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Confused after getting sober

Old 12-27-2017, 09:35 AM
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Confused after getting sober

Hi everyone. I've been reading this forum over the past few years at different points of not drinking. Over this past summer my drinking was so bad that I went to a 30 day rehab. One of my biggest fears of not drinking is that I wouldn't be happy with the life I've created for my family. I've been very successful. I started my own business, got married, raised two step kids and had 2 of my own. Now that I'm sober 5 months my fear is reality.
After being a heavy functional daily drinker for years I began to feel discontent. This led to even more drinking and I thought I wanted to leave my marriage. Then I had an affair and during that time things actually improved with my wife. The drinking slowed and i tried to work on our relationship. Then once the affair ended, the drinking increased again until finally I was drinking all day every day and barely running my business.
I went to rehab for myself (as well as my family) and learned a lot and met some good people. Fast forward to now and I'm thinking that the past year has been a distraction to coming to terms with the fact I want to start a different life but am unsure of how to do so. Thoughts?
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:44 AM
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What don't you like about your current life?

Be specific.

What would a new life in utopia look like?

Draw me a picture.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JustTony View Post
What don't you like about your current life?

Be specific.

What would a new life in utopia look like?

Draw me a picture.
Well first, I started drinking and using drugs in my teens. It helped slow me down mentally and physically (anything I would do I would attack at 100 mph). Then later I drank out of habit, finally out of necessity. I always felt like I was in a race to success but when I turned around eventually, there was nobody else in the race.

To answer your question:
I am unhappy in my marriage. I feel we are more like friends (from our discussions she doesn't feel the same)

I'm dissatisfied with our life style. I would like to dial it back.

I used to love my business and the challenges from it. Now it is more like just a job.

I don't like coming home and having to put on a mask.

I don't want to be alone yet I feel alone

It may sound selfish but I'd like to be able to sometimes put myself first (this is one reason for the affair although now I realize how cowardly and hurtful that was)

I don't like always having to live up to high expectations and when I meet them they always get higher

My wife and I thought my drinking was the reason for my growing unhappiness, but it was only a blurriness that covered it

My utopia would be to be be free of burden and continuously happy. That is unrealistic so the life I'd like would contain the following :

To be in a relationship with someone who I could be a partner with and love fully.

To have someone who wouldn't turn there back on me when times get tough (has happened throughout our relationship)

Be very involved in my kids lives

Start a new business

Now I know there are plenty of things she would probably change as well. However she has said she loves our current life and wants to continue. I'm not sure what to do.

By the way, my urges to drink now are really nonexistent. I've been around it plenty since rehab and haven't had any real cravings. I'm not letting my guard down though. I've also recently been diagnosed as having BP1 and am being treated for that
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:57 PM
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Hmmm. The state of an alcoholic who is sober but not working on their recovery tends to be restless, irritable and discontent.

Not sure what your recovery maintenance looks like ciurrently, but I suspect that it might be worth upping your recovery work.

BB
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Old 12-27-2017, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Clmjr View Post
Well first, I started drinking and using drugs in my teens. It helped slow me down mentally and physically (anything I would do I would attack at 100 mph). Then later I drank out of habit, finally out of necessity. I always felt like I was in a race to success but when I turned around eventually, there was nobody else in the race.

To answer your question:
I am unhappy in my marriage. I feel we are more like friends (from our discussions she doesn't feel the same)

Marriage is work and a two way street. I would certainly work on it before I gave up.

I'm dissatisfied with our life style. I would like to dial it back.

Then dial it back.

I used to love my business and the challenges from it. Now it is more like just a job.

I don't like coming home and having to put on a mask.

Then don't

I don't want to be alone yet I feel alone

Sometimes we feel alone because we choose to feel that way.

It may sound selfish but I'd like to be able to sometimes put myself first (this is one reason for the affair although now I realize how cowardly and hurtful that was)

Then do it.

I don't like always having to live up to high expectations and when I meet them they always get higher

Are these self imposed expectations or others?

My wife and I thought my drinking was the reason for my growing unhappiness, but it was only a blurriness that covered it

Maybe you should talk to a therapist.

My utopia would be to be be free of burden and continuously happy. That is unrealistic so the life I'd like would contain the following :

To be in a relationship with someone who I could be a partner with and love fully.

Are you saying you can't have this with your current wife or do not want to?

To have someone who wouldn't turn there back on me when times get tough (has happened throughout our relationship)

Be very involved in my kids lives

What's stopping you

Start a new business

Do it.

Now I know there are plenty of things she would probably change as well. However she has said she loves our current life and wants to continue. I'm not sure what to do.

By the way, my urges to drink now are really nonexistent. I've been around it plenty since rehab and haven't had any real cravings. I'm not letting my guard down though. I've also recently been diagnosed as having BP1 and am being treated for that
I answered your questions individually cause I wanted to touch on each one. Obviously, I don't know you or your wife, but a lot of these issues are things you can change/make better.

If you have a negative outlook on life you won't find much joy or happiness. You alone are responsible for your own happiness/life and you seem to be pointing to (reasons/people) why you're not.

Hopefully you don't take this the wrong way, but I have the tendency to do this as well. When I focus on being positive, magically positive things happen.
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Old 12-27-2017, 02:34 PM
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If drinking is the problem, as it was for me, I had to remove that and then have TIME until things got truly CLEAR.

I have 22+ mo sober and over this time, my ability to make good decisions, consistently, in relationships and everything else, has continued to improve thanks to an incredibly devoted and consistent AA program.

Just my $0.02 about the proverbial cart and horse.
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Old 12-27-2017, 02:45 PM
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ljc267 pretty much stole my thunder = A lot of what you want can happen within your current situation.

August is also correct. I think you need far longer to work on your recovery before making life changing plans - not only for you - but for your children. They should not be the potential collateral damage from an ill thought out plan.

Regards,

JT
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Old 12-27-2017, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for all the insight. I really appreciate it. One thing I didn't make clear is that I am involved in my kids lives. I was looking at that as if my wife and I seperated. Also, I haven't been to any aa meetings since rehab. Maybe I am white knuckling it but I really have no desire to drink. My problem is that through all the years of drinking and being in that fog I don't really know who I am. I do want to give it time but I've had these feelings for a few years. Has anyone stopped drinking and had any likeness to what I am experiencing?
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Old 12-27-2017, 04:31 PM
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Like I said to someone else today I worriesd about who I'd be if I quit drinking - would all those things I used to drink over overwhelm me sober?

would life be grey - not joyous?

would I be the hate filled loser I feared I might be without booze to take the edge off?

As it happened, none of those things eventuated. I rediscovered a me I'd forgotten - and who was not a bad guy.

I rediscovered joy and happiness and peace.

I found new ways to deal with life and with uncomfortable emotions, I found new ways to deal with fear that focused on breaking my fear down, not running away.

I rediscovered there's a kind of self satisfaction in being responsible and, for want of a better word, upright.

I was able to be there - really present - for my loved ones 100% 24/7.

Obviously I had to do more than simply give up drinking to find all that - but not drinking was the first step

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Old 12-28-2017, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Clmjr View Post
...Maybe I am white knuckling it but I really have no desire to drink. My problem is that through all the years of drinking and being in that fog I don't really know who I am. I do want to give it time but I've had these feelings for a few years. Has anyone stopped drinking and had any likeness to what I am experiencing?
Until I actually started working on my recovery, yes. My whole life seemed wretched. My relationship, my job, my finances, but especially me - everything. Restless. Irritable. Discontent..
The joke of it was, I was even going to meetings (once a week) but didn't consider myself alcoholic enough to do the work. After all, I hadn't slipped and had a drink, so how could that be the problem? I thought I was different - MY problem was that I couldn't bear who Id been drunk, but couldn't figure out who I was or wanted to be sober. Nowadays I don't think I was as different as I thought. I reckon that's a stage for most folk. I just dragged it out a long time.

When you look at the promises and the 12-steps of the AA recovery program you will see very little about alcohol. Only step 1 even mentions it. Because stopping drinking is just the first thing we do to get better. The rest of the program is about learning to live life on life's terms, drop our faulty perspective and ways of thinking, and actually change so we can live a fulfilling life.

The Twelve Steps

1. We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

(Newcomers are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so.)



People are commonly advised to not make any drastic changes (quitting jobs, leaving partners etc) in the first year of sobriety. I reckon it's because pretty much everyone feels the way you do (and I did) for a bit, in between quitting the old way of coping with life and learning some new ones. And you can drag that bit out as long as you like. I personally got pretty fed up of going to bed praying I'd never wake up, and waking up disappointed with God for giving me another day of me and my life. It took me getting to that point - where i just wanted to die - before I became desperate enough to work on my recovery. I decided that I'd give the steps a go, and if I still wanted to die after that, then so be it. It was a horrible period and I hope I never go back there. So far that hasn't happened. I love my life now. Same job. Same partner. Same me technically, although it feels pretty different from the inside.

When you look at the promises of AA, there isn't one that says,' you won't want a drink' because that's a given. They're all about 'life' and our perspective. Recovery is nit the same thing as sobriety. You might like to read / reread the promises. I didn't think it would be possible that they could come true for me, but here we are, and they most certainly have come true for me and I know plenty of others who I've watched have them come true as well. This is what AA promises, if we work the steps thoroughly. ...

we'll know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We won't regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We'll comprehend the word serenity and know peace.
No matter how far down the scale you have gone, we'll be able to see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and selfpity will disappear.
We'll lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We'll intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We'll suddenly realize that God is doing for us what you could not do for ourselves.


Recovery makes all the difference. Please, quit the white-knuckle ride. It's horrible.

BB
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:41 AM
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Thanks BB. You make some good points. Really, the strongest craving to drink came when I was very depressed and suicidal. I thought screw it why not get wasted if I don't want to live. That was immediately replaced with knowing that I would be starting the confusion again and I know it would take less than a week to go back to where I was.

During Christmas everyone was drinking wine and it didn't bother me. Now I think that was because there wasn't enough booze for me to get drunk. My wife accused me of drinking again and I told her not to worry. If I'm drinking again you'll know it. I'd be out of my mind, going crazy up on the roof.

And to your point of being to the end of your rope with being sober and deciding to do the steps because you had nothing to lose, maybe I need to do that as well. Again thanks
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:23 AM
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I'd like to start off with a caveat that I 100% understand elements of your situation too (I am 5 months sober tomorrow with SR being my predominant support)
However, if I were to paraphrase your OP to my life it may go something like this:
I spent 15 years kidding myself that I was a functioning alcoholic (a term now which I take to be a stage of denial rather than an actual thing) whilst in reality I was barely clinging on, deeply upsetting my children, worrying my partner, upsetting my parents, risking it all on a daily basis.
Now that I'm "cured" (yes I too do not crave at all) I think I really need to run away and start again. I don't have any responsibility for making living amends to my children, my partner or my family. I am unfulfilled and want an out.
I'm sorry to be so blunt and many who know me here know that I'm not normally but this is how it reads.
Yes I have questioned my lifestyle and at times my relationship with my partner but good God he stood by me whilst I was in the pit of addiction continues to do so whilst I continue on this journey (which will be a long one) of self-discovery and to be blunt growing up.
Of course I don't know what your life was like but I can tell you that I am still grateful for the little things that life, no matter how mundane, has to offer.
Have you thought about the risk you'd out your sobriety under if you found yourself a "free agent" all of a sudden?
Oh I don't know I'm sorry, being a 46 year old divorcee maybe your OP touched a nerve. I just think the reality of your alternative fantasy world simply won't deliver what you hope it might.
I urge you to look at beefing up the recovery
AA? Therapy? CBT?
I mean this kindly I really do. Stop and think and take your time please......
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:31 AM
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I think a huge part of recovery is honesty with self. If you feel unhappy in your marriage you should take the proper steps to move forward and leave. This would be beneficial for your wife in the long run. She deserves to find someone who loves her and really wants commitment. I believe you deserve to find happiness too. Perhaps it will make for a sober life I wish you all the best.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:16 AM
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While I partly agree with what Ashley said, I would beware of the grass is always greener syndrome.

When you first get sober it takes quite a while for your brain to right itself. It took me a good 6-9 months to start feeling like my thoughts were clear and not all over the place.

Assuming your wife's not abusive or undermining your sobriety, I think you owe it to her and your kids to make sure this is truly how you feel vs. the overflow of emotions from getting sober.

Believe me, if you feel this way now you will in three months.

Just my two .02
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:41 AM
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I'm taking the middle road here--get solid in your sobriety first,
take some therapy to really get at the core issues driving the drinking.

It most likely is a combination of things--career has become job,
pressure to provide money for lifestyle you no longer want but she does,
lack of trust, communication and dare I say intimacy in the marriage?
Guilt about affair, midlife crisis, big metaphysical question of
what does this all mean anyway. . .

You get the picture. Your wife isn't the single cause, but it may
be you have gone different ways in life and down the road,
it may be you need to accept that and divorce.

But making that call in early sobriety, without some careful deep internal work
may be the biggest mistake of your life, one you won't be able to undo once it happens.

I thought a divorce might be best for me and my spouse at one point,
but it turned out he and I actually wanted to both make some big changes,
but hadn't been able to honestly communicate about it, and we were able to reconnect.

I think the drinking was a big part of the problem as it kept denial and
strife alive in our relationship.

Now we are happier than I think we have ever been, and I never would have
thought we could get to this place from where we were.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:41 AM
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I feel I should explain things a little more clearly. Most things in the past like setbacks, problems, disagreements, or my behavior in general would be blamed on alcohol. It was easier to blame drinking or me than work on the issues together. When I went into the construction business 11 yrs ago the housing market crashed 2 yrs later. I felt overwhelmed and talked with her about my concerns and asked her to be more involved. She said if I couldn't handle it don't do it. That's unproductive and nasty. We had problems with my stepson and eventually juvenile services were involved. She said I would have to leave before him (he was in trouble at school and was a handful inside and outside of our home). I attended and assisted in everything asked or needed of me. Once our kids were in school she was to work towards her degree to help out financially. She stopped going and said that would make things easier for us. I didn't understand those situations because I would drink she would say. Those are a few examples of where she wasn't with me. I can't think of any significant life event where I treated her this way. Could I be annoying drunk, of course yes, but not abusive.

Now that I'm sober, we've talked about those things and she admitted it wasn't because of my drinking. I wasn't listening to music because I was drinking. I just like music! Those things have built up over the years and in the past year I really f'd up, got totally out of control and went outside of our marriage. Now sober the curtain is pulled back and there is nothing left to blame it on. I'm trying to make it work and will give it time but am afraid if I had a more clear head long ago I would have already made to decision to seperate. She is happy to keep things the way they are. Maybe if more time passes and my brain rewires I'll think differently. Maybe not
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:47 AM
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If you know you know--I get it.

I didn't ever feel like my spouse didn't have my back,
so that's something different I didn't deal with.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:47 AM
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I guess what I'm trying to figure out is now that I'm sober I'm thinking my marriage is over or am I to early in sobriety to think about that
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Clmjr View Post
I feel I should explain things a little more clearly. Most things in the past like setbacks, problems, disagreements, or my behavior in general would be blamed on alcohol. It was easier to blame drinking or me than work on the issues together. When I went into the construction business 11 yrs ago the housing market crashed 2 yrs later. I felt overwhelmed and talked with her about my concerns and asked her to be more involved. She said if I couldn't handle it don't do it. That's unproductive and nasty. We had problems with my stepson and eventually juvenile services were involved. She said I would have to leave before him (he was in trouble at school and was a handful inside and outside of our home). I attended and assisted in everything asked or needed of me. Once our kids were in school she was to work towards her degree to help out financially. She stopped going and said that would make things easier for us. I didn't understand those situations because I would drink she would say. Those are a few examples of where she wasn't with me. I can't think of any significant life event where I treated her this way. Could I be annoying drunk, of course yes, but not abusive.

Now that I'm sober, we've talked about those things and she admitted it wasn't because of my drinking. I wasn't listening to music because I was drinking. I just like music! Those things have built up over the years and in the past year I really f'd up, got totally out of control and went outside of our marriage. Now sober the curtain is pulled back and there is nothing left to blame it on. I'm trying to make it work and will give it time but am afraid if I had a more clear head long ago I would have already made to decision to seperate. She is happy to keep things the way they are. Maybe if more time passes and my brain rewires I'll think differently. Maybe not
I hope you don't think I was blaming you for anything. I think you are wise to take some time to make sure you are seeing things for what they are.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:27 AM
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Im not sure I would use the term "Functional Drinker" if you had been checking out sober websites in the past......
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