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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357 Comments
  1. HTT1993 7 hours 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.

  2. Derek 3 weeks 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?

  3. Tamara S 4 weeks ago

    31 days working on my overall health.

  4. Dora 1 month 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.

  5. kitts2020 1 month 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

    • Lucille10 1 month 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

  6. RitaMae 2 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?

  7. kays 2 months ago

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

  8. kate.rhodes377 2 months ago

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

  9. amandez 3 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 it.so i promise myself i will share daily.

    • Leenz07 2 weeks 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.

  10. cantdothisalone 3 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

  11. IrishMan 3 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?

  12. Wizzy 3 months ago

    I go running and sometimes

  13. Jonas1116 4 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.

  14. funtimes 4 months 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.

  15. cookiecrumbles 4 months 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

  16. MareeB 5 months 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 5 days ago

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

  17. manda7080 5 months 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 4 weeks 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 2 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 4 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 4 months ago

      How’d it go, your week sober?

    • JoanneAlbrecht 4 months ago

      Go you, a good decision

  18. memejacobs 5 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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.

  19. Kelley46 5 months 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 3 weeks 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 2 months ago

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

    • alyoop 4 months 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 5 months 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 4 months ago

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

  20. alyoop 6 months ago

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

    • Noora 5 months ago

      Hello 🙂

  21. Hartypants 6 months 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!

  22. Ellie7 7 months ago

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

    • Anonymous 4 months 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 5 months 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 .

  23. fasteddie 7 months ago

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

  24. lynnellis 7 months 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.

  25. Trudi 8 months 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 .

  26. meano 8 months ago

    I guess I would still drink. Try to keep the stress away. When it comes I am not sure what to do or if I recognize the stress.

  27. mollyroxanne 8 months ago

    Going for a walk. journalling. meditation app.

  28. Deester 9 months ago

    I get very quiet, journal if possible. I do not have close friends, so going to an Al-Anon meeting to get out of my head helps. I am blessed with a very supportive husband. I read positive literature and watch positive videos. Maybe a comedy on Netflix. Exercise, if it is not too hot, I will walk the dogs. Action – take some action to release the emotional hounds.

  29. morgan 9 months ago

    Dr Mark William’s- brilliant
    https://youtu.be/fUeEnkjKyDs

    • ClearRainbow 9 months ago

      Hi Morgan – after I read his book a few years ago I sent him and email thanking him. He wrote back! So nice.

    • Deester 9 months ago

      Thanks Morgan – I will check this out.

  30. Nemo 9 months ago

    Mystic Mamma, thank you. I read your message and tears just started flooding out. Its day 29 for me and I’ve started to realise how numb I’ve been all these years. So many emotions and feelings are bubbling to the surface now and they are raw, intense and very very uncomfortable and inconvenient. Your message has encouraged me to face them instead of brushing them off or hiding from them. I can see this is part of a healing journey. I’m scared though and I don’t like how I’m feeling.

  31. Nemo 9 months ago

    Ignore my family and go do something. Like watch Netflix in bed with tea.

    • dswilson1209@yahoo.com 5 months ago

      I need quiet time. 100 days sober and sometimes I just need to go upstairs and read. My nerves are numb. When I come home and see my stepson laying on the coach and not working at 20 years old I want to scream! Then I think – hey that is normal whether or not I have an “alcoholic” brain!

  32. freedomfrombooze 10 months ago

    I have only managed 8 days alcohol free and now I’m back on it and in such a state I always think I can moderate but I cant. Feeling ill, depressed and out of control . Oh and sleep deprived. Totally addicted.

    • JoanneAlbrecht 4 months ago

      Hang in there, this awful time will pass.

    • Itsnowornever 8 months ago

      Hey, Just read your post. I hope you managed to find your way back. Im only day 1. Totally get what your short post said, but dont let it define you. Hope youre all good.

    • Nemo 9 months ago

      Can you get some proper help?

  33. AggieRed 10 months ago

    Problems are not our own to battle. We need each other for support and encouragement. Being a hermit is what led me to my life long battle with alcohol. Thinking I could control something, knowing if I took one drink, I would be back at square one. Yet countless times I did it anyway. I can’t do this alone anymore, with my friends and family and all of you this is more realistic. Time to be honest and accountable every day.

    • whichisnice 9 months ago

      And from what I hear, one doesn’t go back to square one. Were it only that easy. It is often worse and you wish you only felt that bad. I’m hoping I won’t ever find out. I am 32 days af and ready to continue ever onward. Wishing you all well, with love.

  34. Neverenough 10 months ago

    Given myself 100 days AF. Went surprisingly easy, no cravings, no counting days, feeling great!
    Now, day 106 and I’m really struggling. I given myself another 40 days AF to catch up on Lent ( excuse good enough for me to stick to) and hoping longer I’m no drinking easier will it be not to drink again.
    Seems harder. At least today. Didn’t help just spent long weekend at relatives house who is total alcoholic and basically all happens there is accompanied by wine. Got home today and hubby went out to get himself some booze. Brought home my favourite wine and just sitting with me drinking away…I know he doesn’t mean to do it as a temptation but I’m really struggling not to pour a glass for me. Feeling really weak, angry, disappointed, scared…I don’t want to drink again but with the rain outside, all cosy in the call of red wine is just so strong! Help! Give me something to think of to make the idea unappealing!!!!

    • Teazy 8 months ago

      I drank recently, the drinking part was fine, had a 3 day hangover, felt depressed, sick, no energy for a week, it zapped the natural high i had, took away my joy, was it worth it ? definitely not, you will be so happy if you don’t and so miserable if you do!

    • Tom4500 10 months ago

      Sounds to me like you don’t want to go back to drinking. I had that feeling once when I was on an antibiotic, and was planning to go back to drinking when I got off of it. Part of me wanted to stay sober. When I did go back to drinking, I drank more than ever. Five months later, I quit for good. I say ask yourself if you’re a good drinker, one who doesn’t have those awful moments. If the answer is no, then consider the joy of being free from alcohol forever. It helps offset those annoying cravings, those false feelings of missing out on a substance that, if you aren’t a good drinker, damages you.

      • tgrim 8 months ago

        Tom, I’m going to find your advise very helpful on the long days ahead. I’m only at Day 2. Thank you

    • Izzy 10 months ago

      You’ve come so far!! The taste wont be worth starting back at day 1 tomorrow. That’s all I got

      • Neverenough 10 months ago

        Thank you Izzy. I didn’t. I’m strong and reasonable throughout the day and the witching hours come and last two days been hard! However, I sort of worked out in my head what it is making me weak now- as long I have set plan i.e 100 days I’m fine. Since I’m over the 100 and was just a bit indecisive in my mind what to do next I start to feel divided. It is my mind which needs to have a concrete plan to follow to succeed. So. 40 days now. Another 100 after. I’m so so hoping after that I will not feel like alcohol at all, surely, habits change over 7 months!!!

  35. CConway 10 months ago

    Meditation is my go to tool.

    • Lucky44 6 months ago

      Do you use an App or is there some other guide you use?

  36. TheBee 10 months ago

    Don’t know yet as I’m just starting out again. The really deep stress usually makes me reach out for a glass of wine – even if I’ve managed to ‘feel’ my feelings through meditation. It’s as if I then feel I deserve the wine!

  37. mysticmama 11 months ago

    Hi Everyone, I am slogging through another day of de-cluttering the mess in my head space that alcohol used to get me to avoid temporarily. When lots of negative emotions are coming up, I reach for my spiritual tool box! The first tool I reached for today I’ll call: IDENTIFY and ACKNOWLEDGE the EMOTIONAL GUEST: Today, I’m dealing with a member of my inner landscape I somewhat affectionately call “Death Wish” because s/he would rather give up or give in, cares nothing for anyone and is in a ton of pain all the time. When this part of me comes up, the IDENTIFY tool really helps, but it can work for less complicated emotions as well. It goes something like this. I first Identify and speak out loud to the emotion/or “part” of me: “I see you Death Wish. I Feel you and I Acknowledge you.” This allows me to get a little space from that part of my experience. Then there’s room for it to transform. Sometimes that’s enough.
    If it’s still feeling awful or intense, (like today with Death Wish) I use another tool I’ll call DROP THE STORY and FEEL the EMOTION IN THE BODY. That might go like this: “Okay Death Wish, where are you in this body?” Then I put my full attention on my physicality. I notice it feels like a ball of energy just now, right at my heart center- whoop- now it starts moving up to my throat, it feels like a big ball I’m holding down, like a kid fighting back tears, oop- now I feel it at the back of my throat, it’s softening, i think it’s leaving with my breathing out. I feel my shoulders softening as I breath it out. Yup, a few more breaths and it’s gone. Transmuted. Message received. Feelings just want to be felt, and once they’re felt, they’ve done their job. If we can drop the negative stories they bring up, we stop feeding and replenishing the energy it takes to keep them active and they usually are willing to release. I know it’s hard and reaching for a drink feels easier. But I think we can all honestly say that if we’re going to continue to hoard these negative feelings and use alcohol to keep the door shut on the closet, eventually we will have to deal with the pile up in that closet. No time like the present. Be a warrior of spirit, know you are more powerful and real than anything you put in that closet and any part of yourself that thought it was necessary, or that alcohol was your friend. You are your own best friend when you’re willing to be with every part of yourself, even if it’s messy, even if it’s something you need to put in the “bin” (that’s what you NZ’s call the trash can, right? I love it!). Anyway, that’s how we eventually sort it out and find much more space for good feelings and new experiences! And we don’t have to go through aaaaaaaaaall the negative feelings at once, or find their root causes today. We can just take them as they come up. And in my experience, after a hard day of sorting, next day I feel like a million $! Well, I’m out here sober family, doing the inner work, knowing it’s not always easy or pretty, but it is always worth it! Yours in Freedom, -mm

    • Nemo 9 months ago

      Mystic Mamma, thank you. I read your message and tears just started flooding out. Its day 29 for me and I’ve started to realise how numb I’ve been all these years. So many emotions and feelings are bubbling to the surface now and they are raw, intense and very very uncomfortable and inconvenient. Your message has encouraged me to face them instead of brushing them off or hiding from them. I can see this is part of a healing journey. I’m scared though and I don’t like how I’m feeling.

      • mysticmama 9 months ago

        @Nemo…Fear is a big one. I think because sadness gets tears to release…but fear has this habit of making us freeze or shut down and yeah, we’re not taught to respect fear. Or really any of the “negative” emotions. But being aware of it is soooooo incredibly brave! You are being so brave!! The “not liking” your feelings makes me think of how we have these internal parts that want to help us survive. It’s just a false alarm that is used to getting its way, either by numbing or shaming you for feeling! Haha, that part doesn’t get to be in the driver’s seat! Anyway, I think a big part of riding out any emotion it is knowing that you are going to survive it. You’re bigger and wider and deeper- it’s just a wave but you’re the ocean itself. That wisdom came to me as i was riding a big wave, laid out on my yoga mat in my room, tears just streaming down and no “known” cause I could track. I just felt that answer “you will survive this emotion” as I thought in my mind that it might just go on forever. It felt insane to really stay present for the darkness of it, but after it passed, I was clear, peaceful…and I felt emptied in a way, but also strong and more clear in myself. Very present and like a storm had actually passed through me. And when I saw myself in the mirror later that night, I felt compassion for this person that had worked so hard to not feel all that stuff.
        We aren’t doomed to re-live everything that hurt or scarred us, frightened or freaked us out just because we’re brave enough to be facing the present wholeheartedly and alcohol-free. We are being invited to take hands with the brave part of ourselves that survived it all and is still here, ready to make room for new experiences that fill us up at a soul level, every place we’re willing to do the clearing out of old patterns, emotions and stories! And in my experience, we can go at our own pace. A big clearing out is going to take time to integrate, and be more disruptive to the status quo- but the shift will be seismic, whereas little ups and downs may not rock the boat as fiercely- but we could be at it for years. One way or the other (and sometimes a little of both) we are on the road to a bright future, and one that we are building with awareness and heaps of courage!
        I salute you, Nemo and I send you support and company on your journey. Here’s a little R.M. Rilke for your path: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -From “Letters to a Young Poet”

    • Coxy107triesagain 10 months ago

      Really like your example, am going to try this . Thank you.

    • shellbee 10 months ago

      Thanks for the mind map

    • Chaves 11 months ago

      Whoa. What a lesson. I will remember and apply this.

    • WhippetZ 11 months ago

      Love it, really helpful, thanks for sharing that strategy.

    • truthangel 11 months ago

      This is really powerful and inspiring.
      Thank you.

  38. spring64 11 months ago

    Went grocery shopping today and ignored the wine aisle. On my way out the door there was a big poster on a stand. It had a picture of a wine bottle on it and a full wine glass of Chardonnay beside it. The caption: “Sometimes you have to go to the ends of the earth to find heaven”. I got out of there, but it occurred to me that that statement could also apply to attaining sobriety.

    • AprilsFool 10 months ago

      Yup. I was pretty damned close to the end of the earth before I discovered that heaven was definitely NOT at the bottom of a wine bottle.

  39. jnb51692 11 months ago

    I’m on day 3 and I’m already thinking of the boring life without alcohol

    • Clowance 10 months ago

      Yeh, I thought that, but I’ve just done our regular annual music residential and had a great time, me af, others not, no-one cared and I laughed and joined in as usual.
      But was able to enjoy the early mornings when some clearly could not ?

    • SoberHobbit 11 months ago

      82 for me. 265 since starting so have had a few slips. I had 71 days on cloud 9. No issues. Nothing hard happened. Life was opening up rapidly. I’m in day 11 of really hard stuff. But am coming out of it. I’ve finally realised all this hard stuff was 100% related to someone and something I had/have zero control over. How crazy. It’s been painful but am finally coming out of it. Now I can see it for what it is it’s so easy to deal with. Hasn’t made me drink. I know that drinking wouldn’t help it. Anyway it’s taught me some valuable lessons and I know what to do next time.
      Good work for another sober day everyone. What a miracle.

      • shellbee 10 months ago

        What is a pink cloud?

    • Danssurfin 11 months ago

      Just remember how insane and sick the hangovers leave us all feeling…boring is easier…I try to make myself proud by doing something else rewarding like working out or walking or playing an instrument it’s not easy, you can do it, and it will get better and easier I promise

  40. denversmom 11 months ago

    Day six here. Emotions are sneaking up on me. Although I have a longtime boyfriend
    who’s mentioned he’s proud of me I don’t feel truly supported. I want to talk about this struggle but feel he’s not interested in listening. I guess I can’t assume others no just how hard sobriety is. Anyone else experience this?

    • shellbee 10 months ago

      Yes, it is lonley

    • Chaves 11 months ago

      Emotions are coming up in me too. So are dreams. Sometimes feeling like I am sooooo in love with the world, life, everything… the next like a death wish (@mysticmama) is about to engulf me. There is no-one in my family that could understand such extreme feelings, let alone the deep ache of struggle it is to live without alcohol. Sometimes dear @denversmom … recovery is lonely. BUT that’s why this place is so great, and the people so loveable. A bunch of perfectly imperfect individuals willing and present not only to offer good wisdom and a listening/reading ear (teehee) but who do, I think, truly understand. 🙂

      • alyoop 6 months ago

        yes its hard and although i am still suffering in the brine i know that just joining was the right choice as the members are real and quietly know x

    • SoberHobbit 11 months ago

      Yeah you shouldn’t expect anyone to thank you for being sober. There are lots of us on here to say well done though.

    • Julielynn 11 months ago

      Be proud of yourself! Do it for yourself #1! I don’t think the average person who hasn’t struggled with addiction can truly understand! I also go to a counselor( a licensed Social Worker) to express my emotions. She is not a specialist in alcohol abuse but we connected and she helped me understand my emotions. She helped me realize that I am a highly sensitive person and one of the reasons I was drinking was to numb my emotions).

  41. spring64 11 months ago

    I am eating too much. Can’t get enough carbs and sugar in me. On day 5.

    • Julielynn 11 months ago

      I am on day 5 too! I have been going to the gym more to keep my mind and body busy! Taking group exercise classes like Yoga and Step Aerobics helps to get me there and not feel alone.

  42. chefkbell 11 months ago

    I try to keep my mind busy

  43. jep9703 11 months ago

    I relax and listen to Belleruth Naperstak’s guided imagery and affirmation CDs.

  44. Toksez 12 months ago

    Hi.
    I’m just beginning this journey. I have had several episodes of drinking lately where I don’t remember, behave like an idiot with no memory and ended up loosing my balance and hitting my head. I’m so lucky I didn’t do some serious damage. I feel ashamed of myself and my behaviour and I realise that I can’t just have one drink. I binge. I use alcohol for all the wrong reasons, emotionally ones. I need to stop this, and search for other ways of coping.
    I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. I don’t feel so alone, just knowing other professionals are out there like me trying to do better in their life!

    • stopnow7 11 months ago

      That’s how I feel, too. Thank you for sharing. I just joined today.

      • Danssurfin 11 months ago

        I feel the same and had the same experience. The reality that alcohol abuse disorder is progressive has finally sunk in, that is definitely what it was doing to me….getting worse and worse.

  45. Mirror 12 months ago

    I can relate to so many of these posts!!! Thank you all for sharing. I can’t seem to make it past just a few days before I dive back into the bottle again. But I will keep trying.

  46. ProblemDrinker 12 months ago

    Hi everyone,
    I’m just beginning my journey towards sobriety (not my first attempt) I have found my triggers to be an inability to deal with emotions properly. For example if I’m really happy and it’s a warm sunny day I almost feel a compulsion to enhance that happiness with alcohol, which would be fine if I wasn’t a problem drinker. One thing leads to another and I end up far more drunk than I’d like to be and this is almost inevitably followed by a deep sense of shame the next day. This is also the case if I’m sad. So my question is what are some tools that could help me process these feelings in a more constructive manner? Would counselling be helpful?

    • denversmom 11 months ago

      Hi
      Our thoughts are exactly the same. I’m on day six, third time trying this year . I just finished the book, the naked mind. It helped a little and kept me focused. I’m going to try to keep telling myself life will be happier once the alcohol is completely out of my system. And when I look at alcohol ( which is available at my fingertips in the house) I remind myself I’ll have to start the day count all over again. For me, I’m proud of reaching six days…and I would be so disappointed in myself if I break…so I just turn away and find something to keep busy. It’s soooooooo hard. I’m an adult and should be able to drink if I want ?. But as I laugh at myself…it’s running my life. I think about it constantly and that’s a very bad sign. That just cannot be how people are supposed to live. We both realize this hence why were on this site. I’m going to see if I can find a “meetup group “ in my area for sobriety. I definitely need people in my life who have been through this struggle. Also, every time I think about my beloved red wine I make a cranberry and ginger ale drink…I’m trying to trick my mind ???. Gotta have humor with this struggle…I keep telling myself I’m going to get through this if it kills me. Haha. Last night I thought…what if I suddenly die next week, then damn it I missed out on my last days of wine!! Mind plays some serious tricks on us. Stay strong…I’ll be routing for you!

    • Sandybeach 12 months ago

      about to start day 3. not sure if i’ll make it. trying at least

  47. RoRo76 12 months ago

    Day 2…I used to run in the hills to clear my head when I was upset or emotional.
    For the last several years I just reach for that bottle of beer, wine, or vodka. It’s 9.30am on a Saturday morning & I’m already wondering what the hell am I doing and what’s wrong with just having that one glass this afternoon!

  48. Sonic 12 months ago

    Light a candle.play spa music…drink liquorice and peppermint tea…

  49. JulzPlz 1 year ago

    I placed post-it notes around my house. ie: “Isn’t it nice not feeling like shit this morning” and “Tomorrow you’ll remember coming to bed”. Also, the money I would of spent during the week and especially the weekend is placed in my “Moving to NYC” savings account. It’s a win win!

    • 20012015 12 months ago

      That’s a great idea. I’m going to do that too. Thanks

  50. Straddler 1 year ago

    Day 3. I just woke up on a Saturday morning. It is 4am and I feel like when I breathe, the air goes all the way down instead of “bumping” up against my hangover. What helped me: Deep relaxation music to go to sleep with. There is actually Music for addiction recover on YouTube from Brainwave. I am finding it useful.

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