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white knuckling

Old 08-05-2013, 08:21 AM
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white knuckling

Can someone explain this phrase ? Is it to do with AVRT ? I've become somewhat familiar with this process
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:21 AM
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White knuckling is more an AA term. It's someone holding on for dear life so they don't drink or use.

AVRT is not a method that prescribes to this term since its not part of the big plan. In fact any conversations with my AV is not even something I entertain. So white knuckling would be like me going back and forth with AV and me ultimately not on the winning side of the debate.

Hope that helps.... This is just my thoughts... Others may have different ideas.

K
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:04 AM
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I think "white knuckling" refers to the feeling of barely holding on, struggling moment-to-moment against the urge to drink/use. I certainly experienced that feeling in the very early days. I had been drinking a long time, and not surprisingly, it took a while before the new normal settled in. But it did settle in, the roller coaster evened out, and today my knuckles have never been more relaxed.

In certain quarters, the phrase is sometimes used to describe someone who quit drinking and doesn't attend meetings or otherwise participate in a formal program. It's a way of saying, "Sure, he's sober, but he's hanging by a thread." Nothing could be further from the truth in my case. Hanging by a thread? I'm lounging in a hammock, lol... But if it makes someone feel better about their program to think I'm suffering without it, no big deal. That's about them, not me. To each his own.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:38 PM
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For me Ricky ,
I feel it's a derogatory term for someone who is trying to willpower themselves not to drink .
For me i believe willing it was unsucessful because both the desire to drink and the desire to not be sick both came from my ego , also i had to be sober for 24hrs a day to sucseed at sobriety but only take one drink for a min or two to loose control for a binge 24 hrs x 60 mins = a lot of chances to loose ...


Only when i started to learn about the diamond suttra, watch U G Krishnamurti and understand the mind body problem, then i was able to comprehend my own ego or idea of self can be seen as an illusion , a distraction from a deeper more connected reality , the desperate want of need has never returned after that moment .

Bestwishes, m
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:56 PM
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"white knuckling" is similar to the term "dry drunk" in my opinion. It is just a way to judge someone as not doing what others think they should do and devalues sobriety (again in my opinion).

Sure, my goal is to serenely without any disturbance of mind, to be sober and always happy, always patient, always kind...etc. But I'm human and it isn't always that way. I get to live a full life with all the stuff I like and the stuff I don't.

So sometimes...I struggle. With sobriety, with life, with people...

And if I stay sober through a rough period by frantically doing all I can to not drink...or if I am sober but being an arse... Well I'm just glad that on those days I still stay sober. The more times I returned to drinking the harder it got to get back into sobriety. An alchoholic not drinking is a good thing regardless of the method. And code words like this are just not helpful. I prefer people describe the thoughts, the actions etc. that they are trying to sum up in some simple 1 or 2 or 5 word slang. When people share what they are expereinceing and trying and deal in more concrete examples and explinations it can really help me. When they just slam a saying at me...well .. just not helpful.

So...white knuckle away and "just don't drink" till something clicks and life starts to get nice again.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:52 PM
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"White Knuckling" refers to alcoholics/addicts who are using only willpower to stop drinking and are not using any other type of support system. Basically it means walking around with untreated alcoholism/addiction but not drinking/using. Often white knuckling it will eventually lead to relapse.

And no it is NOT an AA term. And yes there are times when I am not connected to the (fill in the blank) program I use to stay sober that I am "white knuckling it". I don't think it's meant to be a derogatory term, just a term to explain what it feels like to be sober but miserable because one is not doing anything to make their life better.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:09 PM
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I just wrote a post that I was about to start a new topic on, but I see that this has been pushed to the top of the list so I'll add it here.
_____________________________________________

White Knuckling?

I'm posting this in the Secular section because it may be at odds with the AA model, and I wish to get other perspectives. Can we talk about this concept? There's an active thread that mentions this, and the term is all over the forum. I just don't really understand it.

From an external internet source, there is this:

"Now and then," we read in the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous, "a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, "I don't miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. Having a better time." As ex-problem drinkers, we smile at such a sally. We know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits. He fools himself. Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the old game again, for he isn't happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to manage life either with alcohol or without it. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end."
[Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 152-153.]


And then:

How to avoid these perils? "Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of the past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit. . . May God bless you and keep you - until then."
[Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164.]


I've read all the 'euphemism replacement' notions about the deity aspect of AA, but this 'solution' puts it squarely in the religious realm, and is difficult to not consider the second quote with a secular mind, and use it to any advantage. It also appears to suggest that without AA or the 12 step program, then one is doomed to fail in the desire to stay clean. For me, I don't think it's at all unreasonable for the ex-drinker to desire a hit, especially in the early days. In my case, 20 years of obsessively destructive drinking behaviors, and the urge to continue simply don't disappear overnight. I'm OK now, thanks to being hyper-conscious of the pitfalls, and being parked here at SR almost constantly, but I know when the time comes to go to a bar, then I know full well that there will be urges that I need to fight in the first few months, maybe even for a year or more. To deny this reality seems absurd. The early recovery process is always going to be accompanied by moments of temptation, and I'm sure the same could be said for most, whether they be following their own commitment, SMART, AVRT, or yes, AA.

I'm really trying to work within myself to get to a few AA meetings and use the 'take what you want' outlook, but each day that I read more bits from their book (quotes from others, i don't actually have the book), it becomes more at odds each time with my own views. I don't wish to be told that I am in denial about the severity of my addiction simply because I don't follow the AA rules/guidelines or the surrender to the 'god' being that others believe in.

Do I have another plan ? Absolutely. I know that I need to stay busy when i get my motivation in order (again, after 20 years drinking, I don't believe that this is an overnight process), and start thinking about some fitness and dietary changes to bring about a positive existence. But for now, the major goal is to ween myself from the habit of drinking, and at least try to do something worthwhile. If during this period I stuff myself with comfort food and laze around a bit more than I should be, then so be it. These so called 'sins' (gluttony & sloth) are temporary bridges to a greater goal to a better life without booze, and subsequently a more positive mindset, not of which was even conceivable while I was in the fog.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:42 PM
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I'm not suggesting anyone here should go to AA unless they truly want to. I was mainly posting to riky to give him my take on what white knuckling means to me. I did correct one poster on "white knuckling" being an AA term. They never use the term "white knuckling", and that specific term is what seems to offend some. AA's belief is that what makes us take the first drink/drug is a mental obsession, and if you do nothing but stop drinking/using the mental obsession is still there and you continue to struggle with urges. BTW that last quote is missing some text. Next time I suggest copying it from a reputable online source. I know this because the last part of the quote explained exactly how I felt near the end of my drinking (and that part of the quote is the part missing text).
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:05 PM
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Ah, sorry if that post appeared to be in direct response to yours. I was starting to write it before I saw yours posted.

However since you brought it up, while I understand that 'white knuckling is specifically not an AA term, it does seem to appear often in AA member's discourse, both verbally and on forums, along with the interchangeable term 'dry drunk', the latter of which does carry some insultory connotations. This is also a bit of a silly term, when we consider that the word 'drunk' = 'alcoholic', and every speaker takes the floor describing themselves as an alcoholic.

This isn't intended to incite argument, but rather to constructively debate & discuss the methodology from an alternative perspective, hence why I'm doing so in this subforum. I think it's important to hear what others, particularly non-AA adherents have to say on the subject, and how they have resolved the questionable aspects of the AA model, and still used the program to succeed.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:10 PM
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guys this is the secular connections forum. It's for discussions of secular recovery.
Discussions about AA are off topic.

12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed. Please use the Secular 12 Step Forum for positive topics on Secular 12 Step Recovery.
if we can't have a discussion of white knuckling without AA being invoked, this thread may close.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:14 PM
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I certainly white knuckled it. My 'record' was two months.

I grit my teeth I sweated I kicked the odd wall, I got more and more irritable and grumpy. but I never actually did anything to try and work through those feelings.

Eventually I couldn't stand myself and neither could any of my mates.

I figured a cone wouldn't hurt, cos it wasn't beer - if course, within 15 mins I had a beer in my hand.

White knuckling was exhausting - I was in a constant state of tenseness - that really takes it out of you and actually makes you vulnerable I think.

I've learned since that finding and using support is really the way to go.

D
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:44 PM
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[QUOTE=Dee74;4119807]guys this is the secular connections forum. It's for discussions of secular recovery./QUOTE]

With all respect to your reminder, how is it possible to avoid AA discussions? Pretty much all of the times I see these terms such as 'white knuckling' or 'dry drunk', it's from the AA parishoners, or stories about negative sponsor comments. I'm actually struggling to understand how it's even relevant consideration for new recoverers, or simply hyperbole intended to strike weakness into the minds of those taking the path of sobriety.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:50 PM
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when you first started this thread, i googled the phrase, and lots of non-AA stuff comes up from sites related in any way, shape or form to addiction, recovery, racing, rockclimbing.....
when i take it literally, i think it explains the meaning quite well: hanging on to something so tightly, so freaked-outly, so terrified, that ones knuckles turn white.
actually, there seemed to be a few websites that have some good suggestions for those who find their knuckles are indeed quite pale from hanging on to their sobriety by their fingernails.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TKS View Post
With all respect to your reminder, how is it possible to avoid AA discussions? Pretty much all of the times I see these terms such as 'white knuckling' or 'dry drunk', it's from the AA parishoners, or stories about negative sponsor comments. I'm actually struggling to understand how it's even relevant consideration for new recoverers, or simply hyperbole intended to strike weakness into the minds of those taking the path of sobriety.
I posted detailing my personal experience with white knuckling.

I didn't feel the need to link it back to anyone elses beliefs or contribute to a metadiscussion on recovery dogma.

If I can do it, I'm sure you and others can too.

If any one else has a question, a query or complaint about this forum and the way it's run - PM the forum mod Morning Glory.

She'll be only too glad to explain her rationale, I'm sure.

D
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by TKS View Post
Ah, sorry if that post appeared to be in direct response to yours. I was starting to write it before I saw yours posted.

However since you brought it up, while I understand that 'white knuckling is specifically not an AA term, it does seem to appear often in AA member's discourse, both verbally and on forums, along with the interchangeable term 'dry drunk', the latter of which does carry some insultory connotations. This is also a bit of a silly term, when we consider that the word 'drunk' = 'alcoholic', and every speaker takes the floor describing themselves as an alcoholic.

This isn't intended to incite argument, but rather to constructively debate & discuss the methodology from an alternative perspective, hence why I'm doing so in this subforum. I think it's important to hear what others, particularly non-AA adherents have to say on the subject, and how they have resolved the questionable aspects of the AA model, and still used the program to succeed.
No offense taken TKS and I do agree that the term "dry drunk" can be insulting when referring to someone else (I do not use the term myself). I try not to take other people's inventory period, regardless of what method of recovery they are using if any. I will offer support to those who ask for it, and all I can do is give them my experience. They can either take it or leave it depending on whether it helped them or not.

If I came across as pushing an AA agenda it was not intentional. This is actually the first time I have posted in this forum. The only other time I have been in here has been to read about AVRT, as I found the concept interesting and potentially useful. I actually stumbled into the forum following a link that riky posted in a different thread. I definitely respect everyone trying to get and stay sober regardless of the method they use.

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Old 08-29-2013, 04:38 PM
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Great post, TKS! Thank-you!!
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:55 AM
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My understanding of white knuckling means to be hanging on to anything through sheer determination, gritted teeth and a dash of luck, and being in danger of losing hold of it.

I grew up hearing this term referring to everything from roller coaster rides, to exams week, to visits from a mother in law.

It certainly described some time periods during early recovery, when I still had no idea what to do other than get wasted when things got hairy.

It still happens to me now in other areas of my life, and sometimes when I am stressed I actually wake up with my fists clenched so hard that my knuckles are literally white.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:03 PM
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This term was new to me when I arrived at this side – I did understand the words but did not no the term. It can not be said in the other languages I speak.

I did understand it as the kind of the opposite of “urge surfing”.

You can relate to you cravings/emotions in to ways you can fear them and flee from them or you can try to be good company to them them and watch them and try to experience/feel what they are doing without acting on them.

Probably a wrong understanding – I kind of like the term though.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by soberhawk View Post
I did understand it as the kind of the opposite of “urge surfing”.
This is how I see it too. White knuckling being the opposite of urge surfing.

It also means, for me, that I am still somewhat on the fence about things. When I take drinking off the shelf, there is nothing to white knuckle about.

I used urge surfing very early on when I was freshly sober. And I haven't experienced any white knuckling at all since this last attempt at getting sober.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by SoberJennie View Post

It also means, for me, that I am still somewhat on the fence about things. When I take drinking off the shelf, there is nothing to white knuckle about.

I used urge surfing very early on when I was freshly sober. And I haven't experienced any white knuckling at all since this last attempt at getting sober.
I agree with Jennie. My first attempt at sobriety in February I was miserable sober. Every day I hated being sober and all I thought about was drinking. 37 days later.....

In March (after I drank) I sincerely wanted to quit and my whole attitude about it changed. I was/am happily sober now.
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