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Cannot quit - too old, too far gone!

Old 10-04-2018, 02:38 PM
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saoutchik
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Cannot quit - too old, too far gone!

Sorry this is such a long post but if it encourages just a single person it will be worth it. I have some sober time, 3 years and 9 months but find it hard to give advice to people's posts sometimes because any advice given comes in isolation.

It is like giving advice on replacing a failed engine component but without understanding how the whole engine works and what caused the component to fail.

------------------------

Too old, too far gone was certainly how I felt in 2014, I was 54 and had been a heavy binge drinker for over 35 years and drinking full on alcoholicaly for the last 7/8, by which I mean a MINIMUM of half a bottle of whiskey on a weekday night, (that was me "moderating") sometimes it was more and a lot more at the weekend.

That is not a league position report, there are doubtless people who drink more or for a longer period but I feel it is important that people should that my alcohol addiction was "up there" with some of the worst. I am not just someone who drank too much from time to time.

As you can see I had an addiction that was killing me physically, destroying my relationships and jeopardizing my job.

But I couldn't quit. Much as I needed to stop drinking I was overwhelmed with cravings every night. If I survived a day they would be back the following day, and the day after... I started reading SR and other forums ("lurking at this stage, I had not joined yet) I could read about other people' s success and this gave me encouragement, I embarked on another "quitting for good" journey full of hope.

But still I couldn't quit. I think I am good at "white knuckling" I had quit smoking years ago and not started again despite my drinking but this was too much. I couldn't do it. No matter how ill I was feeling from the day before I would trudge of out to buy more poison. Rinse repeat daily. Not being able to resist the cravings is terrifying, in my last couple of years of drinking my longest period od abstinence was only 23 days, I couldn't even hold out a month. I did use AA and indeed I did get some comfort from the fact that other people with similar background, experiences and drinking habits to mine had managed to quit. It wasn't enough though for when I was on my own and contemplating going to bed without drinking.

Ultimately, some time around the end of 2014, early 2015 I knew that the only way I was ever going to succeed was to reduce the cravings so I tried something born out of desperation rather than a carefully crafted and thought through plan.

I forced myself to overcome huge reluctance and to get up and out of bed at 5.45am, to go outside and walk or jog. Every day (almost) no matter what the weather, for a minimum of an hour. It was hard to begin with, I was starting in January and did not even have waterproofs. But set against that was the fact that this was the fight of my life, I could not carry on like I was for much longer.

The result - by 9pm in the evenings I was shattered but in a good way. Bedtime was now something to be savoured rather than feared and it took place at 10pm rather than blacking out at midnight or 1am. Actual craving time was reduced by 80-90%. Another benefit that occurred after a while I felt fitter and started eating much more healthily. Lastly my mood and spirit improved as a consequence of the diet and exercise and I am now content with my own company and living in my own skin so to speak.

-----------------------------------------------

That is not supposed to be a magic blueprint to be copied to achieve success, it is just what has worked for me (so far) and after posting a version of this as a response to someone else's post I realise it is far to long and involved to ever post it again. I think the main thing to take would be that it pays to keep searching and analysing to find something that will work for you.
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:49 PM
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Great post! Thanks
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:49 PM
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Thanks for sharing that Sao - powerful post

D
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:11 PM
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Thank you, Sao.
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:44 PM
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Thanks for sharing Sao! x
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:46 PM
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I's never too late to make significant life changes.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:30 PM
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Sao, your title leads to believe you relapsed somehow. I try to avoid those type posts but I have read and seen your posts so frequently I was hesitant to read. What a powerful read. Incredibly encouraging and hopeful. After struggling for traction over the pat year, I dragged my bike out of the shed, blew off the dust and started riding. More and more each day. It has helped quell the cravings. I am putting all the tools to work for me now. None of which in themselves has helped me to stop.
I see so many looking for that reason, or perfect plan to start getting sober. Ripping off the bandaid and diving in got me started.
I hope this thread finds many of those struggling and motivates them to just do it!
Awesome thread. Thank you.
So good, I just read it again.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:46 PM
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Awesome post ! Thanks for sharing. I too found exercise (walking/running) to be hugely helpful in sobriety.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:48 PM
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saoutchik we're roughly the same age & same Sobriety time.
Yes, you absolutely CAN teach an old dog new tricks!!
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:23 PM
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Thank you, Sao, for sharing your story.

I hope that this proves to be the inspirational guidepost you intended. I take that back. I know it will be. It's that powerful.

What I took away most acutely from your narrative is that we can all draw a line in the sand and say "this is it." And that' s important -- a no ands, ifs or buts start to the journey. It's the gameplan we put in place after that that helps us make it a reality. It means summoning our grit. It's all very doable.

Yours is a poignant, encouraging story. Thank you again for sharing it. I am so proud of you.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:48 PM
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This was really encouraging
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:25 PM
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Thank you so much for sharing your story! Inspiring!
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:42 PM
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Thank you very much, sao my friend, for sharing your experience in such a heartfelt and articulate way.

I am sure that the wisdom which you have imparted by this post will help many.
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:42 PM
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Thank you for the post very uplifting. I too find peace in excercise and have found a new kindled love for playing my guitar.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:03 PM
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For a while I thought myself too old and too far gone to save myself. But I kept trying until I 'got it'. Never give up!
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Finalround View Post
Sao, your title leads to believe you relapsed somehow. I try to avoid those type posts
Yes i'm sorry about that Finalround, I meant to put question marks after the two adjectives but did not notice until it was too late to edit.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:31 PM
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Thanks for the post Sao. I too had thought you'd relapsed, but you shared a very heartfelt story.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:57 PM
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Thank you everyone for your kind replies.

Just stopping drinking on its own was too hard for me, the desire to drink was too strong. I just want people to know there is a least one way of loading the dice in your favour and reducing the cravings rather than simply overcoming them with willpower.

I don't know if it is a result of my age and upbringing but I am not a particularly spiritual person. I am quite envious of people who are able to get help from things like meditation, mindfulness or yoga. These seem very logical and contain good practise and principals but for whatever reason do not seem suit me whereas a hard physical challenge is something I can understand. I wanted people to know that there are also practical, physical steps that you can take which help you arrive at the good place that otherwise seems out of reach.

A big, positive set of side benefits have been overall fitness greatly improved (from an extremely low base) weight loss, reduced blood pressure, better sleep and much reduced depressive feelings and improved mood and outlook. The only downside I can think of was that one time while I was jogging I got chased by small dog - and I had to replace all of my fat boy clothes. A small price to pay.
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:45 AM
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Your post has inspired me Sao! I am in a bit of a recovery rut, the initial euphoria of quitting has gone and now at nearly 4 months I am procrastinating a lot, feeling very unfit and unmotivated. Thanks for giving me the nudge that I desperately needed! x
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:29 AM
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Beautiful, honest and powerfull post. Thank you
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