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Old 07-31-2020, 10:54 PM
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Urges

I found this video on SMART Recovery on beliefs on urges and will play this video when an "unbearable" urge hits
https://youtu.be/a9jfsAajFZM
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:38 PM
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Nice one.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:36 AM
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I always said my urges got stronger once I started drinking, until now it takes so much to stop the urge I'm blackout drunk (Though apparently I still carry on in a blackout). Surely one day all this stuff I know will actually sink in!!!
I do have a little plan up my sleeve for next time (finally STARTING TO sink in what a PRACTICAL PLAN is and what it's for, I think).
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:36 AM
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I think with urges the mind kind of gets the alcoholic caught in a riptide. I swimming but I can't get back to shore. Making something simple into something life threatening. It seems you are doomed no matter what you do when the simple solution is to swim in another direction.


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Old 08-01-2020, 05:56 AM
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Yes RD it's all so senseless to keep swimming in the same ocean when you know there is a riptide not far from shore.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:56 AM
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I’m 19 months sober or as I like to say an alcoholic in remission, so like anyone on here, it’s not a given that I won’t relapse. With that in mind, I watched the video. A couple of very interesting points near the start:

1. No one ever died from urges.
2. Urges vanish within 10 to 15 minutes.

I think number 2 requires some assistance to distract the mind away from an urge and on to something better, but I’d agree urges don’t last for hours. As I found out, they definitely get shorter and less often if you don’t drink. Even the slightest “reward” resets the urge levels.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:31 AM
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Hodd, the thing I struggle with is, I'll have an urge, it passes, then another sometimes very close to the first, but not the same continuous one. This can go on all day sometimes. I know as soon as I take that first drink the urge to have more will intensify, so drinking doesn't even take it away, I just end up passing out and having an even stronger urge than the one I started with when I come round but having lowered inhibitions to be able to ignore it because I am still half drunk
I just can't find anything to distract myself with all day sometimes.
Short bursts of urges throughout the day, yes, I can do it.
One's 10 minutes apart all day, (not every day, but some days) this is still tripping me up
Although I know that doesn't matter, just don't act on the urge, right? So why can't I do it when there are days like that?
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:51 AM
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You can do it.

You haven't yet, so the addiction is still calling the shots.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:57 AM
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I’ll admit my urges were only in the evenings, Philemon, so you’ve got a bit more resisting to do. I’m not sure what to suggest. How long have you been sober for? I’d imagine urges no matter how often or severe will start to fade over time (weeks).

The video says urges aren’t excruciating. I’m not sure that’s true. It’s not like toothache or giving birth (I can’t comment on this pain), but they are allconsuming and very nasty. But as I say, they do fade within a few weeks.

By the way, urges never die. They’re there beneath the surface. Last night I went to an Italian restaurant and had scialatelli, a powerful pasta dish that needs a red wine to deal with all that flavour. I knew I’d feel the urge for a wine, but I’ve got the months of resisting under my belt. You need a good period of sobriety to dampen those urges.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:58 AM
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But can I Bimini? I was so sure last time and the time before that. Then these days hit me. After I didn't drink when I got a cheque I wasn't expecting, didn't pay day, didn't at the party. Then again, a-flipping-gain, I did it. Even though I tried to brainwash myself that I wouldn't.
I'm starting to wonder, can I even do it?
Or maybe my AV just has me in a headlock because I'm feeling down being I'm still in withdrawal.
But I'm starting to seriously think, I'm just not up to it.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:02 AM
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Thanks Hodd for replying. I can't explain it. I sometimes get extremely strong urges and resist them. It's the one's that come one on top of the other for hours and hours that wear me down. So I suppose I'm not really resisting or ignoring if they are getting to me enough to feel worn down by them.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:03 AM
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Have you ever considered or tried medications for these urges? There are a few that doctors can prescribe, they are by no means super effective for most people, but some do have great relief and find them a game changer. In part, the success may depend on individual genetics, which you don't know about. I had very similar, monster cravings in early sobriety to what you describe and I know how hard it is. They were the only reason I struggled so much with putting together more than a week of sobriety, for years. I'm saying they were the reason, because that's the truth - no amount of discipline, willpower, going to meetings, engaging in programs etc took them away for me, only time. I never tried those meds back then, but if I had to go back and do it all over, I definitely would. From some things I know, it may be that some binge drinkers like you and I may tend to experience these worse than people who drank more steadily, round the clock... because our brains got used to the constant, intense cycles of being flooded with large amounts of alcohol and short periods of abstinence. I really feel for you, because that period was definitely one of the most difficult of my life (only second to maintaining my life while doing that binge drinking for years though). Again, I would take any reasonable, non-addictive (non-replacement) medical assistance I could get now. You may not need to take it for a very long time, just a few weeks or months.

I also heard that some people who experience these types of persistent, intense urges sometimes have good success with replacing drinking with some kind of substitute activity, like attending meetings around the clock, exercise, even eating (I would only recommend healthy meals though, not a lot of junk or sugar as those can be just as hard to beat), some say being and posting on SR constantly achieved the same. I know this is not the best method, but better than never quitting drinking, and you can address those behaviors later.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:05 AM
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My addiction IS massively strong and I've been doing it for 20 years. A few months ago, I thought, these benders are so close together and last so long, day and night that I am a whisper away from end stage
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:16 AM
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Thanks too Aeyllece. I asked my doctor a couple of years ago. I did try Campral about 10 years ago but it made me go weird(er)
This time the doctor said if my liver improved she would (which of course it hasn't).
I can't take AA meetings. They make me want to drink (I'm not even joking)
I'm trying SMART again, see if that will help.
I could say I've ONLY drank 6 days in the last month. But that's not the point. The point is, this isn't getting better if I drink ANYTHING at all!!I have said to myself, next time a day like that hits me again, I will just go out and walk. And keep walking. It's the only thing I can think of.
That, posting on here, SMART obviously the AVRT stuff.
Keeping myself busy as I am able. And that's it. That's all I have left in my arsenal (apart from a potato gun). Sorry feeble attempt at humour.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:32 AM
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There is also Refuge Recovery, Lifering, Women for Sobriety and a few other programs that have meetings. I think SR has a list somewhere, if you don't find it, can ask one of the mods or admins. I bet you could also find recovery-related groups on meetup.com that get together virtually now and are not AA-based.

I agree that reducing the amount/frequency of drinking does not make much difference mentally, as long as there is still any relapse. I was sober first for 2 years and virtually craving-free during the second year, but then stupid enough to give in to mindset that wasn't even anything like the early urges. Drank on/off for ~2 months, and the original urges came back full-force, very quickly. Had to start all over beating them from scratch. This addiction really changes our brain for the long haul and even a minor "slip" blows it up again - why moderation, harm reduction etc don't work for alcohol and (IMO) can make people's lives even more miserable - one might just avoid death for a long time, but not at all the mental consequences. I'm not writing this to pull some dark blanket, just sharing what I experienced even after a couple years of good sobriety and brief relapse with those urges, and it's far from a unique story.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:38 AM
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You are not casting a dark blanket Aellyce, you are just being truthful. And the mental effect is not just the days spent drinking and all the physiological effects of that. It's the horrible mental aftermath of hopelessness.
I will certainly look into those groups you mentioned, thanks. Because at this stage things are looking very bleak if I can't stop this for good.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:59 AM
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You’ve still got the humour, Phil 👍

What was up with Campril? I tried it and doubt it made any difference. The placebo effect may have worked, though, as I gave up for good after taking it for a few weeks.

What helped me most was the overall lifestyle change. I started getting fit and having some self-esteem. Good things followed from that. I had the confidence to join a couple of sports clubs. While I was doing those things, I wasn’t drinking or thinking about it.

You’ve reached the lightbulb moment (hopefully) where you know you have to stop 100%. Have you been able to stop 100% for weeks or months? A prolonged period might be what you need for those urges to subside that little bit.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:18 PM
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No Hodd the longest I've gone in 20 years is 8 weeks. But I'm a bender drinker so it used to be I could go 2 weeks between 3-4 day benders a few years ago. Now it's to the point of 4-10 day binges with 4-8 days inbetween. So no time at all. Although I managed 16 days between this month, how pathetic is that?
The Campral (or is it Campril). When I tried that years ago, I found I was having problems stringing thoughts together, memory gaps, just floating off into space. A bit later I found out that these were the effects of being a heavy drinker!
But as I had read the side effects leaflet and they were on there I thought it must be them. And I do tend to get every side effect on the leaflet if I read them.
The doctor wouldn't prescribe it again (then) unless I had counselling as well. As I'd already been to see a psychotherapist every week for 2 years, not long before, I'd had enough taking time off work and sitting getting counselled.

I do need a lifestyle change. But I'm not sure I've had a "lightbulb" moment. I've had about a 100 of what I have thought were those.
I'm glad the Campra(i)l worked for you. Even if it was just placebo effect (btw, did you read the leaflet?)
Even better you changed your life, yourself
Things being the way they are atm, I can't get to a gym, so I'll just have to try the walking if those urge after urge days happen.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:59 PM
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Nothing pathetic about 16 days. I know for sure that took willpower, so it’s a start.

I’m not sure Campril worked physically. It was just such a palaver to get, it was the last straw. If anything it was a placebo. I also started on alcohol free beer. I get slightly irritated when this is demonised as it’s a far lesser evil. I had a mini family emergency of day 55 and would’ve certainly drank but I was fine after downing a couple of cans of alcohol free beer.

It doesn’t have to be the gym by the way, although it has to be something. Someone once told me they had no time for the gym, but they found the time to drink. You could do any activity that doesn’t involve drinking.

Not saying my life’s perfect, if only, but luckily I knew drinking was going to kill me and it had robbed me of 15 years. I really got my confidence back by being a non-drinker. You can too if you find a useful activity to allow you to forget the urges for a few hours
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:14 PM
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Good video on urges. Reminds me of a recent visit to the store:

A mother was shopping with her child in a grocery cart. The child was out of control with his emotions and wanted, for lack of a better expression, “To Feel Good.” He was feeding his emotional urge. The mother calmed him right down by replacing his object of desire with some other toy in her purse. (Presumably something more healthy that the child valued).

The epiphany moment was when I saw myself. I want control of my circumstances in life and when I don’t get them right away I have a tendency to seek the quick fix of drugs and alcohol in order to regain control over my emotions. When it comes to substance abuse, we are all just big children.

We all want to experience happiness in our lives, we want to be in control, because theperception of control, makes us feel good.
Regardless of age, we all seek emotional happiness, control of how we feel. We are all driven to seek the neurochemical reward of happiness. All human behavior is driven by the pursuit of happiness (reward) and that, when we choose a specific behavior, we do so because we see it as our, "best available option for happiness, at a given moment in time." Sometimes, we choose what we think is our best available option for happiness, in unhealthy ways, with substances and other corrupt behaviors. We choose quick rewards, ignoring long term gains. When good values replace our addictions, we have meaning in life. We don't need alcohol or drugs.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
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