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Old 07-05-2006, 08:25 PM
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DIY Recovery

Greetings everyone

I've been in recovery for over 2 years now with a desire to quit drinking. During this time, I have had many long periods of success, and also many lapses leading to a prolonged use of alcohol. In all, I think it's been a relatively successful period of time, as my consumption is way less then in the same time period of previous years. I think that recovery may be like that for many people, kinda doing well, then slipping etc.

Although I have spent much time visiting recovery sites, I don't adhere to any one particular program, but do like to take what I consider to be the best choices for me from each. I am a member of SMART, Sober Recovery, Sober Village, Oz recover, and have also perused Rational Recovery, etc. I have participated in F2F meetings sponsered by AADAC(Gov't of Ab.)

It would be interesting to hear what other peoples' take on what they feel are the best techniques and philosophies, not the best program, for day to day sober living.

For instance, SMART's CBA(cost benefit analysis) has been very helpful to me in abstaining but also I apply it to other decisions I have to make. Their ABC is a very helpful method of thinking an issue through and arriving at a logical decision.

AVRT(addictive voice recovery therapy(?)) is another technique I employ at times.

I do like AA's 1 day at a time concept. The peer support is very appealing to me also, however I have not attended an AA meeting.

Currently, I am working with my family doctor and taking antabuse as a tool to utilize for my goal.

I realize that for me to successfully quit drinking I think that changing my way of thinking, self-discipline and sober time are very important.

It's interesting to note that perhaps people quitting on their own, without a program, have a fairly high efficacy rate. (I have no data or links to support this, just what I believe.)

For myself, a do-it yourself quitting method seems to be working. I have the advantage of picking and choosing whatever technique seems best for me and any new method I learn is more tools for my toolbox, so to speak.

So, any do-it yourselfers out there who've had marked success with any particular technique?

Keep well

Mongo
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Old 07-05-2006, 08:40 PM
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Hey, Mongo. I'm just getting started on sobriety again. I've done cognitive behavioral therapy and AA in the past. (AA will be part of my program this time too)
That having been said, even though I am and always have been a Christian, I am finding some seriously powerful philosophy in Buddhist thought. It's amazing how much it strengthens the messages of so many other approaches. I'm almost forty years old and never had one second of meditation until I learned what it really means from one of my Dalai Lama books.
It may seem left field to many people, but it is worth a read.
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Old 07-05-2006, 08:41 PM
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My own Cost Benefit Analysis...

I haven't investigated SMART's CBA premise; however if the point is the monetary cost of alcohol consumption....

Shortly before we went sober, I'd run to the store to pick up some beer or wine, and spend $30 (only the most expensive beer for me, thank you!). Now, multiply this by 4 days a week (could it be 5? Might I spend $50 if friends were coming over) and we're reaching $120/week, $480 a MONTH. If continuing that pattern isn't sick behavior, I don't know what is. Needless to say, we have more discretionary money than we've had at any point in our adult lives. We take the kids to a movie and dinner, take the dog to the vet, pick up a couple of DVDs or books at Costco without much thought -- when we were spending $500 (or more) a month or more on alcohol, there wasn't much left over for fun. Going out to dinner for the 4 of us usually comes in around $30; add a $30 bar tab and dinner out was never under $50.

It's staggering to think of how much money, let alone time and sanity, we wasted over the years.
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Old 07-05-2006, 08:52 PM
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Mrswoogie, so true. And remember, that $500/month is after tax money!

That'd be like a $750/month raise. Not chickenfeed, by any stretch of the imagination.

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Old 07-05-2006, 09:08 PM
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I am not really familiar with all the different programs out there, I know I wasn't into AA because of the higher power and religous overtones.

I had my own rational thought process about what I was doing, and I am sure it is very similar to ideas put forth by some programs.

I asked myself several questions and was honest in my answers

Why was I drinking? to have a good time and forget the worries of life
Problem was I had a good time while drinking, but that is short lived and the next day is more miserable. The positive gain from drinking Saturday night was outweighed by the negatives experienced Sunday; mental math says that is a net loss of "good time". Maybe if I stopped at two pints this wouldn't have been an issue, but I usually drank more than I should.
I would forget the day's worries in the short term, but putting off what bothers me doesn't make it go away. That just lets the problem fester and become a bigger hassle most of the time.

Now that's just a generic example, I had many more specific examples and pretty much all of them had similar results when I really objectively thought about why I was drinking, and what the consequences really are.

I spent a lot of money on alcohol, even drinking at home. I have been putting off other leisure activites because I don't have the money to spend on them. I haven't been snow skiing in seven years because it is too expensive, well I spend more than that on beer and vodka, many times over. Figure in the cost of weed on top of that and I could be driving a much nicer and newer car instead of a ten year old Buick that I have to repair myself. The opportunity costs of the financial expenditures on alcohol and pot were staggering when I put them in writing. So many things I say I couldn't afford, I couldn't afford them because I was blowing my discretionary income on intoxicants. What do I have to show for all that money spent?

I also looked at where I am in life, and I am dissatisfied. My college buddies are all now doctors, lawyers, business owners, PhD's in their fields, etc. I am jobless and without any game plan. My last career sucked, and I don't know which field to try and get into. Sitting around getting drunk every night lessens the discomfort I should be feeling about this situation, and I procrastinate on it like I do with many other problems in life. Alcohol was allowing me a short term escape route from life. You can't escape from life and still live a good life. The fruits of my life choices were ripening, and they were sour. Yes, this makes me want to drink and forget it, then next thing I know it will be ten years from now and I will have gone nowhere.


What was I getting out of alcohol? nothing
What was it costing me? seems like nearly everything
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:06 AM
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Heartily Agree!



Somehow we determined snowboarding lessons for our son were too expensive, as was getting a newer truck or our dream trip to fly fish in Alaska. Now, beer is another thing alltogether...I enjoy it, gets me out in social scenes. Wow! The benefit of drinking outweighed the terribly high cost of our favorite activities. How can we make it into our mid-30's and be so dumb?

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Old 07-09-2006, 02:50 PM
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Thanks all

Financially, drinking is a huge burden. Not only in a direct monetary way but a lot of other indirect ways.

For instance, had I not been kept from performing to my full potential on the job maybe I missed that big promotion, raise, etc. My addiction kept me from doing my best.

If I had taken all that money and invested it in , let's say, microsoft stock, I would be a wealthy man. Once again, my addiction has kept me down.

Not only money, but time. If the time I spent drinking was put to a more fruitful use, who knows what I may have accomplished.

The nice thing is, even though the past cannot be changed, the future is spotless. I will never be a pro athlete or a rock star, but I can use my sobriety to accomplish some very positive things.

I've been sober just about two months now, and I think that making a plan and setting some future goals is in order. I've had some pretty good benefits from abstaining already and there's no reason I can't do even more if I set my mind to it.

It's usually at this point in my past abstaining attempts that I crash and burn. How does a person keep up the motivation? I'd be really interested in hearing some ideas or positive results that people have had.

Keep well

Mongo
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Old 07-09-2006, 03:13 PM
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Well, if relying heavily on SR support counts as a "do it yourself" job, I guess that's me When I started my recovery effort, I had started a daily log (not for recovery, actually it was part of a creative development exercise) - just jotting down a few thoughts, feelings, etc. first thing every morning. The book I was reading that included this exercise was written by an artist who (like me) had gone a little too far down the drinking path. After a week of journaling I found SR and made a written resolution to "never drink by myself again" (I was a stealth drinker - every night drinking, but no one ever knew). Journaling my feelings as I've made it back this far (60 some days!) has been really helpful, and strangely enough just having that resolution in writing has helped, too! The times I've been in great danger of relapsing one of the things I think about is "Gee, after writing all of that great stuff, are you going to just toss the notebook and pretend it didn't happen? How will you feel about yourself THEN??"
And as a minor point, being someone who ate to drink more and always at dinner, if I'm tempted to go out and buy booze I immediately start preparing an elaborate dinner - keeps me busy and removes a major "trigger" of mine! I guess it all comes down to identifying your triggers and defusing them ... Onward!
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Mongo
So, any do-it yourselfers out there who've had marked success with any particular technique?
Cold turkey w/ no program, rehab or support. Cocaine free since 1983.

Admittedly a very uncomplicated approach but it was a b!tch to be sure! LOL!!
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:04 AM
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Wow Jazzman!

I only wish I had your resolve.

Well done!

Wishful, I too was a "stealth drinker".(I love that phrase). Sounds like journaling and diverting yourself(cooking) has worked well. Congratulations on your 60 days! Identifying our triggers is a big part of it I think.

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Old 07-10-2006, 07:02 PM
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Hello everybody,

I posted a brief story of how I stopped on my own by answering Don S. three questions in this forum. I was on every drug I can imagine awailable from 1973-1986, but Cokaine, Marijuana and alchohol were my drugs of choice.

I went on cold turkey. Got rid of the Cocaine alone and by myself without any support, but I used Valium and alcohol to lessen the terrible withdrawal syndroms. I think I will never, ever forget how terrible that was and I firmly believe I cannot touch Coke again after that battle. I was offered it after I got clean, but the feeling of my bloody nose and mouth, the aching feeling in my bones, the fever, the indignity... It felt like some one was offering my a bowl full of bugs. I wanted to throw up.

I feel like that drugs belongs to another life, another time. But I know that I have to stay vigilant, so I donīt drink, I donīt take drugs. Doing that would be like lighting a fire and I wonīt take that risk. I fought to hard to get where I am today. Everybody can slip.

I decided to take each addiction and use the energy it took by doing itīs opposite: Creative work, civil rights work, looking after my children, dance, travel and enjoy my life 100%. The drug taking took 100% so I give the positive aspects of my life the same. I deserve nothing less, nor the people around me whose life I hurt by my irresponsible behaviour.

I think it was easier for me to stay clean and sober because I did myself, but I am not advicing people to do it without consulting their doctor. I took a terrible risk, but deep down I needed to do it.

Love and light,
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Old 07-11-2006, 01:58 AM
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Hi Mongo.

I want to contribute to your thread as a matter of courtesy, though I don't subscribe to any one particular recovery program or technique.

I regard life and the world as my classroom. It's been 10 months for me. Like Jazzman alluded, it hasn't been easy. A few minutes ago, I sat perusing the Humanist Steps Don posted. I thought that all of those (and then some) are a matter of course with right living for me. I think when one stays focused on a higher quality of life and keeps moving forward, problems and their solutions eventually fall into place. Not that this hasn't been a time of serious introspection.

When I quit drinking, I was pretty dysfunctional in mind and spirit (spirit being my passion and resolve for living). I had contemplated rehab or an inpatient psychiatric program. With no insurance, I just decided to go it alone. I didn't have any sort of plan at my fingertips..... quitting was a matter of immediate urgency. I had been to AA in previous years, and I felt then that it wasn't a method that was suitable for me. I had done some Big Book study, and it just never clicked. I didn't have anyone available to intervene on my behalf. I guess when one is kind of alone in the world, you realize that much more how at the end of the day, you're all you've really got. My Mother, who was the most available to me, always had this "tough love" bent that really forced me to deal with some very difficult situations on my own. She has always been an independent thinker and self-supporting, and I'm grateful for her example in that area of life.

I think I might be faring better so far had I chosen a program of recovery. I really needed to have it all spelled out on how to start everything all over again. I struggle with severe depression and ADD, and it has been very difficult for me to sort through the various problems I found myself facing. Books are, and always have been a real source of inspiration to me. I have lots of wonderful self-help books I rely upon for guidance during difficult times, and there has always been SR, with occasional group and one-on-one support from individual members. Reading is just absolutely fundamental for educating myself in any subject, project, or undertaking. I would take a good therapeutic workbook and wear it out. I'm an introvert, so writing and reading are ample and nearly sufficient resources. A good individual therapist will be an eventual boon to my recovery.

I live with someone who abuses alcohol, which messes with my serenity a lot and somewhat slows my healing process. It becomes difficult to remain focused on my own issues when his are at the forefront of my mind a good portion of the time. I'm still considering Alanon. I attend AA meetings with him on occasion (he was court-ordered). I haven't been in quite some time. The biggest inspiration I draw from meetings is being around people who manage to remain sober no matter what curveballs life throws at them. Just the warmth of being near fellow humans who share similar struggles is a creature comfort.

I recently started on Zoloft for my depression. It's been about 12 days or so, and I have been noticing small improvements. It's just amazing to me. I get tears in my eyes, because depression has been such a major torment for me through all this, and just the small amount of relief that increases a little bit every day has me overwhelmed with gratitude for all the happiness and good feelings I haven't been able to experience without. My recovery should pick up some momentum with this obstacle in the process of resolution. I wish I had started the Zoloft sooner, but even with insurance it is costing me $40.00 per month.

Well, I suppose this about covers it for me. Thanks for the thread Mongo, and good luck in your continuing journey.


:boat
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Lilya
I feel like that drugs belongs to another life, another time.
This statement very much resonates with my experience and mindset also, and has been crucial for allowing closure on that chapter of life.

Recognizing, accepting, and embracing that substance abuse is history, and no longer an option..... the distancing is quite liberating.
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Old 07-12-2006, 10:37 AM
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Mongo - my take:

Live rationally. Its as simple or as complex as that. Make sure I am in the flow of reason. My thoughts, my behaviours, my relationships have balance in light of where I want to head in my life.

I would also check out, well hell indoctrinate yourself, into the teaching of A T Beck. He devised CBT which is evidence based (yippeee).
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Old 07-15-2006, 04:53 AM
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Autumn, I found AD very, very helpful to me. They do help in a lot of areas. Not souly, but when used with all this other theraputic stuff - they have, in my experience, been essential. Just my experience, of course.
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:22 AM
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I typed this from a now out of press LifeRing document. I thought it was fitting:

Most alcoholism and addiction programs are like Procrusted and his bed. Everyone has "The Program": one size fits all. In AA, everyone does the Twelve Steps. In Rational Recovery, everyone does AVRT. In SMART, everyone does REBT. And so on. Each vendor promises that its particular Program is the Answer. In fact, some people are helped by the Steps, some are not, and the same is true of the others. There is no such thing as one Program that works for everybody, and we doubt there will ever be.

LSR is unique in the alcoholism and addiction movement in deliberately not offering a capital-P Program. We have no Program, no panacea, no one-size-fits-all, no cookie cutter, no miracle cure, no magic pill to sell. We reject the whole dichotomy between Program and alcoholic, in which The Program is the active, knowing, healthy protagonist and the alcoholic is the passive, dumb, sick raw material to be stamped and molded into the desired shape. We think that any approach that acts on the alcoholic over time as an outside compulsion, a Program, is doomed to fail with most people most of the time.

No program, including the LSR self-empowerment approach, will work if the person doesn't have an inner desire to escape from addiction. LSR rests its entire chance of success on the encouragement and rational nurture of that desire.

We hold that each alcoholic or addict needs to construct their own sobriety based on their own experiences and needs. We think each alcoholic not only needs to, but is able to constuct his or her own personal sobriety program, if afforded the support and the tools. The work of putting a program together must be and is done by the newly recovering persons themselves, just as each of us with long-term sobriety has done it for ourselves. We have confidence in the ability of alcoholics and addicts, no matter how serious our history, to pull ourselves together with peer support. We have seen it work. Conversely, we are quite certain that we cannot get and stay sober unless we construct a sobriety program for ourselves. That is why we say that we have no one (big-P) Program; we have as many programs (small p) as we have participants.
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Old 07-20-2006, 05:36 PM
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Thanks Dk

I will check out that LR site.

I think that having struggled for so long, you'd think I'd have gotten it right by now.

Anyway, so far so good on my current program. It's interesting that as sober time accumulates, what I need to do to stay off the sauce never changes, don't drink, even though I am still trying different methods. A simple yet complex problem.

I doubt there's going to be any one particular moment where I'll say, I've done it. I no longer have a drinking problem. All I can do is reinforce the not drinking idea as much as I can as time goes by. I've noticed many, many benefits of sobriety already, and I continue to realize new ones each day.

Lately, at least I'm not obsessing constantly over it. When I first become sober, all I can think of all day is "Wow. I'm not hungover, I feel great, If I keep this up I'll keep getting better". I'm able to just function on a day to day basis without thinking about booze. Normalcy. Pink cloud. Stages of change.

Keep well, all.

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Old 07-20-2006, 06:45 PM
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Mongo, I'm glad you're doing well and progressing and happy with the way things are going for you. In your last post you mention that you're no longer obsessing constantly over alcohol. That kind of jumped out at me. When I stopped drinking I was obsessing constantly and my mind was overwhelmed thinking about alcohol. It was really such a relief to stop drinking so that the obsession could stop.

For me, it's been close to 6 years with no specific program, other than wanting to live.
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:33 AM
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"bump"

I did find some really worthwhile posts in response here. Myself?, Im still on the right path for me. Believe me, It is SOOO worth it, and it gets better every day!

Keep well

Ron
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Old 10-26-2006, 08:14 AM
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Hey Mongo,

I was going through older posts on this forum yesterday, and thought about bumping this one. I'm glad you did. I think many of us here fall into that category. Thanks for being a role model for DIY Recovery.

D to da K
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