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Old 10-01-2013, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
Waking Up Sober--priceless
 

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Quit dozens of times--is this one different?


Hey All,
I've been lurking on SR for 2 months now and I must say I'm very impressed by all I have read. The people here are very understanding and seem to show compassion to folks they hardly know--based on just a shared problem. I've never spent time on a support forum before now, but reading the help on this one has really motivated me.
About me: I'm a 58 year old retired professional, married, 3 sons and with a heavy drinking problem going back 25 to 35 years. I retired 6 years ago from a job that makes everyone think high stress, and sometimes it was. I tried AA but it didn't seem to click with me--I never hit bottom, I'm not big on higher powers, and I never felt powerless--even if I was.
I've tried quitting dozens of times on my own and my average was always 3 days to a week--by then I'd convince myself that I wasn't an alcoholic and I could control my alcohol intake. And I could once I had enough to pass out (about a pint of 80 proof for me), but I had rules: no drinking before dinner, no drinking more than 2 days in a row--or maybe 3, no driving while drinking (this one I kept), no drinking at family get together's, etc etc. So, I'm sure this is a common story many of you have already read or maybe even have lived--but that is why I'm here.
I was so impressed reading this forum in August that I tried again and made it 10 days sober which was a personnel record going back many years. This time I'm on day 6 and things are going much better than ever before, mainly because of new tools I've learned on this forum--AVRT specifically. Getting to sleep is still an issue, but I know it gets better with time. Anyway it is time to try and get some sleep (lots of luck)--tomorrow is day 7 and I will be tested some more--but I'm going to keep you posted.
Thanks Everyone!
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Congrats!
Yep, you can if you will, it. Do it! Glad you got something here like I did.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome Whitepawn You posted at a quiet time - Uk/Europe asleep, USA heading to bed etc - Hope you stick around
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome Whitepawn! Lovely you joined in on the voices. Nice work so far : )

And oh...Canada is heading to sleep or sleeping too : )
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome Whitepawn! Lovely you joined in on the voices. Nice work so far : )

And oh...Canada is heading to sleep or sleeping too : )


Oops...sorry
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Way to go White Pawn, I have a similar story - didn't drink quite as much but quit many times for sure, sometimes as long as 3-6 months before convincing myself I could have a few - oops!

The thing is to keep trying, keep learning from others and reaching out - and you will beat the sucker! And it is so worth it.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oops...sorry
No worries Skye...just couldn't resist. My boisterousness is rather un-Canadian.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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No worries Skye...just couldn't resist. My boisterousness is rather un-Canadian.
I LOVE it when you post Dawn - it always crosses my mind if I should go get popcorn before I start reading. Don't change!! x x
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Welcome WhitePawn, congrats on your sober time. Lots of support here. Glad you have joined us.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Glad you are here I agree totally with you about recognising and using your AV. Study it's ways it can be cunning but it generally has one weapon ie your mind! Once you know your enemies weapons it gets easier to beat and from other posts it seems the AV gets weaker the longer you abstain so keep up the fight and post again soon to let us know how you are getting on.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Have you considered professional help. I have found alcoholism to be a symptom of other problems
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well done white pawn, the first week is the worst. Over time the cravings and constant thinking will settle down.

I felt trapped and tormented - freedom is possible
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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WhitePawn, it sounds as though you have almost reached the 8th rank, and you are about to become a queen. Since you are becoming familiar with AVRT, you understand that when this happens is all up to you. You will of course be tested, but the tests are only as difficult as you decide they are going to be. Maybe some reading on our Secular Connections forum will help.

You have everything you need inside you already to quit drinking for good. Accept that you no longer drink, no matter what. Be mindful and recognize your drinking urges for what they are, separate them from your rational thoughts, and set your confidence level to 11. You can do this, WhitePawn.

But you know that already! Onward!
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone--I really appreciate all of the support and even though it is not face to face from close friends--I'm amazed at how much it helps during the difficult times.
Freshstart57, I'm glad that you chimed in, but a pawn queening on the eighth rank could have a certain duality to it :-). Anyway, it was your long post on AVRT I stumbled onto, that both resonated with me and motivated me. I've read this post several times and finally printed it out, I also went thru the quick flash card course a couple of times on the RR website.
Using these new tools has really given me the confidence that this time will be different--and so far just realizing that my lower 'beast' brain is helpless without my higher level brain acting as an enabler, has made things much easier than ever before. So thank you personally!
I'm unable to post a link to "AVRT explained" due to my limited number of posts--someone else please feel free--as I think it is very worthwhile.

Waking up sober--"feel in the blank"
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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My Top 10 Reasons for Becoming a Non-drinker

1. To honor the memory of my brother, who died after an eight month battle with squamous cell carcinoma, which probably began in his esophagus, but was not diagnosed until it had already metastasized to his spine. It is finally becoming accepted knowledge that heavy alcohol intake greatly increases the risk for squamous cell and other cancers—including breast cancer in women. According to “Science News” magazine this occurs because alcohol acts as a solvent and with heavy use over time, it shortens the length of a cell’s DNA telomeres and this results in more cell mutations increasing the risk of developing aberrant cancer cells. Although the current epidemiological evidence seems to indicate that stopping drinking will not lower the risk of an incidence of cancer, this is still open to debate as much is still unknown about other lifestyle factors that can mediate the risk—for example improved diet, better sleep, and exercise. My brother was not aware of the increase risk for cancer from drinking and he quit after his diagnosis—but he strongly recommended that all of our family members quit before it is too late.
2. For my wife: who has tolerated my drinking for 35 years, and also to set a better example for my sons—no matter how late it seems—never give up.
3. For my liver: this seems obvious until you or a friend are actually diagnosed with cirrhosis and your life depends on a rare transplant.
4. For my heart: in addition to raising your blood pressure and increasing your risk of a stroke, excessive drinking also raises your triglyceride levels putting you at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Heavy drinking is toxic to the heart muscle and can cause it to become enlarged and thin, which prevents it from pumping efficiently. This alcoholic cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure and in severe cases can cause a reduced blood flow damaging other organs.
5. For my lungs: According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) in addition to alcohols association with pneumonia, alcohol abuse increases the risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) by 3 to 4 fold. ARDS has a mortality rate of 40 to 50 percent and is responsible for as many deaths annually as cirrhosis of the liver. My primary form of aerobic exercise is bicycling and the damage alcohol has on both the heart and lungs should be an obvious impediment to enjoying it fully.
6. For my brain: my father (also a long time heavy drinker) at age 81, is now in stage 5 of Alzheimer’s disease and while alcohol use is not directly linked to Alzheimer’s, it is certainly linked to short term memory problems. Heavy alcohol use and binge drinking cause a loss of tissue in large areas of the brain and overall shrinkage as one age’s, making an alcoholic brain appear much older than it actually is. This is now known to be somewhat reversible by stopping alcohol intake, a good diet and aerobic exercise. Since the game of chess is one of my favorite hobbies, I would like to keep my brain as healthy as possible as long as possible.
7. For my pancreas and kidneys: in addition to the hormone insulin, the pancreas also produces digestive enzymes that your intestines use to break down food, and alcohol is a major cause of acute and chronic pancreatitis. This and high blood pressure can also impact the kidneys health.
8. For my digestive health: Alcohol is a known cause of cancers: mouth, voice box, throat, esophagus, stomach, liver, colon, rectum, and breasts. In addition it may increase the risk for cancer of the pancreas. Alcohol also inhibits the absorption of important vitamins and minerals needed for long term well-being and health.
9. For my self-respect: no one wants to be “that person” who cannot control their drinking whether at parties, at work, or with their family life. Since I have trouble controlling my alcohol consumption after that first drink—then my best course of action is to abstain completely.
10. For my overall health and well-being: None of us know how long or short our lives will be and without question continued drinking will definitely shorten the length, but more importantly—it will also severely reduce our quality of life as we age. My only rational goal and desire is to maintain as high of a ‘quality of life’ as possible--and this can only be accomplished as a non-drinker. Waking up sober—priceless!


I wrote this on days 4 and 5 to help keep me motivated. I also printed it out on day 5 and had my wife read it, as I had not told her that I was becoming a non-drinker, mostly out of fear of the extra pressure not to fail. It was almost as difficult as making the initial decision, and while the anxiety goes away--it is very unpleasant at the time. My wife liked it and is very supportive. Just say never again!
I'm sure many of you have made your own lists, and while mine almost has a clinical feel to it--this really is our bodies and minds I'm talking about. Plus many of us really don't realize just how much damage alcohol has on all of our organs.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:07 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I LOVE it when you post Dawn - it always crosses my mind if I should go get popcorn before I start reading. Don't change!! x x
Lol I have to agree I love her outlook
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm unable to post a link to "AVRT explained" due to my limited number of posts--someone else please feel free--as I think it is very worthwhile.
AVRT Explained
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:37 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Pleased to meet you WhitePawn! You found a wonderful place. I was able to stop a 30 yr. drinking habit with the support & encouragement of SR.

Your list of 'reasons why' & your optimism is inspiring. I'm glad you've decided to look at what alcohol is doing to your life & that you've made this wise decision. You can do it.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Day 11 update

Well the second week has been much more difficult than the first week which I thought was way too easy. I had to drive out of state to my mothers house for a family reunion this weekend, and I started out by having dinner with on old drinking buddy that goes back 35 years. Seeing him was actually sad, as he is in such bad shape from drinking and other than a short stint in VA rehab he has never tried to quit--hopefully he'll still be round in a year or 2.
Then my mom wanted me to go get some bourbon to help her sleep, after I explained that I wasn't drinking anymore she dropped the idea--but the seed was planted. The next evening was really difficult so I spent 2 or 3 hours on SR--I even went to the chat room and had a few laughs which really helped.
On reunion day there was a lot of stress prepping everything, but it went well, at least till everyone left and I began to binge on leftover chocolate cake--a new first for me.
Back home today--rode my bike--drinking some nice tea and relaxing sober. Can't wait to wake up in the morning sober still again! I do love the morning.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:04 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This is no small achievement you made, WhitePawn. Many opportunities to get plastered again, and you went through successfully. When I think back, the reasons I took for drinking got smaller and smaller until I would celebrate the days of the week that had a Y in them.

You are exercising and strengthening your sober muscle, understanding that you have resolve that you weren't aware of. Passing on a session with your old buddy and a nitecap round or three with your mom are big achievements. Each achievement like these builds a foundation for the next. You are doing great, White Pawn. Onward!
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