Managing Feelings

A big part of getting sober is learning how to deal with our emotions. This Sober Toolbox is a space for sharing tips and techniques for how to deal with emotional pain or stress. If you're looking for more discussion, interactions and feedback, head inside our Members Feed. That's where the real-time conversations take place.

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  1. alyoop 2 weeks ago

    4 days back af,am having trouble keeping out of the blues,drive somewhere only to feel anxiety,Nd drive somewhere else,cant handle the mind chatter and lack of focus,even going to the local 4 square is an energy stealing event,dont feel wellcome in the community,trying to be aware that this is part pf being sober,thanks all

  2. KLynn 1 month ago

    Hi, this is my very first post and just joined today. Today is 17 days for me, I have been reading lots of resources and talking to the support I have in place, I am really struggling with the anxiety (really really bad health anxiety). Does anyone else suffer health anxiety, and if so how do you get past it, I feel very scared and lonely.

  3. Peacewm 2 months ago

    Nine days today.Lot’s of changes in the last year and then N.Y shut down.No church,no Gym,no seeing family etc.etc.I have a heavy heart because my daughter has blocked me out of here life and I haven’t seen my granddaughters in months,but feels like years.I pretty sure that was the last straw for me and I didn’t want to feel.I put my situation in perspective,now I’ve got to get me back.I like being numb,but the cost after the drinking isn’t worth it. I’m going to give this support group a try.I’m really sick of AA.I have been going to aa since my early 20’sand I need something different now.

    • Peacewm 2 months ago

      oops 10

  4. Peacewm 2 months ago

    10 days sober

  5. mollmcc92 3 months ago

    Been drinking four bottles of wine a night and ruined a lot in my life. Yesterday I finally went to my doctor and accepted the help he’s been offering me for the last four years. Got the script for Antabuse but I can’t seem to bring myself to take that first pill. Many fears and emotions are stopping me. I keep saying ok I’ll take it after breakfast then I talk myself out of it. The thought of ending this toxic relationship with wine is worse than ending a normal relationship! Is this feeling normal?

    • Sunshinydays 2 months ago

      Absolutely normal. You are about to change your whole life! Feel the fear and do it anyway. Not drinking is hard but it is easier than drinking.

    • Emmjay 2 months ago

      It’s totally normal – and you’re not alone. Alcohol was always ‘there’ for me and easy to procure. I didn’t have to share my feelings with the bottle, it didn’t judge me and made everything feel all right. Even when I lost my job because of alcohol, it was still there for me. I currently working through the grief process – what I have lost because of alcohol, my 30 year relationship with alcohol. We’re all here to support you

    • Lovenlight 2 months ago

      @mollmcc92 in the beginning for me it was like losing a friend but that friend was really a backstabbing enemy. I think it’s so normal. Congratulations for taking the first step and talking to your GP. Antibuse doesn’t make you feel anything – unless you drink alcohol then your face gets red and you get nauseous and throw up. I am sure you will get some wonderful advice on your feelings here.

  6. 3 months ago

    Hi nscott. I did too! Today is day 10 of not having any wine. I am struggling to keep it that way. You are not alone. I’m only new to all this – but the people here are super nice, supportive and kind. They are generous with their advice and understand. Hang in there. One day at a time. I had an appointment today at the hospital and afterwards thought I would pop up to the neonatal intensive care ward as there is a little neonatal trust shop there that sells knitting and quilts for babies. My hairdresser is having a baby in a few months and I wanted to buy her a gift. Our two daughters (now 8 and almost 7) were both sick babies – the older one more than the younger – and I spent many distressing months in NICU watching as my tiny baby struggled to breathe and live. It was 18 months of pure hell. She was so sick. We flew to starship many times for various surgeries and she has a nasogastric feeding tube constantly until 18 months old. At the time we Simply surviving by the skin of our teeth and just got through. I never had a chance to process it or deal with the chronic trauma of the experience. Today standing in NICU I was flooded with memories, emotions, sadness. I had to race out, find a family room and suddenly the flood gates opened! It’s like I cried 8 years worth of tears. Tears and snot. Sobbing and gasping and shaking like a leaf. 8 years of drinking to numb it and dumb it down has managed to keep this well buried. But those gates opened and I can barely close them. I keep thinking of Lotta’s book and reminding myself of her journey. I’m trying to just breathe and be with the sadness and raw emotions – but the temptation to have a wine is like a physical pain.

  7. nscott 3 months ago

    I joined living sober yesterday. I have gotten a lot of encouragement from the different post, but as I type this I want to go to the liquor store. My victories over the last couple of days have been 1. Having one sober day, 2. Nit drinking in the morning at all, and 3. Having wine yesterday and not straight vodka shots. Not sure what to do.

    • alyoop 2 weeks ago

      hi elft,i know exactly how you are feeling ,its scary,and you feel like you are losing your mind but i do beleive this is part of hardening us up to cope ,it is a prosess and most important ,you have opened the door .be kind to you.x

  8. ELFT 3 months ago

    I’ve hidden Myself in books on sobriety
    I am not a book worm
    Been overwhelmed with responsibility then
    Defended my actions
    Lied to those I love
    Made many a social disgrace of myself
    Admitted I’m an alcoholic
    Clung to to wagon with all my heart
    Picked myself up when I’ve fallen off
    I am still here, willing and desperate

    • Jojogo 3 months ago

      @ELTF you are not alone – many, many of us have trodden this path. Just wanted to say you are on the right track – finding more knowledge about that mfer alcohol, being honest with yourself and picking yourself up. Here’s to a sober today today, together.
      Keep posting, you are safe here.

  9. bkohler 3 months ago

    I have been vodka free for just over 3 weeks, This in not even close to how long i have gone in the past but here and there I have a slip up. I look to vodka for any situation I have going on in my life. Happy sad birthday funeral anniversary hard day at work fighting with my spouse. I wish i had healthier coping mechanisms but that is why I am here I am trying to learn, It seems everyone around me has healthy relationships with drinking and I always go overboard and can never just have one drink. It has caused me many relationships, ans many problems in my marriage. Today is my birthday and i would be lying if i said i wasnt thinking about having a few drinks,

  10. Feisty52 3 months ago

    Some days clean sheets, a cup of tea and bed is the only safe space to be.
    That is ok. Tomorrow is another day.

  11. Charleigh62 4 months ago

    Trying to gain sobriety but failing. At wits end!

  12. Bella79 4 months ago

    Okay, this is a toolbox…sorry! I will place my item into a members feed.

  13. labu37 5 months ago

    Hi ! I am super sad that I lead Alcohol be so power on my , but today is my day one And I will do my everything to stay sober I will use every tool I can find to stay Sober, … But I feel shame, sad, lonely, scare

    • Sansa 5 months ago

      How are you doing now? I am exactly feeling the way you stated in your post. Someone responded to my post this morning that gave me hope again. We are all in this together. Its an addiction. I read Mrs. D’s post about no matter what anyone says it is only going to happen when we internalize and truly believe we want to quit. When I’m hungover I start bargaining with God, get me through this and I will never do it again. But I always forget when I am sober for a couple of weeks or a month. It has to sink in and become a true belief that we never want to pick up a drink again.

  14. Cindy9176 6 months ago

    I don’t want to drink anymore, I don’t want it to be a testiment to my lack of courage to live a fulfilling healthy life.
    I found alcohol at the age of 9 at a family social event. It subdued my internal piercing screams and I was able to escape.
    I found relief and over 30 years later I am still trying to rid myself of this elixir that saved my life and has destroyed many aspects of it simultaneously.
    I am afraid, but I want to completely heal and grow and see the real me, share the real me with my loved ones and stop this masquerade.

  15. Feisty52 6 months ago

    Feeling frightened. Frightened about my health (received biopsy results yesterday); and feeling frightened about how I may stop looking after myself post lockdown as people will get together and celebrate using the bonds of booze. I used to drink when I felt sad or scared (or happy, bored, angry); but especially sad or scared.

  16. Sunshinydays 7 months ago

    Be Like A Tree
    Think of a mighty tree: its long roots stretching deep into the ground below, its sturdy trunk rising upwards, and its branches stretching into the sky above. Use this image to inspire you as you follow the steps below.
    Whether you are standing or sitting, plant your feet firmly onto the floor. Get a sense of the ground beneath you and gently press your feet downward. Notice the pressure of the ground against your soles and the gentle tension in your legs. Straighten your spine and let your shoulders slide down your back. Get a sense of gravity ‘flowing’ down your spine, into your legs and feet, and into the ground below. It’s as if you are taking root in the earth and ‘planting’ yourself firmly.
    Slowly draw your attention upwards from the roots to the trunk (it is no coincidence that your abdomen and chest are called the ‘trunk’ of your body). Maintain some awareness of your feet against the floor, but focus mainly on your trunk. Sit up in your chair, or stand up straight, and notice the change in your posture. Breathe slowly and deeply, and notice the rise and fall of your rib cage. Note the gentle heaving of your shoulders and the rhythm and movement of your abdomen. Empty your lungs completely, then allow them to refill by themselves. Now expand your awareness: notice your whole trunk at the same time—your lungs, chest, shoulders and abdomen. Do this for at least ten breaths; if you have more time, do fifteen or twenty.
    Just as the branches of a tree reach into the sky, you now reach out into the world around you. Activate all five senses and extend them in all directions: notice, with curiosity, what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Maintain some awareness of your roots and trunk, and the background rhythm of your breathing, but focus your attention mainly on the environment. Get a sense of where you are and what you are doing. Smell and taste the air as you breathe it in. Notice five things you can feel against your skin, like the air on your face, the shirt on your back or the watch on your wrist. Notice five things that you can see and pay attention to their size, shape, colour, luminosity and texture. Notice five things that you can hear: the various sounds of nature or civilisation. Now engage fully in whatever task you are doing, giving it all your attention.

  17. Sunshinydays 7 months ago

    Make the time
    It seems really hard to fit mindfulness into our day. By mindfulness I mean living in the moment, not day dreaming, being very conscious of how you are towards people, which thoughts you focus on and the decisions you make. If you are anything like the old me, then you will blindly stumble through your day, mostly in your head, not really thinking about the choices you make (sometimes if you don’t make a choice you inadvertently make a choice) and how you treat the people you encounter and your loved ones.
    I have decided to set a quest for myself. To ask my partner, myself and my friends what I don’t give to them that maybe they need, or something I do that I could change for the better. Also, to send them each a message about what I find is their shining star. The thing I most admire about them.
    Give it a go. Why not tell the people you love why they are so special. Why don’t we do this? This is the stuff that matters.
    If we have faults, why not ask what they are. Be enlightened. The ones we love and that love us will not come from a place of meanness. They are the best people to ask. It may hurt our self esteem a bit, but that kind of knowledge is gold. If we could know our faults, we can become a better person. Why not ask the people who care about you because they only have your best interests at heart. Also, it will make for better relationships. It is not a weakness, but a strength to ask what your weaknesses are. Know they come from a loving place and don’t judge or hold it against them. If you ask, expect nothing but honesty. We aren’t perfect and all have flaws. Some of which we are unaware. I have a friend who doesn’t know how truly wonderful she is or believes in herself. I have another who does judge too much and hurts people by doing this. Another who is too hard on herself. One who distrust people to much from no fault of their own, but by being hurt in the past. One who is changing past norms, but needs to focus less on the past and more on the here and now. These are just my observation, thoughts and perspectives on things, but come from a place of love. So when you ask, know the same applies.
    Make a point of living in the now. All day. Truly notice the people you encounter and give the people you love some of your time. Really notice them. What was their day like. How are they. Do they know how you feel about them. Nature… notice it, enjoy it. Humour… find it. Say today I’m going to have a “light” day. Today I will have a break. Not worry, just live for today. Today I will give and accept joy. Today I won’t feel anger. Today is my happy day. Today is now. I am conscious of being in the day. No day dreaming today. No getting caught up in my thoughts. Today I show and tell people how I feel. Just for today. Who knows, you might have felt so real you’ll do it tomorrow. But don’t worry about tomorrow. Just do it for today.

    • Sansa 4 months ago

      Thank you this is amazing.

    • craftygirl 5 months ago

      Very powerful, thanks.

    • jagga21 7 months ago

      powerful comforting words, thank you sunshinydays, thank you

  18. Sunshinydays 7 months ago

    pausing the happiness
    I learnt today how to let your body feel joy. It’s all about creating a library of feeling good you can draw on. Our mind is set on the dial to keep you safe. So you will be bombarded with warnings in the way of thoughts. To balance these mostly negative thoughts you can make a conscious effort to pause and savour wonderful and feel good moments. I patted the cat today. I paused and thoroughly took in the softness off her coat. The warmth of her little body, the look of pure bliss on her face and the joy it gave me. By remembering it again I have stored it in my happy file and will consciously make an effort to remember it again so it is well lodged in my happiness file. Your brain doesn’t distinguish between past, present and future, so you can think of any of these happy thoughts to give you a boost. Before you go to sleep at night, think of 5 things that happened in your day that made you happy. A kiss and hug goodbye from my son, a compliment on my top, a joke shared in the office, my dinner meal turning out delish, my partner telling me he loves me before I close my eyes. When you wake up, think of things you would like to achieve in your day. Giving someone a genuine compliment, taking time to spend talking to your partner, getting a work task completed, doing a must do task.

    Fill your memory bank up and be gentle on yourself when you mess up or don’t achieve something you set out to do. We are not perfect. The secret is to try right your wrongs if you can and to let them go if you can’t. Push yourself into the world. Try new things, live in the moment and take your fears with you. It’s just your ol’ brain keeping you safe. The world is special and the simple everyday joys lovely if you notice and savour them. Live for today. Live the day. Live the hour, the minute and the second.

  19. zeppelin1973 7 months ago

    What a fascinating read ! Thanks for posting it.
    Interesting how in life we can all learn things about ourselves yet fail to action the very things that we’ve learnt.
    Perhaps I’ve read Mark Masons book before as I found myself almost nodding as I read each of the 7 questions…and having a good laugh as well !
    Maybe it was just that it all made a lot of sense and resonated with me. The things I need to do and want to do,particularly now I’m sober,are opening up ahead of me on an almost daily basis.
    I’ve achieved sobriety in the past.
    I don’t know why and I don’t need to know,yet,this time it feels different.
    Best wishes to fellow soberees ! and hope you’re all staying safe out there in this changed land of ours.

  20. Sunshinydays 8 months ago

    take anxiety with you

    I learnt today that you cannot control your thoughts or emotions. The brain is wired to keep us safe. It will constantly send us warning messages. This will then have an emotion attached. These thoughts and emotions are about our surroundings, contact with people (we need to be connected) and when we are out of our comfort zone. Being that the brain sends warning signals, this will create anxiety.
    We can however make our own choices.

    Let’s say we have a fear of flying but love to travel. Our brain will send out warning signals that flying is dangerous. We can either make the choice to fly anyway and take our anxiety with us because we want to travel, or, we can entertain the warning thoughts to a point where we choose not to fly and therefore travel because we are too afraid. If you give these warning thoughts to much attention you will find it hard to go out of your comfort zone. The brain does not like change because there are dangers. It likes to keep us safe, so trying anything new or anything out of the familiar is a risk. This is why we will always feel anxious when we make a choice to do things. Making that choice lets us grow and have new experiences, relationships and achievements. So when we say don’t let fear stop you, we are saying don’t entertain your brains warning messages to the point where they stop you from doing what you would like or achieving what you want.

    As far as emotions go, we cannot stop feeling these either. The secret is to feel them, acknowledge them and let them pass. Avoiding them only makes them grow in size.
    So make time to just sit with your emotions. Just feel them. They will pass.

    One more thing is that it is very normal to feel anxious when meeting new people or being with people we do not know well. It is just your brain keeping you safe from rejection and other negative responses we may get from unfamiliar people. We have a need to belong.

    • 20012015 8 months ago

      I find this really useful and definitely putting in my toolbox. Thanks?

  21. Sunshinydays 8 months ago

    the three “Ps”
    Present, Purpose and Privileged

    I’ve been reading a book called Th Reality Slap by Dr Russ Harris. It takes about the 3 Ps.

    Being present in your surroundings and what you are doing and not just listening to all the chatter in your head.

    The second was what your purpose in life is. I couldn’t really figure this one out but I found this which helps clarify:

    By Mark Mason
    I have put together a series of questions to help you figure out for yourself what is important to you and what can add more meaning to your life.

    These questions are by no means exhaustive or definitive. In fact, they’re a little bit ridiculous. But I made them that way because discovering purpose in our lives should be something that’s fun and interesting, not a chore.

    Ah, yes. The all-important question. What flavor of shit sandwich would you like to eat? Because here’s the sticky little truth about life that they don’t tell you:

    Everything sucks, some of the time.

    Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So, the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days.

    Finding your life purpose involves eating a shit sandwich or two
    What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle?

    And your favorite shit sandwich is your competitive advantage. By definition, anything that you’re willing to do (that you enjoy doing) that most people are not willing to do gives you a huge leg-up.

    So, find your favorite shit sandwich. And you might as well pick one with an olive.

    When I was a child, I used to write stories. I used to sit in my room for hours by myself, writing away, about aliens, about superheroes, about great warriors, about my friends and family. Not because I wanted anyone to read it. Not because I wanted to impress my parents or teachers. But for the sheer joy of it.

    And then, for some reason, I stopped. And I don’t remember why.

    We all have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child. Something about the social pressures of adolescence and professional pressures of young adulthood squeezes the passion out of us. We’re taught that the only reason to do something is if we’re somehow rewarded for it. And the transactional nature of the world inevitably stifles us and makes us feel lost or stuck.

    It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I rediscovered how much I loved writing. And it wasn’t until I started my business that I remembered how much I enjoyed building websites — something I did in my early teens, just for fun.

    The funny thing though, is that if my 8-year-old self asked my 20-year-old self, “Why don’t you write anymore?” and I replied, “Because I’m not good at it,” or “Because nobody would read what I write,” or “Because you can’t make money doing that,” not only would I have been completely wrong, but that eight-year-old-boy version of me would have probably started crying. That eight-year-old boy didn’t care about Google traffic or social media virality or book advances. He just wanted to play. And that’s where passion always begins: with a sense of play.

    We’ve all had that experience where we get so wrapped up in something that minutes turn into hours and hours turn into “Holy crap, I forgot to have dinner.”

    Supposedly, in his prime, Isaac Newton’s mother had to regularly come in and remind him to eat because he would spend entire days so absorbed in his work that he would forget.

    I used to be like that with video games. This probably wasn’t a good thing. In fact, for many years it was kind of a problem. I would sit and play video games instead of doing more important things like studying for an exam, or showering regularly, or speaking to other humans face-to-face.

    It wasn’t until I gave up the games that I realized my passion wasn’t for the games themselves (although I do love them). My passion is for improvement, being good at something and then trying to get better. The games themselves — the graphics, the stories — they were cool, but I can easily live without them. It’s the competition with others and with myself that I thrive on.

    And when I applied that obsessiveness for self-improvement and competition to an internet business and to my writing, well, things took off in a big way.

    Maybe for you, it’s something else. Maybe it’s organizing things efficiently, or getting lost in a fantasy world, or teaching somebody something, or solving technical problems. Whatever it is, don’t just look at the activities that keep you up all night, but look at the cognitive principles behind those activities that enthrall you. Because they can easily be applied elsewhere.

    Before you are able to be good at something and do something important, you must first suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing. That’s pretty obvious. And in order to suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing, you must embarrass yourself in some shape or form, often repeatedly. And most people try to avoid embarrassing themselves, namely because it sucks.

    Ergo, due to the transitive property of awesomeness, if you avoid anything that could potentially embarrass you, then you will never end up doing something that feels important.

    Yes, it seems that once again, it all comes back to vulnerability.

    Right now, there’s something you want to do, something you think about doing, something you fantasize about doing, yet you don’t do it. You have your reasons, no doubt. And you repeat these reasons to yourself ad infinitum.

    But what are those reasons? Because I can tell you right now that if those reasons are based on what others would think, then you’re screwing yourself over big time.

    If your reasons are something like, “I can’t start a business because spending time with my kids is more important to me,” or “Playing Starcraft all day would probably interfere with my music, and music is more important to me,” then OK. Sounds good.

    But if your reasons are, “My parents would hate it,” or “My friends would make fun of me,” or “If I failed, I’d look like an idiot,” then chances are, you’re actually avoiding something you truly care about because caring about that thing is what scares the shit out of you, not what mom thinks or what Timmy next door says.

    Living a life avoiding embarrassment is akin to living a life with your head in the sand. You won’t find your life purpose here.
    Living a life avoiding embarrassment is akin to living a life with your head in the sand.
    Great things are, by their very nature, unique and unconventional. Therefore, to achieve them, we must go against the herd mentality. And to do that is scary.

    Embrace embarrassment. Feeling foolish is part of the path to achieving something important, something meaningful. The more a major life decision scares you, chances are the more you need to be doing it.

    In case you haven’t seen the news lately, the world has a few problems. And by “a few problems,” what I really mean is, “everything is fucked and we’re all going to die.”

    I’ve harped on this before, and the research also bears it out, but to live a happy and healthy life, we must hold on to values that are greater than our own pleasure or satisfaction.1

    So pick a problem and start saving the world. There are plenty to choose from. Our screwed up education systems, economic development, domestic violence, mental health care, governmental corruption. Hell, I just saw an article this morning on sex trafficking in the US and it got me all riled up and wishing I could do something. It also ruined my breakfast.

    Find a problem you care about and start solving it. Obviously, you’re not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment. And importance equals purpose.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Gee Mark, I read all of this horrible stuff and I get all pissed off too, but that doesn’t translate to action, much less a new career path.”

    Glad you asked…

    For many of us, the enemy is just old-fashioned complacency. We get into our routines. We distract ourselves. The couch is comfortable. The Doritos are cheesy. And nothing new happens.

    This is a problem.

    What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it.2,3

    Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-and-error process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.

    So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself? And no, you can’t just go sit in a coffee shop and browse Facebook. You probably already do that. Let’s pretend there are no useless websites, no video games, no TV. You have to be outside of the house all day every day until it’s time to go to bed — where would you go and what would you do?

    Sign up for a dance class? Join a book club? Go get another degree? Invent a new form of irrigation system that can save the thousands of children’s lives in rural Africa? Learn to hang glide?

    What would you do with all of that time?

    If it strikes your fancy, write down a few answers and then, you know, go out and actually do them. Bonus points if it involves embarrassing yourself.

    Most of us don’t like thinking about death. It freaks us out. But thinking about our own death surprisingly has a lot of practical advantages. One of those advantages is that it forces us to zero in on what’s actually important in our lives and what’s just frivolous and distracting.

    When I was in college, I used to walk around and ask people, “If you had a year to live, what would you do?” As you can imagine, I was a huge hit at parties. A lot of people gave vague and boring answers. A few drinks were nearly spat on me. But it did cause people to really think about their lives in a different way and re-evaluate what their priorities were.

    If you don’t know what to do with your life, you won’t figure it out on the couch
    This man’s headstone will read: “Here lies Greg. He watched every episode of ’24’… twice.”
    Ultimately, death is the only thing that gives us perspective on the value of our life. Because it’s only by imagining your non-existence that you can get a sense of what is most important about your existence. What is your legacy going to be? What are the stories people are going to tell when you’re gone? What is your obituary going to say? Is there anything to say at all? If not, what would you like it to say? How can you start working towards that today?

    And again, if you fantasize about your obituary saying a bunch of badass shit that impresses a bunch of random other people, then again, you’re failing here.

    When people feel like they have no sense of direction, no purpose in their life, it’s because they don’t know what’s important to them, they don’t know what their values are.

    THe last one is privileged. Be grateful you are alive and get to experience life and all the good stuff that goes with it.

    • greenfinger 7 months ago


  22. Sunshinydays 8 months ago

    seeing things differently
    Seeing things differently
    Your beliefs, values and the way you perceive yourself will determine how you look at things in life.if you were a right wing supporter who believe in guns you would have probably perceive the Christ Church mosque terror attacks differently to someone who was a left wing supporter and thought guns should be banned. The right winger might say that we should all have guns so we could protect ourselves against incidents like that and the left wingers might say if guns were banned then nutters couldn’t just go shoot up mosques.

    If you didn’t think much of yourself and someone paid you a compliment you might wonder what they want from you.

    I learnt today that we cannot control our children’s thoughts and how they perceive things either. A mother of 2 girls worked tirelessly and long hours to support and promote young woman and raise them up to an awareness of possibilities for them. The same lady was asked if she was concerned her 2 girls would be effected by all the hours she spent working. She said absolutely not. One of her girls might turn out to say how proud she was of her mother and all she stood for. The other might say she felt neglected and distant from her mother. All you can do is live your own values and follow your own purpose.

    I also learnt today that a leopard can change his spots, but only if they want to by working on it. The brain and grow and shrink. We can keep learning and changing things all through our lives.

    They did a scan so cab drivers in the UK. They have to learn hundred of routes. After they had passed, another scan was done and the part of the brain that deals with those things grew massively. Likewise when you suffer trauma the part of your brain that deals with that stuff grows. We can shrink it when we learn ways of coping with trauma.

    Going through trauma can make you stop and really look at who you are. You could just get stuck in the sadness and misery of it all or you could learn so much about yourself and human nature and people.

  23. Sunshinydays 8 months ago

    life is pretty boring ❤️?
    Why is it that we think life should constantly be exciting or at the very least interesting. If we have a normal day, well, it is seen as a mah day. Get up, dropped off the kids, go to work, picked up the kids, nagged about doing homework, cook dinner, quick clean up, TV, shower, teeth, bed. With a few variants, 5 days a week. Weekends are often filled wth things we can’t get done during the week, catching up with friends and an outing or 2.

    We also feel that life should be reasonably easy. No painful life events and trauma.

    I think the best way to get the most out of life is to be present in your day. Live in the moment. Put yourself out there and find things you enjoy. Find a passion. Look after your mental and physical health. These both take work. Interact face to face with people. Do everything you do the best you can and just focus on what you are doing. Make plans for your day so it is balanced and all your needs are met. Relationship time, exercise time, contemplation time, day to day chore time. Time for hobbies and passions. Time to do something you enjoy. You will be surprised how much you can fit in your day. This way, life is not ho-hum, but well worth living. Set goals. Give them a realistic timeframe. Have something to look forward to. Most of all, share love, give love and accepted love. Add joy to people’s day. Enjoy nature. Love your animals. Let people know how much they mean to you, all the time. Especially your kids. Be kind always.

  24. Sunshinydays 8 months ago

    do I think I’m inferior?
    I read the other day that a massive part of mental wellness is having high self esteem. I was like, what??!! To me this meant thinking you are better than everyone else. Giving yourself a kiss in the mirror every morning. Being smug and up yourself. Turns out, it’s not. If you imagine you are your own best friend. If you really liked the qualities of your best friend. If you thought they were a good person. If you enjoyed their company. If you were proud of them. If you knew they had their faults, but that didn’t make them a bad person or someone who society should reject. They may not be the smartest, maybe not even that attractive on the outside. They may have had some bad past issues they have overcome. You encourage them to grow, to try new things, do do things they enjoy and make them happy and you take the time to listen to them when they are not. You love them to bits and would do anything to help them and you don’t judge them. If you think of yourself like your very best friend, then you have good self esteem.

    Most of us are not very nice best friends to ourselves. We judge ourselves all the time. Focus on our not so good qualities. Let ourselves believe mean things people say. Just because someone says something, it doesn’t make it true. We don’t speak very nicely to ourselves. Are very hard on ourselves and unforgiving. We put ourselves in boxes and don’t let ourselves grow because we probably will fail anyway. I’m a shy person. People think I’m odd. What’s the point of trying to work on not being shy. Everyone will just think I’m even weirder. How about ditching that mean best friend of yourself for a positive one that tells the truth. They may say, “ look, I know you are shy and feel like everyone is focused on judging you, but how about ignoring that thought and in a social setting, focus on listening to the other person you are talking to. Be interested in them. Ask them questions. You may even find common interest or find them interesting. You may even enjoy yourself!

    People have good and bad in them. You don’t have to believe what they say. Good self esteem is knowing yourself and not letting that bad stuff in. On being your own best friend and saying… “hell no girlfriend, that is not who you are, ignore that poo head” ( my son said this once and I think it’s the best insult!).

    You know what you need to work on. My mum has this little message in her bathroom that I always remember…

    • greenfinger 7 months ago

      ❤️?What was the message in your mum’s bathroom?

      • Sunshinydays 7 months ago

        If you cannot be kind to people, at least don’t hurt them.

  25. Sunshinydays 8 months ago

    So I learnt today that flashbacks which are thoughts of trauma can come at you from nowhere and believe me they do or they can be triggered by something. When this happens your fight or flight takes over and your brain shuts down, not allowing rational thoughts.

    Think of the old caveman who had a wholly mammoth barreling down on him. He didn’t stop and think “gosh, I wonder how many snug rugs I would get out of him and the missus would be really please with those tusks”. His core body took over and his brain shut down. Fight or flight. He either ran like hell or fought for his life. So in today’s world we see this as anxiety. We simply cannot think rationally. So what to do? You have the bring yourself down to earth. Ground yourself. Be in the world and your body. The way to do this is by the senses. Things that make you happy. For me it is those soft chewy lollies. The smell of lavender. Soft things to touch. Listening to the radio. Think of your 5 senses and what makes you happy and gives you joy and comfort. Chewing gum is a good one, like a baby sucking their thumb. Having something like a heavy blanket or animal on your lap. These are things you can do in that moment to stop the fight or flight and allow you to think rationally.

    Long term things are building on doing things you enjoy doing. Not things you have to do, but making time to heal your brain by moving it from the negative to the positive. Be aware of your surroundings and what gives you pleasure. Be aware of your thoughts. Make them positive ones. Your brain believes what you tell it. We cannot change the past, but we can acknowledge it, forgive, understand and sometimes just let go of the things that hurt us. Understand that you can only control your own actions. Acknowledge that you went through tragedy. This means that you don’t compare your tragedy to anyone else’s. Let’s say someone was bullied at school compared to someone who was at in a concentration camp. Would you say that persons trauma was insignificant in comparison? No you wouldn’t. It would deserve the same acknowledgment, understanding, love and support to heal. This acknowledgment, understanding, love and support needs to come from you. From within.

    Now let’s look at the other side. What if you were the mean bully, the uncaring parent, the abusive person, the person who told lies, the manipulator and so on. Do you have the right to forgive yourself if you recognise and accept you did these things. Yes you absolutely do if you change. Not for a while, but for the rest of your life. You however cannot expect the people you have hurt to forgive you. That is their decision. If they choose not too or simply can’t, then this is something you will have to live with. These are the implications of your actions. You can ask for forgiveness and tell them how sorry you are, you may even need to prove over a very long time you have changed, but you have no control over their decision to forgive you or even accept you in their lives again. This does not mean you can’t live a happy and rich new life going forward, you just must know you cannot change the past.

  26. HTT1993 8 months ago

    Hi all, not usually one for this kind of thing but I’ve finally hit a point where change needs to happen. I can happily go to the pub for a couple of beers and it be controlled and I can be absolutely fine. But every 4-6 months or so, I binge drink to the point where once I’ve had one, I keep going and theres no going back. I feel like it is clear now that I dont do moderation when it comes to drinking, and ultimately, if I cant moderate, then I just need to stop. Everytime I’ve binge drank throughout the past 6 years since I have been with my partner, something negative has happened, whether it be an argument, rubbing someone up the wrong way, being overly affectionate with people and putting myself in dangerous situations purely because I am so incapacitated that I dont know what I’m doing. It turns me into someone I am not. I even had a few drinks at my sisters wedding and the following day it caused me an anxiety attack. Yet even with all these negative experiences, why havent I just put a stop to it? Why can’t I moderate it? Why does drinking always slip back into my routine one way or another?

    I have a respectable career, a great relationship, good friends and a great family, why do I threaten my long term happiness by getting stupidly drunk and doing things that arent me and risk jeopardising my relationship and even my job? Its almost a self destructive thing, like, things are great, let’s just go and mess it all up because I can. I just need to know where it stems from so I can work on it because I cannot go on feeling like this. I feel so low because I’ve put myself in this position again. Excuse my language, but I cant keep fucking up because I’m going to end up losing everything that’s good in my life. Maybe ultimately I dont believe I deserve the good stuff, I just dont know.

    • dorothyparker 8 months ago

      Hello @HTT1993, have you posted on the members feed? I don’t know how often people look under the sober toolbox and if you posted there, you would get lots of replies and support. Best, Dorothy

  27. Derek 9 months ago

    Hi everyone.
    First. Let me say that after reading some of the stories I don’t feel so alone and wanted to congratulate you all for your candidness.

    I’ve been using alcohol to hide my feelings for a while now. My brain was working against me and my decision to take control not only is about not drinking but remapping my brain so that I make better decisions.
    I realise that I have been in a cycle of negative patterns and the impact has been good so far.

    I don’t crave a drink now and it will take time to remap and find strategies to work for me.

    I am keen to know about anyone’s experience with a discussion group where you are able to talk and communicate about issues. I tired AA but found that it wasn’t really what I was looking for.

    I’m a communicator so constructive dialogue is what I am looking for.

    Any ideas?

    • Sunshinydays 8 months ago

      Hi @Derek you still here

  28. Tamara S 9 months ago

    31 days working on my overall health.

  29. Dora 9 months ago

    Managing feelings is the area I need to work on, as I am in a loop of relapsing into the pattern of using wine to numb my difficult feelings and it is happening every few weeks. That’s just way too often. I stopped being a regular drinker 2 years ago, and I have come to love my life without drinking. So I have done the hardest stuff – the first 6 months or so – and it is SO frustrating that I still grab for wine as soon as I am in a difficult emotional situation. I have an idea is might relate to my habit of not speaking up about my own needs and feelings. The last two times I have had a relapse were situations where the bottom line of the situation was that I felt I hadn’t been heard and my feelings were all locked up and hidden while I “manage” on the surface. I’m just posting this because after having to spend the whole day in bed yesterday feeling awful with a hangover, I joined here as a strategy for the next time I want to open a bottle of wine. I find I don’t even like wine any more, I am purely using it as a sort of tranquilliser.

  30. kitts2020 10 months ago

    I’m not sure anyone can offer me advice but I gave up drinking earlier this year and have relapsed a number of times. Every time my husband had found out and supported me. We have been together since I was 16, and married 35 years. 4 kids. I went fir counselling but the negative thoughts crept back and then I’d make the decision fir quick relief. I don’t have a problem not drinking socially but I do drink to numb my negative thoughts and frustration. I have let my husband down one last time and he has told me via message that he can’t see a way back and hasn’t spoken a word to me since. I need to do this in my own I can’t drown my sorrows now I can’t hurt anyone else. But I’m hurting so badly and frightened

    • JACHALK 8 months ago

      Oh sweetie I’m so sorry

    • Lucille10 9 months ago

      reading through many other peoples experiences has helped me- you realise that it is not just you, alcohol is very sneaky at taking control & can happen to anyone. Reading the posts also helps you realise it is possible to get through the fog & false promises of alcohol.
      Don’t beat yourself up for relapsing, get back up & try again, do it for you first of all- I have found it helpful to write down what the perceived benefits are of this behaviour & then think what it is actually doing to my life- this gives me something to reach for when I am weak- & clears my mind of all the crap the addiction will feed you so you can make a rational & not reactive decision.
      I am currently day 16- I also tried numerous times before & failed, it’s early days- but I feel more confident with this platform to come to for advice, encouragement or just a chat.
      I am a single Mother of 4, falling into alcohol as “my time out”, or a “way to relax”- which in reality it has become neither!!
      I too could socialise without alcohol, but at home in the evenings it became my “escape” I thought- don’t listen- alcohol lies
      I attended many counsellors & drug & alcohol services-they all told me I did not have a problem( still held a job, didn’t want a drink until evening) & should be allowed a wine now & then as my life was stressful- they were wrong, I knew I was using it in a very unhealthy way & it was taking over my life, the issue continued to escalate
      You have started your journey, you have attempted to quit, it’s like smoking, sometimes you are not always successful first time- keep trying, journal, talk to people, schedule some exercise outside each day if you can- keep on keeping on – you will be so proud of yourself for getting back up & trying again- in my thoughts, keep writing on here- there are many here to help & encourage you

      • Bella79 4 months ago

        Hi Lucille10, I can totally relate to you.

        I am a solo mother of 4. Go to work each weekday, have my time in the evening with my wine. Trying to hold it together when I’m mentally and emotionally falling apart…alcohol has been used to numb pain and stress.

        I have a nonexistent relationship with my ex husband. I poured years into our relationship, putting him first and not receiving it back. I was always wrong, he was always right, on a power trip that wore down my self esteem, which I need to build again.

        Drinking has gone from enjoying a wine with a meal, to drinking a bottle, last night, 2 bottles. I read texts I didn’t remember sending on messenger and have got to the point that I know what I saw as my friend in a bottle, is no longer doing me any favors. Got to find a healthier way to cope.

        I’ve tried Mindfulness apps, reading Brene Brown and podcasts about embracing vulnerability. Have stopped (hiding from the kids and workmates) smoking, have cut down drinking lots of coffee throughout the day. Will try more meditation and anything that can get me to sleep at night.

      • JACHALK 8 months ago

        ?? Lovely

      • JACHALK 8 months ago


  31. RitaMae 11 months ago

    I usually go running, either alone or with a close friend. Other strategies include reading AF/sobriety blogs or books or meeting up with friends to do anything but drink. I am interested in learning more about mindfulness strategies. I just finished the second LD book and several things in there resonated with me in a way the whole mindfulness movement previously has not. However, today I find myself super pissed off at my partner about a holiday situation that requires some skillful, compassionate handling and I can’t quite get my head around how not to blow up which is what I want to do before I get to problem solving mode. My irritation and frustration are legitimate but my desire to act like a jerk really isn’t. How do you mindfully handle the desire for a righteous temper tantrum?

  32. kays 11 months ago

    I get in the car and drive to the beach. Sit in the car and read or do a crossword.

  33. kate.rhodes377 11 months ago

    I have only been sober for a week but I have started reading my book, which is a great distraction

  34. amandez 11 months ago

    as my drinking progresses i disgust myself more and more.i drink at work at home even in my car.i really need to be done with it completely.i am at a point where i am afraid of what i might do when i am drunk.i know i cant have just one drink.i have gone periods of time without drinking.but always go back.i even drink when i dont want one.i am really hoping this is it.i know i have said it before.but shit..i am a fucking mess and dont need to be.i find that sharing makes me feel like this is a new tool and gives me a hope that this time might be i promise myself i will share daily.

    • Leenz07 9 months ago

      I’m hearing you loud and clear! I do so many great things but get so wasted that I can’t remember lots of things. Then when it’s all being talked about the next day I feel so embarrassed. This weekend has been yet another drunken debacle. I’m going to do my best to quit my weekend binge drinking! I just don’t know moderation…I have one or two drinks and just keep going till I’m a drunken mess! I hope I can get my shit together and make the positive changes needed.

  35. cantdothisalone 11 months ago

    I’m day 23 and I’m finding I’m not into sex as much and my partner thinks I’m rejecting him is it me self sabbotage or is it I really hate myself that much

  36. IrishMan 11 months ago

    I gave into my cravings, told myself, “it’s just a pint of Vodka, not a fifth” … I was telling myself, “Don’t do it” but it was like I was on autopilot and just had to have that drink. The first several shots were … ah … relief, then …. oh no, I’ve done it again. What the heck?

  37. Wizzy 11 months ago

    I go running and sometimes

  38. Jonas1116 12 months ago

    A surprisingly good way to appease cravings is to sit in the sauna or steam room at the gym. I find after 20 /30 mins or so I get to a point where mental chatter shuts down. It’s kind of cathartic like you are sweating out the negativity and toxins. I need to step out for air during this process but there seems to be a point where you body core heats up and it just resets your psyche. A fresh shower and icy water after replenishes like nothing else.

  39. funtimes 1 year ago

    People think extreme emotional pain or stress happens when someone dies, or a job is lost. But actually, for people giving up alcohol, extreme emotional pain and stress can be found in things that outwardly seem harmless. For example, when my friend invites me to her house for dinner, I now know that other people will be there who I don’t enjoy talking to, that I am relied on to keep small talk going because they are a bit boring, and that dinner won’t be put on until very late and that I will therefore be stuck there for longer than I want. I have had to accept the fact that I have let friends chose me, rather than chasing who I want to be friends with. I make no apologies now, I avoid situations which will cause me to consider drinking again in the lead up to it. I protect myself from possible stress as much as possible.

    With the situations that can’t be predicted I have found a hot bath to be very useful. We can’t pour ourselves a wine, or drive to the shops, when we are in the bath. We are taking time out.

  40. cookiecrumbles 1 year ago

    I eat sweet things instead of turning to drink. It’s not a good thing as I am a diabetic. The problem I know have is I am addicted to sweet instead of booze x

  41. MareeB 1 year ago

    I’m new here – I treasure my privacy but have found so much inspiration from your stories that I feel a need to contribute – Day 4 for me – got through Fri and Sat nights – yay!!

    • Angel1 9 months ago

      Good on you well done. How have you been progressing?

  42. manda7080 1 year ago

    Hi I’m new here. Everyone’s journey is so humbling. I’m a functioning alcoholic. Meaning, I can down a bottle and still be ok. But I know that’s not ok. I have two kids and my husband is away a lot. Sometimes I just want to reach for the bottle at 3.30 or 4, after school. Its an escape. I don’t want to do that anymore. I am fit and active, but I know I could loose more weight if I just stopped drinking too. Today is the first day – i am taking small steps but I’m not going to drink at all this week! And it’s my birthday week too!!!

    • Charming 9 months ago

      Manda, there is a saying I first saw on a poster in the 1970’s: “To be good is not enough when you dream of being great!” I would suggest that if someone is a “functioning alcoholic”, imagine how much better they would “function” if sober!

    • mybestself 10 months ago

      I can relate to you although my partner isn’t away a lot. I hide my drinking and then get too drunk and we have an argument. I get verbally mean and he finally left me today. I so badly want to turn back time. I have asked him to attend an AA meeting with me today but he won’t return my calls or texts. I was so excited about Xmas and then camping on the 27th with his kids and mine but yet again I have ruined it for us all. Today is day one.

    • Jojo0802 12 months ago

      That’s sounds much like me except for the extra child and I’m single!!
      How are you going with your change? I’m only day 2! Eekk

    • Seabass 1 year ago

      How’d it go, your week sober?

    • JoanneAlbrecht 1 year ago

      Go you, a good decision

  43. memejacobs 1 year ago

    Saturday was a battlefield. We woke up, had a nice breakfast. I made poached eggs for the first time and it was very stressful. I am a marvelous cook but I felt such pressure it was crazy! My former Saturday’s would start with a beer, because of the multitude of drinks that Friday night, I would need to mellow out. My body wanted it so badly but I didn’t cave.

    We went shopping and I found a lot of what I wanted. Over the past three years I have lost 100 lbs so I’ve been rebuilding my wardrobe. On the way home I suggest we get Chinese at a restaurant I’ve always liked. I raved about it to my husband. We get home and BLAH it was not good. Of course that sent me into battle again. Part of me said “bump it you might as well get drunk and don’t worry about it”. But the real me reminded me “but I don’t want to feel like crap. I’m not doing it!” So I went up to my husband and put my arms around him and cried. Afterwards I told him about the battle. He said “You got this. I see you. I’m proud of you.”

    How do you deal with these types of battles?

    • Struggling 1 year ago

      Wow that is so inspirational and strong that you managed not to give in! I haven’t managed to get that point yet, wine for breakfast it was today:(

      • scot 1 year ago

        Hi Struggling, i used to have wine for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea – all the time. I started to think that there was absolutely nothing that could change that but something just clicked inside of me and I told myself it had to change. I had tried to kill myself a total of 6 times, but I’m still here and now I almost ready to celebrate 12 months of sobriety. I think what I’m trying to say is that everything else aside you have to really, really, really want to change, nothing else will work unless you know that what is on the other side of this is worth fighting for. I fought for my life. what will you fight for?
        Hope something in this rings a bell with you.
        Good luck.

  44. Kelley46 1 year ago

    I am struggling with how to cope with emotions. I told myself I was going to not drink for 30 days before my birthday in October. I lasted three days. And then when I felt bad I had a beer. Just one. And the next day I had a beer and 1/2 a bottle of wine. And the next day a bottle. Felt ashamed and took another night without drinking. Then the past two nights I drank until I “fell asleep”. I know I need to quit drinking. Moderation doesn’t work for me but I’m struggling with giving it up completely.

    • Memebird 9 months ago

      I started and stopped the road of sobriety many many times the key was to keep starting over and over until it finally stuck and I finally reached the point where I am clearheaded in my thinking and I am in control alcohol free so don’t ever stop starting over

    • kate.rhodes377 11 months ago

      I find myself in this same pattern. It’s so hard but we can do it.

    • alyoop 1 year ago

      hi kelly i am also stuck on this i drink as soon as i sm idle and this is every 2/3 dsys i am lonely and scared.each time i drink i hurt people then hide away for days then do it again.i understand your pain.

    • Noora 1 year ago

      Maybe make babysteps, so instead of 30 Days start with 1 Week and then two weeks and then 4 weeks. It worked for me. But at the Moment im at 30 Days easy but around 30 Days i struggle and feel like i Need a fun night out which never seems to end in fun…

      • khema 1 year ago

        So feel you Noora!! I’m the same.

  45. alyoop 1 year ago

    i have just joined and i want to say thankyou all for your honesty and humanity?

    • Noora 1 year ago

      Hello 🙂

  46. Hartypants 1 year ago

    I know yoga & meditation work for me but when I drink I can’t seem to be motivated to do either. I’m an all or nothing type of person. When I’m drinking….I’m drinking. When I’m sober the feeling of wellness encourages me to live a healthier life. Moderation & balance, except I now realise I can’t moderate so there’s no balance. Day 1. Again!

  47. Ellie7 1 year ago

    Try mindfulness. I try and sit with the feelings of pain, regret, anger, resentment etc. Acknowledge them.

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      How do you acknowledge those feelings and move on? I just feel depressed and like a fool for relying again on alcohol and then end up drinking more and saying I’ll sort my life out tomorrow.. which doesn’t come

    • Choosewisely 1 year ago

      Yes that’s what I found getting sober was dealing with these big scary emotions as I had poured wine on them for so long. Also I was getting off anti anxiety meds which meant a real rawness.
      Meditation apps, especially breathing ones and Jody scan I find good. Breathe in name of one .

  48. fasteddie 1 year ago

    Simplicity / Faith / Service to others ……. offer the best emotional chance of recovery imho

  49. lynnellis 1 year ago

    I write. I journal everyday but I write about my feelings, it resolves stress for me, I sort things out, I survive. I think of ways I can re-adjuct my life to make it less stressful.

  50. Trudi 1 year ago

    Firstly i try to keep myself away from stressfull and emotional situations if i can . I know it’s not always that easy , but anything that brings me down i avoid , i don’t need to put myself and my sobriety at risk , its not worth it in the long term . If i do need to deal with any stress or anxiety i just remember how far i have come in my sobriety and what it was like before i stopped drinking , IT WAS HELL !!!! I don’t want to ever go back there , so i sit with myself for a time and deal with the issues head on and straight away , don’t let them fester in your head , they will only escalate out of control and become bigger than they are .

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