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60, 90 days....now what? - Page 30
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  1. #581
    Periwinkle's Avatar
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    I missed your post from 4 days ago. Your husband sounds like me when I go on an occasional binge. I guess that goes back to defining what is and isn't an alcoholic. Either way, it's a drinking problem as it's causing problems between the two of you. I can understand being resentful, and I suppose that is something about going to Al-anon has helped me with, seeing the other side of things and learning to love the person who drinks, yet letting them be responsible for their actions/consequences. Easier said than done when you live with him and going through your own recovery, but you have to detach. I don't mean in a be mean, non caring way. I mean as seeing your recovery and what you are responsible for, and letting him do what he does. It does not mean you can't have boundaries, as in talking to him how it hurts you to see him drink that much, or to say that you will not attend events with him if he keeps doing this to put you in an awkward position to explain to other people about his drinking. Perhaps sit down with him and talk to him in a non confrontational way about his drinking, not a finger pointing look at you thing, but that you would like to have more nights out enjoying friends with each other that don't end up like the last event did.

    As for the anxiety, I can relate. It seems most times when I have fallen, it's just after things have been going so well, then I get anxious, then the self pity starts in (what's wrong with you, why can't you just enjoy being happy?) and the tempting voice starts...(why not get it over with now, you know you'll just screw up in the end?) Going back to day 1 after 90 days sounds better than going back to day 1 after 1 year, or 2 I rationalize, or maybe it's AV who rationalizes that thought. Then I get panicky about letting things go too well, almost like I have an urge to sabotage it. Then I remember day 1 sucks no matter how long of recovery you have had. Have you considered a counselor to talk to, someone neutral but you can work through the thought process out loud instead of in the head? It's helped me alot to do that, as well as my group share time with co-dependents like me. Not saying you are one, just saying it helps to talk.

    Hang in there, keep having faith. I'm sure you know, worrying isn't going to change anything, action does. I go to the serenity prayer everytime I feel anxious to remind myself of what I do and don't have control of and let go of the things I don't and have faith. I've learned that sometimes things don't work out how I wanted them, yet, I'm learning that's ok and have peace within the chaos around me Most times I find by letting go and stepping out of the way, better things come along and work out!
    Last edited by Periwinkle; 03-21-2014 at 01:23 PM.

  2. #582

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    Quote Originally Posted by Periwinkle View Post
    I
    As for the anxiety, I can relate. It seems most times when I have fallen, it's just after things have been going so well, then I get anxious, then the self pity starts in (what's wrong with you, why can't you just enjoy being happy?) and the tempting voice starts...(why not get it over with now, you know you'll just screw up in the end?) Going back to day 1 after 90 days sounds better than going back to day 1 after 1 year, or 2 I rationalize, or maybe it's AV who rationalizes that thought. Then I get panicky about letting things go too well, almost like I have an urge to sabotage it. Then I remember day 1 sucks no matter how long of recovery you have had. L
    Yes! To everything you just wrote. Just a quick check in as I wait for children. How ironic that you bring up counseling. I thought of it at 3:40 this morning. Thinking to myself, "My God, you have got to see someone." If you can believe it, counseling is even scarier for me than AA. Such a hypocrite I am. However, will explore this. I truly think I need it, and think I need weekly therapy in the beginning

  3. #583

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    Alana you nailed it for me. I know for some people sobriety is great, but for me it is no bed of roses. I get very anxious lots of times, especially if its something that is happening because I screwed up. No getting around it.

    At least when I am a meeting I can get away from my worries a bit. Today's meeting one woman talked about worrying that now her shoulder was messed up and doctors were telling her she needed surgery and she was afraid of the pain. Another woman said all morning she kept feeling like strangling her boss and was glad to get away from it (both women have 10+ years of sobriety) . I think in that way meetings can be substitutionary for alcohol. Some people get really dependent on them and go to many a day. That's not healthy either because we do need to deal with life directly, not just avoid it.

    This is why I have a hard time relating when people say, just stop drinking and life will get better. I am sure that is true for them but it is not true for me. Yes life is better in a certain sense when I don't start my day with a glass of vodka and raisin bran. That's true enough but how am I going to cope with all these tough tough unpleasant feelings when I don't have alcohol to turn to. I just don't know.

  4. #584

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    Jim, I'm probably one of those people who has said just stop drinking and it will get better. I'm more comfortable on this thread than the main one saying it's a bit more complicated than that, because early on it's so important to just hang on and quit and I do think there are a lot of immediate positive benefits. But there's this side effect called real life that sets in after the booze wears off.

    I am torn between wanting to share a little and worrying about being too much of a Pollyanna but here goes. I am lucky to be at a place in my life where I don't have a lot of real problems that I have to deal with. Issues but not real problems. Obviously that makes things a lot easier for me, and I am blessed to be so lucky.

    One thing I went through was realizing I needed to "retrain my brain" in terms of how I was responding to things. I found I was always waiting for the next shoe to drop, on high alert waiting for something bad to happen, for the worst to hit. It wasn't just thoughts running through my brain, it was almost physical. And I realized that in order to stay high functioning (which I usually was) while drunk, I worked hard to anticipate, be ready, to gear up to the next thing I had to do, which took a lot more effort because I was impaired, so I didn't look impaired and stayed functioning. Then when I wasn't drinking, after a couple of months, that high alert was still there. I don't quite know how to describe it. I had an incredible startle response - that really was physical. I managed to start learning to notice that in reality either nothing was going on or something relatively minor was going on, and I didn't need to be on high alert anymore. That's when I started calling it retraining my brain, learning I didn't have to keep responding that way.

    I did a lot of therapy when I got divorced some years ago, and found it useful. Once I started being able to calm down, I found I was able to use a lot of those tools again to help myself. So I do think that can help.

    I don't want to minimize the anxiety. Just because I was on high alert waiting for bad things and did some retraining of my brain to not react that way doesn't mean the anxiety isn't real and maybe way worse that what I was feeling. I just wanted to share one of the things I went through, in case it helps.

  5. #585
    My anxiety kept me out of AA meetings for years. I was too scared to go to them.

    When I think back to the first few months of my sobriety, I was definitely retraining my brain at that time.

    My big problem was self pity. I figured out that this was going to make me relapse, because I felt sorry for myself. And some of it was resentment too. Some of that anger was turned outwards at other people, I realize now.

    So I had to learn how to shut it down. I had to learn how to watch for it, to be aware of it, and to shut it down. This is really how I started to deal with my screwed up thinking on the mental level.

    It was an increase in awareness. A conscious decision to pay attention to my own thoughts. Every day.

    This worked well for self pity. I am not sure if it would work for anxiety. I don't think so. I think anxiety requires more than just mental adjustment or an increase in awareness. It is tough, I know.

    Second of all was the whole idea of a daily practice. I agree with what Jim is suggesting, that you can't just "quit drinking and everything will get magically better." It took more than that for me, for sure. Heck, I was living in rehab for almost 2 years! That is a lot of extra help. That is quite a big effort, lots of different stuff I was working on (relationships, counseling, group therapy, daily meetings, journaling, sponsorship, self analysis, reading literature, and on and on). Taking care of myself: Eating like a real human again, sleeping 8 hours each night (on a schedule!), exercising every day, exploring meditation, spirituality, working on emotional balance, working on relationships, quitting smoking, and so on. I kept working on all of this stuff, hammering away at it, being motivated by counselors, therapists, my sponsor, my family, my peers at the rehab, and so on.

    I had a LOT of help in the beginning.

    And for the first decade of my sobriety I never thought of this stuff as a "daily practice." I was just taking suggestions, doing different stuff (like exercise, or writing in a journal, or writing about recovery online, etc.).

    But now I can look back and realize that I established these daily habits. They became a daily practice for me. Positive action.

    And always looking for gratitude. Reminding myself to find the gratitude. Because if I don't practice that then I can get into trouble in a hurry. It all goes downhill if I am not grateful.

    But it is a struggle. I find myself complaining, and realize that I am not anywhere near being grateful. So it is a daily struggle.

    But I will say this much:

    I no longer have anxiety.

    And when I first got sober I had a ton of anxiety. So much that it almost kept me drinking. So close to not even doing any of the stuff that helped me: Rehab, detox, meetings, counseling, sponsorship, and so on. I almost skipped it all and just went and got drunk again, because I was so damn scared.

    I just got sick and tired of being afraid. I got tired of playing into the drama, and living in fear.

    Getting past the anxiety took some time. Probably more than a year. Shoot, I was still living in long term rehab at 20 months sober! I was still "seeking" when I left long term treatment. I was still trying to find my path.

    Even after I left rehab, I had to get busy, take action. Take suggestions. Have faith that this stuff would work out, that it would help me. Even though none of it seemed like it would at first.

    I had to find my own brand of spirituality too. And that was a process as well.

    And I am still seeking today, to an extent.

    But I am no longer afraid.

  6. #586
    ToddE's Avatar
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    Hi Carol, Jim, Alana, Periwinkle, Patrick

    Good to see all of your posts. I like the "retrain my brain" analogy of Carol's. That one hit home for me. I did a form of my own “retaining” and it has been of tremendous help to me mental health-wise. I think that working on getting my metal health on track is actually more important the actual not drinking, once you get some time in. And yes I am one that would say, just stop drinking and everything gets better. There is an unstated asterisk there though. That asterisk would be, because I wasn't drink I was able to put tools in place to improve my mental health and state of being.

    There was an article on this site that was geared toward early recovery, which basically said “unexpected stuff always happens”. The idea was that it is normal, so don't throw your hands up in the air and run back to the bottle. When I had just recently stop drinking this time, I had a couple minor catastrophes. Just being able to re-frame those in my mind as well it's not unusual for this and I don't have time for a melt down or to upset myself into drinking, I just accepted what was and moved on. I'm not saying that would have worked for everyone, it's just the way my brain is wired and worked for me at the time.

    I facilitate a SMART meeting now and I had read up on their stuff fairly early on. I never put much of their actual methods of “brain retraining” into practice, but SMART does have a lot of tools on their website that are exactly meant to be used for this. The third point of their four point program is: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors. The tools behind this is based on are a form of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).

    I was looking up counselors and therapists in my area, that specialize in addiction treatment, to send some of my meeting notices to. Psychology Today's website has search that let's you look them up by zip code and specialty, which gives a little bio for each person. One lady listed ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) as her treatment approach. I hadn't heard of that before, so I looked it up on wikipedia. I'll copy one section of that which stated, “ACT teaches them to "just notice," accept, and embrace their private events, especially previously unwanted ones”. To me it sounded similar to what I did for adjusting my own rethinking. I am considering to look up if they have any self-help books based on that method.

    My point (did I have one?) would be if you are considering “brain retraining”, there are a lot of methods out there that you can look at, use as is, modify to make your own or just go about it on your own picking up what you need here-n-there.

    On what Jim said about meetings being a substitute for drinking, I think that can be true. For me it wasn't meetings though. Anything you use as a single focus substitute is potential for being dangerous I believe. I ran across the idea of Life Style Balance in SMART, but it certainly isn't unique to them. For me it's a lot better fit, to work on trying to live a balanced life, then what I did before. What I did before was pick one activity, concentrate all my energy on it, get good at it, get tired of it, drift away from it, relapse. The trying to fill in multiple things, not single focus, add new things to replace one or two I'm done with, revisit some old ones I enjoyed but haven't done in a while, has been working better for me, lol. The two lady's in Jim's meeting I can see that clinging to what helped you out in the past, but not moving on and getting bitter?, tired?, drifting back to feeling hopeless. Problem is whether it's AA, or forum like this or a good therapists or whatever, when you are just starting out it can be a life saver. Just because something was a life saver though, doesn't mean it will be forever. People need to grow, continue to learn new things and it's natural to move on to other area's after a while. For me in recovery I run an online meeting with LifeRing and a f2f one with SMART. If I wasn't doing it that way I would have drifted away from meetings. I didn't want to stop being involved just yet, so I change what my focus for being involved was. In AA, I can imagine it could be becoming a sponsor or table leader as a natural way to stay involved.

    Alana nice to hear you got some solid time in. That means you know it can be done. For me anyway the time progress wasn't so big that hey I did such and such days that is great. It was more hey I did this much, I can imagine doing more now. Once you can visualize something and realize you can do it, it's a lot easier to actual do it. Self-fulfilling prophecy, but success really does predict more success is possible and probable.

    And on what Patrick just wrote, I'll say that yeah, when your in the shit, when you at a lowest ebb, sometimes you just have to do something, because it might eventually work. For me anyway it's easier to work on what will help pick me up from being depressed, when I'm not actually depressed. Then when I am depressed, if it doesn't help much or not at all, it's easier to keep at it, because I believe it will work eventually. I don't have much anxiety ever, so can't comment from any experience on that.

    Well I guess I've rambled on enough for one post, lol.

    Take care,
    Todd

  7. #587
    Chad's Avatar
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    --Anxiety--
    A word I have grown to truly hate.. --Anxiety-- is all I remember from High School, and College.. I drank and drank and drank, enjoying the relief I felt from it in my younger years.. Meeting new people --Anxiety-- drink until you feel no more..
    The --Anxiety-- in the last 5 years of my drinking almost pushed me past the point of no return..
    I decided once I stopped drinking my outlook on life and reward system had to be changed.. I now have a completely different perspective on life and what I expect out of it.. In turn this has calmed my nerves and stopped my --Anxiety-- to a whisper.. I am an anxious person so it will always be with me but doesn't control me anymore.. I have created a life where I take responsibility for my actions and have a reward system in place to make those responsibilities worth while.. I want to live not wait for the other shoe to drop..
    It takes a glass half full perspective to get there, or at least it did for me.. A negative attitude will always bring the --Anxiety-- demons out in full..

    Chad
    “Well, if it can be thought, it can be done, a problem can be overcome”

  8. #588

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    I'm waking this thread up in case it's helpful for those who've made it past early sobriety and making the transition to longer term sobriety. Things get a little different after 60 or 90 days. Like everything else on this forum, take what works for you and leave the rest.

    Have a great day.

  9. #589
    Sober Female's Avatar
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    I had a moment today was I was about to say screw it. I was even throwing on some clothes and headed to the store. This is what scares me about sobriety. How can I so easily just throw it away? I didn't. I waited, started making dinner and just said to myself that I can't go backwards. I just can't. It's too much to go into, but I was angry and just fed up with life. Then I thought about all the sneaking I would have to do and realized that drinking is not going to be fun anymore. It's just not so quit the self sabotaging thoughts. Carol and AF, thanks for the help.

  10. #590
    Chad's Avatar
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    Julie, it took me a long time to get the 'instant gratification' mindset to turn off.. Upsetting situation arises the brain triggers the normal response, or normal to us drinkers, and you are off to the liquor store.. I know I sound like a broken record but it takes time to retrain the brain to react in a different way.. It took years and years of drinking to cultivate this way its not going stop in 65 days.. Be glad you didn't drink, enjoy the fact that you didn't, and you moved a little closer to a better response to emotions.. Time, time, time, and more time is needed..
    Take care,

    Chad
    “Well, if it can be thought, it can be done, a problem can be overcome”

  11. #591
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    I just saw this post Chad and now I'm happy!!!! I'm ok with the broken record. Consistency works for me.

    I'm pretty sure I had food poisoning last night, still feeling a bit yucky today. I bring this up because it made me remember how it feels to withdrawal, terrible!!! Not just withdrawal, hangovers too. I don't like those memories. I long for the days that alcohol won't be such an issue. I don't want to have to think about it so much. However, it has lessened and I know it will only get better with time. I really do enjoy being sober. It's starting to feel the norm, but then every once in awhile I get sucker punched. I am an "instant gratification" type of girl. Whether with alcohol, food, shopping you name it. Working on it all, but not drinking will always be #1.

  12. #592

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    DAY about 200 , Lent Day No 3 , still here still working on my goals , weather is better making eating raw food and drinking raw juice a bit easier , its a day at a time for my 40 day target for Lent

  13. #593

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    That's great Samantha. You have passed the difficult time, tell me how was the experience in between the 3 1/2 months?

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