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Contemplating the Addiction...

Old 05-11-2015, 07:36 PM
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Contemplating the Addiction...

In a few days, I will have had 5 months of sobriety. The addiction to alcohol has its quiet days and some that are a little more persuasive. The addictive behavior I possess is still there. I just don't drink alcohol. I have lately become aware of my increased intake of caffeine, mostly from coffee and espresso. At first glance, it seems relatively harmless and much better than alcohol. But in close scrutiny, I see it is another addiction. I now crave the buzz from caffeine. Even though my addiction is no longer fed with liquor, it is being satiated with the caffeine. I am not really worried about drinking too much coffee or related drinks, I am more concerned that it is, on a certain level, keeping the addiction nature alive within me. I recognize this. So my thoughts are do we just leave one addiction and acquire another? Can ice cream, or sweet potatoes, or exercise, or a multitude of other things become a feed for our addiction. Of course many will say a healthy avenue that becomes a replacement for alcohol isn't bad. But is it a slow-drip for the sinister addiction that is not placated with its drug of choice but with a milder, less damaging substance? This may keep it in a quasi-suspended animation while it lies in patient waiting to re-emerge and take its position once again when the opportunity arises. Food for thought?
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:45 PM
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Hey creek. I understand where you are coming from. I have a background of a illegal drug addiction. I beat that years ago then alcohol took over. Once I decided to quit that my smokeless tobacco habit increased 10 fold and now that I'm trying to stop that and I have been hitting the coffee and soft drinks. So your either your right on target or we are in the group of addicted personality types.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:51 PM
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Very possible, Charlie, but it is something to be conscious. As I said, the greatest fear is keeping that addiction alive, even in a reduced capacity as to survive on lesser "drugs". I want the addiction eradicated, not placated.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:52 PM
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I've had a lot of conversations with people like this. I dont know, but if it is ....it's a much better addiction or obsession then alcohol. There was a time that I abstained from everything including sugar and caffeine. At the time it made sense, they felt too "unmanageable " I gueSs the addict brain just wanted to get its hands on something, that's a huge part of my addicttion is thinking about scoring , the actual drink or drug isn't as good as that thought of how good it'll make me feel once I get it. Once I changed that type of thinking I could go back to a more relaxed diet although I only drink caffeinated tea and refrain from white and processed sugars for the most part. What was the question? Ive been rambling again......
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:56 PM
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I agree creek. I often wonder why I "have" to start or increase one thing after I stop another. I wish I had a switch to shut it all off. Even though I'm on the trail of lesser evils, I like you, want them all gone. It would be nice to wake up and not "need" anything for my day. I totally get it brother
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:03 PM
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I personally don't want the perfect to be the enemy of the good. I'll take a mild caffeine addiction any day!
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:19 PM
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Great job on the five months man! If you want my two cents I wouldn't worry about the coffee for now, if ever. Some of the happiest most successful people I know drink coffee like it's going out of style.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:44 PM
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Hey Creek
5 months is great.

I think it is possible to change - 8 years ago I was killing myself, now I'm not.
If you find yourself getting dependent on things like ice cream or french fries or whatever, I find those things are easier to curb - they're not on the same level as my addiction to drugs and alcohol.

I think there's a difference between being vigilant and being scared that the AV is going to ambush us.

I firmly believe that I have to co-sign any insanity that might put me back where I was before.

I refuse to do that - I hold the keys to my future and my happiness
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:03 PM
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I think this is extremely true--- but I have no idea what to do about it :P

When I went four months sober, I also, in the last month, quit cigarettes as well--- I became an absolute nut over lifting weights and jogging. I really couldn't stop though, because if I wasn't exercising during the day then I had seriously powerful cravings for booze/cigs that genuinely paralyzed me; couldn't read, be creative, or do much of anything at all besides exercise.
Oddly, the nights became easier (which, typically, they're the hardest for me). I guess because I worked out and thought I looked all good and what-not I just wanted to spend my nights out at the boardwalk or walking around strutting my stuff haha.
So there was a reversal of the addictive time-slot, but I still maintained a very addictive personality. I feel that I literally had to adopt that personality though, because it was the only way I was able to keep away from cigarettes and booze at the time. Maybe there was a way to combat this--- but I was struggling so much with just staying sober that I didn't bother to really scrutinize and reconstruct my sober life.

This time around I'll be more vigilant about this effect!
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:47 PM
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I noticed the substituting almost immediately. My trio of vices was alcohol, cigarettes and coffee. So when I quit alcohol, I almost instantly noticed that I smoked more and drank more coffee. Although the intake didn't lessen, the personal polemic about it did, after some time. This is theory, but I think once the mind calms down about the 'new-found' addiction, it would be easier to decrease the intake of whatever substance, be it caffeine, sugar or hamburgers. Go from 'most destructive' to 'least destructive' and then, when you feel like it, cut some things out completely (things that aren't as threatening as alcohol) ?

Congrats on the 5 months!
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:51 PM
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I work with supplements and get a lot of samples from reps. I deep down think that if I take enough antioxidants and do enough cleanses and can be really really healthy, than maybe I won't be this addicted person anymore... Maybe I will be PERFECT!!! But, wait... Wouldn't that be an addiction in its own? Maybe you will learn how to not be an addict or maybe this is just the person you are. Are you ok with that? I think of it as my inner fire. I use it to my advantage, control those destructive urges and try to be more productive and show myself how amazing I am... When you are too busy telling yourself what an amazing coffee connoisseur you are, you won't have time to think about addiction... hopefully
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Creekryder View Post
But is it a slow-drip for the sinister addiction that is not placated with its drug of choice but with a milder, less damaging substance? This may keep it in a quasi-suspended animation while it lies in patient waiting to re-emerge and take its position once again when the opportunity arises. Food for thought?
Congrats on almost 5 months of sobriety! Addiction tendencies and replacements, compulsions, obsessions is something that has been on my mind lately as well. A few months ago I finally stopped chewing nicotine replacement gum. In its place at night I started chewing a certain brand of gum, four pieces at a time, that my dentist recommended because it has Xylitol. However, chewing half a canister in one sitting is definitely 100% an expression of my addict tendencies. Especially since chewing this gum results in an entire night of terrible gas. Yet I keep buying and chewing it anyway. Hypnosis?

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Old 05-12-2015, 04:48 AM
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I think maybe view this as a work in progress--
A series of transitions if you will.

Right now, number one monkey to keep off your back is booze.
That, no matter what.
If coffee aids that at the moment, let it and be grateful.

I agree with the addictive personality issues, but not too much too fast.

I would give it at least a full year before you start removing the other "crutches" that are helping you stay sober.

I also drank tons of coffee the first year, but I began to substitute things like herbal teas and juicing in the afternoons.

However, if I felt a craving, I had the coffee and didn't deny myself, because you are quite right, the AV is still there and looking for a trigger.

As your sober time builds, this will become less of an issue because you start to see sober at "normal" believe it or not,
and then you can address other issues you want to work on in terms of what you eat / drink.

I think you are doing a fantastic job with your sobriety and also in your reflection of the underlying issues--just be kind to yourself and patient
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:47 AM
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Creekryder - I have mulled over the same thing many times in the past. At the end of the day I decided that I had to make a personal decision as to what I can live with and what I can't. Nicotine is the one active addiction that I would like to kick, but haven't done so at this point. There are plenty of rationalizations I could give about why the time isn't right, but it really comes down to the fact that I want to smoke more than I want to quit. I do believe that I will get sick and tired of it within say the next year. This was the case during the last two times that I eliminated active drug use from my life. If it turns out that I don't get sick and tired of it enough to quit then I will just have to accept it.

Caffeine is something that I can live with even if I think of myself as being addicted to it.

With both of these substances, I don't have the same compulsion that I did with my 'problem' drug(s) though. I don't get a buzz from them that in any way reminds me of past drug use. However, a substance like alcohol I definitely must avoid. I saw first hand that my addiction found fertile soil with alcohol last summer despite the fact that it had not been the case in the past. Even before that situation I viewed alcohol differently than caffeine and nicotine. The buzz from alcohol reminded me of the past drug use in a way that nicotine and caffeine never did. In that sense, I would view moderate alcohol consumption as more detrimental than using caffeine daily in a way that more closely fits an 'addictive' pattern. I have no interest in moderate alcohol consumption either way.

I don't view the 'addictive' part of my personality as all bad either. For me, I see that part of me as a driver to go all out with certain aspects of my life. When I was working long hours right out of school I could have likely qualified as a 'workaholic', but it was what I wanted to do at the time. Harnessing that drive for a good aspect of my life gave me a leg up on my peers. That drive was the same one that allowed me to truly immerse myself in certain subjects in school too. I think if I completely eradicated that part of myself I would lose an important part of myself. Whether it is even possible to eradicate that part of one's personality is another question altogether.

My vote would be for channeling it towards something positive in one's life rather than eradication. There are a lot of folks that look at addiction as something akin to a curse, but channeling it to something positive may give us the advantage of being able to enjoy and engage ourselves in an activity to a degree that a non-addict never could. I just wanted to curb the drug use that was way outside of any semblance of control. That was something I couldn't live with.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:03 AM
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Once I heard we quit things in the order that they will kill us.........I have made it as far as alcohol et at, and cigarettes. Next I will take on caffeine and ice cream......

Glad you're here - congrat's on 5 months!

I do agree that quitting booze but tossing oneself on top of the Hungry Heifer buffet and eating 8,000 calories is not a very wise substitution, perhaps.

Mooooo,
Keep coming back!
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:33 AM
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Thanks to all for the great conversation. The comments here are quite valid to consider. I have to reiterate that the "side" obsessions (coffee, candy, whatever) are definitely an improvement over the destructive drugs, but the case of that behavior sustaining the addiction to alcohol still appears to me to be probable. I do, however, can subscribe to your concept, OpioPhobe, on channeling the addictive behavior to a more beneficial practice. Maybe if the AV is going to be part of me the rest of my life, I can reprogram it to be satiated with a desire to do something good, rather than to self-destruct.
Sterling posts, my fellow soddens, most excellent responses!
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:41 AM
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I actually did this when I quit-- I started playing guitar again after 30 years away, and I also joined a Crossfit and lost 40 pounds and got very fit.

Working out and a creative outlet were a great combo.
I added Yoga to the mix to get some body awareness and that really made it work--you carry a lot of "old" emotions in your body tension that it feels good to release, strangely enough.

Keep us posted CR!
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:44 AM
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Excellent, Hawkeye! Looks like the ol' AV has a new master!
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:43 AM
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5 Months is fantastic!!
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