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Giving it another try.

Old 12-08-2010, 06:06 PM
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Giving it another try.

Hi. I haven't posted here in a really long time, but I check in quite a bit and read the posts. I've been drinking daily for almost 25 years with few breaks. The longest period of continuous sobriety in that time was 5 months. I was able to get about 3 weeks of continuous sobriety last summer. I'm in my mid 40's and it's really starting to take it's toll. This morning I called an outpatient treatment center and made an appointment to start a treatment plan. They said they are not strictly 12-step and are supportive of SMART Recovery. I've gone to a couple of SMART meetings in the past. I just checked the SMART website and there are found there are four meetings a week here in the city where I live.


I really am at a point where I know if I don't do something quick I am taking some serious years off of my life and am open to everything. I know the rules and will discuss my plans for incorporating non-SMART meetings in the Secular 12-step section. My appointment isn't until next Wednesday, but I felt like I was walking on air all day today because I was so excited that I finally took some action towards change. I asked the treatment center about their programing and they told me they don't take a one-size fits all approach. Some patients have programming every day, others once or twice a week. Some are involved in group therapy, others one-on-one and many are involved in both. I'm really looking forward to finding out more. And the best part, my insurance will cover almost all of it except for some co-pays. I feel so lucky I'm getting another chance. Thank you all for letting me post.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:35 PM
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Keep moving forward. Glad to hear that you are looking into different types of recovery. That's a start. Keep posting. We do recover.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:50 PM
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Welcome back Anthony V.

As SMART is a secular programme, it's actually on topic here in this forum, unless I missed a memo

D
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
Welcome back Anthony V.

As SMART is a secular programme, it's actually on topic here in this forum, unless I missed a memo

D
Thank you. Sorry if I was unclear in my earlier comments, I plan on focusing on SMART but am willing to keep an open mind and will consider AA, but from a secular point of view. If that ends up being part of my program I will discuss it in the Secular AA thread, but will discuss SMART here. But I'm excited to move forward on a secular focused program. I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself as my intake appointment isn't until next week.

Sober Recovery is a wonderful resource. Even in my heaviest of my drinking times I've come here to read the threads. I can always find inspiration from the people posting about their struggles and triumphs here.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:15 PM
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gotcha - I misread.

D
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:21 AM
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Hey Anthony, glad you are going to give it another shot. Wow, you are lucky both to have SMART meetings nearby and to have a treatment center like the one you have found.

I have been pushing to get my 12 step treatment counselor to accept smart as my recovery plan, and I''m meeting with some success, but it's ultimately not up to her. Right now the only meeting I have close to me is an hour away and one day a week. However, I'm attending the online meetings and using the tools and it's a great help.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:25 AM
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Welcome back Anthony. Good that you have a recovery plan and willing to take the necessary action to carry it out, is the only way to get well from addiction.

I primarily use SMART and CBT as my recovery plan along with my attendance to the meetings of a faith-based self-help group. I do this because there is only one group meeting a week at the health clinic I go to for F2F support. I think F2F support is important for anybody's recovery program, at least it is for my program.
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by profwebs View Post
Hey Anthony, glad you are going to give it another shot. Wow, you are lucky both to have SMART meetings nearby and to have a treatment center like the one you have found.
Thank you, I am so excited. I received my welcome letter from the treatment center today, the brochure describes the program as "evidence based" and it's associated with the UW Hospital. I was surprised to find so many SMART meetings in my area on the SMART recovery website, the last time I attended a few years ago there was only one so it's good to see that SMART is growing in my area. I also found on the website for the UW Hospital that they have done studies looking at the effectiveness of Buddhist type meditation in aiding sobriety. I do feel lucky to have these resources so near by.
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Zencat View Post
Welcome back Anthony. Good that you have a recovery plan and willing to take the necessary action to carry it out, is the only way to get well from addiction.

I primarily use SMART and CBT as my recovery plan along with my attendance to the meetings of a faith-based self-help group. I do this because there is only one group meeting a week at the health clinic I go to for F2F support. I think F2F support is important for anybody's recovery program, at least it is for my program.
Thank you. I should add that I'm a gay man and the faith-based meetings that I plan on attending are the local LGBT meetings so that I can stay connected to that community.

I'm still actively using but am trying to wean myself off so that I don't have to detox so hard. I'm trying to taper down from my average of 12-16 beers a night, more on the weekend.

The initial phone call I had with the treatment center said they have evening outpatient programing, so I'm not sure how that will work out with my work schedule but I already told my boss I will need to be flexible with my schedule in the upcoming weeks and months. Since I have seniority in my department, he was OK with that. I don't think I'm going to tell him why I will need that flex time.

I'm so appreciative of all of you reading and responding to my posts. I know that I will be turning to you all for advice and support as time goes by.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:20 PM
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Anthony, we have similar histories. After my relapse I went into an outpatient treatment program and it helped immensely. For the first month it was 3 hours, 3 nights a week. Hopefully, it is a good program and they encourage you to construct a support network outside of the treatment group. I also started going to meetings by the program which cannot be named, as SMART is not available in my town. Oh and a psychologist too. (After 30 years of drinkin' I was/am one sick mofo.)

Outside of the above referenced program, I can recommend the following books that have helped me. These books are not addiction specific: The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris (Sort of a westernized and pragmatic mindfulness approach to life); The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz (Think Castaneda without the peyote and making stuff up); The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success by Deepak Chopra (Yeah I know, he seems like a media sham, but that little book is pretty solid.)

All of the above is good, but honestly, making connections with other alcoholics was the most important thing for me. It made me realize that my problem was not drinking, it is my thinking, and my thinking was not unique. Once I started talking openly with other alcoholics, I found that others that are just as stubborn, dishonest, resentful, fearful, and feel just as out of place as I do. SR can help, but I needed face time too. At the risk of annoying D, I urge you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Good luck.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:03 PM
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Thank you for your kind words. I will take a closer look at the books you suggested and consider adding them to my reading list.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:44 AM
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I have been through both inpatient and outpatient programs. They really help when I go through early recovery. Then after a wile in recovery I can manage with a good addiction treatment plan along with meetings/groups.

The taper down plan sounds good. I suspect it may be difficult to do, but then most everything worthy of ones effort has some level difficulty to it. If tapering becomes impossible, a doctor supervised detox can work as a good option. I've gone through that type of detox, there are short term use prescription medications that help ease the discomfort.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Zencat View Post

The taper down plan sounds good. I suspect it may be difficult to do, but then most everything worthy of ones effort has some level difficulty to it. If tapering becomes impossible, a doctor supervised detox can work as a good option. I've gone through that type of detox, there are short term use prescription medications that help ease the discomfort.
My primary doctor is aware of my drinking and actually referred me to the treatment program where I will be enrolling. A few times in the past when I've attempted sobriety and refused to go to meetings and insisted on going it alone he gave me a few days prescription for lorazepam. He's also prescribed Campral and Naltrexone for me in the past. I will probably give him a call to let him know I'm entering the program so I'm sure would be willing to once again give me a few days prescription for the lorazepam to ease the transition.

Truthfully, I've tried the weaning many times and it really doesn't work too well. I can get down to about six beers a night but it's still uncomfortable. I'm trying to reduce, but I will probably need the lorazepam to completely transition to being alcohol free. The hardest part is doing this around the holidays. I thought about waiting until after, but at this point I think even waiting a few weeks is dangerous.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:06 PM
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Glad to hear you've accessed alternative recources;
....and mostly that you're determined to use them !?!

We're sooo, so limited out here in the boonies, but active participation here at SR has been a true lifeline to strong recovery for me the last 8 months.

Stay focused, you can do this; ....this time.


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Old 12-11-2010, 10:39 PM
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I have also read a lot about the benefits of using meditation in recovery....good luck!
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Old 12-14-2010, 04:14 PM
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Well, my intake appointment is tomorrow morning. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm ready.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:31 PM
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My intake meeting went well today. The counselor is going to work on my treatment plan, but also told me I should come up with my own proposed treatment plan. We meet again in a week. He was totally OK with the idea that I didn't want my recovery to center around AA and gave me a list of the four weekly SMART Recovery meetings in the area (that I had already looked up). The center is completely outpatient and has group therapy and individual counseling. I feel very comfortable and optimistic with this approach.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:44 PM
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I should come up with my own proposed treatment plan
That sounds like a good idea. Having a personalized treatment plan has worked best for me.
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:11 AM
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That sounds like a good idea. Having a personalized treatment plan has worked best for me.
So here is my rough outline of my proposed treatment plan. I'm going to be open to what my counselor suggests as far as group and individual sessions at the treatment center. There are four SMART meetings in my area (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday), I'm going to plan on attending the Monday & Wednesday meetings. There are also two LGBT AA meetings in my area on Saturday and Thursday which I also plan on attending. As I mentioned before, being a gay man I want to stay connected the LGBT community and I feel that will be a good way to do that.

I also need to start exercising again. I really have let myself go, I quit smoking four years ago and must have put on about 80lbs since then. There is a free fitness center at work and one of my coworkers works out just about every morning so I plan on asking her if I can join her in the mornings to be workout buddies. There are also free yoga classes that are offered at work, I think I should sign up for that once I get back into a steady routine.

The treatment center has done studies on the effectiveness of meditation in staying sober. I used to meditate daily and want to return to that practice. I will ask the treatment center for a referral to a mediation class and incorporate that in my recovery.

I also plan on going back to church. I used to go to one of the local Unitarian churches when I lived next door to it and plan on returning. I read in the local newspaper this summer that they have a new pastor and she is openly atheist, so I think I could get into a church community that is lead by an atheist.

I know diet is also important. I will focus on a diet that has a low glycemic index. I have always maintained taking a daily vitamin, dandelion and milk thistle to help my liver, I will definitely continue to take those.

Most importantly, I can not isolate myself. It's easy for me to do because most of my family is 250 miles away. But I've already started to tell some friends what is going on and so far they have been supportive.

Once I am stabilized in my recovery I will look at taking some evening classes. Work has a tuition reimbursement program, so I should take advantage of that as well. I might also look at taking fun courses, the local Whole Foods and the co-op has regular cooking classes, I've always wanted to sign up for those but my drinking got in the way.

When I write it all down, I realize how lucky I really am to have so many wonderful resources so easily accessible to me. I think it's important to have a holistic/balanced plan that focuses on mind, body and spirit.

Again, thank you all for letting me post and taking the time to read my ramblings.
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:19 PM
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Looks like you have good amount of changes going on. I think that's good tho. One thing addiction did to me was fill my time up with a bunch of unhealthy pursuits. So now I try to do things that support my recovery and keeping active in holistic growth works.
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