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Old 10-15-2012, 03:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Does staying sober become normal?


Morning All, or afternoon depending on where you are!

I'm new to the sober lifestyle but so far so good. This Thursday I will be at 5 weeks. Not drinking is starting feel ok, I don't think about it much or look for it. I get the odd challenge here and there but overall I'm quite surprised at how I have adapted to the change. It helps being in a healthy environment at home where my wife hardly drinks at all and my kids remind me everyday why I should stay sober.

I notice there are posters on here who have been sober 1,2 or even 10 years. How does that feel? When you reach 2 years sober does it feel totally normal not to drink. Do you ever doubt yourself? Do you ever feel the urge to drink?

I used to smoke cigarettes and gave them up about 4 years ago. Every now and then I still get the urge to have a cigarette. It generally passes but if I'm in certain situation (which funny enough don't happen anymore!) like out with friends having a drink then I sometimes get tempted but I never give in. Is that what it's like to be long term sober? Do you still, now and then, get a craving?

Just wondering.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Congrats on your sober time. I'm so happy it is going well for you so far.

I will have 14 1/2 years of sobriety, and it feels like the norm. I don't know when it changed from being something I didn't do (not drinking) to just my normal life, but it was in the first few years. I struggled with cravings for awhile, so it didn't feel normal not to drink until those cravings were finally lifted. Now I rarely even notice if someone is drinking. Nor do I desire it

Every now and again there is a fleeting thought, but that is all it is. Fleeting, and I don't give it any more thought. I have never lost that fear of what alcohol did to me. I never want to feel that way again.

So the answer is yes, it just becomes normal not to drink. It doesn't require much thought
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sneeker
Congrats on your sober time. I'm so happy it is going well for you so far.

I will have 14 1/2 years of sobriety, and it feels like the norm. I don't know when it changed from being something I didn't do (not drinking) to just my normal life, but it was in the first few years. I struggled with cravings for awhile, so it didn't feel normal not to drink until those cravings were finally lifted. Now I rarely even notice if someone is drinking. Nor do I desire it

Every now and again there is a fleeting thought, but that is all it is. Fleeting, and I don't give it any more thought. I have never lost that fear of what alcohol did to me. I never want to feel that way again.

So the answer is yes, it just becomes normal not to drink. It doesn't require much thought
Thanks for that, kinda makes it all worthwhile.

Its always been a worry of mine that I'll feel like I'm constantly missing out but reading what said gives me a lot of hope. Thanks very much!
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I never feel like I'm missing out because I don't drink anymore. I know I can't drink socially. The tough times are usually when it is a social gathering of people I don't know well, but it is generally only the first few minutes that I feel awkward (and that's because I'm not a very social, chatty person by nature).
I always think (omg, if I were drinking I'd be a sobbing mess in the corner or dancing on tables). Never again. :-)
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The "missing out" thing goes away. I think I am still noticing changes at 16plus months. The sense of freedom is priceless. I am also far more able to handle "stress" (which used to send me back to the bottle).

It gets easier and it gets better.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm 6 months sober and I very rarely find a situation in which alcohol is being consumed difficult now. I would say this happened 2 months ago, perhaps more, so keep going - it will definitely be the norm soon.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The "missing out" thing goes away. I think I am still noticing changes at 16plus months. The sense of freedom is priceless. I am also far more able to handle "stress" (which used to send me back to the bottle).

It gets easier and it gets better.
That's interesting as it was stress that drove me to drink in the first place!

Its weird how the crutch we use to cope could actually be the cause of the underlying problem. I was drinking heavily because I could not cope with stress at work and I had depression. It was my way to escape and become numb for a few hours. My head now feels a lot clearer and my spirit in general has been lifted since I gave up the drink.

My biggest issue at the moment is having to explain why I'm not drinking. The two times it has come up so far I've not really had a negative response. I've managed to brush it off with comments such as 'Im giving it a rest for a while' or 'i'm on a health kick'. There will be times in the future where I will no doubt get the third degree from friends or relatives. I expect there will be some people who will just want to be nosey and pry into my private life. Not looking forward to having to justify myself at all. My reasons for giving up drinking are personal to me and I'm uncomfortable with being labelled by people. I have my over-bearing sister in law coming to visit this Saturday, I've already conjured up my "I'm on anti-biotic's chest infection excuse"!
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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At 14 months for me, Sneeker, it is much like what you described with you and cigarettes. It's not so much as a craving anymore, just a thought that disappears when I become aware of it and mindful of it. I see it for what it is and it's gone. I can say that weeks go by without a single one now.

I was sorely tested a few weeks ago, on a camping fishing trip - the same people, place and time of year where I first drank all day every day for a week, about 15 years ago. Eye openers before breakfast, rum all day, and wine with dinner and scotch till oblivion, for four days straight. That appeared as a craving and a strong one too. But I didn't drink, I couldn't really. Failing at sobriety now is out of the question.

Thoughts, memories, urges, cravings, they are all the same to me now. Empty of any force to make me do anything. I can only accept them without getting frantic or panicky. They disappear, and I remain. I will prevail because I may. Timshel.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I was sorely tested a few weeks ago, on a camping fishing trip - the same people, place and time of year where I first drank all day every day for a week, about 15 years ago. Eye openers before breakfast, rum all day, and wine with dinner and scotch till oblivion, for four days straight. That appeared as a craving and a strong one too. But I didn't drink, I couldn't really. Failing at sobriety now is out of the question.

.
Well done you, that must have been some test.

I can relate to those sort of weekends myself. Every year me and the boys go away to watch horse racing. Dont get me wrong we always had a blast but boy did we drink, pretty much non stop. I used to feel terrible for a whole week after.

I'm hoping I can suggest something different to my friends this year. Instead of watching sport I think we need to do sport! I'm quite looking forward to playing tennis or golf and then having a relaxing evening and decent nights sleep!
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneeker
There will be times in the future where I will no doubt get the third degree from friends or relatives. I expect there will be some people who will just want to be nosey and pry into my private life. Not looking forward to having to justify myself at all.
Sneeker, wrapped up in those thoughts are some beliefs of yours that might not be true. Unpack this and see if you can find out what they are. Do you believe that everyone cares about you drinking with them? Do you believe that people will react negatively to you not drinking? Do you believe that you have to justify your choice whether to drink? Are these beliefs true? What does it mean if these beliefs are not true?

I don't know if you have these beliefs or not, but even if you do, they aren't reason to drink. You know what to do simply because you have the power to choose.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The stress excuse was a big one for me too Sneeker and one that kind of resolved itself naturally for me. I used to have a stressful day and think 'I can't wait til I'm done so I can have a drink' whereas now the day is always less stressful in itself because I'm not constantly wishing the day away so I can drink, and when I am done I just feel like I can relax now, go watch tv, read... I feel so much more relaxed in general. Oh, and I am 7 months in. I don't really think about drinking that much and it does feel normal not to drink. The thought of drinking makes me feel ill. But I still get the odd left field thought about drinking. I am not sure if that will ever go away but as long as I don't act on it it's okay

I really struggled with what to tell people too. It's really is amazing how much that doesn't bother me anymore. Before I felt like I owed everyone an explanation, but it's just because I felt like I was having to justify not drinking to myself. The more I accept it the easier it becomes

You really are doing great Sneeker, well done on 5 weeks! And I hope your visit from the sister-in-law goes well x
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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When you reach 2 years sober does it feel totally normal not to drink.
I go through my days without the obsession to drink. Does that feel normal? No. What it feels like is a blessing, every day.

Two years sober won't make up for 35 years of drinking. But I haven't felt this "Normal" in years.

Five weeks is awesome. Stay the course. Work on your recovery. Don't slack off just because things feel "normal" and you'll be okay.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:52 AM   #13 (permalink)
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When you reach 2 years sober does it feel totally normal not to drink.

No, at 2 years it did not feel "totally" normal. But I drink for a lot of years, like nearly 40, so I was OK with that... At 4 years, I can say that it feels totally normal.

Do you ever doubt yourself?

No

Do you ever feel the urge to drink?

No. No urges. And lately, there are very few moments where I notice anything. Most of those are when I am around others who drink. Those moments pass quickly and painlessly.
So yea, sober becomes normal. Be patient, it happens. . Live for, and don't drink, just for today.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm coming up on three years and yes, it feels quite normal to not drink anymore. Normal and peaceful.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:21 AM   #15 (permalink)
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14 years here, and it has felt very normal not to drink for at least 13 of those years.

And really--think about it. We aren't masochists here. If it didn't get better, if life didn't improve, we wouldn't be here, we'd have gone back to drinking.

But life improves immeasurably, as you'll find too. Hang in there.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:26 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi sneeker Pipparina's response is how I feel too. Not sure when it happened, but at some point I stopped being sorry for myself - stopped feeling like I was missing out.

I remember the first few months obsessing over not drinking. It was on my mind all the time - I worried how I'd get through the holidays, how I'd face upsetting things, etc. The first year, with all the triggers a year can bring, was the hardest. Now it barely crosses my mind, and I can't believe I'm saying that. I once had it by my side at all times.

Glad you brought it up, and hope the answers are helping encourage you.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:38 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I don't know really when it shifted, but at almost 4 years sober I never think about it. The life I've built around my sobriety and recovery simply doesn't include anything having to do with my old life, and honestly it's become effortless at this point and probably for the past couple of years. Granted, I got pregnant, had a baby (who will be 3 next month) so there's that distraction.. but I love my life now and I feel very secure in my recovery all of the time.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:13 AM   #18 (permalink)
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3 yrs sober and it is normal. Differant life and sooooooo much better. I still have thoughts of alcohol but they are gone as soon as they arrive. I am still terrified of the way my life was and I hope I never forget that. Still go to a lot of AA meetings and work with others. As someone else said, if it was not a lot better why would we do it?
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for all reply's, really inspiring stuff.

Lots of the words written make so much sense and give a great deal of hope. I guess the resounding comment has to be" If it didn't get better, if life didn't improve, we wouldn't be here, we'd have gone back to drinking". So true.

I feel quite liberated at the moment. The other night I was planning a night out to a restaurant with a friend. It suddenly struck me that I could drive and did not have to arrange a taxi or look for bus times! The night out only cost me 15 because firstly I only drank diet coke and secondly I did not have to pay for a taxi home! It was also nice to able to go home when I wanted and for a change I got home at a reasonable hour. I had a great night and I woke up in the morning without a hangover. This same night 2 months ago would have been so different.

There is definitely a feeling of calm around me at the moment, almost spiritual.

Thanks again for all your comments, they really help!
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:13 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Yes! The relief you'll feel from the 'burden' of keeping up a drinking lifestyle will be huge. You're doing great.
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