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Thread: Tool box

  1. #631
    Forum Subscriber. abcowboy's Avatar

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    I posted this in the Nest and was asked to make sure it got to the Toolbox, just one drunk helping another drunk stay sober..

    Hello everyone! Thereís been some talk on other threads as to why MWO seems to slow down from time to time. People are busy, have become complacent, have found another source of support, need face to face, or have become comfortable and firm in their sobriety. There could be many reasons other than relapse, although I fear relapse is a big contributor. For me, like the other old timers, when I feel comfortable and firm in my quit, then itís time to give back, to help others enjoy the freedom that I feel.

    I am not an addiction counselor, nor am I trained in any way to advise people how to beat their addiction. I am a fellow alcohol addict who woke on another Day One and decided I needed more than AA, so I began to look on the internet for more information about my situation. That search led me to MWO, where I have been an active participant for most of the past 3/4 year. I have been sober for most of that time, but not all of it. I have noticed a recurring pattern in my sober spells. I begin with very high resolve to beat this addiction, but over time that resolve declines, finding more reasons and excuses, leading inevitably to more drinking. I have noticed a similar pattern expressed by some other members who want to stay stopped, but who do not find it easy.

    There are many members of the forum who have long term sobriety. I put them in two categories. The first is the group whose drinking led them to great personal tragedy; jail time, children taken away, loss of family, injured someone while drunk, injured themselves while drunk, lost job and living on streets, etc. Those people experienced a life altering event that filled them with unshakable resolve to remain sober. The second is the group who stopped their drinking before their personal lives came to tragedy. They realized their drinking was a problem, the negative consequences were piling up, so they stopped and stayed stopped. I want to be in that second group. I am terrified of ending up in that first group.

    We both wake up on Day One overcome by the negative consequences of our drinking and highly resolved to quit this behavior and remain sober. We continue on this path for a while, letís call it Path A, but at some point a change in direction comes. It might be a few days or a few weeks, but as sure as the sun rises, that change will come. The resolve to remain sober declines, ultimately leading to relapse. Judging from some of the posts I see, I was not alone in this pattern.
    Yet for some, they experience a change in direction that actually elevates their resolve to remain sober. They do not drink again. Their path, letís call it Path B, leads to happily ever after - or at least soberly ever after. Either way, it is the path I am now on.

    So, ask yourself, "What makes the difference between traveling on Path A or Path B?" Here is my opinion. It is the CHOICES and ACTIONS before one hits that fork in the road that will have the greatest influence on which path is travelled. The path you choose is your decision and yours alone, no one can make it for you.

    I am seeing a counsellor, and I believe it is going well. She is providing me with tools and strategies to maintain my resolve. I have a renewed faith in God and pray daily. So far it is working for me. There are other strategies working for members of that pre-tragedy group of recovering alcoholics. AA, AVRT, SMART, MWO, etc. I haven't tried all of them, only MWO and AA, and still borrow from AA as needed. Whatever works to keep me to Path B this time is what Iím sticking with! But one thing is for sure, I canít do it alone. That is why I pray daily, I read and post on MWO daily, and I see my counsellor once a month. As Robert said about black boxes, if it isnít broke, why fix it!
    Quitting and staying quit isnít easy, itís learning a whole new way of thinking. Itís accepting a new way of life, and not just accepting it, embracing it...
    Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Just get through today. Tomorrow will look after itself when it becomes today, because today is all we have to think about.
    Friendship is not about how many friends you have or who you've known the longest. It's about who walked into your life, said "I'm here for you", and proved it.

  2. #632
    Forum Subscriber. abcowboy's Avatar

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    "You don't have to jump off the cliff to know what's going to happen when you hit the bottom."

    Take a look at the bottom. It's way down there. There is no way you can survive the fall. You might even bounce off the side of the mountain as you drop. You are going to be a crumpled up, bloody mess laying there either dead or paralyzed or painfully mangled. And it all begins with that first leap, then you are helplessly falling.

    And it all begins with that first drink. So take a good long look at the bottom. Just because you haven't wrecked your car, or lost your liver, or ruined your marriage, or lost your child, or become bankrupt, or lost your job, or killed someone, or gone to jail, or killed yourself, doesn't mean it won't happen. It will happen if you take that leap.

    If you feel like picking up the first one, look at the bottom. Remember some of the awful things you did and think about some of the awful things you have heard others do. And the awful things people said about you when you were drunk. You don't want to go there. Take a deep breath and let someone know why you are feeling like drinking. Don't be ashamed of having a craving. Don't let your disease stop you from reaching out for help. Good for you all for always coming back, it really means you want to find your way out!"
    Quitting and staying quit isnít easy, itís learning a whole new way of thinking. Itís accepting a new way of life, and not just accepting it, embracing it...
    Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Just get through today. Tomorrow will look after itself when it becomes today, because today is all we have to think about.
    Friendship is not about how many friends you have or who you've known the longest. It's about who walked into your life, said "I'm here for you", and proved it.

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  4. #633
    Forum Subscriber. abcowboy's Avatar

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    "You don't have to jump off the cliff to know what's going to happen when you hit the bottom."

    Take a look at the bottom. It's way down there. There is no way you can survive the fall. You might even bounce off the side of the mountain as you drop. You are going to be a crumpled up, bloody mess laying there either dead or paralyzed or painfully mangled. And it all begins with that first leap, then you are helplessly falling.

    And it all begins with that first drink. So take a good long look at the bottom. Just because you haven't wrecked your car, or lost your liver, or ruined your marriage, or lost your child, or become bankrupt, or lost your job, or killed someone, or gone to jail, or killed yourself, doesn't mean it won't happen. It will happen if you take that leap.

    If you feel like picking up the first one, look at the bottom. Remember some of the awful things you did and think about some of the awful things you have heard others do. And the awful things people said about you when you were drunk. You don't want to go there. Take a deep breath and let someone know why you are feeling like drinking. Don't be ashamed of having a craving. Don't let your disease stop you from reaching out for help. Good for you all for always coming back, it really means you want to find your way out!"
    Quitting and staying quit isnít easy, itís learning a whole new way of thinking. Itís accepting a new way of life, and not just accepting it, embracing it...
    Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Just get through today. Tomorrow will look after itself when it becomes today, because today is all we have to think about.
    Friendship is not about how many friends you have or who you've known the longest. It's about who walked into your life, said "I'm here for you", and proved it.

  5. #634
    Registered User. Matt M.'s Avatar

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    Hell Froze over. Matt made a year!

    In keeping with tradition here is my one year sober story.*

    Where I was at a year ago, what I did during the past year, and where I'm at now?.

    A year ago I was a beatin, battered Man. I was repulsed with everything about me. For the husband and father I'd become, for the sad legacy I was preparing for my loved ones. My Morals once high, had stooped to an all new low. At 43 years old I had been drinking for 20+ years, heavily drinking the last 10 years. It was about 10 years ago I began to think I had a problem. My Father was Alcoholic,with 30 years sobriety when he died. My mother &sister have many years of sobriety. I grew up in the rooms of AA. So naturally I went to AA, because that's what you did, Hell it saved my parents life! In my family it was AA or keep drinking, that was it, end of story..(AA has saved many lives, I believe there is more than one way to skin a cat)*
    So over the last 10 years I fell in and out racking up 30 days a few times 60 a time or two 6 months twice 8 months and even 10months.. All of those times I would convince myself and the ones around me "this time would be different"*

    (From the Big book of AA) - Alcohol- cunning, baffling and powerful, no truer words ever spoken*

    I was at an all time low, my wife had withstood years of my druken tirades, lies, conniving, broken promises. She had been preparing herself for a life without me, no threats, verbal ultimatums this time. She was saving herself and our children from my destruction. My children are my life I cherished my family, yet I came so close to loosing it all, even knowing I was about to lose it all. After all of this the thought of never drinking again was still to hard to bare...Unfuckingbelievable how anything can have that much power..



    I started reading every self help book I could find. They helped, one inpaticular really put Alcohol in a different light, The book hammered home what a poison Alcohol really is, with absolutely zero value of any kind, and no matter what I could not drink it, No matter what...The theory here is one had to change there complete mindset about Alcohol. This really got my wheels turning and by the absolute Grace of God a google search led me to MWO.*

    After reading through the site for a few days, I jumped in head first. I began to follow people in here that I could relate to. I logged I in and read and read and posted 10+ ◊ a day, I reached out to several via private message. I built trust and soon began emailing with several. I now had people that could hold me accountable, and they no shit did hold me accountable. I am forever grateful. After a few months I began to get comfortable in my old/new sobriety, I started letting a day or two go by without logging in. Guess what people noticed, and called me out on a few occasions, I was so graciously thrown a life line.*
    Yes a lifeline, because for me, I believe for me to drink again would ultimately be my fate. I don't have another day one on me.*
    My mantra There is a 100% chance I can't do this by myself! And I didn't. ..By the grace of God and the men and women in these rooms, I have been born again Hard! I have made life long friends from as far away as Australlia <3.



    Where am I after one year?*

    I am happier than I remember beng since an adolescent.*
    My relationships with my Wife and 3 boys has blossomed in ways I could never have imagined. The grass is greener, the trees are more beautiful, And optimism has replaced the once pessimist....For so many years I could not imagine a life without Alcohol, now I cringe at the thought of a life with Al in it. .

    Do I have thoughts of drink? Yes occasionally. Then I play it out in my mind for the next week, and the results are the same. Insanity*
    Do I still have days of remorse and guilt? Absolutely*

    I can't dwell on them, but I know my darkest days have become my greatest asset! A very wise woman I met in here ( not mentioning any names but her nickname resembles something with wings and feathers with a Y) recently gave me advice as she so often has. I had shared with her some struggles I was having. She said "Regret of the past and fear of the future are the twin thieves of today!" So true.*

    If you're struggling, lock in here, follow the successful ones in front of you and don't give Alcohol another second of your life, we don't get that time back. I'm damn sure going to make the best of what time I have left and be able to remember it!*
    For everyone that has been apart of this Thank you. .

    STAY HARD My friends!
    AF 08~05~2014

    The past has no power over the present moment.Ē

    There is a 100% chance I can't do this by myself! ~ Me

  6. Thanks jane27, daisy45, IamMary, Baclofenman thanked for this post
  7. #635
    Registered User. Matt M.'s Avatar

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    Hell Froze over. Matt made a year!

    In keeping with tradition here is my one year sober story.*

    Where I was at a year ago, what I did during the past year, and where I'm at now?.

    A year ago I was a beatin, battered Man. I was repulsed with everything about me. For the husband and father I'd become, for the sad legacy I was preparing for my loved ones. My Morals once high, had stooped to an all new low. At 43 years old I had been drinking for 20+ years, heavily drinking the last 10 years. It was about 10 years ago I began to think I had a problem. My Father was Alcoholic,with 30 years sobriety when he died. My mother &sister have many years of sobriety. I grew up in the rooms of AA. So naturally I went to AA, because that's what you did, Hell it saved my parents life! In my family it was AA or keep drinking, that was it, end of story..(AA has saved many lives, I believe there is more than one way to skin a cat)*
    So over the last 10 years I fell in and out racking up 30 days a few times 60 a time or two 6 months twice 8 months and even 10months.. All of those times I would convince myself and the ones around me "this time would be different"*

    (From the Big book of AA) - Alcohol- cunning, baffling and powerful, no truer words ever spoken*

    I was at an all time low, my wife had withstood years of my druken tirades, lies, conniving, broken promises. She had been preparing herself for a life without me, no threats, verbal ultimatums this time. She was saving herself and our children from my destruction. My children are my life I cherished my family, yet I came so close to loosing it all, even knowing I was about to lose it all. After all of this the thought of never drinking again was still to hard to bare...Unfuckingbelievable how anything can have that much power..



    I started reading every self help book I could find. They helped, one inpaticular really put Alcohol in a different light, The book hammered home what a poison Alcohol really is, with absolutely zero value of any kind, and no matter what I could not drink it, No matter what...The theory here is one had to change there complete mindset about Alcohol. This really got my wheels turning and by the absolute Grace of God a google search led me to MWO.*

    After reading through the site for a few days, I jumped in head first. I began to follow people in here that I could relate to. I logged I in and read and read and posted 10+ ◊ a day, I reached out to several via private message. I built trust and soon began emailing with several. I now had people that could hold me accountable, and they no shit did hold me accountable. I am forever grateful. After a few months I began to get comfortable in my old/new sobriety, I started letting a day or two go by without logging in. Guess what people noticed, and called me out on a few occasions, I was so graciously thrown a life line.*
    Yes a lifeline, because for me, I believe for me to drink again would ultimately be my fate. I don't have another day one on me.*
    My mantra There is a 100% chance I can't do this by myself! And I didn't. ..By the grace of God and the men and women in these rooms, I have been born again Hard! I have made life long friends from as far away as Australlia <3.



    Where am I after one year?*

    I am happier than I remember beng since an adolescent.*
    My relationships with my Wife and 3 boys has blossomed in ways I could never have imagined. The grass is greener, the trees are more beautiful, And optimism has replaced the once pessimist....For so many years I could not imagine a life without Alcohol, now I cringe at the thought of a life with Al in it. .

    Do I have thoughts of drink? Yes occasionally. Then I play it out in my mind for the next week, and the results are the same. Insanity*
    Do I still have days of remorse and guilt? Absolutely*

    I can't dwell on them, but I know my darkest days have become my greatest asset! A very wise woman I met in here ( not mentioning any names but her nickname resembles something with wings and feathers with a Y) recently gave me advice as she so often has. I had shared with her some struggles I was having. She said "Regret of the past and fear of the future are the twin thieves of today!" So true.*

    If you're struggling, lock in here, follow the successful ones in front of you and don't give Alcohol another second of your life, we don't get that time back. I'm damn sure going to make the best of what time I have left and be able to remember it!*
    For everyone that has been apart of this Thank you. .

    STAY HARD My friends!
    AF 08~05~2014

    The past has no power over the present moment.Ē

    There is a 100% chance I can't do this by myself! ~ Me

  8. #636
    Forum Subscriber. jane27's Avatar

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    Bravo Matt! Awesome, awesome, awesome post!
    AF since January 7, 2014 *Never, never, never give up. ~ Winston Churchill*

  9. Thanks Matt M. thanked for this post
  10. #637
    Forum Subscriber. jane27's Avatar

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    Bravo Matt! Awesome, awesome, awesome post!
    AF since January 7, 2014 *Never, never, never give up. ~ Winston Churchill*

  11. #638
    Forum Subscriber. IamMary's Avatar

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    Reposted, as requested, one month down.. life time to go:

    I don’t think I’m qualified yet to give take this stage! Stumbling across MWO has been critical, for support and accountably. This coupled with desperation, determination and my saviour, stubbornness.

    I have let AL control me for the 25 years. For much of this, I could manage it, which made me slow to label myself as having a problem. ‘Managing’ meant only having a half bottle of wine on week nights, but who was I kidding, I always knew. I read somewhere, it’s not how much AL you drink, it’s the relationship you have with it that separates you from a normal drinker. Ours was not good, I was getting weaker, AL was getting stronger. I had started to top up my buzz with vodka. The lengths I went to concealing this were ridiculous!

    I have tried this alone previously and reached 30 days on 2 occasions, but I had crumbled way before I actually poured that first glass. My trigger is 6 O’Clock. Hard to avoid this one! Making an effort with my new tipple helps: sparkling water, with ice, cordial and lime or lemon. I’m reading as much as I can, posting every day, listening to advise, running, appreciating my self confidence again. I was surprised to realise that i am actually good at my job (well in the last month anyway).
    I mostly hangout in the fabulous Army, but support has been all over here from the first day I signed up. I will do some counselling too at a later point.

    I refuse to let AL beat me, I spit on its every trick, thought and image it sends me - I focus on tomorrow morning when it gets tough. I WILL NOT let it win this time.

    Thank you all again!

  12. #639
    Registered User. BenTen321's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Work in Progress View Post
    Repeating this for the "Tool Box" Thread


    What is a plan, and how do I get one???


    I can't count how many times I have made the suggestion to new folks here to "get a plan" for their recovery from alcohol abuse. The old phrase: "failing to plan is planning to fail" is very true in so many situations... and especially so in the case of those of us who are beginning (and continuing) the path of freedom from the devastation of alcohol abuse.

    SO: What is a plan, and how do I get one?

    The MWO book, and what we call the MWO program, discuss and recommend a number of elements that have proven very helpful to many, many people who have used them. They include (and I have added a few, based on my own experience and that of many MWO members):
    • Exercise (doesn't have to be a whole lot; some brisk walking, 3 or 4 days a week, is helpful)
    • Hypnotherapy (you can buy the recordings on the MWO site in the "store")
    • Meditation (many of us practice meditation)
    • Dietary supplements (see the MWO book, the "store" here onsite, and the threads here on "Holistic Healing")
    • A healthy diet, and regular mealsMedication (preferably with help, advice, and a prescription from your physician)Spending a significant amount of time here at MWO, reading the posts of others, getting to know people, asking questions, and talking about your progress and your strugglesGoing to AA meetingsChanging our environment: Getting alcohol out of the house; not going to bars; not hanging around with "drinking buddies"
    Most people do not use ALL elements in this list; but those who are successful tend to use a LOT of them. And we tend to adjust and tweak the elements, as we see what works for us (and for others).

    Equally important is something we call the "mental game." This is short-hand for the process of changing our thinking and attitudes toward: alcohol, drinking, our emotions, and our behavior. We must learn a whole new approach to problems in life (we don't try to drink them away, any more), and we don't see alcohol as a "reward" for having accomplished something. We learn to tolerate distress, including the urges and impulses and cravings for drink, and we allow them to naturally pass away, without giving in to them. We learn not to engage in battles within our minds about drinking; we step away from that whole process, and choose to think about, and do, something else.

    Perhaps most important
    : we recognize that the work of recovery truly is "work," and it takes time, effort, and sometimes it costs money. Sometimes it is costly in other ways, as well; friendships and other close relationships will be changed, when we change. And that can be painful. Making this kind of change will have an impact on all areas of our lives; that is a very, very good thing; it can also be accompanied by some pain. Again... we must learn to tolerate the discomforts involved in life changes. There will be some emotional upheaval along the way. We might want to seek counseling or psychotherapy; we certainly will benefit from coming here and talking about it.

    Making a plan, and following it
    , is an act of mature recognition of the fact that, for nearly all of us, just wishing and hoping that we will stop drinking (or begin drinking "normally") "on our own" is not going to work. Remember: nobody ever "wished and hoped" their way through any important project. But with persistence, and support from others, following a plan can take us to the places in our lives where we really want to go.

    wip
    Its really a nice post and helpful for me. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. #640
    Registered User. BenTen321's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Work in Progress View Post
    Repeating this for the "Tool Box" Thread


    What is a plan, and how do I get one???


    I can't count how many times I have made the suggestion to new folks here to "get a plan" for their recovery from alcohol abuse. The old phrase: "failing to plan is planning to fail" is very true in so many situations... and especially so in the case of those of us who are beginning (and continuing) the path of freedom from the devastation of alcohol abuse.

    SO: What is a plan, and how do I get one?

    The MWO book, and what we call the MWO program, discuss and recommend a number of elements that have proven very helpful to many, many people who have used them. They include (and I have added a few, based on my own experience and that of many MWO members):
    • Exercise (doesn't have to be a whole lot; some brisk walking, 3 or 4 days a week, is helpful)
    • Hypnotherapy (you can buy the recordings on the MWO site in the "store")
    • Meditation (many of us practice meditation)
    • Dietary supplements (see the MWO book, the "store" here onsite, and the threads here on "Holistic Healing")
    • A healthy diet, and regular mealsMedication (preferably with help, advice, and a prescription from your physician)Spending a significant amount of time here at MWO, reading the posts of others, getting to know people, asking questions, and talking about your progress and your strugglesGoing to AA meetingsChanging our environment: Getting alcohol out of the house; not going to bars; not hanging around with "drinking buddies"
    Most people do not use ALL elements in this list; but those who are successful tend to use a LOT of them. And we tend to adjust and tweak the elements, as we see what works for us (and for others).

    Equally important is something we call the "mental game." This is short-hand for the process of changing our thinking and attitudes toward: alcohol, drinking, our emotions, and our behavior. We must learn a whole new approach to problems in life (we don't try to drink them away, any more), and we don't see alcohol as a "reward" for having accomplished something. We learn to tolerate distress, including the urges and impulses and cravings for drink, and we allow them to naturally pass away, without giving in to them. We learn not to engage in battles within our minds about drinking; we step away from that whole process, and choose to think about, and do, something else.

    Perhaps most important
    : we recognize that the work of recovery truly is "work," and it takes time, effort, and sometimes it costs money. Sometimes it is costly in other ways, as well; friendships and other close relationships will be changed, when we change. And that can be painful. Making this kind of change will have an impact on all areas of our lives; that is a very, very good thing; it can also be accompanied by some pain. Again... we must learn to tolerate the discomforts involved in life changes. There will be some emotional upheaval along the way. We might want to seek counseling or psychotherapy; we certainly will benefit from coming here and talking about it.

    Making a plan, and following it
    , is an act of mature recognition of the fact that, for nearly all of us, just wishing and hoping that we will stop drinking (or begin drinking "normally") "on our own" is not going to work. Remember: nobody ever "wished and hoped" their way through any important project. But with persistence, and support from others, following a plan can take us to the places in our lives where we really want to go.

    wip
    Its really a nice post and helpful for me. Thanks for sharing.

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