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Concentrate on lifestyle or sobriety?

Old 04-09-2015, 10:12 PM
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Concentrate on lifestyle or sobriety?

I've been thinking lately, am I going about this sobriety thing the wrong way? I've been doing decently, or at least I'm happy with myself. In the past 84 hours I've had four drinks, all of which were last night. Don't plan on drinking today or tomorrow at all. To some it might seem I failed, but I'm definitely not going to beat myself up over it. That's a lot better than the 3.5L of whiskey I would have normally put down in the same time period.

What (I think) I'm realizing for myself is concentrating on being sober is almost self-defeating. It's as if I'm punishing myself for drinking, which will only help make me miserable. Instead I should be concentrating on improving my lifestyle, making myself happier, and with that, alcohol with naturally get cut out.

For example, say tomorrow morning I have plans to go golfing with some buddies, then later on I need to do some shopping, then volunteer somewhere, then go for a dinner date. Assuming those people aren't alcoholics themselves, it will do both, make myself happier and more fulfilled, plus cut out alcohol from my life, because alcohol won't really fit into my life any more.

Am I thinking right, or what am I not seeing here?
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:18 PM
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I think anything less that total abstinence is going to bring you back to square one eventually Troy.

I know that because I tried every wrinkle you can think of both in the drinking - not drinking til after three pm, only drinking socially, drinking light beer, interspersing water between my drinks...

And in the lifestyle...if I stay busy I'll be fine, if I stay fit I'll be fine...it I stay away from that friend I'll be fine, If I don't go to bars I'll be ok.

Think about drinking or not, build up a new lifestyle or not - but I think you're simply undoing all that good work when you drink again


I know I shouldn't drink.

You're gonna have to make your own decision Troy - but honestly you sound very much like me back in the day - at some level I didn't want an alcohol free life.

don't waste two decades on this like I did.

I really recommend you give recovery (which includes total abstinence) a real go...not just for a few days.

D
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:23 PM
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I used to wish I'd stop drinking by accident. Just casually. Like one day I'd pause, casually, and think "whoa, I haven't had a drink in a week. Cool." I'll just continue this not drinking thingamabob. Hum de dum. In fact, if that would have happened, I would have taken that as a sign that I wasn't an alcoholic and I would have drank to celebrate my good fortune and restraint. That is not a joke.

Nope. It took a concerted effort. It took a huge commitment.

Sobriety first. Lifestyle second.

You can't have a satisfying lifestyle drinking nearly a liter of liquor a day. However, minus the booze you can have whatever lifestyle you choose.

If this is not the case, then someone needs to let all of us alcoholics in on the secret.

Like Dee, your post reminds me very much of myself years ago. I thought I'd quit (and seriously planned to quit) after college. I was a grown up right? Time for a lifestyle change. I kept drinking. First professional job with big responsibilities? Drinking wouldn't fit with that lifestyle and there was no way I'd ever show up to that job hungover, right? I kept drinking and was hungover every day at work. When I moved back near my family was my time to stop. Lifestyle change, right? Oh, I stopped. Until a week later when I...uhhh...wanted to drink again. Then I had another lifestyle change and went to grad school. I was in my 30's now too. No more of that twenties lifestyle. I continued drinking.

You stop when you want to.

Different things work for different people. As long as you're not drinking, then it is the right way. If someone told me they started crocheting to stop drinking I'd laugh. If they then said they've been sober for ten years I'd be thinking they were really onto something and had their ducks in a row. I've heard this many times: I've decided to stop drinking so I've joined a gym! It takes more than that. The gym lifestyle won't save you at a New Years Eve party.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:36 PM
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I'd say - concentrate on lifestyle of sobriety.

It's not necessarily beating yourself up - but it requires reassessment of some values and reconsidering a lifestyle. And building up a lifestyle which doesn't revolve around booze.

It's not so easy, but if developed step by step it provides solid foundation for sobriety which you really enjoy.

Best wishes to you.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:38 PM
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Just try not to overthink it! Take one day at a time. You can do this, just don't drink for today.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MidnightBlue View Post
I'd say - concentrate on lifestyle of sobriety.

It's not necessarily beating yourself up - but it requires reassessment of some values and reconsidering a lifestyle. And building up a lifestyle which doesn't revolve around booze.

It's not so easy, but if developed step by step it provides solid foundation for sobriety which you really enjoy.

Best wishes to you.
Exactly my thoughts. You said it better than I could though.

Concentrate on a lifestyle of sobriety, not sobriety itself. If you concentrate on being sober for the sake of being sober, it makes you feel better I guess, but doesn't really come with many rewards. On the other hand, concentrate on a lifestyle of sobriety, then the rewards start trickling in much harder and quicker, no?

Would give you more of a reason to stay sober, no?
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:53 PM
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The world opened up to me in ways I never knew after I put down the drink, Troy.

What worked for me was getting myself together in sobriety first and the many lessons I learned from doing so, for more than a year, in order to prepare for a life that, although it seemed very new to me, was what I needed all along. As though it were a life I adopted from reminiscence rather than from change, even though change was what I needed. I was "remembering" what it was to live a good life, a good life that I'd never had.

This process remains a difficult thing for me to describe, like describing what chocolate tastes like to someone who's never had it, but where I am makes me feel as though I'm exactly where I need to be. This doesn't close the door on anything for me, but instead leaves me open to new possibilities and the challenges that life brings.

You can't teach trust like you can teach math or science, but all you need in the beginning is a little bit of trust to get yourself going. By the time I'd finished destroying myself, I had absolutely nothing to lose by putting faith in the (to me) crazy idea that I could live a good life without alcohol.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:56 PM
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When you, inevitably, slow down, the thoughts and feelings that motivated you to drink will still be there. Then what?
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by TroyW View Post
Then the rewards start trickling in much harder and quicker, no?
This is looking for a quick fix, TroyW. Finding a way to fast track the process. Drinking is a quick fix. Sobriety requires time and a fair amount of patience at first.

The greatest gift I have learned in sobriety is to SLOW DOWN. You're right that the shame and the beating yourself up isn't helpful. But I would caution you to slow down and take this one day of not drinking at a time. Sobriety IS the new lifestyle. At least at first, staying sober is #1. And then, with some clear headed time, a new lifestyle starts to take shape. It requires a bit more discomfort at first but the world does really open up
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Old 04-10-2015, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by TroyW View Post
I've been thinking lately, am I going about this sobriety thing the wrong way? I've been doing decently, or at least I'm happy with myself. In the past 84 hours I've had four drinks, all of which were last night. Don't plan on drinking today or tomorrow at all. To some it might seem I failed, but I'm definitely not going to beat myself up over it. That's a lot better than the 3.5L of whiskey I would have normally put down in the same time period.

What (I think) I'm realizing for myself is concentrating on being sober is almost self-defeating. It's as if I'm punishing myself for drinking, which will only help make me miserable. Instead I should be concentrating on improving my lifestyle, making myself happier, and with that, alcohol with naturally get cut out.

For example, say tomorrow morning I have plans to go golfing with some buddies, then later on I need to do some shopping, then volunteer somewhere, then go for a dinner date. Assuming those people aren't alcoholics themselves, it will do both, make myself happier and more fulfilled, plus cut out alcohol from my life, because alcohol won't really fit into my life any more.

Am I thinking right, or what am I not seeing here?
You might be onto something there Troy. It may surprise you to hear that what you are talking about quite closely resembles my experience with the AA program. I gave up concentrating on not drinking, it's the same thing as concentrating on drinking anyway, and I focussed instead on developing the AA way of life.

Things did change, and the drinking stopped almost as a by product of my efforts to live a better life. In fact life is so much better, drinking has become redundant.
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Old 04-10-2015, 02:04 AM
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sobriety is my trump card , nothing goes higher than that .

It is the pad stone upon which i build a happy and sober life not the other way round .

Having one drink is the start of a slippery slope sometimes we get away relatively unscathed but for me it was always a rigged game where i'd end up loosing .
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Old 04-10-2015, 02:14 AM
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I believe they work hand in hand. This is kinda like the chicken or the egg question.

Don't worry so much which comes first. Staying abstinent fuels the lifestyle part of it. And then they both tend to feed off one another.
Once you get some sober time, then think about the lifestyle changes needed to maintain it. And think about the lifestyle changes you need to make in order to get sober.
I suppose you can't have one without the other, it's not an either/or kind of thing.
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Old 04-10-2015, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LBrain View Post
I believe they work hand in hand. This is kinda like the chicken or the egg question. Don't worry so much which comes first. Staying abstinent fuels the lifestyle part of it. And then they both tend to feed off one another. Once you get some sober time, then think about the lifestyle changes needed to maintain it. And think about the lifestyle changes you need to make in order to get sober. I suppose you can't have one without the other, it's not an either/or kind of thing.

Agree with this
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Old 04-10-2015, 02:53 AM
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Me? I laid it down first and then filled time slots (there were many to fill when drinking was removed). Not a bad deal. More time to do what matters. In the beginning I spent a lot of time here. I still come by daily. Give total abs a shot first. This short read helped me make the jump:http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ined-long.html Best wishes.
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by TroyW View Post
What (I think) I'm realizing for myself is concentrating on being sober is almost self-defeating. It's as if I'm punishing myself for drinking, which will only help make me miserable.
If you view sobriety as a punishment, you will resent it, and drink.

So I'm not sure the problem is concentrating too much on sobriety, but rather how you view it.
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:38 AM
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How does one go about focusing on not doing something? I've decided not to eat chocolate cake today, so all day long I am going to focus on not eating some chocolate cake.

Seems a bit overthought to me. Not to mention a misallocation of my time.

This makes more sense to me: I'm not going to drink today because I am tired of the negative consequences that happen as a result of my drinking. Instead I will focus on the things that make me feel satisfied about my life.

Perhaps we are saying the same thing, Troy?
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:44 AM
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what worked for me was to concentrate on the lifestyle of sobriety.

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Old 04-10-2015, 06:07 AM
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going about this sobriety thing

Originally Posted by TroyW View Post

I've been thinking lately, am I going about this sobriety thing the wrong way?

In the past 84 hours I've had four drinks
You are correct -- that possibly just may be the wrong way.

At least it never worked for me.

I had to make a firm decision to stop drinking (for good).

And that is when we can start on the road of sobriety.

MB
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Old 04-10-2015, 06:45 AM
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Well, I never viewed sobriety as punishment. It was freedom and a chance to live my life.

And, if I had waited for alcohol to somehow disappear from life, I wouldn't be here today.
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Old 04-10-2015, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Anna View Post
Well, I never viewed sobriety as punishment. It was freedom and a chance to live my life. And, if I had waited for alcohol to somehow disappear from life, I wouldn't be here today.
I did. It took me nearly a decade to make the shift from seeing it as a loss to embracing it as a blessing.

That was the critical shift.
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