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Emotional Outbursts

Old 03-29-2013, 03:06 AM
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Emotional Outbursts

Just want some information from you guys. I've been clean of alcohol before, my best was 3 months and during that time I found my mood was a lot more even once the withdrawal passed.

I'm sitting here sober again, I'm past the withdrawal and yet last night I blew up at a family member. I don't mean violently, I've never been a violent person, but my temper was provoked very easily, which anyone who knows me will tell you is very rare. I feel absolutely awful about it and I've already apologised to them several times over.

I don't suffer any mental illnesses, I'm not depressed or anything of that nature, so I'm just wondering if these outbursts can happen when you've been sober for a while. Even though it hasn't happened before during my sober periods can it just suddenly occur sometimes?

I really shouted at this person over an utterly minor thing, I just feel awful even though they have forgiven me. Don't worry the shame won't drive me to drink because I know that won't solve anything. Just hating myself for such an out of character event.
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveyT View Post
I'm just wondering if these outbursts can happen when you've been sober for a while.
Been reading a lot recently and the short answer is "yes". At least as far as mood swings goes. Whether or not that results in outbursts is up to the individual.

Excessive drinking alters brain chemistry. It should be mostly healed in months, but depending on the intake levels it may never completely go back to how it was pre-drinking. Some of us addicts just establish a new baseline.

The science is evolving, and I find it fascinating, even if the literature is dry as an old fart. It certainly reinforces what a BAD IDEA it is for an addict to drink again.

Glad you're feeling strong in your resolve.
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:28 AM
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I feel a little better knowing it's normal for someone recovering from alcohol. I'm so unused to mood swings. I suppose because it's uncommon for me that might mean I stand a good chance of recovering fully. This really is the first true mood swing I've ever had. Just another reason to stay sober, hopefully my brain will go back to normal

The look on this persons face when it happened though, it was just pure shock because it was that out of character. Really not going to forget it.
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:45 AM
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The positive of the situation is that you are able to process it SOBER.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:49 AM
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I believe alcohol was effecting my brain for at least 6-12 months after i quit for good .
Might be worthwhile reasearching how others anger manage and seeing if anything chimes with you ,

Bestwishes, M
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:00 AM
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I'm finding that my mood can turn on a dime. For me it's not anger, but just a wave of sudden sadness or despair. I think AVRT is actually helping with that part of it as well. It doesn't feel good, but knowing that it's part of healing allows me to get a little distance from it, if that makes sense. I kind of think of it like there's me and there's the mood and I am just observing it. Sorry, it's kind of hard to articulate.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mecanix View Post
I believe alcohol was effecting my brain for at least 6-12 months after i quit for good .
Might be worthwhile reasearching how others anger manage and seeing if anything chimes with you ,

Bestwishes, M
I don't think I'll need to do that, I've never in my life had a mood swing like that before, now I know it can occur due to staying sober I think I can remain on top of it. I guess it's a good thing I've finally decided to kick alcohol becuase I imagine if a mood swing has just shown up then it goes to show the damage I was doing to my brain was just beginning to hit a really bad point.

I've been doing some more reading and it does seem that 6-12 months is the usual duration for this, although I read it can continue for 2 years in the heaviest drinkers and some 20 year users always have some leftover damage. I drank excessively for 10 years, but at least it wasn't 20 years and I was downing 2 bottles of wine rather than 2 bottles of scotch. It's still bad but could have been worse I guess.

I thought of something new today. In the last 12 months I had started having the classic black outs. Before that I could usually drag up the memories of the night before but yeah in the last 12 months I've had more than a few nights that I can't remember at all. So it's proof the damage was getting bad.
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:35 AM
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Hi Davey

My emotions were like a rollercoaster ride for a few months in early sobriety. Just hold on. The ride slows down.
Congratulations on staying sober.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:12 AM
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Same here, I started noticing the improving mental and physical state about 8 months in. Hang in there, the ability of our body to recover and heal is amazing, just give it time.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:44 AM
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Thanks for all of these replies guys, they are very helpful. It's just been a bit of a shock for me as the last time I was sober for 3 months I didn't get any of the emotional symptoms and when I was drinking I didn't get any real mood swings. I was more of a relaxed, sleepy drunk.

Coming to the end of the first week sober again, already feeling the benefits.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:16 AM
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Congrats on your week of sobriety!

Originally Posted by DaveyT View Post
Thanks for all of these replies guys, they are very helpful. It's just been a bit of a shock for me as the last time I was sober for 3 months I didn't get any of the emotional symptoms...
Are you taking the new occurrence of mood swings as anecdotal proof that the symptoms associated with alcohol addiction get worse with continued/repeated use?

In my reading I am coming across known phenomena that I have experienced (such as increased moodiness) but had failed to recognize as associated to my drinking. Or related to the progression of my addiction. It's interesting and affirming.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Nonsensical View Post
Are you taking the new occurrence of mood swings as anecdotal proof that the symptoms associated with alcohol addiction get worse with continued/repeated use?
Yes I am taking it as anecdotal proof because it's utterly out of character for me and there are no extra stressors in my life that can account for that sudden mood swing. Even when recently bereaved I don't get like that. So to me it shows I'm on a tipping point where I haven't yet done real damage to my brain but if I carried on drinking then I would start to see some emotional problems that are very common with long term use. The blackouts that only occured in the last 12 months show something has definitely changed in my brain.

It's just another big wake up to what I've been doing to myself. Of course I always knew the health effects of alcohol abuse but there is a difference between logically knowing and actually accepting what is happening. Like most addicts I put the outcomes out of my mind rather than face reality.

Repeated myself a little with this reply, sorry about that.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SoberKnitter View Post
It doesn't feel good, but knowing that it's part of healing allows me to get a little distance from it, if that makes sense. I kind of think of it like there's me and there's the mood and I am just observing it. Sorry, it's kind of hard to articulate.
.

SoberKnitter, I think you articulated this very well. What you described is a much larger aspect of a powerful mental health tool, and AVRT is only a tiny, specific instance of it. I am referring to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When we are mindful, we observe our thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad, just as the beast exists outside of our self. Our thoughts just are.

7 ASPECTS OF MINDFULNESS

1. NON-JUDGING becoming an impartial witness to your own experience.

2. PATIENCE

3. BEGINNER’S MIND willingness to see everything as if for the first time.

4. TRUST – in yourself

5. NON-STRIVING by doing nothing, all is done.

6. ACCEPTANCE seeing things as they actually are in the present.

7. LETTING GO

From a workshop with Jon Kabat-Zinn
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by freshstart57 View Post
SoberKnitter, I think you articulated this very well. What you described is a much larger aspect of a powerful mental health tool, and AVRT is only a tiny, specific instance of it. I am referring to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When we are mindful, we observe our thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad, just as the beast exists outside of our self. Our thoughts just are.

7 ASPECTS OF MINDFULNESS

1. NON-JUDGING becoming an impartial witness to your own experience.

2. PATIENCE

3. BEGINNER’S MIND willingness to see everything as if for the first time.

4. TRUST – in yourself

5. NON-STRIVING by doing nothing, all is done.

6. ACCEPTANCE seeing things as they actually are in the present.

7. LETTING GO

From a workshop with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Thanks for this! I'm off to find a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:02 PM
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On the topic of mindfulness, you will come across a favorite of mine, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. You can find lots of other resources on mindfulness, and even search this site for references by googling 'site:soberrecovery.com mindfulness'.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:22 PM
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The Power of Now by Eckhart is also an amazing book.
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