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How do you stay vigilant?

Old 05-06-2014, 03:12 PM
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How do you stay vigilant?

I know how to stop, but I don't know how to STAY stopped.
Im curious what others did to stay vigilant in recovery on their own?
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Soberella66 View Post
I know how to stop, but I don't know how to STAY stopped.
Im curious what others did to stay vigilant in recovery on their own?
"Vigilance" and "steps" and "counting" and "triggers" and "programs" and "processes" and "groups" are for other methods.

Self-help abstinence is not a process, it is a one-time decision. As it is not a process, there is nothing to vigil over. You are simply a person who does not drink.

To suggest that "vigilance" is required suggest that you see recovery as a spiritual quest that requires some ritual or practice.

Practitioners of AVRT and RR - and perhaps other disciplines - simply arrive at the decision that acting on the impulse to drink is as immoral as assault or robbery.

When you walk past a bank, do you require "vigilance" to keep from going inside and trying to take all the money?

Of course not. You are a responsible adult who knows right from wrong.

Make it the same with alcohol and you will require no fancy words or thoughts to be abstinent.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:52 PM
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One thing that has helped me is remembering that I don't need to drink. I will never need to drink. I don't need to drink for my health. I don't need to drink for my well-being. I certainly don't need to drink for my happiness. There are billions of people out there who never drink in their entire lives and are just fine. It's not going to hurt me to never drink again. That part of my brain that thinks I need to drink short-circuited a long time ago. I don't listen to it. I've made a decision and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:09 PM
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Hi Soberella

I got complacent so many times and ended up in the same old place or worse.

I had to accept this was a permanent problem which would need maintenance.
SR has been good for me in that respect.

You were going well while you were here.
Maybe ask yourself - why did you leave?

D
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:41 PM
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Soberella, we are not the same all of us, but I came to a place where I was unconditionally sober. I decided that if I were really sad, no drinking. Really happy, no drinking. People drinking around me, no drinking. If I were alone, no drinking. Spiritually satisfied or spiritually bereft, no matter, still no drinking.

I decided that there could be no situation or feeling or thought that could ever make me drink. Like Greenwood, I made it into a question of morality for me. A moral imperative fits the bill for those characteristics, so I guess that is what I did.

As for vigilance, what exactly would I be watching for? I don't think I am complacent about drinking again, I am just done with it.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:41 PM
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I pray daily
Take to my sponsor most days
Go to 4 AA meetings a week
Talk to other alcoholics
Meditation
Read and post on SR
Avoid alcohol
Have a strong support system of sober friends
Help others
Be open to new ideas

And as Freshstart says NO DRINKING
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:51 PM
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Soberella - I stay vigilant in an indirect way. I don't know if it would be considered 'vigilance' per se, but it more of maintenance. Rather than focusing on 'not using' I focus on improvements to sober life. Exercise, diet, meditation, etc. are things that I do which are my way of indirectly remaining vigilant. These are things that I thought of as chores / boring in the past, but I genuinely like doing them now. If I didn't enjoy doing them I would have probably given them up after the first day.

I do pre-plan things so that I can avoid triggers whenever practically possible. That is really the only thing I would consider 'vigilance'. Also, I take HALT very seriously and do everything in my power to avoid letting myself get in that state. To be honest though, it isn't so much about using HALT to avoid using it is to avoid feeling like garbage.

I only have 2 1/2 months clean time so this might all be rubbish that gets me face planted next week. It has worked so far though.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:12 PM
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Soberella,

i don't know what the word vigilant means to you.
to me, it connotes a constant fear-driven being-on-guard.
and so i say no, i'm not vigilant.
what i am is aware. aware and awake that i'm an alcoholic. yes, i'm a non-drinker, too, but they're not interchangeable for me.
i'm aware of the truth of my "condition", so to speak.
just one view among many.

what are you finding helpful to you?
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:13 AM
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Nothing inherently wrong with vigilance, if that's how you want to look at it. I prefer to refer to it as maintaining my motivation. To each their own.

I maintain my motivation by building a satisfying sober life. When I am occupied with stimulating activities I rarely even think about alcohol. It took several months to get out of the mindset of the drinking habit and into the mindset of my new alternatives, but it can be done.

Best of Luck on Your Journey!
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:18 AM
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Vigilant may have a slightly different meaning in North America - to me it simply means

Keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties:
(Oxford Dictionary)

D
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:39 AM
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Good topic.

One thing I was thinking about was that thing that happens (or I've heard happen) to many people in recovery, sometimes years later - they convince themselves that they never really had a problem or that they can somehow drink or use again, and moderate it. They inevitably fail. They crash and burn. They may lose it all.

I am definitely scared to death of becoming one of those people.

Sitting here and now I know that drinking or using again would be extremely foolhardy. I don't *want* to - but I know so many people have had 1, 2, 5, 10 years sober or more (although I understand the statistics get better the longer you have sober) and then they forget somehow - they think, "well, it's been long enough, I can figure out how to (drink / use / gamble / porn / etc) responsibly."

So, I go to my Lifering (LR) groups, and make long-term plans to stay involved with this recovery community (which isn't that hard, because I've found that I really *like* LR - it's a community and a philosophy that agrees with me).

Anyways, vigilance - very important. Scared I'll lose it someday. Doing everything I can to keep it.

-DrS
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:55 AM
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I heard the word "vigilant" several times yesterday, and I almost never hear it usually. I looked it up and Dee is right. It basically means to be aware of danger or difficulty. I honestly thought it meant something else. I still stick to my original post, however, I always try to remain vigilant too. I know there are certain times of the day when I need to be careful about being around alcohol. I also know that, for me, urges come in waves. Not just little waves, but week long waves that get bigger and bigger until they break. I haven't had one of those weeks for a while but I try to keep in mind that one might be lurking around the corner. I was thinking the other day how easy it'd be to impulsive. I feel strong now, but I'm aware how easy it'd be to slip if I were at a party or somewhere where alcohol was easily accessible. I don't think I'll ever be able to let down my guard, but it's a lot easier keeping that guard up than all the time, money, and lying I did to hide my alcoholism.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:59 AM
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One thing I would like to add is that a good part of my strategy is based on my DOC (heroin). I don't have to worry about easy access to it. There isn't going to be a 'heroin' aisle at the supermarket that I have to worry about. Nor are there any establishments where I would be tempted to go shoot up with a bunch of random junkies. If alcohol had been my DOC then I would have to be much more guarded and vigilant because I would be constantly bombarded with temptations every day. With the H I would have to pre-plan my relapse and it would take a considerable forethought. If alcohol had been my DOC then I would be concerned about acting impulsively in situations where I let my guard down.

I do avoid alcohol at all costs as well, but that isn't a terrible burden because I don't have the desire to drink.

I look at it like a tiger in a sense. If I lived in a place where I expected to run into a tiger multiple times a day I would absolutely be vigilant. Otherwise I would be tiger breakfast. However, that isn't where I live. If I decided to use again it would be equivalent to driving over to the zoo and climbing in the cage with the tiger.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:20 PM
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Some great points here! What I meant by vigilant is to 'remember to not forget'.
For example I am easily triggered to want to drink when Im talking to people who are drinking. So staying vigilant in my recovery/commitment to not drink would be to avoid those situations and make sure they don't happen. I hope that makes sense.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Soberella66 View Post
I know how to stop, but I don't know how to STAY stopped.
Im curious what others did to stay vigilant in recovery on their own?
Never believe you have kicked the habit is my setup, if the day comes when I think I've won, I may well be the ultimate loser.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:27 PM
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Ive been sober 2+ months. My use was enough to get me fired. During rehab, i realized that my quality of life was suffering long before the "wakeup call".

Oh... to have some of those hangover days back. I smiled through them sometimes, but was faking it.

In the morning i do a quick meditation before getting up. I think about how much better today could turn out if only i would have gotten hammered last night. Ha!

Vigilance seems easier if i dont feel like im missing something. Ive been around intoxicated folks a few times since my decision. Im not missing a damn thing.

Ive read the big book stories. I guess if i had a severe memory disorder i could fall back to it after years of sobriety. Otherwise, i think the actual cause might just be as simple as me wanting it.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:38 PM
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Soberella66, reading threads here on SR is how I stay vigilant, rootin for ya.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:25 PM
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one day I came home from work unexpectedly. wife asked, why are you home? I cannot tell a lie. I didn't blow triple zero on a random alcohol screening. That was my last day of work. I vowed to stop drinking that day. That what all it took. regardless of my histroy of drinking and the nonsense I did, that was my wake up call. That was all it took.

As far as vigilance, reading posts here everyday reminds me - drills it into my brain - that I can never drink again. When I am feeling melancholy wondering how can I do this (insert task) without having a beer, I come on here and either post or read something. It snaps me right back to attention.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:41 PM
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If I could some it up nicely, "self-awareness".

What I do is first be aware when the cravings sprout up, and gently shoot them down with reason. I recall why it is I started this journey of a life of sobriety, and where I came from. What's helped me to not make rationalizations, is to realize previous times where I did, and how that self-barganing ended up in a loss of well-being for me as time ticked on.

There's a very simple understanding that this truly isn't worth it for me anymore, to be intoxicated. I have long-term goals that can be sabotaged by not being my best, and it's imperative that I attempt to create meaning in my life to ease the pain of the truth of meaningless existence.

If I am to be a fool, it will be to myself, but consciously, and with intent on looking beyond myself.

That's what keeps me going.
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenwood618 View Post
"Vigilance" and "steps" and "counting" and "triggers" and "programs" and "processes" and "groups" are for other methods.

Self-help abstinence is not a process, it is a one-time decision. As it is not a process, there is nothing to vigil over. You are simply a person who does not drink.

To suggest that "vigilance" is required suggest that you see recovery as a spiritual quest that requires some ritual or practice.

Practitioners of AVRT and RR - and perhaps other disciplines - simply arrive at the decision that acting on the impulse to drink is as immoral as assault or robbery.

When you walk past a bank, do you require "vigilance" to keep from going inside and trying to take all the money?

Of course not. You are a responsible adult who knows right from wrong.

Make it the same with alcohol and you will require no fancy words or thoughts to be abstinent.
Totally agree with Greenwood.

For me, after I quit drinking in the early 90's, it took me about three years before I began to realize that I was simply a non-drinker. No more daily self-talk about all the great reasons I no longer drank. I just didn't.

Over the years, I have remained aware of the things I consume, but I am not HYPER-vigilant about alcohol. My son got married last month, and I was handed a lovely peach colored beverage that I thought was just punch. I took a sip and immediately recognized the taste of rum. I joined in a toast, touching my lips to the glass without another sip, and set the glass down. It took no "willpower" or effort to do that.

I'm just a nondrinker, and no one ever notices that at all. Hence the offering of the drink. No one thinks of me as a nondrinker, nor should they. I have not EVER gone anywhere, to any event, to any location, where I was the only one not drinking alcohol. Sometimes I hear others proclaiming their nondrinking status, or talking about recovery, but I never do so. Never needed to.

So my point is this: either you are a drinker (or substance user) or you aren't. Period. Done. End of story. No vigilance required.

I suppose you could liken it to the vegetarian who avoids all meat. I doubt it takes any vigilance to avoid meat either, unless one is on a mission to save the animals and feels the need to convince others to avoid it too. Like the cocktail I declined, I know many vegetarians who have encountered a bit of meat in a dish, who then quietly decline to eat it with no further action required.
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