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Old 11-09-2014, 08:22 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Here Goes Nothing...

I'm starting a 30-day sobriety stint tomorrow - I realize this might seem counter-productive but the thought of giving up drinking FOREVER is too overwhelming to stomach right now; if it turns out to be permanent, then so be it but as of now all I am concerned with is making it through the month. I have always had the idea that my drinking is not a problem so long as it does not interfere with work/school, my financial situations, or my personal relationships. If I am completely honest with myself, however, all of the above have suffered as a result of my drinking - I never miss work due to drinking/hangovers, but I often crawl into work after a night of drinking feeling like I got hit by a semi and can't imagine my performance is too hot. I write lengthy essays for class but I crack into a six-pack about halfway through and have somehow managed to wrap up certain assignments while blacked out. I can't seem to scrape up enough money to buy a decent haul of groceries but I always, ALWAYS have enough for a night out at the bars and the inevitable billion-calorie greasy-spoon hangover brunch the next day. "So what?" I reasoned. "People still like me. Nobody thinks I'm a raging drunk." Nobody knows that I have an arsenal of empty beer bottles in my closet, either, which I take out once a week when my roommate's not home so she won't know how much I drink. They also don't know that on nights when we're not hanging out drinking socially I'm at home, alone, in my room, getting wasted and watching Gilmore Girls.
After witnessing me fall asleep at the bar last night (not an unusual occurrence, unfortunately), a very dear friend of mine urged me (while I was still wasted) to cut back on my alcohol intake - as I said, though, no one is aware of my "private" drinking life: my friend was speaking only in terms of social situations. The pathetic nature of my secret solitary drinking aside, my friend's concern greatly disturbed me. I have no desire to be "that drunk girl" whose friends are forced to spend nights out baby-sitting her (while this does not happen on a regular basis, it still happens - and manages to happen again and again despite absolutely HARROWING feelings of regret, remorse, and shame on my behalf following each incident). I have driven many times while drunk, despite a very clear sober understanding of exactly what a selfish and pig-headed decision this is. I am an aspiring writer (this is what I am in school for) and I while away hours and hours during which I could be writing drinking. Alone. In my room. Watching the ******* Gilmore Girls (I don't even LIKE that show - never have). I am 23 years old. I am aware that alcoholism is a progressive condition, and judging by where things are at now on a scale of pathetic-ness, I have zero desire to find out just how far they can "progress."
I have been sober for probably no more than a three-day stretch here and there since the age of 18, so the idea of staying sober for a WEEK sends chills down my spine - but this needs to be done. For me, alcohol serves two distinct functions: first, it is the ultimate social lubricant. Most people think of me as a very outspoken, opinionated, uninhibited, and confident individual. In truth, I am extremely shy and care far more than I should about the opinions others hold of me. In social situations, this is easily remedied by drinking - I'm sure I don't need to detail the reasons why this is so. Second, it is a tremendous method of self-medication. I am intelligent, attractive, and (seemingly) socially adept - I'm the one people in my circle regard as "having her **** together" (passing out at the bar here-and-there aside). Inwardly, though, I battle intense bouts of depression and excruciating anxiety, the latter of which results in extremely ill-timed (but well-concealed) panic attacks - no doubt exacerbated by alcohol abuse. And yet it is also the drinking that smoothes the many edges in my mind, quiets the negative voices in my head and allows me to sleep at night (despite the fact that I often wake up in the middle of the night having to **** like a racehorse and struggle to fall back asleep due to the fact that I drank my weight in beer six hours prior). Put simply, alcohol is the most massive double-edged sword I have ever encountered.
I am extremely apprehensive about what tomorrow will bring, but I am determined to give this an honest shot. The inability to remain sober for more than three days at a time at the ripe old age of 23 is disconcerting to say the least, and even if this does not remain a permanent change in my life I at least need to know that it is possible. Any tips to battling through the first month (or week, for that matter) of sobriety would be greatly appreciated. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why I am posting this - but I will say that I feel a little better after writing all of this down. Congratulations to everyone on here for making a conscious decision to better your life as you see fit. Godspeed.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome BrightStarr! Good for you for tackling this issue now--I wish I had stopped drinking when I was 23! Many of us can attest to the progressive nature . . not pretty.

As for tips for your first week--

Eat regularly. Stay hydrated. Remember that cravings WILL pass. Tell yourself "no" and mean it. Stay close to SR and reach out for support whenever you need to. Change your routine a bit. Relish your hangover-free mornings.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:36 PM   #3 (permalink)

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Not missing work, maintaining a family life and friendships are ways that alcoholics prove to themselves that they are not alcoholic.

I'll bet that everyone who posts on here has written or thought that to themselves at one time or another.

Good luck on your 30 day effort. I suppose if you make it it will prove that you are not alcoholic and then you can feel better about drinking. The reality is that it sounds like you have a problem but then it is not my place to judge - but I guess I just did.

The fear of withdrawal and the fear of ACTUALLY QUITTING is the most notable of posts here at SR. It sure scared the shiit out of me. Lurk here and read and you will see your story repeated many times.

Again, good luck and please keep posting.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like the idea of starting with the 30 days and then decide. See how you feel. In fact, just start with now. I'm early days so no advice here...but I feel quite amazing. Welcome to SR!
Kind of liking this sobriety thing.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome BrightStarr - you'll find a lot of support here - please use us when you need to.
I hope you'll decide to go more than 30 days too

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Old 11-09-2014, 08:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey BrightStarr- Seems like a good time to move forward with your goal. Looks as if you've been around this site for a bit, so you know where to find support.
I have zero desire to find out just how far they can "progress."
Trust me, it can progress further then most people would have ever guessed.

I do wish you well on your 30 days, and I look forward to seeing you around.

"Falling Down is an accident. Staying down is a choice."

Rocken sobriety since 08.05.13
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well...saying "Here goes nothing" starts you off believing it won't work. If you are serious and truly want to give sobriety a fair shot, you should seek out face-to-face support. SR is great for online support, but nothing online compares to having face-to-face support. That can be therapy, AA meeting and working the steps, using AVRT or one of the other support groups out there.

We will support you if you really want to live a sober life. Welcome to SR!
"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key."
- The Eagles

"We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words."
- Anna Sewell
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Call it a 30-day stint, if that's what helps you through for now. But Sobriety is life long. It requires change in body and soul. Most of us take it one day at a time for good reason; today is right now, it's all I have, so why worry about tomorrow? I'll just make myself crazy.

You are going to have to want to live Sober more than want to drink. Good luck


Come find me when you wake up.
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Old 11-10-2014, 12:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
Well...saying "Here goes nothing" starts you off believing it won't work
I agree. Here goes SOMETHING.... wonderful... important... life saving... (what would you add?)

Welcome to SR
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Old 11-10-2014, 01:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey Bright!

Fellow Portlander here. I enjoyed reading your post and can relate to so much that you wrote. I am 32 so I let my drinking progress and yes, it does get worse and the quantity keeps going up to reach that same buzz until it starts affecting our health negatively.

I was a daily drinker, mostly alone and at home as well. I never let it interfere with my work or studies either. Sometimes I think I finished all my work early just so I had my evenings free to get drunk. Ah, you reminded me of the old "start drinking when the essay is almost done" trick. Been there many times myself. Have you ever clicked on the course page, after you turned in your essay, and realized, after four or more beers, that there was a second assignment due? Been there as well. I always kept my studies in check because if I ever let it get in the way of school, that might have been a red flag to what? Stop drinking! I wasn't having any of that. Do you ever feel like you work twice as hard as everyone else just to keep the facade of having your s**t together? I sure did!

If I've learned something in the past four months it's that sobriety has to be deliberate. I always hoped that it would just kinda happen or I'd slowly stop drinking. It has to be deliberate and we have to proactive. This reminded me of something I heard a very long time ago about exercising: If you don't think you're working out, you're not. I guess this means you don't lose weight from walking around the office. You probably have to put on workout clothes and really go at it to actually be burning some calories. I think it's kind of the same for drinking. If you don't really feel you're getting sober, you're not. Or, when you're getting sober, you'll know it. Not sure if that makes sense. It takes some determination.

It's really hard to turn down going out for birthdays and stuff so that's why we have to be so committed. It's worth it though. My first reason for stopping drinking was that I had finally caused some significant health problems confirmed by my doctor (back to the progression thing). At your age I was in college and loving my drinking life. You're way ahead of me age-wise and just being wise in general by realizing it's a problem now. I really, really, really wish I would have stopped at 23. My health problems are reversible, but only with complete abstinence. You wouldn't even know by looking at me. I am a working professional. No DUI's or stints in rehab. I was just a nightly drinker who drank way to much and for far too long.

It sounds like you have a really good grasp on the situation and the seriousness of the drinking. I've felt it's hard to go out in this town because everyone is always talking about freaking beer everywhere. I recommend developing a serious love for Pepsi. Pepsi has saved me from cravings and close calls many times since June.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing. When I finally got serious about quitting I checked in here everyday and read for hours. I looked at like a way to spend the many hours I used to be drunk at home in the evening. I am looking forward to hearing more from you!
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Old 11-10-2014, 02:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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You are a writer, so this book may resonate with you. "Bird by Bird," by Anne Lamont. She is incredibly gifted and in recovery. The theme is start with where you are. Start with a feeling that something has to change. Don't get overwhelmed with the weeks, days, years ahead of you. Just do something.

Sounds as if you have a great opportunity do something here. I always love what Melinda offers us. She is a true story of someone who saw a problem, and did something. You can too.
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. -Carl Rogers
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Welcome, BrightStarr,

I could have written your post almost word for word when I was 23. Unfortunately, I kept drinking instead, and am now 52, with career opportunities gone, health issues and too late now to go back. Don't throw your life away like I did.

It's daunting to think of never drinking again. Just take it day by day for now. There is a 24 hr thread here, where you can commit to staying sober.

The support here is really wonderful, especially if you check in every day.

I'm 30 days sober now, and could not have done that without these good people and this forum.

Glad you posted.
Stop trying to leave, and you will arrive.
Stop seeking, and you will see.
Stop running away, and you will be found.
-Lao Tzu.
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR. Congratulations on getting honest with yourself about the impact of drinking.

Looking back I did several '30 day stints' of abstinence. I'll tell you the biggest mistake I made on mine, so maybe you won't make the same one. Here it is:

I spent all my mental energy focusing on day 31 - when I could drink again.

Instead of focusing on how life felt sober I just kept thinking Man, I can't wait until I get to day 31 so I can prove I don't have a drinking problem and then drink again!

Ultimately, it never worked for me. I still had a drinking problem after 30 days (the times I actually made it 30 days). Perhaps you'll have more success if you try to focus on how to make the best sober life for those 30 days.

Good Luck!
You will never possess what you choose not to pursue.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:08 AM   #14 (permalink)

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30 days sober is 30 days sober. Maybe you will like it enough to go 60 or 90 or forever. What resonates with me from your post is you drinking alone. You drink for increased social confidence, yet you drink alone in front of the tv. That is totally me. I said and did the same thing. I hope the next thirty days help you. You sound like a smart young lady - I hope you can kick this. Hiding bottles in your closet is no way to live.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:15 PM   #15 (permalink)

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Thanks for the ideas and encouragement guys - I'm going to my first AA meeting ever in an hour and I'm really scared to be there for some reason. BUT it's a better way to occupy part of the evening than drinking.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Great to hear! Looking forward to hearing how it went if you feel like sharing.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The only problem for me, when I decided to go 30 days without drinking (and it truly was, for me, a piece of cake) was that the whole time I couldn't wait until I could drink again. I was counting down, not counting up (the way I do my sober days).

It doesn't hurt to give it a shot, but don't expect to experience the best of being sober after 30 days. It takes a lot longer to really get to the point where you appreciate the difference, in my experience.
~ one breath at a time
Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:30 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Welcome BrightStarr.

What JanieJ said applies to me too. I waited until I had trashed my life to finally take action and stop being enslaved by alcohol. You'll never regret doing this huge favor for yourself. I'm so glad you found us.
You are so much more than the worst thing you've ever done. Fr. Greg Boyle

A little voice deep inside me said, "Hello, I am here." It was a small voice, & sounded as if it were buried underneath the cushions of my couch. It was my soul...I had forgotten it.

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Old 11-10-2014, 07:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Good luck brightstar
In the attitude of silence the soul finds a path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness, our life is a long and arduous quest after truth

Mahatma Ghandhi
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Welcome to the SR family. You'll find lots of support and useful info here.
I'd rather live in my car with my dogs than live in a castle without them.

Dogs may not be our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.

Don't wait for the Last Judgement. It takes place every day. -Albert Camus

Find the good and praise it. - Alex Haley

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