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Old 12-21-2015, 11:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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That whole "putting a life together" thing


Hi,

I'm new. Recovering from a long-time drinking problem and using harm reduction to do it. Maybe it's not for everyone but harm reduction is working for me and is the only thing that has worked in 10 years of trying.

So with all these alcohol-free nights and hangover-free days I'm having to get up close and personal with my own life. Got to say, I miss the avoidance!

I can fill the time, it's all the feelings that I struggle with. I'm a survivor of infant, childhood and adult trauma and I'm used to blocking my feelings. But I've done a lot of work and therapy to move on from the trauma and now I'm trying to put together a better life for myself.

I'm a fan of: harm reduction, art, somatic therapy, my few but good friends, films, journalling, dance, exercise, reading, the sea, guided relaxation, healing/recovery, my bed.

Right now I'm aiming for: more exercise, better self care, learning to meditate, treating other people better.

Looking forward to "meeting" people here.

Z
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
What's the world coming to when you can't trust an recovering alcoholic ex degenerate gambler huh ?
 
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome. Sounds like you are working positives into your life. Dealing with feelings takes practice. Mindfulness meditation has helped me a bit in watching feelings and thoughts and seeing them as that. It has helped me to not react to them as much. I still do- but it has been helpful.
I also like yoga. It combines movement and meditation and has helped in that area as well.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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very cool..

welcome!

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~ Life!! It's WAY too good to drink to! ~
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome to the Forum Zeroine!!
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome Zeroine

What exactly does harm reduction entail for you? I'm curious.

D
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi @Dee74,

I've been wondering if harm reduction is actually discussed on these forums. I'm using it as a way to get sober without having to suddenly stop altogether. Having tried willpower/immediate abstinence approaches many times before, I know they don't work for me.

The reasons harm reduction is proving a much better approach to sudden abstinence for me include:

a) I don't do well with intangible ideas or thinking about things theoretically. All the cost benefit analyses I drew up didn't mean anything to me in reality. I have to experience a benefit positively for it to matter. I have to experience a day, or two, or three without alcohol and feel how much better things are.

b) Attempting sudden complete abstinence makes me feel I'm being "forced" by health and financial reasons to stop. I have a history of childhood abuse and control is a big thing for me. Feeling I'm making a choice about drinking less or drinking less often is a much more successful approach than feeling I don't have an option.

c) Also because of my history, I've never coped well with feelings. I've just blocked them immediately in one way or another. So it can be overwhelming to suddenly have everything rush up at me, but pacing it gives me a chance to learn and practice.

d) Tapering off gradually is working better for me psychologically and it feels better physically too in terms of my body adjusting.

However, searching for harm reduction here I've seen some comments about the site not being somewhere to discuss it. Is that the case? The comments seem to be about the idea of lifelong controlled drinking rather than using harm reduction to eventually stop.

In practice, for me harm reduction means really considering whether I want to drink or whether I could do something else, but not forbidding myself from drinking if that's what I decided. Having the choice means I'm starting to choose not to drink, which feels a ton more positive than forcing myself not to.

Now I can even enjoy not drinking as long as I don't feel the pressure of never having another drink again in my life hanging over my head. And if I do drink, I usually choose to drink less than I would have done in the past, and I plan to continue reducing it. It feels like I'm building up "sobriety muscles", gradually.

I'd like to be able to discuss it as a method leading to abstinence. I really wish I had people to talk to about living without drinking, and ways to approach urges.

Is that inappropriate on this site, or am I unlikely to find anyone like-minded here? Perhaps you could advise.

Thanks.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Welcome and you will discover many new friends here, Prior to me being 50, if you mentioned Yoga or Meditation, honestly for a guy my age I would say...yea right....that was until I discovered it and the power it has to help me. Use whatever tool you can get your hands on, I have learned to try, read and do anything as I want sobriety more than anything, it's not always easy but the rewards are just what I need.

All the nest in this new year.
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks to everyone for making me feel welcome.

Just wanted to add that someone kindly sent me a PM and I'm afraid I can't reply by message yet because I don't have enough posts. But it was great of you to message me - thanks!

Z
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Old 01-08-2016, 03:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I've read a few others that tapered to abstinence. I have a switch and it says go or no go. I quit cold turkey.

What ever works for you is great. You will find may ex-drinkers on here with great advice.

Welcome aboard!
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Old 01-08-2016, 03:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm not quite sure where you stand?

Are you on a tapering process with an end goal to never drink again? If so, occasionally people seem to be able to make that work, however most of us cannot manage to do that. But, you said you like to chose, in any given situation, whether or not to drink and to not forbid yourself. Here at SR abstinence is the goal. For some of us, choosing another drink could be a matter of life and death.
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:33 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna View Post
I'm not quite sure where you stand?

Are you on a tapering process with an end goal to never drink again? If so, occasionally people seem to be able to make that work, however most of us cannot manage to do that. But, you said you like to chose, in any given situation, whether or not to drink and to not forbid yourself. Here at SR abstinence is the goal. For some of us, choosing another drink could be a matter of life and death.
Yes, the end goal is to never drink again. Harm reduction is the route to that, so that I can gradually learn how to cope without drinking. And so that it becomes more of a positive choice, which it is becoming.

I understand that this may seem implausible for many people. But I haven't had any success with trying to suddenly make myself stop - have tried that so many times and in so many ways (medication, therapy etc).

Even though I can't afford to drink because of the effect on my health, that still doesn't stop me. But this approach is helping. Who knows? All I can do is update you in one year, two years, ten years time.

I won't try to discuss harm reduction on this forum, I can see it isn't generally thought to be a likely route to abstinence and I don't want to cause trouble. But I'd still like to be able to discuss general things like life without drinking and dealing with urges. It seems like a good forum.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeroine View Post
I won't try to discuss harm reduction on this forum, I can see it isn't generally thought to be a likely route to abstinence and I don't want to cause trouble. But I'd still like to be able to discuss general things like life without drinking and dealing with urges. It seems like a good forum.
All forms of getting us sober and staying sober for the rest of our lives can and are discussed here for feedback, to the best of my limited experience.

What you will find is there are very few of us that could go this route as we already know when we pick up one, we are powerless and out of control, in part because we have abused our bodies for years and our AV is simply that powerful, it is for me, One beer with guys on a farm where I worked who were heading home (migrant workers) and I was off on a 36 day binge, totally out of control and fighting for my life to stop.

Because this sickness gets worse, when giving suggestions I do encourage posters to stop because I can tell you from personal experience, reading and attending meetings it gets worse, some it can take years vs other just a few months, so I would like to think we are trying to impart that experience to save the poster a lot of grief and heartache down the road.

Having said that, if you have formulated a plan cutting it down to no drinking at all and it's working for you, more power to you if it is working and only you know that.

All the best
Andrew
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:20 AM   #16 (permalink)
You can have reasons, or you can have results, but you can't have both.
 
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Hi, Zeroine. We're on a very similar page and I just Pmd you. I tapered before I quit to make the quit safer. I even started a thread on this, "Why I Didn't Quit Immediately."

Although quitting is a big first step, I see the real work ahead to be "putting a life together." I think you hit the nail on the head.
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My sincere apologies that I never got back to you Zeroine - one of the hazards of a site this big, I'm afraid.

Anna speaks for me when she says
Quote:
Here at SR abstinence is the goal. For some of us, choosing another drink could be a matter of life and death.
but you seem mindful of that and I don't foresee any problems or any reason why you should not be a member here

D
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Zeroine,

Nice to meet you, you will find tons of support here.

I am so so sorry for what you have gone thru -- there are many child and other abuse survivors here. Not surprising given the percentage of addicts that have been abused.

Most of us would find the whole to drink or not to drink decision every day too exhausting, at least I would, but everyone has to find their own way, and if there is one thing I have learned its that there are lots of ways to do this.

But I do hope for you that you will stop in the end, cause its SOOOO much easier if nothing else.

No more of that internal struggle -- at least not about drinking anyway. The committee in my head finds many other things to make me crazy about....

Good luck on your path.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:34 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I’d just like to add to this thread by making a general statement so I can point people to it if there seems to be any misunderstanding (rather than putting it in threads that might be about other, specific issues).

It’s great that there are people here who are supportive of any serious approach to sobriety. Thank you!

In case it needs clarifying:

a) Harm reduction can be used either for moderation or for getting to abstinence

b) I'm using harm reduction for getting to abstinence. I'm not interested in harm reduction for moderation. I have no delusions about being able to become a moderate drinker.

c) For me, with everything, the most successful approach is not to jump in the deep end and then deal with it. The most successful approach is to build up a ton of skills and resources, and then to jump in and ninja it. That’s how I gave up smoking without starting again. It’s how I got through therapy for PTSD without getting overwhelmed and giving up. It’s how I’ve tackled OCD and generalised anxiety disorder and haven’t slipped backwards. It know it may not be someone else’s style. For me, it doesn’t mean I’m messing around, it means I’m serious.

d) In this case, harm reduction is a tool letting me build up a set of skills and resources for sobriety. In the meantime I’m also reducing (not moderating).

I’ve never believed I could be a moderate drinker, even when I had my first drink. I’ve never drunk socially or even in front of people, because from the start I’ve only seen drinking as self-medication. I didn’t start drinking until I was in my late 20s because I knew I wouldn’t be a “normal drinker”. But by that time I was suicidal so I’d stopped caring about the consequences and wanted oblivion. Now I feel differently.

I’m guessing that isn’t the most common type of drinking history here on the forum. Maybe that’s one reason why my approach to getting sober isn’t one of the most common ones. Even though it may be a minority approach, it's as valid as SMART, AA or anything else. Like all approaches, some people may personally think it's flawed but that doesn't have to be debated.

I really hope that’s cleared up now. I’m not mentioning it outside this thread because there seems to be a possibility of it being misunderstood and I didn’t join the forum to argue the case for it. I'm just here to get on with getting sober and – if I can – offering some support to others.
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