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Does anyone else notice a pattern??

Old 05-29-2016, 07:25 AM
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Does anyone else notice a pattern??

People (myself included many times!) come here after a heavy drunk or some circumstance that was extraordinarily bad. They are done. Day one. Never going to drink again. Sick, shameful, guilt ridden, disgusted with themselves.

Take a few days to recover from that with their sobriety at the forefront of their mind. Day 4-8 going strong. After that life gets back to living without being bedridden or disgusted from the last episode. People start to come to SR not as often. 10 day-14 days later the episode that brought them to day 1 is becoming a distant memory and minimalized or maybe "not so bad". Thoughts of just one more time or moderation or I can handle a few drinks creep back in.

BAM - back to day 1 again. This time with a stronger resolve because defeat is not an option.

Rinse and repeat. Again and again and again. I have done this for years. Meditation, meetings (aa, smart, CR), self help books, books on not drinking, therapy, holistic stuff, online stuff, cognitive therapy, vitamins, amino acids, devotionals, spirituality readings, exercise, detox waters, supplements. I have done it all and they DO help in some way. I don't even know what day of sobriety I am on now.

I have about 75 "non consecutive days" of sobriety. I was called out for stating "non consecutive days" in a previous post as being ridiculous. (I do have about 5 days of drinking sprinkled throughout the last 80 days) Rightfully so I guess. I have lost count on how many days "this go around". I think 8 maybe??

Anyway - I am frustrated with myself and see a pattern through so many posts here. Coming out of the gate strong and them lose steam and start over again. I've heard it said that you won't stop until the desire to remain sober becomes greater than the desire to drink. I get that and my desire to remain sober IS greater on MOST days. But it just takes that one day to throw it all away and end up at day 1 again.

I was reading ICDB's thread last night about wanting to drink yesterday. This was totally me yesterday. 100%. It wasn't a strong voice, but it was a present voice all day. That post helped me so much yesterday to surf through the urges.

Just venting I guess - thanks for reading. Anyone else see this pattern?
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Old 05-29-2016, 07:30 AM
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People start to come to SR not as often. 10 day-14 days later the episode that brought them to day 1 is becoming a distant memory and minimalized or maybe "not so bad". Thoughts of just one more time or moderation or I can handle a few drinks creep back in.

This is exactly what happened to me. I got cocky and didn't read enough of the links. I'm making my plan today to present to my counselor on Tuesday. Part of it, it coming here every day, very frequently. I can't believe how much this place helps.
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Old 05-29-2016, 07:35 AM
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This has literally been my pattern for 10 years. I am not a daily drinker, I am a binge/blackout/one night episode, swear it off for a number of days, repeat. What finally bought me to SR was that the length of time between swearing it off and drinking again was getting short. I do hope to get out of the pattern and cycle. If you read my past posts, I am a textbook case of the progressive nature of the disease. The next time I decide to have a "few" could be the difference between employed or not, jail or freedom, life or death. I had a bad episode on Monday and was up for a few nights just thinking over and over "I can't take this anymore"
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Old 05-29-2016, 07:44 AM
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I think you are describing recovery for a lot of people, plain and simple! Especially that part about getting to 8 or 10 days (or whatever the number is, early on) and "forgetting." I guess I was so "scared straight" this time- it was a do-not-pass go situation for me, healthwise and my drs wanted to send me, immediately, to inpatient when I went to GP then was sent straight over to my now liver doctor) so I simply couldn't focus on that emotional "snare" in thinking.

We couldn't afford the very nice rehab place (this go round) so I had to go through the immediate sobriety and have been fortunate enough not to have many moments of thinking I can handle this on my own. But I anticipate I will and try to be positive about my recovery but remember that "cunning and baffling" are part of my disease so what you describe could (will!) sneak up sometimes. It did, honestly, last Sun at day 90! Go figure that specific day was when I, if being totally truthful, wanted to drink to celebrate. Ha! Fortunately, I managed to ask for help (hard for me) and went to dinner and a meeting with my Dad, and he stayed the night at my house. The night passed and Monday was back to my new normal.

I can't afford to sustain thoughts of an intermittent recovery, though occasionally they pop up. But, I don't judge you or anyone else- and one way to look at it is the days (many more) you have sober than not...and keep going. I also got really annoyed yesterday reading someone's comment that if a person doesn't get it in the first few go rounds they never will. This ain't my first rodeo but I will get it this time.

I think, frankly, you are brave for posting honestly about your path.
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Old 05-29-2016, 07:52 AM
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I think you have to grit your teeth through the relapse-likely phase and just
stick to not drinking for any reason.

After a couple of cycles that pull to drink gets less.
Sort of like the pull a planet has on a spaceship--get far enough out
from the planet (drinking) and the gravity well loses its grip gradually.

It did for me.
Just don't "give in" when the cycle comes around a few times and see for yourself.

If it was as hard over time to stay quit as it is in the beginning, maybe most
of us would be struggling in long term sobriety, but really, it gets much easier.

I have actual days and weeks now where I don't even think about drinking.
That never happened when I first quit.

Now I can be around drinkers and not even care to have one.
Again, something I couldn't do when I first stopped.
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Old 05-29-2016, 07:53 AM
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These are familiar patterns seen all the time. The only thing that changes is the faces. Alcoholism works the same way with everyone even though one of the patterns is thinking we are unique.

Maybe a pattern you spotted, attending AA meetings and then drinking is something to be investigated. Where did you get the idea that going to meetings would keep you sober? The AA message is that developing a working relationship with a God of your understanding, through practicing and teaching the 12 steps will give you permanent sobriety. That is quite a different ball game to just going to meetings.

The meetings pattern is quite an interesting one. I call it saw tooth sobriety. If you picture the teeth on a saw blade, the peak is the end of a meeting, the best you are going to feel. Then it all starts to unravel until you hit the next meeting, which takes you to the next peak. From peak to trough and then back again. It gets tiring after a while so you miss a meeting or two, and descend further into the trough, life really begins to unravel and it's "God I needed a meeting tonight". But nothing changes. Not surprising so many flag it away after a time. Dependence on meetings just doesn't seem to bring the kind of freedom dependence on a higher power can bring.
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:00 AM
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Hmm, Mike, interesting take on the peaks/meetings. I do have the "I need a meeting" urges sometimes, but moreso I either want to go or have a today's to-do list mentality about it; I did a roughly 90 in 90 (probably 80 over that phase) and can say that I definitely don't always feel a "peak" just because I went to one- sometimes I am annoyed I spent the time and listened to all the foolios ramble! And meetings alone definitely won't keep me sober - or that focus will just make me a sober drunk- but hadn't really thought of your idea of "peaking." I do enjoy hearing the different ways people think of all this, so thanks for the higher power etc reminder
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:08 AM
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THANKS Hawkeye!

After a couple of cycles that pull to drink gets less.
Sort of like the pull a planet has on a spaceship--get far enough out
from the planet (drinking) and the gravity well loses its grip gradually.


This is my hope and what helps me "urge surf". Faith in THIS. I think I see how resisting through the times when a craving falls out of the sky and I can practically taste the drink IS the process of recovery - setting new modes up in my brain.
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:14 AM
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BeHappy, I absolutely notice the same exact pattern you describe and it sucks! I'm praying this time will be different because I've added several more tools! I don't have any advice but just want to say I relate!!!
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:17 AM
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I see it when I read here. I've been on this site a LOT in the 72 consecutive days of sobriety I've managed, and part of how I managed to string them all together truly is this site. I start a new job on Tuesday but plan on spending time here on this site in the evenings.
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:20 AM
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Yeah it's tuff, but giving up isn't an option. People come in and out because they are struggling. It's to be expected with such a difficult circumstance. I learned to live with alcohol, now I must learn to live without it. I'm really starting over from scratch here. It kind of exciting and exhilarating.
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:45 AM
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"The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.
The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. If these thoughts occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove."
Alcoholics Anonymous page 24
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Old 05-29-2016, 09:29 AM
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You see the same thing in NA, and everywhere else.

Gottalife hit the nail on the head. Even an atheist like myself has recovery depend more upon an active relationship with the power of my understanding. (Active means I show up and participate, every day, even when I don't feel like it.)

Most of us show up and want recovery to be magical, for it not to hurt, for it to be easy, and for NA, AA, SR, or whatever other recovery method we choose to do the work for us.

When life shows up, when we experience emotions we don't like, or when we just plain old feel like getting loaded we declare that recovery doesn't work, and/or that we are hopeless cases.

That's a load of nonsense.

Recovery methods (whatever they are), have low success rates because most addicts/alcoholics don't actually apply them. Not only does AA (etc) require a 100% commitment (including the steps), but recovery requires perseverance.

Fortunately when I showed up to NA some people let me know that I either needed to do this, or I would die, and the trip there wasn't going to be all that fun. These same people held my hand and showed me compassion, but they wouldn't let me whine like a 5 year old when life got real.

Why am I one of the ones that stuck? I can't tell you. I guess I was just desperate enough to do what I didn't want to do. I am grateful that I did, and I'm grateful not only that help was available, but that there were guys around who weren't afraid to tell me the truth.
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Old 05-29-2016, 09:36 AM
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greater than the desire to drink. I get that and my desire to remain sober IS greater on MOST days.
You've got to get to the point where the desire to be sober is greater EVERY day. No off days. It took me a while to get to that point, but I'm glad I did. Sobriety is a great gift and is making my life so enjoyable.
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Old 05-29-2016, 09:41 AM
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It's absolutely great that this conversation is happening. As a newbie I think I am far more capable of tackling the rest of my sobriety when I know that these sort of trends occur. Now I know that I need to find some solutions now to combat the trend of giving up after a couple week.

Great thread!
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Old 05-29-2016, 02:05 PM
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Yes, I'm the exact same. I feel like garbage, take a few days to get over the feeling of utter despair, stabilise and when things are starting to go well again I relapse. I swear after each time it's the last. Very similar patterns! But this scares me because I've been this determined before and went back.

Somebody mentioned persistence in successful recovery, I think that's crucial. If this persistence is missing you're pretty much done.
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Old 05-29-2016, 02:34 PM
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Not feeling alone after your message

I totally connect with your post Behappy1. Frankly, I haven't been on this forum a lot for about two weeks because I haven't been able to sustain my sobriety. I feel bad about posting - yet again - Day 1 - for at least 10 times. And then someone (and it's totally well meaning) posts back that when you want to stay sober more than drink, etc. I get it - but that is useless unless I can connect more to that person.

I'm having a hard time. AA isn't for me - I'm a recovering Catholic and the rigidity of their mind set doesn't work for me. I've tried - and really like - yoga, some meditation. I'm starting to question if I ever will overcome this thing. I don't have a supportive lifestyle - I am a business owner with an ADD husband and son and I feel I need to micromanage everything. That's when yoga is helpful. My marriage isn't great - I will be alone tomorrow on a holiday. Many times, I feel reassured that my 10 year old son will eventually grow up and I can make some decisions for myself re: what I want in my life. My DUI last year makes any chance of divorce a bad scenario for me right now.

Anyway, thanks for your post and know that you're not alone. Oh, yeah - I guess I'm back.
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Old 05-29-2016, 02:49 PM
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Beanie - Never hesitate to post, no matter what. Most of us have been through the same thing many times. No judgment.

Behappy - that was my pattern for 30 yrs. I almost destroyed myself discovering I could never, ever have just one. All those years of thinking it was just a matter of willpower! Finding SR and not feeling alone anymore gave me the courage to finally get free. I'm glad you were helped by ICDB's post.
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Old 05-29-2016, 05:06 PM
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I disagree about it describing recovery accurately, I feel it describes untreated alcoholism accurately.
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Old 05-29-2016, 05:41 PM
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