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Can I Just Stop Thinking About It?

Old 07-26-2018, 08:19 AM
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Can I Just Stop Thinking About It?

I'm back here after a month. I'm frustrated. I feel like having/not having alcohol is a constant thought in my head that just won't go away. Is there ever a time that you are sober and don't even think about drinking? How do I get there?
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:20 AM
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You get there by staying sober. After about 6 months sober I didn't often think about drinking as living sober was my new normal.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:27 AM
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Thanks Least. Based on your join date, it looks like you've been sober for ten years? Yet you are still here, so doesn't that mean you are still focused on drinking/not drinking? Reading what I just wrote sounds disrespectful, and I don't mean it that way. I'm just trying to figure out if there will ever really be a "new normal" for me that doesn't involve thoughts of alcohol.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:37 AM
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Not 10 yrs, will be 9 this December. It took me a while after joining to get sober for good.

No, participating here doesn't mean I'm focused on drinking/not drinking. It just means I want to give back the support that was given me when I was new.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:42 AM
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I feel you, sokatie. I'm at two weeks and think about it all the time.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:48 AM
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I've only been here half as long as Least, but the way I approached quitting put me pretty quickly into a 'headspace' where thoughts of more drinks for me, me actually boozing again are practically nonexistent.

I learned about AVRT/RR( great threads on these ideas here on SR in the Secular Recovery forum and subforums) when I found SR and Quit ( with a capital q) shortly there after.

I'm around here a lot so yeah drinking /not drinking is a subject I/we consciously engage. But on a personal level, I have no thoughts of future alcohol consumption, my AV ,on the other hand , will never let that notion go,lol!

Learning about AVRT and adopting a permanent abstinence based recovery , put me in the headspace that means I simply ignore my AV , the idea of Me drinking again , is Its idea , not My idea. After quitting the notion that I would start again is so silly , that contrary ideas that spring up are laughed off, ignored ideas tend to fade into the backround and become white noise.

Before I decided to quit , when I let the possibility of more drinks on the table , I'd never stop 'hearing' my AV , I left the door open and eventually gave in. Just holding the idea that I may eventually 'give in', was really just me announcing I hadn't really Quit, yeah ?
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:50 AM
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sokatie,
happy to report i don't think about drinking or not drinking. hasn't come up.

and i used to have similar suspicions, or fears, or cynicism, or actually ALL of those, about the people who were longterm sober and still around. why on earth had they gotten sober and not moved on?
by getting engaged with others, new and old, i had experiences that showed me that "moving on" is not equivalent to stopping engagement with others. right now, for example, i can share with you that yes, getting to the place of not thinking about drinking/not drinking is possible.
i hope that is of use to you, but i know it is of use to me to be able to offer that experience.

you see what i'm getting at?

part of getting there includes getting out of my own self-concerned head, and there are different paths for that. being here is one of them
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:52 AM
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I have been there many many times. It's funny how things change, but if anything is certain it's that things change. I remember in many of my previous attempts at dobro, being so frustrated with the same concern. I would be unable to think about anything but drinking so often during the day. Sometimes it felt like the majority of my day. It felt like I would be taking a break from thinking about drinking, perhaps for an hour or so, and then there I would be thinking about drinking or not drinking again.

I can only attest to the fact that that changes over time. Sober now for 3 months plus for the first time in my life, I just don't think about it as much as I used to. There are days I don't think about it at all, besides posting here or thinking about the fact that I haven't been thinking about it! The fact is it gets better. That's something I used to read on SR all the time. I wasn't sure if I believed it. But it's true - it gets better, you just have to stay sober and do the work.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sokatie View Post
Yet you are still here, so doesn't that mean you are still focused on drinking/not drinking?
i think the difference is that with least and many others here the thoughts arent obsessive- we arent thinking about getting our next drink.

my path took me through the steps of AA. it took about 6 months before i made a full 24 hours without thinking about a drink. thats when the 10th step promises occured for me- the problem i had with alcohol was removed. that doesnt mean i think i can drink like others do- having a couple here and there with no ill effects. it means im no longer interested in drinking- that problem was removed.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:04 AM
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I think it's most helpful to find an answer to it when it DOES come in my mind.

To do something every day for years, to pick up a drink because I'm angry, sad, disappointed, tired, bored, happy, celebrating - I created a habit and a habitual thought process. That doesn't just magically disappear, there are associations between alcohol and emotions.

I've been sober four and a half years. I have no intention of drinking again, but in the early days I thought about it quite a bit - it was a habitual thought pattern.

In time I thought about it less and less. Today if it pops in my head it's usually in response to some situation like a super hot day at a specific restaurant or something that reminds me of a past drinking time.

It's okay that it pops up, I just say, "Hm. A drinking thought. I don't drink," and it goes away. That wasn't very easy in the first few months - now it's really easy.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:04 AM
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It takes time.

How many years had you previously thought about having a drink all day only to have drinks all day? It becomes ingrained in you.

It does slowly dissipate, for me it took a bit over a year to get rid of that habitual thought process. These days if I think about a drink it's a passing moment here or there and I don't actually put much thought into it.

The only time my AV starts squeaking is if I'm stressed out and feeling like raging at something. I try to just calm myself down instead. Drinks never work well when angry at something.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tekink View Post
It takes time.

How many years had you previously thought about having a drink all day only to have drinks all day? It becomes ingrained in you.
.
This is very on point. Even from a neurological standpoint.

We end up having to reorder and restructure our brains. Which can be done, but yes, takes time.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:13 AM
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For me it was opiates/opioids. Things like the smell of the propane gas from our stove will elicit hardcore cravings because it reminds me of cooking my dope and shooting up. There's a laundry list of triggers that make me think I'll never be able to live a "normal" life where I don't think about drugs.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:26 AM
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someinkedchick

AVRT is a technique refined to deal with residual desire.

I don't think there is anything we can do to eliminate anything we may potentially encounter that could server as a 'trigger', but there are things we do to eliminate the idea that a craving is/can be a cause for indulging desire.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by sokatie View Post
Is there ever a time that you are sober and don't even think about drinking? How do I get there?
You get there by staying sober.

I'm not trying to sound facetious. As someone else posted, "it takes time." Sober time. Relapses just kick off the whole cycle of obsessing about drinking. But a solid plan of recovery will not only get you and keep you sober, but it will give you the means to live and love the sober life. Then you will not think about drinking.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:48 AM
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The worst is when we try not to think of things it is impossible not to. You have to find positive reinforcement for not drinking. Like finding you have spent time doing things and it hasn't entered you head. Or waking refreshed and clear headed in the morning, enjoy and rejoice in that feeling; recall it through the day and look forward to feeling the same again tomorrow morning. It really is a mind game and you can control it. Focus on the positive changes to your appearance. One month in is very early and what you feel now will be a dim memory in the near future.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:48 AM
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Stay sober. Sobriety will become your normal way of life and thoughts of drinking will lessen. But I agree that it is frustrating early on. Just tough it out.
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Old 07-26-2018, 04:11 PM
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I don't think about drinking or alcohol- I think about recovery, as the backdrop of my sober life, and what guides me consciously and subconsciously. As my AA program says, that is the happy, joyous and free part of recovery once the obsession to drink was gone. that happened almost right away for me, then my thinking could start to change. Time and consistent, total sobriety allowed me to learn this new way of living.
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Old 07-26-2018, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sokatie View Post
I'm back here after a month. I'm frustrated. I feel like having/not having alcohol is a constant thought in my head that just won't go away. Is there ever a time that you are sober and don't even think about drinking? How do I get there?
Accept this: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."

And let go. Stop negotiating. What's it ever really done for you anyway?

Let go.

B
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:25 PM
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Hi sokatie. I'm glad to see you back, & to know you haven't given up on a better life for yourself.

I'm over 10 yrs. sober. I drank 30 yrs. In the beginning, I thought of drinking/not drinking constantly. After a few months of sobriety, those thoughts began to fade. Today, taking a drink never crosses my mind. The thing I once lived for is not an option. I know it can never make anything better or easier. It will only complicate my life & bring me to my knees once again. It took me a few tries to get to this point - but I know I'll never pick up & destroy the new life I've built for myself. I come here every day to encourage others, not because I need to be convinced to not drink. Reading the newcomer's stories as they begin their journey helps keep me strong & vigilant. I hope to be a good example & to help stop the terrible suffering & misery.

I hope you'll stay with us.
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