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Old 02-08-2018, 02:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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the concept of 'it gets better with time'




I often hear derivations of 'it gets better with time' in recovery (at AA -- sometimes at SMART too [I go to several SMART meetings weekly]), but I wonder how true this is. I have been completely sober for almost 2 months; I went to an inpatient facility for a month in the summer, but (very) shortly after I left, I started drinking again (in a much more controlled fashion, albeit I wouldn't necessarily say drinking a pint of vodka nightly is 'controlled' -- but it was....relatively). In September and October (2017) I started stringing 3 -5 days sobriety, in November 7-10 days and last drank in mid-December. Been -- and continue to be-- sober-- today and henceforth.

Things weren't too bad, even though I went through 3 handles of vodkas per week. My lab work has stabilized, am gainfully employed, live and work in a big, northeastern city, and have a pretty good life. That said, I was drinking as much as I was drinking (towards the end, it became daily, round-the-clock) because it made certain intolerable areas/aspects of life tolerable. I recognize these areas of my life and recalibrate my approach/goals constantly, striving to live an authentic life. I've also picked up an old hobby that I enjoyed doing (before I was drinking as heavily as I was) and also joined a gym (was also very much into fitness and nutrition) several weeks ago and consistently go.

I do feel better, no doubt, in mind, body, spirit and soul-- but I don't know.....obviously, things have gotten better by virtue of not having gotten worse (alcohol not only exacerbated existing problems, but became one--and would have invariably precipitated new ones), I am more malleable and goal-oriented, more relaxed (generally), and more cognizant of the things I conveniently decided to not pay attention to before. But whenever I've heard (three times thus far) 'my life is beyond my wildest dreams' or some derivation thereof (all three times at AA meetings) I recall thinking that that just sounds preposterous. But then, I could be mistaken...everyone has different aspirations and expectations for their lives; for me at least, sobriety is a necessary component of sustainable happiness, albeit not in and of itself sufficient for my recovery. I get that things don't 'just get better,' that it takes affirmative steps and sustainable changes, and I accept that there's no timeline (or that it varies for each person), but there doesn't seem to be any 'miracle' around the corner. I guess I am feeling reflective and thinking out loud, wondering if other people have had similar thoughts on this matter. In any event, thanks for reading; I am glad I found this place.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think sometimes people think that with time POOF things will just be perfect and that everything will be right with the world and so they live by that thought process to give them hope for a better future. I don't know.

Being proactive, working hard, pushing past obstacles, getting out of your comfort zone, and setting short term and long term goals to meet. It is true that I cannot do all those things all in one night, but just waiting for time to pass won't make anything better. I understand what you are saying, and unfortunately I can't (no not can't..I won't) fully voice my opinion on sayings such as "it gets better with time" because I am sure it will anger many people and that would not have any time of positive outcome.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hello Daredevil,

I'm guilty of using that phrase but only occasionally and absolutely not before I was sober several years.

As you've experienced, not drinking is a start to feeling better but it only scratches the surface. Something I keep in mind at meetings, we're all human, flawed and in various stages of recovery. For some, it's tempting to quote AA phrases and the Big Book to puff up the ego.

I learned real early on that length of sobriety does not necessarily equal quality. It's embarrassing but at 11 years, I ended up in a locked ward due to depression, bulimia and suicidal ideation. I didn't drink though, work other programs and have been in full recovery for several years.

It's great that you're working out. Check out the thread "Road to Spring 2018"; it's under the Fitness forum.

Upon sobering up, life gets better then it gets real. Meaning sobriety isn't always pleasant and life is hard. My life is good today because:
1) Sobriety and Higher Power are my top priority.
2) I work the steps, the traditions and am familiar with the 12 Concepts.
3) I work with a sponsor and I sponsor.
4) Most of the time, I keep a group commitment or some other Program job.
5) I have outside interests such as working out and travelling.
6) During tough times, I remember "This too shall pass."

Take good care of yourself daredevil.

One last tidbit: watch people. See if their actions match what they say in meetings. Easy to spout good stuff in a meeting, but what's really important is how I act and treat people the other 23 hours of the day.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Getting sober unmasked many problems that I had deferred through drinking. Sobriety made me be honest with myself and face problems that I tried my best to ignore. What I love about sobriety is that I no longer need to lie, I don't have to lead a double life. Even though honesty hurts sometimes, facing problems really isn't as bad as it seemed. Most everything isn't as bad once you start breaking it down into small, manageable problems.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Lots of great advice here already daredevil, welcome to SR. To me it's pretty simple---we all tried to hide from/run away from something by drinking. And those things do not go away simply because we stopped drinking. Time is certainly a factor, but we all need to address those issues and face life front and center.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It doesn't get better, I do.......Alcohol wasn't my problem it was my solution. I had to find different solutions. I am thankful that many now don't wait till the elevator goes all the way to the basement. There was an AA adage that if one still had a watch and gold tooth they weren't ready. The bottom has been raised and many more are aware of the progression of alcoholism. Catching it in stage one or two is much better than in stage three.

Glad you're here with us, welcome
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daredevil View Post

I often hear derivations of 'it gets better with time' in recovery (at AA -- sometimes at SMART too [I go to several SMART meetings weekly]), but I wonder how true this is. I have been completely sober for almost 2 months; I went to an inpatient facility for a month in the summer, but (very) shortly after I left, I started drinking again (in a much more controlled fashion, albeit I wouldn't necessarily say drinking a pint of vodka nightly is 'controlled' -- but it was....relatively). In September and October (2017) I started stringing 3 -5 days sobriety, in November 7-10 days and last drank in mid-December. Been -- and continue to be-- sober-- today and henceforth.

Things weren't too bad, even though I went through 3 handles of vodkas per week. My lab work has stabilized, am gainfully employed, live and work in a big, northeastern city, and have a pretty good life. That said, I was drinking as much as I was drinking (towards the end, it became daily, round-the-clock) because it made certain intolerable areas/aspects of life tolerable. I recognize these areas of my life and recalibrate my approach/goals constantly, striving to live an authentic life. I've also picked up an old hobby that I enjoyed doing (before I was drinking as heavily as I was) and also joined a gym (was also very much into fitness and nutrition) several weeks ago and consistently go.

I do feel better, no doubt, in mind, body, spirit and soul-- but I don't know.....obviously, things have gotten better by virtue of not having gotten worse (alcohol not only exacerbated existing problems, but became one--and would have invariably precipitated new ones), I am more malleable and goal-oriented, more relaxed (generally), and more cognizant of the things I conveniently decided to not pay attention to before. But whenever I've heard (three times thus far) 'my life is beyond my wildest dreams' or some derivation thereof (all three times at AA meetings) I recall thinking that that just sounds preposterous. But then, I could be mistaken...everyone has different aspirations and expectations for their lives; for me at least, sobriety is a necessary component of sustainable happiness, albeit not in and of itself sufficient for my recovery. I get that things don't 'just get better,' that it takes affirmative steps and sustainable changes, and I accept that there's no timeline (or that it varies for each person), but there doesn't seem to be any 'miracle' around the corner. I guess I am feeling reflective and thinking out loud, wondering if other people have had similar thoughts on this matter. In any event, thanks for reading; I am glad I found this place.
This was such an honest and interesting post and stuck me very deeply. I've been in exactly that month and that moment.

I know there are so many other members here with better advice than me as I'm back again. I'm currently reading 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson which I have found may answer some of the more existential of your questions and thoughts.

But I thank you for your strength in posting and in getting to where you are now.

I hope you can surf the urges and find solace in the victory that is just simply living the better life.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Made me think of this vid as well as post above me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdu6iN0CM3s
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daredevil View Post

I often hear derivations of 'it gets better with time' in recovery (at AA -- sometimes at SMART too [I go to several SMART meetings weekly]), but I wonder how true this is. I have been completely sober for almost 2 months; I went to an inpatient facility for a month in the summer, but (very) shortly after I left, I started drinking again (in a much more controlled fashion, albeit I wouldn't necessarily say drinking a pint of vodka nightly is 'controlled' -- but it was....relatively). In September and October (2017) I started stringing 3 -5 days sobriety, in November 7-10 days and last drank in mid-December. Been -- and continue to be-- sober-- today and henceforth.

Things weren't too bad, even though I went through 3 handles of vodkas per week. My lab work has stabilized, am gainfully employed, live and work in a big, northeastern city, and have a pretty good life. That said, I was drinking as much as I was drinking (towards the end, it became daily, round-the-clock) because it made certain intolerable areas/aspects of life tolerable. I recognize these areas of my life and recalibrate my approach/goals constantly, striving to live an authentic life. I've also picked up an old hobby that I enjoyed doing (before I was drinking as heavily as I was) and also joined a gym (was also very much into fitness and nutrition) several weeks ago and consistently go.

I do feel better, no doubt, in mind, body, spirit and soul-- but I don't know.....obviously, things have gotten better by virtue of not having gotten worse (alcohol not only exacerbated existing problems, but became one--and would have invariably precipitated new ones), I am more malleable and goal-oriented, more relaxed (generally), and more cognizant of the things I conveniently decided to not pay attention to before. But whenever I've heard (three times thus far) 'my life is beyond my wildest dreams' or some derivation thereof (all three times at AA meetings) I recall thinking that that just sounds preposterous. But then, I could be mistaken...everyone has different aspirations and expectations for their lives; for me at least, sobriety is a necessary component of sustainable happiness, albeit not in and of itself sufficient for my recovery. I get that things don't 'just get better,' that it takes affirmative steps and sustainable changes, and I accept that there's no timeline (or that it varies for each person), but there doesn't seem to be any 'miracle' around the corner. I guess I am feeling reflective and thinking out loud, wondering if other people have had similar thoughts on this matter. In any event, thanks for reading; I am glad I found this place.
This has been on my mind as well. Thank you for putting my feelings into words.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think it gets better with time if we take the opportunity we have sober to make them better. I think maybe some of the "beyond my wildest dreams", could be a lot of hooha. On the other side of the coin, I really a few years ago never imagined the life I have today. It definitely did not happen all at once. Two or three steps forward, one back, then continuing forward and looking back it is kind of like, "wow, how did I get hear". I think not drinking after being a drunk is like anything else; it is what you make it.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I does get better with time..but maybe not my time lol

I thought there'd be an instant glorious change when I quit - and there was a sense of relief - but it took me 3 months to start to feel really 'ok' again and a few more months to get my energy back.

At the time I figured this was the best it got, its the price I paid for leaving recovery so late...but it got a lot better.

I improved week by week, month by month year by year until about Year 5.

I think I'm back at optimum performance now.

We have to remember a lot of us drank for a long time - I was a twenty year drinker - 2 months or 3 months is great but it's a drop in the bucket compared to our drinking time.

Try and be patient.

People have no reason to lie to you when they say it gets better. It really does .
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Things get better slowly, it's the kind of slow you don't realize until you've moved a bit past it. I'm coming up on a year. The first 4-6 months were complete hell, the next 3 months were just hell and things have been getting better from there.
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Around the 2 month mark I felt like you Daredevil. I just couldn't imagine getting to the point that so many here on SR were talking about, a point where I didn't think of drinking anymore and living life without what I thought was my reward at the end of the day, booze. As Dee said, try to be patient. For me, I didn't really start to realize what a great decision I made to stop drinking until around 9 months. I'm still new to this (1 yr sober this month), and while my life certainly isn't "perfect", it is SO much better than it was before I got sober.

Hang in there!
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Personally I don't think two months is very much time at all. It was still very hard for me at two months. I relapsed there three times and each time made the withdrawals even worse. I had a bad bout of PAWS that was relentless for six months but I dealt with 18 months of that when I came off pain meds so I knew how that deal went. I kicked pain meds nearly four years ago now and I cannot even explain how much my life has turned around from that slowly over time (that withdrawal turned my alcoholism up to 11 though, I didn't have 'isastiable ability to not stop drinking' until the week I kicked the pills. I was a drunk no doubt but I could have one at lunch and not worry about not having another for four hours, getting a good buzz later.)
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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"It gets better with time"
For me it simply means that being out of my comfort zone is more tolerable.
Being faced with heavy challenges, sickness and temptation is less likely to cause a relapse. It means that I can be around the very thing that nearly destroyed me.
At almost 5 years I have been tested many times. I think time has made that better to deal with.
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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welcome, daredevil .
my sober life is not a life beyond my wildest dreams
but....the fact i'm sober for years and that i am better in my life? THAT is wild!
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Old 02-08-2018, 06:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Watch that video I posted and listen to Lessgravity. That video knocked me on my butt. Basically it says Do Not Pursue Happiness. We were meant to experience the human condition. All of its emotions. When we focus on one i.e. happiness we rob ourselves of the experience. Something to think about.
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:10 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Lots of good comments above.

For me, here at nearly two years sober on the 21st, I CAN say that my life is pretty much beyond my wildest dreams. It is very unlike what I'd have drawn out for myself in some ways, especially the path I took through alcoholism to get here, but it is pretty darn pink.

The "it gets better" line (I am an AA-er so I certainly hear it plenty) means certain things in my experience and recovery life:

I have clarity to think through, make decisions, do better at pausing then acting v reacting- those skills are immensely improved sober

I am healthy, getting healthier - I was given a year, 18 mo if I kept going like I was; while I still deal with sleep issues and I do maintain a med regimen for anxiety, I am in some of the best shape of my life physically - two years ago, I needed "vodka for energy" - now I do hot yoga 5-6x a week and just ran a 15K.

My relationships are infinitely better. From basic human interactions at the bank and store and out to dinner, to my now husband (my high school bf and I reconnected when I was about 5 mo sober and he was a month, and we married this past Dec- a totally separate wonderful pink story) to my parents to the loving friends I have in and out of the program....

My ability to be a productive - and more than that, a giving back- member of society....

I could go on. My life isn't perfect but it's amazing. And everything I have, get to do, people I know, on and on - I have because I stopped drinking.

It took longer than 2 mo to start seeing changes. But I am one who will tell you over and over that AA saved my life by showing a path to change and I jumped in with no looking back, after years of "fighting" it bc I just wanted to keep drinking.

That part was based on another AA saying to "look for the people who have what you want." I wanted to be healthy, happy, SANE, etc etc....so I studied and listened and learned from people who seemed to have these things. Surely, I could find them for myself, and I am.

There is nothing that was better when I was drinking.

Keep going- I hope you will find a life in recovery (which is more than just sobriety) that will bring your own version of great joy and peace.
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:13 AM   #19 (permalink)
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It got better for me as my time away from a drink built AND I worked my recovery program.

I tried to quit before not understanding about recovery. I simply stopped drinking. I had no tools to run a healthy life, or anything to fill the void now in my life. I was miserable and of course returned to drinking.

In my experience, we need both to make our lives better. Quit and action of working our program of choice.
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Getting better is in reference to our inner self, emotionally and physically.. Existentially, we have no control over our environment but our ability to process and manage becomes " better".
Being self employed in a stressful career, drinking made me complacent and lazy. Now sober, I am more productive, clearer and more ambitious. I'm tackling all those things I put off with drink because they were too stressful. This is helping to reduce the anxiety of looming responsibilities that plagued my thoughts. Life isn't easier but it's easier to tackle sober. Getting sober clears the path to take clear action to make things better. But it does take our input. No magic pill or fairies granting wishes.
While drinking over the years things were definitely getting worse. So, by stopping they would have to get better. And they are.
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