:11 PM
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I am not an AA person, and I know that there are more than 10% of people who are not. I've been around here for years and I've met many, many people who use recovery methods other than AA.

For me, I turned to books and did a lot of work on my spiritual self. I eventually found SR and have used this as my lifeline since then. This is where I can come and know that people understand, whether or not they are AA members or not. We all share a common bond here.

I also needed to get my lifelong depression treated before I could begin to recover.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:30 PM
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I AM in AA, and while it works great for me, I know many people who are happily sober, long-term, who are not in AA. All the ones I know are people who at the very least participate in some form of group support (well, that's a skewed sample, because that's how I know them), online at least.

I know people who use SMART, Women for Sobriety (heard a lot of good things about that one), SOS (Secular Organization for Sobriety), LifeRing, Buddhist recovery, CBT therapy, or some combination thereof. I like Buddhist recovery as a supplement to my AA.

I highly recommend the book Sober for Good (Anne Fletcher) as an inspiring series of interviews with people she refers to as "Masters" of sobriety. It includes people who have attained and kept long-term sobriety by different means (including AA and other programs, as well as do-it-yourself methods).

I always talk about AA because I think it's worth looking into (and because it helped me), but I certainly respect anyone who uses any method that works for him or her.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:40 PM
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I made a decision to stop. I come to SR a lot. I try to stay away from alcohol. I thank God for helping me stay strong enough not to drink.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:54 PM
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Great thread SH thanks!

IRL I only know one person in long term recovery...he does meditation and yoga he does not do group therapy he is over 13 years sober and clean (he did drugs too).

I am only at day 43 but I don't think there is a lot of chance that I will drink again. I have had no real desire for alcohol since quitting, only knee jerk reactions thoughts which don't take more than a seconds thought.

SR is the only outside support I get...I wont discuss this with my family and friends, although my dogs know all about it. I am like Anna in that I think a lot of my sobriety can be credited to books and knowledge, but I love SR and hope that I can offer support to others here who have gone through the nightmare of addiction.

I think that being in a non-geoup recovery it is incredibly important to work on yourself to be a better person. I have a relationship with God that I think is important but that is personal and not really part of my recovery right now...He and I are working on more important things:-)

So that's me, I'm pretty flexible so if my current situation stood working I will try something else.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:59 PM
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One last thing...I have already been in a number of situations where there is a lot of alcohol. I wouldvneed to change careers and family if I couldn't deal...so far there has been no temptation...the smell of alcohol continues to revolt me which I attribute to God and the luck of stumbling on a technique that alters your limbic response to alcohol.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:03 PM
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I guess I'd have to say that SR is like AA for me. I use a lot of AA tools, but am not attending meetings right now. I also receive treatment for depression, so I see a psychiatrist for that. Reading helps - books on positive thinking, staying in the Now, spiritual stuff, alcoholism-related stuff......

I try to notice what's going on inside, too. I try to accept what the day brings and change my attitude when necessary. I try to give myself a break, and find time to enjoy some simple pleasures each day.........

Gosh, there's too many things to mention, really. In the end, Dee said it best: "whatever it takes."
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:10 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to put down these suggestions. I have written down so many and my next trip to the library will be much more productive.
Thanks, thanks, thanks
SH
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:35 PM
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Super post, Dee

I think of recovery like a job that needs a lot of tools, so the more tools I have the better chance I have of remaining sober.

AA is fabulous for spiritual growth and face-to-face support.
SR is incredibly reliable, plus all the people here are fantastic
SMART Recovery helps with cognition and reframing bad thoughts.

The rest is about how to live healthily, and there I learn from others, read books, and see a therapist.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post

a technique that alters your limbic response to alcohol.
?
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:48 PM
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I am on day 38 (I think, I'd have to go back and count) and have not done AA. My car accident and dealings in court influenced my enough to stop drinking. I drank every night, usually a pint or until whatever I had in the house was gone. Guess I was fortunate in that there were no withdrawal symptoms for me. So I guess what I am saying is that the close call with death of the accident, and the expensive slap from the law has kept me sober

Will I continue with sobriety after the probation is over? I hope so. Right now I can not answer that, I am only doing one day at a time. I do recognize that alcohol controlled me. I could not stop with one drink. The stories that I have read here have helped me recognize the control alcohol has had over me, and that going back to being a casual drinker (able to stop with one drink, and not be "important" to me) is probably not an option.

O.k. I am rambling now....
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by stanleyhouse View Post
Thanks for taking the time to put down these suggestions. I have written down so many and my next trip to the library will be much more productive.
Thanks, thanks, thanks
SH
Would love to hear which books you get. I'm currently reading g "your sacred self" by Wayne Dyer, very illuminating;-)
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:57 PM
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SH.....
Let me suggest additions to your library list...

"under The Influence" by Milam & Ketcham
and or the sequel
"Beyond The Influence" by Ketcham and ???

All my best as you move forward...
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:17 PM
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I'm approaching my 6 month mark in a few days. I didn't go the AA route, but totally respect what they do for so many. For me SR has been a blessing. Even though I don't post very often, I check in almost every day. It really helps and I absolutely know I wouldn't have made it for so long without it.

I can't say I've had a spiritual awakening, I kinda wish I had. But I knew I hit the point where I just couldn't continue my life as it was, and I try to remember that feeling, keep that feeling close to me and reinforce it every day. That plus focus on how good I feel now, compare how I used to feel when I was drinking and recite the recovering alcoholics mantra.... "Duh, Hello.... McFly....???"

I did go to a counselor for a few weeks but didn't seem to get much out of it.

Other than focusing on One Day at a Time, I also try to keep in mind "It's not all about me." Be aware of other people, situations, emotions and stop the "Me, me, me" party and look around. The world can be pretty cool when I take the time to soak it in.

Oh ya, also when I am feeling anxious, remember the HALT triggers and take care of it.

I know these things may sound basic and aren't addressing my spritual needs, and some may say I'm just a day away from a relapse. But aren't we all? So far, this has worked for me. What can I say, I'm a Virgo.

I hope I've quit for good. I don't feel any need or desire to drink. I didn't drink today and I know I won't tomorrow. I'm looking forward to my one year mark!
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by stanleyhouse View Post
Physiologically I am diagnosed with depression and take medicine to help. I am not ashamed to be taking anti-depressants and welcome the relief they bring me. I also take an off label drug for cravings and headaches. I don't know if that helps at this stage but if it does I am grateful and do not discount my efforts or my sobriety because of it.
Thanks to SH for the initial post and to all that have replied. It does sound like you are doing well, SH, and I hope that you continue on the same path. I was curious about the off-label drug that you are referring to. I have a science background and so these things interest me... I have read about naltrexone. Not asking for medical advice, of course, but I'm curious if another medication has been thought to reduce cravings as well.

Sabrina
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:27 PM
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I was lucky because I was able to attend a year of AA 8 years before I was ready to quit drinking. I also was able to attend state ordered alcohol awareness classes, and some good group sessions for about 3 months at that same time.

At that time I was a huge binge drinker, and no one was going to tell me I had taken my last drink. Fast forward to about 3 months ago and I realized my drinking had escalated to an unmanagable level. But I did not feel I could quit without some sort of support, but I didn't feel AA was going to help me, because no one was going to tell me what the rules were, also because I wasn't ready to quit yet, and it gave me another excuse to continue drinking. Then about 2 months ago I went through a scary withdrawal in a public place and I thought I was going to die and embarrass my son at the same time. I promised myself that if I made it through that night I would never drink again.

Well I made it, and the following day I started googling recovery programs to help me with the support I was looking for. The first link was this site. After reading a few hours worth of posts I decided to join SR and learn as much as I possibly could about my drinking issue. I am a very stubborn, hard headed SOB, and I decided that I was going to incorporate a daily physical fitness routine, along with a good diet and supplements to keep me strong and healthy. Then I was going to keep the AA mantra of one day at a time, where I wake up in the morning and decide that I am not drinking today, no matter what. Then i was going to use my wife, who does not drink and is my biggest supporter as a support mechanism so I can discuss my issues with her if I ever feel weak. Then I decided that I would come to SR as many times a day as I could to learn more about my problem, and to read and discuss issues with people who are similar to me.

I won't say that I haven't thought about popping a beer or testing myself in some regards to see if now I know more about my condition I can control it. But last week I decided that it would do me no good to touch alcohol ever again, and if I feel weakness and I am not able to talk to my wife, I come here and read my first post over and over. In the last 56 days I have gone to parties, gone to major sporting/alcohol events, and I have stayed true to my word that I will not drink again. I don't really look at it as testing myself, because 8 years ago I made it through all the same events and weddings and even hung out in bars without drinking, because I decided I wasn't going to drink and although it was court ordered, I found that if I put my mind to it I could do it. So although there are a few people I will not get together with in a drinking arena because I don't need anyone pressuring me, (my brother will), I am not going to give up other fun opportunities to be with people I like to be around or events that I want to go to because there is alcohol there. Every weekend and every event is another feather in my cap. And the truth of the matter is at the end I did most of my drinking by myself, and I am still alone alot during the days and nights, and I will not drink alone while no one is watching, so why should I be afraid to go out, especially when I am telling people I am no longer drinking. I will not let myself be a failure in my quest for sobriety, because I finally decided that I wanted to be sober more than I wanted to drink. My method is not for everyone, but I have an addictive personality and my goal is to become addicted to being sober. I'm doing it my way, and I'll be damned if anyone, including myself is going to stop me! That is my method, and if I find other things along the way in my search for knowledge on my problem I will incorporate them as well.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Supercrew View Post
I was lucky because I was able to attend a year of AA 8 years before I was ready to quit drinking. I also was able to attend state ordered alcohol awareness classes, and some good group sessions for about 3 months at that same time.

At that time I was a huge binge drinker, and no one was going to tell me I had taken my last drink. Fast forward to about 3 months ago and I realized my drinking had escalated to an unmanagable level. But I did not feel I could quit without some sort of support, but I didn't feel AA was going to help me, because no one was going to tell me what the rules were, also because I wasn't ready to quit yet, and it gave me another excuse to continue drinking. Then about 2 months ago I went through a scary withdrawal in a public place and I thought I was going to die and embarrass my son at the same time. I promised myself that if I made it through that night I would never drink again.

Well I made it, and the following day I started googling recovery programs to help me with the support I was looking for. The first link was this site. After reading a few hours worth of posts I decided to join SR and learn as much as I possibly could about my drinking issue. I am a very stubborn, hard headed SOB, and I decided that I was going to incorporate a daily physical fitness routine, along with a good diet and supplements to keep me strong and healthy. Then I was going to keep the AA mantra of one day at a time, where I wake up in the morning and decide that I am not drinking today, no matter what. Then i was going to use my wife, who does not drink and is my biggest supporter as a support mechanism so I can discuss my issues with her if I ever feel weak. Then I decided that I would come to SR as many times a day as I could to learn more about my problem, and to read and discuss issues with people who are similar to me.

I won't say that I haven't thought about popping a beer or testing myself in some regards to see if now I know more about my condition I can control it. But last week I decided that it would do me no good to touch alcohol ever again, and if I feel weakness and I am not able to talk to my wife, I come here and read my first post over and over. In the last 56 days I have gone to parties, gone to major sporting/alcohol events, and I have stayed true to my word that I will not drink again. I don't really look at it as testing myself, because 8 years ago I made it through all the same events and weddings and even hung out in bars without drinking, because I decided I wasn't going to drink and although it was court ordered, I found that if I put my mind to it I could do it. So although there are a few people I will not get together with in a drinking arena because I don't need anyone pressuring me, (my brother will), I am not going to give up other fun opportunities to be with people I like to be around or events that I want to go to because there is alcohol there. Every weekend and every event is another feather in my cap. And the truth of the matter is at the end I did most of my drinking by myself, and I am still alone alot during the days and nights, and I will not drink alone while no one is watching, so why should I be afraid to go out, especially when I am telling people I am no longer drinking. I will not let myself be a failure in my quest for sobriety, because I finally decided that I wanted to be sober more than I wanted to drink. My method is not for everyone, but I have an addictive personality and my goal is to become addicted to being sober. I'm doing it my way, and I'll be damned if anyone, including myself is going to stop me! That is my method, and if I find other things along the way in my search for knowledge on my problem I will incorporate them as well.
Just like I hope my plan works for me, I hope yours works for you, Supercrew. I find your effort and commitment pretty inspiring.

One thing I would point out, though, is that "One Day At A Time" is not really an AA mantra. Somehow it's become completely linked with AA, but the program as originally conceived has never been about not drinking one day at a time. I think it's more likely a rehab slogan that has taken root in AA.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:09 PM
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Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee. ~Montaigne
Nothing is worth more than this day. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
No matter where it comes from, I've found it invaluable, and way beyond terms of not just drinking.

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