How do you do the whole 'being alone' thing?

Old 06-28-2014, 02:57 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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You probably have an array of triggers. And, they strike in a number of situations, and your reactions to situations. Being alone is probably just one trigger of many.

Instead of focusing on the situation of the trigger, maybe try to focus on the trigger mechanism itself?
You can spend a lot of time analyzing the situation of being alone and, yes, you might find some good tools to disarm the "alone" triggers. But then another trigger will pop up in another situation, and you will be right back there in that vulnerable spot all over again.
I would suggest a program. A program will help you start to look at your thought process in every situation, not just loneliness. You have rejected AA, but there might be something else. Yes, lots of people have succeeded alone, many just with SR. But for many others, having a support network in real life is essential. Are there any RR groups in your area, or some form of outpatient service provided through health services?
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:16 PM
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Hey Snow,
1-5 can all be alleviated by doing something. By that I mean, anything other than sitting around thinking about people dying or drinking or not drinking. If you are in a rural area without transportation you can still do lots of things. Here are the things I love, in no particular order, that could also be done without a car. I didn't read the entire thread, so I'm sure lots of these have been mentioned already. Go running, read, teach myself something from YouTube videos (anything from sewing to belly dancing-the possibilities are literally endless), take a bubble bath, watch netflix (you can lose days binge-watching a series), give myself a pedi, cook myself something great, bake...In fact, you could probably google "free stuff to do at home" and get a gajillion ideas. If you can take the bus, go thrifting. I could spend an entire day at the Goodwill. I think someone asked earlier, but is there any way you can get a bike?
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:33 PM
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Hi Snowbunting

If you feel you need more support you can look at non 12 step meeting based support from SMART or LifeRing.

If there are no meetings available or convenient, both those groups hold online meetings.

SMART Recovery - SMART Recovery UK
LifeRing UK | The LifeRing Home Page

Addaction may be able to help too
Addaction Scotland - Addaction

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Old 06-28-2014, 07:06 PM
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Hi Snowbunting, I relate very much to your post. I'm also an only child and the most dangerous times for drinking is when I'm alone at night. I live alone though, so it's something I confront regularly rather than once in a while. Unfortunately, I haven't found anything that makes it easy (AA didn't work out for me either). It won't be easy, no matter what you find, but I think you can find that some things are better than others.

One of my reasons for drinking was also anxiety, so I can see why your fear about your husband dying would have a strong trigger for you to pass the time quickly until he comes back. Have you ever talked to anyone about this anxiety? I think most people worry about their loved ones when they leave, but yours seem very pointed and specific.

So, what I've been doing (which probably isn't necessarily that healthy either) is to spend a lot of time watching TV, read, post on the internet, or play video games. I feel that I've transferred one addiction for essentially other "addictions" that serve to distract me from feeling things I don't want to feel or think about things I don't want to think about (I have a very active, chatty mind). For you though, with these limited pockets of time when your husband is away, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to start watching something that will suck you in as a way to pass the time until he comes back.

If you go to the secular section of SR, you'll find other methods of dealing with cravings. I made a post about ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) that has been working for me.

You will get through this!
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:11 PM
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filling in time in sobriety is not a problem- I find I do not have enough time now. I am busier and more active than I have been for over 20 years. There are various projects, hobbies and agendas to pursue.

I also like being alone now- time to catch up on things enjoy the silence or loud music, away from the pressure of work etc. I also go out alone if I want to.

When I was drinking I can now recognise I was always "unsettled" always hanging out for something to help me "relax".

There is a type of contentment in sobriety that allows for being with myself without getting hung up.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:15 PM
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Great responses on this post. I love being alone. I used to hate it. But now I love being home alone with my dogs. When I was drinking I felt lonely and felt I drank cause I was lonely and bored. It was another excuse to drink. I sat home alone and drank. Now I stay home and enjoy the peace, quite and the serenity I feel in my home. My weekdays are busy with work and I cherish the weekends. I always have something to do. ..projects, cooking something wonderful, baking, gardening, playing with my dogs. When I drank, I felt being alone was terrible. I realize that it was the alcohol that was making my life terrible. What a revelation!
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:05 PM
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For me, OH being away has been No.1 trigger for epic binges the last few years. I got tired of the embarrassment of being a mess whilst out, so drinking bottles of vodka at home in an empty house became my favourite thing. Naively figured if I hid the evidence it was a 'free pass' to behave how I wanted, but the husband would come home to a messy house and a sick wife every time. He may never of said anything, but I could tell he knew and just didn't know what to say.

Before I decided to quit completely I tried moderation for about 6 months - moderation went out the window when I had the house to myself. Even when I didn't want to drink anymore, this was a major trigger. I hope I'm strong enough to not give in when I'm alone again.

You say you're quite isolated...have you tried making it impossible to drink? Get rid of all alcohol, and buy in all groceries you need before your OH leaves. Without transport you have no easy way to acquire alcohol to drink.
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Old 06-28-2014, 11:01 PM
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Following this thread with great interest. For me too being alone is a major trigger. In my most recent lonely binge, I was determined to pamper myself, and it started off quite nicely by booking a massage and doing other pleasant things. But in my mind alcohol was firmly part of the treat, especially with nobody around to see the amount of it if I "overindulge". Ugh, still disgusted how quicky it turned into many bottles one after another.
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Old 06-29-2014, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by snowbunting View Post
- When I'm left alone, I drink for a number of reasons:
  1. To make the time pass faster
  2. To mask my anxiety about my husband dying in a plane crash (or something) while he's away
  3. Because being alone triggers bad thoughts about myself, bad memories, and bad feelings, and I can't stand it. When my husband is here I'm distracted from all that and rarely dwell on things, but alone I crumble
  4. Habit
  5. Boredom
I can understand all of these - my boyfriend works away too and is gone for weeks at a time so I am left alone like you. I panic a lot and worry uncontrollably about him, and unless I am actually speaking to him these feelings do not go away. Unfortunately I am only just beginning my journey so have little advice to give as of now, but if you ever need to talk I am here!

I have decided I am going to take up running again - something I used to do before I let laziness take over. It's a chore to get out and do it initially but the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is fantastic. Got to be a healthier high than the drink, right?!
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Old 06-29-2014, 03:46 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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my husband going away was always my trigger.

these days i don't have a husband any more. or a job, or my lovely house. my daughter doesn't live with me. ALL of these things happened as a result of my drinking.

i'm currently sober and in AA. i too was horrified at the 'religious' aspect and it kept me drinking. i had to change when it became clear that if i drink i will die - through the alcohol, from withdrawals, or at my own hand.

i live alone now and having a couple of sober months under my belt means i love it. i enjoy my own company, i have friends, i have my cat.

please be well.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:07 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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I just want to say how overwhelmingly grateful I am for everyone's responses to my post. I feel warm inside, soothed, reassured, helped. Thank you so much everyone.

I woke up to this having drank last night. I had got it into my head (very typically for me) that since I will 'obviously' drink while DH is away, I might as well drink leading up to it too. I had zero confidence in my ability to stay sober for the week I'm alone, but reading all these responses has given me hope and courage. And some great practical ideas too. It's exactly what I needed - THANK YOU.

I'm going to reread the thread a lot today and do some thinking and planning. I'm also going to chase up the links that were offered - I'm looking at some of them now and they're fantastic. I now feel a mixture of fear, hope, and even a tiny bit of excitement (that won't last!), whereas before all I felt was fear.

You guys are the best ever
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:28 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Hi snowbunting --

You could be describing me. I have some kind of ridiculous fear of abandonment, apparently, and my husband going to the grocery store makes me want to drink. When he's away for a week, that's a major danger time for me in sobriety.

Let me get it out of the way that I am in AA. I don't believe in a higher power, I don't have a sponsor, and I don't do the steps. But AA has bailed me out of some really really bad times. Last time my husband was out of town, I even invited 3 women from AA over to the apartment and let one (who was batsh** crazy) stay the night, which if you knew how not into fellowship I am, you'd know meant I really feared being alone.

So taking AA off the table, here are a few things:
  • You say you're isolated. Is there someone, a friend or relative, you can invite to be your houseguest? Maybe someone who would appreciate a few days in the country. Maybe someone with kids? I heard an alcoholic say, just having another person to talk to helps, even if they're an idiot. In other words, you don't have to like them-- you need them.
  • Realize when your trigger times are going to occur, and switch them up. If you want to drink in the evening, make sure that at 5 p.m. you're in a tub full of bubble bath with a great adventure novel and brownies in the oven.
  • It's ok not to sleep. That's why they invented television and computers. Post post post!!!
  • It's ok to be afraid. Your anxiety is not going to make your husband either more or less safe. Consider buying a teddy bear, though.

Aw -- just saw your post just now, snowbunting. Stay close and don't drink. It is not inevitable that you drink when you're alone. And you can stop now.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:37 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Extreme triggers call for extreme responses. If you change nothing about the way you live when you're alone, nothing will change. Change everything. The best cure for loneliness is, don't be alone. Volunteer at an area hospital. Find a class to take and get yourself a load of homework and a study group.

Oh, and it's ok to overeat, too. When my husband's gone, I eat nothing but popcorn, spaghetti, and ice cream -- all in bed
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by courage2 View Post
  • Realize when your trigger times are going to occur, and switch them up. If you want to drink in the evening, make sure that at 5 p.m. you're in a tub full of bubble bath with a great adventure novel and brownies in the oven.
  • It's ok not to sleep. That's why they invented television and computers. Post post post!!!
  • It's ok to be afraid. Your anxiety is not going to make your husband either more or less safe. Consider buying a teddy bear, though.
I agree with these three points in particular! I have a giant stuffed rabbit called Bunny and I baby him and cuddle him like crazy in bed. He is so soft and squishy and I do feel very comforted when I have him in bed. No one needs to know - certainly no one but my boyfriend knows my childlike attachment to it! Also late night cartoons, bubble baths, and nice foods all help me!

Perhaps being childlike removes all association with drink, I don't know. But yeah, this is great advice from Courage!

Edit: Mucked up the quote!
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:31 PM
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Achieving sobriety demanded that I do many things I was uncomfortable doing, starting with putting down the drink.

I've learned that when I don't want to be alone, I make myself unalone.
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Old 06-29-2014, 01:38 PM
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I've learned that when I don't want to be alone, I make myself unalone.[/QUOTE]

Like, when I am bored. ...I need to do something!
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:08 PM
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Hi Snow, I can relate. Being alone is a huge trigger for me too. Almost like a free pass to get wasted and nobody would know. Think of it this way, you're sobriety is for you. So wasting your time drunk and hungover only hurts you. Try painting your nails, straightening or curling your hair. Different ways to wear your make up. Work on you. Just a few suggestions to hopefully help the time pass. Best wishes!
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