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Relapse fears

Old 05-07-2014, 01:41 PM
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Relapse fears

Hi Friends,

Over 3 months sober from alcohol, I'm having a very weird day today and some insane cravings. So I wanted to post even though part of my consciousness told me to not post this because it's ridiculous and pathetic...

Well, tomorrow the first PhD student that I've supervised will defend her thesis. I had many students that I'd worked with at specific stages, but this one, I worked with her from ~ground zero. She also took a break during her graduate studies to sort out her own mental issues, which included an alcohol problem. She practiced her talk twice this week and I think it'll be really outstanding, she has a scientific story that not too many of the students have at the time when they finish. Her whole family and many friends are coming, there will be a big lunch party (with champagne and wine, there is no way to not have those in such an event).

This woman could also be a great example for how to do recovery work and use social support, long history of abuse in her childhood, definitely a family inheritance for all sorts of mental ***, addictions, and she had a breakdown few years ago after a marriage crisis when most of us thought she might not make it back.... and now she is at this great grad school finish.

Also a reasonably happy person now. She has been in therapy, taken many different psych meds, gotten off some of the meds, and developed an awesome support system for herself (I'm part of it).

This is good, no matter how we look at it.

But I feel like *** and can't get the destructive thoughts out of my head today. Then guilty for feeling this way the day before this event.

Perhaps part of the story is that it triggers some memories in me, when I defended my thesis years ago it was just before Christmas and it was only myself, the committee, my direct colleagues, and one private friend. There was no alcohol. In the end of that day I went home and drank myself to oblivion sitting on a mattress in an empty apartment because I was also just about to move to another country.

It's ~12 years later now and this student is going to do a rock start defense (I think), and I have these *** feelings that I can't get rid of, along with massive urges to drink.

Please tell me I'm stupid or anything, it's so weird and I hate these alcohol cravings all over at me again!
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:46 PM
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Sounds perfectly normal to me.

You didn't get the big sendoff and you have some regrets. Alcoholics don't deal well with negative emotions. Or positive emotions. Or emotions.

Your life sounds pretty good now, though! You've got a really successful career - it sounds like - and a successful PhD student.

Well done! Shake it off!
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
Alcoholics don't deal well with negative emotions. Or positive emotions. Or emotions.
Thanks for responding.

I guess that's what it is. And also the perception that whatever I have done, I have done it as an active addict mostly in my whole life; I still can't get those ideas out of my head how all of this could have been, possibly, if I did not have the drinking problem and other addictions. Useless thinking, I know. Again, sorry guys, I know I'm pathetic today.
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by haennie View Post
I know I'm pathetic today.
I would just like to say that I think your feelings are very real, valid and not pathetic in the least.

The support you have offered your particular graduate student has undoubtedly affected her life positively. This is a big deal for you. Pat on the back to you.

((((((hugs)))))) as a show of understanding and support on this day of yours.
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:46 PM
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haennie, first of all congrats on 3 mos.

Could it be that you are reliving this moment vicariously? That all of the pressures and expectations are also within you? This is obviously as much a reward for you as it will be for the student. However, the anguish that comes with it will also be your own. With all the memories and experiences of the past, yours and hers/his, I cannot fault you for having some trepidation over the entire affair. The celebration that follows etc.

After all is said and done, it's just another event in life. Nothing more, nothing less. To relate this to alcohol or mood altering substances is of no value. Live the day and accept/enjoy the outcome. Have a nice cup of tea when it is all over. Try some relaxing meditation.

"rock start defense" ?? finance?
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:59 PM
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Haennie, your contributions on SR are very valuable, I very much enjoy reading what you share, and whether it's sharing from your heart (as here), your thoughts about recovery, or the research you posted yesterday, it's all good. Am glad you're here

The insight you've shared here is no doubt as powerful to experience as it is to read.There's nothing whatsoever to apologise for. These experiences, the discomfort of experiencing what reads to me as sorrow for the younger you, have definitely been part of getting sober for me too. Sitting with it, sharing it, not drinking on it, there's the growth.

Stay safe & be good to yourself tomorrow. Be proud too for your part in this woman's life & the success you've supported. If you can give those gifts to her, of appreciating success in spite of adversity, maybe you can do the same for you?

Wish you well
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:09 PM
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Dont beat yourself up for having cravings and thoughts of your past that relate to the ''now''. This is an awesome opportunity to create a positive memory over the old, not so positive memory. Gandhi once said ''Be the change you want to see". This is your chance to.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:11 PM
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Everyone has already said it so well.

I can only add:

haennie????
pathetic?????
NEVER.
The words cannot be used in the same sentence.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:12 PM
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Since you are an active academic I don 't know your discipline but if not familiar look this up. You are in cognitive dissonance where your beliefs are different than your behaviors resulting in stress. The only way to get out of cognitive dissonance is either change the belief, or change the behavior. I tended to reach for the alcohol whenever I had good stress (Eustress) like an event like yours tomorrow, or bad stress ( distress.) Pretty soon breathing triggered my drinking.

Tomorrow you are either going to change your belief back to you do not want to drink which is what is wavering, or you will change the behavior and drink to make it agree with your belief.

I hope you choose to resolve the dissonance by shoring up your belief that you "absotively" do not want to ever drink again.

Humans only have two choices in cognitive dissonance which has to be resolved. Either we change the belief or change the behavior so both agree and the stress is relieved. When we were in denial drinking that was changing the belief so we could continue the behavior without distress. Once you change the belief you can focus on the next issue. The dissonance of believing alcohol is a must for celebrating and you are being deprived. You'll need to change that belief too so you truly believe that you can toast with water or soft drinks because you surely can without missing a thing. Remember? We all used to be there for the alcohol, not the celebration. Celebration was a cause for drinking, and drinking was cause for celebrating.

I still can't believe I ever was part of that and am glad I am now not dissonant about drinking. Belief: I believe alcohol will kill me. Behavior: I do not Drink. Belief: I was an alcoholic and cannot drink even one drink without relapsing quickly to where I left off. Behavior: I do not drink and do not entertain thoughts of being deprived.
Belief: I am a non-drinker. Behavior: Alcohol abstinence from choice, not chance.

Have fun for goodness sake and be your non drinking self to the max! Believe me, you can.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by LBrain View Post
"rock start defense" ?? finance?
Brain, you are cracking me up. Actually YES she has indeed brought $ to us
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:30 PM
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Itchy - my gosh... yes you are 100% correct. I am actually in the neuro- and behavioral sciences, and this student I spoke of will get in her summary to discuss our modified version of the human function curve. No good place for alcohol and drugs in that.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:37 PM
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Defending a thesis is nerve racking for the the student and the supervisor.

I can't believe that you've done a bad job, or that you've let her do a bad job either Haennie

Stress may make us think of old behaviours, but it's what we do in response to those behaviours that counts.

Coming here, venting, letting it out and asking for help is exemplary

I think you're doing great

best wishes to you and your student

D
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:17 PM
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Thanks a lot, Dee, and thanks for all the support everyone.

I think I'll go to bed early tonight, probably won't sleep well and much, but I'll try to meditate at least.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:26 PM
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It's hard to not have regrets sometimes. And, especially since you're so involved with this student.

I was in my mid-forties when I started drinking, but ALL my life decisions were based in fear, ALL of them. If I had been able to get my anxiety/depression treated in my teen years, my life would have been different. But, this is the life I'm supposed to have. I'm right where I should be, as are you.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:32 PM
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Hi H! I am nearly three months and my cravings are STRONG! Much more than before. Hang in there, what a wonderful event you have coming and it will culminate a tremendous amount of work by you and your student. Enjoy the day and I hope your cravings will pass! Best of
Luck!
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:40 PM
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Hope it goes well tomorrow, haennie! I will be thinking of you. (((haennie)))
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:50 PM
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You've shown many of us that you're humble, intelligent, and extremely self-aware. This post is another great example. Some of us are more vulnerable than others in certain situations, and after you described your reasoning it's easy to see why this event has given you the jitters. I'm sorry to hear that, but you're doing the right thing: dealing with your emotions, examining your motives, and posting for empathy and support.

Good luck tomorrow, you also have the right idea to get a good night's rest. You'll keep things quiet tonight and go about your business tomorrow, and I'm sure when it's all said and done you'll have grown quite a bit.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
Belief: I believe alcohol will kill me. Behavior: I do not Drink. Belief: I was an alcoholic and cannot drink even one drink without relapsing quickly to where I left off. Behavior: I do not drink and do not entertain thoughts of being deprived.
Belief: I am a non-drinker. Behavior: Alcohol abstinence from choice, not chance.

Have fun for goodness sake and be your non drinking self to the max! Believe me, you can.
Really great statements here Itchy. The hardest part for me is convincing myself I am not being deprived anything. Alcohol made me feel good and happy. It was my friend and there for me. Then things turned dark. I felt I couldn't live without it. I was constantly sick in my head and stomach. I had terrible anxiety which alcohol could only solve. If I could have 1 drink and enjoy it I would. I am not capable mentally and physically of this task because I do not want 1. I want 5, 10, 15 infinity drinks to the point I am seriously ill unable to take care of myself or others.

Thanks for sharing your perspective.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:01 PM
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well done for speaking up and I hope you enjoy the event
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by haennie View Post
Hi Friends,

Over 3 months sober from alcohol, I'm having a very weird day today and some insane cravings. So I wanted to post even though part of my consciousness told me to not post this because it's ridiculous and pathetic...
Haennie,

Keep us posted. We are all inspired by your honesty and feelings. Most importantly you recognized the feelings and why you had them. Let us know how it goes. Drink some sparkling water. Take care and be well.
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