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For those who have been successful, how do you deal with feeling "deprived"?

Old 06-01-2015, 10:17 AM
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For those who have been successful, how do you deal with feeling "deprived"?

After trying to address my alcoholism for years, I feel like I have just now started to understand certain things. Like, really understand them. You know when you've heard a statement/slogan for years and one day it starts to really mean something to you. It becomes more than just a slogan, but an absolute truth that you understand?

:: I cannot drink alcohol safely or responsibly under any circumstance, despite my greatest efforts
:: I am exhausted fighting a battle I cannot ever win. Ever. I don't want to play this game anymore.

But here's one huge thought I continue to struggle with. I am - for whatever reason - scared to death of being defined by what I cannot do. Something about that just seems to break me. I have to be honest, and please nobody take this statement as disrespect towards the program as it's just my response, but I have found that AA meetings have an almost opposite effect on me for this very reason. The guy who stands up and states that he has 7,453 days since his last drink. It's scares the sh*t out of me, and I can not shake it. Almost like I'm shackled??

How do you all address these feelings of what you can't have ever?

Thank you.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:21 AM
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Hi scram, I don't think about never ever taking that drink. Instead I think - I will not drink today. It is only eight weeks for me, so I am still taking baby steps.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:22 AM
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Trying to manage drinking is exhausted. I was completely exhausted at the end of my drinking days, so stopping drinking was a relief. I have never bothered about the label 'alcoholic' because it doesn't define me. I am many things - a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a friend, a co-worker, a volunteer and my addiction doesn't define me. If AA is not working for you, try something else. I use SR as my support and always have.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:44 AM
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Thank you, ZaBoozer. Just FYI, your posts of your journey have been incredible to read.

And Anna - OMG you said something that absolutely resonated with me. Once again, I feel like I'm hearing things I've heard may times before but now that really mean something. "Trying to manage drinking is exhausting. I was completely exhausted at the end of my drinking days..."

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. It's exhausting. The amount of effort that goes into trying to manage/contain my alcoholism is psychologically and physically exhausting.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:49 AM
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Eventually you will realize how deprived you really are if you continue to drink. It is holding you back, you are shackled. You just need some sober time to see it clearly! I heard today that the lock is on the inside, and you are the key to be free from the constant struggle. You can do it!
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:02 AM
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I remember sitting in my first meeting where someone said they had 30 years and thinking that there was no way that they were telling the truth.

Later I realized, 30 minutes, 30 days, 30 years it only matters that we don't drink TODAY. I choose to view it as realizing how much more I can do being sober than feeling deprived about not drinking.

Before I got sober I would sit at an AA meeting terrified at the thought of "breaking up with my best friend, alcohol." I thought how could I never drink again? And here's the secret: I can't tell you I'll never drink again, but I do know this, I will not drink today. And when tomorrow comes I probably will make the same choice to stay sober for that 24 hours too. They tell us to take it easy, one day at a time for a reason, because it works.

And today, by one precious day at a time, I have 427 sober days in a row.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:12 AM
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Even though I'm only 15 days in, there is some great advice in this thread. My wife quit with me (she didn't do it just for me, this is something we've discussed for 3-4 years). I asked her this weekend how she was doing without drinking. She said it depends on when I ask the question. I asked what is the most difficult thing and she said the prospect of never drinking again. I found this interesting because that's not how I've been thinking. I'm only worried about the present. I know I'm done for now. So I only worry about the day in front of me.

The way I see it is time changes people. Changes the way we think, act, deal, process new info, etc. Life isn't static that's for sure. I figured as time goes by I'll care less and less about alcohol as a whole. My mind is in the moment for now. And I told me wife the same. Just worry about today and maybe tomorrow.

10 years ago I never thought I'd be here on a board like this figuring out how to go sober. So 10 years from now isn't really something I can contemplate with any accuracy.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Scram View Post
for whatever reason - scared to death of being defined by what I cannot do.
So you rebel. By drinking. Your addiction has you acting like a 12-year-old, being defiant against authority, or in this case, sobriety.

You have to recognize that the decision to get sober is your decision. No authority is depriving you of alcohol. You are making a rational decision based on the impact alcohol in having on your life. You aren't depriving yourself of squat. Rather, you are opening the door to the many gifts of sobriety. But you can't let your addiction twist that around to "losing" something, because you aren't.

You won't see the gains of sobriety as quickly as your addiction will notice the losses. Don't let it get the upper hand. This decision is your to make and keep. It takes a lot of integrity, it takes being the adult over your rebellious addiction.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:32 AM
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I totally relate to hating being told *You can't do this*.

For me it's slowly becoming *I chose today not to drink* not *I can't drink today.*

I get it though. 100%
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:38 AM
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Scram, I can relate to your feelings. I have always been big on having freedom. And at one time I viewed it exactly as you did. In fact, at my very first AA meeting (court ordered) somebody said that they hit meetings "just like I used to drink, every day" and he had been doing this for 9 years. That put me off because it just seemed like a different kind of prison.

I didn't and don't like anything that limits me. If you are a daily or near daily drinker you have to make a choice when it comes to driving. You either don't ever do it since you are over the limit daily (which is severely limiting) or you just go ahead and drive drunk. That's what I did. It still makes me a little bit ill when I think about how often I put other people's lives in danger simply for my "freedom." And thankfully after a few years of it, I had racked up enough DUI's to give up my freedom in more literal senses - jail sentences and loss of driving privileges.

I could detail countless other ways that alcohol limited me personally, psychologically, in relationships, professionally, physically and intellectually. I always thought I drank to exercise my freedom. In the end I desperately needed freedom FROM it.

I did not get sober using AA, but I attended several meetings years after I quit drinking and I had a real sense that many of the old timers in the room had achieved freedom. They had a very open, honest and easy way about them. AA may or may not be for you, but I would ask you to think about what "freedom" you have given up by drinking and what freedom you could regain if you quit.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:41 AM
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I've never, and don't, label myself relative to alcohol.

Switching the paradigm may be helpful. This is a choice and not a punishment. No reason to be scared by what you "cannot" do if you can wrap your head around the fact that you are "choosing" to be alcohol free. You can drink (and in turn accept the consequences that come along with the choice) and are choosing not to. Powerful.

Another way to shift your thinking is to recognize there were likely many, many things that you could not do while you were drinking. If things you "cannot" do scare you- the act of choosing to be alcohol free should be pretty liberating.

I frame it as making a purposeful choice to be alcohol free and enjoy the benefits of that decision.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Scram View Post
I am - for whatever reason - scared to death of being defined by what I cannot do.
You are loss averse, and that is quite normal. Losses hurt more than gains feel good - just about twice as much on average. In other words, losing $100 feels twice as bad as finding $100 feels good.

The part you are missing from your what-I-am-losing equation is the big gain at the end. I was a slave and now I am free. I would never consider sacrficing my freedom again just for a couple of drinks.

You are holding the winning lottery ticket, and all you can think about is that you lost a dollar buying it.

Build a sober life and see if I'm wrong. You can always give it back and take up drinking again if you don't like it. I'm betting you won't though.

Best of Luck on Your Journey!
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:48 AM
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In early recovery I had to remind myself of the positives of being sober. Instead of feeling deprived, I had to remind myself of what I gained from being sober.

And now, after over five years sober, I no longer feel deprived at all. On the contrary, I feel like my life is better in so many ways.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:50 AM
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I like the analogy of a nut allergy, if I couldn't eat nuts, would I view it the same way, struggle when others eat nuts, think I'm missing out, try to moderate my nut intake, try to push a square peg into a round hole, risk dying over one nut?!!

Or would I listen to my Dr and accept that nuts and me simply are not compatible?!!

I'd probably do the later, so why is alcohol any different, in my mind I square it the same way, I am incompatible with alcohol and so I go my separate ways, in the same way many other people do with many other allergies!!
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:15 PM
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I guess for me I don't phrase it in that way in that I "can't drink". While I "could" drink, I don't want to drink any more. I know I "shouldn't" drink since when I was drinking, I drank more than what I should have to be healthy. Additionally, dealing with the cravings and everything else associated with drinking is not something I want to do any more. Looking back, drinking was exhausting, so I am glad I don't drink.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by doggonecarl View Post
So you rebel. By drinking. Your addiction has you acting like a 12-year-old, being defiant against authority, or in this case, sobriety.

You have to recognize that the decision to get sober is your decision. No authority is depriving you of alcohol. You are making a rational decision based on the impact alcohol in having on your life. You aren't depriving yourself of squat. Rather, you are opening the door to the many gifts of sobriety. But you can't let your addiction twist that around to "losing" something, because you aren't.

You won't see the gains of sobriety as quickly as your addiction will notice the losses. Don't let it get the upper hand. This decision is your to make and keep. It takes a lot of integrity, it takes being the adult over your rebellious addiction.
I hear myself saying, "Dog Gone it Carl, you're right again."
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Scram View Post
I have to be honest, and please nobody take this statement as disrespect towards the program as it's just my response, but I have found that AA meetings have an almost opposite effect on me for this very reason. The guy who stands up and states that he has 7,453 days since his last drink. It's scares the sh*t out of me, and I can not shake it. Almost like I'm shackled??

How do you all address these feelings of what you can't have ever?

Thank you.
When I was told I never have to drink again I heard = I never get to drink again!

The world record for sobriety is 24 hours - for those who have that today congratulations!!! We have been given another reprieve from alcohol, today.


No one else keeps us sober or makes us drink - it's an inside job. If someone has 24 years or 24 hours it makes no difference to our sobriety.

All that matters to me is I don't pick up today. I go to meetings, log on post and read on SR and take the necessary action I need to stay sober. Each day I am thankful for this daily reprieve

I think as alcoholics we can make things way too complicated. I know I can. If I keep things simple, maybe I stand a chance.

Glad you're here and thanks for the thread!
ps - if anyone is offended they need to work on themselves
imo.....
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:34 PM
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I'm an alcoholic. I could go out and drink right now. Nothing is stopping me. It just wouldn't be a good decision.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:46 PM
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My thoughts on being in a group thru aa or many others that I have been in don't do much of anything for me.Its my life experience such as almost dying ...on and on.We all know what we have been thru.Expressing myself here is like talking one on one to a counsler.I am hearing from people that have been where I have been.I went to passages 2 times much different than aa but again most of what I took away was from one on one with my therapists.I am not putting down any treatment whatever works for you do it,the end game is what is important.Sombody or me telling my story in a room of many people and then listning to other people broadstroke there story in 3 minutes dosnt do it for me....Then usually in my group meetings the counsler will say...how was your weekend or how is everyone doing... then crickets....Im sober now that's all that matters
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:51 PM
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Any time you start to feel deprived, supplant that thought with "thank God I'm free, I no longer have to drink again." If you start debating with yourself and questioning your decision, your AV is winning on you're on a loser.
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