My Story - colagirl (part 2, after) - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 11-23-2014, 08:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 1,312
Blog Entries: 2

My Story - colagirl (part 2, after)


After telling my friend and realizing the world didn’t end, I felt free for the first time in many years. I finally had real-life support from someone very close to me who didn’t hate me or judge me for how damaged I was. I never realized how much I needed that until that moment.

I decided against following a specific recovery program and decided to follow parts of all the different programs that I knew about. First and foremost, I got an addiction counselor. The first few months were really about learning how to live with feelings and emotions without immediately needing a drink. I was at the point where ANYTHING could trigger me. I mean excitement, fear, irritation, boredom, just being alive basically. I had no idea how to have a thought without following it with a drink or a plan to drink.

One of the most valuable tools I learned was “play the tape through”. I thought I had been doing that all along, but my counselor helped me see that I wasn’t going far enough. Anyone can play through to the next day and see the hangover and accept those consequences, but it’s really about playing it through a week, a month, etc, and seeing that I would end up in exactly the same place I started from, and probably much worse. At about six months in, we started developing a long-term relapse prevention plan. This involved me identifying situations I thought would trip me up (ie, my mom dying, being accidentally served an alcoholic drink, etc). From there I developed specific actions I could take in each of those situations, and I carry that around with me for anytime I need it. She also really taught me how to identify “addict thinking” vs. “recovery thinking” (I realized that I didn’t know the difference and it was creating fear that I would relapse), and to externalize the addict voice as a separate person (not really me) who I could tell to shut up.

Accountability has been key for me. Since I was a lone drinker who hid it like it was my full-time job, just knowing that I would have to explain a relapse to other people in my life is very motivating.

I attend AA meetings very occasionally and primarily when I really want to hear other people’s stories, because really we all have the same story with different details. Since I don’t have a lot of addict friends in my life, it’s helpful for me to be around that sometimes to recognize how far I’ve come and that I really am not “terminally unique”.

Because I really liked my counselor’s idea of externalizing the addict voice, I read the Rational Recovery book, and I actually reread it occasionally to keep it fresh in my mind. I have a very sneaky psychological addiction, so I want to stay prepared for whatever it might throw at me. And I read a lot of recovery memoirs because I find it helpful to hear how other people have quit drinking and, more importantly, stayed stopped.

SR has also been very important to me. I don’t post as much as I used to, but I read here every day, and find that when I’m having a moment of weakness it helps to read newcomers threads and offer some of my experience.

Even after a year, I still feel a “connection” to my addict, I know it’s there, and sometimes more than others, I hear its voice loud and clear. It’s not always talking to me about alcohol – it could be cigarettes, or food, or being too involved in someone else’s problems. Last July, I was traveling in the middle of nowhere and got a phone call that my mom had 30 minutes to live. I never wanted to be wasted so badly in my whole life. Thankfully, my friend was with me and I knew I couldn’t drink. That gave me time to think through the situation and “play the tape through” before I had a really bad relapse. I am so grateful for getting through that sober.

I have learned that there will always be things that are out of my control, and I will never like that, but I can deal with it. I take situations as they come up and try to apply the tools I’ve learned in recovery. When I’m struggling with something, I bring it to my counselor and we work through it. It’s like learning the coping mechanisms I never learned as a younger person.

I never thought there was any hope for me, I thought I would become a street gutter drunk, and worse, I thought that’s what I wanted. Now I am able to see that it was my addiction telling me that, wanting me to die young without realizing any of my potential. I can focus on things now – I don’t think anyone at work has noticed a difference, but I am 100% more engaged than I ever was when I was just slogging through the days waiting to go home and get drunk. I can drive after 5pm and not worry about getting pulled over. I can be available if there’s an emergency because I know I won’t be too drunk to drive or to pay attention to what’s going on. I can help my friends with their problems because I live in the moment and listen to them instead of just living drink to drink. It didn’t happen overnight, but I can look back and see that my life is immeasurably better without alcohol in it.

Thanks for reading my story. I NEVER thought I would be sober long enough to post it here! To anyone reading who is still struggling, you can do it too, believe me.
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"I hope you never let this get you as bad as I have." ~ SoosieQ (RIP)
Sober since November 18, 2013
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