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mikeupnorth
November 12th, 2006, 11:16 AM
Good morning, fellow "long term abstainers"

That doesn't roll off the tongue so easily does it? We never really came up with a name for this place that stuck, like the other forum is "Absville." And we don't have a mayor, or a mansion, or a community center or any of that. But in spite of all that -- this is where I belong. I say that not because I don't still visit Absville or post there, or care about the folks in that forum (I do all those things). I say it because I am not in this for the short term. I'm no longer dabbling with abstinence. I'm not trying the shoes on to see how they fit. I'm not testing the waters. I'm in this for the long haul. I have to be. I know what it means if I go back: drinking myself to oblivion every night, doing very stupid things, and dying an ugly and early death. I don't think I'm being overly dramatic, either. I could easily drink myself to death. And if not, the kind of life I would live in the meantime would not be very pleasant.

So here I am, finally having made the decision that I need and want sobriety for the rest of my life. And here I sit, on day 55 sober. (I realize that is only a beginning!) In general I'm feeling pretty good. I don't struggle on a daily basis anymore about whether I will have a drink or not. In fact it is pretty rare for me to have any kind of urge to drink. It happens now maybe once or twice a week instead of every day, and when it happens it is a very casual, passing kind of thing. I find myself just observing the thought and letting it pass. Now I don't know to what extent this is the topa or the work I've been doing with my hypnotherapist or the other work I've been doing to "change my mind" about alcohol -- it's probably the combination, but I am very happy with the results. The thing is, I know I am not out of the woods. I know there will be a day, probably soon, during the holidays, when a strong urge will hit me -- and I want to be prepared for it. I still feel new and vulnerable, like a young tender plant exposed to the sun.

Perhaps even more importantly, I want to make sure that I have a place to go 6 months from now, or a year from now, to make sure I don't change my mind about staying sober. That happened to me once before after 9 months' sobriety in AA back in 2000. I never want to have that happen again.

There is a lot of advice and support here for people who are just starting out, but this is the only spot on the board for folks who have chosen long term sobriety -- and the only place where there are folks gathered who have any significant time under their belts. I can imagine it must get a little lonely for those of you with 6 months, a year or more who come here looking for something to help you grow. I hope that by the time I reach that point you all (Neil, Brigid, Gabby, Kate, others) are still hanging around, but only if you find it good for your own recovery. I don't know where else I would find such collective wisdom!

Anyway I guess what I'm doing here is lamenting Kim's leaving us, even though I understand and respect her decision to go. I'm also making a case for a stronger community for long-term abs support, to whatever extent it is needed or wanted. I, for one, hope that MWO can be a source of support for the long term. The board has been a great support in getting me through these first crucial days and I hope it can help me as I go to the next level, whatever that is!

Do any of you have suggestions as to how we can make this thing work better for us? Or are we already doing what we can?

Peace to you all,

Mike

gabby
November 12th, 2006, 11:26 AM
Hi Mike,
Happy day 55. I'm gettin ready for work, so I am postin fast. Gonna be that way till January for me. But I kinda forgot about over here the last few weeks. Heres where I'm gonna do my check in's when I do em. Just will be inconsistant until after Christmas. Begining of Dec will be 6 months for me....so I guess I am considered a true old timmer now. Ya spose?

What happend to Kim? I missed that. And I am glad you guys are here.

meridian
November 12th, 2006, 02:42 PM
Hearing about people's stories who have started to get their life back and live long term without alcohol has been a great motivation for me to continue on this track. Six months, 55 days - way to go...I hope to be there one day as well. I'm on 34 today and as Mike mentioned the thoughts of having a drink are getting better. They used to consume me. Now they are far less frequent. Learning to live without alcohol while the husband still drinks has been a challenge - but this is real life and I need to learn to care about what's best for me. I can't drink - period - it just plain makes me sick...

Accepting this new life style and being committed through it over the holidays will be a tough as all the Christmas parties, New Years Parties start to come into play. I hope all of you share your stories of how you attended a party - hopefully had a great time and didn't drink or feel like you wanted to drink (if that's possible) One day at a time - one thought at a time - when I look at it that way it doesn't seem to be forever - just something that I can do knowing I'm not alone in this quest for long term sobriety.

Guest
November 12th, 2006, 03:47 PM
Mike,

Are we lifers... is this livsville? - living life... sober for life? I know that I am.

It is harder to stay here the longer abs you have under your belt. I feel like a freak most of the time.. well I did till we started posting here. How RJ does this, I dont know.

I would say that it would be lovely to foster a long term community support.. (its a major reason I stayed).. but I would also say that its really important to have other things of substance that support long term abs and not just this board cos so many come and go here. I would add that its our priority to keep our sobriety on track... thats the number 1 thing. If this board does not do that for you.. find something that does... and you wont have a problem from me.. but I do find that for me, so far I have had support from here and have found value in riding out the rougher times. There are some very special people here.

Anyway, thats it from me today.
Brigid
and hi to meridian....

xtexan
November 12th, 2006, 06:27 PM
Hello everyone:

Calm, and quiet Sunday around here. I worked on the one of the cars a bit, and fired a few rounds from a new shooting iron. Those are two of my more satisfying hobbies.

I did have a massive craving for a cigarette yesterday, but it passed fairly quickly. Seems like the cigarette cravings have been coming lately for no good reason. They fly out of nowhere it seems. No cravings for a drink in a long time, and those I seem to have a better structure in my mind for protection against.

As far as folks choosing to move on from this forum, I can sort of identify. I think it has to do with an eventual change in the psychological make up, in which one stops identifying as an ?ex-drinker?, and starts thinking of their self as a ?non-drinker?. This is perhaps a quantum leap in the self-image. After all, when one has made that sort of quantum leap, then there would be far less reason to use a social support resource such as this forum. A non-drinker would really not have a reason to seek support.

I did read quite a bit on the ?Rational Recovery? website about their method. I had visited there before, but did not feel they had much to offer me. It did however allude to what I described in the previous paragraph. The complete shift in the mind to that of thinking of ones self as a ?non-drinker? in totality. Maybe it would be beneficial for others, but felt it had little value for my situation at this time. Right now, I still think of myself as an ?ex-drinker?, and it may take a while before I can make the leap to ?non-drinker?.

I plan to continue visiting this site for a while at least. I am currently researching and investigating some other psychological ?repair? modalities. If any of these prove to be useful for me, then I will probably post on their efficacy in my situation. More ?tools? for the ?kit?.

Yes, it does seem to be a bit disconcerting to see the posts of the new members, in despair and teetering on the edge of absolute hopelessness. I still feel a need to stick around, and reach out to them. Seeing some other folks on here get their heels dug in hard, and make it to better than 30 days abstinence, after years and years of drinking, is a great thing.

Right now, I sort of feel like the Robert Duvall character at the end of THX-1138. It?s the part when he has first emerged from the underground society of regimented oppression, and is now on the surface in the middle of a barren landscape. The oppression I am referring to in this case, is the lure of the next drink. He walks off into the distance, and the movie closes. I always think to myself, ?What new things lay out there to be discovered?? I also think, would he be motivated to tell the others below that the freedom on the surface is worth the fight to get out?

I guess we can make the long-term abstinence section what we want of it. Hope I can be a small part of that thinking, with my writing.

Be well.

Neil

Guest
November 12th, 2006, 06:55 PM
Neil,
My worry has always been that if I think of myself as a non drinker, even after this time.. that i'm fooling myself. I read/hear about people's slips.. i mean, slips happen after 20 years.. and its all that part of us fooling ourselves.

For me, writing here has been one side of my accountability to myself. sharing the longevity of that has helped others, but has particularly helped me. It has been lonely and it has been hard.. but maybe thats what it IS.. its lonely and hard. Sure, I"m doing things that I wouldnt have done if i was still drunk and being on this board has been lessening for me, but for me, the things I do to be accountable to myself HAVE to be enduring if I am to succeed. Of course, I have other outside things that I do.. (I have to do things that are in essense, more real than this).. but this is real to me here, and for that reason I have shared it.

I do hope that this community does grow. I do.

One thing that crosses my mind is that I decided to change.. and one thing I did when I came here was to share some of that stuff.. I had never shared that before.. and it was powerful for me.

Maybe I"m just tired cos I'm torn between thinking that this is ending for me, and wanting it to continue... uncertainty of the future is always a worry!!!
I'm babbling.
Brigid

mikeupnorth
November 13th, 2006, 09:58 AM
First off -- welcome to you, Meridian. We've already had at least one discussion about how we plan to get through the holidays and I am sure we will have more as they get closer. Yikes, I just looked at the calendar and realized Thanksgiving is only next week! (For those of us in the U.S.) And I will be glad to share some thoughts with you on getting through parties.... I have had some practice with that lately. Maybe I'll even start another thread on that topic.

But back to the topic at hand. It's an interesting point you bring up, Neil. I would love to think that I could someday see myself as a "non-drinker" rather than an "ex-drinker." I can grasp the enormity of the shift in self-image required. Actually it's one of those things that seems enormous but could be quite simple to do -- just adopt a new attitude. But I agree with Brigid too, that it could be dangerous for us, perhaps making us a bit too cocky. I mean non-drinkers could always make the choice to become drinkers, right? Whereas ex-drinkers do not have that choice. Our dance cards are all used up in that regard. The truth of the matter is that I did drink, I did become an alcoholic, and now I cannot drink any more.

It's interesting to compare it to the nicotine addiction. I am curious: can those of you who have quit smoking consider yourself "cured" of the nicotine addiction? Are you a non-smoker or an ex-smoker? I know that people do struggle with quitting smoking, and often relapse (sometimes after years of abstinence) but we don't see "Nicotine Anonymous" or other self-help groups all over the place. Most people tough it out on their own. Interestingly -- nicotine addiction is seen in medical terms and treated with medication or nicotine substitutes to ease the withdrawal period. Only now is the medical community beginning (with Campral, Naltrexone and Topamax) to see alcohol addiction in the same light.

mikeupnorth
November 13th, 2006, 10:09 AM
Oh, and Neil:

If you have ever wondered or doubted that what you write here makes a difference to the "newbies," don't. What you shared when you came on board -- your experience, your candor, your strength and admitting your fears -- helped me tremendously. I know that on at least one occasion something you said kept me from drinking.

Most days I pick up tidbits from people here that I can use in my own life. Or at least I read something that makes me pause and think.

This place is kind of like an AA meeting that way. The newcomers get inspiration from the "old timers." :) And actually it works the other way around as well. The newcomers are not always a drag, from what I hear. They remind the old timers of where they do not want to go back to -- and often times they come in with an enthusiasm that one may have lost after 6 months or a year or 2.

Mike