Kindling and carrying on where you left off

Old 02-27-2017, 04:51 PM
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Kindling and carrying on where you left off

Hello, SR

A bit of background: I was going on sober for an extended period since I joined SR and had pretty much left behind the memories of the drama of being a drunk and the pain and chaos it had caused to so many people. Family, friends, colleagues, unknown people on the street. I was still very much aware that I was a through alcoholic though. I had my plan and could be around people drinking and it didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t like the smell of alcohol in any form though!

Then a while ago I had the shock of a lifetime and I picked up immediately. No need for details now. It happened. This was followed by a ferocious two week or so bender. I realised I was going to lose my job and everything dear to me and probably end up with a tag on my toe if I carried on, so went cold turkey with withdrawals that were terrible and lasted about two weeks and lingered. Much longer than the first time. I know I should have sought medical help but I “did it in the cellar”.

Piecing together the bits that I can remember….What surprised me was the volume of alcohol that I started with the second time. I got sober the first time after finally drinking about 400ml of vodka a day. When I started the second time, I kicked off immediately at 400ml. Not 100ml, or a bit of wine or beer, 400ml of vodka, straight. And then it got a lot worse. Ended up getting close to 700ml after 2 weeks. Permanently wrecked out of my mind with the usual booze fuelled spectacles.

It’s almost as if the volume when I first stopped was locked away somewhere as the “default, entry level” amount to drink if I picked up again. That 400ml was programmed and ready to go.

I’m not trying to get morbid about this or subconsciously validating my drinking or whatever - but thinking about this helps me come to terms with triggers, helps me understand my addiction, how it works and how to fight it, and what the end-game will be if I ever entertain it again.

A frightening thought is if I pick up again (Never), is the default now set to 700ml? And what would be the upper limit – death? I don’t have another withdrawal left in me. Nope. I can’t do it again. Not ever. Not for 100ml, not for 700ml. Those few memories that I do have from that fortnight booze haze and 2 week drying out are fresh and will stay with me. That withdrawal was the last surrender.

I’m working on my plans, visit SR as often as I can – don’t post much though, but I read a lot. I get lost in my work, talk to recovering friends (there are a lot in my field), meditate, pray, service (at the SPCA), think of anything that can catch me unawares in the future and how I would deal with it – make lists of what to do. Print out SR posts that I find helpful – especially D’s “Psst …recovery plan” one. Remember my previous sober life which was fantastic. Got a sober friend on speed dial. Enjoy each new sober day as it gets better.

I wanted to share these thoughts and wondered if anyone had similar “0 to full speed” experiences?


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Old 02-27-2017, 04:57 PM
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It is very scary, Bruce. I also felt like I could not go through a withdrawal again. I couldn't imagine surviving. I'm glad you are ready to make this work. Your plan sounds good and I'm glad you will have a plan in mind for when something big happens. And, don't forget to have fun, too.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:07 PM
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I think addiction is very much a case of once your brain has adapted it stays that way. Certainly when I relapsed quitting smoking I went pretty much back on my old level almost immediately. I haven't smoked for twenty years but I reckon if I started again I would be on two packs a day within a week. I'm pretty sure if I relapsed on booze it would be the same although my tolerance would probably have dropped a bit. I know I don't want to back to the hell I was at before I quit. That's my main reason to stay sober.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:14 PM
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I'm just so glad you made it back, Bruce.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:15 PM
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Bruce- I have heard that too. I did that too. People with 10 years sober who think distance and time between the last drink and the first- next one, makes a difference. Nope. I do not preach AA, but truly the addictive thinking IS cunning, powerful and baffling. I lost everything because of my drinking including my life- quite literally. Then I began to do it all over again. It took that level of self- hell to get me to finally get serious. Support to you.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:26 PM
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Thanks for reading, Guys!

Certainly, Anna, it was very scary and stupid. I'm gradually unpacking my old hobbies, woodworking, etc. Stuff that gives me genuine pleasure. I think I have a better plan but am always willing to learn here, what worked for other folk and maybe adapt it for me.

Unwound - certainly agree with that. The default level is buried in there somewhere.

Bim, great to hear from you! Thank you, Class of March 2014. Well done on your sobriety.

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Old 02-27-2017, 05:38 PM
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Hey Bruce,
Like many here I got sober and after seven years of complete sobriety made the mistake of thinking i was cured. I think within two weeks I was right back to where I left off. I will never make that mistake again.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceSA View Post

What surprised me was the volume of alcohol that I started with the second time.
When I returned to the drink (more than once) I drank like I had never stopped or even more it seemed.

Big problem with this is that after some time away from the liquid devil our tolerance level is down and it's easy to drink too much and die.

We have had a few over the years in my AA home group die this way.

Sober - relapse - drink too much - die - without a clue.

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Old 02-27-2017, 05:50 PM
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Fully agree with you, Matt.

I just got there a little quicker - like within an hour or so of initially picking up.

Complete madness.

Strength, Phoenix. We can do this.

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Old 02-27-2017, 06:20 PM
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BruceSA,your testimony is brave and honest.All the very best with your sober journey this time.
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:24 PM
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Yes, Bruce, it happened to me too. I was sober for 3 yrs. & thought I'd have 'a glass' of wine. That night it was actually 6 glasses - then more the next day - and off I went for years. During that time I got my first DUI, I scared & disgusted everyone, went totally off the rails. (Complete madness, as you so aptly put it.) Any further attempts at social drinking will surely result in chaos, and/or death. We have all the proof we need. Good to have you back in the fight.
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:43 PM
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Hi Bruce,

I quit and started again many times. It was my experience that the amount I drank after every "break" never decreased, but my tolerance did. My blackouts came on much more quickly. I would think I was going to just drink a set amount, and I would wake up the next morning with the bottle gone and no memory of how it happened.

This topic is the main reason I know I can never drink again. I could very well kill myself.
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:45 PM
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Based on the responses it seems to be a pretty common theme, scary indeed. The fact you say you would not survive another withdrawal caught my eye. That's kind of the premise I operate on. I'd probably survive, but I hated it so bad there's no way I'm going through that again.
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:53 PM
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That's true, MM. I think the tolerance decreased but the "incoming level" of 400 stayed the same. A toxic combination!

Thank you Jojay, and the same to you. Appreciate your comment!!

Love your pics, Hevyn! Something that was made abundantly clear to me afterwards (to my undying shame) was that not only had I upped the volume, but my behaviour had deteriorated way past my lows when I initially drank. It was like everything had just been set to industrial strength and I was almost competing subconsciously with myself to see how much worse I could be this time around. Thank goodness it "only" lasted 2 weeks. But the shame afterwards - I'm still processing that. The only responsible thing I did was to feed my pugs.

Thank you, Alaska. My tolerance was reduced but my appetite was high. I too, can never drink again. I'm disgusted by what happened. No event, no matter how devastating, should be able to trigger something so destructive.

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments and helpful posts!

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Old 02-27-2017, 07:57 PM
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Thanks, Thomas.

I thought earlier it's almost like a kind of home-made Antabuse (spelling?)

There's a fear in me now of what will happen if I drink. Not a paranoid fear, but a fear of the consequences of that first drink. Much like the discouraging effects of those tablets.
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:56 PM
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Hi Bruce,

Glad you are are back and posting. I have learned the hard way as well, that I am not the one, or even a few drinks kind of person. I have 14 months sober, and I know if I had a drink I would very quickly be back to where I was.

Thank you for the honest post, and reminder.

You should join us in the 24 hour thread, I know you said you don't post much, but you can do a quick check in, and will get to know a bunch of really amazing people.

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Old 02-27-2017, 10:02 PM
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Thank you, Delilah, I shall do that.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:59 PM
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Hi Bruce

My record for not drinking was 2 months in 20 years before I came to SR.

When I started drinking again it was very very destructive right from the off, so I understand the school of thought that says alcoholism progresses even when we don't drink.

I have no intention of ever putting that hypothesis to the test again though

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Old 02-28-2017, 12:10 AM
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Thank you, D.

You're right. It ticks away like a bomb waiting for you to release the trigger. But only I can release that trigger and I'm not going to do that.

The sun is up here now, it's bright with our deep blue skies. I've got a great family at SR. And it's just getting better.

Thank you for the PM's.

Best wishes,

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Old 02-28-2017, 12:50 AM
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Great thread, Bruce! Thanks for the warning. I'm sure that if I were to start again it wouldn't be a gentle slide back, it would be a three bottle of wine bender to get rolling and worse from there. Congrats on getting back. By now you have a better sense of what you have to gain...and lose.
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