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mikeupnorth
March 2nd, 2007, 08:34 AM
Boredom.

I know that is one of the biggest reasons that I drank.

On the micro level, if I had nothing to do on a particular evening, I could count on a bottle of vodka to entertain me. I might start out bored, but by the second cocktail I?d have plenty to do. It usually involved making hours-long long-distance phone calls to family and friends who were drinking too. Sometimes I?d listen to CDs and look at old photo albums. A song or a photo might prompt a late-night call to a friend (or an ex) that I hadn?t talked to in a long time. By this point in the evening I might be slurring my words, so best case scenario would be leaving a message on someone?s answering machine. Then I?d usually go back to my music and surfing the ?Net until 3 or 4 AM, or whenever the booze ran out. Yep ? that?s entertainment.

On the macro level, I can see how I used booze and my ongoing struggle with alcohol to provide myself with something to do with my life in general. Yeah, I have a job. I have family. I have friends. But I don?t have a partner or a boyfriend. (As if that would have kept me from drinking.) And I don?t have anything really exciting going on in my life. I don?t have any sense of doing anything important. There?s no feeling of going anywhere, you know?? So, there?s booze. You have to admit, booze provides drama. Even if no one knows about it, it gives you something to suffer over. You have your own little soap opera going on. It?s like Britney Spears, or Robert Downey Jr. or Sir Elton John. Wow ? I?m like the tortured, wounded, misunderstood artist/celebrity. I?m trying to beat this thing, I really am. I keep picking myself up and dusting myself off but look at how hard it is. Poor me! I?m sorry but Bull Sh*t. All the ?attempts? and ?failures? to moderate and quit were part of my ongoing drama. I wallowed in that state of self-pity and impotence for a decade mostly ? not completely but mostly ? because I chose to. It gave me something to do and the truth is I got something out of it. It reinforced my low self-esteem and kept me in that dark place, which for some reason is where I felt I belonged.

Last night, driving home from work, I felt for a moment the urge to get drunk. Not, mind you, the urge to ?have a drink.? I wanted to get drunk. Plastered. Falling-down, word-slurring, passing-out drunk. I wondered for a moment if ?a drink or two? would satisfy the urge I was having. Nope. I knew it wouldn?t. So what was behind this insanity?

I was bored, plain and simple. I had worked all day, it was a nice evening, and I was feeling fine. I had nothing to do. So ? I?ve identified a trigger. I knew about this one, but this just brought it home for me. I didn?t drink, but if I had been on less solid ground I might have. So for me boredom is dangerous. It?s important for me to know I have options when I feel bored. Pick up the phone, call a friend, invite someone to go out. Go shopping. Go for a bike ride. (When it?s not 20 below.) Go skiing (ok, when it is 20 below, just dress appropriately). Rearrange the living room. You get the idea.

As for the macro level: this is where the idea of recovery comes in. I can?t just sit back, abstain from drinking, take my Topamax, and not make any other changes. If I do that, I?m just biding my time until my next drink, whether it?s 6 weeks or 6 months or 6 years. No, I have to change myself, the way I think, the way I behave and react to the world. I can?t just stand still. I have to move forward. Shift gears, as Neil would say. Life?s full of things to do. There?s no reason to be bored.

No excuses this time.

Mike

Accountable for Me
March 2nd, 2007, 10:02 AM
mikeupnorth;101919 wrote:

Last night, driving home from work, I felt for a moment the urge to get drunk. Not, mind you, the urge to ?have a drink.? I wanted to get drunk. Plastered. Falling-down, word-slurring, passing-out drunk. I wondered for a moment if ?a drink or two? would satisfy the urge I was having. Nope. I knew it wouldn?t. So what was behind this insanity?

I was bored, plain and simple. I had worked all day, it was a nice evening, and I was feeling fine. I had nothing to do. So ? I?ve identified a trigger.

Mike
Mike, I can agree with you 10000%. It definitely is a trigger for me as well. I am glad you wrote about it, because there are so many others who can identify with this. It couldn't of come at a better time either... with the weekend arriving and such. Great post - and thanks.

Rocky
March 2nd, 2007, 10:21 AM
Me too Mike.... And I have had those times where I just want to get trashed....Not just a drink... those thoughts scare me....like it could happen any day...

Thanks for the musings on the boredom trigger....

Let's get busy with something!!!!

aquamarine
March 2nd, 2007, 11:23 AM
Mike, What you wrote about is exactly what I have thought about so many times. It has definately been a huge trigger to drink. I was going ask peoples' advice on what they do with this unbearable feeling of boredom. Sometimes it is so strong that I've thought maybe it really isn't boredom but something else that I just can't put my finger on. Thanks for writing about it. Your really have an incredible talent for putting your emotions into words. Thanks! Aquamarine

xtexan
March 2nd, 2007, 12:43 PM
Hi everyone:

Once again Mike has hit the proverbial nail on the head, in terms of definition.

One of the tricks that has carried me through those moments where I would think, "Gosh I'm bored. A case of beer would just about hit the spot!", was to make lists. Lists of things I want to do, or get done.

I sort of separate them into things to buy or obtain, exercises to do, books to read, house repairs or improvements to accomplish, etc. My interests change from moment to moment it seems, and that's why the separation. I put stuff on note cards, and keep them in my pocket. Seems like putting them on a laptop or PDA didn't work for me, as the boot up time just didn't seem worth the trouble.

Things are different being sober. I look at the things I would accomplish during my drinking days, just for me, and they were few and far between. I would do something, and then once accomplished, it was time to get ripped to the stars. Can't operate that way anymore. The satisfaction has to be found in the task itself, and the momentary satisfaction on completion. The celebration at the end, by way of self-obliteration had to be removed from the psyche as a reward process. Moving to the next bit of sober living must be the reason and the rhyme.

This is very deeply ingrained in most of us hard core ex-drinkers I believe. It is a major shift in perception. A major shift of paradigm. Now days, the exercise session itself is the reward. The time spent in deep meditation is the satisfaction. Even posting on this forum I had to look closely at. Is this becoming a substitute addiction for me? If so, then I must examine why I do it, in the way I do it.

I still have those moments myself. That moment where I am puttering around in the basement or something, and something weird happens. A subconscious clue or trigger out of nowhere, and it pops out. Drinking Neil pops out of hiding, as says, "Gosh it would be just grand to get snockered, and be comatose for a bit."

Sober Neil says, "No.........it wouldn't". It would be a tragedy, and that's the truth.
I pull the cards out of my pocket, and go "Oh yea, I need to work on that new valve in the plumbing system or whatever." I go on.

Boredom is a killer for sure. We have to find our way to deal with it I guess. Sometimes, it may be of some value to just shut everything off, and do nothing at all. Embrace the boredom, and try to find a way to not do anything at all. Just sit there, and exist and try to find the value in ourselves, just being there....being sober. Weird, but try it sometime, and discover who you are!

Neil

morrison
March 2nd, 2007, 01:32 PM
mikeupnorth;101919 wrote: Boredom.

I know that is one of the biggest reasons that I drank.

On the micro level, if I had nothing to do on a particular evening, I could count on a bottle of vodka to entertain me. I might start out bored, but by the second cocktail I?d have plenty to do. It usually involved making hours-long long-distance phone calls to family and friends who were drinking too. Sometimes I?d listen to CDs and look at old photo albums. A song or a photo might prompt a late-night call to a friend (or an ex) that I hadn?t talked to in a long time. By this point in the evening I might be slurring my words, so best case scenario would be leaving a message on someone?s answering machine. Then I?d usually go back to my music and surfing the ?Net until 3 or 4 AM, or whenever the booze ran out. Yep ? that?s entertainment.


Mike
Mike, this first paragraph made me laugh out loud. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I would always drink and dial. That is usually a bad idea for me. The day I decided to go sober this time around, was the day after I had to talk to the company president on the phone, while drunk. It was my day off, but I needed to call him for something important. Well, being it was my day off, I was pissed before noon. The next day, I immediately regreted my tone with him. I was embarrassed, and hope to not see him in person anytime soon. That was 18 days ago. I keep stuff like that in my mind so I won't drink again, cause I'm certain I'll continue to do stupid shit.

Anyway, my best of luck to you on handling the boredom. It is probably the second reason I drink excessively.

Arial
March 2nd, 2007, 03:18 PM
Great to read these insights - strikes many chords, hits many raw nerves - the phone calls especially. I so agree with your last paragraph, Mike: "I can?t just sit back, abstain from drinking, take my Topamax, and not make any other changes. If I do that, I?m just biding my time until my next drink, whether it?s 6 weeks or 6 months or 6 years. No, I have to change myself, the way I think, the way I behave and react to the world. I can?t just stand still. I have to move forward." I'm very scared that if I don't plan these changes now this is exactly what will happen - and you're right, it's changing a mind-set, a way of life, years of repetition to erradicate and then to reprogram.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts ... they make a lot of sense.

and xtexan - thanks for some practical ideas - I'm trying the lists - I find it really helps to look beyond the drink and at what I now want to achieve - I love the idea that the satisfaction has be in the task itself and in its achievement without the 'reward' at the end - I went for my first run today in many years and the first thing I wanted on return was a beer to celebrate! Luckily I didn't, but came on here instead - much healthier despite pottential danger of replacing one addiction for another!

Anyway, thanks to all.

SKendall
March 2nd, 2007, 05:19 PM
So much wisdom on the site today. Mike and X, you are so right about the boredom thing. Funny thing is some of the real challenges are not to be bored. We just drank so we never developed the non-boring activities.

Although I am not totally A.F. yet, I no longer get trashed from being bored, or any other reason. I have gained successful moderation, but the mental energy required is allowing me to drift toward abstinence. I have taken up jewelry making, along with classes and I'm about to start painting classes even though I can only draw stickmen. These activities not only eliminate the boredom they add a block to my self-esteem and allow me to contemplate messing up the new value of myself.

Thank you all.

Hilary

rivergirl
March 2nd, 2007, 08:03 PM
I know what you mean about boredom, I have felt it myself - even before I was an alcoholic - but I wonder - and it is simply a thought - if perhaps what we call boredom is experienced differently by non alcoholics? What I mean is perhaps we need MORE excitement or stimulation than some might - to feel okay. I may be talking for myself. I observe the activities I choose to partake in - the level of activity I enjoy or need and I am told it is a bit risk taking - and hyperkinetic (Rock climbing, mountain climbing, taking jobs in jungle villages, Living in one town, working in another and flying at least twice a week....I am reflecting on this partly because when I flew home this week it was earlier than usual, Wed, not Fri and I had a drinking thought on the way home - it was coupled with a thought of home lower level of activity ...boredom? So maybe meditation helps because it allows us to become comfortable with a low level of activity and thought. I am rambling here but I mean to say - maybe we - certainly perhaps I need more stimulation than some to feel okay. The search for understanding is to achieve an end result of continuing to be AF and finding peace and joy.

Thank you Mike, as always for your remarkable insight.
Rivergirl

julie001
March 2nd, 2007, 10:05 PM
When I read this post, I was right in the middle of a "I'm so bored" (and very sober) moment. Those stir crazy feelings were taking hold, and unfortunately that's when the bottle of wine usually comes out--but not tonight!

When I started to feel that familiar sense of boredom creep into my mind (as it so often does in the evening when I'm sober), I immediately logged onto this site. Thanks everyone for putting it into perspective. While drinking does alleviate boredom, the price I have to pay afterwards (hangover, guilt, etc) is just not worth it--at least not tonight (and hopefully many more nights to come).

All of the dialogue on this website is such a great motivator.

Thanks all!

Julie

Helensback
March 2nd, 2007, 10:39 PM
Well

I can't be the only one who wished they had read this before the 6th beer.

Thank you Mike and everyone.
That spot that keeps getting hit has got to cave soon....
Please God.

Helen

drEAmIng
March 2nd, 2007, 10:57 PM
Wow, I'm blown away by your post Mike, and all of your responses everyone!

I have to say that boredom has also effected me deeply, and I saw it as an excuse to drink. But after quitting I soon realized that drinking was the cause of my boredom, not the other way around. In fact, I don't remember ever being so intrinsically bored as in my drinking life. There's nothing so boring as spinning your wheels... in a dark room... with no music playing.

Now I can see that my boredom was and is just another side effect of my drinking. I was bored because I was lost. I had lost so much of my spirit, my purpose, my creativity; and at the same time I was very consciously unwilling to make social plans, unless I knew they would sync with my drink schedule and style (a lot and alone). What did that combination leave me with? Groundhog Day. 365 days a year. So glad that movie's over.

Stay up!
Deirdre:h


:confused: Hey Helen, I didn't see your post there - I hope you're OK sister. Please let me know. :l

Arial
March 3rd, 2007, 04:43 AM
Ponders

Hi all,

Great reflections which really give pause for thought. Being only day 5 AF I'm not able to offer any insites or words of wisdom - but just responses and ponders. Rivergirl's thoughts really made me wonder - I, too, used to be very active - every day I had to be doing something - not necessarily extreme but challenging, and if I missed a day I had withdrawals - really needed that fix. However, I enjoyed my down time and I wonder if that's where my difference now lies? Having worked out just how much time I've wasted over the last many years I'm finding in these early stages of AF that I can't relax when doing nothing - I can't enjoy my downtime as I feel guilty for wasting it! So maybe it is partly personality - needing the fix, the rush, the adrenaline surge, or maybe it's the need to 'catch up' - whatever it is I'm just beginning to realise that it's not going to happen automatically - it's going to take a lot of effort to get beyond the alcohol and re-map my route, but reading postings such as these really helps. So please keep those thoughts and insites coming - certainly being forewarned gives me the chance of being forearmed if I choose to make the required effort. Now I just need to get over the problem of procrastination!
:thanks:

Popeye
March 3rd, 2007, 05:34 AM
Great Stuff....

Going through this thread, I found myself nodding in agreement and gasping at the insight and wisdom I was reading when WHAM! rivergirl's post whacked me right between the eyes.
There is a part of me that loves taking physical risks, that is spiritually stunted and, in a word....unfulfilled.
I have a loving family and a secure job; all the basics for 'happiness', and I try to feel content with my lot, yet there is something missing. Something BIG. Something intangible that I can't quite define. Perhaps this 'lack' could be a reason for my self abuse?
God I'm bored........

Popeye
March 5th, 2007, 01:28 AM
Me again,
I just read that back.
I'm not really that bored. I must was on a bit of a downer on Saturday.

wwbarb
March 5th, 2007, 11:34 AM
Today is day 50 - does this qualify me as a long term abber??

Boredom is a good description - for me, it's just lonliness. I can't believe how much of my life revolved around booze before this. I can't believe how much of my husband's does. We go out to eat lunch (once in a while) or go shop for something and he can't wait to drop me off so that he can go to the bar. Or, run an errand and come back two hours later. I stopped once and drank club soda - I had nothing to say, and they had nothing to say to me. These are people that I used to think were my friends. I guess if I'm not loud, obnoxious and drunk, we have nothing in common.

My true friends, the ones who have a grip on booze, have families and lives, so I can't intrude on them on the weekend. I have plenty I have to do, but the resentment is really starting to build up. I work out of my house and go days sometimes without seeing people. I also work part time outside of the house, and I'm tired. I work every Saturday and Sunday morning. I try to find things to do, but sometimes, I'm just too damn tired and there is really nothing going on that a "married/single" can do. It would really be nice to have something to look forward to. I'm thinking about backing off my other part time job, but then it would be more time just sitting alone watching yet another movie.

I still don't want a drink - I know the consequences. I just need to put my "thinking cap" on and get more creative with my time.

Popeye
March 5th, 2007, 12:01 PM
Hi wwbarb,
50 Days.....Brilliant!

Arial
March 5th, 2007, 01:05 PM
Hi wwbarb,


Absolutely! - day 50 is awesome, great job!

With regards to loneliness, I think it could go back to what Mike said in his original post:
"I have to change myself, the way I think, the way I behave and react to the world. I can?t just stand still. I have to move forward. Shift gears, as Neil would say. Life?s full of things to do." - it's just finding them!

What's possibly difficult is that your husband and friends have stood still and you now need to re-eastablish the friendships based on new commonalities or understandings - not always easy - As a single mum with no desire to bring any new men into my children's lives up till now, I've also had difficulty finding something to do which wasn't generally directed to either 'singles' or 'marrieds'. But as you said, get creative! Maybe think about what your part time job offers you and whether it's something you want to continue, or whether giving it up would give you the energy to persue other opportunities - what about interest groups, or professional women's groups , sports activities? something that you can do that would make you more fulfilled without being threatening to your husband/relationship? I found the interest groups really helped me as the focus was on the common interest and the making new friends/contacts just happened naturally.

Good luck with it all - with all these days AF you have created so many more options and possibilities for yourself - a great inspiration to someone with just a week under their belt!