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Old 03-04-2012, 07:00 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I think you're safe with the herbal tea, Hypchondriac. You just might not want to for a long drive through the the country without adequate rest stops...

GFCO, it doesn't sound stupid and deluded to me. I think it's common to get some distance and feel like so much has changed, the outcome of drinking would change as well. The thought crosses my mind sometimes too, which is ludicrous, because I never had a healthy approach to drinking. I always drank to excess, and alcohol was quite clearly at the center of other dysfunction in my life. But that's me, this is about you. And sorry if "shortchanged" was too strong; I just meant I'd like to see you be able to shed that burdened feeling you mentioned.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:15 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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The only thing I can tell you is really dig deep. Not making life's tough choices will get you into trouble. Whether it be your relationship, your family, your job, your substance abuse problems, what-have-you. For arguments sake, lets say your not an alcoholic and that your problems lie with depressions and anxiety. Due to your depression and anxiety you abused alcohol as a means to cope. In my experience, and I had a similar mindset as yours when I curbed my drinking (see post above), my relationship with alcohol was damaged beyond repair because of my former behavoir. Even though I wasn't a chronic or heavy drinker anymore the minute that alcohol passed my lips I was immediately transported back to the time where I unhappy and depressed and hate my life. And then the subconscious loathing would set in and I'd drink and drink and drink - I didn't know alcohol any other way!

I would caution you. You sound like a very smart and sensible person. I'm definitely not here to judge your thinking! You struck a nerve with me because I see similarities between our experiences so I really want to share mine with you.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:48 AM
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This is a great thread. I want to thank GFCO for starting it and everyone for these responses—really provocative stuff. OK, now I'm off to play in the sun and get outside of my head in a healthy way!
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:55 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GirlFromCO View Post
I feel like I was wrong about the reason for my problem. Like it wasn't alcohol - it was me. Everything I touched I had a problem with, lol. My dysfunction certainly wasn't limited to my behavior with alcohol.
This is why the Big Plan of AVRT is permanent, and more importantly, irreversible. It is practically guaranteed that if you go at this thing tentatively, that the Addictive Voice will pump such ideas at you once you begin to forget what things were like, and the reasons you originally quit. You may want to ask yourself if your 'dysfunction' is as bad now as it was when you were drinking, though.

Anyway, you have the info, GFCO. I'll leave the rest to people with more 'finesse' than I have.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:59 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
 
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GFC. I felt exactly the same way. Actually I quit for 10 years (roughly 22 to 32). I had unknowingly put an AVRTish bend on it and it just wasn't an option for me to drink anymore, so it was pretty effortless. During that 10 years so many things in my life changed. I basically grew up, matured...started my career, got married, had children, worked through so many of my "issues"...I was pretty happy. After 10 years I decided that I was certainly well enough and I could drink "normally" and safely. I mean, after all, wasn't it all my unresolved childhood issues that caused me, beginning at a very young age, to drink daily, drink to blackout, be promiscuous, hate myself...etc?? The logic followed that since I had dealt with those things, drinking alcohol wasn't going to present a problem for me.

Well, it did. A big one. I went on for several more years and caused further destruction to myself and others, some of which is irreversable.

My "issues"/lack of"issues" had nothing to do with it. I see now that my AV, even after so long, found a way in. It knocked and I opened the door, allowing myself to become readdicted to alcohol and spiral further down than I had even been.

This time I had a little help quitting, in the form of a Baker-act and 30 day treatment. The stint in the psych ward was humbling. I raged like an absolute lunatic, frothing at the mouth that "I do not belong here...this place is for crazy people!!!!" When I came out of the fog I knew I did belong, but not because of my issues, but because my use of alcohol and benzos had literally eaten my sanity. I decided then that I was never going to drink or use again. I did not know about AVRT or anything, although I had been exposed to different cognitive behavioral therapies. But I quit again, the same way I did back so many years ago. The difference now is I have a deeper understanding of addiction, the AV...I've educated myself on many things. Some philosophies/concepts/strategies I use, some I don't, but I keep learning. I have been truly free from that addiction sh!t for many years now, and fully expect to walk free until my days are done.
I'm glad you are here GFC
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:09 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
I was pretty happy. After 10 years I decided that I was certainly well enough and I could drink "normally" and safely. I mean, after all, wasn't it all my unresolved childhood issues that caused me, beginning at a very young age, to drink daily, drink to blackout, be promiscuous, hate myself...etc??

The logic followed that since I had dealt with those things, drinking alcohol wasn't going to present a problem for me.

Well, it did. A big one. I went on for several more years and caused further destruction to myself and others, some of which is irreversible.

My "issues"/lack of"issues" had nothing to do with it. I see now that my AV, even after so long, found a way in. It knocked and I opened the door, allowing myself to become re-addicted to alcohol and spiral further down than I had even been.
Every time I read anything about "underlying issues" on this forum, I cringe. The Beast loves 'issues', because it wins either way. If you resolve them, it can argue that you can now drink again. If you don't resolve them, it can argue that you need a little drink to 'cope and deal' with your issues.

Very well said, soberlicious. Bravo !!!
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:51 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. TU, I feel like a total a*s. I am here to learn and I really appreciate your insight and experience. I'm really stubborn and I have a strong reaction when someone challenges my thinking. I am trying to change that. I'm here with an open mind & heart if you feel like you want to add anything.

Okay, so clearly I have a lot more reading & thinking to do on the subject. I guess my next question is, if it's possible to make a once and for all decision to never drink again, why can't you apply the same logic and once and for all decide that your relationship with alcohol is going to be healthy? Does quitting booze become a symbolic act in the end - a message to our f&f that we're never going to "go there" again?

I should say that I don't even want to drink when I'm writing all this - I'm not trying to get through a maze and find the glass of wine at the end. I don't think I even care about drinking anymore, now that I'm really thinking about it.

I was thinking about this all a lot last night, and the thing that kept popping up was... I am really hesitant to say this... but... maybe I don't really believe that I am an addict.

That's not to say that I didn't do some really stupid stuff. That's also not to say it wasn't a good idea to break free of the cycle of sadness and self harm and quit drinking. But, I'm at a point now where I feel like I'm starting to free myself from the demons that led me to use alcohol the way I did, and so I'm wondering if it even matters anymore. I do remember vividly what it was like being stuck in the cycle, so I don't think that's my problem. It's left me with a healthy fear... which is why I haven't tested any of this with a drink. That and I don't really want to drink anyway.

It's just that the more I think about it, the more I can say with confidence that I could never act that way again. I feel like I have gained an awareness of right and wrong, and an appreciation of the beauty of life, and these things just aren't compatible with alcohol abuse and what that means: self harm, hurting those I love, and distancing myself from what's truly important in life.

Good grief, I feel like what I'm describing amounts to a sort of spiritual awakening, so maybe it doesn't even belong in this forum anymore. LOL! But maybe it is, I don't know. Or maybe it's just crazy.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:12 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GirlFromCO View Post
TU, I feel like a total a*s. I am here to learn and I really appreciate your insight and experience.
Don't worry about me, GfCO. This is actually a good topic, which, while relevant, would clog up the AVRT thread. If this discussion pushes you over the threshold, I'll probably link to it from the main thread as a case study on 'the Big Plan process'.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:12 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GirlFromCO
why can't you apply the same logic and once and for all decide that your relationship with alcohol is going to be healthy?
Alcohol effects the physiology of the brain. It changes the way it works. That's science, plain and simple.

It's just that the more I think about it, the more I can say with confidence that I could never act that way again. I feel like I have gained an awareness of right and wrong, and an appreciation of the beauty of life, and these things just aren't compatible with alcohol abuse
I feel the same way GFC. The only difference is that the beauty and freedom I have experienced is not compatible with alcohol use. Period.

Good grief, I feel like what I'm describing amounts to a sort of spiritual awakening, so maybe it doesn't even belong in this forum anymore. LOL! But maybe it is, I don't know.
LOL awakenings don't offend me, but I'm a Bob Marleyish "emancipate-yourself-from-mental-slavery" kinda girl...
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:35 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
Alcohol effects the physiology of the brain. It changes the way it works. That's science, plain and simple.
But isn't that saying that alcoholism is a... disease?


Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
I feel the same way GFC. The only difference is that the beauty and freedom I have experienced is not compatible with alcohol use. Period.
I'm not opposed to the idea of not using alcohol ever again. If that's where this takes me, that's fine. I just need to talk it out, you know?
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:51 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GirlFromCO View Post
But isn't that saying that alcoholism is a... disease?
Alcohol poisons the mind and the body, just like any other toxin. The yeast that ferments the alcohol in the first place ultimately dies from alcohol poisoning. This is why our bodies have a built-in mechanism for processing it. It just isn't designed to process it in the amounts we tend to take it in.

Furthermore, the body is not diseased because it tries to adapt to the presence of a toxin. It is acting quite normally, trying to keep you alive as you derail its efforts by chasing that buzz. It would do the exact same thing if you ingested cyanide or snake venom, for example.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:02 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
Alcohol poisons the mind and the body, just like any other toxin. The yeast that ferments the alcohol in the first place ultimately dies from alcohol poisoning. This is why our bodies have a built-in mechanism for processing it. It just isn't designed to process it in the amounts we tend to take it in.

Furthermore, the body is not diseased because it tries to adapt to the presence of a toxin. It is acting quite normally, trying to keep you alive as you derail its efforts by chasing that buzz. It would do the exact same thing if you ingested cyanide or snake venom, for example.
Right, but in small amounts it's not really harmful, is it? Should I consider myself "ruined" for alcohol forever because I've abused it in the past?
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by GirlFromCO
But isn't that saying that alcoholism is a... disease?
Alcohol affects the way the brain was meant to naturally function. It messes with receptors and confuses the way that information is channeled along pathways and processed. If I put sugar in the gas tank of a car, it messes with it's ability to run properly, if at all. Is the car diseased?

Originally Posted by Terminally Unique
It just isn't designed to process it in the amounts we tend to take it in.
This is true...and further, even in small amounts there is still an action on the brain. For me, even if I could maintain the "buzzed" level and drink safely, I would not. The experience of the awakening that you described GFC is similar to what I have gone through (sans the spiritual part). Even slight fuzziness or buzzing would obscure the crispness of how I see life now. This sounds wierd, but even in the hardest times, I take comfort in being able to fully experience the rawness of life. The joy, the pain....I don't want any of it blurred even a little. I realize that is just me, and by sharing this in no way expect it to be a goal for others.
Originally Posted by GirlFromCO
I just need to talk it out, you know?
Yes, I do know. I am glad you're here no matter what you decide.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:16 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
Even slight fuzziness or buzzing would obscure the crispness of how I see life now. This sounds wierd, but even in the hardest times, I take comfort in being able to fully experience the rawness of life. The joy, the pain....I don't want any of it blurred even a little. I realize that is just me, and by sharing this in no way expect it to be a goal for others.
No, it doesn't sound weird at all. I think that, so far, it's the most convincing reason for continuing to abstain. I feel the same way.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:29 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GirlFromCO View Post
Right, but in small amounts it's not really harmful, is it? Should I consider myself "ruined" for alcohol forever because I've abused it in the past?
Your body interprets pleasure as good, and intense pleasure as necessary for survival. Think of how sex, eating, and breathing work. All of that feels really good, and your body interprets that as necessary for survival. Alcohol creates pleasure initially. After repeated exposure, a new, artificial survival drive is born, which RR calls 'The Beast'. How long this takes depends on the person, since like all things, people have varying initial tolerances. I would die if I took penicillin, for example, whereas most people would not. For some, the birth of the Beast takes weeks, for others, months or years.

You can override this artificial survival drive, though. The problem, however, is that even small amounts of alcohol disable your higher brain functions, and your body reverts to instinct, allowing The Beast to run the show. Humans are domesticated animals, and addiction is essentially a reversion to a feral state. Like the domestic cat, we can exist in either state, domesticated and civilized, or running on pure, biological voltage. The problem is compounded by the fact that once your body has 'learned' how to adapt to the presence of ever-increasing amounts of alcohol, it will never forget how to do so. Re-addiction will therefore occur much faster than the initial addiction.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique
The problem is compounded by the fact that once your body has 'learned' how to adapt to the presence of ever-increasing amounts of alcohol, it will never forget how to do so. Addiction will therefore re-occur much faster than the initial addiction.
Truth! That is why when I drank again even after so long, I was quickly readdicted.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:02 PM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
The problem is compounded by the fact that once your body has 'learned' how to adapt to the presence of ever-increasing amounts of alcohol, it will never forget how to do so.
That makes sense. So because I had a problem with alcohol once, I will always have a problem with it, biologically speaking, no matter where my head is at currently.

The feral cat analogy made me laugh, btw. Sitting beside me currently is a once feral cat my husband and I picked up, thinking she was abandoned. Once we got her home we realized - no, this is a wild beast who hates us. It was a total nightmare for longer than I care to think about, but my persistence won out in the end. We made friends and she's friendlier than any of our "normal" cats now. It's been three years. She follows me around the house like a dog and drools when I scratch her ear the right way.

LOL, anyway, I told you I'm stubborn. Maybe that's why it's taken 8 months for me to get my head wrapped around this. The truth is, I really don't want to drink again. And I'm coming to the realization that I'm not going to. Ever.

Ha! I think I just had a "come to Jesus" moment.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:05 PM
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Ha! I think I just had a "come to Jesus" moment.
Can I get an AMEN?!
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:47 PM
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Hahaha!
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:56 PM
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In the spirit of secular redemption (please don't anyone be offended, either by the lyrics or the p!ss-poor video quality):

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