What helps to stay sober in the first few days? Because my god, is it hard - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 03-09-2018, 11:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What helps to stay sober in the first few days? Because my god, is it hard


Newbie on here... I'm looking for advice mostly about things I can do for myself to stay sober in the first days when you start feeling better and so it starts getting hard? And also what an aa meeting is like for a newcomer (live in Engand; don't know how much they vary around the world)...there's lots of general info on the internet, but it's not the same as talking to people. I've sat outside of 2 meetings today, too worried to go in because they all seem very different and I'm worried about it being clicky or going to the wrong one. I know that's silly, but telling myself that hasn't got me in the door yet.

I've tapered and medicated myself (also stupid, yes) over the last week or so, and it was the worst withdrawal I've ever had (i've been progressively drinking on and off for 12 years to the point of a litre of whiskey a day this time). I was so relieved and happy on my first sober day, but after less than a day of feeling better I poured a drink. I threw it away, then yesterday I did the same and drank it. Not a lot, but it's terrified me that drinking is still so irresistible after those withdrawals were on the line of being life endangering and I still have the shakes as I'm typing this. It's the first time I've run out of denial and I've accepted I'm an alcoholic

I'm keeping busy, exercising a lottttttt, and today treated myself to something I've wanted to see for ages with the money I've 'saved' from not drinking. The problem is that I've always been a functional drunk, so there aren't many different sober things to distance myself from drinking life. Any suggestions or comments from people who have come out the other side of this bit still sober are very welcome... Thanks so much.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The first few days to a week are really hard. There is no question that it takes a lot of patience and hard work to get through. It should help you to know that it really does get better.

Exercising and treating yourself to something nice are both great ideas. I would add that you should be sure to be kind to yourself as you go through this.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hang in there, cravings last around 9 mins. Quite iintense in the beginning but they do get less intense as time goes on and you find something to do when they start. Go for a walk, play a computer game, post on this site.
Do anything but do not drink alcohol.

We can’t have 1 single drink.
It isn’t an option.
I was a functioning alcoholic until I got to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed.

Every minute you spend sober is golden
It will get better and you will have a better life.

Your brain will learn how to adapt to a life without booze.
That’s what it’s good at, adapting.

Fight for your life, you can do it.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Look up AVRT techniques
I used that method without knowing it was a method.
Along with relaxation techniques.
Mindfulness.
And at points sheer bloody mindedness
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Search this board for "urge surfing" I swear by it. Dee put up a post about it and I've bumped it up many times
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Support. I lived on SR the first few days.
Post and read as much as you need to, lee

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Old 03-09-2018, 08:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Mainly three things helped me. I was too sick to drink, or I ran out of money, or, I was locked up. The phenomenon of craving, the overpowering craving for alcohol that affects alcoholics of my type, only occurs when alcohol is in the system. It takes up to 5 days for it to be gone, and if we are not bowled over by withdrawals, it can be impossible to overcome. But it will pass. In the laughing academy they gave us sweet drinks in the first few days which seemed to help.

Having got through withdrawals and that particular type of craving, the solution seems simple. If we don't introduce alcohol into our system, we should be fine but.... the next problem is the great obsession that one day we will control and enjoy our drinking. The memory of recent disaster seems to fade, and is often insufficient to prevent us repeating the cycle. It always turns out the same, only it gets worse over time.

So we have to do something about the alcoholic mind. That is where the problem is. AA has a good solution to that.

I can understand your reluctance to go in. I never would have been able to go into a meeting cold. And. as experience has shown me, it would have been a mistake if I did. Instead I called the AA number and arranged to meet with a recovered alcoholic. We spent an afternoon together finding out about my alcoholism and AA's solution. That kind man then took me to some meetings and looked after me until I settled in and found a sponsor to help me with the steps. He had answered all my questions and given me a good outline of what the program is about, how meetigs work etc. It was a huge advantage having that introduction.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I slept. As much as I could anyway. I wanted as many days as I could get between me and my last drink.
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Old 03-09-2018, 10:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You are already exercising but yoga really seemed to help me a lot especially hot yoga it is also a detox. I have been blessed in not having horrible with drawl symptoms considering I was drinking as much as many who had much worse but I did find that the hot yoga seemed to accelerate the detoxing , was a relaxant and also within a week lowered my blood pressure back to normal which is amazing in itself.

I have not really been to a meeting that was cliquish but perhaps it is because I live in a large diverse city. I think people will know you are new and they have been where you are and want to help because at some point they needed help. I have a friend that is 20 plus sober and he says that part of recovery is helping others.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey, I'm in the UK as well. And I completely relate to your fears about walking into the first meeting. I lived in a very spread-out city when I was first sober and it was a good brisk 20 mins walk to my closest meeting, and driving and parking woukd have been a nightmare. Still, I walked that walk and then straight past it for the first few attempts.

In the UK there is a telephone service. If you call it they will take your number and get someone from your local area to contact you. And an email service that does the same kind of thing, which is how I first reached out in the end. Somehow it made it easier to walk through the door knowing I'd spoken to someone about it first.

Anyway - I really needn't have worried. Everyone there remembered their first meetings and how anxious they'd felt and were lively and welcoming, introducing themselves and making sure I was comfortable, and giving me contact details for between meetings and the like.

Regarding what to expect. Well, everyone goes in, grabs a coffee or tea if they want one (which you don't pay for, that's just in running costs). People then sit on the chairs ready for the start of the meeting which is always prompt on advertised time (so it's best to turn up 5 or 10 mins before the advertised start time).

Someone will have taken the role on of Secretary. This person (and everyone in the room in a Closed meeting) is an alcoholic, just like us. AA is run BY alcoholics, FOR alcoholics. Anyway, they'll read the preamble. Sometimes other folk will have agreed to read some stuff out. Sometimes the stuff to be read is passed round the room. You can choose to take your turn for a paragraoh or not, depending on what is most comfortable for you. Whichever way, when you pass the writing on to the next person you just say "pass" so the next person knows it's their turn.

They will give the opportunity for newcomers to introduce themselves. All that is required is "I'm X, I'm an alcoholic and this my first meeting". If you're not comfortable identifying as an alcoholic you can replace that with "I want to stop drinking" or similar if you prefer. But you don't HAVE to even introduce yourself. If you want you can do the entire meeting as Silent Bob. Although it can be helpful to at least give your name and try to respond at least a little when people are friendly and welcoming (which they will be).

In a general share meeting there will be someone doing a longer main share, while everyone sits back and listens. There is then the opportunity for people to share back (short shares so everyone has a chance). If the meeting is an hour and a half then there will usually be a break. An hour meeting doesn't. Study meetings tend to be text focussed. Whatever the format this will be explained at the start of the meeting.

The pot for money gets passed at some point (Tradition 7 is that all groups areself-supporting) but people aren't expected to contribute for the first meeting. After that it's just what you can afford.

I hope that's a little bit helpful. (Oh yes, open meetings mean that it's not just alcoholics who can attend. Closed means jyst alcoholics. I felt safer attending closed ones at first as I felt - and still do - that they're more anonymous, but That's just me.)

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Old 03-10-2018, 01:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
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go to the meetings..support to you
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Good luck lee!

I found it was useful to have some displacement activities to do in the evenings when the cravings were at their worst. Exercising like you are is very good as physical tiredness helps with sleeping and not craving, I was plagued by insomnia in the early days as I was unable to sleep normally without passing out drunk.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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For me it was getting out in the fresh air and walking, it lifted my mood, good luck keep posting here as well for support
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It is hard the first few days. I think we all have more resources inside us to call on than we even realize. Hang in there, lee91
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for your replies - am trying all suggestions like a multitasking sober octopus and something must be sticking because I'm halfway through day 2 as I'm writing this. I can't believe how helpful this forum and talking to people who've trodden the same path is - I've been such a pigheaded DIY-er for so long, but at least it's only taken me a short decade to realise how invaluable the help and general empathy of similar people is... ��
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Good luck. I am on day one.
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I too am a functioning alcoholic. I have seen from the many posts on this board that the "functional" doesn't last. I am so scared of having nothing to douse my feelings with. My little REWARD at the end of a tough shift. I think we are all so scared of just "feeling" of just "being" A chemical substitute works wonders for a few hours. Going without is a feeling akin to taking off all your clothes and standing naked in the street.
I wish you all the luck in the world. Don't give up. I haven't and am getting sober days under my belt. Someone once said on this forum that living sober is like going to a foreign country where not one person speaks your language. I really related to this. Not knowing HOW to live a sober life.
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lee91 View Post
Thank you so much for your replies - am trying all suggestions like a multitasking sober octopus and something must be sticking because I'm halfway through day 2 as I'm writing this. I can't believe how helpful this forum and talking to people who've trodden the same path is - I've been such a pigheaded DIY-er for so long, but at least it's only taken me a short decade to realise how invaluable the help and general empathy of similar people is... ��
Hey Lee.

Did you manage to get through the door to any meetings yet?

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Old 03-19-2018, 02:47 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hey everyone, Iím on day 3 of being sober and called AA today so made a small step. There is a meeting tomorrow but I am also nervous to go on my own. Thanks for this advice as Iím going to give local sponsor a call and try to meet before as not sure Iím brave enough to go on my own. Iíve never felt so dehydrated and I canít stop sleeping but I guess that is my body hopefully starting the recovery process. Thanks for the really helpful comments good luck everyone
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Well done for calling AA. Yes, getting in the door of your first meeting is hard. Everyone there will remember exactly how difficult it was and be welcoming and supportive. I hope you manage to get to a meeting soon, one way or another. I'm sure someone from the meeting will be happy to meet you nearby so you don't need to walk in alone.

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