• DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 hours, 8 minutes ago

    7 days, that’s fantastic. Keep going, and keep doing what’s working!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 day, 18 hours ago

    Well there you go! Long bath and chocolate time!

    • I couldn’t even make it that far @DaveH. I’ve just woken from a hard 7 hr sleep and am back to feeling grounded. I have a divine chocolate cake that I made on reserve, It served its purpose the night before when I felt like I’d hit a wall.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 day, 18 hours ago

    Hi Lotta. Yes, it can get incredibly frustrating! I find that the ideas I want to deliver and the right words only come together when I’m relaxed, and if I write under duress then I usually end up having to re-do those pieces. You might also just remind yourself that you not a full-time author; you are a busy mum first! You are trying to write in the times left over in your day and that’s very hard to do indeed. Breathe. You’ll get there, and getting there is much more important than WHEN you get there.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 days, 16 hours ago

    Hi @MissBennet . It is a surprising thing to learn, but we can only see into about 20% of our brain… we have no direct knowledge of what’s happening in the rest. Unfortunately for us the root our addiction, the reward system, lies in that part of the brain that we can’t see into. This is where the demand to drink comes from and unfortunately for us we can’t directly alter how it works and we aren’t even directly aware of when it is manipulation our behaviour. It operates entirely automatically. It doesn’t require our consent or conscious involvement in any way whatsoever and we can’t turn it off. It is the reward system in our brain that wants us to drink, and even when we have decided at an intellectual level that we want stop this part of our brain carries on demanding that we do.

    Initially our challenge is dealing with powerful cravings and these come directly from the reward system. The “reward” for doing the thing that the craving urged us to do is a big dose of dopamine released into the brain. It is this dopamine (not the alcohol) that gave us the “aaaahhhh!” sensation when we took that first drink of the day. But this dopamine reward didn’t just make us feel good it did something else in our brain; it chemically amplified formation of the memory “That was good! Do it again”. This memory was reinforced every single time we took a drink in response to a craving, so over time the reward system causes us to form an incredibly powerful memory: “drinking is good!” Ultimately it becomes something we know more confidently than anything else, and it causes us A LOT of trouble. It is what’s causing you trouble right now. This memory is incredibly deeply learned and real, but it is false.

    All the self-sabotage comes from the reward system and that biased memory that remembers “drinking is good” far more powerfully than the abundance of evidence to the contrary. When a trigger gets fired the reward system launches a craving and then the brain moves to…[Read more]

    • “unfortunately for us we can’t directly alter how it works”
      “We can’t stop the sabotaging ideas coming”

      Actually we can. It’s called NLP. Neurolinguistic programming. The sub-conscious mind is the computer hard drive which stores all experiences operating at the speed of light, whereas the conscious mind is like the keyboard and operates at the speed of sound. I listen to Eldon Taylor’s InnerTalk on substance abuse. I listen while I’m working or as I drift off to sleep. I purchased five programs including quitting cigs (which I did 4+ years ago), but I didn’t listen to the other four programs. I’m listening to them now. Now Eldon Taylor gives the MP3s away with a subscription to his free newsletter. The “Price” is receiving a few emails a month offering other mind training programs to buy, which I delete. You can find an in depth description of how it works on their website. Good luck!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 days, 22 hours ago

    Hi @sobergirl2019 You are not doing this alone anymore. Welcome.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 days, 22 hours ago

    Hi @fridaymay92014 Triggers are tricky things to work through especially because in the beginning we simply can’t seperate one triggering circumstance from another. This is because we have so many of the damned things.

    Cravings don’t just occurr randomly they are all triggered by recognition of a known circumstances. Our brains create a trigger for every circumstance that resulted in us drinking. When we meet that circumstance again our brain alerts us to the liklihood of alcohol being available here and fires up a craving. Every time we drink in the circumstances of a known trigger then that trigger get stronger and the next craving launched by that trigger will be stronger. Every time we drink in a new circumstance then we create a new trigger. Over time we amass in incredible number of triggers and many of these are very strong indeed, and when we first stop drinking then triggers are being fired virtually non-stop. There are two groups of triggers that hit us when we first stop. The first group of triggers is those that relate to our daily and weekly routines… the times that we regularly drank. The second group is a little more complicated to explain but these are the triggers that hit us hard and fast in the first couple of weeks.

    When we drink regularly and heavily then some key chemistry changes in our brain and in our body. When we FIRST drink then the alcohol artificially causes dopamine and serotonin to be released in the brain. These “neurotransmitters” make us feel happy, relaxed, carefree and socially confident. But alcohol slows down mental processing so the brain also tries to counter this by releasing noradrenaline into the brain and adrenaline into the bloodstream. These two cause our blood to pump faster and try to make us more alert to counter the harmful slowing. When we drink regularly then our body makes changes and adapts to this routine impairment. It recognises that it is getting more dopamine and serotonin than it ordered, and…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 days ago

    And there it is… boom!.. the unpredictability of the world and why visualizing the achievement of an objective is so pointless and mis-directing.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 days ago

    Hello @startingagain Your post is very short but you ask the most telling question of them all… “how can I make the change?” This question shows that you no longer deny that drinking is bringing more harm than good and that you have recognised the need to change this; and those words “need to change” are absolutely crucial. It is THIS recognition is what will propel you out of the downward spiral: stopping drinking is NECESSARY.

    While we can see all the harm that alcohol is inflicting on our lives what is not immediately apparent to us is the emotional toll it takes. The more we drink and the more regularly we drink the greater are the changes that our brain makes in response to all this alcohol, and these changes have serious consequences: they alter us emotionally. We feel increasingly miserable, anxious, fearful, stressed, depressed, on-edge and lonely, and the more we drink the more severe these changes become. Alcoholism (addiction) is a progressive condition and the longer we continue the deeper into hopelessness we fall. The more we drink to relieve our distress then the more pronounced our depression, anxiety, and loneliness become. This continues to worsen and left uninterrupted this downwards trajectory will keep us drinking until it kills us. If we don’t die from organ failure or traumatic accident then eventually we will kill ourselves to escape the depression.

    Alcoholism is progressive, and that is the fundamental reason we have to stop. Stopping drinking isn’t just desirable, it is essential. If we do not stop drinking then we will die, and we will die miserable.
    As the others that have replied have said, what’s required to stop drinking is that eventually we make the decision to do so. But the firmness of that decision is paramount, it can’t be a half-hearted decision, it must be deeply committed. It must be committed because the challenge ahead is an intense one.

    The decision to stop has three parts to it and the stronger each of…[Read more]

    • Terrific reminder of how and why @DaveH.Thank you! You’d recently gotten to 76 days @startingagain, so you know that this can be done. All we can do is aim to do better.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 days, 16 hours ago

    Hi @lee-2 What a great result finding something new so quickly. Now you can get on with doing what enables you to go on your big explore.

    You talk about predicting the future and goals and this reminded me of a discipline I learned that really helps me. I still use this completely routinely to this day and it is to do with the past and the future.

    My mind is an avid time traveller, but usually a discouraging one. If I dwell on the past then my mind goes to unsatisfactory experiences and resentments. These are better left alone… I’ve done all the thinking I need to on these, and I have done what’s necessary to put them to rest, but unguarded my mind will still wander there. For these times I have “It’s OK to look at the past, but don’t stare”. I have a short mental list of things in particular I will not allow myself to dwell on. These are my “favourite” resentments and they do nothing but bring me down if I let myself linger on them… so I don’t. They are done, unchangeable and in the past. I’ve done what can be done to make things right and they are accepted as unchangeable. But occasionally they still pop back in. If I catch myself thinking on any of them then I deliberately do something to shift my line of thought elsewhere.

    The other thing is the future. My problems with the future are twofold: I am absolutely atrocious at actually predicting it and I always imagine events in the future too big. These actually cause me quite a bit of trouble if I don’t actively manage them. If I let me mind roam freely in the future then things are either very dark or incredibly successful… there is never any “ordinary” or middle ground. When I first stopped drinking I quite literally held myself only in the day, I wouldn’t allow myself into the past or the future at all, but as my sobriety gained resilience I adopted a different strategy. When i saw a dark future I’d remind myself how poorly I could predict the future, and that I could only control a very l…[Read more]

    • I’ve spent a lot of time, it seems, trying to stop the mental time traveling thing but it can still get the best (worse really) of me whenever there is significant change involved. In the end it has a lot to do with open mindedness, which I am spectacular at looking out but looking in needs some work @DaveH. I won’t be ironing shirts and wearing a tie for a while and that will be nice I suppose. It’s money either way and that’s how I need to look at it. The job itself remains the same, it’s just in a different atmosphere and with different people. My boss looks/seems extremely healthy which is the complete opposite of the last. Almost everything is the opposite of the last, now that I think about it. I am the only element that is the same, walking into it, and this is what I need to watch.
      I’ve just recently put a few antique pieces of furniture on the online market just to see how it goes and so far I’ve gotten 2 offers from criminals who’d like to send me bad checks via mail. Apparently this is a big scam these days. I’m doing some research and not in a rush but will slowly begin to get rid of things that I don’t really need right now.

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

    These are excellent rules! Picking up the first drink removes all objections to picking up another. The only challenge is to not drink for the rest of the day, and you know you can do that. Keep going.

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

    Hi @iowadawn Feeling “wonderfully in control with the occasional drink” is the bait that puts you back in the trap. Your mind is lying to you.

    • @DaveH point taken. I get what you are saying and I thank you for caring about me and speaking your mind. I don’t feel like my mind is lying to me…its like I’m in this peaceful place where I dedicate my life to alcohol free. But if “the blue moon” is there(like a beer after running marathon and celebrating) I can go back to my non drinker identity. BUT booze can be playing with fire. I get it. And why do I feel like I’m 53 going on 15? Lol!!! I feel like the more I explain the more I am making excuses lol
      But u really are making me think…IS my empowerment and way I feel (in control) actually wine witch back in a different form? I don’t want to EVER be hung over and anxious from booze again. IS bit possible for a person to be not a normie, but a “I don’t drink except for once in a blue moon ” Being a normie is too much for me…if I had a glass of wine every weekend, at dinner…I KNOW I would start horrid binge drinking again. I know it

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

    Hi @davidfs Ro’s advice is good. You might ask yourself why you are carrying a bottle of wine around with you if it’s not going to be drunk at some point… bin it! I live in my motorhome full time so I know that when you live like this you spend a lot of time alone with our thoughts and that’s the really dangerous time for me. Knowing there is a bottle of wine lying around and that nobody would even know if I drank it or not would be doing my head in, and sooner or later I would give in to it. Biff it!

    At the moment I’m in the South Island, on the east coast near Southbridge (at Rakaia Huts campsite, firm ground, plenty of room for a bus, excellent showers). If you happened to swing by on your way back South it would be nice to meet up. I’ve not actually met anyone from LS in person yet.

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

    Hi @AndieT What I discovered was that what other people thought was really of very little significance at all. It had only a very small impact on how I felt about myself. What really DOES matter is how I feel about my actions. What will really hurt me is when I do something that offends my conscience. But conversely what will make me feel good is when I do things my conscience applauds. Whether other people approve or not makes very little difference at all, it is how I see myself that counts.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 5 days, 15 hours ago

    I found two things that really helped me with shame, and they were quite separated from each other.

    The first was the shame associated with being an alcoholic. It was the fear of being shamed by this label that stopped me from getting help far earlier than I did. But this shame was based on some completely incorrect information. He single commonest misunderstanding about alcoholics is that they are weak and exercise poor control. This is completely incorrect. It is the common understanding, but it is incorrect.

    Alcoholism is an illness, not a weakness. Alcoholism is a mis function of the brain’s reward system that makes its sufferers greatly over-value the benefits of alcohol and greatly under-value its downsides. The urge to drink increases and the inclination to avoid drink recedes. This results in the reward system entering a runaway state. Drinking more increases the intensity of the cravings which makes us drink more which increases the intensity of the cravings. The compulsion to drink gets stronger and stronger and the idea that we should refrain from a drink rarely if ever occurs. The reward system operates entirely automatically, without our awareness or consent. We are compelled to drink by mental processes we have no direct control over and have no awareness of. THIS is alcoholism. It has nothing whatsoever to do with poor choices or lack of control. It has everything to do with aberrant, unwilled compulsion.

    Once I realized this, that alcoholism was an illness, not weakness then the shame disappeared. “Shame exists only at the consent of the shamed” and I no longer gave that consent.

    The second source of shame was the things that I’d done. But an immediate consequence of stopping drinking was that I no longer did more things I was ashamed of… that stopped with the drinking. Yes, there were the things that I’d done while drunk that I was still ashamed of, but once sober I had the means to put those right. Things stopped getting worse.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 5 days, 20 hours ago

    Hi @DaisyM If you want to undestand how alcohol changes us and how those changes unwind when we stop drinking then you
    could look at this book you can download for free “Alcoholism in a nutshell” here: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/

    You can read the whole book or just look at the chapters “Tolerance” which looks at how our brain and body adapts to regular alcohol consumption, and then “Reversing alcohol tolerance” which looks at what happens to us when we stop.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 5 days, 22 hours ago

    Hi @lee-2 It is interesting that you’ve recognised that with respect to some of the amends you need to make that “This is not something that I could do straight away”.

    Making amends for wrongs we have done to others is an explicit part of the AA program, but most institutional recovery programs will include this too. The whole purpose of “amends” is to gain relief from our past. In the AA programme this is done in two stages. Steps 4 and 5 relieve us from the burden of holding secrets and steps 8 and 9 free us from the pain of having done things in the past that have hurt other people. The amends steps give us relief from our past by bringing closure to the issues that haunt us.

    We need relief from our past because of the way our minds handle unresolved information. Our brain requires that information is orderly, and settled. What it rejects is information that is contradictory or poorly supported. Our brain particularly rejects circumstances that have unwanted outcomes that are still outstanding. What our mind does with these things is that it keeps bringing them back for us to think on to attempt to find resolution; this is why we are haunted by them…. our minds automatically keep bringing them back.

    The way to resolve these issues is to bring them, one by one, to a position of certainty… is there something that can be done to rectify them? or is there nothing to be done? Either of these is closure, and it is uncertainty that keeps the issue being brought back to mind. We get relief from ending that uncertainty and the relief we get is permanent.

    Making an amends to someone is desperately difficult. It requires us to declare, without reservation, complete accountability for OUR actions and the consequences of them, and it can take time to be able to fully do this. Until we are able to do so then we are not presenting ourselves honestly. It is extremely difficult to stand in front od someone and identify precisely how we wronged them, acknowledge…[Read more]

    • Hi @DaveH I’d thought the same, there must be something wrong and I’d asked. She said that everything was ok and she just wanted to see me. I’ll find out soon enough I suppose. We’ve only communicated through text messaging thus far. My messages here are disappearing. Your last one did just now as well. I haven’t been editing anything, not sure what’s happening. I just finished watching a series that was made from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” It’s speculative fiction but distressing either way while some of the subjects already exist. More the reason to keep my passport up to date and under my pillow. Joking about the pillow part but who knows what will happen here in time. Not for me to decide apparently.

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

    Hi @imetvegeta At days 4-5 you are in the peak of withdrawal; this will start to ease off soon. One of the big things that we notice (and already know) is that we can’t sleep if we don’t drink. But this is only temporary… in a few days time you will experience sleep like you don’t remember ever having before… refreshing, invigorating sleep. Hang in there, it is coming. You are doing the right things and it is sooo worth the struggle.

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

    Tell him. You are not being weak, your brain works differently to his in relation to alcohol. Tell him what it’s like in your head when you see alcohol. Tell him how you brain never says “that’s enough now”… it just doesn’t happen. Tell him that you think about drinking from your waking moment. Tell him how your mind always, always, always thinks now is a good time to drink and that there’s always time for one more. Tell him how the demand that you drink screams through every fibre of your being. Tell him that the demand to drink is nearly non-stop. He understands none of this. His experience of drinking is completely different to yours but when he get a glimpse inside your head we will understand more of the challenge you face. And if he did that then he wouldn’t walk in and put a 12 pack of beer in front of you! You can do this. Find the things that help and keep doing them, it is soooo worth it.

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

    Hi @michael6 “That lying voice” is a real pain in the ass, but it will keep going on and on and on. The really big thing is that you recognise it. An incredible amount of what happens in our minds happens entirely automatically; we can’t stop it. The ideas are driven from the part of our brain that still wants to drink: the reward system. We have no way of turning the reward system off, and we can’t ignore what it does… indeed it evolved to explicitly NOT be ignored. But when we know that our minds are lying to us we can start to take the effort away from fighting these ideas. Once we identify them as lies then we no longer have to argue with them in our minds. They are still going to come, but if you can call it out as a lie straight away then you don’t have to go through the mental gymnastics of arguing it away, you can go directly to dismissing it. If you can get into the habit of this then your mind will stop presenting the idea… it gives up on strategies that fail! The really good news in this is that our minds can only come up with a fairly small number of lies that are plausible and once you’ve spotted them then you can counter-strike quickly. 2 weeks is brilliant! keep going, and keep doing what’s working.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 6 days, 4 hours ago

    Hi @Sansa The main thing you’ve identified here is that if we can fully occupy our minds for a while as a craving comes on then the craving will fade and pass. There are three basic strategies with cravings: Delay (I’ll leave having that drink until tomorrow), Distract, and Deny. Of the three “distract” is the most useful, and you have found a great way to do this. If we just sit there and wait for the craving to pass then we sit thinking about a drink, and when we do that more and more drinking thoughts come in triggering g more cravings: if we simply sit and endure a craving then we make it last much longer. But if we distract ourselves with something that fully occupies our minds then there is no room for the extra triggering thoughts to come in.
    One of the great ways we can help ourselves is by remembering the things that help us and keep doing them and you’ve got a keeper with this. Well done, and keep going!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 6 days, 4 hours ago

    Hi @ AndieT
    “Dry drunk” is usually an AA term. It means someone that has stopped drinking but not undertaken any of the work required in the “12 Steps”. It describes someone that has stopped drinking but remains in a highly distressed and unhappy state; someone that has to continue to “white knuckle” their way through staying sober. AA has three principal qualities that help anyone trying to stop drinking; 1. The power of a recovery “community”, 2. It is widely accessible (free and available in very many places) and 3. There is a plan to follow. The 12 steps of AA isn’t often described this way but it is in essence psychotherapy for recovering alcoholics. Only one of the 12 steps mentions alcohol at all. The other steps are to do with removing pain from what we’ve done in the past and changing how we think going forward so that addiction becomes an unattractive alternative.

    • Thanks Kitten, Liberty and DaveH, that all make perfect sense and I am relieved…I was worried I was being a dry drunk but now I realise I’m not so I feel a lot better. Thanks 🙂

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks ago

    Nobody on their deathbed ever regrets not having a bigger house or a better car. What they regret is the things that they could have done but did not.

    • Lee@ replied 2 weeks ago

      That’s exactly where my mind goes @DaveH. The time just seems very right as well and if I keep on waiting well then that’s just what I do. I’d rather exhaust what energy I have left going in bigger circles than what I have been.

      • Only one part of the email I just sent went through @daveh. There was so much mentioned on the second but it looks like I’ll have to rewrite it another time. Fingers are worn out as well as my head.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks, 3 days ago

    Hi @suzkep I hope you get there OK. I hear the Bluebrige ferry is currently circling in Wellington Harbour with some issues.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 weeks, 4 days ago

    Me too.

    • I’m thinking it’s not a bad thing, @DaveH. It could be a filter or something of that nature. I’d rather think of it in those terms rather than being afraid to speak, but it’s likely a combination of both.

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

    Hi @kjpeche If you would like to understand a bit more about “the reasoning behind why we do things” then you can download a free copy of my book “Alcoholism in a nutshell” here (written under the name Stan West): https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/ It was written to explain to people how drinking alters our emotions, distorts our memory, dominates our thinking and makes our brains lie to us. The ebook is made available for free to anyone that has use of it.

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

    Hi @ jmtn I used to really struggle with what other people thought. But in the end I just tossed that all that stress in the bin; their opinions on this subject don’t matter one tiny bit. They can drink safely, but I cannot. This is an immovable truth. If they have a problem with that then I don’t need them, but mostly the issue was actually not the other people, it was in my own mind. It was ME feeling uncomfortable that was the problem, not what other people thought.

    I do not have to drink to “fit in”… that is nonsense. It is simply a product of my alcoholic mind; the part of my mind that still wants me to drink. I can’t stop my mind from producing this nonsense, but I can recognise it as such when it comes and drop it into the mental basket labelled “Lies my mind tells me to get me to drink”.

    Some people that drink don’t understand why I can’t; they don’t understand the terrible consequences for me (and those near to me) of me drinking. If they did then they would not want me to drink either. But they do not know this, nor do they have any need to do so. It is me that has the problem to deal with, not them. What I have to do is to learn how to live successfully in a world awash with alcohol and this is MY problem to fix.

    It sounds harsh but if people didn’t want me around because I didn’t drink, then really, I don’t want to be with them either. I want to be accepted for who I am; what I say and what I do, not because I drink. But for the most part my problem isn’t actually other people or what other people think, it is what I think and what I IMAGINE they think. And that is my problem to fix, not theirs. I am the one who’s mind is obsessively preoccupied with thoughts of drinking, not them.

    It took a while to gain confidence socialising when sober, but it did happen. It took time for the obsessive thinking about drinking to fall away, but it did. I also had to learn to engage with the occasion and not the booze, and that took time. But largely it…[Read more]

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

    Hi @lee-2 Isn’t it fascinating to discover who are once the toxic consequences of our drinking are removed. I also like this… “I am also beginning to accept myself, flaws and strong points.” I got sober, not perfect. That’s an odd realization but I found I didn’t have to be perfect any longer. It was Ok to not know all the answers and it was OK to be wrong sometimes. But I found that this change wasn’t just limited to me, I found that it extended to other people too. Just like it was OK for me to makes mistakes or be wrong I found I was able to let others make mistakes too. I didn’t deliberately set about trying to become more tolerant, of both myself and others, it is just one of the things in me that changed. But it is a big one… it makes the world sooo much easier to live in.

    • I’ve been reviewing some of my post since the last slip @DaveH and have taken notice of the changes that have occurred. There are far too many to list although one of the biggest ones lies within my first sentence here. We can only aim to do things better if we are not satisfied with the last results.

    • I’d also managed to slip away from what I’d posted there 2 days ago @DaveH. It’s feels really odd how suddenly this has all become a battle for me, once again, but it has nothing to do with wanting to drink, it’s just all the mess that’s left behind.

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

    I was a great alcoholic… I excelled at it! There wasn’t a single moment of any day that I couldn’t come up with a good reason to drink and there were few days that I failed to follow through on the thought. But in the end I had to acknowledge that drinking was destroying everything in my life, and it had to stop. One of the great realisations along the road was that what other people thought didn’t actually matter much at all. What I thought that other people thought of me isn’t what really affected how I felt inside. It was what I thought of myself that mattered. While I did things that offended my own conscience then it hurt to be me; existence was a living hell. When I stopped doing things that offended my own conscience then life became bigger, brighter and happier.
    Other people didn’t make me drink and other people weren’t going make me not drink… they actually lack the means to do either. I am the only one that can lift a drink to my lips so it is up to me to find my way past doing so. I am the problem that needed fixing, not other people, and I found it helped me a lot to keep that front and centre of my mind… my challenge is to fix me, not everyone else.

    • I know this is about me – for every story I can recount about others I have a dozen about me 😀 just spoke with mum this morning – she’s on the other side of the world – her body is fucking out – years of abuse – her words not mine, I don’t want to go that way.

    • @DaveH thanks for posting Dave 😀

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

    Hi @ Erica375 You say you are feeling as though you “should” have a formal program, but there doesn’t seem to be a suitable one that’s accessible for you. The overwhelming evidence is that, yes, we are statistically far more likely to achieve long-term sobriety if we belong to a recovery community than if we try to recover alone. Most treatment centres will recommend going to AA once the time with them is finished, but they do so because that’s what’s generally available, not because of the program. What they are recommending is AA as a means to carry on recovery within a supportive community…. but you can get that here.
    The great benefit of a recovery community is that the experience of others that is available without strings. We get encouragement, affirmation, guidance, hope and determination from the experience of others, and when the chips are down others will turn up to help as they can. There is support here in a completely non-judgemental space where nothing at all is ever expected in return. The challenges we face are all in general similar, the specific differences are really quite minor, and there is always someone here that has faced challenges similar to someone reaching out for help. That experience is freely extended and it is offered willingly because we have all benefitted from a helping hand from somewhere to get going. So is a “formal” recovery program necessary these days? I suspect not. There is no reason whatsoever that you can’t put your own program together, and the folks here are a fabulous resource. Your own program doesn’t have to be a complicated thing, it is no more or less than a list of do’s and don’ts that you apply to your own thoughts and actions; a set of “rules” that you apply to yourself to help yourself. You go for it!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    Thanks for the trigger… Just reaching for chocolate now! Hahaha.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    I hope you get a good restful night. Every day is a new start.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    Hi @getclear “progress for sure! More than in years! But not perfected yet.” That’s exactly the only way it can go. We didn’t get this problem suddenly; it built up in tiny increments and so slowly that we didn’t even notice it taking us over. But just as it builds in increments it goes away in increments too. There is no “silver bullet” that fixes it up. It takes time and it takes persistence, but getting better is far quicker than getting sick. The unfortunate thing about getting better in small steps though is that we easily overlook the progress we make. But actually, the gains are massive. What was your life like while you were still drinking? What was it like to be in your head, to be you? The difference between then and now is what you’ve gained, and that is huge. By all means be angry with yourself, but nothing is lost except a bit of pride, and that not fatal. Onwards and upwards!

    • @Daveh, yes agreed. Like many here my biggest fear is slipping back and ending up back in that head space! I feel like i never know which circumstances it could be to send me there. For now though I’ll be glad for my extreme business as it’s keeping me straight and I’ll keep lurking here!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks ago

    People seem fairly evenly divided on this one but I’m with @Prudence Drinking AF beer just confused me: was I drinking or wasn’t I? and if I wasn’t drinking beer with alcohol in it why was drinking this stuff at all?… just for the appearance of it? Just to make it look like I was drinking? All ways around I found it too confusing so I didn’t bother again, but others seem to find it useful.

    • I never drank for the vtaste, but the effect. Can’t see any reason to drink it intervals no alcohol. That’s crazy people! Haha. To me anyway.

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

    Hi @Prudence I really enjoyed the clarity in what you say here; how clearly you see exactly what things will be like again and very quickly if you drink again. I too have the very confident knowledge that “I know, if I slip, I will do it with great gusto”. I won’t just have a polite, social, sophisticated sip; I will get totally hammered and become an incoherent puking mess in just a few hours… I suffer no delusion about this whatsoever. The days of me being able to drink and be a happy sociable person with it are gone forever. Perhaps that certainty is one of the most powerful tools in the armoury…. I don’t know. Nevertheless, like you, and even after nine years off the drink I sometimes drift off into that la-la land where drinking is good and that somehow I’m missing out. Or at other times when things are hard the idea of getting totally wasted has its appeal; simply to escape the difficulties of life for a while. So the idea of a drink never really disappears from me completely. In truth it rarely pops up but it does still happen. However, even though I might think about having a drink the idea doesn’t really persist and never takes much of a hold; there’s certainly very little required to push it away. What it is to me is a reminder to look after what’s happening in my head; if I’m getting these thoughts then I need to correct something that’s heading off-course.

    • Yes I hear you @DaveH only the trouble with me is I am never an incoherent puking mess (may have been a few times in my younger years) and I am able to be a happy sociable person when out drinking or when at home drinking with friends or alone. But still it had a hell of a hold on me and I knew I was on the slope! I didn’t ever have a rock bottom, I managed my life rather well. There lies the problem, and the pull towards it when I am struggling with other stuff. I just decided to stop and the benefits are amazing, I’d never thought of giving it up completely until I saw @Mrs-D do it, it simply had never occurred to me. I did give it up for a year once, with the full knowledge that it was for one year and then I’d drink again. Had some big things to achieve. You are right, I am just a bit off course in the present moment. I will not give in to the stupid pesky dumb boring cop out idea of having a drink to solve my issues. “No thank you. I don’t drink”

  • DaveH posted an update 3 weeks, 1 day ago

    Hi @getclear @cleareyes How’s it going?

    • @DaveH , thanks so much for asking! I am doing ok Been in a couple of situations where I did not refuse the offer of a drink , however I was able to limit it to one or two and leave. Still makes me mad that I caved in however. Life has been off the wall lately and Ive been too busy to do much other than what has been required of me. Good news is….I’m not waking up to hangovers and too much remorse. So…progress for sure! More than in years! But not perfected yet. Again, thanks for checking. Hope life is good for you !

      • Hi @getclear “progress for sure! More than in years! But not perfected yet.” That’s exactly the only way it can go. We didn’t get this problem suddenly; it built up in tiny increments and so slowly that we didn’t even notice it taking us over. But just as it builds in increments it goes away in increments too. There is no “silver bullet” that fixes it up. It takes time and it takes persistence, but getting better is far quicker than getting sick. The unfortunate thing about getting better in small steps though is that we easily overlook the progress we make. But actually, the gains are massive. What was your life like while you were still drinking? What was it like to be in your head, to be you? The difference between then and now is what you’ve gained, and that is huge. By all means be angry with yourself, but nothing is lost except a bit of pride, and that not fatal. Onwards and upwards!

        • @Daveh, yes agreed. Like many here my biggest fear is slipping back and ending up back in that head space! I feel like i never know which circumstances it could be to send me there. For now though I’ll be glad for my extreme business as it’s keeping me straight and I’ll keep lurking here!

    • @Daveh, thank you for checking in! It’s going well! I’m back to work at the beginning of a new school year as an administrator, so it’s been hectic! Feeling good and ready to keep up the day to day victories. 🙂

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

    Hi @Sam27 Cravings don’t come randomly. Each craving is launched when we find ourselves in circumstances that have previously yielded alcohol: these are what we call our drinking triggers, and we amass hundreds of them. Triggers get more powerful (cause more intense cravings) dependant on how many times they have been successful in getting us to drink.
    When we stop drinking then we experience cravings but don’t drink in response to them. THIS is what causes individual triggers (and the cravings they cause) to lose their power. So as we continue to not drink we steadily take the power from the triggers that we experience. I.e. we take the intensity out of the cravings from triggers associated with our normal daily routines first. But we do not take the strength out of all our triggers, only the ones we meet regularly. The triggers we don’t meet often still retain their strength (typically these are triggers that come from some behaviour/routine that we don’t regularly follow any more).
    As we continue to be alcohol-free then, in general, the intensity of the cravings we experience will fade until they cease to be so severe that struggle to fight them. When this happens we still experience cravings, but they cease to be disruptive. BUT… not all the triggers have been de-powered; some remain untouched. When we fire a powerful trigger that still has its full strength then this sets off an intense craving that catches us un-prepared. So just watch out for this and know that it will happen at some point, and some of these powerful triggers can lie dormant for years (e.g. drinking routines attached to a former place of work).
    The duration of intense cravings varies from individual to individual as some people are sicker than others: in some the drinking triggers are more powerfully developed than others so they take longer to drive down. But regardless of the individual this is measured in terms of some weeks, not days.
    As the challenge of the cravings recedes a…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 weeks, 2 days ago

    Hi @kjpeche This is a great question… “What do you do when you “ride out” a craving?” We spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to stop drinking and how things get better eventually, but we easily overlook one of the absolute basics… how to overcome the cravings that are driving the demand to drink.

    Cravings don’t come randomly, they are “triggered” by a part of the brain called the “reward system” It is a part of the brain that operates completely automatically; we can’t stop it happening, we aren’t aware that it is happening and we can’t ignore what happens.

    Cravings are an urgent sense of wanting, desire or longing for. They have no words, sound or shape; they are an intense feeling without form. Cravings may appear to come and go in a fickle manner, but they don’t come randomly at all. They are the results of processes which happen inside our brain, and these processes operate completely automatically; we have no insight into the part of our mind that generates them, and have no direct control over it. We can’t see what’s happening there, we can’t modify these actions by applying judgement or deliberate thought, and we have no way of turning them off or ignoring them.

    Cravings come from the cooperative action of several parts of the brain, and these are collectively known as the “reward system”… it is where our problem with alcohol begins.

    The reward system isn’t new, nor is it unique to humans. About 500 million years ago there was a significant evolutionary advance that gave certain animals a major advantage over others. This advance was an automatic system in the brain that encouraged doing things that were beneficial to survival and discouraged doing things that were harmful: the reward system.

    The reward system works by invoking feelings of wanting, longing for, or desire for things that are beneficial to us, and then motivating us to approach them. For things that may be harmful we experience feelings of disgust or fear, and…[Read more]

    • Thank you for this information.
      ~Erica

    • @DaveH Thank you so much for this wealth of information. I will be re-reading this often! It helps to understand the reasoning behind why we do things.

      • Hi @kjpeche If you would like to understand a bit more about “the reasoning behind why we do things” then you can download a free copy of my book “Alcoholism in a nutshell” here (written under the name Stan West): https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/ It was written to explain to people how drinking alters our emotions, distorts our memory, dominates our thinking and makes our brains lie to us. The ebook is made available for free to anyone that has use of it.

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

    What a wonderful read, thank you! The recovery journey is so much more than just stopping drinking. Stooping drinking is where recovery starts.
    1. Get sober.
    2. Get well.
    3. Stay well.

    Right now you are exactly where you were desperate to be when you began. Keep going. Keep building.

    • Hi @DaveH. A journey it is and being here has helped immensely along the way. I can thank you directly for the rock analogy, as it is something that I needed to be reminded of recently and you did just that for me. When I drank again it set me back to somewhere between numbers 2 and 3 on your list and I’ve been steadily climbing back to 3, feel like I’m there but it was an extremely exhausting feat. The longer I go without drinking, the more there is at stake and it has very little to do with material things, the challenge lies in testing my own self worth that I’ve gained throughout abstinence, I must avoid number 1 entirely to be true to myself.

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

    When I first stopped I found that cravings were triggered almost constantly… there was no way to distinguish one trigger from another. What I could see was that the times of the day/week that I normally used to drink were the most challenging. Planning to do other things and be fully occupied in those times really helped, but it was still tough going at first. Keeping the horizon close really helped. I had gone without for a day before, so I knew that was possible. The challenge was one I’d beaten before… “Don’t drink for the rest of the day”….that’s all the challenge… that’s always the challenge.

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

    Great to hear you’re going well.
    I’m in!

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

    Brilliant! Keep doing what’s working.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @Tom4500 Thanks for pointing out that “forver” is not an unhelpful thought for everyone; there isn’t a single way that is sucessful for all.

    I really struggled with the whole “forever” idea because I had to simultaneously embrace it and decry it… at least in my earlier recovery I did. Here is the mental conundrum for me: In order to get well I have to commit to stopping drinking forever while simultaneously living one day at a time. In one breath I have to stop drinking forever, but with the next I have to not think about the future. Some people are able to draw a line in the sand “I am never going to drink again” and stick to it, but I found that I could not. But “forever” for me was not a helpful “boundary” it was actually corrosive to my effort. I found the thought that I would never drink again was one that undermined my effort to stop because I didn’t believe it!

    I have no such problems these days in thinking that I will never drink again. I feel no sense of loss from it, nor do I doubt my ability to sustain this course, but I have a huge alarm bell going off in my head when I think like this. The alarm that’s ringing is this… I can’t predict the future. I can’t honestly say that I will never drink again because I don’t actually know if the statement is true or not. The closest I can get is that “today I have no intention of ever drinking again”. Personally I find this slight insecurity to be helpful as it reminds me that I only get to enjoy the benefits of an alcohol-free life while I continue to do the things that keep me safe. What I do know with great certainty though is that during my first few months struggling to stay off the bottle the whole “forver” idea was destructive to my resolve. I stopped in July, but if I thought about not drinking at, for example, Christmas, then my resolve went into a tailspin… because I could quite simply not concieve me and Christmas without booze in it… in which case I might as well drink again now.…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted an update 1 month ago

    There’s been a cluster of people recently who’ve drunk again at 100+ days and I’d like to talk about this a bit. Giving advice to an alcoholic is usually a terrible thing to do as we tend to take all unasked-for advice as criticism, but on this occasion I’m going to risk it in the hope that it will be of help to some. I want to talk about three aspects of relapse at this time in terms of what’s happening in our heads.

    1. Why we feel so devastated but shouldn’t
    2. Why relapse is so common at around 100+ days
    3. What can be done to avoid it

    We tend to use our Day Count a measure of our progress. The big advice to us is to keep the horizon close… “One day at a time”, and this is important advice because if we let our minds drift into the future then we sabotage our own effort. This is to do with self-belief; do we think it’s possible to not drink for the rest of the day? Yes, but do we think we can stop drinking forever?… oooh, not sure about that! So we work hard at keeping our effort in the present and we count the days as a measure progress. While we think like this then more days=more success. But this focus on our day count is crushing if we drink again. If we drink again then our day count drops back to 0 and this gives the impression that we have “lost” ALL of our recovery. But this is not true, and it is not true because by using our day counter as a progress measurement we misrepresent what it really is.

    We are compelled to stop drinking by the chaos and suffering it causes in ourselves and others. We stop drinking because our lives are in chaos, we are deeply depressed, we are anxious, scared, alone and hopeless. We stop drinking because we need to be rid of all of these things. Our aim when we stop drinking is to become emotionally well again; to gain some control over our lives and be free from all the guilt, fear, misery, loneliness and hopelessness. But that isn’t what our day count measures!

    We use the day count to REPRESENT our pr…[Read more]

    • Great post. I agree on all fronts. I consider relapse as “information.” Information that one is addicted, that alcohol is addictive, and that we can’t control the urges. We CAN manage the urges, but they will come.

    • Thank you for being brave and posting this – I’m now closer to understanding why I am uncomfortable with counting, it just feels weird to me. My dad text me last night “You shouldn’t beat yourself up babe, if you fall just start again. Best thing is you are aware, that’s most of the battle, you have done very well since you have made your decision”.
      I’m not exactly sure when he thinks I’ve made my decision, I guess he knows, and it probably relates to when I told him, whenever that was.
      For the moment I will carry on counting, because journeys are sequential. I couldn’t tell you how many years I’ve stopped smoking but the actual date is committed to my heart and it was right before my birthday, Xmas and New Year – the season for drinking and smoking – that’s my story there.
      My new alcohol free date is 21st July 2019 – exactly a month before my mothers 75th birthday for which I am making a surprise overseas family visit. That will be my story, that is my starting point, that is all my fears rolled into one and that is what I am working towards over the next month. In the words of Rue Paul DFIU 🙂

    • Great look at the day counter, Dave. I hate to see the number counter hurt people. I like your post a lot. I love forever though; i understand its scary side, but it gives me joy to be done with alcohol for good. I’m outnumbered, but I’m not alone on this. And it seems to serve me well. And, how can it not be in the back of everyone’s mind, who tells themselves they can never have even one? It’s a curious thing, and from both angles, I think a brain retraining exercise.

      • Hi @Tom4500 Thanks for pointing out that “forver” is not an unhelpful thought for everyone; there isn’t a single way that is sucessful for all.

        I really struggled with the whole “forever” idea because I had to simultaneously embrace it and decry it… at least in my earlier recovery I did. Here is the mental conundrum for me: In order to get well I have to commit to stopping drinking forever while simultaneously living one day at a time. In one breath I have to stop drinking forever, but with the next I have to not think about the future. Some people are able to draw a line in the sand “I am never going to drink again” and stick to it, but I found that I could not. But “forever” for me was not a helpful “boundary” it was actually corrosive to my effort. I found the thought that I would never drink again was one that undermined my effort to stop because I didn’t believe it!

        I have no such problems these days in thinking that I will never drink again. I feel no sense of loss from it, nor do I doubt my ability to sustain this course, but I have a huge alarm bell going off in my head when I think like this. The alarm that’s ringing is this… I can’t predict the future. I can’t honestly say that I will never drink again because I don’t actually know if the statement is true or not. The closest I can get is that “today I have no intention of ever drinking again”. Personally I find this slight insecurity to be helpful as it reminds me that I only get to enjoy the benefits of an alcohol-free life while I continue to do the things that keep me safe. What I do know with great certainty though is that during my first few months struggling to stay off the bottle the whole “forver” idea was destructive to my resolve. I stopped in July, but if I thought about not drinking at, for example, Christmas, then my resolve went into a tailspin… because I could quite simply not concieve me and Christmas without booze in it… in which case I might as well drink again now.…[Read more]

      • I’m with you on this one. Drinking is just not an option for me, it’s poison to my body (and mind and spirit) and I just cannot do it.

      • Hey @tom4500 I’m with you on the forever thinking. I’m not sure how I would have processed it all in the beginning if I hadn’t decided that I wasn’t going to drink again. Definitely made it easier, for me, knowing that it just wasn’t an option anymore. 🙂

    • So true, abstinence does not equal sobriety. 30 years ago I went cold turkey from a fifth a day habit. Even though everyone had begged me to stop for years once I stopped not a word was said, I had no support, no community and no sense of what sobriety truly meant, I had been drinking since my early teens. I thought it meant abstinence, and my abstinence seemed to work for everyone else. I remained sober for nearly 25 years but in that time I didn’t really work on myself or learn how not to drink. I just avoided alcohol. The day it came back into my house I went right back down the rabbit hole and stayed there for four years.
      This time I’m doing the work, joined this community, journaling, working on the underlying issues in my marriage, making art, finding the bits of myself that got lost in the rabbit hole.
      It’s not easy going but this time I’m building the foundation I didn’t years ago.

    • Thanks @DaveH. Saw this recently and thought, oh yeah: Fall down 15 times, get up 16.

    • Awesome inspiration as always! ❤️

    • Amazing. Wonderful. Heartily felt and recognised – thanking you for sharing this with us all.

    • Thank you so much @daveh , I’ve made huge strides in my wellness and continue to in the last year and a half but struggled with a few slips in the past. Perfectionist thinking but my journey is mine and slips have pushed me forward. This has freed me thank you!

    • @daveh Thank you so much for this post. I read it last night and afterwards I was able to have finally have peace with my relapse. I can’t thank you enough. I needed this so badly.

    • Thanks @daveh. Another gem that will help a lot of people. So glad you share on this forum.

    • Thanks for your great post @DaveH

    • Wonderful insight. Thank you <3

    • @daveh – thank you for taking the time to read this – so spot on! I saved this post and also love your public message on this group, it describes the insiduous progressive nature of alcohol so well. You should be a spot writer – @mrs-d 🙂

    • I had to come back to this @DaveH. I was to mad at myself in the beginning to even read it entirely. That’s all coming to a halt, finally, and a whole new aspect of it has come into light. If I didn’t care about myself, as I do now, I wouldn’t be so angry or disappointed with myself at all. I’d still be all of those terrible things that you mentioned, “care-worn” to say the least, and that alone allows me to see the progress that I’ve made. I won’t lie, the day count still irritates the hell out of me but the rest has become much clearer. Thank you for this excellent post!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    HI @lee I’ve fixed that now, so your mail properly arrives in my inbox. Keep stopping to check yourself for how you’re feeling and keep doing what’s working.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    HI @lee-2 I don’t think I got your other message unless it was here on LS; I haven’t had any email. Writing stuff down really helps in a couple of ways: it commits things to memory more powerfully, but when we are looking for solutions is when it really helps. Ours brains work faster than we can write. So when we write something down it makes our brain dwell on what we are writing. As we dwell on it then more and more information is brought to mind that may be helpful/related. Usually once I’ve written stuff down it has had the effect of making me see the issue more clearly.

    • Lee@ replied 1 month ago

      Hi @DaveH. I’d sent you one but had somehow managed to send it to myself via email but I then forwarded to you.I may have written the wrong address. Have you checked again?

    • Lee@ replied 1 month ago

      Hi @DaveH. You may want to check your junk mail again. I sent more junk

      • HI @lee I’ve fixed that now, so your mail properly arrives in my inbox. Keep stopping to check yourself for how you’re feeling and keep doing what’s working.

      • Hi @daveh. How I am feeling and what I am doing. That’s a very interesting concept right now as the answer to both is “I don’t know!” There’s just so very much happening right now in so many different areas, my brain feels numb. Not like I drank, just numb. Like it’s sleeping.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Follows from my immediately previous reply.
    Your last question is “how necessary is it to continue” (with AA). I can’t say for you, I can only tell you my experience. I stopped going to meetings regularly after three years. By that time I sufficiently confident that I could manage myself without regular meetings. I’ve been since, as and when it was necessary to set me right again, but I no longer attend regularly. I can’t say whether or not a similar course is good for you I can only tell you why I did it and what I got from it.

    I see recovery in three distinct but overlapping phases:

    1/ stop drinking
    2/ Become well (approx=do the steps)
    3/ Stay well (self-awareness and maintaining and improving wellness)

    Regardless of your abstinence day count you are well into phase 3 with phases 1 and 2 taking much smaller significance. So your question about whether or not you should continue to go to AA is very pertinent. I’m going to say some things that are very pro/con AA next and this is the part you will not see me say in a more visible post.

    Someone turning up at AA is statistically no more likely to recover than someone engaging in any other treatment programme. The key to whether or not someone will stop drinking is not the program they follow but their readiness to change. However, far more people get sober with AA than any other program, principally because it is far more widely available than anything else.

    I continued with AA for a long time in spite of what I saw as some very significant shortcomings.
    1. The AA program was devised by and for: White, American, Christian, middle class, middle aged, men.
    2. The AA program used “faith” (Christian faith) as a central tool in recovery. People in meetings go to significant lengths to try and bend words to get around this, but it is still fundamentally true.
    3. The AA program is fixed in 1939. It has not changed to embrace scientific advances.

    The reason I continued with AA is that it gave me very great b…[Read more]

    • Lee@ replied 1 month ago

      Hi @daveH. Hope that you received the other message. I had sent it to myself by accident. I’m feeling better. A little sleep always helps and certain aspects of my worries are beginning to look trivial and the rest manageable. Writing stuff down and getting it out helps. Well typing it in this case.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @lee-2 This reply ran very long so will come to you in two pieces.

    I saw your comment a few days ago about not going back to meetings for a while but didn’t comment on it then; I’d already said plenty. However, you’ve mentioned it again and now this thread is so far down the feed so that no-one but you and I will read it. Usually I don’t get into specifics about AA as I sincerely don’t want to interfere in any way with something that may be working for someone else, but I will here, as I say only you and I will read this.

    One of the things I was very concerned about in the first few months was the likelihood of relapse and how I would respond to it. I spent some significant time working out what I would do if I DID drink again. What I recognised was that there was a fundamental benefit I was getting from AA and it was this… alone I could not stop drinking, but among others who’d managed to do it I could. I managed to fully embrace the truth of that and that for me and realised this: if I did drink again then AA was the only place I knew of that could help me get sober again. Whether or not this is actually true I don’t know, but it was the evidence available to me at the time. I worked hard building convincing justifications that I would need to get back into the rooms if I did drink, because there would be a very major barrier to me doing so. That barrier was pride. What I heard in the meetings was that people that stopped going to them started drinking again. But words alone aren’t convincing. What I saw in even those first 3-4 months was that this appeared to be true. So for my own benefit, if I didn’t want to go back to hopelessness and misery I needed to be able to get back into the rooms and to do that I had to overcome my own pride. The rationale I came up with was to recognise relapse as education, not failure, a win not a loss. I think you are in a similar position. But I still knew that walking back into the rooms would be personally extre…[Read more]

    • Follows from my immediately previous reply.
      Your last question is “how necessary is it to continue” (with AA). I can’t say for you, I can only tell you my experience. I stopped going to meetings regularly after three years. By that time I sufficiently confident that I could manage myself without regular meetings. I’ve been since, as and when it was necessary to set me right again, but I no longer attend regularly. I can’t say whether or not a similar course is good for you I can only tell you why I did it and what I got from it.

      I see recovery in three distinct but overlapping phases:

      1/ stop drinking
      2/ Become well (approx=do the steps)
      3/ Stay well (self-awareness and maintaining and improving wellness)

      Regardless of your abstinence day count you are well into phase 3 with phases 1 and 2 taking much smaller significance. So your question about whether or not you should continue to go to AA is very pertinent. I’m going to say some things that are very pro/con AA next and this is the part you will not see me say in a more visible post.

      Someone turning up at AA is statistically no more likely to recover than someone engaging in any other treatment programme. The key to whether or not someone will stop drinking is not the program they follow but their readiness to change. However, far more people get sober with AA than any other program, principally because it is far more widely available than anything else.

      I continued with AA for a long time in spite of what I saw as some very significant shortcomings.
      1. The AA program was devised by and for: White, American, Christian, middle class, middle aged, men.
      2. The AA program used “faith” (Christian faith) as a central tool in recovery. People in meetings go to significant lengths to try and bend words to get around this, but it is still fundamentally true.
      3. The AA program is fixed in 1939. It has not changed to embrace scientific advances.

      The reason I continued with AA is that it gave me very great b…[Read more]

      • Lee@ replied 1 month ago

        Hi @daveH. Hope that you received the other message. I had sent it to myself by accident. I’m feeling better. A little sleep always helps and certain aspects of my worries are beginning to look trivial and the rest manageable. Writing stuff down and getting it out helps. Well typing it in this case.

    • Lee@ replied 1 month ago

      This is extremely helpful @DaveH, at least to be able to recognize that there is a particular symbolic status involved in the program. I get that feeling that I’ve let them down and I did feel snubbed. None of my closest friends were there, the small handful that I feel as though I can relate to and trust. My brain was just so bogged down last night and it is getting that way again as this day comes to an end. I don’t see the remainder of the post. Will keep looking.

    • Lee@ replied 1 month ago

      Hi @daveH. Finally getting back to this. There’s so very much validity here in these posts, it’s become my recent nesting place. The thing you’d mentioned about the gains being left by what is taken away is such a soothing reality. All this stuff is lifted just by not drinking. I can add gratitude to that in one way that has become quite profound. Being here and doing this, what I am doing right now makes me incredibly grateful to be alive. My entire being has shifted and is heading to a better place and the nicks and wounds were/are all just parts of it. All of my time spent here and wherever or whatever I do that pertains to my recovery validates just that and the fact that I am recovering. It’s back to work tonight. The last 3 days have shot by. at least I was able to begin working some on the less fortunate things as well. Yes, that alcoholic “turn my back” trait still needs to be addressed. I’ll find anything else to do. I’ll dust the dust itself. I just received a return call from a lawyer who’d helped me with a DUI case years ago. I’d asked for a reference of someone that could help me with the debt. We just had a nice chat and it felt really
      good to to honestly tell him that I was doing well and glad that I didn’t need the same type of legal services anymore. He laughed when I said how it’s funny that I don’t get pulled over while driving anymore, since I stopped drinking. Here comes a bit more gratitude. I’m lucky that I wasn’t a complete asshole throughout all of my many years of drinking. I actually know some very decent humans in the field of law here and feel much better about giving one of them money in exchange for help, knowing that they will do the best job possible for me and will likely work with me in terms of payment if necessary. Not sure where these thoughts were before when I was covered in doom. These people did not even exist! Nor did my fingers or the phone. And you! You give me all of this credit for being self aware and…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted an update 1 month ago

    Hi @shells7 How’s it going? and @lee-2 How’s the world looking today?

    • Lee@ replied 1 month ago

      Comsi comsa @daveh. Fair enough, at least I feel somewhat buoyant. Just dealing with the ghost of the past or “Side effects” as you say. One thing I’ve come to realize is that the more time I have sober, the more it sucks to lose it, whether it be 1 drink or 100. (It’s never one, should have started with 10 or at least 4) I know that I didn’t loose 127 days but that number looks better than 8. 8 is boring, Turn it upside down and it looks the same. I’ve never been a big fan of numbers. I like words. “I am sober.” You see, that’s much better. I despise the number that I will soon be giving a lawyer in order to reconcile my debt. The sad part is that half of the money spent was on booze or recovering from it, lost jobs and the list goes on. No post cards were sent from far away interesting places! A posh rehab somewhere would have made more sense. Problem is, they wouldn’t have let me drink. The world looks fine except for some cutting edge reality soaring in. I’ll find my way through this part. At least the lights are on. I appreciate you checking in, thank you and @malibustacey for keeping me on my toes.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hi @jb-ob I was surprised to find that red wine in cooking DID still trigger me. The red wine in a jus I was served in a restaurant really set me off. This was 7 years after my last drink! It was triggering but not challenging. It was easy enough to overcome it and fascinating to observe.

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