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Marshy
December 19th, 2007, 06:05 PM
Hello all long-term abstainers,

First of all let me say that you have my admiration and I aspire to join your ranks. But, I'm intrigued by the long-term relationship with alcohol abstention.

Quite a few long-term abbers are posting on these boards regularly. I'm wondering if there comes a time when the obsession decreases, or does it never really fade?

As a comparison: about 12 years ago I gave up smoking, and after a few months I never really thought about smoking again, and I can't imagine being on a "no-smoking forum" years later, and yet people here are talking about not drinking after years and years.

Again, this is in no way a criticism, I'm just wondering about your long-term attitudes/thoughts about giving up drinking. Basically, I suppose I'd like to know if there's a cut-off point where you stop obsessing?? Because I'd sure like to stop obsessing myself...

Loved1
December 19th, 2007, 06:56 PM
Great observations/questions, I would like to hear the responses as well...........................

lushy
December 19th, 2007, 07:18 PM
I am not a long term abstainer but I can say that after being here a while many tend to gravitate towards the nondrinking related threads that are just fun and silly. And many of us feel like we are friends that happen to have a drinking issue in common. And if we need support we can go back to the more alcohol related threads.

hippie37
December 19th, 2007, 07:30 PM
Hi Marshy and Loved1.

For me personally I find the forum also helps in meeting like minded individuals who I can relate to and share stories, jokes, aspirations, etc. with. The common denominator being the fact that we all have a history of alcohol misuse in some shape or form. I don't think worrying about a cut off point over 'obsession' even enters my head TBH. I need the forum and its members for inspiration and guidance also and that alone is enough for me without having to worry about "how long?" etc. I like to think slightly along the lines of AA as well where the forum is concerned as it is always nice to give other people struggling with alcohol problems help and advice in sharing my own experiences with them. I think that is something I just feel I want to do personally; it may be the same for a lot of other members here too. So to sum up, to me it is not an obsession at all.

Love and Happiness
Hippie
xx

Guest
December 19th, 2007, 08:17 PM
Marshy,
this issue is very important to me.

I have been sober over two years now. I made a transition from working on sobriety to working on happiness over this time, but I've read too many stories of people who have abstained and then thought they were ok to go back to drinking. Its such a huge part of our culture... and too big a part of my biology.

A dear friend of mine describes it like a ticking time bomb.. so if you admit to ever having had a drinking problem, you are like a ticking time bomb.. waiting to go off... in comparison to the praise someone gets from stopping the smokes.. if you say you 'used' to drink.. you can hear their brain going 'tick tock/!!

Initially I didnt like this analogy, even though in part I found it funny but I've grown to find it useful. If I think of my drinking persona.. its still within me, and its part of me.. so I had better treat it with respect.. and when those thoughts of maybe i'm ok now creep into my head, this time bomb analogy is a reality check for me.

I no longer obsess with drinking at all. More than this, I dont want to think that I"ll ever think its ok for ME to drink - perhaps that is my obsession now...???. Most of my friends drink, and many (I think) to excess. I find that when we are together, I can have fun without the drink and I dont crave it. When they get over tipsy, I leave. I dont find them funny, when tipsy, but I dont leave them with attitude.. I make an excuse and go. I have found that since I"ve been sober, they all drink less.

I fear that if I think I"m normal in relation to drinking or that I"m cured, I will slip back into drinking. For me, right now, while I'm probably the most normal I've been in my life, I just have to stay conscious and growing. And while most of my growth occurs in terms of my personal growth rather than my abstinence - I treat my abstinence with respect.

In relation to this board and my relationship with it. I use this board for reflection on drinking and that to me is serious and not a joke (it certainly wasnt a joke when I first started posting here)... so I"m a bit of a party pooper. Thing is, that you can give and take what you need from a board like this. Question is,.. what do you want to give and what do you want to take.

Did I answer your question, I wonder.

Good luck,
Brigid

Cinders
December 19th, 2007, 08:26 PM
Marshy,

WOW!! Brigid is one of the "oldies" and for a very good reason.

I would listen to what she says because us "alkies/problem drinkers/whatever you want to call us" sure can learn a lot from those who have gone a long time without the booze.

Brigid. Thank you.
cindi

xtexan
December 19th, 2007, 09:47 PM
Marshy:

I echo much of what Brigid said above. To me, this is of the upmost seriousness, and to me this forum is a place to do the work of healing from an illness that came close to killing me. When you come that close to losing everything, you tend to get a bit intense on the methodology.

This is not to say I have lost my sense of humor, but rather it has taken a completely different direction than what it was when I was drinking. I can see a group of folks getting a bit smashed, and see them howling with laughter at things that just mildly amuse me. Conversely, I now find great humor in things they would find perhaps morose, or overly ?dry? as it were.

About obsessing over booze, I have to say it does not occupy my thinking like it used to. I have been on this forum for over a year and a half, and have less than 700 posts, so I don?t feel like this is an obsession or replacement addiction for me.

What does occupy my mind most these days, is growing and expanding my potential as a human being. Alcohol is perhaps one of the most powerful constraints on human potential. The more one drinks, the more one is constrained.

A metaphor that comes to mind, is that of being in a jail cell for 35 years. Once you are released, do you really think you would forget all about it after just a year or two of freedom? And having tasted freedom, would you not want to share how you escaped with others? It is a prison of the soul that no one deserves. I was incarcerated for 35 years, and having real freedom now is just too exhilarating. Some folks get lonely for their imprisonment, and try to find ways back into the jail. They go back either deliberately, or accidentally. It is my intention, to never ever go back into that black hellhole of despair and misery ever again. I do not wish to ?slip?, or ?relapse?, or ?try just one? ever. Period.

I guess most folks don?t have to plunge into the deepest blackness of the pit, before they want the hell out. But me, I was just a stubborn cuss, and had to learn the hard way.

The reason I stay here on MWO after so much time AF, is desire to keep it real. This is our lives we?re talking about.

Neil

Loved1
December 19th, 2007, 09:53 PM
Wow Neil, that was awesome and very inspiring.

Thanks!

slightlysuze
December 20th, 2007, 03:37 AM
Thanks everyone who has contributed to this fascinating thread......it has inspired and cheered me and made the perfect start to the day.

I am only 70 days AF but I know it's for real this time because I have seen it all in a different light, am making all sorts of other changes in my life, have this board to inspire me and teach me and I finally realise it's not about just 'not drinking'....it's about who I am.

Thanks again. :)


Suze x

satori
December 20th, 2007, 04:27 AM
Neil.

The Jail Cell analogy is SOOOOO accurate!
I was "banged up" for over 20 years - I am now acutely aware of the "crime" that put me there and will now do whatever it takes to avoid going back "inside" because life on the ouside is WAY better!

In everyday life I do not go around obsessing about staying "murder free" - I just don't consider it!
Alcohol is becoming like that for me now.
I am only 5 months AF - but already I am not thinking about alcohol very much at all now - oh yes - the odd craving surfaces occasionally, and some of them are strong - but I now KNOW where taking that drink will lead.
So I just don't.

(NO - that doesn't logically mean that I have the odd strong craving to murder somebody now and then! - It is much more frequent than that!:H )

As for being here - there is so much wisdom and compassion and intelligent interaction here - I just really like being here! :)
Not a crime - is it :confused:
And yes - it helps to reinforce the programming!

I also am really happy and enthusiastic about my new life - so if I can help anyone in any small way to get where I am now - it would be a privelage to do so!

Take care

Love

satori

cpn1004
December 20th, 2007, 09:52 AM
Great words once again Neil.
Phil

retteacher
December 20th, 2007, 10:03 AM
Hi Everyone: This is my first post on this forum. I've only been sober since Oct. 6, so I didn't know if I qualified. However, I couldn't keep from responding to this thread...it sparked so many thoughts for me.

I too cannot think of myself as normal enough to have even a sip of alcohol. This just came to me within the past few weeks. I had a period of abstinence during the summer that I broke, because I started to see myself drinking normally again. Of course, I ended up binging & getting sick. Thank God, it wasn't a sustained binge.

I've been active on the newcomers & 30 day forums. However, there are many people who have moderation as a goal. I can't even entertain that thought. I'd like to check in here & share. I've been reading quite a lot & find inspiration to go on.

I think that's it for now. Thanks for being here. Mary

Guest
December 20th, 2007, 10:18 PM
I kept thinking about Marshy's question yesterday and had to come back to reflect some more.

Neil... .. I love your alcohol and its constraints on the human potential statement. True, my friend. You speak the truth. And I'm with you on being intense on the methodology. It matters to me (and you) that this is sustainable in the longer term.

Suze and Mary,
Please dont belittle the days you have sober by saying 'only'. The first day is a celebration as well. Celebrate that the number is growing. Rejoice. I"m so happy for you both. Its great. Wonderful. The number of days sober is not the competition, I reckon.. its the growth and the happiness. Read Satori's response.. his enthusiasm and happiness is what its about... work on that.

Mary,
the notion of normal has really consumed my mind. So much of me wants to think I"m normal, but if i dont get ok with who I actually am (regardless of any word, such as normal) then I really will set myself up for failure. Suze is right. Its about who I am.

Brigid

Guest
December 20th, 2007, 10:42 PM
ps.. in many ways we arent sober for any longer than right now are we?

So its not day1 or day 100.. even though those are important milestones (as are others)..

we are only sober right now.

thats enough for me right now and for me, its better than the alternative.

Brigid

AAthlete
December 21st, 2007, 08:27 AM
Bridig, Neil & DT - great comments that are right on.

It's not about the quitting drinking - lots of people can quit but are still the same old PITA's that they were when they were drinking.

It truly took a change of mindset to start realizing my 'human potential,' as Neil puts it. Man, my brain would never, ever shut off. It would be analyzing things, justifying events, battling itself left and right until I needed to drink to SHUT IT UP so I could relax. But it was fool's gold - the quietness would never last (and my brain knew that).

It wasn't until I learned to let go of the past, let go of the anger and resentments that I had built up that I was truly able to escape the hell that I was in. But, as others have said, I can never become complacent in my battle against alcoholism. It wants me to forget the pain and anguish of my last drunk so that I might be tempted to do it again - and man do I know where that will lead.

It truly is an amazing experience to find a way out, a way to change your outlook on life. I'm sure that those who have had a similar experience would agree that if you could bottle this feeling and sell it - you would be a millionaire! It is a wonderful way to live life, and you truly feel like a new person. I get to enjoy and spend quality time with my family, and am now in the position to be able to help someone else who is battling this disease. Wow, I certainly couldn't have said that a year ago....

Peace,

AAthlete
(Now officially Six Months Sober....)

retteacher
December 21st, 2007, 10:59 AM
AAthlete: Your words are exactly what I need to hear & see. I'm learning to live a new way.
-work through difficulties instead of letting them pile up & fester.
-let go of what I need to let go of.
-keep myself in the present moment.

I too used alcohol to shut off my mind. Now, as I approach each situation & bring it to closure, I don't have as much going on in my head.

Mary

YoungAtHeart
December 30th, 2007, 11:04 AM
It's funny, but I don't feel like I am nearly as "obsessed" by alcohol as I used to be, now that I am 6 months' sober. When I was drinking, it was constantly on my mind: "Do I have enough at home, or should I get more?", "Only 2 more hours at work, and then I can have a glass of wine." , "Wow, it's supposed to snow later, let me go get enough wine now, so that I won't have to go out when it's snowing.", and so on, and so on. Now I come on MWO, sometimes once or twice a day, sometimes every few days, and I read/post as much or as little as I want. I don't feel like I have to, nor do I feel that I need to. I feel like I WANT TO.

I don't think all that much about drinking these days at all, although I do think about it sometimes more than others, the holidays being an example. Compared to how much energy I used to spend on thinking about drinking, I spend very little energy thinking about not drinking. I just don't drink. Life is a heck of a lot easier now than before, since I'm not making an extra problem to cope with.

bane of noah
December 31st, 2007, 10:25 PM
I'm just getting started on my journey. I can't answer any question posted, but I can tell you that even though I hope to be one of the ones that can declare AF for many months, years to come, this web site and the people on it, gave me hope. Talking about my addiction and problems is not something that I'm free to share with many of my friends or family. Friends tell me I don't have a problem, and family tells me I do. It's hard to deal with. Here, reading what everyone is posting, is a salvation to me. No one is here that doesn't share something in common. I don't believe that addiction is truly ever cured. Maybe physically, but not mentally. We always dwell, or live the parts of our lives that we screwed up. Maybe that's the obsession. Oh well, I'll signing up for the ride, and hopefully in the near future, I'll actually be driving and in control

Marshy
January 1st, 2008, 08:44 AM
Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. I've just had a quick read through and there's a lot of sense in there and things that give me hope. I'll spend some time properly thinking about your posts later.
I'm glad that the thoughts of drinking diminish. I guess my problem is I've only ever made about five weeks continuously AF and maybe that's just not long enough to clear my head (well, obviously not to kick it completely).
Ah well, new year, new determination.
:thanks: