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    1. #11
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      nicelife's Avatar

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      Totally agree JackieM. Living sober IS different to just not drinking.

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      Great topic I'll have to read NL's post. I was sober last time for about 3 years. Friend stopped by that I had not seen for a long time. We played some music, he offered a beer, I was off to the races. This time though near my ending I was getting really screwed up every night. It was the intensity of it that seemed greater. It's always hard for me to quit. This time though instead of thinking of willpower, I am trying the approach of it just is not part of who I am any more. Of course the little monster lurks, tempts me but I know what it wants. I try to make it a point to affirm every day that I do not drink. I like the fact of not slurring my words, trying to guess what I ate last, trying to wonder how I got into an arguement with a family member and all the other crap that we all know we have done. I knew I had to quit. My blood pressure had gotten sky high. It was the scare factor of a stroke that concerned me. And the bottom line is that it came way the hell down by staying sober. I am so glad I'm sober

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    4. #13
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      Thank you!

      Your stories are just what I was hoping some people would be willing to share - thank you.

      Up until now, with 6 months being a rather arbitrary divide, I felt like if I drank, I would not have succeeded in giving up drinking. Now, I if I were to drink, I feel like I would be giving up a fairly well-established quit -- And I don't want to do that! Congratulations to all of you who have "quit again" and been able to carefully maintain it.

      The more I learned from all of you about how to quit, the easier it became. There are many shining examples of people happily living AF lives all over MWO and I eagerly read those posts. But cautionary tales are also so helpful -- I want to know what changes to be alert to, what actions to take (or not), and the consequences of drinking again. I know I will return to this thread to be reminded of what even a single glass of wine could lead to.

      Molly, I hope I have truly accepted my absolute inability to manage alcohol. I think I have but I will remember your post.

      FallenAngel: These capture something that I think is key: And it gets easier to break that promise of "never again"..."Each time we break a promise, we make it easier to break it again.". Before I joined MWO, I broke so many promises to myself that they became meaningless. I feel like if I drank now, it would be hard to ever trust myself or believe in myself again. Maybe that is what you and others mean when you write about not thinking you have another quit in you; I don't feel confident that I do.

      NiceLife: The thread with your post, and the responses to it, is one of the most powerful I've seen on MWO. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to never drink again.

      JackieM: Thank you so much for your post. I have never considered the differences in meaning between "sober" and "not drinking". It is such an important distinction. I think I have used 'sober' to describe myself but at 6 months, I'm not so sure that I'm really that far along.
      I'm so sorry to hear that you are still struggling with this. I have found that posting often has really helped me. I would love to hear more from you - your perspective of being free for 5 years followed by several years of struggling is not one expressed too often. It would be great if you considered actively participating in one of the daily threads :l.

      Spiderwoman: This has crossed my mind, also: "and now and again I think I could have a drink on special occasions
      ". Occasional thoughts such as these are what led me to initiate this thread. I am still so actively involved in this process, I squash them immediately... but what about in 3 years???

      Samstone: Do you have any idea why, after 3 years AF, you accepted the beer that seems to have been casually offered and could have been fairly easily refused? Did any warning bells go off in your head? Your story hits on what I'm worried about --- the almost mindless mistake... becoming complacent...

      Thanks again for so freely sharing your stories and helping others - this is an amazing place I feel so grateful to have found.

      :h NS

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    6. #14
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      NS
      All I can tell you is that I must have in my mind not really quit, I was taking it day to day and that day I failed, and that day turned into 5 years. I am trying a different approach. I am telling myself that there are no regrets, I'm not losing a friend. I is NOT a day to day thing but that I am sober, this is who I am, I'm free of that bastard that threatens my future in such a possible debilitating way.

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    8. #15
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      Wow...amazing stories like this keep me going. Thank you all for posting, and to NS for asking the question. It's easier to maintain what I have than to try and start over! I am so grateful for my sobriety! Byrdie

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    10. #16
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      NS-
      I have been doing some more thinking on the relapse issue. Since I started drinking again, I make one or two attempts a year to quit. It seems like every time I fall at the two or three month mark.
      I think it is because by that point the fog has fully lifted and I don't know what to do with myself. I realize I still have a crappy job and a crappy marriage and I end up going right down the chute again. I just cannot seem to get un-stuck.
      The coming out of the fog stage is probably where real, un-drunk emotions really start to climb to the surface. These are feelings that need to be dealt with and not drowned out with alcohol. I am 43 years old and apparently still don't know how to handle these feelings-hence the constant struggle.
      I also need to wrap my head around the fact that I cannot change other people and how they act towards me. Yes (Lord Yes!) my drinking has caused problems in my relationships. I understand the damage I have caused. But I also realize there are some issues/relationships that are not going to be fixed just because I do not drink. That is a tough one for me.
      Take care.
      Jackie

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    12. #17
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      When I joined here I went down the moderate drinking path after nearly 3 months AF. That continued for around 5 years. This time, I finally recognjzed that alcohol does not improve my life in any way, it only reduces the quality of my life in many ways. I simply don't want to drink. Alcohol is an illusion for many of us.

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      NS thank you so much for starting this thread. I'm a complete newbie to the process, first real quit and nearly two months AF. I am learning that willpower isn't what it's all about. I have to find new survival tools. At 13 alcohol and drugs got me through. Then it became habit. I need to work out a way to convince my inner child that I have adult ways of coping now. Helplessness is a trigger ( read that in Heart of Addiction) and when I read JackieM's post I see feeling trapped being a trigger. I agree that when the fog lifts we feel raw, and vulnerable. It is new, and scary. I will continue to read here in hopes of learning the skills I need. Thank you all for sharing!

    14. #19
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      Found this article interesting 11 steps to relapse

      11 Steps to a Relapse

      Change in Attitude - For some reason you decide that participating in your recovery program is just not as important as it was. You may begin to return to what some call "stinking thinking" or unhealthy or addictive thinking. Basically, you are not working your program as you did previously. You feel something is wrong, but can't identify exactly what it is.

      Elevated Stress - An increase in stress in your life can be due to a major change in circumstances or just little things building up. Returning to the "real world" after a stint in residential treatment can present many stressful situations. The danger is if you begin over-reacting to those situations. Be careful if you begin to have mood swings and exaggerated positive or negative feelings.

      Reactivation of Denial - This is not denial that you have a drug or alcohol problem, it's denial that the stress is getting to you. You try to convince yourself that everything is OK, but it's not. You may be scared or worried, but you dismiss those feelings and you stop sharing those feelings with others. This is dangerous because this denial is very similar to denial of drug addiction or abuse.

      Recurrence of Postacute Withdrawal Symptoms - Anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and memory loss can continue long after you quit drinking or doing drugs. Known as postacute withdrawal symptoms these symptoms can return during times of stress. They are dangerous because you may be tempted to self-medicate them with alcohol or drugs.

      Behavior Change - You may begin to change the daily routine that you developed in early sobriety that helped you replace your compulsive behaviors with healthy alternatives. You might begin to practice avoidance or become defensive in situations that call for an honest evaluation of your behavior. You could begin using poor judgment and causing yourself problems due to impulsive behavior without thinking things through.

      Social Breakdown - You may begin feeling uncomfortable around others and making excuses not to socialize. You stop hanging around sober friends or you withdraw from family members. You stop going to your support group meetings or you cut way back on the number of meetings you attend. You begin to isolate yourself.

      Loss of Structure - You begin to completely abandon the daily routine or schedule that you developed in early sobriety. You may begin sleeping late, or ignoring personal hygiene or skipping meals. You stop making constructive plans and when the plans you do make don't work out, you overreact. You begin focusing on one small part of life to the exclusion of everything else.

      Loss of Judgment - You begin to have trouble making decisions or you make unhealthy decisions. You may experience difficulty in managing your feelings and emotions. It may be hard to think clearly and you become confused easily. You may feel overwhelmed for no apparent reason or not being able to relax. You may become annoyed or angry easily.

      Loss of Control - You make irrational choices and are unable to interrupt or alter those choices. You begin to actively cut off people who can help you. You begin to think that you can return to social drinking and recreational drug use and you can control it. You may begin to believe there is no hope. You lose confidence in your ability to manage your life.

      Loss of Options - You begin to limit your options. You stop attending all meetings with counselors and your support groups and discontinue any pharmacotherapy treatments. You may feel loneliness, frustration, anger, resentment and tension. You might feel helpless and desperate. You come to believe that there are only three ways out: insanity, suicide, or self-medication with alcohol or drugs.

      Relapse - You attempt controlled, "social" or short-term alcohol or drug use, but you are disappointed at the results and immediately experience shame and guilt. You quickly lose control and your alcohol and drug use spirals further out of control. This causes you increasing problems with relationships, jobs, money, mental and physical health. You need help getting sober again.

      There's also an interesting page of reader's responses to the question "What are you biggest relapse triggers and how do you deal with them?"

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    16. #20
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      I got to add to the 11 steps to relapse and that is the fact that we have in the past liked to catch a buzz.
      It' s not about the taste... that's an acquired thing. It's about getting fucked up. We learned to enjoy that numbing feeling and we did it for years. That feeling was so fleetingly wonderful but was there (and the pain the next day quickly forgotten in the evening). And now it is absent.
      It is the beast that always wants to return. Hearing that "voice" and recognizing it for what it is, the beast, the monkey, the consequences, always bad. Never forget, always remember.

      I'm rambling, so sorry....

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