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Different person?

Old 05-02-2015, 10:15 AM
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Different person?

Hey ya'll... I have a question.

Does alcohol change your personality (even after you've stopped drinking?)

Had about 14 years of heavy drinking and stopped in January (except for recent one day relapse). Friends are telling me that I am a different person now. Not in the sense of I was a drinker and now I am not... more in the sense that I am less tolerant than I once was and I have also noticed that. Maybe it is the early days of sobriety making me this way? I "don't suffer fools gladly" like I once did. I dunno... almost feeling like I don't have time to screw around anymore with nonsense.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:29 AM
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There were many things that I either ignored or failed to see while I was drinking. I definitely saw things differently when I entered sobriety, especially in my marriage; I eventually realized that my husband probably learned to adapt to my 'checked-out' status.

So, yes, there was a 'vision' adjustment; my sober outlook was different and there were some things in sobriety that I could no longer 'ignore'.
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:35 AM
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Thanks Leigh. I like that analogy of "sober vision". Perhaps I feel the time crunch thing because I feel like I "lost" 14 good years to alcohol and cannot afford to lose anymore. I didn't realize that when I was drinking.
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:36 AM
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ause

Yes it did change my personality. The first year for sure my brain was repairing itself. That made me jumpy and cranky off and on. If you really are an easy going person you where in spite of the drinking not because of it. You are going to be way cooler after the reboot.
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:36 AM
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I think when I was drinking I changed in some ways because alcohol became the sole focus of my evenings, alcohol became my selfish objective every week.

But now in Sobriety I also had to relearn a few life skills, dealing with stress, learning that it's ok to feel things, and this all takes time, so people probably noticed a few differences.
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:37 AM
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This will be my 2nd go around with recovery but I do remember in the 1st time after a while of being sober I noticed the same thing. But then I realized that I was soo impatient because I was trying to play catch up. Catch up on all that I had passed up, ignored or missed out on because of my drinking. Still going to be a tough one for me, but I have to realize that I cant get back the time I waisted or the opportunities that I missed out on. :/
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:38 AM
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Can I reboot into Unix instead of Windows? I would love to reincarnate into a Mac!
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:56 AM
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I think alcohol suppresses who we really are
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:17 AM
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I'm definitely less tolerant now because when I was drinking that's all I cared about. Now that I'm sober I have less time and patience for people wasting my time and energy
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:23 AM
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Sobriety asks of us many things that require us to adapt to a new way of living, and very few of them are easily acquired. Sobriety works against our natural impulses.

Though you may not recognize me now due to several difficult changes that came about through hard work, acceptance and a desire to live a better life, I wasn't technically a different person than who I was over three-and-a-half years ago when I got sober again.

What I was doing at that time, and partially on an unconscious level, was adapting to a sober life after destroying myself and adversely influencing the world around me, including other people. There was no reset button for me after I finally put down the drink. Some of us may fail to notice or take into account the reality that a willingness to do whatever is necessary in order to achieve sobriety itself is fundamentally rewarding in the long term, even though what we need to do to get sober is inevitably uncomfortable or even painful in the moment. And for many more moments afterwards. So we end up arguing over and criticizing different treatment methods, offering reasons (rationalizations) about what we cannot (will not) do to get sober or, perhaps worse, convince ourselves that we don't have a destructive relationship with alcohol.

You can't teach someone to become motivated internally to get sober, but it is something that can be learned. This is where personal responsibility, including the responsibility for making meaningful changes in our lives, comes in. There are few things in life that improve by virtue of our hoping for the best. And this is only one reason why support is so crucial in achieving sobriety. The rest of the world generally doesn't care that we got sober or what we put ourselves through in order to get there. But for those of us who've been there, sobriety is nothing short of a remarkable achievement, a lifestyle born of personal growth that, when things go well, tends to breed success as a human being.

In the end, I don't believe that I'm a fundamentally different person than I was in early sobriety or even while I was drinking. What I've managed to do (and what others who've achieved sobriety have done), is to change the context in which I live my life, and then adapt accordingly. The ability to adapt to a new way of living is an essential requirement for sobriety that is present before we change the context, even though we may not be fully aware of it. To deny this, I believe, is yet another rejection of our basic humanity.

All of this takes time and any number of personal resources. Learning to live a new life is no different than learning anything else that is new to us -- with the possible modifier that it comes with many more and difficult challenges than what we refer to as "learning" in the common use of that word. It doesn't happen overnight, and is often not at all pretty. It's the struggle, and learning from that struggle, that ultimately brings us to a much better place.
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:24 AM
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Yes yes and more yes.

Far less tolerant of things one SHOULD actually be less tolerant of.

I hear ya buddy.
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:30 AM
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According to those around me i am quieter now. I drank to deal with social situations though so that makes sense as I'm quite introverted and used the alcohol to get that fake kind of feistiness.

I'm putting my foot down a lot more too which is no bad thing!
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ArtFriend;534979M9
Can I reboot into Unix instead of Windows? I would love to reincarnate into a Mac!
I suppose if you want. For me it is more of a Maynard style forty six & 2.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:13 PM
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I personally don't believe that alcoholism changes our personality or most dominant personality traits, Art. I think it changes how those traits manifest, in what sort of balance, and how we handle them or act in response to this complex of internal drives. These days I think it's more or less generally believed that personality is a combination of inborn factors and others that are the result or learning and experience, and some of the most important parts of the development of this "complex" take place in early life, before most of us ever started to drink. Well of course there is the part that is someone starts to drink or drug heavily very early (including teens years), there is more chance that our basic mechanisms will be altered in a more robust and persistent way... but in this case, I doubt that many of us would be highly aware of what was before, at a very young age, unless we do specific work to tap into that in sobriety. What I think more is that heavy drinking alters how the complex of these features, including character flaws (if you believe in such a classification as "positive" and "negative" traits) penetrate in the form of behaviors.

What prolonged heavy drinking influences very substantially, and usually in quite stubborn ways (so that it takes a while to revert to "normal", whatever that is): our decision making processes and abilities to appropriately and realistically control these in accordance with our true circumstances. One of the most important characteristics of addiction is fundamentally altered decision making, which is based upon biological processes that are becoming increasingly well-known nowadays. Another area that is heavily influenced by addiction, in believe, is our awareness of whoever we are and whatever drives us to do things, which of course has an effect on both our self-perception and, again, our actions and behavior.

Personally, I always think that it can be a little bit dangerous if we entertain the ideas of "addicted person" vs "sober person" as if these were distinct entities inside out. Like, "I will never be that horrible person I was when drinking". I think what we need to do, and usually do in sustained sobriety, is learning to function with a newly acquired balance of our motivations, emotions, desires, whatever... and use the complex of our personalities in different ways. Of course all this is pretty rough and raw in early sobriety and it can be very challenging to adapt to it and become truly aligned and comfortable with everything. But if we think about it, it can be just the same in response to any major and lasting life change, at least initially.

I think tolerance is definitely a big one, especially given that many of us are quite emotional and irritable in early sobriety. Give it time to find out how to manage it. I think a large part of the challenge is that addiction makes most of us act quite impulsively, and while drinking, we acted out the impulses in getting drunk (and other associated behaviors). How to handle this when suddenly there is nothing to temper us or to occupy our time? It's not an easy change. And, btw, there are also good things in not being so tolerant of BS anymore
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:31 PM
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I have a firm sense of who I am now. Before I began recovery, I was still trying to be all things to all people and I don't do that anymore. I no longer do things because I should. I do what's important to me.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:40 PM
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Drinking makes me a slobbering idiot and an arrogant fool.

Sober, I am very quiet and reserved. Mostly because I have a feeling the people around me have seen the way I am drunk and I don't really want to face that.

I'm not sure how I "really am." Because I have never been sober long enough to find out. But I am certain that alcoholism changed my overall personality.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by EndGameNYC View Post
Sobriety asks of us many things that require us to adapt to a new way of living, and very few of them are easily acquired. Sobriety works against our natural impulses.

Though you may not recognize me now due to several difficult changes that came about through hard work, acceptance and a desire to live a better life, I wasn't technically a different person than who I was over three-and-a-half years ago when I got sober again.

What I was doing at that time, and partially on an unconscious level, was adapting to a sober life after destroying myself and adversely influencing the world around me, including other people. There was no reset button for me after I finally put down the drink. Some of us may fail to notice or take into account the reality that a willingness to do whatever is necessary in order to achieve sobriety itself is fundamentally rewarding in the long term, even though what we need to do to get sober is inevitably uncomfortable or even painful in the moment. And for many more moments afterwards. So we end up arguing over and criticizing different treatment methods, offering reasons (rationalizations) about what we cannot (will not) do to get sober or, perhaps worse, convince ourselves that we don't have a destructive relationship with alcohol.

You can't teach someone to become motivated internally to get sober, but it is something that can be learned. This is where personal responsibility, including the responsibility for making meaningful changes in our lives, comes in. There are few things in life that improve by virtue of our hoping for the best. And this is only one reason why support is so crucial in achieving sobriety. The rest of the world generally doesn't care that we got sober or what we put ourselves through in order to get there. But for those of us who've been there, sobriety is nothing short of a remarkable achievement, a lifestyle born of personal growth that, when things go well, tends to breed success as a human being.

In the end, I don't believe that I'm a fundamentally different person than I was in early sobriety or even while I was drinking. What I've managed to do (and what others who've achieved sobriety have done), is to change the context in which I live my life, and then adapt accordingly. The ability to adapt to a new way of living is an essential requirement for sobriety that is present before we change the context, even though we may not be fully aware of it. To deny this, I believe, is yet another rejection of our basic humanity.

All of this takes time and any number of personal resources. Learning to live a new life is no different than learning anything else that is new to us -- with the possible modifier that it comes with many more and difficult challenges than what we refer to as "learning" in the common use of that word. It doesn't happen overnight, and is often not at all pretty. It's the struggle, and learning from that struggle, that ultimately brings us to a much better place.
Fantastic post. Thank you.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Anna View Post
I have a firm sense of who I am now. Before I began recovery, I was still trying to be all things to all people and I don't do that anymore. I no longer do things because I should. I do what's important to me.
I like this, Anna.
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Old 05-02-2015, 01:06 PM
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Haennie... I am only still in early sobriety....but....I want to add - 'yes, yes, and yes again' to what you say (so eloquently) in your post. Much of it (i believe) is simply true. I agree there are no distinct entities sober or drunk within us...

Artfriend...i feel the journey is to learn to somehow recalibrate our sense of who we are - made up from who we were before the alcohol dependence, who we were in the terrible midst of it, and how we can learn again to be and feel enough of who we are when they inevitably merge ( in sobriety). But...in the process of this journey - us becoming kinder to ourselves and to the world in which we live. At least this is my own aim...

Right now though? ...I am one tetchy, ruffled-up lady...coping not so well with the emotional turbulence of finding sober feet to walk on, which hopefully...in time - will allow me to 'dance' more through life
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