• DaveH posted a new activity comment 5 hours, 27 minutes ago

    HI @Dylan.John I was hoping you’d pop up again. You know how the next few days is going to go… churning mind, sweaty sleepless nights, anxiety etc. You also know these are all going to fade and then you have to get into the grind of beating the cravings and the noise in your head justifying why have a drink is a good idea. What have you learned from your last effort? (around 60 days as I recall).
    Stopping drinking is difficult, and as we close doors in our minds to alcohol the addiction has to find new ways to get around our resolve. In this way it appears to become more devious the further along the road we go. The big thing is to keep learning. Relapse isn’t failure, it is education; but only if we will learn the lessons from it. What was it that corroded away your resolve last time? Self-sabotaging thought? The idea that you could keep it under control this time? Try to identify the lesson and learn it well. Also have a good look at what helped last time? If it worked then start doing it again and keep looking for more things that will help. But remember, as you go the challenge changes. Was there something more you needed to add to your arsenal? I see you will read a little and I’d like to suggest this free eBook download “Alcoholism in a nutshell” https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/ . It will show you the full range of what addiction throws at us and why this happens. It will expose the challenges ahead and let you see what parts of the difficulties in life are coming from addiction and what parts are just life that we have to get on with.
    You can do this. You know you can string a good few days together so grit your teeth, do the things that help, and get the first month done and behind you. Then you can look again at the part after that and fill in the missing parts of your defences. You’ve got this. Push on.

    • hey mate I’m so glad you’re here still your advice is always so wise and relatable
      last time was just over 100 days but it seems like a lifetime ago and it doesn’t matter but I am trying to change little habits that may trigger me
      last night was hard and sweaty like you said haha
      thanks for your msg and I’ll keep posting because I want this so bad, tired of misery

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 day, 5 hours ago

    Hi @butterfly5000 You say “I have so much anxiety and panic attacks and I used to run to the alcohol so fast” and in this you describe the very trap we end up in. When we drink regularly then our brain adjusts to offset the effects of regular and large doses of alcohol. The primary effect of alcohol on the brain is that it slows it down. The very obvious signs of this slowing down are that the brain fails to be able to complete complex tasks fast enough; things like balancing upright successfully and speaking clearly. These are enormously complex tasks and when we drink a lot then our brains can’t processes all the information fast enough to complete them properly and the result is that our words get slurred and our balance becomes wobbly.
    The brain recognises this impairment and tries to minimise it. There are two main ways the brain responds. The first is that it speeds up processing in the brain and the second is that while we are impaired like this we are vulnerable and endangering ourselves, so the “flight-or-fight” response is cranked up to try and keep us safe. Noradrenaline is released into the brain and this heightens our awareness and has us looking for problems in anticipation of some danger, and adrenaline rushes through us increasing our heart rate and moving blood to the big muscles to prepare us for immediate action. While we are still intoxicated we don’t notice these as they simply counter the effects of the alcohol in us that is slowing things down, but when we start to sober up and that slowing down fades away then we are left in an over-excited state. This is what causes the shakes and this is what drives the anxiety and panic. But our brain knows something else. It knows that if we drink again then these symptoms will subside again as the slowing effect of the alcohol kicks back in again.
    So our brain recognises that drinking fixes these problems and initiates cravings to encourage us to drink… we end up being triggered to drink by b…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 days, 6 hours ago

    Hi @lee-2 as you look across your whole progress away from despair try to divide the challenges into these three areas. 1. Stopping drinking. 2. Becoming well 3. Staying well. They don’t run one after the other they all overlap but this is our progression into feeling fulfilled in life. Each of these phases has completely different challenges and disciplines and you will see them clearly once you stop and look. You are well into “becoming well” and fast approaching the time when managing your condition becomes the main thing you have to work at. I like to think of my work on addiction as “treatment”. While I keep doing the work (taking my medicine) I stay well. But if I fall off the treatment plan the the symptoms return. If I let those symptoms gain strength then I will drink again so the challenge becomes recognizing when things aren’t right in my head and then taking the right corrective action. It takes some ups and downs and learning to get a good grip of this but it comes as our self-awareness improves… and you are running well ahead of the pack on that one. You’re going great and an inspiration to everyone. Please don’t underestimate how you sharing your journey here helps others. For everyone that replies to something you say there are 50 that it touches that you don’t see. Keep learning and growing and shining.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 days, 1 hour ago

    Hi @andian A very likely reason for this is a change in your body’s hydration. When we drink then one of the responses from our bodies is than it shuts down absorbing water into the blood. It doesn’t start re-absorbing until we sober up. It is this response to alcohol that causes us to wake thirsty (and dehydration is a major component of our hangovers). Now that you’re not drinking your body is able to manage hydration properly again and you no longer have extended periods when your eyes are water deficient.

    • Thanks @daveh, that helps. Can I assume that the normal hydration levels affects joints, lungs and liver and kidney function too. I feel a remarkable change in health and body. Breathing easier, joints less stiff and more flexible and changes in waste excretion too. All for the better. Additional skin colour and complexion all improved. The physical benefits are quite amazing. Not forgetting the mind changes. But the physical improvements are great to see and feel.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 days, 4 hours ago

    Hi @lee-2 Yet again I read one of your posts and smile at the remarkable pace of change in you and your self-awareness of them. You say “I’m finding it a bit strange just how much I live in my own head these days…. most of my free time is spent doing recovery related or other healthy, constructive” Isn’t that a colossal change? There was a time not at all far back that time alone was filled with churning thoughts filled with doubt, fear, and dread and then drinking to oblivion. Now that time is spent making things better for yourself instead of making things worse. You also have this remarkable comment “Feels like an odd sort of growing pain” and this is precisely what it is. I drank from an early age and then increasingly heavily from my twenties onwards. While in that time I continued to learn new things and grow my capability what I was not doing was growing as a person; that had been paused while I served my addiction. But it began again once I stopped drinking. This line describes it well. “I started to become the person I should have been a long time ago”. My life has changed completely since I stopped drinking and it has changed in ways I could never have foreseen. I couldn’t foresee them because I am a quite different person to the drunk that once lived in my brain. I live entirely differently, I do different things, I think differently, I am motivated differently, my values are different; everything, absolutely everything is different. This all took quite a bit of exploring, discovering and growing into. It felt a bit weird sometimes but it all formed up into a completely new personality. I didn’t revert to the person that I was before I started drinking (I was only a teenager then), I became someone totally different. That is the journey you are on now and it is going to take you to some entirely unexpected places.

    • I really appreciate how you’ve defined this stage @DaveH as I was/am beginning to feel a bit alienated. Shared it at a meeting as well the other night and got some wonderful feedback. I’m on step 6 and it’s harvesting all of the reckless behaviors. Now that they are in light, they must be smashed, just like the booze was. Nothing about this is easy but it has to be done.

      • Hi @lee-2 as you look across your whole progress away from despair try to divide the challenges into these three areas. 1. Stopping drinking. 2. Becoming well 3. Staying well. They don’t run one after the other they all overlap but this is our progression into feeling fulfilled in life. Each of these phases has completely different challenges and disciplines and you will see them clearly once you stop and look. You are well into “becoming well” and fast approaching the time when managing your condition becomes the main thing you have to work at. I like to think of my work on addiction as “treatment”. While I keep doing the work (taking my medicine) I stay well. But if I fall off the treatment plan the the symptoms return. If I let those symptoms gain strength then I will drink again so the challenge becomes recognizing when things aren’t right in my head and then taking the right corrective action. It takes some ups and downs and learning to get a good grip of this but it comes as our self-awareness improves… and you are running well ahead of the pack on that one. You’re going great and an inspiration to everyone. Please don’t underestimate how you sharing your journey here helps others. For everyone that replies to something you say there are 50 that it touches that you don’t see. Keep learning and growing and shining.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 days, 5 hours ago

    Hi @Lars My challenge was to fix myself. I barely have the means to change myself and I certainly lacked the means to change anyone else. Not only is my ability to change someone else’s actions virtually nil, it is also not my problem to fix. My task is to fix me, not the rest of the world. THAT is what I’m both accountable and responsible for… what I do, not what someone else does.
    If you ever hear someone say that stopping drinking is easy then walk away; they are either trying to sell you something or don’t understand the problem. Stopping drinking is not easy. If it was then we would simply choose one day to not drink anymore and that would be the end of it. But stopping drinking is something we fail to achieve time after time and we fail because it is difficult. If it was not difficult then there would not be a whole industry of clinicians, doctors, therapists and counsellors working at this and there would not be a plethora of community-based groups working away around the world; all the offices, re-habs and meeting rooms would be empty if this was easy to beat.
    Stopping drinking is so difficult because a part of our brain doesn’t want us to. That part of our brain insists that drinking is a good thing and that we should drink again and we should do so now. This part of our brain has control of the motivating urges that compel us to drink (the cravings) and it is supported by a falsely biased recall that has the deeply learned memory that “drinking is good, do it again!”. All the self-sabotaging ideas we get come from the brain responding to the demand that we drink. This first comes as a feeling and is then rationalised into words propelled by the false memory that drinking is a good thing. All this happens completely automatically. It is entirely automated processes occurring in the brain which we can’t ignore and we can’t turn off. The memory that “drinking is good” is false. It was true a long time ago but it is no longer true. There’s a blog…[Read more]

    • “My ability to resist walking that path this depends on being completely convinced of three things… it is possible to stop drinking, it is necessary to stop drinking, and that stopping drinking is worthwhile”………….amen. Thanks for that

  • DaveH posted an update 1 week, 5 days ago

    A few days ago @happymoods posted about how the way they saw the world was changing including this fantastic line “I love walking through these illusions”. I started to reply, but it took so long I’ve put it here as a stand-alone post. It is about deformed memory and self-sabotage.

    As my recovery was strengthening I became acutely aware of the extent to which my mind was actively working against me. Even after I had summoned sufficient strength to fend off the cravings I still had to navigate my way around all the noise in my head that was trying to make me drink again. This noise wasn’t trivial; it was very real, very loud, and very persuasive, and I came to realise that my mind was actively working against my decision to not drink. A part of my brain still wanted to drink and that part kept expressing itself even though intellectually I’d decided I must not, and I couldn’t stop that chatter from coming.

    Even when we have enough to beat the cravings there are still other barriers to overcome including these two: our memories, and the lies our minds create. These three components; cravings, unrepresentative memory and lies, all work together to try to make us drink again. The great illusion they come together to create is that life without alcohol isn’t worthwhile, and this piece of fiction is incredibly convincing.

    The self-sabotage is the consequence of a falsely formed memory that isn’t immediately obvious but is perfectly apparent once we know how to look for it. Here is how to see it:

    If, in the depth of my drinking I had been told by a Doctor that I had to stop drinking for a month through some medical necessity I would have been absolutely horrified. I wouldn’t be able to rationalise this fear in any sensible or coherent way but the fear was real, and it was powerful. There is no rhyme or reason associated with this, it is exists entirely as a feeling and this is completely at odds with the experience of a normal drinker. A normal drinker wou…[Read more]

    • I learn so much from you @daveh, thank you for all that you share with us. It is invaluable xoxo

    • Thank you @daveh. Not chasing the thoughts around or debating them but instead using them to defeat themselves. This is revelatory! I’ve suspected this might be the answer but how you describe it really packs a punch. Bless you for this response, I read it all with utter resonance.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 week, 6 days ago

    Thanks Ro. I was about to say exactly the same.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 week, 6 days ago

    “It has to stop” is a really powerful thought. When our heads are going off with BS reasons why we should drink a really successful counter argument why we shouldn’t drink is “because this is what has to happen”. Our minds find it hard to argue against this one. Keep doing the things that works, keep looking for more things that help and keep going.

    • Thanks for this . Just bawled my eyes out . It has to stop . Because this is just what has to happen . Thank you

    • There is some good stuff here thank you. Yesterday I went to my uncles funeral it was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be, he was the last adult in our family I knew from my childhood. It was a long day I was really tired at the end of it and wot did I do on the way home I went into a shop brought a bottle of wine, took it home and drank it. I haven’t done that for months. I’m painting my office today and I feel much better than I deserve to be but I’m a bit worried why I gave in. “this has to happen” may help next time so ta tons all of you and keep safe today x

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks, 1 day ago

    That’s wonderful news. Thank you for letting us know.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks, 1 day ago

    One is too many, ten is not enough.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks, 2 days ago

    Hi @mynameisnotbob That sounds brilliant! Well done and please keep letting us know how you’re going.

  • DaveH posted an update 2 weeks, 4 days ago

    HI @louiskvincent How is it going today?

    • Yes good thanks. The hardest time I find is between 4pm and 6pm and if i can get through that time frame i,m usually safe. So day two for me..

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks, 5 days ago

    Hi @louiskvincent Malibustacey has pointed you at my blog, and by all means feel free to go there for information or whatever, but please come back here. The single biggest thing that changed whether or not I could stay stopped was other people. It didn’t matter how hard I tried it wasn’t until I got myself among other people with this problem that I could beat it. Right here is a very powerful therapeutic community, and as long as you stay close to this group you are never alone in your struggle. Here’s looking forward to hearing from you about Day 2.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks, 5 days ago

    Ditto. Hi Lee. Day 90 today if I’ve counted correctly. I hope things are ok with you.

    • How incredibly heartwarming it is to wake to this today. Thank you @MalibuStacey, @DaveH, & @timidwarrior for your kind words and for thinking of me. The little girl in the photograph that I chose for this website last year is a random picture that I’d found of her dancing amongst a crowd of at the big Woodstock concert in the 60’s. I immediately fell in love with this photo as she looks so happy and free. That’s how I feel and am now, for the most part and thoughts are, so is my cousin after some years of battling cancer. I’m feeling happy and sad at the same time. Not looking forward to driving in rough weather today to attend the funeral but it’s a pin prick in comparison to other life experiences that I’ve had, mainly what it’s taken to get sober. The last time I saw this cousin was at a funeral for another one, that had died from cancer and addiction. I was sober at the time, had been for months and she was so very proud of me. She’d lost both parents to alcohol related deaths and alcoholism is widespread in our families but she was spared of it. I was elated to wake up sober today and even more so to recognize the fact that this never has to end. 30 days if fine, been here before many times but what really excites me is not the number, it’s the heartfelt fact that alcohol no longer rules my existence and I am carrying out this enlightened life as a result. I feel balanced, secure, confident, whole and also very fortunate to have found you all here and to have my sound group of sober friends that I’ve made through the years in AA. Ironically, the person who first introduced me to AA 17 years ago was a lovely lady from NZ who had been living in the US for years and got sober here. We’ve been great friends ever since and now I’m thinking the whole lot of you are equally as wonderful! Can this be? 🙂 I will find out soon enough as I am planning a trip there next year sometime and hope to have the pleasure of meeting some of you in person. This sober…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    HI @Missbennett “Oosh that accepting I have a problem out loud is eeeek!” Isn’t it just, but it is also really important. The reason we don’t want to accept that we have a problem is because of the shame that comes with it; we don’t want to be an Alcoholic because that’s shameful! But this is a completely incorrect accusation. People who are bi-polar aren’t shamed, not are people with depression or anxiety disorders, and alcoholism is no different… they are all conditions where the brain is working in ways that are unhelpful and unwanted. Shame only exists by the consent of the shamed. Our brains are mis-performing and we haven’t chosen this to happen, and this means that shame is not attributable to us. Shame is only attributable when the actions of the individual are freely chosen… not when they are enforced. There is nothing shameful about being an alcoholic and anyone casting shame does so through lack of understanding. One of the big things we can do to help ourselves early on is to not be one of those people casting shame. Our condition is not chosen it is inflicted on us and as such this warrants compassion not shame. Alcoholism attracts shame through ignorance and when we stop looking at our problem as failure and start recognising is as illness then we have something to work with that isn’t crushing us. When we recognise it as illness then we can look at ways to treat the illness… and shame disappears! Something I did was I put a post-it note on my bathroom mirror. It read “I am an alcoholic”. Then each morning in the shower I would think about that and follow the thought wherever it went. I am an alcoholic… what does that do to how I think, what are my challenges going to be today, what am I going to meet, what am I going to do about these to stop them or get past them… etc.
    There is no shame in being an alcoholic. People that cast shame do so from ignorance… I learned to forgive them their ignorance. That was their problem to deal with not…[Read more]

    • Mm debate that of being ashamed of being bipolar, huge stigma still out there, and huge regrets of spending approx 5 yrs in n out of looney bins, rehabs, residential care, over today of shitloads of meds, as meds added to, since op and hit depression. So..
      Depression more accepted out there b4 bipolar or schizophrenia, as i used to say i was, with lol violent sexual tendancies to scare the bajesus out of people when in care, left me well alone lol 😁🤔 @DaveH

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    Wow, just listen to you! Fantastic. If you are looking for some evidence that stopping drinking is worthwhile then look back at some of your posts 200+ days ago. You are flying! well done.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    The download links are here: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/ Anyone is most welcome to take a copy if it might help.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    I like it and it works fine.

    • Tewy replied 3 weeks ago

      I think ‘following’ makes sense …..to me anyway !! Great idea

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 1 day ago

    Hi @lee-2 The growth in your self-awareness is a joy to watch. You are in a completely different position at 3 months than you have described in your previous efforts. Well done indeed.

  • DaveH posted an update 3 weeks, 2 days ago

    The following is quite a long post. It is a commonly asked question and it details what to actually do to help ourselves stop drinking. It is pasted into here from my blog and the formatting may not all come through correctly. If it fails then it can be read here: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/2019/06/02/what-to-actually-do-and-why/

    Stopping drinking is hard. If you ever hear anyone say it isn’t then they either don’t understand the challenge or they’re trying to sell you something. It is so hard because it is not actually alcohol we are fighting it is our own minds… so the challenge is essentially precisely as capable, creative, devious and persistent as we are. It is our own minds that create the cravings and the lies and it is our own minds that create our emotions and biased memories. Stopping drinking is difficult but it is not impossible; lots of people manage to do it. But while treatment programs tells us how important it is to stop and urge us onward they offer very little direct help on how to achieve this.

    What is compiled here is a list of things we can do to help break free of alcohol. These are things that have worked for me personally and things I have seen work for others. It is presented in two parts; first, what to do, and then, why it is effective.

    1. Don’t have alcohol in the house. If you buy alcohol you will drink it… so don’t buy it. Don’t go into bars or restaurants that sell alcohol, don’t go into liquor outlets or anywhere else you can buy alcohol, don’t go near the places you used to drink after work and don’t go to anywhere you used to drink. Don’t even pull into the car park of any of these places.
    2. DON’T PICK UP THE FIRST DRINK. Do anything at all to stop yourself from picking up the first drink because the first drink dissolves all objections to having another. If I don’t have the first drink, then I can’t have 10! This is the new truth… “One is too many, ten is not enough”.
    3. Get help. Go and see your Doctor a…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 3 days ago

    My experience was the same as yours I think. It just left me confused… was I drinking or wasn’t I?. It helps some people but I found it easier to leave it alone.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 3 days ago

    Here’s one I read today I really like.
    “To make a difference in someone’s life you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect. You just have to care.”

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 3 days ago

    Hi @MissBennet You are getting closer and closer to making this stick. You say “couldn’t cope, should not have gone. Learned my lesson” Your self-awareness is getting much clearer, it even made you realise that sitting there was not what you wanted… that actually it wasn’t even good at all. You saw right there the big lies… “drinking is fun”, “drinking is good”…. these are not true! they are illusions. Your mind is lying to you and you are becoming able to see this more clearly.

    You say that you don’t know what the trigger was that you succumbed to on this occasion but drinking triggers don’t form a nice orderly queue. You are still in the time that individual triggers can’t be seperated from each other; what we experience is the noise of many triggers being fired and climbing one on top of the other. As cravings expire new ones take their place.

    We make the power of the triggers diminish (i.e. the intensity of the cravings gets smaller) when we experience them but DON’T drink…. that’s what makes them smaller. But at first, and quite literally EVERYTHING triggers us to drink.

    When we drink alcohol alters how our brain works. Principally alcohol acts as a sedative, but it also makes us happy and sociable. The “happy and sociable” comes from 2 chemicals that alcohol causes to be released: dopamine and serotonin. But the brain recognises that it gets more dopamine and serotonin than it ordered, so it thinks it’s over-producing them and slows down their release and detection. When we drink regularly this down-regulation of dopamine and serotonin become our starting state and these leave us unhappy and lacking social confidence when we are sober. The other changes that happen when we drink regularly are that our brain is speeded up to offest the alcohol that will be coming soon, and our flight-or-fight response is cranked up so that it will still work when we are under the influence.

    This leaves us in very poor shape when we are sober; we are u…[Read more]

    • Hi @DaveH, thanks for your reply. The triggers had been along the lines of H.A.L.T earlier and because I could see them for what they were, no worries. I have also, like @Morgan (and thank you for your kind words), been going to and am going to club stuff and could handle being around booze. But this was triggered long before I got to the bar and I think I was trying to win a colleague over. When she suggested a drink, I stupidly thought yup, that will be a bonding session. Unfortunately, I don’t trust her, it was her environment, not mine and she is a force of nature. Hindsight is like, come on, what were you thinking? The lack of trust and lack of bonding grew. She used to be a really good friend and we used to drink together all of the time but the job took us separate ways. Now I feel an undercurrent, something I can’t put my finger on. Anyway, as you say, it’s made me stronger. Gosh I have a conference with her and her friends in November. I’m dreading it. I have my own room thank goodness.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 4 days ago

    I really like your trick of visualizing the amount of wine you’ve not drunk. In my case I would have filled a bucket every 4-6 days (but chuck in some beer and gin on top of that). In 60 days I would have filled a bathtub to the brim! Yuk!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 4 days ago

    Great result! Well done.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 4 days ago

    Let’s find out. Here’s a link to my blog: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 5 days ago

    Stopping drinking is hard. If you ever hear anyone say it isn’t then they either don’t understand or they’re trying to sell you something. The challenge is so hard because it is not actually alcohol we are fighting, it is our own minds. It is our own minds that create the cravings and the lies and it is our own minds that create our emotions and biased memories. Stopping drinking is hard, so how about making some plans to make it work this time. Decide . Plan . Do.

    Here are a bunch of things that helped me get going.

    – The closer we are to alcohol the stronger the cravings, so don’t have alcohol in the house. If you buy alcohol you will drink it… so don’t buy it. Don’t go into bars or restaurants that sell alcohol, don’t go into liquor outlets or anywhere else you can buy alcohol, don’t go near the places you used to drink after work and don’t go to anywhere you used to drink. Don’t even pull into the car park of any of these places.
    – DON’T PICK UP THE FIRST DRINK. Do anything at all to stop yourself from picking up the first drink because the first drink dissolves all objections to having another. If I don’t have the first drink, then I can’t have 10! This is the new truth… “One is too many, ten is not enough”.
    – Radically change your daily routine and most especially fill up the slack times when you used to drink. Plan to be doing something else somewhere else at these times. Make a commitment to them and turn up.
    – If you are somewhere and you can see drinking and feel it pulling then leave immediately before it grows stronger. If you are going to somewhere where there will be drinking then be accompanied by someone who knows you’re not drinking and prepare an exit route so that it’s there if you need it.
    – Have sweet things and snacks handy and have alcohol-free drinks handy.
    – Take deliberate time out to exercise every day. Do somethings that gets your heartbeat up for 10 mins or more. Walk uphill, jog, exercise machine, gym, using stairs. Th…[Read more]

    • Wow, thanks, DaveH, for this thorough reply! I think one of the things that really resonates is keeping the horizon close – because forever seems like an impossible goal.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 5 days ago

    “By changing your unconscious mind, we eliminate the desire to drink” I wonder how many people actually do this. How many people set about changing what their subconscious mind is doing, and how many simply try to ignore what it is doing?

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 6 days ago

    Hi @poivre. I just dropped a message on your blog. Writing is a really useful tool in recovery as it makes us slow down and think about a particular subject in depth… it works because we write much slower than we think so the brain has time to draw in a lot more supplementary information. Another really odd thing about blogging about our drinking problem is that we end up feeling better about ourselves after writing. The reason for this is remarkable simple, and it is to do with secrets. When we drink we say and do things that don’t live up to the standards society expects, or that we expect. We risk being shamed by these things, so we keep them secret. But secrets are a real burden… we have to maintian the secret and sometimes we lie to cover secrets which meakes the burden even bigger. We now have both the secret and the lie to maintain. But when we blog we do so relatively anonymously albeit in an open areana. It is relatively safe to do this because blogs are read by peers, or people in similar positions with similar interests. So when we say for example “I have been a terrible role model to my kids” we don’t get people saying “damned right you are, you should be ashamed of yourself!”, we get “me too!” … the secret is out (we have told it to someone) but there was no shaming penalty for it. When we write honestly about ourself we slowly unburden ourselves of the pain of holding secrets.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 weeks ago

    Hi @poivre There are lots of ways to do this for free these days. This is a good summary of what to do to make a “wordpress” blog.

    https://startbloggingonline.com/how-to-start-a-blog-on-wordpress-com/

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 weeks ago

    Hi @Happymoods Thank you for this wonderful post. What you demonstrate here is something that is so easily overlooked in the wake of a relapse. When we set out with the intention to not drink but then fall short and drink again we feel an overwhelming sense of failure. We feel that all that society says about alcoholics is true of us, that we are useless, can’t be helped, will never amount to anything, we are weak, exercise poor control over ourselves etc, etc. But what society doesn’t recognise is the extent to which we are held captive by our own minds; their experience of wanting a drink is COMPLETELY different to ours. They have yearnings to drink that are incredibly mild in comparison to the power of our cravings. They do not obsess about having a drink every moment of their waking day. They receive mental messages that say “time to stop drinking now”. They are mentally warned off drinking because sometimes it is not a good idea. They have counter-balancing arguments in their head that say drinking is good, but also that drinking is bad. So when they say “you should just drink less” it shows their complete misunderstanding of the issue. Choosing to drink less, to not take the next drink, or to stop for a spell is an easy thing for them to do, but it is not for us. They can take it or leave it and they have a free and balanced judgement in exercising that choice. Their minds do not scream at them demanding they drink. They judge us from their own experience, not from our reality. They are wrong, but that doesn’t stop what they say hurting us, and that hurt is enormous. The sense of shame we get from relapse is completely crushing, and can be enough to drive us even further into drinking to bury our self-loathing. But what you say here shows the very opposite is true if we will learn from it; that relapse isn’t actually failure it is progress. It wasn’t the outcome we sought, but it makes us better able to overcome our addiction in the long term. Your p…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 weeks, 1 day ago

    Hi @liam Don’t look backwards, that’s not where you are headed. You been there, done that and you’ve checked it before anything bad happened; nobody got hurt. The big take-away from this is that being sober for a spell doesn’t make the slightest difference to our inability to control our drinking… that is still the same and will be for the rest of our lives. The bottom line is that we can never safely drink again, and you have proven this to yourself now. This means your course is even clearer this time; there are no doubts whatsoever. You’ve done this before so you know that this isn’t beyond you. Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re getting on.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 weeks, 1 day ago

    Not being able to sleep will carry on for a few more days yet, but this is as it should be; it is your body recognising the absence of alcohol. It will come right as will the racing mind, fast heartbeat and sweatiness. The other change you may notice when these settle down is that your skin colour will come back and you’ll look healthier again. You’re doing great. Keep doing what’s working.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Try “post-acute withdrawal syndrome”

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    HI @malibustacey It wouldn’t have worked for you. It will only help people that actually want to stop. If you don’t then at the end of the medication period you will simply carry on drinking again and bring the triggers right back to where they were.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @Happyguy you say “But I have a sip and I’m done”… a sip is all it needs.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @Happyguy Naltrexone is an extremely interesting medication and one that I suspect will become central to most supervised recovery programmes. What I find most interesting is not its use for reducing cravings, that’s not what it was developed to do, but how it can be used to re-train the reward system.

    All of what follows is my personal observations and opinions. I am an inquisitive recovered alcoholic, not a medical professional.

    When we take our first drink of a session we get a huge “aaahhh!”, a sense of ease and comfort washes through us. It isn’t alcohol that does this… it can’t possibly be as we get this sensation IMMEDIATELY on taking the drink. This is minutes before alcohol actually gets transported to the stomach, absorbed into the bloodstream, passes through the liver, then through the heart before finally getting to the brain. That wave of relaxation and relief is caused by a big burst of a chemical “dopamine” that is released in the brain at the instruction of the “reward system”, and it happens completely automatically.

    It is the reward system that induced the craving that lead to us seeking that drink, and it is the reward system that causes the dopamine to be released. But this dopamine does more than just give us that feeling of relief; it also modifies the reward system. The craving begins in response to us being in circumstances that have previously yielded alcohol… a drinking “trigger”, and that particular trigger is modified dependant on whether or not it is successful in delivering alcohol again. If the trigger was successful, we had a drink, then the trigger is made more important (the intensity of the next craving it launches is increased). If there was no alcohol forthcoming from the trigger’s craving then the importance of the trigger is reduced (then next craving from that trigger will be smaller). The reward system uses the dopamine release to detect if the trigger was successful, and this is where naltrexone is so cle…[Read more]

    • Hi guys, I’ve read lots about this treatment, THE SINCLAIR METHOD! It’s a strange thing, I know to do this I should drink one hour after Naltrexone, but I just don’t want to. But I have a sip and I’m done . Like Pavlov’s dogs experiments. The goal is to create behaviour extinction. And get the control back.

      • Hi @Happyguy you say “But I have a sip and I’m done”… a sip is all it needs.

      • Interesting. I wonder if you’re allowed to take anti-buse and Naltrexone at the same x? Why not just throw the kitchen sink at it? @Happyguy. Really good to hear from you, by the way.

    • Heh, makes me recall a time when I haphazardly went to a counselor once, well I did. I think she wanted me to stop drinking more than I did. She suggested I take Naltrexone because when I drank on it, I wouldn’t feel any pleasure from drinking. I thought she was nuts. I mean, so what’s the use in taking it?? Aha.

      • HI @malibustacey It wouldn’t have worked for you. It will only help people that actually want to stop. If you don’t then at the end of the medication period you will simply carry on drinking again and bring the triggers right back to where they were.

      • You can’t mix the two . There is also a movie called ONE LITTLE PILL !! That might shed some more light on the matter.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    This is a good question… “Are you drinking on it?” I have tried to add a reply to Happyguy’s question, but for some reason I can’t post it at all.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Well done on seven days and well done for recognising the difficulties coming and preparing for them.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @Buggles You write “Is it possible to drink again like a ‘normal’ person? Is there anyone here that has/is like this? Or am I kidding myself?”

    Unfortunately the answer to this is not the one we want. No, we will never be able to drink safely again. We are no more able to control our drinking after a sober spell than we were before; it feels like we have gained control, but we have not… this is an illusion.

    What happens when we stop drinking for a significant period (a few weeks) is that we successively don’t drink when confronted by the cravings launched from a lot of drinking triggers. When we deny these triggers they lose their power and the cravings they induce become less insistent. It feels as though we’ve got better at manging the cravings, and that is the illusion… it is the cravings that have lessened. Yes, we’ve got better at managing how we handle cravings; we don’t fall to them as often as we did before, but fundamentally, the cravings have become smaller and we regain control. But this undoes itself very quickly if we start drinking again.

    To explain what happens if we drink again takes a bit, but here goes.

    The reason we can’t drink again safely is down to how the “reward system” in our brain works. The reward system is an incredibly successful evolutionary advance that motivates us to do things that are beneficial to survival and discourages us from doing harmful things. It is such a significant advantage that almost all animals living today have this mechanism; anything with a brain in two hemispheres has it. The reward system works by recognising experiences that were good and encouraging us to do them again. It does this with brain chemistry that motivates us to behave in a certain way… that is what a craving is, and cravings are launched when we meet the circumstances again that were “good” and remembered. In us the reward system latches onto alcohol as being something good for us and we establish a huge number of “drinking tri…[Read more]

    • That makes perfect senses, thank you. I guess it’s something I need to come to terms with.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    But “feeling a bit our of sorts” is probably better than puking all over the place, sweating with a pounding head though, right?

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @heidi19 The weekend is on us now, so some extra care is in order. Here are some lies you will probably hear… “You’ve done well, you deserve a drink”, “just one won’t hurt”, “no-one will know”, “perhaps I’m not as bad as I thought”, “I can probably keep it under control now”. They are lies, every single one, so watch for them coming and call them out as lies when you see them. You’ve already done one weekend so you know this is possible. You’re going great! Keep doing what’s working.

    • Yes @DaveH, mona was telling me all of that last night, but ever so briefly as I said to her so nicely she had to leave as I had things to attend to! She acted like I would expect a lady would, leaving oh so quietly!! Thanks team sober!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @lee-2 That sense of peace and calm is the prize for me. Sometimes people moan about not getting all the good things that they want in sobriety, but for me the happiness is not in what I gain but in what I lost. Once all the shame, guilt, remorse, fear, anxiety, depression and loneliness fade then what’s left behind is a quiet calm… and that never gets old. You’ve done brilliantly in your 77 days and I look forward to your post every day. It is such an affirmation of the three essential beliefs; it is possible, it is worthwhile, and it is necessary.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    The three biggest barriers for me were: I didn’t think it was necessary (I’m not that bad!), I didn’t think it was worthwhile (people that don’t drink are boring) and I didn’t think it was possible (I’ve tried and tried, but can’t). All three were untrue.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @mindshell There’s nothing “only” about two weeks, that’s brilliant! Well done and keep doing what’s working.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @Jesss Yes, that’s why I liked it too. One of the issues we face is that over a period of time the reasons we had to stop drinking start to fade. This is when all the arguments like “maybe I wasn’t that bad”, “I can probably have just one”, “I can probably keep it under control now” etc, etc start to sound more convincing. Our memories of drinking are hopelessly biased with “drinking is good” being one of the most strongly impressed memories we have. I like the idea that several times a day I get a message that drinking was actually bad. In time, through repetition of seeing the messages, the ideas that drinking was not good stay firmly in place. This is a really good way to lower our risk of relapse in the period after the pink cloud.

    • Maxx replied 1 month ago

      I still have stubbie that I took out of fridge the day I stopped I might try doing that that’s cool stuff.

  • DaveH posted an update 1 month ago

    I read this somewhere else today and really liked the idea, so I thought I’d pass it on.

    “I had a wine bottle in the house and I thought about throwing it away. But instead I got some labels and wrote on them lots of negative thoughts about drinking: TIME WASTER, SICKNESS, ANXIETY, INSOMNIA, DEPRESSION, SADNESS, FUZZY HEAD, BAD SKIN, HAPPINESS KILLER, FATTY LIVER, and so on. I then covered the bottle in these labels, and put it on my desk where I can see it all day.”

    • Such a cool idea!

    • Tewy replied 1 month ago

      I’m liking that idea 😊

    • That is a very clever thing to do

    • Hahaha yes indeed

    • Awesome reminder ❤️

    • Oh that is good. Retrain that subconscious mind! I like it!👍

      • Hi @Jesss Yes, that’s why I liked it too. One of the issues we face is that over a period of time the reasons we had to stop drinking start to fade. This is when all the arguments like “maybe I wasn’t that bad”, “I can probably have just one”, “I can probably keep it under control now” etc, etc start to sound more convincing. Our memories of drinking are hopelessly biased with “drinking is good” being one of the most strongly impressed memories we have. I like the idea that several times a day I get a message that drinking was actually bad. In time, through repetition of seeing the messages, the ideas that drinking was not good stay firmly in place. This is a really good way to lower our risk of relapse in the period after the pink cloud.

        • Maxx replied 1 month ago

          I still have stubbie that I took out of fridge the day I stopped I might try doing that that’s cool stuff.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @heidi19 If we could do this alone then we’d have stopped drinking a long time ago, and if it was possible then there wouldn’t be a whole industry and community based groups dedicated to the purpose. It seems we need to stay connected to power through it. We need support, reassurance, recognition and sometimes guidance. We can get all of these while we stay in touch with others that have trodden this path, but if we lose touch then we lose that whole basket of support. Post as often as you need to and understand that your messages are read by ten times the number that actually reply. When you post it will be read by others that go “me too!” and they benefit from knowing that are not alone in this challenge. You are going great. What’s the plan for 4:00 today?

    • Just had a cuppa and cracker biscuits and relish and cheese! Has hit the spot nicely! Thanks for a great reply @DaveH, never stopped to think how many old read my posts!!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @em100 It wasn’t anything you said or did… this site occasionally drops posts without any warning or explanation. It’s frustrating but doesn’t happen that often.

    • Ahhh ok – I shall stop taking it personally then 😉

      • Hey @em100. One major contributor to the disappearing post (that i have found anyway) is when u go back in to edit. I’ve lost a few that way so i don’t edit at all anymore.

  • Load More