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Old 11-28-2018, 07:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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first time posting, long time lurker


Today I am 28 days sober.

It has been 4 weeks since I last drank any alcohol yet seems like a day ago. I wanted to write down the culminating problems, negatives, and depressing attributes which led to my decision of abstinence. The mind plays tricks and those wretched moments before quitting may have prematurely lapsed. This is the longest time frame alcohol free in 2 ½ years, the previous being 2 months, and before that was over 5 years ago lasting 90 days. Prior to I cannot recall any significant length of time being sober other than early on when I would go a week prior to heavy weekend binging, paving way to daily drinking since 2009. I have known I am an alcoholic, but never would concede I methodically could not control this. The last 2 years have been hell.

There have been a myriad of health “symptoms” leading to self-diagnosis, health anxiety, internet searches, and disease association all leading back to the deniable causative foundation of alcohol. Surely there must be another cause. I would rack my brain researching a plausible reason to continue on with normal activities of daily drinking if I could blame anything else. That said, I am 40 years old, so some complaints could be simply the normal aging process with a younger mindset of physical expectation. Or not taking care of myself in continuing the direct poisoning with alcohol, despite seeing the effects take hold. It was like a science experiment mentally documenting the ongoing changes, yet moving forward with the destruction, knowing the potential damage that can occur to the subject.

I do not need folks dancing around with statements such as, “only you can decide for yourself if you’re an alcoholic”, or “I cannot tell you what to do”. One thing I am sure of, I have a problem with alcohol. Things I am not sure of, how to treat this problem. I am here to ask those who have remained alcohol free, sober, clean, whatever terminology used…how did you do it?

It behooves me to think I would want to drink again after going through this last self-directed taper and withdrawal. I do not want to get into specifics of withdrawal symptoms, as I do believe they vastly differ from one person to another, and truly what works for some may not work for others. And yes, at times medical expertise is warranted. I will say, it was difficult yet as time progresses I tend to forget those dark depressing moments leading up to quitting. I start to think, I can do this again…

With ill reasoning, these are some of the symptoms of alcohol use I am mourning:
• Hypertension – resolved since quitting
• Periods of tachycardia – resolved since quitting
• Sweating and temperature intolerance – resolved since quitting
• Hangovers – resolved since quitting
• Waking up after only 2-3hrs sleeping with pounding chest, fluttering heart – resolved
• Shaking and anxiety in the middle of the night – resolved
• Daily obsession with when I “need” to drink again to stave off withdrawal – resolved
• Alcohol dependence – resolved
• Alcohol dependence as a crutch when planning anything – resolved
• Muscle cramps – resolved
• Vertigo – improved
• Panic attacks – improved
• Reflux – improved
• GI upset – improved

These are the benefits I am working on:
• Diet – improved
• Arthritic aches, paresthesia, and back pain – improved
• Sleep – drastically improved
• Mood – improved
• Relationships – improved
• Confidence – improved
• Depression – abating
• Sense of well-being – improved
• Future outlook – improved

Previously I was a competitive long distance runner and endurance athlete. No longer because of alcohol and back pain. But I still try to remain fit and active.

I became desperate with some of the previously mentioned symptoms and sought care with a primary provider, neurologist, and cardiologist, undergoing bountiful tests and exams proving to be normal. That alone was a relief. The take home was alcohol abstinence. I continue to work on health improvements with diet and exercise. I do not have any diagnosed health problems other than anxiety.

So why would anyone want to drink again, even with the base knowledge that time and time again the pattern repeats itself proving you WILL end up the same wreck of a person wishing you could quit again? I postulate it would be for self medicating purposes.

Change my mind if you will… What did you do? Interested to hear from folks who remain sober and have changed this pattern in their life.

Thank you
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Jim, I stopped only when I went through a very terrible rock bottom. Despite the rational mind understanding in theory why addiction is dangerous, my addiction followed no rules.
Support to you
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Congratulations on 28 days of sobriety.

I used some very helpful books and began to rebuild my life. I got back to some old hobbies that I loved and began taking long walks daily, which I still do. I learned to feel safe with myself and to enjoy spending time with myself. It's simple, but not easy.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Jim. Thanks for posting. Congratulations on 4 weeks of sobriety! That is really a great accomplishment.

Your question, if I understand correctly: How do I continue to stay sober?

For me, I think that there are several major factors, which i will try to identify. First, constant awareness. I don't allow myself to forget about how bad things were and I know, with absolute certainty, that there is no "re-set" button. Even after years of abstinence, a single drink will inevitably lead me very quickly to the place where I was three years ago. Second, control. For many years, I ceded control over my use of alcohol. The addiction is a disease and it took control; I had little choice but to continue to drink. But now, after significant sobriety, I have complete control. I'm not going to allow any person, any issue, any tragedy, any emotion, to take that from me. If I do, I will have failed. And from my perspective, it will be a moral failure. Third, exercise. In three years of sobriety, nothing that I do plays a larger role in keeping me sober than good old fashion exercise. Fourth, reading and participating in this forum is helpful. It keeps me grounded, reminds me how bad things were, and occasionally allows me to help others.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You could try AA, it helps me , you can also read the book Alcoholics Anonymous (the big book) . It describes alcoholic thinking and it has directions to get sober and live a sober life. It is available on line.
There are other ways to get sober, this is the method that I use.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi and Welcome
I use that concepts of AVRT. It has helped emensly.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR Jimmy. I found your post very interesting and you seem to have a high degree of analytical thinking in terms of analysing your symptoms and goal. A good start to a sobriety plan.
The improvement in your symptoms is pretty amazing in 28 days yes?
I don't really think it matters what label you do or don't choose to identify with. Personally the word alcoholic pretty much does it for me.
I was drinking alcoholically for 16 years and soon will have 17 months of sobriety. I am 47 and a mother of 2 girls. I "tried" many dozens of times to stop but it dragged me back time and time again. Like you I had developed many symptoms and withdrawal was becoming a terrifying occurrence. I was genuinely afraid that this thing would kill me. Because it does.
I tried AA but for many reasons it wasn't for me (but I did take away many positive strategies and experiences) and then I stumbled across SR. Even then I went back to alcohol another several times but the last time I went back the range of symptoms I experienced was enough for me to take this thing very seriously indeed.
With the wonderful support here I stopped. I accepted over time that this thing I have is with me for life. Not one sip of alcohol would ever cross my lips ever again. Ever. No matter how long I am abstinent the result of one drink would eventually have me back in that dark place and I simply wasn't prepared to sacrifice my life for that poison.
I don't have an answer for you as to "how" apart from to say that no matter what I get my head on the pillow sober every night. I plan for risky times. I live my life in a way that keeps me safe. Nothing is more important than my sobriety. Without that I'm done.
I believe that addiction to alcohol ends ultimately with our death be it suddenly through an accident or slowly and painfully over time. We are saving our lives here.
You have the makings of a great sobriety plan and by finding this site I am confident that you will find your way to permanent sobriety and the life you deserve. Take care xxx
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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These responses are overwhelmingly helpful and supportive. Seems remarkable that I’m here posting and reading about this thing called sobriety, with many affected similar to me. I need a plan.
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Would anyone be able to answer what I see in the Newcomers area as "class of July 18", or the likes of? Is this something I could participate in? Sorry if I am posting in the wrong section for questions. Thanks.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes Jimmy there is a new class each month so you could check out the class of November 2018 or wait a couple of days and join the class of December 2018 (or both if you like!). It's a great way to share your journey with others.
There is also a weekender thread set up every week for people to support one another over the weekend and also the 24 hour Recovery Connection where we check in each day to commit to sobriety, support one another and celebrate sobriety milestones.
I'm glad you're having a good snoop around there really is a lot to discover and I'm sure you will find your own "home" to feel comfortable posting.

I would post links to the threads but to be honest I'm not quite sure how!
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Old 11-29-2018, 02:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Jimmy -

You have quite a gift for articulating the carnage arising from pathological drinking.

We all need to remember what it did to us.

Since you want the unadulterated version of getting and staying sober, I can say that, for me, the answer has been asking God for help and getting it, for a pretty good while now, through working the AA program.

Congrats on your 28 days.

That's really quite remarkable.

I was still under lock and key (at a treatment center) when I picked up my 1 month chip.

I encourage you to find and take advantage of your local AA meetings.

I still go to them, because AA has worked for me now since the very beginning.

Make no mistake, early on there were a fair amount of fits and starts, so to speak, but no relapses.

But I kept at it and could not imagine turning loose of what it has given me, which is a pretty normal life.

I was a distance runner before getting into the program and my mileage and times improved dramatically.

At my current age, though, I just amble along without worrying about times, races, etc.

We're happy you're here with us and we look forward to living your recovery with you on a vicarious basis.
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Old 11-29-2018, 03:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Hi Jimmy - welcome

the classes are generally based on when you got sober - all you need to do to 'join' is post...

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...rt-2-a-14.html (Class of October 2018 Part 2)


https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...art-3-a-2.html

as for why people drink again - addictions illogical and irrational and my mind was both those things when I was drinking.

Logic couldn't penetrate my mind when the thirst came upon me.

Quitting gave me my mind back and I believe I'm rational enough now to see drinking for the self destructive thing it is

D
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Old 11-29-2018, 03:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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First, the inspiration to not drink: a friend diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal /throat cancer who had to quit drinking forever, quit before chemo and radiation began Her strength, resilience and fortitude were amazing.

Second, the motivation: the above, coupled with feelings of shame, guilt, cost of booze, lost items, forgotten evenings (sex, conversations, events —partially or in their entirety)fear of liver and pancreas damage, short term memory loss, cracking and splitting fingernails, weight gain and red nose. I knew stopping drinking would cure all those things.

But how?

The third aspect of change: dedication!

Dedication is sticking with the plan to make change happen. It moves you out of your comfort zone.

It is the combination of determination, discipline, and mental strength.

I slept a lot. Posted here a lot. Read here a lot. Looked up AVRT. I You tubed alcohol interventions. I You tubed and googled liver damage and lab values. Asked my doctor for help —she didn’t ‘help’ me, just told me to quit. Took walks. Made a lot of alone time. Cried. Hated myself. Forgave myself. Wasn’t interested in A.A. as a public health servant and a TERRIBLE experience in al-anon years before. Googled pics of beautiful places. Played solitaire on my phone. Played other stupid games on my phone. Played word games here on SR. Practiced honesty with myself. Exercised (I’m a runner too, but getting older).

I’m only six months in, and still learning. Hope it helps.

Welcome to the family and thanks for a great post!
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Old 11-29-2018, 03:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Oh. And experimented with non alcohol drinks. Now have my favorite. Fresh chopped ginger, squeezed lime and slices, and either pour ginger ale or ginger beer on top with a few ice cubes.

Delicious!

Also envision myself talking and laughing with others without a drink before an event that involves alcohol, and have my own transportation to get away when feeling the need at a gathering.

❤️
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Old 11-30-2018, 07:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoberCAH View Post
Jimmy -

You have quite a gift for articulating the carnage arising from pathological drinking.

We all need to remember what it did to us.

Since you want the unadulterated version of getting and staying sober, I can say that, for me, the answer has been asking God for help and getting it, for a pretty good while now, through working the AA program.

Congrats on your 28 days.

That's really quite remarkable.

I was still under lock and key (at a treatment center) when I picked up my 1 month chip.

I encourage you to find and take advantage of your local AA meetings.

I still go to them, because AA has worked for me now since the very beginning.

Make no mistake, early on there were a fair amount of fits and starts, so to speak, but no relapses.

But I kept at it and could not imagine turning loose of what it has given me, which is a pretty normal life.

I was a distance runner before getting into the program and my mileage and times improved dramatically.

At my current age, though, I just amble along without worrying about times, races, etc.

We're happy you're here with us and we look forward to living your recovery with you on a vicarious basis.
I want to say thanks again for the responses. There seems a variety of avenues to stay sober. At some point I would like to write down or hash out my reasons for drinking, preferably with a therapist or someone who also shares an alcohol problem, yet has a strong foundation for sober living. I could benefit from in person discussion.

From what I have slowly looked into, I believe AA might be an avenue for me. I want to try it, but nervous as well. The first thought, "what will everyone think of me", "what if I see someone I know and then I'm busted"? Funny, because if I ran into someone I know, they would be there for the same reasons I am LOL.

I know some folks who hold complete anonymity and others who declare loud and proud, sharing stories and reaching out to as many as possible through multiple social platforms. I respect both personalities as they can help in different ways.

I do believe in the "day at a time" attitude and have applied this to other aspects of my life. For now, I have adopted the 24hr mantra.
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Old 11-30-2018, 08:41 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I guess I would echo what the others have said. I didn’t do AA, but read and educated myself, and I read posts everyday here. I reach back and remember just how bad I felt most of the time and how anxious I was that I was just getting by.....and wondering when something dreadful might happen as a result of my drinking.

You seem to be on your way.....Experiement and find what works for you. Lastly, be mindful everyday about how alcohol use affected you and re-committ to your sobriety! Wish you all the best!
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Old 11-30-2018, 09:02 AM   #17 (permalink)
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be mindful everyday about how alcohol use affected you and re-committ to your sobriety!
I love this
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Old 11-30-2018, 09:54 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Yes—-ODAAT for sure.

Isn’t that how we live our lives anyway?
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Welcome and congrats to 28 days, that is wonderful! It only gets better!

The early days of recovery I was really close to this site, I went to AA 1 day a week and therapy has been the biggest resource for me.

I now go to AA when I can or want to. I believe in the steps, they are good and I feel everyone in life should follow them just replace alcoholic with whatever that person is, for instance, an A hole! Hahahaha
So I try to follow those steps as often as possible.
Step 1 is every day, the day I forget that I am an alcoholic is the day I go back to the hell I was living, and I like where I am living now.

There was a switch for me, I just dont think about drinking, I dontl ike to hang out with people who are drinking and if I am I always leave whenever I want.
I removed all but 2 friends from my life
I moved 35 miles away from where I was living
I have a new circle of friends
I live for me and no-one else

We all have a different path, may you find yours and best of luck to you!

Blessings,
DC
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Old 12-01-2018, 05:34 AM   #20 (permalink)
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jimmy,
Welcome. I too lurked for years before joining in, but I find reading here immensely helpful on a daily basis.

I spent several years drinking while I tried to answer the question, “Am I an alcoholic?” I finally quit when I realized that wasn’t a question that required an answer. My drinking was unhealthy, and that was enough.

I got honest with myself about why I drank. I had, and still have, no interest in a glass or two of wine. I want the bottle and more. I drank for the feeling of relaxation and escape, which is why I continued to go back to it in spite of the physical and emotional consequences.

Occasionally the idea of that escape will come to mind, but that is when I look back at my journal of the consequences of drinking and the benefits of sobriety. I read here of the pain alcohol is causing others. A real time cost/benefit analysis if you will. Drinking never wins.

I experienced many of the same physical improvements that you are seeing. When looked at rationally, what an easy choice! I just had to teach myself to be more mindful and rational on this issue.

Best wishes as you find your way.
-bora
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