Do you see recovery as a "fight" against alcoholism?

Old 12-08-2022, 04:26 PM
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Lightbulb Do you see recovery as a "fight" against alcoholism?

Hi guys,

I'm approaching the end of a 12 week, intense rehab programme. It's 108 sessions in total.

One of the main stumbling blocks I've encountered, according to the experts, is that I I've always viewed my recovery as a fight against alcoholism, rather than a positive life choice that I've consciously made. It's taken me a hell of a long time to understand this and TBH it's a lightbulb moment in my recovery. Up until recently I've "white knuckled" through loads of days. My key worker has said it's impossible to make it with this mindset. Instead we've been focusing on the fact that it's a positive life choice I've made and everyday I choose not to drink because of the benefits. it isn't a fight but a positive decision.. Fighting is negative, choice is positive

Nobody can fight everyday without becoming exhausted and when one's worn out with the plight, that's when it strikes ,resulting in relapse.

Please let me know your thoughts. I've found this incredibly helpful.
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Old 12-08-2022, 04:35 PM
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Like I said in the other thread Kes, It takes time I think - I went from fighting to not drink, to being happy I didn't drink.
I prefer my sober life and there are no conditions that would drag me back to drinking.

No fight because I have what I want.
where are you on the scale do you think?

I agree with the idea that fighting all the time can left you weak and vulnerable, but others have used the fight analogy for years, and have not wavered or 'gotten tired'.

Fair play to those hard folks but I don't know how to do that.

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Old 12-08-2022, 04:44 PM
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Once I became honest with myself and accepted the fact that I cannot drink anymore the fight was over. Without constantly having to battle Old Demon alcohol my opponent has left the arena and I have time to work on better endeavors.

I desire a wholesome life more than I desire a nasty drink of booze.
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Old 12-08-2022, 05:24 PM
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When I was early in recovery I was fighting to not drink, it was very much an antagonistic endeavor. But after I was about six months in, I was feeling some of the positives of sobriety and was more inclined to view it as a positive healthy lifestyle change/choice.

I think what helped me a lot was that when I was about three months sober, I wasn't "feeling it" and posted that. I don't remember who suggested it, probably CarolD and/or RustyZipper, but they told me to start practicing gratitude every day. Each day I had to think of at least one thing I was grateful for. At first it was hard, cause I was depressed and unsure and didn't see anything good in my life to be thankful for. But I persisted and it became easier to find things to be grateful for. Now I am constantly grateful for so many people and things. . I keep an Attitude of Gratitude and it gets me thru the rough times. . It's what got me thru the last year and a half with all my illnesses, but the two things I have that keep me sane are my sobriety and my gratitude.
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Old 12-08-2022, 05:33 PM
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Alcohol has become a non-event for me. It has absolutely nothing I want, so there is no fight, virtually no recognition of its existence, no time spent thinking about it, etc.
It is like I don't fight everyday to not book an airline flight to Detroit. It has no appeal to me, so the thought never comes up.
I don't fight everyday to not keep up on what is going on with the Kardashians. No appeal, etc.
Sobriety is a positive. I prefer to focus my time and energy on positives. You reap what you sow.
Alcohol is negative...etc.

A young boy came to his Grandfather, filled with anger at another boy who had done him an injustice.
The old Grandfather said to his grandson, "Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that
have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and hate does not hurt your enemy.
Hate is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.
I have struggled with these feelings many times." "It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one wolf is good and
does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offence when no offence was intended.
He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper." "He fights everyone,
all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,
because his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, because both of the wolves try to dominate my spirit."
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which wolf will win, Grandfather?"
The Grandfather smiled and said, "The one I feed."
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Old 12-08-2022, 05:41 PM
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For me, it was definitely a fight against alcoholism for the first few months. And, then, it wasn't anymore. I began to feel good about myself and my life for the first time in a long time and I wanted to continue on that path.
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Old 12-08-2022, 06:01 PM
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I think its learning how to live life on life's terms.

When things don't go my way what's the next right move?

There can be a brief period of serenity between that first drink and oblivion/disaster. I think many of us crave this serenity so bad that we disregard the consequences. In our minds we far overstate how long the serenity from a few drinks will last. And we far understate the consequences. The long term trend from drinking is less and less serenity, more and more misery.

I think that's why many with long term sobriety have some kind of religion, spirituality, meditation, some kind of peace with God or Nature or whatever you want to call it. An ability to not take things too seriously.

Exercise as well. This provides a natural sort of chemical reaction that delivers an immediate feeling of serenity.
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Old 12-08-2022, 11:22 PM
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Yes, I have found I have had to fight hard against relapse especially in times of stress. As the years pass it gets easier but I would be lying if I said I don't think about it.

That said my situation isn't typical. I struggle with mental health, live alone and don't have any support in my life so things get tough.

Basically I am not a good example but I am sober despite my difficulties
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:20 AM
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Isn’t it like having a short and long term target? The much-maligned white knuckling is inevitable at first. We can make plans for the future, which is great, but withdrawals and cravings are going to happen, and willpower and white knuckling will be required to get through the early days. Alongside this, we can start to plan ahead too.

I’m not sure it’s impossible as your key worker said, Kes. You do need to deal with the nitty gritty day by day feelings too as well as the longer-term stuff.
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Old 12-09-2022, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by kes2 View Post
One of the main stumbling blocks I've encountered, according to the experts, is that I I've always viewed my recovery as a fight against alcoholism, rather than a positive life choice that I've consciously made. It's taken me a hell of a long time to understand this and TBH it's a lightbulb moment in my recovery. Up until recently I've "white knuckled" through loads of days. My key worker has said it's impossible to make it with this mindset.
I've actually wondered about this as I've watched some continue to struggle, while others seem to embrace recovery. In some ways, I agree with your key worker, well, somewhat maybe. I don't know if it's impossible to to recover with that mindset, but it's seems like half-recovery, or maybe a transitional phase. I knew a couple of guys with years of sobriety that said it was still a struggle. I don't know if they were sincere, but neither of them seemed at all happy in their lives. I used to wonder if they really wanted to quit.

In a way, it seems like it's easy to get trapped into the struggling (fighting) mindset, because before recovery ever began for me, it was a struggle for years that became a habitual response to my problem, with me in a constant fight, not a fight with recovery so much but fighting with alcohol. There were many loosing battles that came to a head during the insane craving of the first couple of weeks of recovery, until I finally made it through, and then my mindset changed to a positive almost love affair like relationship with recovery. And then rather than a fight, it became more like a dance as I was learning moves, correcting errors, practicing.

I didn't say, "OK, now I'm going to change my mindset." It just happened as I got a taste of the joy of being free and sensed my own commitment and desire to embrace this new life. God knows, I would hate to still be fighting in recovery. That would not be an emotionally healthy state for me. I've had enough negativity in my life to continue nurturing that.

I don't know. If you can just will a change in that mindset, I would just say, "Do it, as soon as you can." For me it was a natural transition. It was also a surprise. One thing occurs to me as I think about it. Watch for it. Don't let the opportunity to embrace recovery slip by without noticing it. Don't let negativity just remain as a habitual response to life. This would be much like learning gratitude. We need to be paying attention.
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Old 12-09-2022, 04:56 AM
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You have expressed an excellent point. I find myself at 68 days in that transition phase from fighting to embracing sobriety. I was sober 10 years approximately 20 years ago and remember that making sobriety the priority was what kept me there. I couldnít tell you what the reason was I started drinking again and I guess it doesnít matter. This time is very different due to my advanced age. I know there are not many, if any, more reboots before the hard drive dies in this computer. Thus I am trying to embrace and be grateful for all I have and not get too stressed about daily problems. Thanks to everyone here for the support and sharing. It means a lot.
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Old 12-09-2022, 05:42 AM
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I saw it more as trying to escape an axe murderer. I was in flight mode and not fight. To be fair getting my butt handed to me by cravings did feel like a battle at times. A comparison would be getting "jumped out" when trying to leave a gang. Once I fully accepted that my drinking days were behind me it got easier.
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Old 12-09-2022, 05:46 AM
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I think everyone has to fight at the beginning, because it is a fight, I was terrified of going back to the pits of despair. At some point it all changed and for me it wasn’t a lightbulb moment, but I started to see the benefits to my life, health and wealth. logically it made sense and I started celebrating the fact I don’t drink. What I got/get from The people on this board is the confidence that all is possible and the decision to quit absolutely turns your life around.

fear started me on this journey but happiness is definitely keeping me on it.

Embrace if you can Kes, it’s a lot easier then fighting it.
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Old 12-09-2022, 06:10 AM
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Great discussion.

Many of us here refer to our "journey" because that's exactly what it is. A turn onto a different road. No longer living the life of an alcoholic.

At least for me, there was never going to be any chance of sobriety until I began to release the death grip I had on those anxieties, stresses, resentments, fears, etc.

Triggers are dealt with and broken down by refusing to follow the same old failed pattern of drinking. Each day-week-month brings a new level sobriety, a clearer understanding of at least some things, and a refocus on goals.

As you begin to see passed that daily drinking mentality, you can begin to better articulate the reasons you developed a dependency on alcohol in the first place, then your journey goes from the beginner slope to the intermediate slope.

You can begin to focus on the positive emotions and break down the causes of the negative emotions.

The first step is to realize that you are truly done with throwing your life in the trash can by drinking it away.
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Old 12-09-2022, 06:52 AM
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Originally, I felt a great deal of shame for my situation, and I DID want a better life. I knew that abstinence was the answer, but I certainly felt a bit overwhelmed at the idea of making the RIGHT choice hundreds of times a day everyday. FOREVER. Canít fail. Canít falter. Must fight.

I WANTED sobriety, but I was still afraid. When my fear started to resolve, so did my resolve. And I slipped because I got complacent and tired of fighting.

But that slip (and certainly my previous months of reading and meetings and Steps) allowed me to DRAMATICALLY and instantly see the error in my approach.

Sobriety is my natural state. I will not alter my spirit in pursuit of false peace.

I will earnestly seek true growth and peace now. It may not always be easy, but I no longer feel that I must fight.
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Old 12-09-2022, 08:39 AM
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Thanks guys for your words of wisdom and experience. It's so helpful for me to build on your expertise, like standing on the shoulders of giants.

DriG - I think you've hit the nail bang on the head when you said it was something that happened, a "Natural transition..! I think it would have happened for me but it helped when it was pointed out by my keyworker/rehab team. This kind of speeded up the process making it more revolutionary than evolutionary, if that makes sense?

Dee, to answer your question on where am I on the scale. I've accepted it isn't a fight because if I was to fight everyday for the rest of my life then I would be so low emotionally and exhausted that there wouldn't be a point in me being here., therefore acceptance and surrender are massive to me. A lecture by Bob D from AA entitled surrender helped me out as does all the great feedback on SR. I will no longer view it as fighting but a conscious positive turning point in my journey.

Thanks guys - you're all great -so knowledgeable and helpful!! I'm lucky
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Old 12-09-2022, 09:21 AM
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At 7 months sober now, my fight is against self will and acceptance of things I cannot control
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Old 12-09-2022, 12:15 PM
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As someone who has endured my fair share of adversity in life, in a way I'm always "ready for a fight." I have a mild form of PTSD from the things I've been through and, despite having the most positive outlook about my future that I've had in many years, there's still that part of me that is just waiting for things to go bad again. So I don't feel like I'm fighting every day, but there's definitely a part of me that sees life as a kind of ongoing war to be fought. There are times of peace, but there will come times when I must be ready to go to battle.

I feel as secure in my sobriety as I've ever felt at 10 months, but I still get those random, out-of-nowhere AV strikes. And I remind myself every day that I must be ready for them. So I view sobriety (for now at least) as needing to stay several steps ahead of my enemy at all times. I need to remain vigilant, stay prepared, think strategically, and at times improvise on the spot in order to prevent my addiction from ever getting the upper hand again.

Although I doubt that I will use this mindset long-term, for now it works for me. I don't find it tiresome or exhausting, and it has kept me sober for longer than I have ever been able to before.

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Old 12-09-2022, 02:14 PM
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Old 12-09-2022, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kes2 View Post
One of the main stumbling blocks I've encountered, according to the experts, is that I I've always viewed my recovery as a fight against alcoholism, rather than a positive life choice that I've consciously made. It's taken me a hell of a long time to understand this and TBH it's a lightbulb moment in my recovery. Up until recently I've "white knuckled" through loads of days. My key worker has said it's impossible to make it with this mindset. Instead we've been focusing on the fact that it's a positive life choice I've made and everyday I choose not to drink because of the benefits. it isn't a fight but a positive decision.. Fighting is negative, choice is positive.
I agree that white knuckling it is probably not going to work for the vast majority of alcoholics. The problem for me was it didn't encourage me to change my thought processes so I could become at peace with not drinking. It took me switching from 'I have to stop' to 'I want to stop'. My words are different than yours, I didn't think about fighting it, but I think the concept is basically the same.

It wasn't easy to learn how to do it, changing how we think about anything is hard specially this, but it was very worth it for me.

All the best Kes!
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