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xtexan
October 14th, 2006, 10:49 PM
Thought I would take a stab at a start, because today is a milestone for me.

October 15th marks 10 months since I had a drink. So, I wanted to reflect on a few things.

I have ups and downs still. One thing I note here often, is that the initial rush of "taking off" into sobriety is sort of like taking flight in a airplane. Sooner or later you have to level off, if you just keep climbing you will stall and crash. I learned this the hard way many, many times.

Even if you manage to level off, and hold an altitude, you are going to run into turbulence. If you have not prepared, again, it will stall out your flight, and you will crash. I've crashed so many times over the last quarter-century, I often wonder how I got the plane back in the air again this last time.

One thing, I would like to address, is the fear of the holidays coming up. Now is not too soon to begin preparations. I know I am already thinking about it, and what things I am going to do. It may be a very lonely holiday season for me around here, as I am probably going to avoid any Christmas parties. It's a small price for me to pay at this juncture. I am fully and totally committed to being able to start a December 15th thread, and being able to say, for the first time since I was a kid, that I was sober for a whole year. A small price to pay.

What are you going to do at the holidays?

Neil

Guest
October 15th, 2006, 12:33 AM
holidays

The holidays don't present a real problem for me. Both my family and my husband's family are aware of my problem. Also, I have a few key people at work that are aware of it as well. So even if my will was tempted it would not be ok to drink at any of these parties. When I stopped drinking for 9 months in 2004 I had a real "they can, I can't" pity party going on. I don't have that pity party going on now. It was envy--I wish I could drink like them. I can't. It does not turn out fun for me. Sure in the beginning I thought I was having fun--but a few hours later puking, waking up with a hangover and "Oh my God what did I say" so not fun. Going through that tells me that I was not having fun--I was acting like an idiot. I am actually looking forward to the holidays. I can and do have fun without drinking. And its real fun because I can actually feel the fun and joy while its going on. Before I was under the influence of alcohol-it told me I was having fun--my dread the next day told me thatI wasn't.

Tonight I did my 5th step with my sponsor and her sponsor. I can say that now I "get it". I get the AA program and how it is working for me. Before I would struggle against steps 4 and 5 and not do them. This time when I quit drinking I was willing to do anything. If it meant sitting in church basements I could live with it--because I could not stand living the way I was for another second. I also said--I will do the steps and not question every little thing. Just do it. So I have been doing them, working them through and now I get it. I know that AA is not for everyone...but I wanted to share this because many of you know where I was at. What I thought of AA (not good). How I struggled against it. And it is a huge part of keeping sober. That is what this board is for. And I think it may be important to someone who is having a hard time staying sober...to read the experience of someone taking that route.

I post mainly on this board only. First, it reinforces my commitment to long term abs. Secondly, I love the extra tools I get from all of you to use in everyday life. Thank you to everyone here for supporting me and helping me on this journey. And that goes to many on the short term and mods boards as well if anyone pops in over here.

Kim

Guest
October 15th, 2006, 02:58 AM
10 months.

singing and a dancin I am forya Neil.

Kim, I"m so glad that both this and AA are supporting you. You support me too.
brigid

Guest
October 15th, 2006, 08:36 AM
10 months

I am sending you big cheers on 10 months!!!!! Congrats!

sujul
October 15th, 2006, 10:41 AM
Congratulations on 10 months, Neil!!
We're all proud of you! AND Inspired!


and
Congratulations on 100 days, Marcie!!!
Wow! I remember when you just started tx--so glad to hear that you're doing so well! Your courage is something for all of us to learn from...


And, thanks again, EVERYONE, for all of your support! You know, I really, really LOVE these celebrations!! Reminds us all that we really CAN do this!



We all need and deserve support when we have difficulties and run into obstacles with our sobriety--what helps me the most, though, is seeing that somone else is up ahead of me on this path...I might stumble but I can keep my eyes on them and pick myself right back up and keep on going.....



Kim, I am so glad you're finding AA helpful...I'm not working the steps (yet?) but do attend a small meeting every Wednesday that I absolutely love....I think so much of that program is really right on target...besides, whatever works, right?!! :l



Brigid--you're one of those I see up ahead who keeps me putting one step in front of the other..... thanks and :l ...



You, too, Neil! :l
Okay, can't speak to the (excellent) topic at the moment because I'm up in Vermont in a cabin on a dial-up connection--not only is it so verrrrrry slow, but we can't get any phone calls either...so, gotta go....



Later, fab folk....
:h
susan

mikeupnorth
October 15th, 2006, 11:12 AM
First off, Neil, WAY TO GO on attaining 10 months sobriety!! :good: It is people like you, and Brigid, and Marcie, and Kim and Susan (anyone with a day more than me, in fact) that give me hope. I know that if I am struggling with day 26, you have been through day 26 and made it. And that helps me to know that I can too. So I am glad for you that you've made it -- and I'm glad for me that you keep coming here and sharing, because it definitely helps me.

I like your flight analogy for sobriety. I am currently in the climbing stage -- haven't reached cruising altitude. Not sure I've even passed through 10,000 ft yet. But I am climbing and hopefully I will recognize when it's time for me to level out. If not I know I can count on Brigid to give me a nudge!

As for the holidays -- you are right, it is not too early to start thinking about this. I was considering this as a topic in the Monthly Abs forum too. Thanksgiving is not a big deal for me, as I will be spending it here in AK with a non-drinking friend. But since I live so far from family, I usually only see them once a year -- I fly home (to Tennesee!) to visit with them at Christmas. This year I will be spending about 10 days there..... and they all drink heavily. At least all of them over 21 do. And they are used to my being part of the party...

I don't want to NOT go home. I love them and this is my one chance per year to spend time with them. They have also gone through some hard times -- my sister has a disabled child and he has had a recent major surgery. So, I am going to just have to explain to them that I have quit drinking and that I CANNOT drink because my life depends on it. I did spend one sober holiday with them before, in 2000, and they didn't try to force my hand. I don't think they quite understood, and they never thought I was an alcholic. I am just going to have to be as honest as I can with them about the severity of my drinking this time, though, and I know they will respect my decision. But will I?

Since I am on topa and 200 mg is working fine, I'm planning to go up to the max dose (300 mg) during November and December. This should help keep cravings at bay. I am also going to work on the issue with my hypnotherapist ahead of time. I'm going to get a list of AA meetings in the area, and plan to attend them as needed. So that is my plan as it stands right now. Plus -- if I have access to a computer I will check the boards and post. I will also make a commitment to call a non-drinking (sober/recovering alcoholic) friend every day, a "sponsor" of sorts, during that period. That will keep me accountable. I hope this will keep my resolve in place during those 10 trying days.

Hey Kim, thanks so much for sharing about your AA experience. As Dr. Garcia told me one time, there is no reason that this program can't be done in conjunction with AA. They are not mutually exclusive! It sounds like you are really moving forward in your journey through the steps. I know 4 and 5 are where a lot of people get hung up. Congratulations!

Hi Susan, it's great to see you, I hope you are enjoying the fall colors up there in Vermont!

Take care, everyone, and have a great day.

Guest
October 15th, 2006, 11:34 AM
Sunday

Nothing is exclusive when it comes to beating this thing. There are tons of things that I use from many different ideas. If it wasn't for pulling together those things this task would be so much more difficult. And I am still looking to add some things that I know will help solidfy my sobriety--and overall happiness.

I spend a lot time focusing on the positives--which are endless. I am thrilled right now just to not have a headache. I am taking my son to meet up with a friend and play for the afternoon. I am looking forward it--rather rather than dreading trying to get through it because I feel like crap. I wouldn't say I feel 100% today--but it sure beats the heck out of -100%.

Everyone have a great day!

xtexan
October 15th, 2006, 12:08 PM
Mike:

I am incredibly impressed that you have already put so much thought into how you are going to handle the holiday visit with your relatives. This indicates a level of commitment and resolve that it really takes to make this thing work. You are not afraid to do "whatever it takes", and that tells me that you have the engines on full, and the landing gear and flaps are up.

I've been flying my flight simulator a lot lately, and this is what got me thinking of the flight analogy. I note that right after taking off, the ground effects are still there gving a boost to the climb. After just a few moments in flight, those ground effects no longer work, and adjustments have to be made. Landing gear up, flaps up, and a first level off.

Then, while getting the proper pitch attitude established, you can get some airspeed. This requires a constant monitoring of the instruments. If you feel the airplane starting to shake and shudder, you know a stall is approaching, so you can level off and get some airspeed. After stabliizing the plane, then you can adjust to get some more altitude.

The great thing about the human body, is that an airplane cannot get more powerful engines while in flight. People can. I guess that after backing off the engine power (to prevent them burning out and seizing up!). and establishing a cruising altitude and velocity, our bodies heal and get stronger so we can prepare to climb to a new higher altitude.

It's like that with the exercise I have found in many ways. So many folks push the power levers to the front, and pull back to gain as much altitude as fast as they can without ever backing off. Next thing, nose is in the ground.

The thing I found is to trust the airplane CAN level off, and cruise for a while at a certain altitude even if only a few thousand feet. I don't have to go to 70,000 today, tomorrow, next month, or even next year. I can stay at 30,000 feet for months at a time, while preparing for the next climbing phase.

You can see so many great things even just a few feet off the ground. I found it's beneficial to enjoy just the simple days of waking up clear headed, and not beat myself up because I can't do it all at once.

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes.

You know, getting a pilots license in the real world has been a dream of mine for many years. This is a real goal of mine, that of course requires total sobriety. I know quite a few people, that never touched a drop of alcohol in their lives, that wanted to get their license, and stopped only halfway through. They always expected too much, too soon, and were not prepared for the cost in time and money. Maybe some things happen for a reason.

-----------------------------------------------------------
A quick observation. I was writing this in the message window on the website, and all of a sudden my connection was broken. I sensed immediately that all the stuff I wrote above was about to be lost, when I quickly highlighted it all, and hit copy. Then it did dissappear!! I opened up notepad, and hit paste. It was saved!! So, I got my connection back, and here it is.

Prepare for the worst, and know what your tools are! If only I could remember that ALL the time. Experience....the great teacher.

Be well.

Neil

Newyear
October 15th, 2006, 02:42 PM
jumping in here - hi everyone!
I have had problems with the holidays but not in the sense you are talking about. My family does not drink - and it has never been a part of any celebration. My stress in the past has come from not drinking during the holidays. I have seen my mother have one glass of wine - but that is it and then she says she is sleepy. My step father's father was an alcoholic so he does not allow 'the stuff' as he says, in his house.
I used to get anxious when they would come up for the holidays. I smoked - and kept that a secret. And I drank - and kept that a secret, at least the amount I was drinking I kept secret.
So, now that I don't smoke - and intend to keep not drinking- the holidays should be just as they always were I suppose. I have a feeling there will still be a bit of anxiety though....it is a family gathering.
Lisa

spacie
October 15th, 2006, 05:33 PM
Hey everyone and congrats on staying the course.

I made an observation during my first AF night out at a social gig for a golf tournament. I had prepared myself for a couple of weeks prior to this event to do whatever it took to stay the course. I was anxious before going out as usual. Instead of letting it get the best of me I let the anxious energy have it's way and worked HARD at staying positive. I confidently ordered a diet coke; it was great. Then my better-half walked up and asked if I wanted a glass of wine. My head spun around like the girl in the Exorcist, and I answered in a very loud voice "no, why would I do that!!" He appolgized, it was out of habit but that stayed with me the entire night and I couldn't sleep. My tiny little brain said, well if thought it was okay for me to have a drink maybe I don't have a problem. Boy did I need to do some deep reflection for a day or two.

At this event I was able to sit back and watch all the different people and it was a new experience, I felt odd but not uneasy. Not once did I become OVERwhelmed with the thought of joining the party crowd. It did hurt to know I will never be back up at the bar hanging out. I do miss being a complete Jack Ass, but am finding I am doing that without drinking.

Another thing I'm trying to understand is why do we think an explanation is necessary if we don't drink? We usually didn't explain when we drank too much. Non-drinkers don't explain, and nobody really cares what we're doing, it's us doing it to ourselves. There's only one thing we need to say and it's "no thank you." Why is this so hard? Years before I became a big closet drinker I used to bug people to drink with me and I'm sure it was because I didn't want to be the lone Jack Ass.

I think if we plan ahead for all of our pitfalls the holidays will be okay, but we need to be strong and use everything in our bag of tricks and whatever it takes. I look forward to talking with you all about this and the many situations we face. Maybe I'll be a diet coke or a lemon for Halloween.

spacie

Guest
October 15th, 2006, 05:53 PM
Spacie,
I think when you start, the explanations are a bigger deal.. they get easier, and/or you get easier about them.

Neil, I think if you have a goal (flying... or whatever) that helps a huge amount in life. I wonder if a problem for many is they dont know what their goal is..

I agree with you (Neil) about the fall back and tools etc. I reckon you really need to plan ahead for things like holidays to get yourself psyched up.. and to put your tools into place.. we need those tools.. cant fly without them!!

When I was a kid, I remember thinking if only I could run fast enough down this strip of concrete I could fly.. I broke my arm trying... now what does that say about me!!!!! at least I tried!!!!! and I have the memory of the potential..

Mike, happy to nudge you if necessary!!!!!
see, always look on the bright side.
brigid

TracyA
October 15th, 2006, 10:53 PM
Neil Congrats! on 10 months. You will make a year, just hang in there.

I don't know about the holidays. Usually I would go to Denver, but with mom gone, there's no sense in going there to miss her every minute and hang out with siblings that never cease to irritate me.

Besides, I learned today that I will be helping plan a wedding scheduled for sometime in December. My daughter is marrying her boyfriend of three years, who will be home in December on two weeks leave after boot camp. I think it's a mistake, but it's not my mistake to make, so bring on the bridal march.

I'm thinking of making Christmas dinner in my apartment and inviting the ex, our kids, their friends, fiances (whoever - they're all partiers) so that I have some control over the environment. It's a small apartment so I dunno how it's going to go over, but that's the plan so far.

I'm a little more worried about a wedding next weekend, young friend of the family who really likes partying. I thought I'd show up for the wedding, watch them cut the cake, and then I'm out the door.

Changeling
October 16th, 2006, 07:08 AM
Keep with it

Spacie
I so relate to what you are saying.
Last year I went 7 months AF. Every single thing in my life was better.
BUT
Then came Christmas & New Year.
My inner voice and my husband started saying -
"you can have some champagne at Christmas"
and the old favourite
" the fact you have done so well proves you don't really have a problem"
Well
I fooled myself - had a few drinks over the holidays
buy the end of January i was drinking even more than when I stopped before.....
now here I am after another 9 months of really heavy drinking having to start all over again.
I hope this time I will have the strength to ignore all temptation and self delusion
Thanks for all the support here.
This is better than any bar I have ever found......

YoungAtHeart
October 16th, 2006, 09:59 AM
I just wanted to pop in and say that you are all so inspiring to me. Reading all of your posts is really awesome. My exclamation point isn't working, so here is my substitute: {Exclamation point}

Hugs to all of you,
Kathy

mikeupnorth
October 16th, 2006, 10:20 AM
Good to see so many new folks here, from Absville and elsewhere. Welcome~ :)

Mike