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Old 10-26-2011, 03:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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De-Lurking to Post an Update, and Some Words for Newcomers: Seven Months Next Week


Hi All-
I don't know if some of you remember me, but I was posting here fairly frequently when I was in my first month of "I've had enough, enough, but secretly deep down I'm not sure."
I'm happy to say that, so far, enough has proved enough.
I will be seven months sober on November 3/4, though I have stopped counting as obsessively as before. I remember the anniversary quietly at the beginning of every month, and then I go about my business as usual, which is of course entirely unusual for me, being sober.
I would like to say that it's been immensely helpful reading everyone's posts, veterans and newcomers alike, and I have learned a lot from them. I think I wasn't posting because, after the initial need to confess and unburden, I felt like I needed to be quiet, to just listen, and listen well. Clearly I had been doing too much talking and not enough listening in my drunk life, and I wanted that to change, if only symbolically.
It took me about three months, almost four, to start feeling "normal" again, so PAWS sufferers, take heart: it DOES end. Many people here point out that we destroyed our bodies for so long we have to give them enough time to heal, and I must say I totally agree. It took me that long to start sleeping normally, to wake up refreshed as opposed to tired, to not feel by 4 pm that I was ready for bed again, to no longer feel I was dragging myself through the days, to have my thoughts and memory return to normal, to lessen the anxiety, and to truly feel that this was (is) now the rest of my life. A sober life.
I still get tempted, though temptation is perhaps too strong a word. I can observe the desire to drink from a more or less dispassionate distance, but I just let it be. Rather than white-knuckle through the temptations, I go there, I go all the way. I think, ok, you want to pick up that drink? Do it. Pick it up in your head. Down it. Are you going to stop there? No, you're not. Down that next one, and the next. Are you done yet? Not by a long shot. Speaking of which, knock that shot back. Take the next one offered. And the next. And the next. Finish the drinks of other people on the table when they're not looking. Laugh it off when they complain. Doesn't matter what they're drinking, as long as it's alcohol. Do you still remember your name? What you have to do tomorrow? Where are you waking up? How did you get home, if indeed you are home? How do you feel? How fast is your heart racing? How much are your hands trembling? What did you say and do last night? Now that you've gone all the way in your head, do you still want to pick up that first drink? Didn't think so...
That admission of powerlessness continues to be the most powerful thing for me. I accept it so totally that I simply go with the fear when it arises, rather than fighting it. I work with myself, rather than against myself. I am paraphrasing, but I think often of a Buddhist quote that goes something like: be like the reed that bends with the river, and not like the twig that breaks in the current. That is my definition of letting go of the fear, of accepting powerlessness against alcohol: stay rooted in the knowledge, and all will be well. The fear is like the river, let the river wash over you; you will not be swept away.
As it is obvious to those who work the program, I have learned some things from AA. I don't go regularly, but I go to meetings on occasion, maybe once a month, though far more often in my first days of sobriety, and I listen. I listen only to hear that life afterwards is not only possible, but far more fulfilling, even with all its regular ups and downs.
I listen to know I am not unique, and I listen to stay humbled.
I pick and choose my methods to stay sober, and I try to learn what I can from where I can. I am unique in that a very particular combination of things work for me, just like for each and every one of us, but I am the same as every alcoholic in that I just can't pick up that first drink.
I think the hardest thing to learn, and what I am still learning, learning by doing, (or rather not doing, that is, NOT picking up the first drink), is that I am worth saving. I am worth it, you are worth it, our lives are worth saving. In small and daily ways, they are worth saving, and more miraculous still, they are possible to save.
I read, I write, I listen. I remember the woman who was me, who is me, who woke up bruised and shaking every morning and I feel only compassion and gratitude for her. Thank you for bringing me here, I think, to this sober, quiet place. And because you brought me, I will continue to save your life every day.
I am very open about being an alcoholic, when people insist on asking why I don't drink. I feel no shame when I say the word. It is what it is. And admitting it is a good way to shut the rude ones up. But sometimes, and more often than I can tell you, I get a moment of silence, and then a question, in a small voice: "How do you know for sure? Because I think I might be one too..."
And then I say: "Every one has to come to it on their own, but this is my story..."
Anyway, I just wanted to post an update. This is an ongoing journey, but all your stories have helped and continue to help me more than I can say. The ever-vigilant veterans. The scared and hopeless-hopeful newcomers. We are all markers on this same path, and as I continue to walk it, I look back and am helped, I look forward and am heartened, and I know that as I walk it alone, a huge flood of people also walks it in their own way, at their own pace, beside me.
So thanks to all of you who believe their lives are worth saving. The belief alone is enough to strengthen us all.
Love,
Zini
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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congratulations Zini - I really enjoy 'seeing' people again....
I found myself nodding to your post - sounds like you're doing well!

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Old 10-26-2011, 06:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi zini~congratulations on your sobriety I love what you said about the full admittance of powerlessness. That admission is/was the most instrumental aspect of me getting/staying sober. In the past attempts, even lengthy ones, I held out hope that I would drink again one day. Now that I'm past that, life is much better. Thank you for your post!
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm glad you're doing well.
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, Zini, you write very well. That was all truth, all of it. God Bless.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow. That was very inspiring. Thank you for writing!

Some of what you talk about, remembering how you were and how you are now. Reminds me of the times that I've kicked the addiction temporarily for longer than a few months.
It's almost like an awakening. Thank you for reminding me what I'm fighting for!
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Congrats, zini! Beautifully written!
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Such concepts put into moving words, that I had to log in just to say thank you for writing this. You're entire post touched me deeply - but something that really resonated for me was taking that first drink all the way through...I mean, I know we say that...play the tape, what happens tomorrow...but, the way you wrote out each drink in your post, really made that concept come alive in vivid, if not horrifying color. Which is exactly what I need.
Truly - thank you, and congratuations.

Wishing you continued peace -
HS
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you.

For this (yeah, that was me too - now I'm seven and a half months sober and so grateful):
I still get tempted, though temptation is perhaps too strong a word. I can observe the desire to drink from a more or less dispassionate distance, but I just let it be. Rather than white-knuckle through the temptations, I go there, I go all the way. I think, ok, you want to pick up that drink? Do it. Pick it up in your head. Down it. Are you going to stop there? No, you're not. Down that next one, and the next. Are you done yet? Not by a long shot. Speaking of which, knock that shot back. Take the next one offered. And the next. And the next. Finish the drinks of other people on the table when they're not looking. Laugh it off when they complain. Doesn't matter what they're drinking, as long as it's alcohol. Do you still remember your name? What you have to do tomorrow? Where are you waking up? How did you get home, if indeed you are home? How do you feel? How fast is your heart racing? How much are your hands trembling? What did you say and do last night? Now that you've gone all the way in your head, do you still want to pick up that first drink? Didn't think so...
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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powerful stuff!

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Zini!!! Thank you so much for that post.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thank you zini - for taking the time to express your feelings so beautifully, for others to benefit from. I'm so proud & happy you have almost 7 mos. Hoping to hear from you on a regular basis!
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Zini - Very powerful and inspiring. I am new to this forum, I have not yet started quitting, and this is the first post I read. Thank you for an incredible perspective.
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Great post Zini! You rock!

Wonderfully written and very inspiring!
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