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Old 12-30-2012, 06:24 AM
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Non-program recovery

Hi,

Does anyone not do a program? Is our only hope to take as faith and belief science or religion? Can a person really be honest and stay sober, or must we embrace as truth something, like a carrot of hope, regardless of our own experiences?

I've been drinking for a week now. I understand that that makes all my thought processes questionable. Yet none of the"programs" make sense to me...even when I am sober, and especially when I'm sober 6 mos to 7 years.

I just want to know if anyone actually recovers without ignoring their own beliefs and experience (counting in that when we drink things get skewed).

Have any of you found a way to stay sober without buying the party line? I admire all the programs that help so many, but after 30 years of struggle, I'm more interested in what could help me get sober and stay that way.

OK...I'm ranting...I'll read what you post. I just want to see what is out there that I might be missing.

Thank you for your time, and believe me, I am fine with whatever works for you...but my need is to find something that works for me.

Nands
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
I've been drinking for a week now. I understand that that makes all my thought processes questionable.
Not all your thought processes.

I tried the conventional program and tried to make myself believe things I didn't really believe, because people told me to, and that didn't work for me.

I'm not sure what the answer is for you, but yes people do stay sober without 12 step. I find SMART recovery helpful, but that is less a "program" and more a cognitive-behavioral-therapeutic approach, or to be precise rational-emotive-behavioral-therapy. They do not tell you that you have to go to their meetings, to follow any suggestions, or to believe or not believe in God or anything else.

It is just a set of techniques and groups in which to share and discuss these techniques and experiences. But it is more about learning to manage your own life in general, not to become dependent upon SMART.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:11 AM
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I don't follow a formal program except to give gratitude for staying sane and sober every day. I connect with others here daily, it's important to me.

I try to do the right thing and follow common sense...I refuse to let booze have this stupid power over me.

I hope you stop drinking today too.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:31 AM
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Sometimes people are able to go some months on antabuse. Have you considered that?
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:35 AM
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Hey Ananda,
Yes, lots of people find their way with no "program" per se...self-recovered.

Have you explored any other approaches to making major life changes? I read about all kinds of things that aren't specifically about recovering from addiction, but they impact me probably more.

I read about AVRT after quitting, but the techniques are very similar to what I used on my own. You can read several threads here on that technique.

Regardless of what you have been told, or what you currently believe about yourself, you can stop drinking for good and have the kind of life you want. You are fully capable of that. Know it.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:04 AM
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Many people decide to avoid programs entirely due to various personal reservations.

On the Livestrong site there are two pages of herbs which are suggested as treatments for alcoholism such as Blessed Thistle and Evening Primrose Oil. At times, Lance was able to recognize and point out alcoholics so it is possible the site may contain useful information.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:10 AM
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(((Ananda))))

I think what I had to come to terms with is my lizard brain, it remembered the deep pleasure of alcohol although I was no longer getting that pleasure. I was just getting the bad effects. I learned I was seperate from my lizard brain, the Beast. rational recovery really made sense to me and finally put an end to my going back and forth.

AA is a good program for living life peacefully, but AVRT and RR helped me more, I think.

I hope this helps.

Love from Lenina
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
I just want to know if anyone actually recovers without ignoring their own beliefs and experience (counting in that when we drink things get skewed).

Have any of you found a way to stay sober without buying the party line? I admire all the programs that help so many, but after 30 years of struggle, I'm more interested in what could help me get sober and stay that way.

Nands
Hi Nands

Yeah, people CAN recover and still be themselves EVEN AFTER doing all the resultant requiste changing which naturally follows from quitting drinking / drugging. Seriously.

It's always been about personal choices for me. I didn't fall into alcohol and drugs by accident. I began playing around with alcohol before age 10. Smoked ciggies too a bit. Drinking only made sense, and felt good, so why not? I was already into petty crimes of stealing coins and bills from my folks and sharing it with my gang of friends. We would often distract the corner store cashier and lift candies, chips, comics, batteries, etc.

My biggest haul at age 10 was a twenty I brazenly 'borrowed' from my mom, and after blowing about eight dollars of it on me and my friends with ice cream, soda, candies, chips, comic books, bubblegum cards - I returned the last of it back. Twenty dollars goes a long way back in 1967. Really hard to spend it all, lol. I was a city kid back then. We moved that same year 15 miles deep into farm country. Big difference, lol. I loved the city. Hated the emptiness of the country. No more street action on the corners, lol.

Why am I telling you this? What's the point?

Because it's part of my collective life story. I was always trying my best to be me, even when being me meant being bad, you know? Trouble wasn't trouble for me. Trouble was more like an opportunity to meet the challenges in a different way. Thinking out-of-the-box is the only way I've ever known. Life started out hard and difficult for me right from the start, and the city streets just taught me to be me, or else fade to black, and forget about it.

Anyways, by age 12 i'm drinking enough to be in trouble with booze. I'm still only playing with ciggs though, lol. By 15 I'm an alcoholic goner. Chronic drunk. I'd show up for my homeroom class in the morning, smoke pot with my 'friends' and then at noon head to the local bar and do my thing til closing. Needless to say, after three yrs in high school, I still barely had enough credits for my grade 10. Big deal. Like I cared, lol. I always tested as 'gifted' so to hell with school. I drank my way through two college scholarships as the years went on. By age 20 there were no more scholarships. They were done with me. I was officially tagged as a an incurable schizophrenic chronic drunk. A write off. Good luck with that, I was now being told. Thanks for visiting us in the nut house. Bye for now. See you later.

So, how does a smart-ass guy like me sober up? This became a problem of no small proportions, lol. I completely refused any professionally organised treatment offered and just went back to drinking and drugging and completely grokked out for a couple of years what the hell I was doing with my life. By age 22 I was free from my street drugs of choice - like acid, maryjane and hashish. Quit on my own. By age 24 I was still dying from alcohol abuse. Very suicidal. Very angry. Very dark. Very alone. Very stupidly drunk.

I slowly came to the deep understanding I was gonna die as a drunk drunk no matter what game plan I came up with. No matter my way forward, I was as good as dead, and I would be drunk too boot. No way out. I was powerless against alcohol the drug. I simply could not be me and quit at the same time it seemed. I had to either become a new me or die failing as the same old me. I was too f_cked up to care anymore about the old me.

Call it paradox, but whatever, the more I didn't care about the old me, the more I cared about the new me. The more I threw my alcoholic self under the bus, the more I rose to the challenges before me. The more I surrendered to the reality of my sorry alcoholic existence, the more like a phoenix I rose from the ashes of my alcoholic hell. The more I kicked my alcoholic thinking self to the curb, the more I stood up and became responsible. Something had to obviously whither and die so I could live and prosper. In the most simple terms, I killed off my alcoholic-minded self, and here I am to tell my story, heh heh.

I've been clean and sober now 31 years. So it's working, lol.

I've used rehab, AA, gestalt therapy, and AVRT to put on ice my old alcoholic life. I did, and still do, do things my way. In AA I'm still, and always will be, a total maverick member. In therapy, I'm very present and in-your-face as only I can be. In AVRT, I'm very mechanical and absolute with what is and isn't AV. My Beast is reduced to a beast of burden. I have no shame in my complete indifference to 'it'.

It's not easy to create a complete and functioning new sober life, but it's also not too difficult to do the next right thing when you're starting from the bottom, and every way you can choose from there is always up at that point, lol. Later, as things start to get better, life choices become more costly and difficult. Now after 31 yrs of better living, choices which change my life cost me more then ever they did. So, you can imagine, I'm careful about my choices going forward.

Life is easier now. I'm on easy street now. It's all good, even when it's bad, lol. Life is much more then I ever dreamed it could become. I am overwhelmed with success. It's difficult to share how much easier and together my life is compared to my old and now dead drunken past life. Like night and day.

And yet, I'm still me, myself, and I.

I didn't sell out myself as the price paid to embrace my sober freedoms. Yes, I've had to pay an unbeliveable price to get where I'm presently at today, and yet the price paid is always worth the tickets for enjoying this sweet ride of my life. I've had to be responsible for some serious changes going forward. There's nothing free about the costs of true freedoms.

I was a down and out drunken loser sleeping in ditches and loving it. Today, I'm simply not that guy anymore. I'm different, and yet, I'm still the guy who will be and do whatever it takes to be himself. I like that about myself.

You can do it too, Nands. YOU CAN. You just can't take the old you with you for the ride. Give yourself up, and turn this around for yourself. Master the different tools from different ways and means to quit alcoholic drinking and abusing, and set yourself up sweet and happy.

I hope my post helps a bit to help you help yourself. Yes, I've recovered, and I still have my original core beliefs and experiences.

Awesome.

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Old 12-30-2012, 11:17 AM
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I see you registered five years ago and you're still drinking. Maybe questioning whether programs work or not isn't the avenue you want to go down. Programs work fine. Quitting drinking without a program works just as well but support from others helps.
One thing is for sure. Something isn't working.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:19 AM
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Ananda, I hope you come back and start posting more frequently...it helps to have us around.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:59 AM
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I see you registered five years ago and you're still drinking.
I quit drinking long before I registered here, and some people quit after. From her OP, ananda has been capable of quitting for a significant period of time. I'm glad to see she is still trying.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:23 PM
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well, if I had joined when I first knew I had a problem, I would have been here for 15 years after that....so?.....

In the end though I just ran out of room...it was either stop running, or run right over the cliff.

Whatever I was trying to fix with alcohol, it wasn't working and it was creating more problems - I needed to find other healthier ways to deal with my demons cos the booze was killing me.

It's good to see you back Nands - Happy New Year and very best wishes for kick ass demon slaying 2013 :ghug3

D
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
Hi,
Is our only hope to take as faith and belief science or religion? Can a person really be honest and stay sober, or must we embrace as truth something, like a carrot of hope, regardless of our own experiences?

I just want to know if anyone actually recovers without ignoring their own beliefs and experience.
I feel so sorry for those who feel that they must grasp onto some fantastical belief system, to adopt some dogma that flies in the face of their life experiences and their world view. I think it's called cognitive dissonance, and for me, to place myself in that struggle at the time as I was learning to live without alcohol was a recipe for failure. That was one of the reasons I drank, Ananda, my psyche was disjointed, it was not whole and connected.

When I got sober, I did not reject my life experiences and my core beliefs, I finally embraced them. I accepted them as mine, and I accepted me in the process.

Do you have a good understanding of what you are giving up by continuing to drink? This is not a trivial question, Ananda, its answers fueled my resolve to quit. I could never allow someone to take from me what I was prepared to forfeit by continuing to drink.

Has anyone told you that it is within your power to quit? That it will be easier than you fear? That your only regret will be that you didn't do it sooner? That the rewards will far exceed your expectations?

We are like Dorothy, Ananada, we have always had within ourselves the ability to return home. It is there for you.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:52 PM
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An awsome self help book I read was the "Four Agreements" by Miguel Ruez. It made a lot of sense to me, I read it the whole way through the moment I picked it up and have read and recommended it lots more since.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:02 AM
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Thank you all for sharing. I'm going to re-read all the posts today.

I wrote a long post about whats going on in my head, but deleted it. The bottom line is I have to not drink.

Again thank you all for your replies. Each of you gave to me from your heart and hopefully we will talk again.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda
The bottom line is I have to not drink.
And that's it really...we can discuss, expound, ponder...
But the fact of the matter is "no booze, no matter what" is the only way things can change.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
... none of the"programs" make sense to me...even when I am sober, and especially when I'm sober 6 mos to 7 years.
Nands
You point out a very common and justified frustration here, but it is one that the AVRT "program" confronts head-on and eliminates.

My cryptic saying under my name reflects two meanings of the word "way".
1 - a predetermined new way of believing and living your life
2 - a focused method to solve a very specific problem (and increase the likelihood that you will thereafter flourish as you choose)

About not swallowing alcohol any more, 1 makes little sense to most people, while 2 is completely logical and the purposeful intention of how AVRT was developed, IMHO.

"6 mos to 7 years" down the road, having quit using AVRT, you would not be in a program, so there would be nothing there to not "make sense".
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:48 AM
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you got it Ananda! Not drinking...that's it in a nutshell. it doesn't have to be a big complicated brew-Ha-HA... it's a liquid beverage, not a religion, not a second job.....

We can attach too much time and importance to drinking....if you can wrap your head around diminishing it, you can give it the space it deserves in the back corner, under the brussel sprouts (ick i HATE those veggies).
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:51 PM
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Hi Ananda. Your post made me think of something I have considered for a while now. It has to do with the incredibly strong need many of us have to be independent. I think that to many alcoholics the idea that someone else can influence our decisions, or even our thinking, borders on repulsive. I think many of us find it noxious because of a need for control. Control gives us a feeling of safety. The result is living by force of will, with a sort of contrarianism that makes ‘no’ an almost automatic response to the exhibition of another’s will or belief.

The truth is that nobody can make any of us believe anything. We adopt beliefs and perspectives as they suit us. Truth is, more often than not, those beliefs adopt us. We don’t “decide to believe” in unicorns, God or snowmen. We just do or we don’t.

What seems to make recovery more achievable for some than for others is an ability to “suspend disbelief”. Not to believe, but the willingness to consider ideas that are not our own. Often the first belief that needs to be “suspended” is that it is not possible for us (the me, the I) to permanently recover. After all, that’s been the past pattern. That’s the evidence.

My advice is to TEMPORARILY suspend disbelief in any given “program” or “method” and find the part or parts work. Therein you may find the truth.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by awuh1 View Post
What seems to make recovery more achievable for some than for others is an ability to “suspend disbelief”. Often the first belief that needs to be “suspended” is that it is not possible for us to permanently recover.
Indeed, awuh, I agree completely. It is indeed possible for all of us to recover. The belief that most needs suspending is our lack of faith in ourselves.
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