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Alternative Approaches - A different AA:-)

Old 07-27-2010, 05:37 AM
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Alternative Approaches - A different AA:-)

Okay, I know most of you seem to favor a scientific understanding towards dealing with recovery...and I'm all for that, I love knowing how alcohol effects our bodies, as has been said knowledge is power.

I wanted to share some of what I've learned in the past three years in my trying to get sober, but I didn't think it exactly fit in the "Science" thread.

So about three years ago, I finally acknowledged I couldn't just "STOP" and I was very uncomfortable with going to AA for many reasons which I won't get into here. Being the geek that I am, I decided to study up on the subject.

My first approach, was more in the self-help genre, reading books about mind over matter essentially. I think positive thinking can go a long way, but this wasn't enough to get me sober. Although I did have some 2-3 day sober stints in there.

My second approach was reading a book, "Seven Weeks to Sobriety". This book dealt with the bio-medical effects of alcohol and how it pertains to recovery. The premise is that alcoholics are malnourished and also physically inclined to have unbalanced body chemistry. The approach is to take a very heavy nutritional supplement regime to get everything back in order and that will, in large part, take care of the addiction. I tried it and made it to about 7 days. I just couldn't handle the amount of pills I was supposed to swallow.

My third approach was to talk to the only person I know who has 13+ years of recovery under his belt. C. used to be the lead singer in a hard rock band and he lived the life that went with it. He realized he was killing himself and decided to do something about it. I don't know much about his early recovery, but I know that he maintains sobriety by relying heavily on meditation and yoga. So I talked to him and did a lot of reading on different types of meditation. I tried the meditation approach and made it about 6 days...even though I didn't succeed with this approach I really like meditation:-) It also makes a lot of practical sense because meditation is essentially about controlling your thinking, if you control your thinking you can control your drinking.

My fourth approach was reading a book by Allan Carr, called "The Easy Way to Stop Drinking". You might be familiar with Carr for his incredibly successful "easy way to stop smoking" program. This book, takes the concepts for smoking and applies it to drinking. It's a little too involved to offer a synopsis of, but a lot of it deals with how society and culture essentially brainwash us as to how great alcohol is, and how impossible it is to quit if you are an alcoholic and then he offers an alternative viewpoint. He stresses that you don't need to white knuckle it or use massive will power to quit, I can honestly say I am not using any willpower to not drink right now, nor am I white knuckling it. I really liked this book, it's very empowering and kind of turns the whole alcohol thing on it's head. I made it 6 days on this approach.

So here I am on my fifth approach, and I can't put my finger on why it's working this time, except that I think it is a combination of all my previous approaches coming together right. I am thinking positively, meditating, doing a detox program and viewing alcohol as the poison it is instead of something I am depriving myself of.

I want to continue to read new and interesting approaches to dealing with this problem until I feel I have it beat (which I think is doable).

Hope you found this interesting and not just a waste of space...here's to Day 16!
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:55 AM
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You are trying scientific experimental study on yourself. You make yourself guinea-pig, don' t you? I would like to hear from your further study in the future. Anyway good try and thank you very much for your share. Congrats day 16!
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:44 AM
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Thanks Ninja...don't know that I would consider myself a guinea pig, I just don't think there is any one way to get sober, and I have been seeking the best way for myself.

Today I am going to start my excercise program as well:-)
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:54 AM
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LeFemme, great post! I can relate to your journey, mine has been similar. I have used WHATEVER methods and studies I could find. I keep the ones that work for me, and leave the ones that dont.,You are righ about knowledge is power. The more helpful knowledgd we can hold on to, the better off we will be
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
Thanks Ninja...don't know that I would consider myself a guinea pig, I just don't think there is any one way to get sober, and I have been seeking the best way for myself.

Today I am going to start my excercise program as well:-)
Great read LaFemme and congrats on 16! I know I'll see you in that fitness thread. Working out is great!
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:10 AM
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Hey Luckedog...which approaches have you found useful...I am always looking for new things to incorporate in my approach.

I am just getting back into excercising...I figured I didn't want to put my body into shock by going completely gung-ho all at once...thought it could use two weeks to adjust to no Tobacco or Alcohol:-)
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:10 PM
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Great post La Femme!

I can't add any experience because I never really tried to stop drinking before this... yea, cut back a tiny bit once in a while for short periods, but never actually stopped. Did try to become a weekend only drinker the week before I quit, but that was a disaster... made up for a Tuesday through Thursday not drinking and drank it all on the Friday! That was the weekend I quit. That was the first time I actually came to terms with the fact that I was powerless. That was the weekend I decided that I would die if I didn't stop.... so I did.

These past 6 months have not always been easy, but I think I am on the home stretch now. Taking care of my health problems, losing weight. I gained quite a bit between January when I quit smoking and since March when I quit drinking. I had such sugar urges, it was terrible. Over that now and eating well, not exercising, but trying to walk a lot.

I do meditate, I read and write in my journal. I consciously try to be a better person all around. Kinder to myself, to other people and the environment. Can't really call this a method, but it works for me!
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:20 PM
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I have not been here since September Ė it was a rugged winter and spring for me. As of today I am eight days in and feeling well. Right now, if I had a choice of never having a drink again, or going back to dependence on alcohol, I would choose never to have a drink again. Hey wait a minute, I do have that choice - Whew, I am so lucky.

I have been working with meditation and a self-hypnosis program for the past two years. During that time I might get a few days or a week of solace but I would always find an excuse to muck it up and climb back into the bottle. This time I feel calm and centered. I wonít be so cocky as to tell you that I have it all figured out. (Give me another week for that ) But I do feel meditation has been key in setting my intention. I think I am on pretty safe ground when I say quitting an addiction is not the hard part. The hard part is wanting too, on a day in day out basis. Mediation helps me with that aspect.

Hypnosis has been helpful too but in a different way. With meditation you look for insights to come forth. Hypnosis is more like programming a behavior. Things like forgetting to get a bottle on the way home, or remembering to eat a snack in the afternoon to keep your blood sugar up. Very behaviorist stuff, but it helps.

Besides the higher power bit, I found AA off-putting because of the disease model of addiction. I simply hated the idea of being broken; a dry drunk for the rest of my life. Since I have been failing at moderation for the past few years, perhaps the disease model has more merit that I thought. No worries, Iíll leave that debate for another time. Perhaps in a decade or so Iíll be that guy that can enjoy a glass of wine over sunset with my sweetie and never give it another thought. Right now I simply have no use for alcohol in my life.
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:57 PM
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LaFemme,
I started trying to do the AA thing last June. I live in a very small town and the only meetings were nearly 50 miles away. That proved to be a drawback after a time, so I dropped the meetings and tried to stay in contact through the SR site I had a 2 day relapse after 30 days. This went back and forth til around the first of the year.

I love the people on the SR website and enjoyed most of the AA meetings that I went to, however, there was something about the basic philosophy that my rational mind could not wrap itself around.(I've always been an independent thinker and believe highly in personal responsibility.) After several stumbles, I decided I was going to quit even if I had to do it all on my own. Then I found, the SMART website and began to use the tools they recommend in the "tool box" section of that site. (The basis of their program) This really began to work for me. However, I felt somewhat alienated from the friends I had met on SR. One study I found particularly helpful by Terrance Grosky is found at this link: Post Acute Withdrawl - Relapse Prevention Specialists - TLC The Living Center and an updated version is found at: Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) — Why we don’t get better immediately) Digital Dharma These have helped me a great deal to understand some of the physical and psychological changes my body was going through after I quit. This helps because instead of being surprised by the symptoms, I was ready to face them when they come.

I hope these will be helpful to you in your journey to recovery, I know they are to me. Wish you the best.

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Old 07-27-2010, 08:41 PM
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Thanks Lucke...will check them out tomorrow on a real computer..on phone right now.

Hmm, hypnosis...that could be interesting:-)
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:52 AM
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Had a thought his morning, one new aspect to this recovery is SR...thanks guys! I hadn't realize how much of a dirrence a community would make:-)

Goal.for this week...get to sleep earlier...I used to stay up late because I needed the time to get drunk, I got used to going to sleep at 1:00 or 2:00 am. Now I'm usually tired by 10:00 but have been staying up until midnight. Part is habit, part is tue mindset that I can't sleep without drinking, which I've learned is totally falsa:-)
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:17 AM
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LaFemme, Thank you for starting this discussion. I enjoyed reading about your various experiences. My own position is that I had to try everything I tried to get where I am today. In early sobriety I would hear things that didn't make sense to me, but I filed them away in the dark recesses of my mind....as a sort of reference for when the time came that I was ready. My own experience has been that it is all cumulative: So what if you didn't stay sober for eternity after reading the Carr book or once you started meditating? You are stocking your sobriety library, creating something that works for you. Once I made a decision to quit I remained quit--going on 22 years now. But that is rare, and it certainly does not mean I had "better" recovery than others. I have observed many, many people who slip & slide for a while. It is said that most do. The trick is learning from the experiences. I would say that there has been value in all these approaches you are trying, but it might not be clear until later.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:41 AM
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This is hopefully my first and only grasp at the sobriety life ring. At day 25, things are going pretty good.

My drinking had been almost imperceptibly increasing for 34 years, from once a weekend in high school, to 5 or 6 days a week in the last couple months. About a year ago I recognized the drinking was getting out of hand and was adversely effecting my life and my relationships in my family, but that wasn't enough to stop me. It was then I started reading about the negative health consequences of alcoholism, but that wasn't enough to stop me either.

It was only when I read about how alcohol changes the brain, and about PAWS did I have the big AHA! moment. This explained why I kept drinking despite all the negative consequences, why I would continue to increase my alcohol consumption in the future, and gave me a heads up as to how my brain was going to try to trick me into drinking again once I did try quitting.

I give full credit to the years and years and dozens of attempts it took me to quit cigarettes 10 years ago. That experience was horrible. It let me know just how brutal and devious the brain can be when something it's used to getting is taken away, and just how long it can take to reach some semblance of normalcy or balance again.

I think SR is just as vital as my quitting cigarettes experience. The small town in which I live has few choices when it comes to recovery groups, so this website allows me to share my thoughts and to learn from both those who are successful, and from those that learn from their relapses as well.

Some of us need to find our unique Alternative Approach to sobriety, because we're just wired that way or may have unique world views that don't fit well within other more formally organized recovery groups methods. Nothing wrong with thinking outside the box

Murray
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:51 AM
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Wow Murrill...22 years!!! That's awesome:-) I wholeheartedly agree with the cumulative path to figuring things out...and just because I am sober right now does not mean I don't need to keep learning!

Murray, anyone who knows me will definitely concur that my brain is wired "differently" something I've mostly liked about myself...I can visit the "box" but I definitely can't live in it...which actually, come to think of it, might be one of the reasons I liked drinking in the early days...I felt so different from everyone, and drinking helped me fit in, especially when I was vulnerable and just starting college after being something of a misfit in HS:-( Then ultimately when it got out of hand it stopped helping me fit in. Point being, I have no desire to fit in anymore, in recovery and in life, just going to be myself.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:03 AM
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Hi LF,

Did I read in another post that you're an artist? (Something about a bad dream about putting up a solo exhibit that you weren't prepared for?) Being an artist may explain your individualistic streak...it sure explains mine

Drinking left me just barely good enough for my day job that pays the bills, with a bit of energy left over for the bare minimum family wise, and absolutely nothing left over for producing anything artistic. Can't wait for those juices to start flowing again!!!!!!

How about you?

Murray
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:05 AM
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Hey Murray, you remember correctly:-) Are you a photographer, your avatar is gorgeous. I am a painter, and drinking sucked my desire to paint right out of me these past three years...up until then I was able to keep painting.

Ironically, there is a stereotype of the tragic, alcoholic or crazy artist (think Van Gogh) which is actually at complete crossroads as to the reality of a working artist. If you read the history of artist lives, most were incredibly grounded (the ones I am friends with who are making it are pretty sober people). But having gone to art school in NYC, i think there are a number of people who are messed up to begin with who are drawn to the arts because of this stereotype.

I have started to paint again these past few weeks, but couldn't this weekend because I was at the parents...my Avatar is one of my paintings:-)
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
...anyone who knows me will definitely concur that my brain is wired "differently" something I've mostly liked about myself...I can visit the "box" but I definitely can't live in it...which actually, come to think of it, might be one of the reasons I liked drinking in the early days...I felt so different from everyone, and drinking helped me fit in, especially when I was vulnerable and just starting college after being something of a misfit in HS:-( Then ultimately when it got out of hand it stopped helping me fit in. Point being, I have no desire to fit in anymore, in recovery and in life, just going to be myself.
LaFemme, I think a lot of us can relate to feeling "different". I am not an "artist", but I am a bit idiosyncratic. I grew up thinking something was very, very wrong with me. My first swallow of alcohol fixed that...for a little while. Of course, it later turned on me as I continued to seek that elusive feeling I had in the beginning. Today I have learned to embrace my uniqueness. It is so much more interesting. Many people have told me that they wish they had the courage I have--to be true to myself, to dare shun society's expectations. My sole regret is that I didn't learn to do it sooner...you know, if I had known then what I know now!
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
...I am a painter, and drinking sucked my desire to paint right out of me these past three years...up until then I was able to keep painting.
I was a liquored up weeded out speed freak when I was doing my outsider art thing. No real training except for masses of community collage art classes. I have only begun to do some art here and there.

Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
Ironically, there is a stereotype of the tragic, alcoholic or crazy artist (think Van Gogh) which is actually at complete crossroads as to the reality of a working artist. If you read the history of artist lives, most were incredibly grounded (the ones I am friends with who are making it are pretty sober people). But having gone to art school in NYC, i think there are a number of people who are messed up to begin with who are drawn to the arts because of this stereotype.
Yep that was me. Counter culture artsy fartsy type loaded out of my better behavior ready to offend everybody and everyone. Well I can still be a crazy and crafty artologist type without the dope. Art is a great medium for addiction recovery insights.
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:04 PM
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Hi LF,

Funny how they call it a dry spell if an artist isn't producing new work, eh? I was anything but dry. Three years for you? Ouch. I've been darkroomless for two years now, and the camera has been out of the bag only a couple times in those two years. Ouch for me too.

Murrill should offer sobriety retreats, don't you think? I could use some of whatever's going on there!

Murray
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:29 PM
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Hey Murray, I did some painting in that time period but lost my discipline, which I consider the most important thing an artist can be. I saw you work in 4x5 format...I am impressed!

Zencat, my friend who is a recobering alcoholic does the trippiest art, you would swear he was on drugs, maybe its cause he uses his art as therapy.

Murril, if you do a retreat...sign me up:-)
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