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This has to be the year

Old 01-01-2013, 05:35 AM
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Better when never is never
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This has to be the year

Happy New Year!! I really want this year to be the one where sobriety sticks. I've tried AA, which didn't sit well with me. I've looked into some of the secular approaches, but I'm not really sure where to start. What was the approach that worked for you? Was it just too much pain, or self-knowledge, a particular approach, will-power...
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:47 AM
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Well I've only been sober over a month but for me I think it's been all about lifestyle changes. I feel like, not that I'm avoiding being in drinking situations, but rather I'm too busy doing other stuff to find myself in drinking situations. And I'm getting alot of satisfaction out of life while I'm sober because I have the motivation to do the stuff that makes my life feel more meaningful. If I was drinking, I'd be lazy and hungover all the time. It just kills the appeal of drinking to realize how counterproductive it is.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:52 AM
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For me it was an acceptance that I had a severe drinking problem. ( Over time, I accepted that I was an addict.)

I then accepted that the only solution to my addiction was to stop drinking.

I accepted that I would never drink alcohol again.

I read books about addiction, specifically and most importantly `Sober for Good`and an autobiography 'America on Purpose'.

I told my wife and my Doctor. I told my wife, should I ever drink again, she is to take the kids and leave me...no second chances. If I drink again, it is a clear signal that I have chosen booze over my family.

I see a Psychologist with a back ground in dealing with addicts.

I keep myself honest about my addiction by frequenting this forum.

It was not good enough for me to hope I was sucessful in my efforts, rather I had to have certainty in my recovery.

Alcohol is no longer an option for me and quite honestly, I do not have to worry about ruining any progress I have made, as I simply will never have a first alcoholic drink again...ever.

For me, it was more than just stopping drinking, it was a complete revolution of my life...which is still in progress.

I have an alcohol dependency that is in early remission and I look forward to the day, July 4 2013, when I can identify as having an addiction in long term remission.

I wish you well in the choices you make.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:17 AM
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For a long time, my alcohol consumption was sorta like a wart or a mole, not anything to be desired, but just another quirky aspect of my personality. The time came to change this view so that I understood my consumption was an addiction in all aspects, and more like a cancer that was growing and consuming my life. Like cancer, it was taking over and preparing to rob me of a marriage, a family, a home, a job and ultimately my life.

Like a cancer, I cut it away from my physical person by getting rid of alcohol in my home and personal life. I also cut it away from my psyche too - I separated my urges to drink or thoughts of drinking from 'me', and assigned them to my weakness, to my addiction, to my fear of facing my life. 'I' no longer drink, and the thought of ever drinking again comes from part of me that will kill me if I fail to master it. This 'it' is only one thing, it is helpless and mindless, and has only the power I decide that it can have.

I chose to believe that I was stronger than my weakness, and that I deserved a life without it. I cut it out, excised it, amputated it.

Will-power has a bad name, and rightly so in my esteem. It conveys an attitude of deprivation and self-denial, like some sort of weight loss program. In this context, it is more like a 'won't power', and I am not so good at that sort of thing. I can work toward something, I can put my mind and heart and soul into working for something positive much better.

I chose to believe in myself, in my strengths, in my goodness, and decided to make the right decision for the first time in so many years. I chose to encourage my thinking brain and cut away my drinking brain. I quit.

I am sober since my join date, JazzFish, and I am no longer addicted to alcohol. My life now has its own measure of acceptance, peace, joy and beauty. You can have your own measure of life too. I believe you deserve it.

AVRT has shown me how to never drink again and to never change my mind.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:48 AM
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Hey Jazzfish. So 2013 is the year sobriety has to stick? Why not right now? Including today, there are 365 days left in the year... that's a long time you're working with... a long time to be miserable. What's wrong with today?
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:55 PM
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"About jazzfish
I tried AA 25 years ago and had brief success,"



Maybe you should try again. If you are in a large city, there may be secular programs.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:28 PM
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Let's not turn this into another locked thread. According to the description we discuss the merits of secular programs in this forum. Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:46 AM
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Better when never is never
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Yes, I am definitely only interested in completely secular approaches to sobriety. Coming to grips with the fact that my sobriety will always be completely based on the decisions I make in my life was a very liberating turning point.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzfish View Post
...my sobriety will always be completely based on the decisions I make in my life...
Then take that and run with it! No "program" needed--it is just a simple, moment-by-moment reality check. And the check is indeed simple, nothing like "What is God?" or "What are my character defects?" Just every now and then, you will be faced with the question, "Should I drink?"

Let me add that my sobriety has been profoundly influenced by a week in detox with heroin addicts and other alcoholics. It was a secular experience, except for optional nightly meetings (I am a very well-educated atheist). Again, if you are in a big city, maybe even just some volunteer work would show you where you are heading if you keep drinking.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pkrma
And I'm getting alot of satisfaction out of life while I'm sober because I have the motivation to do the stuff that makes my life feel more meaningful.
Agreed, yes me too. But the flip side of this is that I made sure my abstinence (sobriety if you like that term) is not contingent on things being better and more satisfying. Eventually, there would come a time (and there did) that things were not good in my life. Times when I lacked motivation, times when fear, pain, grief and anger visited me and often stayed way too long for comfort. I made sure that even during these times drinking would never be an option. No matter what...drinking is not an option.

Originally Posted by jazzfish
Coming to grips with the fact that my sobriety will always be completely based on the decisions I make in my life was a very liberating turning point.
Me too. Extremely liberating.

Also, what has helped me a great deal is studying Buddhism. Most specifically how the Buddhists manage hinderances. The concept of sitting with, and even leaning into, discomfort as opposed to fighting it or running from it has been of great interest to me. I'm not a scholar or a yogi. I don't wear a hair shirt or anything, but studying as a lay person has allowed me a shift in thinking that has given me much more freedom than I've ever known before. Many of these principles (compassion, equinimity, interconnectedness, fearlessness) are found across philosophies and religions and eras.

Also you might want to read about AVRT. It's not a "program", but rather a set of specific strategies designed for ending addiction. Some very valuable stuff there.

I believe the problem was within, and so was the answer.
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