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Non Program specific Sobreity

Old 06-21-2017, 07:31 AM
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Non Program specific Sobreity

Hi!

Is anyone else there working a program that sort of mix and matches what works for you?

I discovered this new concept and have found encouragement to build a personal program that works for me (not a "big plan", but an individualized approach to staying sober).

I use a bit of AA (which we can't exactly reference as that I guess in this section), A bit of AVRT ideas. A bit of Smart, A heafty dash of Buddism, Therapy tools with counceling, and sharing the journey with others who are walking sober through life.

Right now I need to go mow the lawn, but I hope people will share about what they do to stay sober without a program preference.

Hope this makes sense. If not ... well at least I tried
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Old 06-21-2017, 07:59 AM
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That's how I did it, mostly through LSR (that is a build-your-own-program non-program), especially through Marty Nicolaus's books. I used to go to LSR meetings, Smart meetings, even sometimes AA meetings just as a counterpoint. And weekly outpatient drop-in group meetings led by profession counselors, after I finished an intensive outpatient program that was critical for me the first couple months. Several of us LSR folks later formed freestylerecovery.org mostly as a resource collection, and that mix/match approach is what we advocate too.

The thing that appealed to me about this approach is that it put me entirely in control, I wasn't following anyone or any program or any cookbook, I couldn't do anything "wrong" because I got to decide what worked for me, and I had multiple places to get help if I felt I needed it.

It's not an approach for everyone, but it's the ideal approach for some.

I can't say I work anything anymore, I'm kinda detached from recovery world and just plain sober and happy nowadays, but that's how I got to this point, mix and match what works.
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Old 06-21-2017, 08:24 AM
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Yeah I follow my own path really which consists of: Gym most if not every day, keep good diet eat at least five fruit and veg, good 8 hours + sleep. Looking forward to nice food and enjoying tea and coffee. Limiting my cigarettes but I enjoy smoking one in the morning. Read science on various psychology and medical stuff. Read articles which fit my viewpoints e.g. leaving AA etc, here. A bit of AA phrases and lifestyle e.g. Letting people get on with their own stuff and I get on with mine, gratitude. Learning to be relaxed and laid back. Not stressing and cutting out stressful things. Some SMART. Some AVRT. Rational thinking things through instead of being irrational. Doing non-drinking activities like watching movies, dating people I fancy. Acamprosate medication, Antabuse, and antidepressants (for now). It's a mixture but it's working.
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Old 06-21-2017, 08:44 AM
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yes, ananda, i started just exactly that way by participating with Lifering.
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:54 AM
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Thanks everyone!

So I have some questions ...

Jeff -
What is LSR?
I'll look at a video on youtube by M. Nicolaus - then look at cost of book...
I just found the freestylerecovery web site and will take a look.
I can remember a time long ago when I reached long term sobriety and it was no longer something I even had to think about ... life was just good ... I had incorporated things that made sobriety seem simple. For me I do have to remember that I did drink again ... under the most benign (is that how you spell it?) conditions.

James -
I think the health care/self care thing could be a benefit to me. I have some physical issues due to my drinking that have created limits, but when I push myself I find that I do feel better ... overeating and lack of exercise is effecting me which in turn effects my moods and feelings and thus my sobriety. I am a big believer that body and mind are not two...
So ... what is acamprosate? I have used some medication that was effective until I drank on it and found out it didn't really do to me what it was suppose to. I still recommend it as It got me 7 months and for others with other bodies it might work well ... that is Vivitrol shots (and quite expensive) ... I liked it cause I only had to make a decision not to drink once a month and then didn't think about it again till the next month cause I didn't thinking would do what I wanted while on it.

Fini
I would love to hear what things you have incorporated into your personal program.

I love to beg borrow and steal things ... try them on for size ...

Right now I have a little over 6 months. I am also preparing to once again dive into some issues I thought I had dealt with completely, but once sober I see are still a problem for me. I have a son and 2 dogs who support my sobriety and a mom who tries (LOL). I just started gardening again and it is really helping me. It bugs me that I still am worn out so quickly (I am on a cane right now and get pretty wobbly the more I exercise ... I'm hoping that will go away).

Well it looks like I have some reading to do... (after I mow the lawn, we got a very light weight battery run one that I can push with one hand if need be ).

thanks again for posting and hope to hear more from you!

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Old 06-21-2017, 10:56 AM
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Ananda, LSR = LifeRing. Marty's "Empower your sober self" was huge for me early on, though when I read it a few years later it struck me different, kinda angry and very anti-AA - but getting out of addiction is a process, and different things worked for me at different times. That book had an important place and time for me. The workbook is excellent, though it takes commitment to wade through it with a pencil - but you don't have to go through the whole book (I never did), you can pick out parts that seem important to you.

I do stay somewhat involved, maintaining the web site and posting here now and then. I run a semi-weekly meeting that is just a few long-sober friends shooting the s**t and rarely talking about alcohol, but lately that's more like monthly. Once in a while, a few times a year, I'll drop by my old outpatient group, run by the same excellent counselor, just to check in. I don't want to totally disengage, and I think maintaining a low level of involvement is important for me long-term, just so I don't ever forget and so I have places to turn to for help if I need it, but I haven't had to work at sobriety in years. I'm just another teetotaler.
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:25 PM
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I used to take naltrexone but it made me tired. Acamprosate is a medication that's supposed to "normalise" brain chemicals that are ****** up after drinking and so make you not want to drink in order to "renormalise" your brain by drinking the alcohol and giving you an artificial boost. It seems to work for me I take it every other day now and when my script runs out I'll be off it.
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:04 PM
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Thanks Jeffrey and James!

Yeah ... I took the vivitrol (shot form) rather than the Naltrexone because at that time I couldn't really count on taking the pill everyday ... make the decision one day at a time... I could guts myself up for it once a month and then I didn't have to think about not-drinking or drinking.

I don't like it when I am in a place of having to think about not drinking all the time... that is a line I always like "we stopped fighting" ... I lived that hell of wanting wanting wanting to be sober then drinking drinking drinking! Right now I still have to think about it quite a bit ... as in sobriety is a huge focus ... but I do know from experience that if I continue to do my sobriety supporting stuff I will not really think of it as sobriety supporting (just full and won't think of drinking.

What works for me is ... counseling once every two weeks (may have to change to every week due to some "issues") but expect that to be a periodic thing throughout my life as challenges come up, a couple of AA meetings a week (to try and find some friendships), sticking with my sober month group on SR, and most important ... my Buddhist practice ... I listen to an Ajan every day for an hour. OK ... not always, but that is the goal as my day is always at list a bit better when I start out that way.

I mowed the front lawn today. I probably won't be able to do anything involving much walking the rest of the day as my balance gets pretty bad after moderately physical activity (I hope that gets better in time).

I finally got myself off of the one container of ice cream every other day pattern ... still eat the whole container when I get it...but now about once a week. For now, my son is in charge of dolling out the donuts for deserts. I know I can't do that forever, but right now it is a help.

Anyhow ... that's were I'm at
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:26 PM
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I honestly can't remember what got me started, but I found myself ordering books about mindful recovery and started meditating. I think that was because the Four Noble Truths seem to speak directly to addiction, or at least to craving and wanting...

I then dabbled and learned about RR, SMART, Refuge Recovery, went to a few AA meetings (when out of town; didn't trust anonymity in this small town)...

But SR was my sober community. I pretty much did it solo otherwise (with support from my long sober wife, who, by the way, never read or did anything related to recovery - just quit and that's it).

The mindfulness thing morphed into weekend retreats and online classes in Buddhism. I also started taking classes toward addiction counseling certification, which taught me a lot. Some classes were online and some were two or three day intensives. I was planning to continue that direction but a new job fell in my lab, so we'll see.

I come back to SR more out of habit than need these days, and to get a sense of where people's heads are at... People do seem to go through stages and have different needs at each stage. I found that true for me. Right now I'm between jobs so with time off I'm on SR more than usual. I keep thinking I'll move on but there are some folks here I like to touch base with now and then...

Ciao.
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:59 PM
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It would be nice if you kept showing up

I drank after 2 years my first time sober and everything fell out from under me. My BF at that time got me to take a "class" on Buddhism. It was 2 guys that practiced together with a small group of about 5 people tops. What drew me in was the 4 noble truths, but it was the first one ... that there is suffering. I truly needed to start where I was at that time. One of those 2 guys was my "teacher" although he would not go by that title. I am sure that just before he died he became an arahat.

It was the treatment center I went to and the therapist I found there that got me going in a true for me direction. Mindfulness and reflecting on things has really been changing everything for me. More so now then it did 32 years ago.

ok .. dinner time
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Old 06-22-2017, 04:47 AM
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Absolutely. My journey back from addiction was the most personal thing I've ever done. It required a personalized program.
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Old 06-22-2017, 04:50 AM
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I tried the entire spectrum of "approaches" and finally realized that quitting would require not drinking. I find great support in being grateful for the gifts of sobriety, especially a good night of sleep and no hangovers that, in turn, allow me to exercise, think, be productive, relax, etc. My sobriety doesn't rely on meetings, programs, verb tenses, pronouns, or anything else.
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:49 AM
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Gratitude is a great one for me. I use to wake up every morning and say "I am thankful I was born in this human body".

Of course now that I've trashed it ... it's a bit harder to say!

But also all the more important.



Oh yeah .... I almost forgot about humor! It makes life and sobriety so much more relaxed and fun!
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:07 AM
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ananda,

since day one, i have participated in online forum, at first solely in Lifering, and years later here.

i did a lot of reading, of "theory" but mostly personal stories of the diverse ways people got and stayed sober.
such as Sober For Good, and Marty Nicolaus' book "Recovery by Choice" was hugely useful to me, and right up my alley, though i did not ever do the written exercises; i just ruminated about it all along the lines of his questions.
i joined a LR meeting, since there was one in my town, and i kept going back with enthusiasm, even though originally i had decided this would be a one-time thing, just to make myself do it, because i sure didn't want to, and knew there would be value in doing it exactly for that reason.
i later started another meeting with a sober buddy of mine.

throughout all this, i developed a more open mind. what i mean by that is that when people expressed concepts to me about alcoholism which contradicted my convictions but seemed to "speak to" me somehow, or resonate somewhere inside, i purposely stopped and looked. a lot of this was grudgingly done . this is where open-mindedness came in.
i found that as far as my drinking and alcoholism, my beliefs and my experiences often didn't match.
this was a very challenging process for me, upshot being i had to (well no, i chose to) look more deeply and honestly at my experiences and what i and it had been like...and all this, years later, led me to understand the benefits of the 12-step program, so that is where i went next.

i could have never gone there first.

yes, an individual journey, with tons of other people
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:22 AM
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that is really interesting! I seem to have experienced that in reverse.

I try to always stop back when something irritates me and take a second look. I want to be open minded and my beliefs are a constantly changing thing.

I do need to pause and reflect when something hits me wrong, and also when something draws me. I learn a lot if I am ready to open to the experience.
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:24 PM
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I am a fluid person (Gemini here) and my journey reflects it.

These days I rely my on daily meditation practice but yes, my program was definitely a mix and match.

I got started with AA and worked the steps, threw in some AVRT for good measure (and I don't care if they are supposed to be mutually exclusive... it was my program darn it ).

I attended WFS a few times and took in the empowering message and I also threw in a bit of CBT (mainly because I like to make lists )
and then I discovered first Zen meditation then Refuge Recovery...

Being fluid and remaining teachable is what worked for me. The goal is to achieve long term sobriety and to lead a content life and whichever tool or combination of tools one uses is cool with me.
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Old 06-24-2017, 08:54 AM
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Anger

I would be interested in how different people work through, with or get out of anger. I use to use alcohol to deal with any emotion or situation, and I am now trying to develop some other skills.

I have run into a number of very angry people lately, and realized how I fall into that at times. Yesterday I started getting irritated at every little thing.

I ended up expressing my feelings of hurt and irritation that was going on to some sober people. They really sort of ignored me except one guy who said he couldn't afford to get angry ....

I'm like Gee ... so what do you do when it happens.

It seems like I've worked through it by simply acknowledging it, looking at it, and I guess just seeing how I might be building toward it ... I'm still in frustration, but have backed off from irritated (which can sometimes lead to senseless rage over something that sometimes is important, but sometimes isn't.

So if anyone would care to share, I'd love to hear from you.

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Old 06-24-2017, 10:00 AM
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I used distraction a lot in early recovery, to ward off cravings and dodge triggers. Anything, listen to music or change the music, leave the room, go for a walk, read something or read something else, clean house, anything that took my mind off the idea of drinking or any desire to drink. I've found that that approach works well for me to avoid getting stuck in negative emotional states, like anger and especially frustration (that's a bad place for me to stay for long). What I came to accept is, it's ok to occasionally get angry or frustrated, they're normal human emotions and not "signs" that I'm gonna drink, or justifications to drink, I just don't want to dwell on them.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:05 PM
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"What I came to accept is, it's ok to occasionally get angry or frustrated, they're normal human emotions and not "signs" that I'm gonna drink, or justifications to drink, I just don't want to dwell on them."

Yeah ... I think that is sort of where I am at... I think it works better for me if I am able to look at the emotions I have for what they are ... emotions (not truth, not everything). That said, if the emotion is really whirling me away (also called whirling Karma), I have to step back into my center and let go...that often means distraction by simply changing my view. If the emotion hangs around or reoccurs I cn always revisit it.

Some of my friends here call it "inviting your feelings in for a cup of tea and a chat" ... I like that ... low key and friendly conversation to ease the comfortableness.

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Old 06-24-2017, 04:03 PM
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Very personalized recovery. AA/SMART/Therapy. I still pick up my annual chip at Central Office just to keep it as a reminder of how far I've come. Not just in sobriety but also in life. I'm a SMART Facilitator since we have so few meetings in my town. Started mediation recently, trying to do it every day but for now I'll settle for every other day. Currently not in therapy but I know there are times in my life when I can use an outside influence to help me see what is going on around me better than I can.
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