How to keep AV in check

Old 06-12-2018, 06:32 PM
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How to keep AV in check

Hi All,

I’ve hovered and read stories on this forum, and I’ve made a couple attempts at stopping this calendar. I’m 33 and have been a high functioning, closet alcoholic for about 5 years.

“I can quit whenever I want” sounds like a cliche thing to say. I was always self-aware that my behavior wasn’t sustainable, and the alcohol mixed with a subpar diet can and will catch up to me. I always had a plan to stop but the can was easy to kick down the road.

I knew that quitting wouldn’t be the easiest thing in the world, but I was really ignorant to the length and severity of recovery. In fact, if you used the word “recovery” with me a year ago I would have laughed at you and said I’m not a “druggie” who can’t live without a fix. Things like PAWS symptoms, the effect on the nervous system, etc etc... I feel like if I was better educated on the extent of everything, I may have made better choices sooner. But oh well, here we are.

My best effort so far this year was 2.5 weeks. Today marks the finish of day 8.

But “AV” is a real thing. Like, I’m feeling fairly good (a little foggy at times, etc) and once I’m feeling good, I convince myself that I can handle drinking responsibly after I have an off period.

The easy reply is that: “alcoholics can almost never handle that, it’s best not to even take that first step, listen to your own advice now since you trialed it unsuccessfully...”. I get all that, and yet, it’s still a very real and convincing voice. What do you all do to keep AV in check?!?!
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:39 PM
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Welcome to the family. My Sober Voice was stronger than the Addict Voice was because I wanted to be sober more than I wanted to drink and it kept me from having that first drink.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:41 PM
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Have you looked into Rational Recovery? The book and method helped me identify and disassociate from my AV. Takes time and work.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:44 PM
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Congrats on Day 8, fantastic!

I think I focused so much on the changes I wanted to see in myself and my life. I made a list each day of things I wanted to do - some recovery, some lifestyle. I made sure to cross off a few items every day. You recognize the AV which is great and which means you can disregard it.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:49 PM
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Hi BITL Welcome.
You need to recognise that you have to plan ahead for when the AV gets strong. You can do anything but drink. Know that the craving will pass. And come back and pass again.

The more you don't drink but do something productive when a craving comes the easier it gets.

Take the option of drinking totally off the table. If you do that you don't have it as a choice. If you are still leaving the possibility of drinking on the table you are almost sure to fail.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:18 PM
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Hi BITL -- welcome! If you read through the sticky threads at the top of the "permanent abstinence-based sobriey" subforum, you'll find a lot of good info on an approach for dealing with the AV (called AVRT). When i first quit, i had similar AV thoughts as you -- "oh, i can handle it now, this whole thing is overblown, i don't have to quit 100%, just need to take it easy". Fortunately i ignored that voice and later learned how to deal with it fairly easily. You can do it!
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:28 PM
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I use...HALT
I ask myself, am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? I address those. I don't want a drink, I am just... Alcohol won't fix this, what will?
If that does not work, I make a mental or physical list of the things that have gotten better since I quit. I DO something I don't associate with drinking. Exercise, clean, read, gardening, walk, call a friend...and lately...get on here to read or post!
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