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mikeupnorth
November 26th, 2006, 11:04 PM
Hello all,

As I've mentioned before, this is not my first attempt at sobriety. That is probably true of most of us here. Most of us have tried time and again to get sober before finding MWO... I mean, it wouldn't be your first instinct to go find a support website to quit drinking unless you had already tried and failed, right?

Anyway I have had several attempts in the past, on my own, with AA and also with MWO. I've achieved varying lengths of time from 1 day (ha!) to 9 months. And obviously all of those attempts ended with "one more drink."

So I keep asking myself, "What is different this time?" Something definitely feels different to me. I feel more at peace with my decision, more committed, more sure -- and at the same time I know I am just as vulnerable as in all those previous attempts. One can't get cocky because that's when bad things happen. What I'm saying is that the quality of my sobriety seems different to me this time around. I'm not sitting around moping about not being able to drink. I'm not craving alcohol. I'm counting days but they just keep ticking by on the calendar. So what is it that I'm doing differently?

* Acceptance. This is such a simple thing -- and it's the first step in AA -- but it can be very hard to do. I have finally accepted at the core of my being that I am an alcoholic. I cannot ever drink again. It will most likely kill me. And you know, it's not like I've just resigned myself to some awful truth, either. I actually am at peace with this truth. I think I can even love this aspect of myself -- it's part of who I am, it's part of my journey in this life, and I am learning some amazing things. Yes it has been painful. But I am who I am. The past is the past and it's time to move forward.

* Commitment. I have finally made a firm commitment in my mind that I will not drink. No ifs, ands or buts -- it just isn't an option. That takes away a huge amount of pressure from me. I don't have to sit around from 5:00 to 9:00 PM every night trying to make up my mind, "Will I or won't I have a drink?" because I already know the answer. I just have to do whatever it takes to make the right answer come to pass. In the past, I think I always "reserved the right" in the back of my mind to have a drink if X, Y or Z happened. That left the door open -- and boy oh boy I had to deal with LOTS of nights fighting the MONSTER. Eventually, I lost.

* Visualization. This time around, I've been successful in changing the way I think about alcohol. I always used to visualize it in a positive, alluring light. It was always "a nice, cold beer" or "a fine wine" or "cocktail hour." See how those phrases just make your mouth water? Well I don't even think that way any more. I think in terms of "poisonous, addictive drug -- like crystal meth or heroin" (much less enticing) or "rotted fruit" or "diesel fuel." Honestly the smell of alcohol almost makes me sick because of these associations in my mind. Who wants to smell rotted fruit or diesel fuel while they are eating dinner??

* Topamax. My God, I think this has been a lifesaver for me. Early on I couldn't manage to string together more than 5 or 6 days before the obsession would get the better of me and I'd give in. This happened time and time again. Finally, when I got my dosage of topa up to 200 mg, it was like a light switch went off in my head, and I became indifferent to alcohol. Not that I didn't want it any more psychologically -- but it was a mere intellectual proposal, and easy to dismiss. The deep longing for it was absolutely gone. And it hasn't come back. Now I really hope to get off this drug someday, but for the moment it's helping me tremendously -- and it's keeping the monster at bay while I build up my own defenses.

* Honesty. I am finally being completely open and honest with myself and with others (here on the board and with others in my life) about my drinking and recovery. I'm reaching out and talking to people when I have a hard time, rather than bottling it up. I am paying attention to what I feel and opening up to others about that and getting feedback. In the past, there were big parts of my life I just kept secret. And as they say, we are as sick as our secrets.

Of course there are other things I'm doing that contribute to my sense of well-being: supplements, exercise (finally!), eating right (finally!), hypnotherapy, some meditation, etc. These are maintenance as well as growth steps for me. But I think the ones listed above are the "biggies" that I can point to as to why I feel different this time.

So why am I posting all this? Hmmm.... well for one thing, I've come to use this forum as my online journal, I suppose, and it helps me to formulate my thoughts. :) For another, maybe there are others out there like me who are trying again and again to get it right and are wondering what works. Now -- what works for me may not be the same as what works for you. But this has been my experience so far. And God willing, I'll keep forging ahead.

Mike

Helensback
November 26th, 2006, 11:14 PM
Mike

Thank you - once again.

Guest
November 26th, 2006, 11:56 PM
appreciation

Why is this time different? I continually throughout the day stop and marvel at the little things. It was hard to do when I was hungover. In my past attempts I did not appreciate anything about sobriety--I was downright enivous of those who could drink. Going nine months before and relapsing has given me a huge appreciation of how hard it is to get it back. I thought if it started to spiral out of control it would just be easy to stop...it wasn't. I am not cocky about my sobriety and think that there is no way I could ever drink again. This keeps me honest and when I need help I reach out for help (which I did not do before).

Last week I had a headache.....it was my first headache in over 100 days...and this one was not self inflicted by alcohol.

I also find myself saying "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you" many times a day to my higher power. I am so grateful that this time it has been rather easy. I think the easy part comes in on just not having a decision to make. I already decided that I am not going to drink so there is no decision to make.

I also don't worry about what others might think. For God sakes many had seen me drink and embarass myself....why would I be embarassed to say that I have given up alcohol????? Wouldn't it be more embarrassing for people to think that I am still making an ass out of myself?

Kim

gonnastop
November 26th, 2006, 11:56 PM
Thanks Mike and Kim,
I hope that is the inspiration I need right now!
GS

Mauigirl
November 27th, 2006, 12:57 AM
Aloha Mike & Kim:

Thanks for your inspiration! I've been ABS for 3 weeks. Thanksgiving, yesterday, and today, were all a challenge for me. Big meals, lots of family, all drinking, and each time I have a situation like this, it does seem to be getting easier.

I would always say that my full flavored red wine was "The Nector of the Gods". But to tell you the truth, it just doesn't have the same appeal as in the past.

Like both of you, I too have made a decison not to drink, and it just seems easier that way. Before I always said, well, I'll have this bottle and start tomorrow, or it's the weekend, I'll start again on Monday. Funny how tomorrow or Monday always turned into next week, or the 1st of next month.

I'm still taking each day, one at a time, moment by moment in some instances, but it is getting easier. I've gotten through one holiday, and I know I can do it again. It's for me, it's for my family!

Have a fabulous week!
Mauigirl:cool:

xtexan
November 27th, 2006, 08:15 PM
I didn't want to post this yesterday, as it may have not been too appropriate. Hopefully, it will not upset anybody too much.

I know exactly what is different this time for me. This time, it was a life or death decision for me.

The previous times is was, "I could be healthier, get more done, and maybe be happier if I didn't drink so much" type of thinking. I mean I could get resolve and willpower, but it just didn't sink in.

Last December, it became clear to me. Drink and die soon.-or- Stay sober, and live longer. Those were the two choices I had, and it was made clear to me.

Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. Not much else to say.

Be well.

Neil

spacie
November 27th, 2006, 09:26 PM
Hi you guys,

I've been in a funk my best friend that I've known since the 6th grade passed away Saturday and I'm grieving her loss and the news of Kanga shook me as well.

I'm strong in my conviction not to drink and today is day 80 for me. I know what the difference to stop drinking for me is I want to live and there is no doubt in my mind that drinking was going to take me down. What is making it possible the supplements and the great people on this board - I'm no longer alone.

Yours truly,
spacie

Rags
December 13th, 2006, 08:11 PM
Mike, this has given me some guidelines I can work on to help myself out of thehole. I'm climbing out, and soon will be walk ing down a differwent street so I never fall back into that hole again.
Thanks,
Raghnall (Aust.)

mikeupnorth
December 14th, 2006, 09:12 AM
Hi Raghnall,

Very good to see you here, and welcome! You're in the right place if your goal is to quit drinking. Just keep coming here every day, reading as well as posting.... if you're having a good day, post about it. If you're having a difficult time, post about it. One of the things we did as alcoholics was keep everything "bottled" up and it helps, especially early on in the process, to just let it all out. It helps to identify patterns and triggers, and it also helps to establish a sense of connection here with this community.

Hope to see you around here for a long time to come. Wishing you all the best ~

Mike