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Why: one big one or lots of little ones?

Old 07-03-2018, 09:11 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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The basic reason for me was that the pain of staying the same exceeded the pain of change. Like life, the basic reason wasn't basic at all but multi-faceted.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:12 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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For me, my "why" was that I had reached a state of physical dependance. I literally had to drink every day in order to keep my body from going into severe withdrawals. Heart palpitations, dangerously high BP and heart rate, etc. I got no pleasure at all from alcohol anymore as i was basically in a maintenance mode of keeping my BAC up to a sufficient level to stave off wd's but stay conscious. There was no "buzz" or relaxation involved anymore.

The bottom line though is that only you can decide when enough is enough. It's pretty much a guarantee that the consequences will get progressively worse if you keep drinking. But also consider that you already know things are better if you don't drink, right? Addiction doesn't follow logic though - which is why you hear so much about "acceptance". And not just from twelve step program followers. No matter what method you choose to quit drinking, even if you don't have a formal "method" - you need to accept the fact that drinking simply is not an option in any quantity. Something is different about us - maybe mental, maybe physical, maybe genetic - maybe something we have no idea about - but we simply cannot drink alcohol in a safe manner anymore. You don't even have to call it acceptance, but you have to come to grips with that fact on some level. And accept that it can never be changed.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:17 AM
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Hi Prof.

It was a combo of big and little. As August said, 'I didn't want to die'. That's what it had come down to. I drank a long time. In the beginning it just a fun break from reality. In the end, I was completely dependent on it & shook when it wasn't in my system. Obviously, you haven't reached the point where it's taken over your life - but that's where I was when I finally stopped. Yes, I had dui's, a son's disapproval & disgust, co-workers & friends confusion & fear, health issues. All shapes & sizes of problems coming at me from every direction. I was exhausted from trying to keep my head above water. Finally admitting there was never going to be any control over it, I (reluctantly at first) decided to reclaim my life & redeem myself to those who had become so disappointed in me.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:22 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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One main reason, not sure if you would call it big or little, I loved getting drunk, always did, nothing like it.
The abuse foisted on one's self for indulging that desire is cumulative and progressive, and pretty much global ie mind , body and spirit.
Never too soon to quit , if you love it .
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:35 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Prof - I've seen you around these parts too many times to accept you got sober was:

"I joined this site after an embarrassing night out. I still feel a pang of regret when I think about it, but the memory has faded, and I'm worried I need a stronger reason to fight the AV. "

I went back and read your posts - I see these words that strike me:
shame
terrified of hurting someone/myself
living a double life
guilt
negative effects on depression/money
uncomfortable in own skin
exhausting way to live
vomiting
in bed all day - no way to live


and "What saved me once is killing me"

I don't pick out all those lines to make you feel bad - I felt exactly the same way. But when I read your post today I was struck by the lack of urgency in your words.

For me, I think it was the gradual accumulation of all of the things you list - finally seeing my life being lived only in part, only in shadow, ashamed, guilty, having given in again and again to the poison.

Just like you, I needed to really articulate each and every reason and stop lying to myself that I was "functioning" alcoholic. What does that even mean? It's a misnomer - even drunks who have given in entirely to the poison are "functioning" on some level.

You gotta really articulate and be honest with yourself Prof. I smell AV/relapse in the way you minimized your reasons for quitting.

Happy to see you on the sober side. Stay with us here, for good.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:45 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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So I was wondering, why did you get sober? Did you have one big reason (a DUI? A health scare? Doing if for your kids? An epiphany of some sort?)

i did it because the pain of getting drunk had finally exceeded the pain of reality.

please dont wait that long.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:49 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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I just got so sick and tired of the whole horrible cycle. Ill and felt dreadful all the time. The fun that once was in drinking had long long gone. It was a horrible prison I was in.

Took me lots of attempts to quit. I would quit a few days then go back. But eventually it stuck and now I have 8 years.
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:18 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Hi Professor!

I will always remember exactly where I was standing when a psychic change occurred and I decided to quit drinking. I realized I had been lying to myself that drinking was a good thing. I reached out for help, and to this day I continue to rely on the help of others here at SoberRecovery as well as through AA.
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:22 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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I ended up trying to get sober every time I had a binge (cocaine)... I'd swear off it but within a couple of weeks that little voice would be nagging in my ear.. go pick up, go pick up, go on, go on... and I could resist it for a while but in the end just to stop the constant nagging I would give in and the cycle would start again...

I had a few scary experiences where I thought I'd OD. I have a young family, so I'm well aware how stupid and risky I was being.

What clinched it was when I went out one night intending to just go for a little while to meet a friend, ended up taking coke on the sly, staying out all night and finding a party, got home at 8.30 am to my husband and kids up and the look of disappointment in my husband's eyes.

He pretty much ignored me which is worse than being shouted at in some ways. I sat in the garden crying, kids were trying to play with me /talk to me and couldn't. Later on my daughter who is 4 years old fell over and cut herself and ran to her dad, I tried to comfort her and she looked at me and said 'No! I don't like you!'

I asked my husband to help me and said I was gonna stop. The kids are getting old enough to notice when I'm out of it, and it must have been scary for my daughter that 'normal mum' was not there that day.. I deserved her reaction (she's fine with me now, back to normal).

It's a big big wrench to give up the addiction, but I can't see a way forward unless I do. It'll just go on forever unless I wrench myself free. Luckily I have not lost everything - yet. But if I don't stop now I can see myself losing my family, job, home etc eventually.. and of course myself.

So that's my 'why'. If that's not enough god knows what would be.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:35 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Wow, thanks Andante! This is very helpful to me, and helps visualize what I am experiencing. Here I was thinking I was making some progress during this months of stopping and starting...but maybe it's the opposite. I appreciate your post, tremendously. What eventually led you to quit permanently?

Originally Posted by Andante View Post
I posted this over in your Anxiety thread, but am re-posting it here because I think it's essential for folks to learn that a switch from daily drinking to a cycle of stopping and starting again can actually mean the opposite of "progress":

Stopping and starting drinking multiple times is putting your brain through multiple withdrawal cycles, which is actually harder on it than daily drinking. It's setting the stage for increased persistent withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety. The development of worsening withdrawal symptoms over multiple cycles is called "Kindling." I'm attaching a graph because a picture can be worth a thousand words.

I went through this. During the years I was sort of trying to quit drinking but not really committed to sobriety yet, I stopped and started numerous times, all while experiencing worsening anxiety and mental health in general. I kept researching this puzzling decline in my well-being, coming up with all sorts of abstruse diagnoses and elaborate possible courses of treatment, while never confronting the obvious solution: STOP DRINKING.

Once I finally did stop drinking for good, my mental health improved by leaps and bounds over time. At 5 years sober, I can say my anxiety level is the lowest it has been since well before I started drinking alcoholically.

So I guess this goes back to this thread's topic after all: one big reason for me to get sober was to eliminate an increasingly grave threat to my mental health.

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Old 07-03-2018, 11:43 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lessgravity View Post
Prof - I've seen you around these parts too many times to accept you got sober was:

"I joined this site after an embarrassing night out. I still feel a pang of regret when I think about it, but the memory has faded, and I'm worried I need a stronger reason to fight the AV. "

I went back and read your posts - I see these words that strike me:
shame
terrified of hurting someone/myself
living a double life
guilt
negative effects on depression/money
uncomfortable in own skin
exhausting way to live
vomiting
in bed all day - no way to live


and "What saved me once is killing me"

I don't pick out all those lines to make you feel bad - I felt exactly the same way. But when I read your post today I was struck by the lack of urgency in your words.

For me, I think it was the gradual accumulation of all of the things you list - finally seeing my life being lived only in part, only in shadow, ashamed, guilty, having given in again and again to the poison.

Just like you, I needed to really articulate each and every reason and stop lying to myself that I was "functioning" alcoholic. What does that even mean? It's a misnomer - even drunks who have given in entirely to the poison are "functioning" on some level.

You gotta really articulate and be honest with yourself Prof. I smell AV/relapse in the way you minimized your reasons for quitting.

Happy to see you on the sober side. Stay with us here, for good.

Less, I am absolutely not saying that I am a functioning alcoholic. I think I've only ever used that term to describe myself when I put the term in scare quotes. I've been the first person to agree that's not a real thing. Maybe my post didn't sound "urgent" or "honest" to you, but I don't feel like my AV motivated the question. I'm also definitely not saying that the only reason I got sober was that one night...What I meant to say was that evening was the crisis which first brought me to the site. Now I have many little reasons (derived from the posts you've quote from and other negative consequences), but no single, big reason.

Based on the responses I've received here, it seems like the many little reasons are enough motivation for most people.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:53 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ProfessorD View Post
Less, I am absolutely not saying that I am a functioning alcoholic. I think I've only ever used that term to describe myself when I put the term in scare quotes. I've been the first person to agree that's not a real thing. Maybe my post didn't sound "urgent" or "honest" to you, but I don't feel like my AV motivated the question. I'm also definitely not saying that the only reason I got sober was that one night...What I meant to say was that evening was the crisis which first brought me to the site. Now I have many little reasons (derived from the posts you've quote from and other negative consequences), but no single, big reason.

Based on the responses I've received here, it seems like the many little reasons are enough motivation for most people.
Sounds good, was just worried that your post sounded AV. Glad to hear it wasn't.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:14 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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once i was abstinent, i really didn't need a reason per se to stay that way.
the reaon is what got me there, and almost irrelevant. the 'how' wasn't based on motivation at that point, and going forward.
and fighting the AV has not been part of anything that has ever worked for me; when i was fighting, i eventually always lost.
if you are engaging with the AV in a fighting manner, maybe check out AVRT and Rational Recovery, which will show you a way to stop doing that.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:44 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ProfessorD View Post
When I say the sober days are good, I mean the ones immediately following the benders. I like getting sober, I guess, but a few weeks in, I lose my resolve. The whys stop stacking up, as you say.
One thing which probably doesn't get explored as much here is I drank for as long as I thought I could get away with it.

All the positive reasons to stop in the world didn't mean a thing when I came up against a problem, feeling or situation where the only tool I had was to get drunk.

Intellectually I knew there were other ways to cope and deal but I was scared of change and I was scared that my limited experience of sobriety was the way it would always be and I'd be sober but miserable for the rest of my life.

I wanted to drink yet not have negative consequences - and as long as I could delude myself that this time that magical confluence might happen, I kept drinking.

Now looking back, I realise I didn't have to wait until I nearly died to stop.

All I needed was a little faith - faith that change would not be bad, and faith I'd love my new life more than my old one. Faith that the advice here was good.

I also needed acceptance - acceptance that I did not need alcohol for anything and that there was never going to be a point at which alcohol and I could live in harmony.

Never.

As for recovery falling flat - I think most of us get used to the immediate gratification of things as a drinker.

The reality is it takes time and effort to get sober and to stay that way, and it takes time to build a sober life you love.

I know you have the capacity to understand that and to use that knowledge to defuse the I want it now bomb

I figured I gave 20 years to drinking, I could give a year to this and seeing where I ended up.

The story ended well for me - there's no doubt it can end that way for you too Prof.

D
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:46 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Hi All

For me it was a bit different.
I was drinking a too much too often but by no means every day or even every week. But it hadn't really twigged that I had a problem but i was slowly drinking more and more. I decided to quit for 1 year to lose weight and found out that it was incredibly hard for me to do so for a sustained period.

This contained craving has told me that I am an alcoholic.

I feel that I have been lucky in catching it early, Because it's pretty dam hard to resist some days. I have no idea how hard the daily drinkers/ physically dependant must find it.

I wonder if you may be like me. You know on a psychological level that you are a alcoholic. However, as you are otherwise a successful person who's life has yet to be damaged visibility by the addiction your ego argues that you're being silly. You have drank with no issues before and perhaps you can do it again.

I have to remind myself daily often that this is not really true.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:46 PM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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When you wake up in medical detox wondering when you'd put sprinklers on your bedroom ceiling and then taking 5-10 minutes to figure out where you are, it's pretty hard to think you have control over alcohol and your life is manageable.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:54 PM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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Mine was sort of an all of the above. I got a DUI 3.5 years ago, and it woke me up for all of....a week? I have absolutely learned as far as driving is concerned, Uber became my best friend. I don’t think that was my wake up call, though, because I got the DUI on the most cliche of nights...New Years Eve, trying to drive home after midnight. So in my mind, it was chalked up to a bad night of “partying” to “celebrate” a “holiday”. Therefore, in my mind, it was not a true indication of my drinking being a problem. In my mind, i was just one of the many drunk people that night, who was just unlucky enough to get caught. However, if it had happened on an average Wednesday night after my usual bottle of wine, then maybe it would have had more of an impact on my regular drinking.

My sobriety moment came out of the blue, 3 weekends ago, when I realized on Friday I’d forgotten to do something pretty major at work. My solution to deal with that mistake was to drink pretty much the entire weekend away. Because that would solve the problem, right? I am almost exclusively a wine girl...but that Friday afternoon i bought a bottle of vodka. Drank half of it by dinnertime, drank my usual wine. Woke up from my blackout Saturday morning and repeated...polished off the bottle of vodka again before dinner. Somewhere in the middle of again drinking my regular wine...at rock bottom drunkenness, exhaustion, and just hatred of myself...something snapped in me and I reached for my laptop and googled recovery and found this site.

To answer your question, there wasn’t a single thing, wasn’t even several things, that I can specifically point my finger to that let me to grab my computer that night. I view my work problem as just the icing on the cake...it was not that one thing that led to this. It had been building and building, and if anything, my work problem was probably a result of the vicious cycle I was in from drinking too much. I forgot to do something one day when I was probably hungover. What’s funny is from the outside looking in, i have a fantastic life, I’m financially comfortable and have wonderful family and friends, so that just leads to even more of the question of what led me here, which i can’t really answer. I just consider it a wake-up call
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:30 PM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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My drinking was always excessive but it escalated after having my third child and then went through the roof in the last four years. I tried antabuse, AA, outpatient rehab, rigorous self imposed moderation schemes, but nothing stopped the run away train after the first drink. Even if I could go three days without a drink (shakes, sweats and tremors notwithstanding) it doesn't mean much if on a drinking day I'm finishing a Costco sized handle of gin before dawn the next day.

when my time was up there was a big humiliating public episode with my husband and his work, plus I was just so sick, so out of it and unstable and depleted. I quit the next day. That previous summer I could feel momentum building and I knew sobriety was coming . I just didn't know when. When the day came that my drinking ended I knew it in my gut and I haven't wanted a drink since.

Death is my promise in that first drink. I know now that the first drink is a whole bottle until blackout and there's no in between. Knowing that means the daily choice to abstain is an easy one.
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:29 AM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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Thanks, Dee and everyone else who wrote out their experience. It's very valuable to see the reasons, big and small, that got and kept you sober. It seems like loving the sober life you have built is key. The old wanting to be sober more than you want to drink adage. I guess at 3-7 weeks in, I'm not only increasing my anxiety (kindling), but also not giving myself enough time to reap the benefits. I'll work on having faith and trying to talk down rather than fight with the AV. I also need to start working on my other mental health issues alongside the drinking.

Sigh. Lots of work to do.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:18 AM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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Sigh. Lots of work to do.
true...but its a job that's given me immense satisfaction Prof D

D
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