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Old 06-13-2011, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Day 9


Hi everyone,

Today is my Day 9. I made it through the weekend without drinking, for which I was proud of myself but which actually wasn't very hard. I went to my friend's farm on Friday night and spent a very relaxing Saturday just reading and tanning outside. On Saturday night I watched a movie with another friend.

I didn't have the opportunity to come on here because of the lack of an Internet connection and time, and I also didn't have time to go to AA meetings. However I talked on the phone once each day to two different women I had met through AA and that was very helpful. One of my conversations lasted for over an hour (I had been heading to a meeting but got so wrapped up in the conversation that I did that instead of the meeting!) and was very helpful, I could really relate to the woman, who has been sober for 8 years but who had gotten into a lot of trouble with alcohol before she quit.

I think my overwhelming struggle right now is wondering if I am in fact an alcoholic or if I just need to be conscious of my tendency to cope with problems by drinking and be careful not to over-indulge. I want to be able to drink like a normal person and I'm not sure if I can or not. I'm afraid to death to try, then go hog wild and have that be the time I get a DUI or something... and then I'd look back and think, "Wow, if only I hadn't allowed myself that one more time."

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with whether I'm an alcoholic or not. Overall I have actually enjoyed this time of not drinking and the benefits have far outweighed the drawbacks. I have lost weight, I feel better physically, I have been a lot more productive and focused and I feel like my self-esteem has improved. Emotionally and mentally it's been a rollercoaster but overall I feel more at peace. So I ask myself, why not just never drink even if I don't label myself as an alcoholic? I guess because I would really like to be "normal." I don't want to be obsessed with not drinking or with AA any more than I'm obsessed with drinking. To me that is still letting alcohol control my life. What I like about AA is the opportunity to meet people who don't drink. But I feel that if I were to get all into it and do all the steps etc. it would be a huge part of my life just like drinking was and I just want to focus on having the kind of life that I want and making my life go in that direction... and really I don't want to have to attend meetings every day etc. Yet when I read the stories in the book I can relate to many of them and I know that if I have this problem I need to focus on fixing it. I just don't want to be obsessed. It starts to depress me and make me anxious just as drinking did!!! I don't know if I'm making sense but these are my thoughts today.

I have something big for work at 2 so I'm not going to AA over lunch but am going to try to go after work to a women's meeting near where I live that both of the women told me is a great group. I'm nervous for the thing at work and am glad I'm clear-headed and focused instead of hunover or drinking a bloody mary right now or something.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have meet some wonderful sober people through AA. Although I have a different recovery plan than they do, we still share a lot in common. And these people are good friends. We respect the right to find recovery that has the most meaning to each other. I think that what a good friend is about (unlike my drinking friends), mutual respect and concern for each others well being.

So good job on day 9 Pigtails . It is good to be sober and not have to get in situations that are baffling and harmful, always wishing they didn't happen. Sobriety keeps me in my better mind, knowing I don't have make the same old stupid mistakes I did when I was loaded.
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks ZenCat.

Argh. Today I feel agitated, irritable, angry... at myself and at everything. I don't know why I feel like this but I hate it. I have felt like it at other points in these last 9 days but today it is persistent.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey pigtails!!! Happy Day 9 to US!

Good job on the weekend. My weekend went pretty well too - I didn't really have too much of an urge to drink - but my husband was here and that makes it easier since I always had to control it when he was around. Now, he is gone again for the week. The day has been fine but for some reason I feel a bit of anxiety regarding the week ahead.

I'm sorry you aren't feeling well today - but hey, it's a Monday. Lots of mondays go like this. Probably more of them being hungover - but a Monday is a Monday...

Sometimes it creeps back into my head too - maybe I'm ok, maybe I can just drink on the weekends with my husband around and not drink when he is gone. And then I do know that I am fooling myself. When I was getting hammered all by myself all day and night I was obsessing about my drinking while I had a drink in my hand. I was nervous about my health and taking another drink. I don't think clearly with that stuff in my system. If I'm not getting drunk, there is really no point for me to drink (that's my thought process).

I wish I was "normal" too - but I'm not. I can't just have 1 drink. I can't switch to water after I've had a few too many. I can't have a half bottle of anything in the house without being tempted and ultimately giving in at any time of day and drinking it. I just can't. That's the way it goes, I guess. If I could be normal I wouldn't be worried about how much damage I have done to my liver already.

I'm here with ya. I hope your meeting goes well. Stay strong and try not to worry so much about what you are - and live in the moment and embrace how good you feel. (I'm trying to do the same thing!) GO DAY 9!
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi pigtails

Try and not get too far down the road...from what I'm reading here, a lot of your concerns about AA and recovery seem to be things that might happen.

I spent a little time thinking about not drinking. I think that's normal. It's the flip side of thinking about drinking....

but most of us I think get over that initial phase and then move on to rebuilding our lives as sober folk - my focus hasn't been on drinking, or not drinking, for a long time - anymore than my daily focus is on breathing

I think a lot of us wanted to drink like a normal person - and I know personally that dream dies hard.

But I've gotten some amazing gifts out of the simple acceptance that alcohol has no place in my life. When I look at what I've gained now, not drinking is no real 'loss' to me

D
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks ZenCat.

Argh. Today I feel agitated, irritable, angry... at myself and at everything. I don't know why I feel like this but I hate it. I have felt like it at other points in these last 9 days but today it is persistent.
Day 9 from having that good but ultimate disaster of a mood regulator...alcohol...can leave, as it has happened to me under such circumstances...RAW.

But how did I learn to manage my moods sober...that is practice new ways of thinking/acting with having raw, unregulated, out to get somebody in a bad way (usually me BTW) out of my freaking mind emotions...Recovery Plan.

Yep...recovery plan. Molding a new sober, calm, reasonable, fair minded...Did I mention calmer, mood regulating wiser not a miser me.

So do the work...find, learn, manifest...a whole
set of abilities that bring you peace and comfort as you post and share your journey with me and others here at SR.

You have the born inherent ability to make your life as you see fit...be it good or bad. I have found such to be exceedingly true for me.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Pigtails: So I ask myself, why not just never drink even if I don't label myself as an alcoholic? I guess because I would really like to be "normal."

I have learned that I can't fix a problem that I don't acknowledge that I have. For me, accepting that I am an alcoholic was the first step in dealing with it. If I were to think of myself as "normal" and as a "non-drinker", my mind would latch on to the "normal" part and forget completely about the "non-drinker" part. After a period of abstinence, my mind would tell me, "You haven't had a drink in x amount of time. Surely you can have just one. A long period of abstinence should entitle you to drink like a normal person." And I would believe my mind. Not good. We all know where that would take me.



Pigtails: I don't want to be obsessed with not drinking or with AA any more than I'm obsessed with drinking. To me that is still letting alcohol control my life.

Who says that being in recovery means obsessing about not drinking or obsessing about AA? Who says that being in recovery means that alcohol is still controlling one's life?

The gift of working the steps and having a spiritual awakening as a result has been complete freedom from my obsession around alcohol and around drinking. I am not fighting it. I am not avoiding temptation. I have not sworn off. I literally have been placed in a position of neutrality -- safe and protected. The problem has been removed. Sanity has been returned. I do not want to drink. I am free. Look at the bottom of p. 84 and the top of p. 85 in the Big Book. These promises are real.


What I like about AA is the opportunity to meet people who don't drink. But I feel that if I were to get all into it and do all the steps etc. it would be a huge part of my life just like drinking was and I just want to focus on having the kind of life that I want and making my life go in that direction... and really I don't want to have to attend meetings every day etc.

So what is your track record on having the kind of life that you want and making your life go in that direction? How well are you managing your own life? Do you think simply not drinking is going to make your life manageable again? Do you think you can stop drinking and stay stopped drinking on your own?

Your experiment in controlled drinking didn't turn out so well, if I recall correctly. Maybe you would consider an experiement with abstinence. On the top of page 34, the Big Book describes the challenge. Can you leave alcohol alone for one year?

I am not judging you, Pigtails, really I am not. I had to try controlled drinking because I didn't believe the folks in AA. I "passed" the initial test for controlled drinking and then I let go of all efforts or attempts at control. Basically I decided I wasn't alcoholic. Once I gave up trying to control my drinking, that was the point at which I lost all control. I quickly became a daily drinker (to excess) with weekend binges (really excessive).

Then I thought I could just not drink on my own on the basis of self-knowlege and willpower -- no AA, no steps, no Higher Power. Again I didn't believe the folks in AA. I figured that I knew better than they did. My experiment in abstinence lasted about nine months. I did not drink (by all rights I should have) but I became so miserable from not drinking that suicide began to look like a viable option to me. I was suffering from untreated alcoholism. That was no way to live.

I went back to AA and I worked the steps as if my life depended upon them. It did. As I look back, I probably needed to try both controlled drinking and abstinence, and have both of those experiences fail badly, before I would have been willing to accept direction and do the work entailed in the steps. Now that I am on the other side, so to speak, I can't understand why I fought and resisted AA, the steps, etc.

If I were to look at it from a pure cost-benefit analysis, I am more than compensated for a relatively minimal commitment of time, effort and energy in comparison to the gifts and blessings AA has given me. Initially, I didn't want any of it. Now I am sold. I want everything AA has to offer me. Honestly, it never occurred to me that I might not know what I would really like, want, find of value, etc.

By the way, I don't go to a meeting every day. I have been averaging 3-4 meetings per week. I look forward to meeting nights. I wouldn't miss them for the world.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Okay. Thanks everyone. The thing for work went pretty well and then I was talking to a colleague I ran into... he is older than me and in my same profession and he was basically saying the world is my oyster. That being young (at 30 I don't feel "young" but this is compared to his 48) and single and not having any mouths to feed (he has a 9 year old daughter) means I can live anywhere and do anything I want... he was encouraging me to look into moving back East where I'm from and I've been thinking about it but it seems like a daunting task... he says this is the time to do it. Anyway it cheered me up to realize I really can make anything out of my life that I want. I almost married the wrong person for me and I'm so glad I didn't, I handled a lot of things badly with alcohol and dishonesty and other bad coping methods but at least I got out and I am free to do whatever I want, I just have to figure out what that is and apply myself. (My ex is a good person and we have a good friendship now so I'm not trying to slight him- just saying I almost married him which would have been a disaster because we are not right for each other).

I don't know if this is a "good" or "bad" time to address my alcohol issues (I guess there's never a bad time right :-/) because I was in the middle of assessing my whole life and making some positive changes and trying to figure out what I really wanted to do and go for it. Right now I just want to be happy with my own life in the here and now while exploring my options and then eventually put a plan into place and execute it. It feels overwhelming to do be doing this and not drinking, which I'm so used to... but then again perhaps I can never have the life I want (whatever that is...) if I don't address the drinking issue.

Wow I'm all over the place, sorry to ramble. Sometimes I seriously wonder if I'm bipolar or something. I feel down down down and then up up up. Right now I feel up and that's a good thing but boy do I not want to crash again. :-/

Dee I like what you said about taking it one day at a time and not looking too far into the future... that's really what has been getting me through all these days not drinking. I just have to remember to stay focused on that.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Who says that being in recovery means obsessing about not drinking or obsessing about AA? Who says that being in recovery means that alcohol is still controlling one's life?
I know that it probably isn't supposed to be like this but for me right now it is. I think I am an obsessive thought type person and it is driving me crazy. I would like to let go of it but I don't know how.

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Your experiment in controlled drinking didn't turn out so well, if I recall correctly.
Right and that's when I decided this problem is big and I need to stop drinking. Although I got very confused this weekend when I was talking to my friend at her farm. She is my one responsible healthy happy friend out here and I thought that if anyone would think it's a good thing I stop drinking, it would be her. Instead she said she doesn't think I'm an alcoholic or that I need to stop drinking. She said I have been going through a stage because I am "recently" single (I pointed out to her that I broke off my engagement nearly a year ago and if this is a "stage" then it's sure time to get out of it) and that these things change with time and circumstances. She said I'm young and should enjoy my early 30's instead of being so hard on myself and forcing myself to make huge changes. I was with her when I had the binge night and maybe she feels guilty or something, I don't know, but she said she sees why I drank more than usual that night... because she doesn't go out with me often and that night she wanted to get drunk and that is a rare thing. She's right about that and it's exactly why I drank with her but then again I guess I could always find an excuse to over-drink... someone's birthday or someone comes out that usually doesn't, etc. I should still be able to stick to my limits if that's the case. Although honestly if I had known she wanted to go out and drink I would have told myself I will start my limit the next day... maybe that's bad but she's right that it's rare that she wants to go out.

I don't know, I'm just exhausted from thinking about it. I don't know how I can feel happy and miserable at the same time. This is the strangest thing that's ever happened to me!!! I don't know what to think. I appreciate your thoughts and thanks for sharing with me.
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I just want to be happy with my own life in the here and now while exploring my options and then eventually put a plan into place and execute it. It feels overwhelming to do be doing this and not drinking, which I'm so used to... but then again perhaps I can never have the life I want (whatever that is...) if I don't address the drinking issue.
That's not usual in the real word...or at least as I have experienced it. Everything is not either or OR. Its a blend of what is real (for me) and what I want to be real.

Its not uncommon from my involvement with active drinkers to see that at some level drinking still serves a function for them. I don't usually associated with the all or nothing bunch. I have in the past...but those that I have known are willing to drink themselves to death...and despite my best efforts to help them...they do...or they clean up on their own.

I personally think its way cool that your looking into some of the possibilities that you may not have considered until you joined SR... at the...I feel the elevated level you have put into this sight...your recovery journey if you will
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Pigtails: Although I got very confused this weekend when I was talking to my friend at her farm. She is my one responsible healthy happy friend out here and I thought that if anyone would think it's a good thing I stop drinking, it would be her. Instead she said she doesn't think I'm an alcoholic or that I need to stop drinking. She said I have been going through a stage because I am "recently" single (I pointed out to her that I broke off my engagement nearly a year ago and if this is a "stage" then it's sure time to get out of it) and that these things change with time and circumstances.


Did you ask your one happy healthy responsible friend how she defines alcoholism? People have a ton of misconceptions as to what it means to be alcoholic. The typical stereotype is the homeless guy, living under the bridge, with a cheap bottle of wine wrapped in a brown paper bag. And that certainly is one face of alcoholism. But it is more likely than not the high powered driven successful lawyer who drives a Mercedes and lives in an exclusive gated community. That too is a face of alcoholism.

If you want to learn how to make home-made authentic Italian pasta, who would you ask to show you how? An Italian grandmother who immigrated to the US from the old country would probably be a good bet. If you wanted to learn auto repair, who would you ask to show you how? Classes at the local JVC on auto repair would probabaly be a good bet. If you want to learn about alcoholism and what it means to be an alcoholic, where would you go to get information? I say ask the experts at Alcoholics Anonymous.

What you might consider doing, Pigtails, since the question as to whether you are alcoholic or not is driving you nuts is to get a professional assessment/evaluation done.

Call up some local treatment centers and/or some therapists who specialize in chemical dependency/alcoholism/addiction. Make an appointment for an assessment. Sit down, talk with the therapist, be completely 100% honest about your drinking, amount, patterns, thinking, blackouts, attempts at controlled drinking, negative consequences, etc. Answer whatever questions he or she asks of you. And I do mean be honest. One way or another, you will have an answer. You won't have to obsess anymore.
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wow...its not that much of a mind warp...or is it?

Here... in the interlude there is a video that may put ones MIND to ease....it works for me

Deep breaths...you are on the way to a much better life...NOW

At all cost keep up with your involvement here at SR...because you have helped me stay clean/sober for another blessed day.

Thank You Pigtails...you are an inspiration to me .
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I could always find a friend to compare myself to, or find one who'd tell me I didn't drink that much, going through a phase etc.

I literally had friends, good friends, tell me things like that when I was an all day everyday drinker, and had been for several years....

Only you can really decide where exactly you are, pigtails - noone else can really know the ins and outs of your life, or the ins and outs of the way you I or anyone else drinks - in the end it's what you believe that counts.

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Old 06-13-2011, 10:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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in the end it's what you believe that counts.
D
Exactly. We can gather opinions from close friends and well paid doctors. Won't really matter much.

A friend of mine was talking to me once after 'I' decided I had learned enough from AA and could drink again, while I was telling her how 'well' it was going being a casual drinker, and her response was very simple - 'but how do you feel on the inside?'

Back then, I didn't quite get that. I was still blocking the true me out with alcohol and trying my best to control it and create divergences to avoid it. Now I can absolutely understand what she meant by that one simple question. The thing is, no matter how sincerely or deeply she felt about 'her' sobriety, the only person that could make me want to feel good inside for me was me.

Congrats on day 9, you're doing good. All this questioning you're going through is normal, best advice I can offer you is while you're working on finding your own truth stay focused on your recovery. If you want a refund of your old life back, it'll still be there tomorrow, next week etc. but giving up your sobriety and getting it back tends to be a more difficult battle...
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I could always find a friend to compare myself to, or find one who'd tell me I didn't drink that much, going through a phase etc.

I literally had friends, good friends, tell me things like that when I was an all day everyday drinker, and had been for several years....

Only you can really decide where exactly you are, pigtails - noone else can really know the ins and outs of your life, or the ins and outs of the way you I or anyone else drinks - in the end it's what you believe that counts.

D
Thanks. This is true. She doesn't often drink with me so she wouldn't be the one to know. And as Susan says she's not an alcoholic so maybe she wouldn't understand.

She does know me well though and knows that I have the tendency to be really hard on myself and over-analyze everything. I think she thinks I'm just over-reacting.

I don't know anyone who says I'm an alcoholic... my ex fiance says maybe I am and if so then he is too... and I know it is only for me to decide and that's what's driving me crazy. My sister knows me better than anyone in the world and she is a lot like me and she says it's a matter of control, that both of us have the tendency to be all or nothing extreme and we need to just think before we make decisions and make sure we're making healthy ones. She also told me I need to stop analyzing everything and shut my brain off and stop obsessing... I said I would love to but how do I DO that? She said just stop thinking so much and just be myself. That was really helpful advice for me and I've been trying to follow it although it's easier said than done.

I like the idea of getting a professional assessment Susan. My own therapist said she doesn't think I'm an alcoholic but then again I don't think she's an alcohol specialist.

I had a really rough day yesterday, my brain was driving me crazy as you all know and I wanted to just hide in a cave or something. I was sick of thinking about the issue. I went to an AA meeting after work mainly because a friend I had made at a different meeting texted me to invite me to this one. It was a woman's only meeting and there were a lot of women there, it was the biggest meeting I had been to, and I was glad I didn't have to talk. I just didn't feel like being there. I'm just trying to be honest. It felt like a cult with their sayings and rituals and they said some prayer at the end that I had never heard of. It was the first time I felt out of place at a meeting, all the other meetings I have really liked. Maybe my brain was just rebelling against it, I don't know. I really don't know what's going on and am just trying to put this all out there.

I really felt like, screw this, I want a normal life and I can drink. But I didn't, I went running with my dog even though I really didn't feel like it. This morning I woke up very early (I am so not a morning person) and met my good friend and we ran 3 miles and I was so proud of myself. I feel like that alone is a good reason not to drink at night... so I can get up early and get my day going. I had a lot of energy and ran fast and felt good. I took my car for a car wash which I don't think I've ever done before, ha ha... my ex fiance always used to do it or my dad when he's in town visiting me. I have a lunch meeting with my good friend and a woman she knows who owns her own business in the career field I'm in and that I enjoy, but she's having a baby and may need someone to take it over temporarily or some sort of arrangement like that... this is part of the new plan I was making for myself, to go into business for myself either where I live or back home where my family lives. I think part of my problem is I'm feeling so overwhelmed... I just moved to a new place to save money, my dog is recovering from major surgery after a bad acccident and at first they thought she wasn't going to make it and it's a lot of work, I've been looking into starting my own business... it's just a lot. It feels hard to obsess over alcohol and do all of this so that's why I'm trying hard not to obsess about it.

I just want to be normal and happy, I really don't know why that's so hard for me. I am back to feeling overall happy, and hopeful that my life is perking up. :-) I don't have all the answers but I'm enjoying the moments and trying to let go of my obsessive thoughts. Thanks everyone for the help. This is my day 10, I'm finally in the double digits, and it really wasn't super hard until yesterday.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:47 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Pigtails, One thing at a time. One day at a time. You do not have to solve all your life and life challenges in a single day. If you don't have an answer this very moment, then live with the question. Just do what is in front of you to do for today. I know for me that a "bad day" can color how I think and feel. Actually, you probably did not have a bad day the entire day. You probably had a good day with "bad moments". Today is a brand new day. It is a blank page to write upon anything you wish. Susan
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Pigtails, One thing at a time. One day at a time. You do not have to solve all your life and life challenges in a single day. If you don't have an answer this very moment, then live with the question. Just do what is in front of you to do for today. I know for me that a "bad day" can color how I think and feel. Actually, you probably did not have a bad day the entire day. You probably had a good day with "bad moments". Today is a brand new day. It is a blank page to write upon anything you wish. Susan
Thank you.

I am having big ups and downs. Sometimes things feel great and other times they feel hopeless. I don't get it. I do know that drinking won't make anything better and will in fact make things worse. That is the biggest thing I've learned so far.

The lady I had lunch with was so nice. Like the colleague I talked to yesterday, she kept basically saying the world is my oyster. She said I have so many options and I'm wise to be exploring them all and asking questions before I just quit my current job and start out on my own (like she is out on her own)... but that if I do want to go out on my own I will do great. She said that with the money I've saved up and my business plan I will do fine either here or back home. Yeah I don't know anyone in my industry back home but she said I have a "warm personality" which is probably why I've never had a problem getting hired in the past, and that I can network with others there in my field and find people to refer me clients and help me if I get stuck on something etc. And that if I want to go out on my own here to let her know and she will give me referrals and help me, and I can work with a guy she's giving her cases to while she's on maternity leave.

I just feel like, wow. Everyone thinks I'm this amazing person and I've got it all together. Well sometimes... like right after the meeting ha ha... I feel like I am, and other times I feel like, my life stinks, it's all pointless. I don't know why that happens. Why can't I see myself like everyone else does? I know I have a lot going for me if I just apply myself. But then I don't. I'm so weird.
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Hi Again,
You were asking about how to stop obsessing, this should just be temporary, I hope. I felt that way at first too, obsessing about not drinking, work, AA meetings, etc. It is overwhelming. I also had a lot of "drinking dreams" too, which can be freaky and scary. Usually they are bad and I wake up and I am re-affirmed why I had to stop.

Funny thing I wanted to share with you is that lately I have caught myself saying this a lot "well, I'm not really going to worry about it" and I don't. I used to worry about EVERYTHING. I am not sure what is happening, but I like it. I have heard a lot of the women in my AA meetings say they "feel really wierd" and I do too. I think it's because being sober, happy, and peaceful is so foreign to us.

For me being sober has brought an equilibrium to my life, a far cry from the extreme ups and downs when I drank. I have realized that I always let external things and people dictate how I felt. Now I seem to be able to just go with the flow and I don't worry about what other people are doing or saying so much. It's nice to actually be in true control of myself.

I used to think I could drink like a "normal" person again too once I had a few months of sobriety under my belt, but all it did was lead me back to hell. I hope you can find a group that makes you feel comfortable and gives you strength to stay sober.
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