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Living Sober - Page 3
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Thread: Living Sober

  1. #41
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    Turns out that vulnerability is what allows us to expand and grow. Without vulnerability, there is no hope. Every time we experience hope, we are accepting vulnerability. When we aren't vulnerable - when we're truly impervious to pain - nothing can change. We are inflexible. Our guard is raised and ready to defend our way of thinking. When we feel vulnerable - and really embody it - our brain allows us to be open to change and that's what hope is to me. Hope is embracing change.

    Here's what I learned: The key to happiness is replacing judgment with gratitude. If you will find gratitude for your vulnerability, something good happens. It's like it opens up the floodgates of possibility. So I'm no longer hiding from vulnerability. I embracing it.

    I've also been mulling over the notion of responsibility, which ties into vulnerability. If there is a problem in your life, you have to deal with it, no one else is going to come along and solve it, and no one is going to care as much as you do about resolving it. Taking responsibility for your life of course makes you vulnerable to failure and disappointment, but responsibility and vulnerability are so much more empowering than the alternatives are; passivity and accepting whatever heads your way. It's the decision to sit behind the wheel and operate the vehicle as opposed to sitting in the back seat as it flies driver-less down a hill.


    Awesome thoughts Ken,..that's actually one of the smartest, most well thought out things I've ever read.

  2. #42

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    I was talking with a friend of mine recently who is going through an extremely challeging part of her life and she said something that I've been thinking about since. She said "What's the point?", meaning what's the point of life if it is going to be so difficult. Don't worry, she's been able to get past that and is in a much more positive place, but it reminded me that I've been considering similar questions that people have been contemplating for thousands of years. Questions like, why am I here, what's the meaning of life, as well as what's the point.

    No one knows the answer to these questions for sure, but here's what I think; the reason you're here is to figure out what makes you happy, your unique talent that God gave you, that you were born with, and share it with the world! You'll never be happy doing something you hate and why would you? You might be great at something you hate, something someone told you were supposed to do when you were young and you, like a good soldier, went along with someone else's plan for your life. You may have forgotten long ago what even makes you happy, but it's easy to find out what you love. It's as simple a making a list of all the things you would do for free if you had just won the lottery. Maybe you love animals or you're into health or music or cars or "you fill in the blank here."

    Choice not chance determines your happiness. You can't wait for success, you have to go out into the world and pursue it on purpose, no one is going to hand you the prize. The point is the choice is yours, only you know the true desires of your heart. Once you figure out what you love, it is your duty to yourself and the rest of the world to pursue it immediately with wreckless abandon. Shake off the critics, any damn fool can criticize, but only the brave will chase their dreams. So in the end, live life full up, don't get to the end of your life with your dreams unfulfilled, don't die with your music still in you. When you get to the end of your life, you want to be able to say, "yeah, that's exactly how I wanted to do it!" That's the point of life as I see it: to find happiness, fulfillment, and contintment while giving back to others and not hurting anyone.

    I believe that if you do what you love the money will come, to an extent. If you love watching TV, you better hope your parents have a nice basement. I'm talking about fiding something you love that contributes something to the world. It can be something as simple as cleaning, it helps to make the world a more beautiful place. It can be something like working on cars, helping people get to work and home safely. It could be something cool like being a rock star. For me, I LOVE fixing up old houses. I appreciate the craftsmanship and the time that went into homes built 50 to 100 years ago. I also love dogs and enjoy contributing money to the humane society. I love nutrion and alternative health. I would be happy to work in any of those fields for a living but am curretnly in the real estate arena because my father was a contractor and I have a sense of connection to my parents there. I feel my father's memory over my shoulder when I'm working with tools and remember my mother's advice when negotiating a deal (she and my father were also business partners). Those things may sound awuful to you, but when I'm doing demo work my face hurts from smiling so much. It's my wish that you find whatever makes you happy and start doing it. Start part time, DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB until you are sure, then dive in head first!

    If you don't love your life, that's the signal that something's wrong and that you need to make a change. Break the cycle of just existing. Make time for yourself. Find out what you're passionate about and take Massive Action (thanks Patrick). Start small so you can test the waters first. Don't let fear of the unknown keep you from living your dreams. Have faith and give it your all, you might just be suprised at what you are capable of and you will never know until you try. Remember you have an expiration date, so get started chasing your dreams today. God bless and God's speed!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  3. #43
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    Ken,

    Great posts. To me, I like to replace the word vulnerability with openess. I am open to personal repsonsiblity, I am open to people, I am open to ideas, and I am open to love. It is how I respond that makes the difference. I can be burned on any one of these things, but if I am open then I can also experience the good from them too. If I am closed, then I cannot. I think it is basically the same idea but with different words.

    One other thing: one of the nestest things I read is: "What is the purpose of life?" "To ask that question."

  4. #44

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    I am working on something that I just realized as a fault, and that is having an all or nothing mentality. For some reason, I tend to think of everything as permanent, either black or white. I recently changed careers, and the hold up was thinking that if I changed and didn't like it, I was in trouble because I assumed I would be stuck doing it the rest of my life. This attitude has kept me from doing many things in my life, from quitting drinking to moving to a new city to just trying new things. It sounds crazy when I put it in writing and liberating as well. For instance if I move to the beach and don't like it, I can always move back to where I live now. The same with my career and dating and every new thing I want to try. When pilots are flying a plane, they constantly make course corrections, and that is what I'm now doing in my life. I think the key is to be clear about what you want and why you want it, then develop a massive plan of action second. The why is more important than the how, you have to realize that complacency/the comfort zone is the killer of dreams and associate pain with not changing and pleasure with achieving the life always envisioned for yourself. The how can be tweaked as necessary.

    Drinking had been my universe and kept me in a mediocre existence, just going through the motions and not really enjoying anything. With the new found energy sobriety has so generously extended to me, I realize how boring my old life had been. Get up, go to work, go home, get drunk, pass out repeat until the weekend. On the weekend get up, do yard work, get drunk, pass out. Pretty lame. Now I feel like it is my responsibility to live life full up, to make the most of the time I have left because we never know how long that is. I at least have a better shot at living a longer life now that I'm not drowning myself daily with a toxic liquid. I still envy people that never think about alcohol and then I realize that I am becoming one of them! I'm also chasing old dreams that I thought had withered on the vine long ago. I find that they are still very much alive and were just waiting for me to get back in the race. Thanks to you all and to SR for giving me a place to feel normal!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  5. #45
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    Ken, I can really relate to your post. I'm feeling the need to do something to break out of my mediocre existence now that I'm "awake at the wheel". There are so many goals and dreams that I put on hold for years, and I don't know where to begin to start turning those things into reality. As you said, you can always change course. Making a change does not mean you're locked in to that decision. (Except for the decision to not drink. That change is non-negotiable.)

    I've stopped writing in a journal, but I think it's time to pick that up again and make some lists, and then Just Do It, one change at a time.

  6. #46

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    I've been thinking a lot about the time I spend here, even after a year of freedom. I still check in several times a day, even if I don't post as often. Why? Why do I still need this forum?

    My she-devil is still in hibernation, and those whispers or yells at me to drink don't come anymore, which is wonderful. But I still often have a track going on in my head that talks about not drinking. Example is from my post on another thread of passing by an airport bar and remembering when I drank there and how much. Or I find myself mentally posting a lot about not drinking, or thinking about people on the forum, etc. Then I thought about how much mental energy I spent on planning my drinking, like has been talked about elsewhere, and energy on coping with the effects and still being high functioning, for so many years. So is it any surprise that I need to spend some energy on the opposite?

    I'm noticing that there are a lot of things I do now and thinking of drinking or thinking of not drinking just doesn't happen. The witching hour comes and goes without noticing. I can go to the grocery store at any time of the day or night without thinking of booze or being tempted or even noticing that they sell booze. I can go to a restaurant and not think about ordering a drink or instantly remembering what I drank there. But when I go someplace associated with drinking that I haven't been to much since I stopped, I notice and remember. For awhile when I went someplace I'd feel a little emotional twang, now it's more just noticing. Like it's not all the way out of my system yet, like I'm still processing it. (Although when I picked up that bottle of vodka when I was shopping for our family reunion there wasn't only a twang there was a big-time alarm. Long story short I went back later, bought a different brand than I drank, had a great time, and didn't drink.)

    I read an article about a woman almost killed by a shark bite that used a screen saver picture of a shark to help desensitize her (along with a lot of other stuff to recover physically and mentally of course). It strikes me that that's part of what is going on. I'm desensitizing myself to alcohol-related memories, triggers, etc. And that made me remember a post from a long time ago that I didn't go back to try to find when I could literally feel myself retraining my brain from old learned responses to new paths of thinking and freedom. I think I'm still in that process of retraining. And that feels kind of good, actually.

    This is the thread where I really get to indulge my thinking (over-thinking?) side, so thanks again Ken for creating it. And for those who've read this long, thanks for all your help!

  7. #47
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    Carol, I am glad that you're still checking in here, thinking and posting about sobriety and the life you left behind. Your presence is inspiring and comforting to many.

    I think the awareness of "how it was" vs. "how it is now" will always be there. Acknowledging that the she-devil is not dead but hibernating is important, too, and keeps you active in maintaining your freedom.

    As a caring person, your energy is now being spent giving encouragement to others, which is so different from the energy you spent giving the she-devil what she demanded!

    Thanks so much for being here!

  8. #48

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    Carol, I second what Sue said and would add that I think this is something we will probably always deal with in some way for the rest of our lives. Although it happens less frequently now, we will probably have to deal with triggers that hit us from out of the blue, unexpectedly but undoubtedly connected somehow to our past. I'm glad you are not experiencing any, but you have to be on guard for them. Mine came after four years of sobriety and I fell for it hook line and sinker.

    As for over thinking, no way! I think SR is a great place to express what you have on your mind and to share your knowledge with everyone. The only way to over think is to think but not take action, the old paralysis by analysis dilemma where you get yourself tied in knots over which way to go and get stuck. But that's not your style, you are decisive!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  9. #49

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    Carol,
    I am glad that you and many others with significant time under your belt are still checking in. It provides continuity, comfort, and inspiration. Way back when you started posting, I recall how you "saw yourself" in other folks stories and couldn't sugarcoat it like you could your "own" story. I have seen myself in your descriptions..descriptions of drinking until the well ran dry or closed down, drinking even more after that if you could get your hands on it. That has always been my problem. I used to describe it as I was missing the "shut down button" that generally would tell Normal folks it was time to slow down or stop and switch to water or soda or better yet, go home and go to bed... I don't have such a button. Once i start drinking, and have a certain amount..three glasses or so, I start drinking more and more and faster and faster, usually only stopping when alcohol is gone or i finally pass out.

    Not drinking is usually not too much of a struggle. I don't have the cravings others have described on here. My issue has always been that I may not be able to stop once i start. Sometimes i can drink just a few and be fine, but i can never tell in advance whether i will be able to control my drinking or not.

    I am still having a tough time wrapping my head around the idea of never drinking again..... I am not sure i can commit to that, but i am happy to not be drinking right now.

    I am very impressed that you have not had a drink in over a year. It is just so hard to imagine. Alcohol has been a nemesis, but it has also been in the mix of some great memories, too. It is just so hard to imagine giving it up forever. Reading on how folks are doing with long term sobriety helps.

    Please continue to stick around! This plea is for all of the other successful old timers on here, too.
    Last edited by Millie; 07-12-2012 at 06:08 PM.

  10. #50
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    Millie, it sounds like you may be allergic to alcohol. An allergic reaction usually is triggered by alcohol entering into our system, then our brain takes over to over to try to adjust. It sounds crazy (that is what I first thought) but it makes sense. I tend to drink like you. My drinking episodes are different everytime. One thing is for sure, I never have the control to quit until I am puking, belligerent, downright intoxicated.

  11. #51

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    Tere, the allergic reaction concept is interesting. Even more reason to stay away from it. . I am definitely enjoying the freedom from it right now. Life is good.

  12. #52
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    I know, I couldn't agree more

  13. #53
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    thanks for giving us newbies hope KirstenBrock Any special advice?

  14. #54
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    I hope this threads continues with the experienced and successful voices on this thread. I like to read these to learn what to expect and how to grow into a sober life. I will continue to limit my posts to the main thread, but it is nice to read how the sober folks live and what they deal with.

  15. #55
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    Hi All,

    I too like this thread as well as the 60, 90. They both add so much.
    Today I was just watching the news about Randy Travis' latest drunken episode. Wow is all I can say.....talk about not knowing when you hit rock bottom. All of us can relate to him whether we have been there yet or not because that could be any of us if we drink today.

    My heart goes out to him and everyone else that can't break the chains of addiction. It makes me weep as well as pray that we all can overcome our egos and keep surrendering to our higher power that can set us free from our fears to find true joy and happiness.

    Take Care All!

  16. #56

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    Here is what goes through my mind constantly, life is so short and fragile, don't waste one more second of it. When I drink, I waste that day and probably the next. It was fun when I was 20, but I blinked and was suddenly in my 40's and wonder what might have been if only I could have figured out that I was throwing away so much by being an alcoholic and work-a-holic. What a tragedy it is to keep trying to drink in moderation and miss out on really living your one and only life. You don't get any do-overs (I don't think?), so stop doing self destructive things to yourself. Start being selfish, in a good way, and live the life only you can. No one else will ever care as much as you do about your life and no one else can do anything to change it except for you. I'm quitting a job I hate tomorrow and feel like I'm about to put down a 200 pound weight I've been carrying around. I have no idea what is next, but life is too short to be miserable. The same thing goes for drinking, put it down and don't worry about what comes next, whatever the alternative is has got to be better than the misery that drinking is!

    For me the answer is anger. I finally had to get so mad at MYSELF that I knew that there was only one solution. You may be familiar with the burn the boats story, Andy Andrews tells it much better than I can here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlNngcDNFS0 Basically, as the legend goes, Hernando Cortez, in attempting to conquer the Aztecs, ordered the men in his command to burn the boats they used to sail ashore, which eliminated the option of retreat. I was so tired of beating my head against the wall, of not living up to my potential, of wasting year after year HOPING things would get better and change. I had to get to the point of no more excuses, no more lies (to myself), of being so miserable that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was time to quit or get my will up to date because at the pace I was drinking I was on a race to the end so I had to burn my boat. I believe that you can declare any point you want to as your rock bottom, you don't have to go to jail or get divorced or some other horrible event happen to declare that you are sick and tired of living half a life. So many others in the posts above have put it so well, just existing, not enjoying life any more, just going through the motions until it is time to drink again is an awful way to live and such a waste. I had all I could take of living that way, FINALLY!

    My honest assessment is that if people are still drinking, they still BELIEVE they are getting something out of it and have refused to be honest with themselves. They have refused to admit that they still get some pleasure out of it, even if only imagined. They still hang on to the belief that they can control the beast. I have read that at our most basic, we are all motivated by the desire to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. Therefore if someone is still drinking, they still think it brings something to the table. Maybe it is the belief that I had that said that once I had a drink, magically everything would be rainbows and puppy dogs and ice cream for everyone, but what it turned out to be, especially at the end, was about as much fun as hitting yourself in the head with a claw hammer. Pain, loneliness, unnecessary misery, the pain we caused to all those that tried to love and support us, the (you fill in your own blank here), all prolonged because of the lie we told ourselves about alcohol.

    You and I know that left alone, weeds will grow instead of what you desire, so you have to take charge, plant the seeds of change, and continually cultivate them or the weeds will grow. You have to keep yourself motivated all the time, over and over. Motivation is like taking a shower, it doesn't last so you have to repeat the process as often as needed! SR is my crutch, where I lean when I need some support or strength. I love to read about people celebrating milestones, whether it be day 2 or 30 days, it gets me pumped, like the theme music to Rocky 1 is playing in my head while I'm reading here. Those small victories mean the world to me as I genuinely enjoy people being happy. Ever watch The Price Is Right? Strangely, I will find myself cheering for complete strangers to win prizes, the same concept applies here for me. SR is like my second family and I cheer for everyone that posts.

    The turning point for me, as Beth reminded me the other day in a post, was finally getting on my knees and begging for help. Admitting that I absolutely was powerless in my own strength and asked God to please help me. I know God can be a touchy subject here, which makes me scratch my head, but I can honestly say that without His help I would probably be 6 feet under by now. Sue and Sally said it in another thread, gratitude and making yourself a priority, perhaps for the first time ever. Have a great day everyone.

    Hi Eric and Beth, good to hear from you!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  17. #57

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    Kimber, I have been following your journey since you came back and want to tell you I'm impressed and happy for your great strides, you sound like a different person than the former one that used to post (in the best way possible). I'm glad anything I had to say was of some help to you. Come on down! You're right, we do all win by not drinking! I did quit my job today and feel awesome! I am going to make some important decisions about other things now. What was holding me up was thinking in an all or nothing manner. What I mean is thinking that making a decision to change careers is permanent, but it is not! If I make a decision that doesn't work out, it is a sign of maturity to admit your mistake and move on, not to suffer in silence like a good little solider, because that's what everyone expects you to do. It's my life and my choice, I'll run my own race thank you very much. So onward and upward it is to the next chapter in my life. Can you relate?
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  18. #58

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    I thought there was a thread to post books, but apparently I am mistaken. I want to share with you a couple of books that I'm reading that I think are worth looking into. I watched a program on PBS by Dr Joel Fuhrman this past weekend all about based on his book titled "Eat To Live." He has a website that shares most of the information in the program: http://www.drfuhrman.com/

    In reading and researching this book, I found another one titled "The Pleasure Trap". Here is a lecture by one of the authors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=nxf4kj8Rb6Y It covers WHY we are addicted to food, alcohol, etc., and how to reset our systems to beat these addictions! Please check these out.
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

  19. #59
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    Hi Ken,

    Hope all is well!
    The book thread is under water cooler called The Library.

    It is so funny you saw Joel, I saw him on Dr. Oz a few weeks back and have getting his book from the library on my list of things to do. I like his approach to diet, G-BOMBS, which is what I need! a healthy approach to eating.

    I heard a saying over the weekend.....Your six pack starts in the kitchen! And no, NOT beer, but the way you eat. Now that the kids are back on school I need to focus on my nutrition.

  20. #60

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    In an attempt to get more flexible, I have been researching yoga moves. In the process, I found this awesome answer to a question I had to share with you all. The yoga instructor was asked this:

    "How do you manage to stay so grounded in a busy urban environment like NYC?

    Her answer: "Life isn't going to give you peace. You have to take it. You have to make your peace with your daily routine and create space for yourself. My first priority is my nourishment, and everyone has to fit in around that. A lot of people I see flip that. They always say yes, and do what everyone else needs first. Then they see where they fit in, and you'll never fit in that scenario. You've got to commit to do you every day."

    I wrote this down on an index card and stuck it to my desk:

    Life isn't going to give you peace. You have to take it.

    Wow, why didn't I think of that!
    Troubles are temporary. So is life. You get to decide which one you want to focus on

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