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Thread: Living Sober

  1. #1

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    Living Sober

    Living Sober (or OK I'm Sober, Now What?)

    I wanted to start a thread dedicated to all those who are sober. I mean full time sober, not relapsing, trying to gain footing, or still drinking occasionally.

    I have not been posting as much in the main thread as it tends to give me an excuse to justify contemplating relapsing when I see others doing it, you know the old "it's not fair" thing. I don't feel like that is where I belong at this time and can't find a thread that fits exactly what I need.

    I need a safe place to talk to other sober people, white knuckling, struggling, having a completely easy time or otherwise, just not constantly relapsing. It is just too much of a trigger for me to be in the middle of that.

    The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, and starting this thread has nothing to do with anyone other than myself and my hang-ups, so please don't be offended. Simply come back when you are on steady ground.

    Some things I thought would be a good place to start the thread are:
    • what you are doing to maintain sobriety
    • the challenges of being sober
    • how you are doing
    • anything else you want to talk about


    I sincerely hope to generate some great information from all the wise people here to pass along to each other and anyone trying to make it.
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  2. #2

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    Ken, thanks.

    I'm enjoying being free! I recently posted what's going on with me on the "60, 90, days...now what" thread so won't repeat it here.

    I am uncomfortable with the term "sober". I ran across the idea of defining a "sober day" but changed it to "freedom day" for myself. For me it really is about freedom, not being enslaved! And I love it.

    I looked up the definition of sober to help me figure out why I'm uncomfortable. (Oh, did I mention that I overthink and overdo?? Yep, that's me, so bear with me or just skip the post.)

    Sober:
    1. not intoxicated or drunk. OK, I'm good with that!
    2. habitually temperate, especially in the use of liquor. OK, I can live with that
    3. quiet or sedate in demeanor, as persons. here's where I start to have a problem with the term, although I actually do fit this usually
    4. marked by seriousness, gravity, solemnity, etc., as of demeanor, speech, etc.: a sober occasion. Aha, this is my issue with "sober"! No, it ain't about being serious and not having any fun any more!!
    5. subdued in tone, as color; not gay or showy, as clothes. Subdued & not gay, I beg to differ! The joy I feel from freedom from drinking is colorful and showy and gay and wonderful and all not-sober!

    So, no, I'm not sober!!! I'm a non-drinker (of alcohol, as some have pointed out that I do in fact drink in order to live, just not alcohol), but I'm joyous and not serious and not solemn and not subdued!

    Anyway, I had to get that out of my system. I do like what Vic coined as the "sober train" and love that there are so many of us on it.

    I also like the 60 day + thread and know some people have made it a goal to be able to post there (60 days, I'm here, woo hoo!) But whether it's there or here or both, I think it's good to have a place for dialog when we've achieved some degree of sobriety. My life isn't all happiness and joy, but it sure is a whole lot better than when I was drinking!!

    Sober train, chugga-chugga-chugga-choo-choo!

  3. #3

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    Carol,

    You may be over thinking it but do whatever works for you. As for me sober works just fine and I embrace it! For me, over thinking things is one of the many reasons I drank, couldn't quiet the mind. I have discovered that I am also a recovering know-it-all, and it is very freeing to let that all go. Now that I realize that I don't have it all figured out, it is a much more pleasant way to live. I read that it is good to be open to new things, childlike in our curiosity and desire to learn. So anyway, learning to surrender to the fact that I have a lot to learn has been a big key to my sobriety and has brought with it the bonus of helping to quiet down my racing thoughts. I can now say "I don't know" about things and that's the end of it!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  4. #4
    Midwest Sue's Avatar
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    Wow Ken,
    I am so happy you started this thread. I have also felt uncomfortable watching the struggles of those who have been unable to achieve a long and consistent level of sobriety. My discomfort comes not from judging but from:
    1. Remembering when I was there. Painful.
    2. Wanting to reach out and give them the peace of mind I've achieved and I can't! Frustrating.
    3. Wondering if it's normal to continually relapse, and if so... could I do it and start over? Or do moderation?

    Carol, I feel the same way about the word sober. A couple of years ago I quit drinking for 30 days and wrote a daily private blog that I called "Sober". It didn't take me long to decide to change the name to "Serene", for exactly the reasons you gave! Sober sounded depressing.

    While I wish that I had stayed on the sober train in 2009, I am happy to be back on now and back to Serene. Back then I fell victim to the 30-day "See? I can quit if I want to!" self-delusion.

    So now I'm wiser. I know which traps will trip me up.

    Ken, I love the recovering know-it-all moniker! I feel exactly the same way. Indeed, it's "what you learn after you know it all that counts"!

    Time for some iced tea with a splash of cranberry. Toodle Pip!

  5. #5

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    Hi Ken
    I have so much to thank this site for as without it I would probably be drinking right now, the people, thier honesty, openness and advice has been fantastic and a real help, I have not had alcohol for the last 30 + days now and feel great, I have had various attempts in the past (pre spiritual river) that failed but i'm happy to say that since joining the site I have managed my current sobriety on the first attempt, that said for me personally I probably wasn't 100% committed to totally quitting in the past, I think I always thought I would just try to controll it, have a week or two not drinking and then start again in moderation but of course that only lasted a couple of days at most, I think I am where I am now and haven't relapsed because I truly realised that just one drink could never happen for me, one drink was just the fuse! I think everyone's journey is similar in many ways but also I think there is a lot that only you have the answers too, I read the main posts everyday but feel that i would gain from a thread such as this.
    Anyway as a starting point in answer to your suggested questions..

    Whenever i feel like i might want a drink I remind myself why I searched for this site in the first place and put myself in that state of mind, it really does work for me and maybe I was just in a really dark place but I know I never want to return
    I think about it less than I did but there are a few things that i struggle with..
    1. My partner drinks (once or twice a week and only a couple) it's not too much of a problem and she wouldn't have one if I said somthing but I really don't want to as I want to feel more secure in myself around alcohol
    2. Social occasions, I went out this weekend with a few friends everyone drank apart from me and although I wasn't tempted nor desired a drink I felt slightly uncomfortable the more they had to drink as they all seemed to be on a different page to me, that said when I looked at the ones who had drank too much I did feel I was having a far better time

    I focus a lot more on myself now that I'm not drinking, my health, my appearance, I plan more I set goals, but
    Life does go on regardless and bad days happen all I know is when they do it's a lot easier to deal with them sober !
    Anyway off to bed now (uk)
    And sorry for poor editing (on my iPhone)
    Hope to read lots of postings here soon !

  6. #6
    Beth's Avatar
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    Love being on the sober train with all you damn lovely people!
    My take on being sober is not a number (days). I do believe you should count the first 30 days but for me, after that I just count that I am sober today and was sober yesterday. I am living sober.

    I went to a dinner party tonight and all the nice gentlemen offered to get me a drink when I arrived. I had planned to beeline to the bar when I got there so I could order my disguised drink. So I was caught a little off guard. But not to worry, I said "I'll have a glass of cranberry juice". No problem. I opted for a one ingredient drink so it didn't look like I was trying to hard to avoid the alcohol (just something that went through my mind). I planned it so I would get there at the end of the cocktail hour which I timed perfectly.

    It was a quick dinner but I enjoyed it as a trial party run. I did notice the massive amount of empty beer bottles that were on the tables as everyone left. Something that struck me as stupid......it's a Monday night people! Not judging just observing.

  7. #7

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    Paul, welcome and congratulations on 30+ days, that is no small feat. I like your insights into not trying to make the world change around you. We are constantly bombarded daily by alcohol everywhere, in commercials with all the beautiful people living perfect lives because of their brand of beer, billboards, magazines, movies, and on and on. We are the ones that have to find our way through this and it is unrealistic to think you can avoid it and still go out in public and have a career. The longer I go not drinking, the less I am tempted, especially to be around people drinking heavily. I think, was I like that, knowing that I was because they were my former drinking buddies and I would have been matching them drink for drink. As Patrick said in one of his articles, I can't believe how long I continued to drink even after it had stopped being fun.

    I also agree with you in feeling very fortunate to have found Spiritual River. In my early days of trying to quit on my own, I experienced little success and it was always short lived. It finally occurred to me that what I was doing was not working and that I needed help. Once again quoting Patrick, it wasn't until I fully surrendered to the fact that alcohol was controlling my life that I was ready to make the change. I went to AA, which I give full credit for changing and saving my life. I was powerless to change, as evidenced by my constant relapsing. Once I admitted that and fully committed to the program, I was on my way. Now this forum is my daily AA meeting and keeps me grounded.

    I also believe that there is no one size fits all approach. Eric reminded me that if you fully commit to any recovery program it will work, you just need to find the approach that fits for you.

    Isn't it strange that the very thing we were using to deal with stress, when we put it aside we learn was the cause of most of the stress. The stress seems to decrease dramatically and problems easier to solve once we make the decision to get alcohol out of our lives. Anyway, welcome to the family Paul and I look forward to hearing more from you. Feel free to post in any thread that speaks to you, you will find a lot of very supportive and wise people here that have taught me so much.

    Beth, you are truly making a leap forward by ordering a non-alcoholic drink while everyone is drinking. It, as you know, is one of the things that almost every person that joins asks about, the dreaded first party facing all your peers and not drinking! Not to make light of it, it really is a lot of pressure early on. I know you are moths past that, but it can still make your blood pressure go up so good for you.

    Sue, I am so glad you posted and agree with you totally. My heart goes out to those that are struggling but sometimes it causes me to doubt my resolve. Not judging, been there done that. I think relapsing is normal early on, but Patrick instructs adopting a zero tolerance policy and I constantly remind myself of his words. I learn a lot from your posts and know you are very empathetic to the struggles of others. I think it is important to continue to post in the other threads, to keep grounded and realize that we were there not long ago and to continue to support all of the members here. Sometimes I read or hear something that I need to post in the main thread and I always feel compelled to welcome new posters, so I plan on continuing to read and post all over, I just wanted a place to learn from others that are where we are. I mean the Ok, I'm sober, now what the heck am I supposed to do? All the learning and reading I've done was on how and why to quit, not on staying sober or how to live sober, so thus this thread.

    Have a great morning everyone!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  8. #8
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    I was just reading through this thread,..and just a quick reaction would be to be careful in a way, because lots of us (constant relapsers) who post in the main thread will probably also read this thread. Phrases like "making you uncomfortable" posting and/or reading in the main thread, might serve to do the opposite of what this wonderful site is intended for,..helping struggling addicts find support when they don't know where else to turn (at least that's my interpretation anyway).

    I need a safe place to talk to other sober people, white knuckling, struggling, having a completely easy time or otherwise, just not constantly relapsing. It is just too much of a trigger for me to be in the middle of that.

    I guess I'm a little surprised to read something like that Ken,..but whatever works or doesn't work for you I suppose. I just see the 60, 90 days...now what? thread as kinda serving the same purpose and doesn't seem to alienate any of the newcomers,..or the cereal relapsers,..just a fun goal to work toward to post there. I just wanted to give my initial reaction,..please don't take it the wrong way, because I don't think the tone of this thread (somewhat snotty) is the intent. I'm on day 38 now,..which is nothing in the grand scheme of things, so Carol, Sue, Christy and any of the others that have hit the 1 year mark etc. congratulations you have my respect. We're all just one mistake or one letting down of the guard away from our own day 1 so...

  9. #9
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    I thought about this new thread and actually very much liked the idea. I thought that if there was an actual block to posting until you have acquired some sobriety that would also be a good idea. Patrick's articles talk about an indication of likely failure as being overly confident with new sobriety, proclaiming that "I have finally figured it out" at 3 days sober, or advising others before you actually get it. I am all for having a forum where new people can voice their struggles and relapses. But, I would also appreciate a place where I actually have to put together some sobriety before I am eligible to participate. I need to be reminded that I do not know what I am talking about and I need to listen to what other people have to say and DO those things. Of course, being reminded of the struggles that people have in seeking sobriety is valuable too, but I think it is important for an online forum to also distinguish those who are successful as a beacon to others.
    Last edited by Eric; 06-19-2012 at 04:23 PM.

  10. #10
    kevin2's Avatar
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    That's an interesting thought Eric,..and I definitly get your point. I'm not trying to stir anything up by questioning this thread,..and it's not the concept of the thread that bothered me,..just the tone I guess you'ld say. I may have been better served just not mentioning it,..but I can also see it leading to some interesting conversation at least. I have had similar thoughts and reservations about posting on this board (like Ken),..because of not neccessarily feeling qualified or like a hypocrite due to relapsing a few times. It's all free speech anyway,..so who am I to question what anyone types on this board or what threads are started.

  11. #11

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    Kevin, your post is why I included this statement in the opening post, which is the next paragraph after the one you quoted:

    "The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, and starting this thread has nothing to do with anyone other than myself and my hang-ups, so please don't be offended. Simply come back when you are on steady ground."


    Also, I did not use the phrase "making you feel uncomfortable posting at the main thread." I did say "it tends to give me an excuse to justify contemplating relapsing when I see others doing it." There is a big difference there to me.

    I was not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. I hoped people would understand that this site is all about support and that some people are at different levels of progress in their battle with alcoholism. Not better than anyone else or above, just at a point where different needs are trying to be fulfilled as they arise. I am not trying to be controversial and am surprised at the reaction. I did not feel that the 60/90 day thread dealt with what I am searching for, which is how to live a fulfilling life, to continue to grow as a person, and to continue to contribute here and connect with people that are succeeding and to those that are struggling.

    I sincerely apologize if this thread has hurt anyone's feelings or made them to feel less than. I promise you it is my wish from the deepest part of my soul that everyone finds what they need here, whether that be a hand up on day 1 or a reason to go on after year 1. I pray that everyone here is able to find whatever tools or methods work for them to live a life of joy and fulfillment that they deserve.
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  12. #12

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    Once again, I was not trying to upset anyone, just trying to learn. God Bless.
    Last edited by Ken1; 06-20-2012 at 01:25 PM.
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  13. #13

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    Free speech with respect and safety has been the key aspect of this forum, along with openness to many ways of getting to the desired outcome of not drinking. Our community posts here, some go to AA some don't, some go to church some don't, some are Buddhist some aren't, some take meds to help some don't, some read books others don't. I think we all read Patrick's articles and resonate with his spiritual recovery approach. The only thing that's not OK is treating each other with disrespect or making this an unsafe place to be.

    I don't find that this thread violates that boundary. Patrick talks about what gets us sober doesn't keep us sober, what works in early sobriety has to change to keep us sober longterm. This is a place to talk about that, so is the 60 day + thread. So what? There's the main thread and a Getting Started thread and a thread for getting sober with God which was started to make people comfortable with the main thread being spiritual but not religious but people needing a safe place to post religious thoughts 'cause that's what they needed to get sober. There are lots of threads. I think I posted on 4 of them yesterday.

    I love the main thread. It is a key part of how I got and stay free, and I want it to keep going no matter what! I will keep posting there and offering support and trying to help. But there are things I won't post there because I don't think it's appropriate. I well remember the pain of stopping and white-knuckling and the last thing I needed was some "saint" posting about some little trivial thing when I was practically dying. So there are thing i don't post there because I don't want to come across like that person. The main thread is about getting sober and early sobriety, and per Patrick's article "early" can be measured in months or years, depending on the person. Then we need different strategies for long term sobriety.

    Deep breath. The way threads and posts work here is if they are truly out of line, offensive, hurtful, disrespectful, and make people unsafe, they are taken down. Rarely happens, thank goodness. Otherwise they're there and people either read them or don't, post or don't. I like what John said, if it's something that works for us guys so much the better.

    It's not trying to sound or be holier than thou or putting anyone down. "Tone" is really hard to do electronically.

    Patrick said it, the strategies for long term sobriety are different. It's not meant to be hurtful.

    Kimber and Kevin, I want the world for you, I want freedom for you. I'll keep reading and rooting for you, and John, and Eric, and everyone on the main thread. I want to ask something of you though, which is also to respect Ken and me and the others who have posted here because our needs are a little different now. There are things we just won't post on the main thread out of respect for you and where you are right now in your recovery. We can be silent, of course. Yes, we can post on the 60, 90 days now what thread, and I did that, too. But I'd prefer to leave this thread open and like the many many threads that have been started, either it will gain traction or it won't get used as much, but it will be there for people to read. Can I count on your openness and understanding?

    I know I'm making it practically impossible for you to say no, so please send me a PM instead if you don't want to publicly disagree. Really though if the existence of this thread chases people away the forum and interferes with sobriety, we'll take it down in a heartbeat!

    What do you think?

  14. #14

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    Kimber, thanks so much! You posted while I was writing. I appreciate your support!!! And like I said on the main thread, I'm proud of you!

  15. #15
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    Ken,..the phrase I used about being "uncomfortable reading about..." was from Sue (whom I love and respect),..sorry, I didn't mean to direct that towards you,...and it wasn't that I was offended by the thread at all,..but I know what my initial reaction was when I read the first few posts and it was more one of confusion just because of what I know of you and Sue,..and I was afraid that this thread wouldn't come across the way you intended. As I said before,..I'd probably have been better off just keeping quiet and moving on. I apologize if this turns this thread "controversial",..I doubt it will, no need for that. It might add some decent conversation to what's been a pretty slow board lately. So what does constitute "success" in this fight?..What constitutes "failure"? Are there different degrees of success? If you are successful, what do you win?..What's next?..Then what?

    You can shut this thread down if you like,..or not, or start another one, it's up to you of course. Again, I apologize for the misunderstanding or any misinterpretation on my part.

    (editing)

    It might add some decent conversation to what's been a pretty slow board lately.

    See, I told you. Four great posts just in the time I wrote this. Thanks Carol,..I appreciate your post and hope you get where I was coming from.
    Last edited by kevin2; 06-19-2012 at 10:39 AM.

  16. #16

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    John, that's funny, they are the reason I started the "Getting Started" thread in an effort to diffuse that dust up.

    Kevin, I hold you in the highest regard and always respect what you think. I love being a member here and would never intentionally cause anyone distress. My thought process in starting it was this; just as you progress from one grade to the next in school, I was just trying to find out if anyone shared what I was going through at what I felt was the next level. I know I don't have it all figured out and was just seeing if anyone else was struggling with the same issues I currently am, that's it.

    Kimber, I think we started initially posting about the same time and know how hard your life has been the past year or so. You have nothing to be ashamed about, you and I have a disease called alcoholism! I did not believe that for a long time, as I was raised to believe that alcoholics were either morally weak or lazy or mentally weak, but that is not what I believe anymore. I tried for years on my own to stop drinking and could not. One day, I got down on my knees and begged God to help me, and the answer I got (not out loud but deep in my heart) was go to AA. It is the only thing that worked for me, and now SR is my daily AA meeting. I thought I had it all figured out, but relapsed after four years sober. I am fighting hard to keep on the "sober train" because if I relapsed again I don't think I would have the strength for another recovery. Maybe God would have pity on me and help me again, but this last time nearly did me in! Thank you or reaching out and I will definitely see you in the other threads, thanks for the invitation!

    Hope you all are having a good afternoon!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  17. #17
    Eric's Avatar
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    Carol, I am a bit surprised to be called out to show respect, openness and understanding. I think my post was quite supportive of this thread. If, however, I have shown differently, I am always happy to learn.

  18. #18

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    Oh, Eric you are WONDERFUL and your post likewise and so supportive! Please forgive me for not mentioning that in my earlier post. You have always been gentle and respectful and a valued member of this forum. You are the one who taught me how to set up my freedom day. Please forgive me, I meant no offense. I look forward to your posts, please keep them coming!

  19. #19
    Eric's Avatar
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    Carol, no problem at all. I am always worried when my gift for saying things wrong may surface. Glad to know it didn't!

  20. #20
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    There's a recovery process that says once you commit to be a nondrinker you don't count the days because you are not drinking anymore ...rational recovery. I like the rational side of that but didn't succeed because I needed more than just saying it. SR gives the support I need. It's more than just one way of thinking. And that is why I am here. So grateful.

    I do get where you are coming from Ken in starting this post and it would be a shame not to continue this thread.

    I didn't feel like I was graduating to this thread at all and that is what made me post here yesterday. I saw it more as having traction and now needing what Patrick described as living sober.

    I love our little group but also thought that the title Living Sober could eventually attract people that are living sober and could contribute as well. Like AA online I suppose. Days of not drinking are important .... I am sober today and I was sober yesterday. But Living those days are important too. I am still taking baby steps into the real world and love that when I need (desperately) advice I have I can come and get it.

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