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Rational Recovery and PAWS

Old 11-13-2017, 04:56 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I'm sorry you're feeling this way zen.

I think there is kind of low-level sadness which is different than depression. Depression includes things like a feeling of hopelessness, a lack of motivation, not enjoying anything and worrying and so on. I don't know if we're both talking about the same thing but this is a kind of background sadness that seems to run in parallel with more positive feelings. More a sense of "Oh great, another day!" rather than the circumstantial feelings you get after a break-up say. And unlike depression, you can have "high functioning sadness" and force yourself to carry on as normal with your job, BF and kids even though you feel sad for much of the time.

Does this sound anything like how you're feeling zen? I wonder if anyone here has felt the same way you described and found anything that helped.
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:47 AM
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I think I've spent most of my life avoiding feeling negative emotions, just poured alcohol on top of it or got high over it. Now I'm forced to sit with those feelings. I don't know if it's actual depression or just me not being used to the normal highs and lows of life. I think I've been isolating too much and that is feeding into things. I'm not responding to calls and texts from friends and family, preferring to cocoon into myself. I'm not finding being a caregiver to my family to be fulfilling lately, it just feels like a never ending life of drudgery and repetition. I don't feel like I have much to give away right now and they all need so much from me and my cup feels empty. I think I'm lonely too. I don't have any sober girl friends who live close by. Nobody in my real life understands what it's like to get sober and make the kinds of changes I've made. I tried to tell a friend who I hadn't talked to in awhile but who I go way back with and I felt judged, like quitting meant I wasn't able to handle partying or like a weakness or something. That bugged me because I see it as being the opposite. I think it takes guts to make a change when it's needed. I know I've got to make a plan to find a new social circle but I can't seem to find the motivation to go do it. I think these feelings are a signal that it's time to make some more changes and start being more proactive.

The memory thing is embarrassing. Even when I was drinking I remembered my responsibilities. But things are literally flying right out of my mind and I don't even realize I forgotten until I'm reminded. It's weird.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by zenchaser View Post
I don't know.... I'm not myself.
What if you really are yourself? Upon reading your post, I remember what I now know was my AV expecting me to be the best goddam anti-program recovering alcoholic on the face of the earth. Ha! Gobs of wasted time and effort back in those pre-RR days. Rational Recovery gave me the means to resolve my RASS (Recovering Alcoholic Stockholm Syndrome)

Today, I'm perfectly comfortable being an absent-minded curmudgeon for a while. And at some point, there's no denying the consequences of aging.

The idea of "me returning to drinking is [not] abhorent to me". It actually reminds me that I am healthy in that regard - having a pleasure seeking brain. Of course, I'm not going to DO it. I can't. I made a Big Plan long ago. It doesn't even matter why I made it any more.

If you have a mental health problem for which a doctor might want to prescribe medication like Xanax, then you will have to deal with that; but I would check into alternatives that might not require drugs the AV would love to overdo.

It's quite understandable how the health industry discovers new contexts for problems we may feel. PAWS, SAD, PTSD, etc, etc. Heck, I even came up with RASS. But I believe RASS can be resolved with reading "Rational Recovery, The New Cure for Substance Addiction, The Revolutionary Alternative To Alcoholics Anonymous."
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:40 AM
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You may be right when you say that these feelings are a signal that it's time for you to make some more changes. Sadness can help ground us and keep us from a superficial happiness that is really just glossing over real hurts.

Sometimes I withdraw and go inside myself and feel like I'm just trying to conserve energy, like a plant in winter becoming cold, dark and dormant. I think you're right when you said it's just being alive and that sometimes we're up and sometimes we're down. I find that if I can just be with this sadness without worrying about it too much but taking some action, such as trying to meet new people as you suggested, the winter always passes.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Today, I'm perfectly comfortable being an absent-minded curmudgeon for a while.
Never!
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:14 AM
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You've got a point there GT. I do have this idea that recovery means I have to be happy, joyous and free so not feeling that way makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong or that something needs fixing..... when it's perfectly natural to be an absent minded curmudgeon sometimes lol.

And my AV definitely likes the idea of taking something, anything to change the way I feel. You are also right that the idea of drinking is not abhorrent to me either.... it still calls to me, especially if I'm feeling down. I drove by a local haunt the other day and felt a longing to go inside and sit down at a bar stool and see if any of my old drinking buddies were in there. I would instantly feel better. All these feelings of sadness and loneliness would be gone with that first sip.....

No matter what though, right?

Thanks for your post. It helped put things in perspective.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
the winter always passes.
But I live in Canada.......
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zenchaser View Post
But I live in Canada.......
I forgot that. In that case the most therapeutic thing you can do then is go to the Canadian Rockies and shoot grizzly bears (joke!)
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:29 PM
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Zen, I was just remarking to the missus how dark it was, at 5 pm! I am in the Banana belt here in Canada, along Lake Ontario. I can't recall if you are in the same part of the world, or maybe in Edmonton, a thousand miles north of me? Now THEY have winter!

The challenge for me is to keep busy during these three darkest months of the year. Today I took a shut in, a lovely 94 yr old lady out for lunch. I will be headed out tonight to direct a men's barbershop chorus for our weekly rehearsal. Tomorrow, it's guitar building day. And so it goes for me.

Try saying yes to each opportunity to get and stay busy, Zen. Giving to others, and pursuing things that require and create mastery are good ideas. Soon it will be daffodils and robins again. And through all of what life passes along to us, we remain solidly and resolutely sober. That is a treasure of our own design and labour, something that is uniquely ours and which can never be taken from us.

Hang in there, and ever onward!
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:46 PM
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Hi Freshstart! I'm downtown Toronto so no snow yet..... although it's been very grey and miserable outside lately. Good advice on staying busy and learning new skills. I had been teaching myself something, I was actually getting pretty good at it too, but I just stopped after I went on these midnight shifts a few months ago. There's no reason why I can't pick it back up again though. Funny my kids asked me why I'm not doing it anymore just this evening.

I keep saying no to people who invite me out lately...... or just not answering the phone or replying to texts. I should stop doing that and start saying yes again. It becomes a cycle where the apathy feeds on itself. I know that the only person who can do anything about it is me. I've got to force myself to get motivated and active again.

And through all of what life passes along to us, we remain solidly and resolutely sober. That is a treasure of our own design and labour, something that is uniquely ours and which can never be taken from us.

Ain't that the truth? Beautifully put.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:51 PM
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Zen, your shifts are mind and body punishing, but that can be ameliorated by correct sleep, nutrition and excercise. That hole.....well it's just a consequence of the higher and lower brain, in an unattainable quest for nirvana. It can't happen and even if it did, it would become the new normal. I agree with Freshstart, as much as I resisted, to do a good favour, without financial reward, for an unconnected human being or animal, is so rewarding. I now volunteer at a dog rescue (train and excercise them - whilst trying hard not to bring them all home).

I'm such a Pollyanna type person since stopping drinking, I was so determined I wouldn't suffer PAWS, I refused to believe in the concept. But, yes, I've noticed a huge shift recently, towards more positivity, after a short period of anhedonia some months ago, so perhaps, my brain chemicals were shifting upwards as I expanded sobriety. Trying so hard not to say the trite "this too shall pass" .........but, maybe it's appropriate in this context? Hugs to you, Zen .
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:04 PM
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I don't know how I feel about PAWS. I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't take some time for my brain to heal after soaking in alcohol regularly for a good 15 years. It's hasn't even been 9 months. Also emotionally I'm not used to living my life without reaching for some substance any time things get tough or uncomfortable.

This too shall pass is entirely appropriate Tatsy. And it will.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for this thread, I have a motto: ďI donít drink, no matter what.Ē Iíve found running that through my head, especially in more challenging moments, is effective. Sometimes itís just the background of my thoughts, ďI donít drinkĒ and sometimes itís a firm reminder: ďhey sassy: you donít drink, no matter what.Ē
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:31 AM
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Congrats on your Big Plan Stayingsassy. I never drink too, no matter what. And I will never change my mind. Very empowering!
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:57 AM
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Those who have been indoctrinated into the recovery concept in one way or another are bound to reflect on their existence with regard to how drinking has played a role in every aspect of their lives. And feel it may continue to affect them forever, or a period of time.

What many can't comprehend is that people who never had a drinking problem, and people who have never had a drink, are faced with the same issues - issues being a broad term - that those with the drink problem face, or face long after they quit.

Yes, there are physiological changes - it does affect the brain - that will take time to heal, if the damage was not permanent. And during the course of this 'healing' time, some do experience what could be simplified as "brain farts". But they do lessen in frequency and severity. And it IS possible that these episodes would have occurred regardless of our drinking history. Let's not read too much into it. Stay the course and let time take care of the rest. Over the 35 years I spent as a drunk, I could easily blame the alcohol for everything. Who knows if alcohol actually had anything to do with how I acted all the time, I never had an alternate reference point to compare myself to myself.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:14 PM
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My experience with RR is limited, i only read the 'flash cards' on their website, many times over the years, I've not read any other books, booklets, techniques, workbooks. Am i missing out on something really great?
My take away from their website was the notion of the AV and in the manner it is referenced i find it takes the power away from the sauce. Playful labeling of the devil gives me back my power and gives me manageable tactics esp . in the early days. label it, put it on a shelf and forget about it
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:23 PM
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Make a Big Plan, " I will never drink again , and I will never change my mind" and then apply your signature ( anything that 'says' you can't is AV, dismiss it because You can)
Check out some the discussion threads here in Sec Con , the one in the stickies is a great start
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