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Living in the Present

Old 07-07-2011, 01:03 PM
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Living in the Present

Managing my emotions during my sobriety has been amazingly much simpler than I'd anticipated. I can't stress just how much staying focused on the here and now has kept me from extreme emotional ups and downs. And I have a history of emotional roller coaster rides something as benign as a song on the radio used to send me into a tailspin. Either my personality has changed over the past few years, organically... Or it's a huge difference that sobriety is making alone... Or perhaps I've picked up a few life skills along the way??

Regardless the reason... Staying focused in the present moment is helping in a major way.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:44 PM
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Not to rain on your parade, but that can be a blessing or a curse. If you think "oh, it was easy last time, I can go back to drinking, and I can always quit again, it will be easy."

WRONG !!!

Next time will be worse.

That said, I'm glad it has not been too difficult for you. You were lucky in that respect. Make the most of it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:06 PM
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Yes, I understand what you're getting at AVRT. I do believe that I will never let myself fall for that trick though. The tests haven't happened yet, but I've gone over in my mind scenarios further down the road. After the heartache I've been through with my mom and of my own doing, I just want to always carry that "danger" sign with me, consciously and even subconsciously.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:17 PM
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Good for you! I know what you mean about just a song sending you into a tailspin. I'd fuel the emotions and let them become obsessive. I'm noticing that it's getting easier to have thoughts and emotions without riding the roller coaster. Today, I saw beers at a restaurant and had a fleeting fond memory but then replaced it with "looks so innocent but it's deadly". It happened almost automatically. Maybe because I was present.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:37 AM
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I'm a big fan of the present moment!

If you haven't read Eckhart Tolle's superb book - "The Power Of Now" or "A New Earth" I would highly recommend them.

It is much easier to remain present for longer and longer periods of time when we aren't in the grips of alcohol or it's evil twin "The Hangover".
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by AVRT View Post
...If you think "oh, it was easy last time, I can go back to drinking, and I can always quit again, it will be easy."
In my case, sobriety is now almost effortless, because I now realize not drinking has nothing to do with why I am sober today. My sobriety is a by-product of staying spiritually fit.

However, getting spiritually fit in the first was was not easy. In fact, it was down-right impossible. I had to detach from the idea that I could somehow achieve it using diligence, tenacity or assertiveness.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Boleo View Post
However, getting spiritually fit in the first was was not easy. In fact, it was down-right impossible. I had to detach from the idea that I could somehow achieve it using diligence, tenacity or assertiveness.
And I would say that, for me, it's not spiritual at all (of course, I don't believe in spirits and such). One (or perhaps, I) MUST be tenacious, diligent, and assertive in situations where temptation arises or it isn't possible to mentally get to the place where it's not really a problem anymore.

Every once in a while I look back fondly at my drinking and drugging days. But mostly, when I get kind of nostalgic like that, I realize what I miss isn't booze and drugs. I miss the friends, the parties, being carefree and selfish and having no responsibilities (or ignoring them). It seems like how most people look back fondly at high school, but I took on a lot of responsibility in high school and didn't hit that carefree rebellious stage until I was about 25. But, as with high school, I wouldn't want to re-live it.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tippingpoint View Post
I'm a big fan of the present moment!

If you haven't read Eckhart Tolle's superb book - "The Power Of Now" or "A New Earth" I would highly recommend them.

It is much easier to remain present for longer and longer periods of time when we aren't in the grips of alcohol or it's evil twin "The Hangover".
TP... it's sad, but I read both those books while drinking heavily. I even took a day off work to finish one... drinking wine in my backyard. I would laugh but it's rather pathetic... I do remember thinking he brilliantly expressed some ideas and concepts that weren't all original, but I loved the way he connected some things and expressed them... I'll probably read them over again.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:41 PM
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Gneiss... I very much relate to that! Especially the "carefree" stage in the early to mid 20's.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Boleo View Post
In my case, sobriety is now almost effortless, because I now realize not drinking has nothing to do with why I am sober today. My sobriety is a by-product of staying spiritually fit.
It is pretty effortless for me too, now. Absolutely nothing like those first three or four months after I quit - that was just horrific. Non-stop cravings. Addictive desire was once my higher power, a thundering deity, but now it is a minor, occasional annoyance, easier to swat than a mosquito. I suppose you could say that my abstinence is a result of ignoring and dissociating from any thoughts or ideas that suggest the possible future use of alcohol or other hedonic drugs, ever, regardless of the source. It eventually became automatic, and like working a muscle, it gets stronger, and easier each time I do it.

For example, when I read your statement that "sobriety is a by-product of staying spiritually fit," I automatically and reflexively translated that to mean that if someone didn't stay spiritually fit for some reason, then their sobriety would be shot. That is, by definition, suggesting the possible future use of alcohol under certain conditions; in this case, not being spiritually fit. I could interpret that as "well, maybe I'm not spiritually fit, and according to Boleo, if one isn't spiritually fit, one can drink...hmm... when's the last time I prayed? I can't remember... maybe he's on to something, here and I should go straight to the liquor store."

Instead, I recognize that for what it is - a suggestion of possible drinking, and immediately dissociate from that idea. It provides a perfect mental defense for me, both against my own ideas and against the ideas of a drinking society around me. I don't have to worry about commercials, advertisements, temptation, triggers, or any of that stuff. I can go to any bar, any party, have alcohol in my house (and I do), watch others drink, etc, and know that I will never drink. Not now, or ever.

The only downside to this reflex comes when I am on recovery forums. I can literally read people's addictive voice - suggestions of possible future drinking/using under certain conditions - in their posts. Recovery forums do, however, provide endless and limitless practice for me, almost like boot camp on steroids for AVRT. :-)
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:58 AM
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Lots of food for thought there, AVRT. I'm replying later... I'm lazy reading from my iPhone right now... Still waking up
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SoberJennie View Post
... I do remember thinking he brilliantly expressed some ideas and concepts that weren't all original, but I loved the way he connected some things and expressed them... I'll probably read them over again.
You are right. Tolle borrowed a lot of it from Meister Eckhart (he even borrowed his name). Not that that is a bad thing:

Every good artist steal's a little bit from other artist's.
Great artist's steal a lot from other artist's.
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AVRT View Post
I
...when I read your statement that "sobriety is a by-product of staying spiritually fit," I automatically and reflexively translated that to mean that if someone didn't stay spiritually fit for some reason, then their sobriety would be shot. That is, by definition, suggesting the possible future use of alcohol under certain conditions; in this case, not being spiritually fit. I could interpret that as "well, maybe I'm not spiritually fit, and according to Boleo, if one isn't spiritually fit, one can drink...hmm... when's the last time I prayed? I can't remember... maybe he's on to something, here and I should go straight to the liquor store."
"Sought after virtue is not true virtue".
- Lao Tzu

When I say sobriety is a by-product of being spiritually fit, I am saying that sobriety is an ancillary virtue. When I sought after it directly, I felt like I was walking a tightrope one-arduous-day-at-a-time. Which in fact, was exactly what it turned out to be - dangerous and unreliable.

The only virtue I need to stay spiritually fit, the only principle I need to follow on a daily basis, the only target I need to aim at today is Detachment (as described by Eckhart Tolle & Meister Eckhart).

Think about it, when you say "I recognize that for what it is - a suggestion of possible drinking, and immediately dissociate from that idea", are you not talking about the same thing - Detachment?
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Boleo View Post
"Sought after virtue is not true virtue".
- Lao Tzu

When I say sobriety is a by-product of being spiritually fit, I am saying that sobriety is an ancillary virtue. When I sought after it directly, I felt like I was walking a tightrope one-arduous-day-at-a-time. Which in fact, was exactly what it turned out to be - dangerous and unreliable.
Yes, I know what you meant, but I thought it was a good opportunity to illustrate how much of the wisdom in the rooms can be "twisted" by one's addictive voice to justify more drinking. For example, the old "meeting makers make it" can be interpreted (by one's addictive voice/"my alcoholic"/whatever) as "aha! so those who don't go to meetings DON'T make it - they drink again!" Next thing you know, "my alcoholic" is thinking "Wait a second, I haven't gone to meetings in a few weeks, time to drink!!! and before long it's running for touchdown at the local liquor store carryout."

Originally Posted by Boleo View Post
The only virtue I need to stay spiritually fit, the only principle I need to follow on a daily basis, the only target I need to aim at today is Detachment (as described by Eckhart Tolle & Meister Eckhart).

Think about it, when you say "I recognize that for what it is - a suggestion of possible drinking, and immediately dissociate from that idea", are you not talking about the same thing - Detachment?
Oh, I believe that you are probably correct, and I have long suspected that although our techniques are different, that at a fundamental level, the "old timers" in AA are using a very similar means towards the same end. They just don't tell the newcomers what is going on, possibly because unlike you, they don't recognize it for what it is, or they can't quite put it into words. Two sides of the same coin, so to speak.

To be honest, the end result is the same, as it does not feel like "white knuckling" to me when I dissociate from the Addictive Voice, since I don't debate, argue, or fight against it. I imagine the feeling is very similar to what you feel having "ceased fighting... alcohol" - it really does feel like "as though... placed in a position of neutrality."
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:04 PM
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Nice parallels (corelation), Boleo & AVRT: Dissassociation from the addictive voice & detachment.

And AVRT... I think I must doing exactly the same thing intuitively... disassociating from the addictive voice, that is. OR detaching... whatever you call it.

I was going to post a long complicated reply... LOL. But really, that about sums it up. I must be intuitively disassociating from my addictive voice. And I have no cravings really. Just those split second flashes sometimes of the smell, taste or image of wine.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by AVRT
The only downside to this reflex comes when I am on recovery forums. I can literally read people's addictive voice - suggestions of possible future drinking/using under certain conditions - in their posts. Recovery forums do, however, provide endless and limitless practice for me, almost like boot camp on steroids for AVRT. :-)
Ah... same here!!! I've noticed the urges when I'm reading posts... moreso than at any other time during the day! Wow. Well, it makes sense.
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SoberJennie View Post
Nice parallels (corelation), Boleo & AVRT: Dissassociation from the addictive voice & detachment.

And AVRT... I think I must doing exactly the same thing intuitively... disassociating from the addictive voice, that is. OR detaching... whatever you call it.

I was going to post a long complicated reply... LOL. But really, that about sums it up. I must be intuitively disassociating from my addictive voice. And I have no cravings really. Just those split second flashes sometimes of the smell, taste or image of wine.
That could certainly be the case, as Trimpey did not "invent" AVRT. He claims it was taught to him by hundreds of people who also quit on their own. In effect, he was astute enough to catch on to how others quit on their own, and wrote down the instructions, but people have been using a similar method for ages.
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