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On the subject of Bars/Pubs, Nightlife, Live Music

Old 02-16-2012, 08:47 PM
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On the subject of Bars/Pubs, Nightlife, Live Music

The bars/nightclubs thing is huge for me... I live in NYC, I am in my 20s, and nightlife has been a major factor in my initial recreational drinking and substance use, in my crossing the line into abuse/dependence, and then in my backsliding after periods of sobriety in the past.

I am at 6 months sober (again) now, BUT the temptation / addictive voice is returning...

"it will be different this time"
"just go out and drink and dance for one night"
"you finally have your sh*t together so you can really enjoy it"

I am pretty good at confronting this reptilian-cortex-talk with the reality that drinking has not worked out for me in the past decade.

But what is not so easy to disarm is the temptation to go out and dance and hear music sober at a nightclub... Because I don't know whether it is more irrational to hide in my apartment when I know I would have fun if I can go out and hear a DJ, dance, and remain sober...

Or on the other hand, is it more irrational to risk going out at all into an environment that is heavily associated for me with drinking and using stimuli, where I may be more susceptible to temptation. The old adage of people places and things has some sense, but on the other hand I refuse to be a hermit.

Should I keep staying in weekends? Or is it irrational to hide from something I love, live music in a social setting, because I am afraid I will lose my willpower?

Third option is I could just wait until I have been sober for a longer period of time, maybe a year or 2, before I venture into a nightlife setting, that might be the sanest approach... but patience is not my strong suit.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:17 AM
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Going to bars with live bands, etc. was also one of my favorite things. Personally, there's no way I could go to a place like that anytime soon and stay sober. If the live music is something that you really enjoy when your sober, try finding an outdoor concert. Maybe if your outside with really long beer lines to wait in (and their always long lines) you will not drink. I'll bet most of the people you see in these clubs wish they had your strength to not drink and or use.
If you feel that you will not be strong enough to say no to yourself, then it's probably a good sign not to go. I know there's no way I can go inside any bar right now to listen to music. My sobriety is much more important.
Stay strong and stay clean
Scott
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:15 AM
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Welcome nycguy83 to SR and especially to the Secular Connections Forum. Also congrats on your clean time!

It might be helpful to go clubbing with someone that has long time sobriety/clean time. That way you'll have someone to talk you down if your tempted to use.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:53 AM
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NYCGuy,

I'm on my cell phone, so I can't type as much as I normally could, but consider that your Addictive Voice is not actually an irrational belief that can be disputed.

That said, what is happening here is that your AV is playing both sides of the argument. On the one hand, it says "go out and drink," but on the other hand, it says, "don't hang around slippery places, because you'll be miserable w/o drinking and you will drink."

Can you see that it has you going in circles, suggesting a drink while also undermining your confidence by keeping you running scared?

In reality, though, The Beast will be very bored and anxious in a 'slippery place' without drinking, which is why it doesn't want you hanging around such places if you won't drink. This is why it is trying to make you believe that *you* will be anxious for a drink.

If you want to learn more about how to neutralize that sucker, so that you don't have to be scared and hide out in your apartment, check out the AVRT threads.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:37 AM
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I love live music, dancing, darts, pool, etc. I do all these things without drinking. I don't drink but jeez I'm not dead...I enjoy life and go where ever I please. As far as a "slippery place" I've always laughed at that...if I wanted to get drunk then *anywhere I am* is a slippery place. There's a store on every corner.

There is nothing that would make me want to put alcohol in my body ever again.
and no place I could go that would "trigger" such a desire.

Be clear on identifying your AV, as TU suggested.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:04 PM
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Thank you all for the responses, food for thought.

Yes Terminally, that is a good point, that the addictive voice is not as simple as an irrational belief that can be disputed.

On the other hand, if our conscious, cerebral-cortex selves is what we are, then in a sense all we can do is strive to subdue our instinctive voice when what it cries out for will destroy us...

Of course this isn't always as easy as it sounds.

I noticed the RR method claims we are in complete control over our bodies, that the addictive voice cannot control our muscles.

That sounds nice but unfortunately is not true... many muscular responses completely circumvent awareness or consciousness and originate in the primitive brain areas as opposed to the cerebral cortex... reflexes, fight or flight response, autonomic nervous system...

I get the point that personal responsibility and empowerment is a much healthier philosophy than is personal powerlessness, but I suppose the reality is a bit more complex than 100% free-will or 100% determinism.

As far as nightclubs, Scottneedspeace, I don't think I will stay away forever. I tend to agree with soberlicious. Behavioral psychology tell us that the cure for a phobia or a stimuli that provokes a visceral response (such as a nightclub causing us to think of alcohol) is exposure which over time leads us to become desensitized to the stimuli, eventually stopping that visceral response...

It doesn't make sense to stay away from live music forever just because I don't drink anymore.

I guess I am just trying to determine when to decide to go out again, this weekend (presidents day here in the US means no work/school monday), or wait until I have more time sober... Again thank you for the views.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:24 PM
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Maybe you could first try going to an 18+ venue and leave your ID at home. That way you will be thrown out if you try to sneak a sip. While you're there you could get a better idea of how bad the cravings will be.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by nycguy83 View Post
Yes Terminally, that is a good point, that the addictive voice is not as simple as an irrational belief that can be disputed.
Much of this may sound counter-intuitive to you at this point, but I'm going to give you a hefty dose of AVRT. Feel free to take it or leave it, or to ask further questions.

The Beast ("the desire to drink") is actually a rational entity, insofar as IT is doing what IT knows to be, beyond a shadow of a doubt, necessary for its own survival. It would be very irrational for any entity to try not to survive, so the Beast is actually acting quite rationally.

Originally Posted by nycguy83 View Post
On the other hand, if our conscious, cerebral-cortex selves is what we are, then in a sense all we can do is strive to subdue our instinctive reptilian cortex's voice when what it cries out for will destroy us...
We can do much better than strive to subdue it we can completely disassociate from it, which neutralizes it.

Originally Posted by nycguy83 View Post
Of course this isn't always as easy as it sounds.
It is indeed easy, once you know what you are doing. This skill can be learned.

Originally Posted by nycguy83 View Post
I noticed the RR method claims "we" as our conscious selves are in complete control over our bodies, that the addictive voice cannot control our muscles.
It is true, because the Addictive Voice is not the same thing as the Beast. The Beast is simply the desire to drink/use, and the AV is its human voice, in your thoughts, in your mind's eye. The Beast cannot do a damn thing, least of all talk to the bartender, order a drink, count the money, pay for it, and then pour it down your throat. It can only use the Addictive Voice to try and convince you to do such a thing.

Originally Posted by nycguy83 View Post
That sounds nice but unfortunately is not true... plenty of muscular responses and in fact most of our bodily selves completely circumvent awareness or consciousness and originate in the primitive brain areas as opposed to the cerebral cortex... reflexes, fight or flight response, autonomic nervous system...
The Beast is not the entire Limbic system, only the artificial, perverted survival drive that wants to drink/use. Furthermore, the Beast is not the cause of your addiction. This is a destructive belief, which, if you subscribe to, will have you going in circles for a long time, trying to neuter animal desire. While typical of addicted people to want this, hence all the usual talk about wanting the desire to be magically removed, it can't be done.

The force from which the Beast arises is the force of life itself, the same force that keeps you on this planet, and the destruction of the Beast would mean your own destruction as well. For all practical purposes, you cannot control what the Beast feels or otherwise get rid of it. Therefore, the proximal cause, the AV which you can ignore and not the Beast, is the cause of your addiction.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:37 PM
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I very much enjoy going out to clubs to listen to music and hanging out for a bit. Just DONT DRINK. One thing I notice going out and not drinking is that I am not alone. Many people out are drinking soda or water. I suspect most of them do that because they are not drinkers by nature rather than abstainig drunks. When I drank out at clubs I always thought everyone else there was trying to get good and hammered. Now I realize that was not the case. There are always a few drunks acting in ways they will regret the next day but most people seem to be drinking fairly lightly and many not at all.

Avoiding fun events where there will be drinking will make you resentful of your sober life. Make a firm commitment not to drink when you are out NO MATTER WHAT for the 2 or 4 hours you are going to be there. Then go and have some fun. I will admit that I was anxious in the begining but less and less so as time went on. My latest response to people if I am asked why I am not drinking is that I don't drink because I was getting too good at it. I actually have to avoid sounding proud and boastful that I dont drink....and I am.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
It is true, because the Addictive Voice is not the same thing as the Beast.
I see, I was confusing the two. Like I said, it's only an initial reading I've done of the RR material, and I suppose I like to go off on philosophical digressions.

In any case, yes I will continue to read up on the AVRT, I need any helpful sane tool I can get... I just don't want to substitute one form of insanity for another one,which and I see we are not supposed to disrespect 12-step here, but that is how I came to view my multiple years in and out of AA-

Stillnot, thank you for the perspective.

Previous stints at sobriety I have often gone out to nightlife things sober, and I certainly stayed sober at most of them. But the times I did relapse were usually associated with nightlife. Not all mammals are cats, but all cats are mammals...

In any case, whether I go out Sunday or stay in and study, I will check back in here. Have a good weekend, all.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by nycguy83 View Post
I see, I was confusing the two. Like I said, it's only an initial reading I've done of the RR material, and I suppose I like to go off on philosophical digressions. In any case, yes I will continue to read up on the AVRT.
If you want to learn more, get the book "Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction" by Jack Trimpey. You can get a used copy on Amazon or half.com for $5-$6 (with shipping included). Then, read through the AVRT threads.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:38 AM
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Sounds like you have a pretty good hold on things. Keep at it By the way, I never suggested that you stay out of nightclubs forever. I suggested staying out of them until the need to drink had diminished.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:41 PM
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i come from a musical background so I've always loved going to concerts/music events. being sober at shows is different and took some getting used to but I'm still really into it. I'll get bottled water or soda from the bar if I'm thirsty; people don't usually care whether you're drinking or not and not everyone there is getting shitfaced. in terms of clubbing/nightlife I usually only go out to hear DJ's/bands/artists that I know personally or that I really like. For awhile my homies and I would go out just to get hammered and chase girls at generic nightclubs with DJ's that played Top 40 music (I can't stand that stuff) but now that I'm sober I have no desire to be in places like that. I realized I only had fun in those places because I would get so trashed that I didn't care how bad the music was or care that most of the girls there weren't really my type. When I go out now I enjoy dancing to great music everytime and I remember the experience. i don't have to worry about getting home at the end of the night either
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:57 PM
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I work in venues as a musician. No way in hell Im giving up my career just to stay sober- Id frankly rather die of addiction. That said the absolute EASIEST times have been when at gigs- I came to a 12 step program because I was broke on coke and my nose was falling in and my heart was beating in 5/4 time (not literally)
I have used once since my initial sobriety- but it was in a situation where I hadn't made a concrete commitment not to (was having a long work day- craving came from out of the blue). In every "dangerous" situation I had free liquor, and literally bags of coke and weed waved in my face. I had simply decided that in order for me to play I couldn't continue to imbibe.
When I used I was always derisive of people who made a problem out of something they simply enjoyed doing ( the concept of recoveryism on the RR site made me laugh aloud) . I was able to moderate most of my habits through doing things that counter balanced (the gym mostly) Coke changed all that. My little itty bitty sobriety time has not been fraught with fear or self doubt. I initially wanted to get off just coke because I didn't feel other stuff was a problem. I included the other stuff because beer is a trigger for coke (pot not so much- then decided why not?)
I think learning to identify Addictive Voice is an excellent concept- one in which I was immediately able to do with Bars because my self interests are plain as day- I need to be on stage jamming my ass off- and I can no longer be ****** up doing that.
If you love music- you will experience it much more deeply and derive strength from the freedom of dancing etc if you are sober- it is very good for the mind and body. My last craving that I succumbed to was at my day job- aha- those are the situations I have to figure out the anatomy of my lower power (Im trademarking that because The Beast is apparently taken- joke)
I love this ****- its joy. I still want to go to meetings- but mostly because I just have a soft spot for people struggling. I like encouraging people. can't explain it. Its too soon to really tell- but I have a strong suspicion I am no longer a prisoner of addiction - because the fact that it no longer feels good, coupled with the immediate happiness I feel at having decided to be sober sort of makes sad sacking and limiting myself seem a bit pointless. Sorry for the ramble.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob36 View Post
I work in venues as a musician. No way in hell Im giving up my career just to stay sober- Id frankly rather die of addiction. That said the absolute EASIEST times have been when at gigs- I came to a 12 step program because I was broke on coke and my nose was falling in and my heart was beating in 5/4 time (not literally)
I have used once since my initial sobriety- but it was in a situation where I hadn't made a concrete commitment not to (was having a long work day- craving came from out of the blue). In every "dangerous" situation I had free liquor, and literally bags of coke and weed waved in my face. I had simply decided that in order for me to play I couldn't continue to imbibe.
When I used I was always derisive of people who made a problem out of something they simply enjoyed doing ( the concept of recoveryism on the RR site made me laugh aloud) . I was able to moderate most of my habits through doing things that counter balanced (the gym mostly) Coke changed all that. My little itty bitty sobriety time has not been fraught with fear or self doubt. I initially wanted to get off just coke because I didn't feel other stuff was a problem. I included the other stuff because beer is a trigger for coke (pot not so much- then decided why not?)
I think learning to identify Addictive Voice is an excellent concept- one in which I was immediately able to do with Bars because my self interests are plain as day- I need to be on stage jamming my ass off- and I can no longer be ****** up doing that.
If you love music- you will experience it much more deeply and derive strength from the freedom of dancing etc if you are sober- it is very good for the mind and body. My last craving that I succumbed to was at my day job- aha- those are the situations I have to figure out the anatomy of my lower power (Im trademarking that because The Beast is apparently taken- joke)
I love this ****- its joy. I still want to go to meetings- but mostly because I just have a soft spot for people struggling. I like encouraging people. can't explain it. Its too soon to really tell- but I have a strong suspicion I am no longer a prisoner of addiction - because the fact that it no longer feels good, coupled with the immediate happiness I feel at having decided to be sober sort of makes sad sacking and limiting myself seem a bit pointless. Sorry for the ramble.
I'm guessing you will find it quite interesting as you integrate your AVRT skills with your participation at recovery group meetings.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:21 AM
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OH yeah... It makes the whole thing seem a little dreary- but- it also is edifying to the contrarian in me
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:20 PM
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Favorite band is playing at an SF club Im afraid to go....

I have 13 months sober. I have not been to the city since I stopped using. After what happened to me I am deathly afraid to set foot in San Francisco. I would love to see Redd- Kross play, they are old friends and my all time favorite band. I have not seen live music, besides my Dads band, since I got sober. What to do, they are playing in August at the Great American Music Hall and I never drank there.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:28 PM
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Welcome to SR Lilyondine And thanks for reviving this thread, this is a subject which comes up a lot. The best thing is to just think about what you feel like doing and be aware of the dangers. I've been to gigs sober but I had to be absolutely determined that I wasn't going to drink! If there was any doubt I would have given it a miss.

Do introduce yourself in the Newcomers Forum too...you'll get more responses there x
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:27 PM
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I have roughly the same sober time as you, Lilyondine, and I do go to music events. I only avoid events where drinking is the main event.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:22 AM
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I like what TU was saying there, way back when. Where is the AV in this scenario? Do I stay home because to do otherwise would be to drink? Or do I go out because I secretly want to drink again? The AV can be found on both sides of this, with you in the middle taking a beating.

Hypochondriac states my fallback position here - Live your alcohol free life, secure in your permanent sobriety, and do it in a mindful manner, self aware and serene. And have a wonderful time too.
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