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Old 12-20-2012, 01:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Need advice!


Hi all,

First of all I would like to say that I am glad I have found this website. First, a little about myself and my addiction.

I am currently a 21 year old fraternity man and college student at CU Boulder. It was recently ranked as the number 1 party school in the country. I am a finance major with a bright future, but alcohol began to take over my life when I turned 18.

There is a fine line between drinking like a normal college student and having a drinking problem, and it was no question which category I fit into.

I never drank in high school, so going into college, the demon hadn't been awakened. My mother and father are both casual drinkers. A glass of wine with dinner or a martini here or there.

Unfortunately, I am not able to drink like that. I began to realize this almost immediately. Without fail, every time I drank, I drank until I was the drunkest person at the party and then some. It began as a thing I only did on the weekends, but it quickly progressed to every night in order to go to sleep. From the beginning of my sophomore year to the end of my junior year, I was getting drunk every single night, with no exceptions, almost exclusively by myself. I would drink straight from a bottle of vodka, and would often finish a fifth by myself on any given night. I was making myself sick, but I couldn't stop. I began to drink in the mornings in order to steady the shakes and counter the miserable, miserable hangovers. I'm sure many of you know how the story goes.

My health got so bad that I knew I had to quit, and I did. Cold turkey. The withdrawal was mild but unpleasant nonetheless. I have been sober since June of this year. (6 months)

Now I am finding that I can no longer connect with any of my old friends and fraternity brothers. I am surrounded by heavy drinkers who simply do not understand what it is like to suffer from this addiction. I have an amazing girlfriend whom I love very much, and someday intend to marry. She has been incredibly supportive of my sobriety, but the problem is that she doesn't understand. She doesn't get why I cannot go to parties with her, or hang out with her friends when she has wine nights with them. I've tried to explain it, but she simply does not understand. It makes me feel like a recluse because I used to be the life of the party every weekend, and now I find that the only passtime I have on the weekend anymore is staying in my room to watch movies. I cannot handle being surrounded by alcohol at parties or even in my own house. HELP! I feel like I am slowly losing everyone in my life because I have decided to better myself and get sober, and they interpret it as me being boring. Any suggestions for surviving what's left of my senior year without relapsing or losing my friends?

Any advice on how to deal with my girlfriend's 21st birthday that is swiftly approaching? While she's not a big drinker, all of her friends are, and they talk about their plans to go to the bars when they turn 21 every weekend. I'm worried she will begin to find me boring because I can't go with her and that I will lose her. She's really the only person I feel connected to anymore and I don't expect her to abandon her friends or miss out on fun times on my account. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is an alcoholic like me.

Scared and Struggling,

J
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey hey, firstly may I say CONGRATS on being sober. You should feel totally chuffed
Secondly, please don't start drinking again in order to "fit in" or "be more fun".
You know you can't be a normal drinker, and trust me when I say that drinking does not make you more fun or more popular with your mates. It leads to a world of anxiety, angst, shame, disgust and in all probability you will eventually lose the ones you love (even if temporarily) and you will lose yourself.
I drink thinking I will be boring if I stopped... It's a stupid way to think. I wish I could say I was clean and sober
Maybe you need to buckle down and do your final year getting awesome exam results rather than worry about the frat parties.
Whatever you do, stay on the clean and sober path and be proud of it xx
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ohh and your friends that look down on you for not drinking are not true friends.... Unless they don't know the trauma that drinking causes you. If they don't know, you should really hone it in to them. If they do know, then you need to find better mates. Friends that don't expect you to spiral out of control.
Just my opinion
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sounds like me 25 years ago. I chose to keep on drinking back then. Eventually, the life of the party becomes a lonely party. All those friends will start to go their own way and most will drastically cut back on drinking once college is finished. By continuing to drink, I still became lonely, miserable, and with declining health - everything I knew I could avoid by stopping drinking. Some times when I fee down about sobriety, I go to Wikipedia and look up the List of Teetotalers which is a long list of people who have achieved great things in their life and are sober. Moreover, many are sober simply because they want to be sober. There are many sober people out there, but it can be uncomfortable during the time we realign with them.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It's great you stopped when you decided to. What is concerning is the withdrawal from your social life out of fear that you will drink if you're around people who drink.

Realizing you can be comfortable anywhere without alcohol is best acheived by experiencing a truth that you're doubting. That you don't have to make yourself sick in the process of having fun. It's not even related to having fun, for us drinking is directly related to feeling miserable. You've removed from your life a bar that prevented you from enjoying yourself and your friends and can now do that.

If your understanding of your condition is solid, then drinking in any situation is every bit as likely as you swallowing shards of glass in order to make the evening really great.
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh I remember those days...I went to LSU, talk about a party school and the legal drinking age was 18 back then.

I wish I was you and had pulled myself out of it. You are doing the right thing.

Maybe head to the rec center, find some ski buddies, hit a coffee shop? The frat house is a dangerous place for a drunk. There are lots of people around campus who aren't drinking, maybe try getting out of the frat house and looking for them around campus?

It could help the loneliness!
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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HEy guys,

Thank you all for the responses.

I should have clarified that I no longer live in a fraternity house. I moved into a house with a few of my best friends, as I am a senior. They haven't changed much though. They all still drink 4-5 nights a week.

The problem that I have is that I've tried many, many times to go out and do the things I would normally have done. I have been sober a long time, and it hasn't gotten any easier. I find myself getting butterflies and major anxiety at parties because all I can do is stare at the shots or the glasses of wine or the red solo cups filled with keg beer and think about how much I just want to have one drink. It becomes so unbearably uncomfortable that I have to leave most of the time.

Not to mention the fact that I am always the only sober person there. Being sober surrounded by drunk idiots, while motivation in its own sense, just makes me feel isolated. I guess I'm not quite at the point yet where I can be comfortable in those situations.

I eat extremely healthy and quite a lot. I replaced my alcohol addiction with a gym addition. I go to the gym and lift weights every day. I look and feel great. Just yesterday I bench pressed 345 lbs for the first time. I've always been an athlete, and most of the time I use the excuse "No I can't drink tonight I have to go to the gym early tomorrow".

How did some of you other sober folks learn to be surrounded by alcohol without freaking out?
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Try out a young persons AA meeting. It is time to start making new friends instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole. I thought life ended when I stopped drinking. Life changed but now I do all sorts of fun things sober.

Young People’s Meetings in Colorado

Boulder

-Tuesday 7:00 PM Campus Group 3545 Madison Ave

-Thursday 7:00 PM Campus Group 3545 Madison Ave

-Friday 8:30 PM Friday Night YP 3180 Airport Rd. (ARC Rm 5280)
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Take your girlfriend out to a nice dinner. Then let her go out with her girlfriends to celebrate.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree you should make new friends, not try to salvage old ones that aren't helping you stay sober/be happy. You're leaving college soon anyway and most of those people (those who can't get it, likely) you'll leave behind too, to make new connections. Learn to recognize those people around you who don't drink, and seek out such people -- AA meetings are one place, but so might be a vegan restaurant in Boulder, or the health club!
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree you should make new friends, not try to salvage old ones that aren't helping you stay sober/be happy. You're leaving college soon anyway and most of those people (those who can't get it, likely) you'll leave behind too, to make new connections. Learn to recognize those people around you who don't drink, and seek out such people -- AA meetings are one place, but so might be a vegan restaurant in Boulder, or the health club!
Alcoholics surround themselve with other alcoholics or heavy drinkers. After you sober up you realize there are a ton of people who basically do not drink or drink very little once you have cut the drinkers out.

Hang out in sober places and you will meet sober people
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I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself


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Old 12-20-2012, 11:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Right on, MI!
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:23 AM   #13 (permalink)
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From what I can remember, I went to Penn State. Same deal...I applaud you for realizing your problem, that puts you ahead of the game. I too would look into AA meetings on campus or in town. Nothing changes if nothing changes and most of us drunks had to get a whole new circle (or network) of friends to maintain our sobriety. Being as young as you are, that is a task indeed. But once you get going in the right direction, it gets easier with time. Sober folks have events and do fun things...sober. Having a real heart to heart with your girl might make sense. If she is understanding and really loves you she will support your choices. Maybe take her to a meeting to get a better scope of the situation or go to a Al-Anon meeting together...stay strong and keep up the solid effort!
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:33 AM   #14 (permalink)
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From what I can remember, I went to Penn State. Same deal...I applaud you for realizing your problem, that puts you ahead of the game. I too would look into AA meetings on campus or in town. Nothing changes if nothing changes and most of us drunks had to get a whole new circle (or network) of friends to maintain our sobriety. Being as young as you are, that is a task indeed. But once you get going in the right direction, it gets easier with time. Sober folks have events and do fun things...sober. Having a real heart to heart with your girl might make sense. If she is understanding and really loves you she will support your choices. Maybe take her to a meeting to get a better scope of the situation or go to a Al-Anon meeting together...stay strong and keep up the solid effort!
If you can remember Penn state you were not there....old joke
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Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself


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Old 12-20-2012, 12:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Add me to the list of people who applaud you on what you have accomplished already! Good for you for recognizing your problem and dealing with it head on when others aren't always supportive around you.

I agree that you NEED to find some new friends. You don't necessarily need to replace the friends you have now, but you do have to add some sober friends to your circle. I really don't think spending your weekend cooped up watching movies solo is good for you. You need to find some sober people to do stuff with; bowling, skiing, gaming, even watching movies together. I promise you there are sober students doing things on weekends.

And I'm concerned that your gf isn't even 21 yrs old yet. I know you say she's not much of a drinker, but once she's legal and able to go clubbing and stuff, things might get harder for you rather than easier.

Hang in there. You really are doing an amazing job.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Milly,

That is one of my biggest concerns. My girlfriend isn't a big drinker now aside from a glass of wine or the rare celebration binge drinking. But when she turns 21 and the bars and clubs become an option, I am worried that my sobriety will become a hassle for her, and her friends will want her to go to the bars with them. In boulder, the bar scene is huge. I began my sobriety before I turned 21, so the only time I ever went to the bars, I stayed sober, but it was extremely difficult and I didn't have any fun bar hopping with my friends while they all got hammered. I just feel like it's going to be a source of a lot of problems for me and my girlfriend.

Are there any people in recovery out there that are dating drinkers?
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