• 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 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 an update 1 month, 1 week ago

    Here a short list of why I might drink tonight and why I should not. Do you have some of your own reasons to add?

    Reasons to drink tonight:
    1. The first couple of drinks relax me and put me in a positive state of mind.
    2. I won’t have to deal with cravings.

    Reasons to not drink tonight:
    1. I never stop at a few drinks
    2. I will wake up feeling really sick
    3. If I don’t drink then I can afford other treats
    4. I tell lies to cover my drinking, and lies means more secrets I have to keep
    5. I do embarrassing things when I drink
    6. I say things to other people that I regret when I drink
    7. I do things I wish I hadn’t when I drink
    8. I can be nasty when I drink
    9. I still drive home after drinking
    10. I am getting too old to be doing something this unhealthy
    11. If I drink I might have a stupid argument with my partner
    12. I’m not actually funny when I drink, I insult people
    13. I’m much smarter sober than drunk
    14. If there’s an emergency I’ll be able to deal with it
    15. If I don’t drink I can enjoy tomorrow and do useful things
    16. If I don’t drink I can watch TV and actually follow the plot
    17. If I don’t drink I don’t wake wondering what awful things I might have said or done
    18. If I don’t drink I don’t break things or hurt myself
    19. I hate myself when I sober up
    20. I hate feeling like I have failed

    • A good list @daveh!

    • Wow! what’s not to like?

    • Thank you for the reminder as I start on my sober journey again tomorrow. Soooo many more reasons to not drink, but so hard when you are in a bad space….Im so frustrated with myself. Tomorrow is a new day.

    • Yes!!!!
      Spot on
      How ironic…I’m on the couch now after binge watching Netflix, turned off tv and room dark…had a flashback of drunk as a skunk, pounding heart, on couch, in pitch blackness. EWWWWWW. Shudders. How weird I just came on here and read this, Dave. Thanks for sharing

    • this is great! One night drinking would have me hungover, unproductive, depressed and unwell for 3-5 days afterward.

  • DaveH posted an update 1 month, 1 week ago

    There came a time that I realised my drinking has to end. It took far longer than I care to admit to come to one very simple realisation… that I could not control my drinking; I drank more than I wanted to, I drank more often that I wanted to, and drinking caused me a lot of trouble. Drinking impacted every aspect of my life. The ideal solution I wanted was to be able to carry on drinking but for the trouble that it caused to stop; I just wanted to be able to drink like everybody else! But I couldn’t, and I had no idea why this was so. For some reason it seemed I was born without an “off” switch when it came to alcohol. I had no idea why I couldn’t drink like other people… how could it be so difficult if when everybody else seemed to do it perfectly easily? Looking at other people made me think “I just need to try a little harder, and be better disciplined and I’ll be able to drink sensibly… “ but it never happened that way. I couldn’t control my drinking. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t do it. I thought my issue was control, that I wasn’t applying the same level of self-control as other people, that I was simply being weak, but this isn’t the case.

    I expected that normal drinkers thought the way same as I did about alcohol but I had completely misunderstood this. The issue wasn’t that I exercised poorer control over drinking than them, it was that in me the compulsion to drink was far, far higher. I thought that I was being weak by not controlling my drinking, but actually my compulsion to drink was so powerful that the control I had available was insufficient. That compulsion wasn’t chosen. The issue is not weakness, it is illness.

    One in seventeen deaths worldwide is attributable to alcohol. This has led to alcoholism being one of the most studied conditions of all, yet it is still incredibly poorly understood. It is poorly understood by the broader medical profession and it is spectacularly poorly understood by the general…[Read more]

    • Wow. This post will probably save my life. Thank you so much. I intend to read it over and over. Everything you say makes sense. Thank you @DaveH you’re a smart man!

    • These are exactly the reasons I decided to stop. I was so scared for my health, above all else. I watched through Facebook as a friend of a friend of mine died at age 33 from liver failure. One of my good friends sisters died the year before from the same cause. One of my close friends lost her father to liver cancer. I saw all of this happen within the course of a year. Suddenly I started reading about physical damage, seeing the articles coming out about it, paying attention when the news hit about the drunk driver who crossed the line and killed a mother and child….. and that’s just some of what can happen. Once I saw it, I couldn’t look back. I couldn’t unsee it. I’ve been AF ever since. I want the best odds I can get at living a long and happy life. When I was drinking, I was taking years away and living the ones I had in depression and hopelessness. I’d rather be sober and happy, even if it sucks sometimes. I just read a book that said something along the lines of “I want to feel all of my feelings, not just the happy ones.” It went on to say that making that choice was one of the most courageous things a person could do. I like that. It empowers me and motivates me. Thanks for the post @daveh

    • This wonderful post has made me hate the liquor companies and their aggressive advertising even more. They knowingly encourage people to ingest this addictive poison.

    • Thank you, @DaveH. Exceptional post!

    • Brilliant post Dave. You note that alcohol abuse is one of the most studied but least understood conditions. But it seems to me that we know it’s incredibly dangerous and yet it is legal and encouraged. Weird. We don’t need more proof of this, it’s well known. Fascinates me that we just keep on studying alcohol but don’t make any meaningful societal changes to address the problems we know exist. Weird!

    • Thank you @daveh this is a keeper for sure!

  • DaveH posted an update 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    I carried on drinking excessively far, far longer than is rational. Normal drinkers around me looked on in despair; they couldn’t figure me out at all… and they couldn’t be expected to; their minds work completely differently to mine with respect to alcohol.
    The things that hold us in denial are; highly strengthened cravings, the absence of drink-aversion triggers, the changes in mood and distress that are the result of alcohol tolerance, falsely distorted memory favouring alcohol, and the firm knowledge that drinking will make us feel better. Added to this is the change in our social patterns; we only willingly attend social functions where there will be alcohol, so the only “fun” we know in our lives is linked to drinking.
    Under these conditions I have no desire at all to stop drinking. It makes no sense to stop drinking when, as far as I am aware drinking is a good thing. It is the only thing that makes me feel better and it is the only source of fun I know.
    People observing or trying to help us are completely baffled by our behaviour. “Why don’t they see all the harm that their drinking is doing?” They think we are being weak, stubborn or willfully ignorant. They see all the problems that our drinking is causing; to ourselves, to our families, at work, or with the law, and the solution is obvious to them… drink less! But we can’t.
    Drinking less is not an option for us because it cannot be done. The combination of; a reward system in a runaway condition, changes in the brain due to alcohol tolerance, and the absolute knowledge that “drinking is good” make it impossible for us to either drink less, or to exercise effective control over our drinking. This is an absolute truth. Not only is our free will compromised, but our mind actively works against us, sabotaging any attempt to reduce what we drink or stop for a spell. Once our brains have adapted to tolerate alcohol then we already lack the means to control how we drink: no-one has ever managed to overc…[Read more]

    • Thank you @Daveh. Another exceptional piece.

    • You do have a great way to get it all down. Thank you for posting.

    • Thanks for putting your thoughts into words Dave. I have never been able to express it this clearly! I will definitely save this post for those days I think I can give moderation a chance again! I never did hit my rock bottom, still had my wife, job, house etc, but I was heading down a very slippery slope and it was only a matter of time before everything was gone!

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    I struggled for years at trying to keep my drinking under control and stopping periodically. The times I stopped were usually because I’d done something awful so I’d give up the drink for a couple of days to let the heat die off. One day I had this terrible idea, but it nagged and nagged at me. Perhaps I wasn’t drinking because I was lonely, or stressed, or treated badly by the world. Perhaps I was drinking because I was an alcoholic!
    It was a radical thought and it completely challenged what I was doing. I was constantly kicking against the world and my circumstances, when the problem was actually me. I had a problem, not the world, me. When I got this idea then I switched what I was fighting. Instead of looking for ways to change other people or to change my circumstances I started looking for ways to change me. It was then that I realised I didn’t have a clue how to do this… so I started to look outside of myself for answers… and THAT is when things changed. I had a problem that other people had overcome but I couldn’t… what were they doing that I was missing? When I set out looking for those answers I found solutions that worked. When I realised that I was not the expert at this stopping drinking business but a novice then I could take the advice of others and try different ideas… until then I was locked within my own (inadequate) limitations.

    • Loved this story @daveh. Finding the truth makes it so much more simple, doesn’t it? I knew deep down and thought I couldn’t do it because *fill in the gap*. But I was just kidding myself. I still feel those things — lonliness, boredom, grumpiness — hell I probably feel then even more! But they’re authentic and real life and I’m not dealing with a hangover and recrimination and self-loathing to boot. No looking back for me. xx

  • DaveH posted an update 2 months ago

    I was asked on another forum where “out-of-the-blue” cravings come from and thought it might be useful to repeat it here. It is quite simple but takes a bit of explaining.

    Cravings don’t come randomly, they are triggered by a completely automatic process in our brain that we have no control over or knowledge of… but it is still there and is called the “reward system”.

    A circumstance in the past that has yielded alcohol is remembered in the reward system; we call this a trigger. When that circumstance is met again then the trigger fires and a craving is launched. We feel this as the sudden wanting or longing for a drink. When we drink in response to this craving then our brain gives us a reward (hence the name: the reward system). The reward is a sudden and large dose of dopamine released in our brain. This gives us an immediate feeling of well-being, ease, and comfort. Did you ever notice that on taking that first drink you felt an “aaaaahhhh!” wash through you? That wasn’t alcohol that did that, it was dopamine … it happened immediately didn’t it? before the alcohol could possibly have been ingested and carried through the blood to the brain.

    The more often a trigger is successful is getting a result (i.e. when we drink in response to the craving) the more powerful it becomes, and it becomes more powerful in two ways. The next craving that this trigger will induce will be stronger, and the next dose of dopamine released if the trigger is successful will be bigger.

    When we act on an existing trigger we make it more powerful, and when we drink in a new circumstance we create a new trigger. In this way we build up hundreds and hundreds of drinking triggers; people, places, things, sounds, smells, and emotions; things we have in the past had a drink in the presence of. Through repetition these triggers become very powerful and compelling indeed…. as you have no doubt become painfully aware.

    Drinking triggers never go away… they are never forgotten. It…[Read more]

    • Thanks for posting that, @DaveH. It helps (me, at least) when someone further ahead in the game can explain some of the curve-balls to expect and how best to handle them. I’m not tip toe’ing around waiting for the boogeyman to jump out of the closet, but keeping eyes in the back of head, all the same. It really helps to read a few pointers here and there ~ deflates any imaginary spookiness in the recovery game, I s’pose, does for me, anyway. Pretty sure I said that right. (Coming up to eleven mos). All the best for a cool wkend.

    • Oh gosh so true @daveh. I have noticed the “as yet not desensitised” triggers that leap out every now and then eg a special celebration, seeing friends for the first time in a while, accomplishing something big….You are right, they have to be picked of one by one. I guess that’s another great reason never to let myself be complacent about drinking or entertain delusions of moderation! Thanks again.

    • OMG!! This information is immensely helpful to me and explains SO much about when I’ve felt cravings and why. Very very useful. Thank you so much!

    • Ohh this is another gold nugget…thanks so much for sharing that here! oxoxoxo

    • Thank you for this! Easter is triggering me and I have been hard on myself for the triggers. Now I know where they are coming from! Xo

    • This is a wonderful post. I have read about this before but that was such a great summary. I get it. I’m cutting and pasting it into the folder I am making of helpful info and inspiration.
      Today is day 3 but i’ve been seriously working at getting sober for over two years with off and on success. It seems like every time I slip it is one of these out of the blue scenarios but that last time was really baffling to me. This makes me feel better.
      The last alcohol free run I had was from Jan 1 – April 6thish. I felt great. I thought I’d never drink again. I had surpassed many obstacles but I was feeling so solid. However, My boyfriend works out of town a lot and had quit also for the first time and that was helpful. I was determined to stay dry with or without him and it was working. It did help that he quit, too. So I picked him up from the airport that day in the beginning of the month and he was drunk. I was so mad but had no conscious intention of drinking. At lunch I just ordered a glass of wine, seemingly out of no where. he is my biggest trigger and hardest to surpass to date. It’s frustrating because once I start again it is a challenge to stop.
      Anyway, I am not giving up. I am glad I found this group. I never tried an online community before but I like it. I’ve had a little success with in person groups but I don’t share my thoughts much because I’m shy so this is nice.

  • DaveH posted an update 2 months, 1 week ago

    I knew for a long time what happened if I didn’t drink in the evening… I wouldn’t sleep. But what I didn’t realise was that this only showed me one of several changes that had occurred in my brain and body as they adapted to a daily assault of alcohol.

    What follows is a description of what happens to us when we drink heavily over an extended period and then suddenly stop.

    Alcohol in the brain changes how we feel and it acts as a sedative. Alcohol changes our mood in two ways; we get happy and we become more socially confident. The happiness is caused by an increase in dopamine, and the social confidence comes from an increase in serotonin. The slowing down in the brain comes from changes in two other chemicals; GABA and glutamate. When we drink we get happy, and if we drink enough we will become so socially confident that we will dance on tables to show everyone what great dancers we are. Unfortunately, just when the alcohol is making us feel great it is also slowing down mental function… and we stop being able to do complicated things quickly enough to complete them successfully, things like maintaining balance and speaking clearly.

    Anyone who drinks enough will experience these effects. But when we drink heavily AND regularly then some changes start to occur in our brain and our body, and it is these changes that cause us so much trouble.

    The simplest change happens in our stomach and intestine. Alcohol is broken down there by an enzyme, and when we drink often then our body produces more of this enzyme. This means that our bodies process away alcohol more quickly, and we have to drink more to get the same effect. We drink more, and we drink more quickly. But it is the changes in our brain that cause the real trouble. Our brain recognises that it is getting more dopamine and serotonin than it ordered and it regulates down the amount of these. This makes us less happy and less socially engaged when we are sober. Our brain also reacts to the daily…[Read more]

    • I went and fixed a typo in this and it promptly disappeared itself into the ether. Fortunately I had a copy. This is a re-post

      • Thank you for this priceless information @DaveH. This was so helpful for me in the beginning and will always be as a reminder of what I never want to repeat again.

    • Thank you for this post. This is a whole book condensed into one clear article. I found it particularly helpful to learn that some changes happen over the course of months. I was a fairly outgoing social person before I began regularly dousing my brain with liquid insanity. I do feel like I’m starting to regain some of my real self. Knowing that I’ll eventually heal is comforting. Thank you for taking the time to share this.

      • Hi @aprilsfool That is remarkably perceptive of you; yes, it is a synopsis of a part of a book. It is called “Alcoholism in a nutshell”. It is written so that people can understand the beast they are fighting and not be suddenly surprised by the challenges it throws at us: forewarned is forearmed. It is written to help people who are trying to stop drinking and anyone is most welcome to download a copy of the eBook from my blog, here: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/

    • This is gold…yet again..Thanks so much for sharing this! oxoxx

    • Oh my goodness DaveH your timing on posting this is spot on – you made me cry (from relief that someone gets how I’m feeling) ….I’m only day 4 today and I feel all of of the above …..I’ve had a crap nights sleep, my head feels like it’s in a vice and very foggy…… and emotional 😭. And I have to carry on today (family all coming round for an Easter dinner celebration) pretending to everyone around me life is good and hide this raging internal war that is going on inside . I think I will re read your post a hundred times today, thank you thank you 🙏

    • Thankyou @daveH for this informative post with such vital information. So importmant to be reminded of how our brain reacts to the onslaught of alcohol consumption!! How do I save this post for later reference anyone??

      • Why not copy and paste it to a notebook on your computer @annie?

      • @Annie do you see the outline of a star under Dave’s profile picture in this post? Click on that and it will fill in. By doing that you will have saved the post to ‘my favourites’. Look under the text box at the top of the webpage where you can write a new post. You’ll see ‘all members’, ‘my favourites’ and ‘mentions’. Click on ‘my favourites’ and you should see Dave’s post saved.

    • Awesome post! ❤️❤️

    • Perfect!

    • Love this Dave! What I know now though is that when I was drinking daily (and a lot) I wasn’t sleeping. I was passing out. I would literally be gone in about 3 seconds. My husband was always amused at how quickly I could “fall asleep”…but then awaken suddenly 3-4 hours later and be wide awake for the next several hours. I’m finally sleeping at night. I am tired from the day and genuinely fall asleep. I don’t sleep well but I’m hoping it improves. Beats waking up with a hangover any day. ox

  • DaveH posted an update 2 months, 1 week ago

    Alcohol isn’t magical. Alcohol is a simple little chemical. It has two carbon atoms, six hydrogen atoms, and an oxygen atom. It doesn’t travel at speeds exceeding the speed of light and it doesn’t have the gravitational pull of a black hole… in fact it is quite boring. Apart from being combustible and moderately useful as a solvent it is in fact quite unremarkable, except in its capacity to bugger up how brains work.

    Being a very simple and therefore small molecule it slips straight through the blood/brain barrier and busies itself finding things to bind onto in our synapses… the tiny gaps that link brain cells to each other. There it blocks some sensors open, and it blocks some sensors closed; these are sensors that should be free to receive different chemicals, and THAT is the limit of what it does in our brains. The rest we do ourselves.

    Here’s a little scenario I can put together in my mind:

    I am sitting in a plain room and a plain table. I am not thirsty or hungry or in any way distressed; I am perfectly at ease. Imagine some scientists have me all wired up to gizmo’s that measure what’s happening in my brain and body and they’re running an experiment.

    First they bring in a glass of orange juice and put it in front of me and go and check their dials…. nothing.

    Next they bring in a glass of wine and put it in front of me, but now when they look at their dials and instruments they see that my brain is going off!

    It would be very tempting to think that the alcohol has somehow had this effect on me, but this isn’t true at all… they could get the same result if they handed me a photograph of a glass of wine. There doesn’t even need to be alcohol physically present for this to happen. Alcohol hasn’t changed what my brain is doing; it’s done that all by itself.

    Alcohol does not exert some magical power that makes me want to drink it… I manufacture that entirely myself, within my own brain. Alcohol does not create the craving to drink it, I do. I…[Read more]

    • Great explanation. I feel the same way, I definitely felt like I had no choice but to drink sometimes. The beautiful thing about sobriety is that I hold the reins now. Makes all the difference. : ) week-end!

    • Nicely done, @DaveH, mornin’ ~

    • Wow!!! Overcoming me is something I should put some thought into. Thank you, that was very interesting to read!

      • It took a while for this particular penny to drop for me, but the ONLY barrier to my stopping drinking was actually me. There was nothing… NOTHING else in my way. I wasn’t just the main problem, I was the only problem.

        • S’pose, understanding this fact is one thing… accepting, without resenting it, might be another ~ and, so……..we’re left with who ‘hands it over’ to their (higher power) and who doesn’t?

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 3 months, 1 week ago

    Hi @Annefromcanada You say “One day it will take over and I won’t be able to quit one more time. It is getting harder and harder. I used to quit for years at a time without much trouble and now… it isn’t so easy anymore”

    You are completely correct. Addiction always gets worse, never better; it is the nature of the condition and the longer we leave it the harder it is to turn around. But eventually we reach the point where we realise that the pain in carrying on drinking exceeds the pain in stopping… and at that point the game changes. It stops being about what we WANT to do, and it becomes what we MUST do if we are to survive.

    The longer we carry on drinking the further down the track of darkness, despair, anxiety, fear, hopelessness and loneliness we go. Our mind insists that “a drink will make you feel better” and “drinking is fun!” and we believe these to be true, but actually they only bind us in the trap. The truth is that our distress is created by the very thing that seems to relieve it. Alcohol is not the panacea that fixes our problems… it is the cause of them. There are parts of our brain that want us to carry on drinking and the lies our minds tell us are caused by that. They seem completely convincing, but they are lies, and they are lies that hold us in the alcohol trap. What holds us back from stopping drinking is that we can’t imagine that life is worthwhile without alcohol in it. But if you stop drinking you are not actually consigned to a life without fun… this is a complete fabrication that our minds make up. Ask anyone that’s stopped drinking… anyone, and they will tell you without exception that their life is far better without alcohol in it than it was with alcohol. They will also all tell you that’s not what they believed while they were still drinking.

    You are currently committed to a path that ends disastrously… you are drinking in the belief that it makes you happy. But actually, in the longer term, drinking lower…[Read more]

    • @Dave Thank you for such an insightful reply/post. I found your words helped with my personal understanding of drinking alcohol and being AF and I love the Lao Tzu quote.

    • @DaveH
      I have read your post over several times. And I expect I’ll probably read over it many more. I sure hope you are right. Thank you so much for your response. It means a lot to me that strangers are taking all this time to give to others. It really is quite incredible..the community here

    • Thanks for this great post @DaveH. Very insightful and helpful.

  • DaveH posted an update 3 months, 1 week ago

    I needed a big distraction today, so I sat and wrote about what our lying minds serve up when we stop drinking.

    The big lie: When we try to stop drinking we are confronted by many challenges. We have to overcome incredibly powerful cravings of course, but there is far more. Our daily routines have to change, people we associate with have to change, and the things we do that occupy our free time have to change. But even if we manage to overcome the cravings, and completely re-organise our lives then the challenges still keep coming, and they don’t come from outside us, the biggest ones come from within.

    We know about the cravings, and we can get medication to help us fight them off, but there is no similar defence against the enemy within. For this we have nothing but our own intellect and willpower. When we first set out to stop drinking we all underestimate just how difficult the task is, and in particular we completely misunderstand the extent to which our own minds will try to sabotage our efforts. Normal drinkers looking on have absolutely no comprehension of this, and it is virtually impossible for them to grasp it fully, but there are parts of our brain that want us to carry on drinking.

    The root of our addiction lies in our brain in what’s known as the “reward system”. This isn’t something unique to humans; all animals that have a brain that’s separated into two hemispheres have it. The reward system is responsible for encouraging us to do things that aid our survival and discourage us from doing things that are harmful to it. It remembers good and bad occurrences and it motivates us to repeat, or avoid them when they next occur. In us alcohol gets remembered as something to do again. Every time we encounter a circumstance that yielded alcohol a new “trigger” is formed, and the next time we meet that circumstance then we will get an urge to drink; that’s how the reward system works. But there is another level of sophistication in it. Some trigg…[Read more]

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

    Hi @englishmum enzedgirl has it right, this is what you should expect as your brain re-adjusts to daily existence without alcohol. Here’s a long story told very short.

    When we first drink alcohol it causes some changes in brain chemistry. In relation to how we feel there are two chemicals in particular that we should follow… dopamine and serotonin. Both of these are “feel good” chemicals; they make us feel happy and socially engaged. Alcohol causes more of these to be released and it is the effects of these that make us like alcohol.

    But this changes when we drink a lot and often. Our brain recognizes that it is getting more dopamine and serotonin than it ordered, so it cuts back how much is released. This makes us feel miserable and socially withdrawn UNLESS we drink. Only when we drink do our dopamine a serotonin levels go up towards normal. This is the alcohol trap… Once in this state we have to drink to feel normal.

    Now… When we STOP drinking things get really wild. Our brain and body essentially go into shock, but after a while our brain recognizes that without the boosting effect of alcohol it is now under-producing dopamine and serotonin… and it re-raises them. But at first it overshoots the mark, and we feel great as we have more dopamine and serotonin than we should. That is the pink cloud. When the brain recognizes it has overshot it backs off a bit, and after the pink cloud we get a lull… that’s where you are now. The levels will swing back up again soonish, but recognize that during this dull period we are vulnerable to the old lies… “Just one won’t hurt”, “perhaps I can control it now”, “you’ve done well… you deserve one” etc, etc.

    • Thank you so much for this @daveh. It makes a lot of sense and it’s really interesting to understand the scientific reasons for the ups and downs I am going through. Makes me even more committed to getting alcohol out of my life for good actually. In the meantime I will look for ways to cheer myself up (hot baths, early nights and chocolate seem to work pretty well)!!

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

    HI @Thin39 “but this feeling of being really down has to get turned around because it feels like now I’m just using other things besides alcohol to fill space and crowd out having to deal with things”

    What you are experiencing is normal.

    When we drink heavily for an extended period our brain adapts to the regular onslaught of the sedative alcohol. One of the several things that happens is that it regulates down the amount of two important mood altering chemicals in our brain; dopamine and serotonin. There is a direct consequence of this… it makes us feel low. Normally we would fix this with a drink (which causes more dopamine and serotonin to be released) but when we don’t do that we are left feeling down. The daily drinking to make us feel normal is a part of what locks us into the alcohol trap.

    You are now experiencing depleted dopamine and serotonin levels without them being artificially boosted back up again by alcohol. It feels bad, but this is normal and it will start fixing itself soon. Just as out brain adapts to a huge daily dose of alcohol, it re-adapts when that no longer happens. So until that happens just keep doing what you are doing to give yourself a lift; it’s only a temporary measure. Hang on in there, it will get better soon.

    • Thanks for this advice. I was hoping for a pink cloud but I’ll have to be patient. A walk in the fresh air is my next job….

      • Hi @Thin39 The pink cloud will come as your brain begins to adjust to the absence of alcohol, but you’re a few days away from it yet. Look for it in about a week or so. (+/- a few days depending on the individual). Usually other people see the pink cloud before we do. They say something like “you’re looking good” and we suddenly realise.. Oh, yes! I feel different too!

    • @daveh I love your wisdom. Thanks for sharing!

    • @DaveH that’s expert advice!! @Thin39 congratulations on 5 days..soon you will be double digits. I know it might sound silly…yet as you have more sober days under your belt, a sense of empowerment and accomplishment kick in, as well!! This also might take the edge off the blah feelings. You are doing this!😉

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 4 months, 1 week ago

    Hi @Frog. Playing it forward is a good way to kick back, but “forever!” is a persistent little bugger. It is a nasty piece of self-sabotage and it comes in two bits. One part implies that you’re never going to have fun again, and the other raises doubts about if you can actually mange to stay stopped forever (in which case you may as well drink now to end the suffering). Both are false propositions.

    The idea that “drinking=fun”, in fact that drinking is the ONLY fun, is completely incorrect. It is an idea that is incredibly deeply imprinted into us, but it is incorrect. Drinking didn’t end up being fun did it? Having fun drinking was a long time ago. “Drinking = fun” is a lie. The actual truth is that drinking perpetuates misery. If it really was so much fun as our memories insist then we wouldn’t have needed to stop in the first place would we. Drinking made us alone, irritable and miserable, and none of those is fun.

    The second sabotaging idea in “forever!” is about throwing doubt on our ability to stay not drinking. But it does this by predicting something unpredictable. We don’t know what the future holds. “When a man talks of the future the Gods laugh” (Chinese proverb). Our challenge isn’t actually in the future, our challenge is right now. Now is the only moment which we have control over. We can’t stop our drinking in the past, or in the future, we can only do it NOW. So we only need to concern ourselves with not drinking now, and if we do that then the future will take care of itself.

    There’s a part of our mind that wants to carry on drinking. It’s a completely automatic part of the brain known as the “reward system” and we can’t see inside it. But it tries hard to make us drink again. If we keep denying it like you just have then it eventually gives up.

    You’re going great. Keep going.

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 7 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi @FINNagain This was exactly me… every word of it. Realising this part proved crucial for me: “I display many of the warning signs, and things are only escalating”. I couldn’t deny it any longer. I tried to get my drinking under control many, many times but always failed. Things were getting worse imperceptibly slowly, but it was undeniable. They were definitely getting worse and I had lost control. Drinking every day had become inevitable. I couldn’t control my drinking, but the idea that I had to stop completely was unthinkable. Logically it was simple… things would be better if I didn’t drink, but emotionally it was the other way around. Emotionally my brain screamed “drinking is good! drinking is fun!”. What sort of life would I have without drink? But there were other emotions too… I was constantly on-edge, stressed, miserable, scared alone and hopeless. I could see no way out and didn’t want to carry on. If I carried on drinking then I’d end up dying somewhere alone and miserable… that’s the only future I could see.

    Eventually I realized that I’d never tried to actually stop before. I’d always just been taking it easy until the heat died off. There had always been the idea that stopping was only for a while… that I could drink again later. But stopping drinking means you actually have to STOP drinking, not just take a break. Anything short of this means we are sabotaging our own attempt.

    Things were getting worse. If I carried on drinking then I would die. That was an inescapable truth. What took the longest time was realising that alcohol wasn’t what I thought it was. I knew that a drink made me feel better, it gave me relief from all my problems. What took so long for me to accept was that alcohol actually caused most of the problems I wanted relief from. In the end I had to give in. The absolute truth was that if my life was to get better then I had to stop drinking. The unthinkable path was the only way out.

    You can do this.

    Lots…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted a new activity comment 8 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there @mistchance and @MalibuStacey . There was a series of posts about triggers and cravings during “Sober September”. I’ve put them all together here in a single lump for you.


    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 25. It’s Tuesday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    Cravings are what trap us into our addiction; they are the brain’s way of encouraging us to do things. The opposite of a craving is a revulsion. Both of these are initiated by our brains entirely automatically and are ancient processes in evolutionary terms. They evolved to aid our survival. We are encouraged to do things that are beneficial, and we are discouraged from doing things that could be harmful. This encouragement and discouragement does not come as words, but as feelings. They are not considered, deliberate, or even rational. We can’t negotiate with them, and we can’t turn them off. They are obligatory and compelling; that’s their purpose.

    Cravings do not occur randomly, they are each triggered by a particular circumstance. Our cravings for alcohol are triggered by, for example, seeing alcohol, smelling alcohol, leaving work, Friday evenings, all bars, and clubs, social gatherings, etc, etc. we also get cravings in response to our emotional state. For us we are triggered by being happy, sad, tired, lonely, stressed, miserable… we have all the bases covered.

    Several things happen when we drink in response to a craving. The first is that we get rewarded for finding the object sought (alcohol in our case). The reward is a large jolt of dopamine that is delivered as soon as we secure a drink. A large dose of dopamine give us a euphoric feeling. This is where the “aaaaahhhh!” comes from; the immediate sense of ease and comfort we get from the first drink. It is dopamine that causes this, not alcohol. The next thing that happens is that it is remembered more firmly that this trigger yielded a result… so its importance is increased. Thi…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted an update 8 months, 4 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 30!.. a whole month! It is Sunday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    This is the last day of Sober September and for some it is their first sober month in a long, long time. For those that started this at or around 1st September a huge well done! I’d like to mention you by name but I’ve not been attentive enough to track the days and names properly, but I know that at least Kate1975 was here from the start. We know what it takes to do this, so well done indeed!

    At 30 days many are enjoying the pink cloud; it may even be beginning to taper off for some. Sleep will have returned and while the cravings are still very regular, and still demanding, they lack the crushing intensity of that first week. Things are beginning to look more positive. First there is the realisation that it IS possible to not drink… you are doing it! what seemed impossible is actually happening! Secondly there’s a whole list of bad stuff that’s not happening any longer; hangovers, spending too much, morning shakes, awful awakenings, things we’ve done that we regret, things we’ve not done we that regret etc, etc. At 30 days the really big gains are in the bad stuff that’s stopped. If you started at or around 1st September then take some time if you can to sit a relfect on how different things are now. How do you feel, and how is that different to how you felt a month ago? What do you have now you didn’t have then, and what do you not have now that you’re pleased to be rid of.

    As I look back to when I stopped drinking I remember this time as being quite transformational. The single biggest thing for me was realsising that it WAS actually possible to stop drinking, and that gave me hope… hope that the future could be different. My sobriety started when I walked into an AA meeting. I had no idea how to fix this problem so I went to where the alcoholics go to. I had to force myself to walk in. To me it was a colossal…[Read more]

    • Beautifully written and well thought out @DaveH thankyou for sharing your wisdom and insight 🙂

    • G’day @DaveH! Thank you for your daily words of wisdom during September and mighty congratulations on 3000 days! I am now on 48 days and quietly confident of beating this! Enjoy your of sober Sunday!

    • I think you’re awesome for doing that for us @daveh , thank you.

    • That’s a good looking number Dave. Congrats on 3000! 🙂

    • Thanks @DaveH for leading sober September and for the good advice and wisdom that you have shared!

    • You are a fantastic G.O.D leader @daveh I have enjoyed reading your daily september wisdom 🙂

    • I’ve loved following this sober Sept, thanks DaveH and congrats to everyone who’s been along for the ride!

    • Thank u so much for your daily posts @daveh they’ve meant a great deal & ive grown fond of them. I joined up a bit late but I’ll be a month sober tomorrow (I’m behind in the uk). Well done on your 3000 that’s truly remarkable & I hope for all of us we 2 one day reach that number xxx

    • Congrats @Daveh you are a compassionate and lovely guy, good to read your message.

    • Thanks @Daveh so much for all that you do for us. I didn’t sign up but read your posts most days. It was great to read your story today & learn a bit more about you…congrats on your 3000 days xx

    • Congrats on 3000 @daveh awesome and amazing achievement dude

    • Thanks @DaveH This is your best post yet. Congrats on day 3000! I’m a big baseball fan, and in the Major Leagues, getting 3000 hits is big deal (only 32 players since 1897). Cheers

    • Dear @daveh. Thanks for touching our lives each day this September. You have been so supportive in this ride for me and all of us here at LS. Day 3000 huh? You have been sober for all my middle son’s life, give or take a few days. Which means that when I hit 3000 days my son’s will be 14 and 16 and my daughter 26. They will have had a sober and present Mum for all that time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your part in this gift to them, my wider family and myself xxx

    • Thank you Dave for taking the time to post each and every day. I know you inspired many with your insightful and honest posts. Keep on keeping on!

    • What a way you have with words, I find you inspirational. Many thanks.

  • DaveH posted an update 8 months, 4 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 29. It’s Saturday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    For the last few days we’ve been looking a triggers; how they compel us to drink (that’s their purpose) and how we take the power away from them (denying them slowly diminishes the intensity of the craving they induce). But there is a really interesting question to ask. If we develop triggers that urge us to acquire and consume alcohol. And if these triggers (and the cravings they induce) get stronger and stronger every time we drink in response to a trigger… then how come everyone that drinks frequently doesn’t end up alcoholic like us?

    The answer lies again in triggers, but this time it is about triggers we DON’T have. Triggers are remembered, but they are not remembered in the same part of the brain as everything else we know. There are two distinct parts of the brain that remember different things; there’s the regular “information” memory and then there’s an “action” memory. The “information” memory stores just that; the bits and pieces of knowledge we learn over the years. The “action” memory remembers actions that should be taken when certain circumstances occur. This is where the triggers are. It is the information in our information memory that lets us recognize a lemon, but it is the action memory that encourages us to put a squeeze of lemon on fried food… and here’s the really interesting thing… we have an opposing trigger… we are discouraged from using too much. If we were told we had to eat the whole lemon then we would recoil from the idea. This is not simple information, it comes as motivation… a revulsion. The action memory induces compulsions that encourage us to do some things, and compulsions that deter us from doing others. In the case of the lemon we not only know (from the information memory) that lemons taste bitter, we are actively and automatically discouraged from biting into them (by the action memory)…[Read more]

    • Thanks @daveh for your time spent contributing to this group. I found the above post very interesting. One question: Do u think Genetics and/or environment contribute to this… Such as growing up with alcoholic parent/s… Or is it ‘luck of the draw’ if u are a ‘normie’ or not???

      • Hi @time2quit This is an intriguing question and I think that the research is incomplete in this area.

        Alcoholic’s greatly over-value the benefits of alcohol and greatly undervalue its down-sides. Another consistent characteristic is that we value a benefit now over a larger benefit that is a little in the future. These characteristics (and it seems like something more should be added to this list) mean that we behave in ways the strengthen the drinking triggers more than the “don’t drink” triggers. Once that balance is tipped then we are locked into a downward path until we radically change our behaviour.

        So it is some core personal characteristics that determine susceptibility to addiction.

        1. Overvalue “fun/benefit”
        2. Undervalue “risk/harm”
        3. Significantly favour having something “now” rather than later.

        This combination of characteristics is not at a all uncommon in the randomness of the general population. While there isn’t an addiction gene (or similar direct indicator genetics definitely play a part, and so do two other key factors.

        The characteristics that favour addiction are QUITE LIKELY to be inherited from a parent, but it is not at all definitative. E.g. Two tall parents are not guaranteed to have tall children. A personal example is that both my wife and I are left handed, but we have one left handed child and one right handed child. This is the extent to which character traits that favour addiction are inherited.

        Similarly our upbringing is also not necessarily a definitive prescriptor for alcoholism/addiction. This is because if we don’t have the characteristics that favour addiction, then even if we are raised in a heavy drinking environment we may not become addicted. This is because we will develop the “don’t drink” triggers just as powerfully as we build the “drink now” triggers.

        But even if we have the characteristics that favour addiction, AND are raised in a heavy drinking environment, this still does not mean that we WILL…[Read more]

    • HI @morgan Yes there is. I read an excellent piece a while ago that summarized the key findings of a bunch of papers on various aspects of triggers and addiction. I’ll try and re-find it for you.

    • thank you @daveh for being in my mailbox every single day for 29 days with words of wisdom, advice and encouragement. best to you, friend.

    • Thanks for the post! It’s helpful.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 28… That’s FOUR WEEKS…. who even knew that was possible? I certainly didn’t when I started out. It’s Friday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    Our brains are self teaching and self improving. Neural pathways that get used often become strong and fast in exactly the same way that muscles get bigger with excersize. But there is another important feature of the brain that is unfortunate for us. It is this: what is known cannot become unknown.

    By denying cravings we diminish their importance and with that the craving they induce gets smaller; the brain loses enthusiasm for a trigger that never yields a return. Over an extended period the importance of the drinking triggers becomes very small, and we are only vaguely aware of the craving. The great news in this for us is that the cravings subside much more quickly than the years we devoted to building them up. BUT THE TRIGGERS NEVER DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY… what is known cannot become unknown. They are still there… waiting.

    If we EVER drink in response to an old trigger then we re-exercise an old (but already existing) neural pathway and it immediately starts to re-strengthen and speed up. Existing pathways regain their former speed very quickly and it only takes a few passes for them to strengthen significantly again.

    Many people describe addiction and alcoholism as being a problem we have for life… and in this respect this is true: the neural pathways created during our addiction can become dormant, but they never disappear, those triggers exist for the rest of our lives. In this respect we will always be addicts and alcoholics; we have put the condition into remission, but we can’t remove it completely. However, for as long as we never exercise those triggers again, we remain free of the alcohol trap.

    Have a great day 28 everyone and take care; it is Friday, so expect those triggers to be firing and be prepared to meet them as they…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 27… just one day short of four weeks! It’s Thursday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    Over our years of drinking we have accumulated a huge number of triggers to drink; triggers that induce cravings when we encounter certain circumstances. We make the triggers lose their power (and the cravings induced by them reduce in intensity) by not giving in to them. At first the cravings come nearly continuously as virtually everything in our daily routine has an associated trigger. This makes it impossible to know which trigger has fired a certain craving. But over time the most commonly fired triggers start to lose their power and the intensity of the cravings induced by them drops. As the intensity eases it starts getting easier. We start to feel we’re getting the hang of things, but actually it is that the effort required to overcome the cravings is gradually declining. We no longer need to stay on constant high alert to ward them off; we can deal with them easily enough when they come. This marks the start of another danger period… the problem has changed.

    While experiencing the “pink cloud” we are in good spirits and our resolve stays high, but we enter another difficult phase when this tapers off. As we enter the relative low of the post-pink cloud period the cravings start to take on a different dimension. We have taken the sting off the most commonly fired triggers, but there are still a lot of triggers that still retain most or all of their power, and it is these that catch us out.
    We become accustomed to the challenge of the routine triggers, but every now and again we will fire a trigger that still has its full strength, and it is these that catch us. These cravings suddenly hit us hard… a full force craving that we’ve not experienced for a while, and they challenge us at a time that we are unprepared for the attack.

    There is no defence against these other than to know that this will ha…[Read more]

    • Ain’t yer first day on the job, is it @DaveH?! Thank you for your posts, it really helps set up for the day:)

      • Yep me too Dave awesome post. Day 46 still cannot believe it’s 7 weeks Sunday . This week especially I’ve wanted my pink cloud back not related to cravings at all but having to deal with raw feelings. Blah week. I’ve been inspired by ro to make a whitebait fritter treat in the weekend !!!

    • Thanks @daveh I’ve come 2 look forward 2 your daily posts & u always put an awesome quote on the end. Finishes it off nicely.

    • Hi DaveH, thanks for your post. The pink cloud is nice while it lasts but it can be confusing as it dissipates. I like how you worded how the triggers take on a new dimension. It’s so true. This is helpful for me today. Thanks again!

    • Awesome @daveh. As sober September draws towards a close I think I will miss your daily messages. 1st September was day 1 for me and you have been alongside me in this ride all the way. Anyone want to pick up the rains for Ocsober? X

    • Thanks @daveh for the heads up re: the out of the blue cravings from triggers we haven’t encountered recently or not at all. Will hopefully be ready to kick them into hyper space when they come.

    • Yes thank you .@daveh I really look forward to your posts and there always seems to be something in there I take away with me.

    • @Daveh great info in your post – I definitely have experienced those random full-on cravings after long periods of sobriety, and wow you are right about needing to keep in mind that this might happen from time to time, and to pay attention to what some of the triggers might be, so we can build our information arsenal around how to stay sober. So thankful for you and the entire September Sober Crew!! I agree with @Kate1975… anyone want to take over for October? xox

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 26. It’s Wednesday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    One day the day comes that we suddenly realize we haven’t had a craving for a while. It is a wonderful moment. It’s a bit like when you realize a headache has gone… you can’t pinpoint when it happened, but it did.

    We make the cravings diminish in intensity by denying them when they come. But we have accumulated so many triggers around our daily routine that virtually everything sets us off. It seems (and indeed it is true) that when we start out simply being awake is enough to trigger a craving.

    Battling the intensity of the cravings and the frequency of them is at first completely exhausting. The supply of cravings seems limitless, but resolve is not. The great danger is that our resolve becomes so depleted that we fall to the next big craving. We can attack both ends of this problem: we can change our routine so that we aren’t triggering cravings quite so often, and we can do things to restore our resolve.

    Regarding the cravings; we aren’t trying to avoid all triggering events, we need to de-power the triggers by overcoming the craving. The way we can help ourselves is by reducing the speed they come at us in the early days. At first almost every turn of our daily routine has triggering events in it. Particularly difficult for me were the evenings and weekends. I prepared in advance for these times and filled them as much as possible with different activities. I did more fixing, repairing, painting, digging, cutting and planting than ever in this period. I also had an evening project; restoring a damaged history plaque. These tasks were all jobs that fully occupied my hands and mind. They kept my mind occupied through the prime drinking times.

    Restoring resolve for me was done with AA meeting, but time spent regularly engaged in a recovery community (like this one) does much of the same. I also spent a lot of time reading and…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 25. It’s Tuesday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    Cravings are what trap us into our addiction; they are the brain’s way of encouraging us to do things. The opposite of a craving is a revulsion. Both of these are initiated by our brains entirely automatically and are ancient processes in evolutionary terms. They evolved to aid our survival. We are encouraged to do things that are beneficial, and we are discouraged from doing things that could be harmful. This encouragement and discouragement does not come as words, but as feelings. They are not considered, deliberate, or even rational. We can’t negotiate with them, and we can’t turn them off. They are obligatory and compelling; that’s their purpose.

    Cravings do not occur randomly, they are each triggered by a particular circumstance. Our cravings for alcohol are triggered by, for example, seeing alcohol, smelling alcohol, leaving work, Friday evenings, all bars, and clubs, social gatherings, etc, etc. we also get cravings in response to our emotional state. For us we are triggered by being happy, sad, tired, lonely, stressed, miserable… we have all the bases covered.

    Several things happen when we drink in response to a craving. The first is that we get rewarded for finding the object sought (alcohol in our case). The reward is a large jolt of dopamine that is delivered as soon as we secure a drink. A large dose of dopamine give us a euphoric feeling. This is where the “aaaaahhhh!” comes from; the immediate sense of ease and comfort we get from the first drink. It is dopamine that causes this, not alcohol. The next thing that happens is that it is remembered more firmly that this trigger yielded a result… so its importance is increased. This means the intensity of craving caused by this trigger gets bigger. The next thing that happens is that alcohol tricks the brain into slowly releasing more dopamine. This is what makes us feel…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Monday morning in New Zealand, Day 24, and another great day to be sober. Day 24, Monday, marks the end of another weekend… that’s four Saturdays and Sundays under the belt.

    Sunny_Disposition made a really interesting observation yesterday… “sobriety has brought me control in every aspect except my emotions, they do what they please it seems” and ain’t that the truth.

    When I got sober I started to experience emotions like I’d never known them before. There were two changes that were particularly striking. First, it was like someone had turned up the volume on all my emotions. There was no subtlety, they were either ‘off’ or they were on ‘full bore’. The second was the wild and quite random-seeming variability. Emotions came very powerfully, and they jumped around all over the place.

    Both of these are direct consequences of stopping drinking after drinking a lot for an expended period. As alarming as it feels at the time it is normal and to be expected. It is the brain re-finding a sucessful equilibrium in the absence of a daily dose of alcohol.

    What happened is that our brains adapted to try to remain effective despite that daily onslaught of alcohol, and it did this by changing the amounts of certain chemicals that are naturally secreted. The release of seratonin and dopamine are artificially increased by alcohol, and the release of GABA is reduced. The brain recognises that these levels are not as it requested, and moves to counter this effect. The background amount of dopamine and serotonin being released is reduced, and the amount of GABA is increased.

    When we have drunk significantly for and extened period;
    The dopamine reduction leaves us feeling down… until we artificially raise that level by drinking.
    The serotonin reduction leaves us feeling socially insignificant… until we artifically raise that level by drinking.
    And the GABA increase dulls down our emotions… until we artificially reduce that…[Read more]

    • Thank you Dave.

    • Thanks Dave – really helpful post.

    • Very nice explanation Dave… thanks….. I like the term ‘socially insignificant’ …. I feel that way often…. alcohol was so good at taking away that feeling but unfortunately then magnifying it 100 times….

    • Turned up the volume – great descriptor. Mine were on full blast and semi out of control my whole life. As I didnt think of drinking to drown them out, I did a lot of yoga, nutrition learning and mindfulness type stuff + studying psychology -all whilst drinking strong coffee DUH!
      I think this has helped me a lot in giving up my crutch and pain killer ethanol when I had found the welcome numbing effects.

    • Thanks Dave really liked this now I can remind myself when I am being cranky or tearful that I am on the mend. I even think with every achy pain I am having it is my body repairing with no booze in my system. Trying to turn every change into a positive. It’s been 2 AF weekends in a row and I am buzzing about it, even a hangover free Monday morning at work yipee.

    • Thanks @DaveH. Another really helpful post. Much appreciated!

    • Thanks @DaveH. This explains a lot. I’m not normally an unhappy person, but was strangely saddened for a while yesterday. Up and down is right on.

    • Hi @jes. Yes, I really simplified it, perhaps too much, but the post was already long. None of these compounds has just a single effect, these neurotransmitters do multiple things in different parts of the brain. In this post I only mentioned the role of GABA in the suppression of emotions initiated in the amygdala, not its role in the formation of addiction.

    • thanks @DaveH. Brilliant post.

    • Hi @Jes. I obviously worded it nclearly. Prolonged drinking causes increased GABA which is an inhibitor/suppressant on the emotional response. When we stop the level has to come back down and the emotional suppression is undone..

    • Great post again @daveH better understanding of what’s going on inside this head of mine lately, thank u 🙂

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Sunday morning in New Zealand, Day 23, and another great day to be sober.

    A diabetic is someone who suffers from diabetes. If someone refers to a sufferer as a diabetic then it is said with implied compassion. This is not the case for an alcoholic. An alcoholic is someone who is afflicted by alcoholism, but that word is rarely accompanied by compassion, it is usually said with implied disgust.

    If someone is addicted to tobacco then people blame tobacco and the tobacco companies, but if someone is addicted to alcohol they blame the person. People that become alcoholic are considered weak; they should control themselves better. It is regarded as poor behaviour, poor choices, and poor control. Being an alcoholic is deeply shameful, and shame is a soul eating emotion.

    But there is little or no general recognition that addiction is a mental disorder; a series of normal and natural processes that have become mis-connected into a looping system that directs us to find drink, and then find more. The instruction to not drink never arises for us; the normal process that directs people away from drinking too much or at the wrong time is absent. Normal drinkers are prompted to make a choice about whether to drink or not… but we are missing the “shouldn’t” side of the argument. That normal control mechanism is absent in us… our vehicle has no brakes. We don’t CHOOSE to drink. Our brains only ever tell us that we SHOULD drink. We are never prompted to choose whether or not to.

    It takes time to learn about our illness and to understand it, but when we do we should be more compassionate with ourselves. Most particularly, we should stop being ashamed. We are not weak, we are ill, and we are doing what is required to make us well again. We don’t need to feel ashamed of ourselves, and we have stopped doing the things that allow others to heap shame on us.

    While we are looking for good things to come back into our lives don’t…[Read more]

    • this is spot on awesome. love it. thank you

    • Oh there you are @daveh ! Hurrah 🙂

      You said “If someone is addicted to tobacco then people blame tobacco and the tobacco companies, but if someone is addicted to alcohol they blame the person. People that become alcoholic are considered weak; they should control themselves better. It is regarded as poor behaviour, poor choices, and poor control. Being an alcoholic is deeply shameful, and shame is a soul eating emotion.”

      I think this will change. I think it is changing already. We can take heart that people’s attitudes towards tobacco and their realization that the big tobacco companies have ripped us all off has happened. If it can happen with tobacco it can happen with alcohol.

      Young people all over the world are turning away from alcohol and other drugs. It’s fantastic.

      Also, although the disease model and AA is very prevalent for millions of people (as a direct response to the moralistic view of “alcoholics” bring weak and defective and diseased) and these ways of thinking are pretty mainstream, it’s also true that there are other pretty mainstream ways of thinking about problematic alcohol use.

      I don’t believe problematic or hazardous alcohol use is a disease or any kind of illness. It is a damaging learned behaviour that is role-modelled to us from the day we are born. Some of us are even given alcohol before we are born!

      Is it any wonder, then, that out of all the humans who consume ethanol, which our brains are *designed* to accommodate and become dependent on, end up having problems with it?

      I am not diseased. I do not have an illness. I am not weak. I am not defective. I am a normal human being who has been supported and encouraged and applauded and marketed to, to excessively drink alcohol.

      Now I have given myself a good long break from it (it took a few years to achieve that period of time) and I see the truth. Alcohol is really fucking bad for me. I’m not going to do it any more. Problem solved.

      Anyone else reading my p…[Read more]

      • Ro replied 9 months ago

        Yep I’m not diseased either. I just don’t buy the illness model. I made poor choices and pretended I had no control over myself. Now I make great choices and I control what I do and don’t imbibe. The buck stops with me. I used to feel weak and useless in the throes of addiction. Now I feel strong and empowered because I overcame them.
        I do agree that alcohol addiction is treated differently to other addictions. But oh how the mighty fall. We are all the same. Give a so called ‘normie’ an unnormal situation and throw some piss in the mix, and we’ll see how long it takes them to become addicted. I wasn’t born with an illness that developed over time. Due to circumstances I chose drugs and alcohol to use recreationally and these addictive substances did their job and got me addicted.
        If believing you are ‘sick’ gets you through and out the other side of addiction then stick with it. I am not an alcoholic or an addict anymore because I don’t drink or drug. Freedom! Thanks for the discussion starter @daveh

        • V cool @ro Totally agree and for me the biggest thing sobriety has brought for me is control. Even when things happen beyond my control I can control how I view the outcome 🙂 Hope you had an ok sleep 🙂 xx

        • Yea buddy! All I know is that alcohol has ruined a large part of my life or let’s say held me back. Down. On my ass . It doesn’t even matter so much to me now to know just what caused me to become addicted. What matters is that I don’t drink it anymore.

        • @ro your post is fab it had me ready for battle! Spoken like a true warrior love it 🙂

        • Yep ro agree . I have a friend who would be an apparent normie. I see a difference because she doesn’t just have one. Tell me a normie that does when they start. So why do they get the label normie??? They will by science become addicted sometime? Alcohol is equated to heroin in addictiveness after all eh!

        • Yeah. Great view.
          I can easily say I was not diseased as making choices and moderating ( in a pretty addictive manner! ) but heading dangerously toward the part of the spectrum where I would maybe find it waaaay harder to control.
          Those who were way further along and took control can talk with authority.

        • Here, here @ro. I have a problem with the term alcoholic when used to describe people who no longer drink alcohol. Do we still call people drug users when they stop smoking their weed, P or crack. No.
          I no longer drink alcohol therefore I am not an alcoholic. I may have an alcohol addiction which i’m working through but do not associate in any way with the term alcoholic.

      • Great post @enzedgirl and @ro Totally agree with you both. 🙂

      • Beautifully put xxxxx

    • Well said @daveh really appreciate these daily posts! & I agree @seedynomore sobriety has brought me control in every aspect except my emotions, they do what they please it seems xxx

    • Love that last quote @daveh Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Love this btw @daveh 🙂

    • Great post @DaveH

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 22 and Saturday morning here in New Zealand; another great day to be sober.

    It was exceptional for me to not have a hangover on a Saturday morning. Coming to as I showered would be awful; bits and pieces of memories would come back and I’d wince recalling what I’d done the day and night before… again! It was the absence of control that was so confusing. Why couldn’t I do what I should do and drink less? Everybody else could do this if they wanted to, but I couldn’t. I could excersize control over every other aspect of my life, but when it came to drinking it seemed that I had none. It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying to drink less, I was, it was that control was quite simply not present. Other people could decide they’d had enough, and not drink any more, but I couldn’t. I had no “off” switch… it seemed I was born without one.

    I didn’t understand this for a very long time, but that statement “I had no ‘off’ switch” is actually completely correct. We have triggers that bring on urges (cravings and ideas) to drink, and normal drinkers have these too. But they have another set of triggers that we don’t. Normal drinkers have a bunch of triggers that go “now’s not a good time”, “that’s enough now” or even (completely inexplicably to us) “not today”.

    The automated mechanisms in a normal drinkers brain have triggers encouraging them to drink, and also triggers discouraging them from drinking. This second set of triggers is where their control comes from… they get to choose between the conflicting instructions. They get prompted to choose “should I?” or “shouldn’t I?”. But we only have the first set, the ones telling us to drink; the second set is almost completely absent. Our brains never prompt us to consider that we should; slow down, stop, or completely avoid drinking. This is why normal drinkers can’t understand our problem… it is an entirely different experience to their own; their brains work differently…[Read more]

    • Very true indeed @DaveH

    • I always say to myself “if you can’t have just one then don’t have any” I know I can’t stop once ive started. As you say we don’t have the correct mental processes and we just can’t. But it’s knowing this and challenging this everyday which makes it’s hard but worth it. You’re doing great!

    • Thanks Dave — another brilliant post. You’re also a breath of fresh air on here.

    • Thanks, Dave. Yes, Yes, Yes. Agreed. Decision that I had this corrupted process took for forever, Dealing with quitting took another forever (finding courage), Learning recovery (learning life is enjoyable without nic or alc,) another forever, a continuing forever, with hardly even a step taken.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. In New Zealand it is the morning of September 21st… Day 21! That’s an incredible THREE WEEKS, and collectively over 1,000 sober days.

    I remember when I started out that I didn’t think a week was possible, but THREE weeks? no, that just sounded ridiculous. So to all of those of you that began at or around 1st September, a huge well done and don’t for a moment underestimate what you have achieved so far. Going for a whole month looks like it’s definately possible now.

    You have done something incredibly difficult to get to here and deserve to be smiling; “winners are grinners!” as we say here. How about letting us know how it’s going for you?

    It is Friday today and the challenge of the weekend is imminent. Have you made plans to keep yourself safe?

    “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. (Michaelangelo)”

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit @Sunny_Disposition @kodom @Misti1970 @embracingsober

    • Good morning @daveh
      Steady as she goes here. Planning a couple of walks for weekend. Have a great day and thank you for your daily support. You are a wonderful sober life coach!!

    • 21 again sober Septemberists! My plan is to deal with one task at a time. I will have the privilege to be working with my fave iwi/hapu clients all weekend so drinking around me will be minimal anyway. The conversation will be all about the mauri of the river and how we can improve it. It is very reciprocal work and it will build up my own mauri being there. For those not conversant with Te Ao Maori: mauri is the life essence within everything, animate or inanimate. To explain it to my husband I likened it to the force in Star Wars. Mauri ora koutou!

    • Hello, DaveH and all septemberists: Here, it is a beautiful fall day, first day of fall. There is no better season. Looking forward to seeing the yellow light of the evening through the yellow leaves (when they turn yellow). Nothing better. Having some interesting times trying to change my eating habits. I never ate until I was done drinking late at night, and so now i need to eat morning, noon and early evening. It is quite a chore, one that I am not used to. How is everyone else?

      • I totally get the eating thing @Kitten. I too never ate well and certainly not in the evenings as that would take the edge off the alcoholic buzz!! How could i have done that to myself?? stay well

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I need it today!

    • Hi all! Been out of range for a few days! Everyone you are all doing a fantastic job & Still winning & grinning here! Lol! Thank you @Daveh loving the daily quotes

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. It’s Thursday morning and Day 20 here in New Zealand, and tomorrow will be three weeks!

    At first, stopping drinking is hard… incredibly hard. It seems like a never ending battle to fend off the next craving, the next discouraging idea, or that thought that we are missing out. It doesn’t go one like that forever, but we are impatient for results. We want results now; it is one of the key characteristics that set our susceptibility to addiction. However, although the great benefits of staying alcohol-free take time to materialise, there are advances we have made that are easily overlooked.

    In the last 20 days I have not done anything I regret or am ashamed of. I haven’t tried to avoid people because I don’t know how to explain my behaviour to them. I haven’t lied to cover up something awful. I haven’t let people down at home or at work. I haven’t been a hazzard on the roads. I haven’t been “missing in action”, and I haven’t been debilitated by being hungover or unwell.

    If I was still drinking I would have been all of these things multiple times. Now THAT is definitely progress.

    At 20 days without drinking I realised that my head was changing quite profoundly. I think it was because I started to truly believe something extraordinary. I started to believe “this is possible!”… It IS possible! I am doing it! The overwhelmingly pessimistic outlook began to brighten. I wasn’t destined to die alone and miserable somewhere after all. There WAS a way out of the hopelessness and I was on that path.

    “Your present circumstance don’t determine where you can go, they only define where you start from.”

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @B…[Read more]

    • Hi Dave! In the past I had tried countless times to control or manage my drinking. It didn’t work. I had also tried to quit many times but always felt like I was fighting the battle alone. Therefore I failed. The demons shouted in my head to “have fun and be social and keep drinking” plus my friends and family didn’t really think I had a problem. I truly did have a problem.
      I’ve been sober now for 16 days and I know that I’m on track and going to stay on track because I no longer feel alone.
      Thank you for the daily inspirations and helping me feel part of this sober community. It’s a much easier battle when you have such a fantastic group of positive and like minded people rallying around and wanting you to succeed.
      Many thanks!

    • Thanks for the continued inspiration @daveh. Quote is so apt for my whole family today, Will share with them too x

    • Thanks @DaveH – can relate to all of that x

    • Thanks, @DaveH, love the quote: “Your present circumstance don’t determine where you can go, they only define where you start from.”

      Have a beautiful sober day!

    • thanks for your post, Dave

    • Love this reminder of how I did not feel over the last 20 days. Thank you!

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists: Day 19. It is Wednesday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be sober.

    Time alone in my head was always the hardest. It was the time that the lies were the loudest, and the most convincing. The lies came in two ways; words, and feelings, and they were both false. “You’ve done well, you deserve a drink”, “a drink will make you feel better”, “look at the fun you’re missing out on”…. all lies. Yes… I’d done well, so why would I ruin it by drinking again? Yes… a drink would makes me feel better briefly, but drive me deeper into misery in the longer term. Missing out on fun?… really? that’s a very weak lie indeed. Drinking might have been fun a long time ago, but not by the end of my drinking. People sometimes say “drink stopped working for me”, and while I knew this was true for me too it took a while for me to put my finger on exactly why. Alcohol stopped working for me because I could no longer drink enough to get happy.

    The lies were easy enough to argue with, but the feelings weren’t. Feelings are impervious to reason… you can’t negotiate with them. When they came I just had to recognise that they were false. Yes, I was longing for a drink. It was a deep and powerful yearning, and very real. But the feeling was every bit as false as the words were. That intense feeling that demands that we drink is a lie.

    Addiction is woven from a fabric of lies. When your mind is telling you to drink then examine what you are being told, identify the lie, and call it out. A drink will NOT make me feel better. Drinking is NOT the only source of fun. Drinking will NOT fix my problems. The opposite is true in every case. Not drinking will make me feel better. Not drinking will let me enjoy real happiness, and not drinking will allow me to work my way out of my problems.

    “Recovery delivers everything that alcohol promised”

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @S…[Read more]

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Day 18. Tuesday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be Sober.

    I didn’t actually WANT to stop drinking, it was that I had no choice. My life was all wrong; every aspect of my life was wrong. I was struggling to keep it all together, but it was sliding further and further backwards. I could see that my drinking was a problem, but I had other problems too… and drinking was a daily repreive from them. What I didn’t realise was the extent to which my state of mind, the confustion, fear, anger and hopelessness, were all worsened by my drinking. It had to change. I knew I couldn’t drink a little, I’d tried that for so many years that I knew it couldn’t be done. So it was all or nothing. I couldn’t carry on drinking, but stopping altogether was simply unimaginable. What did people DO that didn’t drink? The answer it turns out is that they start living.

    “Stop looking backwards! That’s not where you’re going.”

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit @Sunny_Disposition @kodom @Misti1970 @Katya

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Today is day 17, Monday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be Sober.

    It isn’t other people that trap us in addiction or stop us becoming well. The truth is that the ONLY barrier to our own recovery is ourselves. It is not what other people say, or what they do, or what we imagine they might think that makes us drink, we only use these as excuses, or ways to justify our drinking. But only WE pick up the drink, and only WE can decide not to. The fact that we need to excuse or justify our drinking shows that deep down we know that it is wrong.

    We do not NEED to drink. As @Ro so succinctly puts it, “It’s not oxygen”. We don’t need to drink to live, in fact the oposite is the case. We need to NOT drink in order to live and we are not drinking today because that’s what needs to be done.

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit @Sunny_Disposition @kodom @Misti1970

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • You are so right @davh. I’m not drinking today because I want to live.

    • Goodmorning Dave, thank you for the call out. I have just spent a week in Fiji for a family wedding, surrounded by drinkers and a few drunks! The good thing about it is I have had no inclanation to drink at all and no hangovers like many of the group.
      A couple of other non drinkers with us too- this helped .
      Many thanks for the support and call outs.
      Have a great day 🙂

    • Thanks Dave great words love “the we need to NOT drink in order to live” . I am so totally over living a a constant booze hazed and hangover state. So not today.

    • It’s going to be a beautiful day here today. No place for alcohol, that’s for sure!

    • There is so much truth in your statement. (Actually in all you say.) I used to use my husband’s drinking as an excuse for me to carry on. Or I would blame others for putting me in a foul mood, so I might as well drink. Sometimes I would use celebrations to drink. Each and every night there would be a reason to drink and pour poison into my body. So happy that this is no longer the case. I can only control me and what I choose to do.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Sunday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be Sober.

    Today is day 16…. and over half way through sober September. Collectively that’s more than 700 sober days. Time alone with my thoughts is always the most challenging time. It’s when the lies come continuously and were most convincing. Push back. Things are getting better instead of getting worse. The pit of remorse and guilt has stopped getting deeper, and hopelessnes and despair is fading. If you find yourself stuck in the future or the past then force yourserlf back into the present; talking to someone works well. Ask how THEY are; it will shift what you’re thinking about away from churning over your own issues.

    “I once met a man who said he’d seen a lot of trouble in his life… most of which had never happened.”

    How is everybody going this weekend? How are things so far in September?

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit @Sunny_Disposition @kodom @Misti1970

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • Morning @DaveH 🙂 I’m currently working on my reactions to people snd things at tthe mo. A recent post of yours about this really stuck in my head and I used that tool to get sober and I’m going to use that again now to rid myself of all my self doubt. Getting sober really helped improved my self worth heaps but I have a long long way to go. I’m just so glad I can confront issues head on and not resort to drinking anymore….whew!! Onwards to clearer thinking. 🙂

    • I am doing well .Had weird thoughts of maybe i could drink normally one day …yeah sure. Like i haven’t heard that one before …..The nice thing is that i feel so much better NOW SOBER why would i even want to lose this peace i feel at last .
      I love being present because it means i can see those thoughts for what they are : bullshit .Thanks@daveh for this .

    • Morning @DaveH. Great post as always. Sobriety rocks. Your quote above–time alone with my thoughts is the most challenging! So true. Tomorrow I leave my sons place to go housesitting down the road by myself. Already Im freaking out about being alone in evenings at at night. The good thing is my son lives only 2kms away from the housesit so I guess I can hangout at his place when Im vunerable—or BEFORE I get vunerable!! Time alone in my head is dangerous!!

    • Thanks @daveh for asking how we are all going? It just makes me feel good that someone out there cares 🙂 I am doing great at the being sober and riding through the psychological and emotional tough bits but really struggling physically. Night sweats are doing me in, waking exhausted every morning. I can’t really recall if they were an issue before I stopped drinking. Keeping on keeping on today though. The sun is shining and the garden beckons. It is Sunday and I can always have a nap later x

    • I think I’m doing fine, lol…no thoughts of drinking, just managing the day to day ups and downs of emotions so I don’t get overly worked up about stuff!

    • Feeling really happy in the knowledge that i am AF and whenever i have those nasty thoughts about drinking i’m able to more easily push them away as each AF day passes. When i go to the supermarket i quickly turn my head when i walk past the poison aisle. Mind you in my supermarket, the meat section is on the other side and as a vegan this also makes me sick, so i tend to put my blinkers on and stare straight ahead 🙂 Thanks for your enduring support @daveh. It is truly appreciated x

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 1 week ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Saturday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be Sober.

    Today is day 15…. that’s 1/2 way! (30 days in September). A big woo-hoo! to all those that started at/around 1st Sept. The days are ticking by, even if it seems they mount up slowly.

    Try to keep your head out of the future. Looking too far ahead makes the challenge seem impossible. If you catch yourself thinking about not drinking at Christmas, Birthdays, or whenever then snip off the thought that you can’t do it. It is a self-sabotaging thought and it is your brain getting creative about how to get you to drink.

    “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self”. (Aristotle)

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit @Sunny_Disposition @kodom @Misti1970

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • Actually keeping your head out of the future is a good way to live in general isnt it @daveh and especially when facing challenges. Just focus on what you can do today. And what we can all do today is stay sober.
      Happy day 15 to you all 🙂
      @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl@robynb @Lizzy@SoberCanadianMom @SteveF@Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse@Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone@Bluewren @Lize @Millie76@honestjoy@Caramelcremebrulee@MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten@Ravenscraig @Hammer123@MissFreedom @Iowadawn@SunshineStace @Kate1975@Begoodtomyself @Cola99@Buckeyeone @FeelingFried@Ladyhawke @Crystaltips@Libertynow @Cinderella@MittyR @Watergirl@rangimarie @morgan @Winner@Jocord @gottlob @time2quit@Sunny_Disposition @kodom@Misti1970

      • Yep. Be here now. That is actually the reminder to self I have tattooed on my inner arm. Couldn’t fit the whole thing on my profile pic 😉

    • Thanks @Daveh. Have a great sober weekend Septemberists & everyone else! 🙂 x

    • Morena @Daveh and all you other septemberists, its a great day to wake up sober! I’m on d195 and have been trying for over 10 years to be AF and have failed more times than I can even remember. So for everyone who is trying this way of life and is struggling, keep going, never give up, don’t think too far ahead, be sober for today and trust that it will happen! It is worth all the struggle.

    • Yes!!!!!

    • So nice to be sober these last several months:-) and especially nice to be September sober with all of you too. It’s so worth it.

    • A big yes to all that & that’s a great quote @daveh – thank you for that. Not looking forward was what got me through the first few weeks…focusing on one day at a time. Once I got past 7pm I knew I’d probably made it….but was not complacent enough to take my eye off the ball. Well done everyone here, whatever the day tally, we are all awesome! There was a time when getting through even one day seemed like an onerous task. Always putting it off…”l can’t stop yet there is a wedding, party, holiday….” any old excuse looming up! Thank goodness I finally took that leap in the dark and put my health first. Life is SOOOOO much better sober. In every possible way! Giving gratitude every day for keeping on the sober path xxx

    • Way to go Sober Septemberistas!!! Hug all around! xox

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Friday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be Sober.

    Today is day 14…. that’s 2 WEEKS!!! I remember that went to an AA meeting when I was on day 14. There was a lady there who had just reached 30 days, and I was in complete awe. I had no idea it was possible to not drink for 30 days, I don’t think I’d even heard of someone doing that before… at least not in any way that registered. It was a huge inspiration and kept me going for another week. It’s Friday again today people.. Time to take care and make plans to stay safe.

    You can do this. Keep going. It is sooooo worth it.

    “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit @Sunny_Disposition @kodom @Misti1970

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Thursday morning here in New Zealand, and another great day to be Sober.

    Today is day 13. I like to keep my milestones close and 13 is special because it’s a prime number… next stop 14 days (2 weeks!!!). It’s still early days in terms of recovery, but every day is progress. With every day we get further from the awful routine of waking filled with new regrets and remorse. Those days are gone, and receding fast. Every sober day is a day towards contentment and a fullfilling life, and further from that shame, fear, guilt and hopelessness. Keep doing what’s working, and know that it’s worth it; it gets steadily easier and steadily better. The really great news is that we get better much faster than all the years it took us to get sick.

    “Don’t judge the day by the harvest that you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit @Sunny_Disposition @kodom @Misti1970

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • Thanks for the tag! Loving the quote on the end. Very appropriate. Congratulations on your 2 weeks 🙂 keep it up.

    • “With every day we get further from the awful routine of waking filled with new regrets and remorse. Those days are gone, and receding fast. Every sober day is a day towards contentment and a fullfilling life, and further from that shame, fear, guilt and hopelessness.”……loving this reminder that life CAN BE (and IS) sweet! Keep going and those days of regret & remorse will recede into dim and distant memories. Not quite forgotten, though, as a reminder NEVER to go back to those dark days. The way is forward, into a future of hope, love & contentment….a sober life. Love my sober life xxx

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. It is the morning of Day 12 here in New Zealand and another great day to be Sober.

    The days seem to tick by so slowly at first; it is hard going, progress is gradual and fears about “forever” swirl. But it doesn’t stay this hard forever. One wonderful day you realise that you’ve not even thought about drink for a while, you’re just getting on with living. Forever is made up of increments of days, so concentrate on what you should be doing today and avoid looking at the distant horizon. Today is day 12, a nice tidy dozen, and the next target is 13, an indivisible prime number.

    Keep doing what’s working, and know that it’s worth it, and it gets steadily easier.

    “Learn from the past, set goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.”

    @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob @time2quit

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Today is Day 11, and another great day to be sober.

    It’s Tuesday morning here in New Zealand and the challenge today is no more severe that the days you’ve already managed, so you know you can do this. Every day is a new beginning. By now you should be getting the idea “this is possible!” and “l’m actually doing this!”. You may also be feeling absolutely great (that’s the ‘pink cloud’ people talk about) but you are not cured. You are no more able to control your drinking now than you were at the start.

    Try to take stock of how you feel now, and compare it to how you felt at the beginning. What is the physical difference? (shaking, skin colour, eye colour, aches etc) and what is the emotional difference? That difference is what you have gained by stopping drinking; that is the benefit… No more “OMG, not again!” mornings waking with the vague recollection of the terrible things you did/said yesterday, or worse still, the terrible fear of realising you don’t remember.

    You can do this. You are DOING this. Today’s plan is to not drink for the rest of the day, and the next milestone is day 12… a nice, neat dozen.

    “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and soon you will find you are doing the impossible”. (Francis of Assisi)

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @time2quit

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • Thanks @DaveH – i love the freedom of not having to worry about drinking and all the BS that goes with it. I would like to think i am more in control of my drinking now. Don’t want to sound too cocky though coz I’m also a realist 🙂 I will not drink today.

      • Hi @Ladyhawke Your brain is serving you some BS here.

        “I would like to think I am more in control of my drinking now” This is a lie.

        You are now 17 days (maybe 18 now) without a drink… but that is without drink at all. This is improving abstinence, not improving control. You’ve done nothing at all to alter what happens if you DO drink… that remains entirely unchanged. Your ability to control your drinking is precisely where it was (or rather wasn’t) 17 days ago. The mental pathways we have built around drinking still exist; you are not exercising them anymore, but they are still there… what has become learned cannot become un-learned. If you take a drink now the following will happen.

        1. You’ll get an instant feeling of ease and comfort as you swallow the first sip. This has nothing to do with alcohol, this is dopamine… that buzz comes before the alcohol has even been absorbed into the bloodstream. The dopamine rush is an entirely automatic “reward” our brain gives us for securing alcohol.
        2. You will want to drink more. Alcohol mimics the brain chemical that initiates the release of dopamine. When we drink it causes more dopamine to be slowly realeased and this makes us feel good. This dopamine also carries the subconscious instruction “keep doing this”… so we drink more.
        3. Then you get pissed, do something unspeakable, say something unforgiveable, lose friends etc, etc, etc.
        4. Then you feel like shit so you get pissed again to make yourself feel better.
        5. Then you want to die.

        Not drinking for 17 days has done nothing to change your ability to control your drinking… you still can’t. Those automatic circuits in your brain are intact and completely unchanged; they activate fully the moment we pick up the first drink. You are not “more in control” that you were 17 days ago because nothing has happened to change these neural pathways… they are still there and waiting.

        Your lying mind is laying a trap for you. Note the lie “I would…[Read more]

        • Hi @DaveH – you are of course completely correct. I used the wrong wording, and should have said i feel better about controlling my ability to not drink – abstinence. Thank you for your thoughtful insight.

        • Hi @Ladyhawke Thank-you “I would like to think i am more in control of my NOT drinking now”… that sounds much better and I got the wrong end of the stick. Yes, our confidence grows slowly as the idea that stopping drinking is impossible is gradually proven to be untrue. You have a great day.

    • “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and soon you will find you are doing the impossible”. (Francis of Assisi)

      Love this quote!!!!

    • Please please start again picklegirl. Another day one is soo much better than none. Stay glued to this site esp on bad days these legends on here have so much support and knowledge to help lovely.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. Today is another great day to be Sober… today is Double Digits Day!

    It is Monday morning here in New Zealand. How is it going for all you folk out there, especially the people at or around the 10 days? Let us know how you’re getting on. Keep going, keep doing what’s working, and don’t drink for the rest of the day.

    “I only drink a little, but when I do I turn into someone else… and that person drinks a lot!”

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • Best thing about day 10 is that I know will a clinical certainly that all the Alcohol is gone from our bodies. Thanks @Daveh for helping to keep us on track and for your inspiration

    • Thanks @DaveH – day 17 for me and feeling awesome even if i am at work, but the best thing is i bet that “Sunday Sess” and didn’t drink last night so don’t have a hangover to start the week with 🙂 Happy Sober Day everyone!!

    • Good Morning all (still Sunday evening here, relaxing after a beautiful sunny, end of Summer Sunday with my family). Congratulations on 10 September Sober Days to all you lovelies out there. I will not drink with you today:


      S – start with self-care
      O – open up your heart
      B – be who you were meant to be
      E – eliminate fear and anxiety
      R – receive the gift of a new life

    • End of day 9 here in England.Off to bed sober and relaxed with inner calm.Peace to all my sober friends,You all inspire me.Thankyou.Today I am grateful to for each and everyone of you

    • Hey @daveh , day 177 here . Never woken up yet regretting not having that first drink.
      I love your phrase …I only drink a little ….but when i do i turn into someone else …and that person drinks a lot ! Thanks for the reminder .

    • Hi @daveh … can you please add me to this list. Also Thanks again for your downloaded book.. it has been a ‘game-changer’ for me this time!! 🙂

    • Day 17, so far so good! Thanks @daveh for your support & wisdom 🙂

    • Thanks, Dave! The days are going by and before we know it, it’ll be October!!

    • Big thumbs up everyone x0x

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. I thought I had posted this morning, but don’t see it in the feed so I suspect I omitted click “post update”. I’ll put that down to Blenheimers disease (Kiwi joke). Here it is now. My apologies for the late posting.

    Sunday can be a quiet day, and unoccupied time alone is our enemy. Slack time for me was also potentially slip time. It is when my mind has idle capacity that all my troubles come flooding in. Time alone was time I would dwell on my past and how unfair everything was…. the world was unfair, people were unfair, nobody understood, nobody helped etc. Dwelling on my problems brought on distress. The great problem with this is that my brain knows that distress is relieved by alcohol, so every time I am distressed my brain responds with cravings. If I spend too long in my own head then “poor me!” gets louder and louder and my mood gets darker and more uncomfortable. Idle time alone is virtually guaranteed to make me want to drink. “Poor me! poor me! pour me another drink”.

    There are enough cravings to deal with at first without bringing more on ourselves, so keep busy people. Do things, go places, and meet people. If you really need to make yourself feel good then go and help someone.

    “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” (Dale Carnegie)

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR @Watergirl @rangimarie @morgan @Winner @Jocord @gottlob

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll…[Read more]

    • While I was in school, my boss told me, it doesn’t always matter what you do or say. he said, “exercise, be strong and hold your head up, keep your back straight, that is most of the battle, confidence.” I took it as advice in my profession, but it certainly holds true now when most of us are rediscovering ourselves without alcohol to grease the akward times, without alcohol to let us hide from specific actions of others that are annoying as hell or to dissolve into the boredom, or to … or to …. etc.
      Love the post, DaveH.

    • Thanks for the post, Dave! Instead of negative talk today we should list positive things about our lives. Often it is overlooked the small gifts we possess each day. And sharing with others and sharing our gifts are the most positive things we can do. Here are some examples from my yesterday: 1. Helping a new coach write his line-up without making him feel bad. 2. Visiting my mother and spending quality time with her reminiscing. 3. Taking the time to call my adult daughter and asking about her week. 4. Choosing to eat spaghetti squash over potato chips for dinner. 5. Being thankful for the rain (even though I had to change some plans) since we have been in a bit of a drought.

      I encourage all Septemberists to reflect on their positives today.

    • I had planned on doing some social activity in Friday, but as I exercised twice found myself tired and ditched it. Predictwbly, by Saturday I was feeling lonely, homesick, sorry for myself. For me..this will not lead to drinking anymore, but may lead to smoking pot, as it has remained as a crutch when I hit those darkest of times. Instead, I called a woman I know and made arrangements to go to dinner and a movie..Got past it, had a really good time and have no regrets today. Today I am remaining open to new ways/ideas of how I can broaden social connections. I will call my sister. I will call an old friend from my last job I haven’t spoken with in awhile. I will.enjoy working in the garden, getting it ready for the coming cold.

    • Wise words DaveH thanks for that have a great sober day

    • Good morning Dave and fellow Sober Septemberists.
      Hope you all had a great sober weekend. If not have a great sober week. Regards to all.

      • Hi @Reginald. How are you going?

        • Hi Dave. It has been a few tough weeks but managing to keep things under control so far. I have not been posting very often as time is at a premium. Being drunk 24 / 7 for many years time was never an issue.
          When it became a problem I would drown it out.
          Starting a fresh there is so much catching up to do . Many issues to sort out. Personal, business, life in general. There does not seem to be enough hours in the day. This seems very strange considering the time I am saving. No day time sleeps on the couch, doing the daily rounds of the bottle shops, etc etc.. Very early days yet but life is good at the moment. Kind regards.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    It is the morning of Day 8 here in New Zealand, and a great day to be sober.

    It’s the weekend and that means “Slippery Saturday”. The first weekends are hard, bloody hard! But we can make it easier by radically changing our routine. For us everything about a ‘normal’ weekend will fire up cravings to drink, and then the lies start coming… “you’ve done well, you deserve a drink”, “one won’t hurt”.

    Go different places, meet different people, do different things and as much as possible minimise time alone. If we always do what we always did then we’ll always get what we always got. Nobody ever wakes wishing they’d got drunk the night before, so don’t let Slippery Saturday become a sad Sunday. Hang in there and don’t drink for the rest of the day… do whatever it takes to achieve that.

    “Nothing changes if nothing changes”

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips @Libertynow @Cinderella @MittyR

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • Slippery Saturday @daveh i love it! So true what you said about it being bloody hard to start with. It felt weird and empty and totally unsustainable for a while. I didnt think i could even enjoy watching tv without drinking alcohol. Turns out I can! 🙂

    • Yes please @daveh add me to the list. Definitely no booze for me in sept, oct, nov…
      Thank you ! X

    • I’m definitely joining you all in not drinking! please add me to your list @daveh

    • Thanks @daveh, my motivation level has just gone up! Have a great sober weekend everyone 🙂 x

    • Hi @morgan Welcome along. You get badge #43

    • Hi @winner You are added. Welcome along.

      • Thanks Dave and by the way . Your posts are very encouraging and inspiring . Day 27. One month tomorrow . Ooh it feels so good. Happy day today. Have a great af weekend to you and everyone .

    • Hi @NigelPM Why don’t you join us? You can do this, you can! Not only CAN you do it, but you MUST… it is the only path out of your depression. Medication can smother the symptoms, but they are not a cure. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and soon you will find you are doing the impossible. Other people can show you the ladder but you are the only one that can climb it. You don’t have to try and do this alone, you will be joining at least 44 others. What do you say?

    • Yep Day 8 and it looks like the wind has died down enough to actually get outside! Tonight is slippery Saturday and big game night. I am one of those weird Kiwis who hates rugby. So maybe I’ll pick up my drunk Mother’s partner from the club after and find a friend who is not rugby obsessed to meet up with while I’m in Ch CH for a few days. No risk of drinking tonight as there will be untold reminders around me of why I am free of that.

      • Hi @kate1975 That’s great news. More than a whole week! I’m glad to hear your rugby drunks will keep you safe this evening. What’s the plan to stay safe tomorrow?

    • Thanks for your pearls of window @daveh – i never used to have to worry about “Slippery Saturday” coz i was always so bloody sick from drinking Friday night. It’s the “Super Sunday” tomorrow I’l have to manage – “oh i feel so much better than yesterday,, one glass of wine won’t hurt and i’ll be good to go Monday” – yeah right – 2 bottles of wine later waking up Monday trying to think of an excuse to get out of work. Arhhh – I’m not drinking today 🙂

    • I’ll join you. Well, officially, as I’ve already joined you. I like the reaffirmations!

    • You can do it lovely. Day one tomorrow and stay glued to this site. You can do this. One day at a time. Don’t give up. There’s a lovely light at the end of an af tunnel and its bright and fun

    • @daveh, include me in as a late starter. Hey @Picklegirl, don’t give up. It’s 3pm on Day 1 for me, and I’m going to give it a go. We can do this.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. It is the morning of Day 7 here in New Zealand, and a great day to be sober.

    It is Friday here. Friday is when the “witching hour” turns into the “witching weekend”. It is the time when my mind used to scream “where’s my alcohol?” and “why aren’t we drinking?” I am not drinking because that road only leads to more misery, more problems, more guilt, and more shame. I’m not on that road any longer. I am on the other road, the one that goes away from those. I am on the road that takes me to calm, contentment and a trouble-free conscience. I want peace, and because of that I say “No thank you, I don’t drink”.

    Take care this evening and through the weekend folks. The closer we are to alcohol the louder it calls us.

    “Don’t go looking for happiness in the same places you lost it.”

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke @Crystaltips

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • I will not drink today..one is too much and a 1000 not enough..

    • Hi @Libertynow My clumsiness saw you missed from this list. You’re added properly now.

    • Thanks @DaveH for your constant support on this site! No booze for me this beautiful September weekend !

    • Doing this 🙂 🙂 So grateful to be out of the rut/ bind/ stranglehold of believing wine was the great reward at the end of the week. What a huge deception. Lime and soda, a gorgeous sober friend to see ( hey @wildchild) and maybe a few others. What could be better?
      Oh, waking up clear headed, hydrated and truly rested – that is equal. A gift every morning.

    • Not drinking today, saturday or sunday – time to make the right choice and choose the right path. Love your quote: “Don’t go looking for happiness in the same place you lost it”

    • love your work @daveh 🙂 x

    • Yes please @daveh. I’ll not drink this September either;-)

    • Thanks soooo much @daveH for your support and encouragement on this site. Day 17 AF today and will keep it that way. hugs to all you people doing AF september.

    • No thank you, I don’t drink. I like the sound of that. Yes, I can wrap my head around that.

    • Great post @dave. I always look out for your words of wisdom! Thanks for your support 🙂

    • Thanks, I remember Friday used to be really hard, but I slowly reprogrammed my thinking. Drinking as a reward for the end of the week hasn’t had a hold on me for a few years, but it definitely was hard early on. It tells me I am totally capable of changing my thinking and habits.

    • Thank you for the wise, motivating words @Daveh

    • Thanks for this post today @DaveH I certainly needed it today- so true – Day 7

      • Hi @bluewren Don’t drink for the rest of the day, then you have a Friday tucked under your belt… The next challenge is Saturday… But you already know you can do that, you did last Saturday. When your head is screaming at you that a drink would be good scream back “Liar!” Please let us know how you get on on Saturday and Sunday.

      • Hi @kate1975 are you at Day 7 too? How are you doing? Who else in the list is in the low digits? Please post and let us know how you’re doing… the good, the bad and the ugly. Please don’t try to do this alone… you don’t have to. You are not alone.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. It is the morning of Day 6 here in New Zealand, and a great day to be sober.

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @Annie @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone @FeelingFried @Ladyhawke

    Someone mentioned moderation yesterday and I jokingly replied “I had no problem at all moderating my drinking. Some days I could do it for nearly half an hour!” But I should really not have made fun of this, it was one of the most important things I ever learned in my life. It took me years to learn this truth; I can only either drink a lot, or not drink at all. There is no middle path for me; I can’t drink moderately.

    If I carried on drinking then my life was going to continue to get worse and worse until I died somewhere alone and miserable in the dark. But If I stopped drinking then life could become good again. The choice was horrific, but the decision was ultimately essential: I had to stop completely.

    This little line described the truth about drinking for me… I sometimes chanted it to myself like a mantra during the big cravings.

    “One is too many, ten is not enough”

    (If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)

    • half an hour of moderation, yep that was about my limit as well. So cool you are on the other side. It’s so weird looking back at how we were trapped into that cycle and now I couldn’t think of anything less I would want to do.

    • I use the “it’s the first drink that does the damage” mantra in a similar vein to your mantra. And i remember it rarely ever ever stops at one drink and it if does I’m pissed off about it. That’s no way to live that’s not freedom or fun it’s slavery and alcohol is an addictive substance so hey presto it’s not even about will power or lack of it it’s just a fact it’s marketed as something it isn’t it’s all a total con and most people who drink regularly even the normies I know want to cut down and it become habitual and ingrained and to go without is seen as such a social pariah statement that to resist all of that messaging and shite takes work doesn’t it. Pls add me to September Soberista’s if you don’t mind! X

    • That was me EXACTLY, DaveH!

    • Good morning @daveh. Have a wonderful sober day!!

    • Day 6 here we come -have a fab one everyone – today I will not drink!

    • Yep, that’s what finally clicked for me too @daveh. I got honest with myself and accepted and knew that the first drink would lead to many many more. So, when i thought about the idea of having “a” drink”, i forced myself to accept i was making the decision to have either “zero drinks” or “too many drinks” those are my only two options. That made not drinking much, much easier. There is no “moderation” option for me, i have proved that for decades!

    • yes please add me too .@daveh – day 12 and so looking forward to NOT drinking today. I was so sick and tired of the bullshit going on in my mind about should i drink/should i not/if i do drink have i got enough or will i have to ask hubby to go to the store AGAIN to get more booze. I finally decided enough was enough. When i drank i know i can’t stop at 1 – what’s the point – so it’s a lot easier in the head to just acknowledge that i will not drink – full stop!

      • Hi @Ladyhawk You are added. Welcome along. It’s a rough road, but it is passable. It is drink nothing or drink too much for us. Carrying on drinking drives us deeper into despair, but not drinking seems an unimaginable thought and an unattainable goal. But it IS possible, and it is necessary… indeed it is essential. It is the fork in the road that we don’t want to take, but it is the only survivable path.

    • i was talking about moderation, @daveh. I know i cannot moderate, it is just bad thinking, bad writing, bad all around. Not there today. Happy Sober September, ALL.

    • One drink is awful… makes me uncomfortable just thinking about it. Glad to be here with 27 days after wanting/trying for 10 years (I’m 42).

    • Yep, I’m an all or nothing drinker – it can’t be all anymore so I choose nothing!

    • What a great idea @daveh count me in, please….I did sober January and never looked back. Keeping going and it really does get easier over time! No turning back. NO WAY! Good luck sober Septemberists <3

    • Spot on @daveh!!
      This is great and I thank you for including me. As you know…I need to really totally focus on this wonderful septembersober theme in lieu of everything !!
      Day 371 but ..BUT..September is now so tough.
      We can all do this together!!!☺

      • Hi @Iowadawn 371 days is wonderful but today’s challenge still today, not on the previous ones. And regardless of when we started, it is still September. It’s good to have you along. Please don’t hesitate to jump in if someone sounds like they need propping up a bit.

    • I’m still on the journey with you sober warriors

    • Hi sober September friends, I would have started a new thread but could not copy all of the names on my IPad LOL!

      I was hiking the lake trail this morning lost in my thoughts when I tripped over a small root on the path. This not the first time this has happened and I know the root is there but when you are not paying attention it can and will trip you up! I see this as a metaphor for my sobriety, there are many things along my path that can trip me up if I am not paying attention.
      Certain people, work-stress, social situations, anxiety, kids, success or failure!
      Watch for triggers and have a plan!

      Thanks @DaveH for leading this group and thanks to everyone for their participation and support!

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. It is the morning of Day 5 here in New Zealand, and a great day to be sober.

    For those having another go after a few attempts here’s a message from a childrens movie for you. The song says… “Up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success”.

    “Our lives don’t get better by chance, they get better by change”

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @m-frenchrose
    @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace @Kate1975 @Begoodtomyself @Cola99 @Buckeyeone

    (I’m struggling with a lost post a bit here. My apologies if you got more than one of these).

    • Great words of wisdom, @DaveH! Thanks for posing and keeping us on track!! How is everyone’s day going? Long work day for me, but I get to leave a bit early for a meeting at my kids’ school, so I’m looking forward to getting out of the office while the sun is still shining.

    • Thanks for much @DaveH!! I have really appreciated your posts and your quotes. Thank you for taking the time to write them. I really enjoy being part of the Sober Septemberists but must confess….I haven’t commented until today as I stumbled over the long weekend and felt like a fraud. I’m am posting now, because even though it’s only my “Day 1”, it’s still September and I’m sober. I will catch up! 🙂 I’m including a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King as it feels like this is where I’m at. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just the first step”. I will proudly not drink with you today.
      Thank you again DaveH!

    • Hi @DaveH im wanting to add my name to the sober september list but cant seem to do it on my laptop. I am abit of a digital dork –any advice please

      • Hi @annie It’s not you. It’s only a list I’m keeping that I add names to to then copy/paste into place when I post. I’ve added you now. How far along are you and how are things going?

        • Hi @DaveH. Im day15 and feeling good. Im currently staying with my son in Australia but will be housesitting on my own in one week. Im freaking out because Ill be alone and I have trouble trusting myself! I then head back to NZ mid october and will be living alone—-this is where I was 15 days ago—not pretty! Thanks for adding me to the sept list and I love your commonsense posts.

      • Hi @annie You are completely right to not trust yourself, but you know this. In fact knowing this can be the very thing that saves your bacon. Time we are alone with our thoughts is the most difficult, so what are you going to do about this? Plan and prepare. What are you going to do to stop yourself from picking up a drink once you’re on your own? What can you do along these lines… Distract, Delay, Deny. Have a bag of tricks lined up for when your head starts lying to you because it will and it will be very convincing. Leave yourself some reminders; on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, wherever… “No thank you, I don’t drink”, “Drinking is NOT fun, that’s a lie”, “Drinking will kill me, I’d rather not do that”. Prepare yourself for the storm that’s coming.

    • Brilliant post @DaveH Your post yesterday really help me get through Day 4 nemesis day. Wishing you and everybody else a lovely day

    • Thanks @daveh. Love the song! 🙂
      Hope all the Septemberists & everyone else are going well xx

    • Thanks so much Dave, I needed that. Day 2 and I am at work. I can’t focus, and my head is throbbing like I had a massive bender last night. It can only get better

    • Hi @daveh … Just wanted to say… Thanks for the generous time you dedicate to these posts and this site. Your input has been invaluable to me this time round. Thanks so much! 🙂

    • Love the quote – thanks @daveh

    • Thanks @DaveH for running sober September and fo all the encouraging posts!

    • Thank you for the daily encouragement @daveh. Love the quote too.

    • Thanks! Can’t wait to be able to say ” I didn’t drink in September!”

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists:

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123 @MissFreedom @Iowadawn @SunshineStace

    Day 4 here in New Zealand but still Day 3 for many of you. Day 4 was for years my nemesis… I just couldn’t get past it. But eventually I did, and then I didn’t look back.

    Here’s a thought for you today: “If you do not change direction, you will probably end up where you are headed” (Lao Tzu)

    Have a great day everyone, and don’t drink for the rest of the day.

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists:
    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @m-frenchrose @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize @Millie76 @honestjoy @Caramelcremebrulee @MalibuStacey @sobere @kitten @Ravenscraig @Hammer123

    It’s coming to the end of Day 3 in New Zealand, so I hope it went well for everyone here. And for everyone else I hope the rest of your day is a good one for you too. If anyone wants to join us in not drinking through September then just say so below and we’ll add you to the list.

    Perhaps someone to the west of here can pick this up for the end of Day 3 for everyone else? (just copy/paste the list above) Picklegirl?

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi there Sober Septemberists. It is the morning of Day 3 here in New Zealand, and a good day to stay sober. Here’s to not drinking for the rest of the day. If anyone else wants to join us then leave a message below and we’ll add you to the list.

    Nothing changes if nothing changes.

    @Picklegirl @DaveH @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF @Elsa1202 @Ellislou @Saoirse @Ace123 @Vodcath @M.frenchrose
    @Buckeyeone @Bluewren @Lize

    (Hi Picklegirl. I don’t think there’s a way to message to a group on here. To message everyone in the group just copy and paste the list above.)

  • DaveH posted an update 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Day 2 for Sober Septemberers. How it going out there?
    @Picklegirl @reginald @enzedgirl @robynb @Lizzy @SoberCanadianMom @SteveF
    Is there anyone else coming along too?