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How to Stay Quit

Old 07-24-2022, 07:53 AM
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How to Stay Quit

I rarely start threads but I have been thinking about my own history of serial relapse, and I’ve been seeing lots of relapses happening here on SR lately as well, so I thought some reflection on that might be useful. So many here have decades of healthy recovery, and that wisdom cannot be reprised and repeated too many times for those of us still on the learning curve.

I have very little problem with actually quitting, even for months or a year or more at at time, but the staying quit is the most important thing and has been the real struggle the past 20 years.

I have frequently made poor choices (like thinking I can moderate), or self-sabotaged (letting myself get in stressful situations without a safety plan), or thought I was sailing along and strong (“willpower” anyone?) which have led to relapse and yet another do-over.

The good news is I have actually learned much from these relapses and added many useful tools to my recovery toolbox as a result. Many here have too so I propose we consolidate and share some of our best
Here are my first three, but have many more to share after things get going. I look forward to reading some of yours. . .

1. Sobriety is not recovery. Just staying dry day by day via willpower will not add up to long term sobriety. We can wish as hard as we like but for most people, we need to break down our recovery into concrete, actionable smaller steps to be successful.

2. We do not need to know why we drank to get days, weeks, and months of early sobriety. In fact, we need to be sober for some time to level out emotionally and to clear our subjective feelings enough to meaningfully evaluate anything. Just put the bottle down first.

3. Don’t plan out everything, but what’s most needed early in in order of importance. What do you need to plan to get through the next minute, hour, week? Some basics might be clear your space of alcohol, sleep, nutrition, distraction activities, work triage, hygiene, etc. Recovery takes time and planning. You cannot jump ahead and expect to repair family relationships, finances, deferred cleaning / maintenance all in the first few weeks. Pick your battles and just get that first day, week, month. More can be added as you go. Just starting is a win. . .
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Old 07-24-2022, 09:54 AM
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That's good advice, Hawkeye.
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Old 07-24-2022, 07:12 PM
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Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-24-2022, 10:22 PM
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Thank you for sharing Hawk ❤️
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Old 07-25-2022, 02:03 AM
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Each of us is different, and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another, but for me to stay sober I had to develop a plan that resonated and commit to it. That will be different for each person and there’s a lot of wisdom to choose from here. For me I had to forget about moderation and truly believe I could live a better life sober. What worked for me was daily exercise, first thing in the morning, practicing gratitude each and every day, and stress management since stress was my biggest trigger. To manage stress I had to practice, each day, eliminating negative thinking/negative self talk. the techniques I found from an article from the Mayo Clinic which was suggested here.
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Old 07-25-2022, 08:23 AM
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Serial Relapser here:
What I learned from each relapse is that all parts of myself need to be nurtured. The spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental all need to be cared for each day.

Spiritually: I chant and read literature on Nichiren Buddhism. I had not done this before, and I felt an extreme void in my life. The practice of chanting and learning about Nichiren Buddhism has given me a foundation to work from and build on.

Emotionally and Mentally: I started journaling here. Journaling at home. Writing for multiple hours a day. Writing short stories. Long Stories. Incomplete stories. My brain talks a lot. Focusing and talking on paper has created a calm, and also allows for me to get some clarity and freedom in my head.

I also participate every day, in some form, on this forum. I listen to podcasts about recovery or self development each day.

Physically: I run or lift weights or do both every day. Sweating and pushing myself physically is a means to keep anxiety at bay. I am also a very physical person. Movement is healing for me. Physical exhaustion is a good thing. At times, I will need a breather from all of it and will take a few days off. Back at it as soon as I am feeling energized again.

Sleep and food: I make sure to get in bed at the same time every night. Whether I fall asleep or not is a different story. I eat regularly throughout the day. Keeping myself balanced. I am working towards 8 hours of sleep a night now.

When I get home from work or a long day, I take a bath with essential oils of some sort. This signifies to my brain that I am done for the day. I wash the day off and proceed to unwind and reflect on the days accomplishments. Its more of a ritual then anything else. Keeping myself safe. Hot water. Its a healer.

All of the above has kept me sober for almost two years now. Some days are easier than others, but I do think I have built a life that is structured and nurturing. It took me ten years or more to implement all of the above on a daily basis. Many relapses and many setbacks.


Structure makes for a happy and balanced Mizz.
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Old 07-25-2022, 10:20 AM
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I went from daily drinking to aperiodic bingeing.
Surely (my AV thought) it does not matter if I get drunk a couple of times a year. Or once a year. Or once every few years.
Surely (I learned) it does.
I cannot tell you what is different now, but it feels different now.
Was it waking up in the hospital after my last bender?
Was it years of counseling?
Was it building purposeful activities into my life?
I don't know.
Maybe it was all of the above and more.
The last time I detoxed I was on an airplane, feeling like I was gonna die. The woman across the aisle from me pulled out the AA Big Book and started reading it.
Was that a coincidence?
I don't know, but that was the last time I'll ever need to detox.
Be well, Hawk!
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Old 07-25-2022, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Hawkeye13 View Post
I rarely start threads but I have been thinking about my own history of serial relapse, and I’ve been seeing lots of relapses happening here on SR lately as well, so I thought some reflection on that might be useful. So many here have decades of healthy recovery, and that wisdom cannot be reprised and repeated too many times for those of us still on the learning curve.

I have very little problem with actually quitting, even for months or a year or more at at time, but the staying quit is the most important thing and has been the real struggle the past 20 years.

I have frequently made poor choices (like thinking I can moderate), or self-sabotaged (letting myself get in stressful situations without a safety plan), or thought I was sailing along and strong (“willpower” anyone?) which have led to relapse and yet another do-over.

The good news is I have actually learned much from these relapses and added many useful tools to my recovery toolbox as a result. Many here have too so I propose we consolidate and share some of our best
Here are my first three, but have many more to share after things get going. I look forward to reading some of yours. . .

1. Sobriety is not recovery. Just staying dry day by day via willpower will not add up to long term sobriety. We can wish as hard as we like but for most people, we need to break down our recovery into concrete, actionable smaller steps to be successful.

2. We do not need to know why we drank to get days, weeks, and months of early sobriety. In fact, we need to be sober for some time to level out emotionally and to clear our subjective feelings enough to meaningfully evaluate anything. Just put the bottle down first.

3. Don’t plan out everything, but what’s most needed early in in order of importance. What do you need to plan to get through the next minute, hour, week? Some basics might be clear your space of alcohol, sleep, nutrition, distraction activities, work triage, hygiene, etc. Recovery takes time and planning. You cannot jump ahead and expect to repair family relationships, finances, deferred cleaning / maintenance all in the first few weeks. Pick your battles and just get that first day, week, month. More can be added as you go. Just starting is a win. . .
I am with Anna, that is awesome advice dear Hawkeye. s ❤️❤️
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Old 07-25-2022, 01:27 PM
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4. For me, anxiety is going to happen. Seems to be a rather constant companion, but there you have it. It's fact. The beast would like to use that as an opportunity, using Addictive Voice to telepathically transmit its "Must drink now" directive. Naturally. It's good to recognize that my brain is just doing what my brain does. I don't have to like it - in fact I hate it. But whether I like it or not will not change the fact that anxiety happens and that the automatic cure my brain suggests is to drink it away.

5. It's important to have a person to turn to that I know will understand. The only person who can understand adequately at those times is another person who shares/has shared this addiction. Taking the step of reaching out is a threatening to the beast, which can make it extraordinarily difficult to do. But it works a whole lot better than, "I can handle this - I don't need anyone else." Sometimes simply sending an SOS is enough to get me past the almost-crisis point.

6. Repeat the mantra, "I Never drink Now."

7. Some days the only thing I can count as a success is Not drinking Now. And that is 100% a-ok by me
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Old 07-26-2022, 02:44 PM
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8. Eat ice cream

9. Make yourself available to other people who struggle with addiction, but be choosy. I befriended a woman years ago in IOP who struggles worse than even I did with relapse. I heard from her a couple of weeks ago; she'd been sober for an hour. When she slipped away, I knew where she went. She resurfaced today - called me from rehab, where she'd just been admitted. I really care about this woman and there is no reason to think I won't always be available to her, no matter how many times it takes. Having had many people who were quick to "take my inventory," I am honored to simply be here as a witness to her struggle whenever she wants me there. It's a way to pass along what precious others have given me. (Such as yourself, my dear Hawk.)
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