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Old 03-17-2015, 09:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Making a list...


When you quit drinking, did you ever make a list of all the things you did when drinking that you regretted, or were risky, or embarrassing? Was it helpful or just depressing? I was thinking this may help remind me why I want to quit.
On another note, once you recognize your "trigger time" (mines between 3 and 7) what do you do to ward off those feelings? I LITERALLY can't believe that I'm back here having to think about this s**t again. I thought after 8 months sober I would remember how to NOT drive to the liquor store. My only saving grace is I've been strong enough to only buy two drinks a night, but I keep saying the next day is "the day" and then pushing it back. I'm just awfully frustrated. :-(
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I didn't make any lists or anything pinot.

I just accepted that drinking was no longer a viable choice for me.

Sometimes I posted here, sometimes I called people. sometimes I exercised...sometimes I shouted and screamed and kicked things til the urge left me..

I'm not trying to make it sound easy but that's the bottom line really.
Either you accept you cannot drink alcohol, or you don't.

If you can't accept it, and for whatever reason you're not into real life support, you need to ask yourself how much lower do you want to go? what more are you prepared to risk?

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Old 03-17-2015, 10:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am a firm believer we quit when...we quit! Now whether if that is a virtue of "acceptance" or not like Dee suggested it eventually comes with some conviction and to his point that may be a simple acknowledgement.

It is a choice, and yes after 8 months that is tough, but like drinking is a learned behavior, you will have to learn new behaviors in place of the old one and fill the time once taken with anew. For me, i had to address the underlying issue for why i drank which was a a lot on on going mental health repair work. Eery day that passes i work on "me", and the thoughts of drinking and craves subtlety diminishes to a faintness welcomed!

PS-tr to change some surroundings when possible, people places and things.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I didn't make an actual list but I do reread my own posts on here sometimes so I guess those are a kind of list.

I drank so much and for so long that the list was tattooed in my brain. I was past the point of reaching into my pocket and reading for reminders. My life was a nightmare when I stopped.

That said though, the Christmas holiday time was hard and I did have to read back to why I stopped and why I couldn't be one of those people that drinks once a year. No way.

I think a list is a great idea though.

(One other reason I didn't need a list this time was because I felt physically off for months so I didn't have a pink cloud or "feeling great" moment where I thought...."Well I feel good again so I feel like drinking." Even at three months I still woke up feeling hungover on some days. It felt like I had a three-six month hangover so the reminder was always right there in my face! However, the PAWS hangover was about 90% better than an actual hangover.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Pinot.

I think that simply writing a list of regrets that are holdovers from our drinking days can be painful...a form of self-torture.

The AA Big Book Twelve Steps provide for this. Along the way while we're working with our sponsors, we make a list of resentments (past and present) and other regrets, and our motivations that precipitated our resentments. We then go over these things with our sponsors, sometimes with our therapists instead, and ideally gain some insight as to why the things we did, or that were done to us, affected us in the ways they did. (The Big Book talks about sharing this information with someone we trust, such as a priest, but the book was written at a time when there were precious few people who qualified for sponsorship.)

Ideally, and for many people, me included, this process results in our resentments and regrets losing their power and intensity. We're than freer to and more capable of moving forward and living our lives. This is the work of the Fourth and Fifth Steps, the first three Steps being conclusions of the mind rather than what we traditionally refer to as "work." Some people repeat this process down the line, a kind of sober cleansing, if and when one feels the need to do so.

The important element here is that we don't secretly hold onto these things; rather, we share them with someone we trust, someone who knows us well, and someone who will not judge us for what we've done or what we feel. It's been my experience that this process also works well in therapy.

Edit: Just wanted to add that making such a list alone is about what we were and what we now are, but it doesn't include what we can become, an important aspect of recovery. And that's why it's important to share it with someone else, usually a sponsor.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think it's more important to make a list of what steps you will take each day to stay sober. We can learn from the past but not live in or dwell on it.
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Writing things in a journal to reflect on is always useful

Having a sober plan helps (things youl do to remain sober aa avrt sr group therapy addiction counselling volenteering, college, seeing a dr regulary

having a exit plan for all occasions knowing what to do in times of cravings & urges

new pastimes & hobbies

theres lots of things i agree with scott in having a daily action plan of doing things you know you can do

if you ever need to talk friend drop a pm
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The best sort of list to make is the plan list or "what [I] will do instead". Something like this...

1) I will never drink again
2) Between 3 & 7 pm I will do ....
3) Between 3 & 7 pm I will drink ....
4) Between 3 & 7 pm I will eat ....

So plan for each possibility.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I made such a list before I quit drinking. I ~decided that I was going to put a definitive end to my drinking career about a month before I did it, just did not execute it right away (not because of relapsing, I just did not do it for that time). I was also reading a lot of recovery stuff and about the 12-step program, and that part about moral inventories really caught my eyes as something potentially helpful for me, but I ended up not doing it in the AA way later during my recovery. Guilt and being fed up with unproductive repetitions in my behavior to the expense of constructive actions and changes was a major motivator that led up to my quitting, and it was incubating for a while... so I found it helpful to write down the things that I felt guilty and remorseful about, and keep looking at it/adding to it before I executed the actual "stop". I also included stuff that I thought I wanted to change in myself regardless of drinking, just personality and behavioral patterns. It was a very intense feeling for me and I was able to ride that feeling to help me. Then came to SR, asked for help, put down the drink, and updated that list several times during my ~first two sober months. I showed that list to my (then new) therapist a little later, and we discussed it during two sessions I think. I turned some parts of it into plans of action, basically a combination of what the 12-step program calls "amends" but more importantly for me, plans about what I wanted to do differently in the future. I found all this very powerful for me and I'm still working on some parts of it (nearly 14 months in) because some stuff is still not right. Going through this "plan" has also proven to be very helpful for me to seek the appropriate help at different phases of my recovery, based on features that I fail adjusting alone. So I also kinda agree with Scott as my approach has been a more present- and future-oriented one also, and I think it's good for me because it's in line with my personality (I'm not usually big on dwelling on the past and/or revisiting it much).

As for the drinking urges, I had them pretty intensely for about 5 months but gradually weaker and shorter. I did not recognize any particular "trigger time", which was not surprising to me given that at least during the last year of my career, I drank whenever... not exactly round the clock, but in a very erratic way. Being alone with my computer in my apartment was the biggest trigger though, so I tried to stay at home as little as possible. I could not divorce from the internet and I was using SR as my main recovery resource, but I changed the conditions of using it and it helped a bit.
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Maybe a list of what COULD happen if you continue? And a list of all the good things that will happen if you stay sober.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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A list sounds like a great idea. I think I'll make one. Maybe a list of all the things I can do because I'll be sober. Like actually go to family functions instead of avoiding them to stay home and drink. Or not be woken up in the morning by my rapid heart beating out of my chest. And exercise. Take my kids for walks or swimming. My point is a list made with a positive mind frame might be more motivational as we all know that quitting can bring on some negative feelings. Good luck!
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Everyone has to find there own method of dealing with each circumstance along the way. I didn't really make a list of the stupid things I did while drinking. I did make a list of the things I was jeopardizing if I continued to drink, that list was more important in my mind. I focused more on the what will I do now concept, much like Marcher13 suggested above. If we spend to much time looking back, we fail to see what lies ahead.
I tell people in chat that we can't undo what we have done, we can learn from it, but we can't change a single thing that has already happened.
Best of luck to you, you will find what works for you, or you won't. No disrespect intended there.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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some do, some don't - make a list of their past...

In the rehabs - most are 12 step based - your counselor will hand you a step 1 homework assignment. Along with the usual "things I did" or "regrets" is the "how much did my drinking cost monetarily" section. That section alone was quite a wake up call for many. To think I could have paid off my house and had a vacation home and much more... The list means different things to different people. If you feel it may bring you down, don't do it. If you think it will solidify you resolve to stay sober, by all means, create a list.

There are various samples of a step 1 worksheet available on the web for free.
It is your choice to do one. I think many people over time tend to forget how bad things were or what brought them here in the first place. If you find yourself thinking that you are well enough to drink again, that is when the 'list' comes in handy. Or as others like to say, "Play the tape all the way through." Of course that is if you are old enough to know what 'tape' is. You actually don't have to keep the list. You can make a list and hold a ceremony to burn the list so that it is gone forever.

The important thing is to be able to recognize when your thoughts are leading you back to drinking. They are subtle at first, so beware.

Something my wife wanted to get for me was a "Relapse Prevention Workbook". That may be something to consider as well.

It is entirely up to you.
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