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Thread: Tool box

  1. #691
    Forum Subscriber. KENSHO's Avatar

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    Re: Tool box

    An excerpt from Holly Whitaker's Tempest Newsletter that I love... About the "right time to quit alcohol":

    1. Realize there is no perfect time. There’s just not; your life will never stop moving forward and there will always be an elusive right time. Thinking there’s some magical date where a change like this will be easier or more convenient is a trap that keeps us from taking action.

    2. Starting doesn’t mean forever. It just means starting. Even if you can’t imagine yourself quitting for good or never drinking again, that doesn’t mean you don’t start taking steps toward it.

    3. It doesn’t have to be extreme. I used to build these schedules of how I would nail life; how I would fix myself and become this ideal version of myself. I would spend a Sunday building out a week where I did all the things: going to bed and waking up early, meditating, staying within my budget, abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes, making my lunch, taking my vitamins. I thought that happiness was on the other side of some kind of extreme and fantastic discipline. Sometimes, I’d make it to Tuesday. This was exactly what kept me from making real change, which is done bit by bit and moment by moment, typically one thing at a time. I eventually did become a person who stopped smoking and drinking, who meditated and got her finances in order, but that was only because I started with one thing— alcohol. The rest fell into place (and the idea that I needed to be perfect and disciplined to be happy was eventually disproven).

    4. You don’t have to know how the story ends. You do not have to have your mind made up in any direction; you don’t have to think through the next year or five years, imagine what it will mean for your friendships or your Friday nights or your marriage. These things unfold and reveal themselves. You literally only have to think about the thing in front of you.

    5. It will feel impossible. One of my favorite quotes by Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” If quitting drinking or even confronting your drinking feels like some kind of ominous unimaginable thing, that’s only because you can’t see it yet. The way you start to see it, the way it starts to become not impossible, is taking steps toward it.

    6. It's not impossible. The thing that all people who have quit drinking have in common is that they tried to quit drinking, and they didn’t stop until they did. There are a lot of things complicated about recovery; this part isn’t. It isn’t something only some people can do, it’s something you can do.

    7. Holy hell it’s worth it. On the other side of a shitty relationship with alcohol is the thing you want. A problem with booze isn’t a curse, it’s an invitation. The work you do to figure this thing out is the point of all of it; this is the path laid out before you, and it is filled with the things people spend their whole lives looking for.
    Kensho

    Done. Moving on to life.

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  3. #692
    Forum Subscriber. NoSugar's Avatar

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    Re: Tool box

    Reposted from the Newbies Nest:

    There is a reason there are so many support groups out there. Heck, our nest-mom @Byrdlady belongs to 3 that I know about! Humans are social creatures - our group is much more than the sum of the individuals in it.

    I tried several times to quit drinking on my own to various degrees of success but ultimately let myself down each time. I needed something bigger than me - this group - to make a commitment to. I didn't value or trust myself enough to carry that load. You all carried it for me and I didn't want to let you down. Enough time sober and I didn't want to disappoint the slowly re-emerging NoSugar, either. Now I'm just glad I never need to drink again and have a brain healthy enough to make the logical choice not to do so.

    But... I know I generally forget 'the bad' and am inclined to believe the big stories I tell myself, so I'm still here 6+ years later. I want to be accountable to you. It takes some time but really, not that much, and it is much less than the hours I wasted in self-recrimination and daily recovery from the night before. It is a 'life job' like stretching and brushing my teeth. I want to be part of that body that is bigger than the self that others can hopefully become accountable to and find their ways out.

    I think 'giving back' is the right thing to do in the moral sense but it is so much more. I want for every addict the freedom that comes from quitting. It is so sad to remember the years I wasted, awash in fear, and so want to help spare anyone from that.

    Alcohol gives you nothing that isn't already within you. There is no ingredient in a drink that eliminates anxiety. Drinking enough just dulls you enough not to think about the thing that makes you anxious. You can do that on your own anytime. Let that thought GO. Just because you think something doesn't make it true and it is pointless to think about things that just make you feel bad. Thinking about being anxious doesn't make you less anxious - it just feeds the anxiety. Tell yourself, "I can handle this", and you will.

    I'm glad you're back, @lifechange. It sounds like you made a mistake and learned from it. Instead of thinking about it and telling yourself you can't be trusted, make a positive plan for the upcoming weekend and think about that. I used to visualize upcoming challenges and "see" myself handling them (and feeling good about it!). Then when you're in it, you can just do it.

    And if something comes up that you didn't expect, fall back on the "But I don't drink" mantra. No matter what happens, you don't drink. xx, NS


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  5. #693
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    Re: Tool box

    Reposted from Newbies Nest:

    Whew! I missed a lot the past few days. I was in sunny California being bathed in ocean goodness. Rough start today as it is darker, rainier and colder. But I sure enjoyed the break. I didn't even think to check in here - which is not a good habit, but telling of my peace with sobriety at the moment. There were plenty of opportunities of course, but not for me.

    Hugs to you Belle and LC. Don't let that alcohol voice convince you that things will be better if you drink. That was the moment that changed my life - the moment I realized that things would never change for me if I kept drinking. I remember clearly where I was, outside a grocery store, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I tried and tried to find a way to be able to drink - but I finally fully understood that drinking would ALWAYS ALWAYS bring me back to that very same spot where I was standing right then... wanting a drink, and wanting to quit and hating the fight. I allowed myself to be intentionally ignorant for a long time, but once it became clear that there would never be another outcome to my drinking, I could no longer be ignorant. I had to choose to keep banging my head against the wall or reach for a better life.

    It took several months of general discomfort, because I couldn't reach for my "easy way out". But gradually, I found other ways to fill my time and cope with the things that used to make me want to drink. The good news is that once I developed those skills, it became MUCH easier to face situations that were thrown at me. I really hope that each of us here end up deciding to choose a better outcome.

    On the airplane home yesterday, a woman in front of me ordered a Bloody Mary at 3:00 by herself. I may be wrong, but I think I picked up the energy of a problem, and whether I was right or not, it reminded me of how sad I felt when I was controlled by alcohol. I remembered how I was a shell of a person fixated on the very thing that was destroying me, instead of a strong, self-assured person who is in control of herself. Though I occasionally crave that "quick fix" ("easy way out" is a great way of putting it - PAV I think?), I never want to succumb to the repetition of "drinking - self loathing - wanting - caving - drinking - self loathing....". I am worth more than that, and so are all of us. Choose to take care of yourself! Value yourself and live a better life!

    That "better life" scared me too for a long time. I thought I had to design it first, fix everything at once, know what it looked like. Turns out, I just had to know that I deserved better and stop drinking - and things changed for the better little by little.

    Ok, enough from me. Back to work in this dreary place - I miss the sun!
    Kensho

    Done. Moving on to life.

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  7. #694
    Forum Subscriber. NoSugar's Avatar

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    Re: Tool box

    Safekeeping for LC

    Nursie, that is what happened to me, too. After blowing by January 1 (my latest planned quit date...), on a random Thursday (not Monday, another fave quit day) toward the end of the month, I finally had had it and I quit. That was it. The previous day was no worse or better than any others - I was finally just DONE. I joined here and decided I would do whatever it took not to drink again.

    That battle between your morning brain and afternoon brain is totally normal. In the morning, your rational self (who knows you need to quit drinking) is in charge and is not listening to your primal brain (the one that all animals have that tells us to do things that feel good and keep us and the species alive - eat, have sex, drink fluids, etc.). The problem is, alcohol makes us feel TOO good, resulting in addiction. We did not evolve to handle such a powerful 'this feels great' stimulus. Eventually, no matter how much resolve and will power you have, addiction makes it so the part of the brain designed to keep us alive takes over, shutting down the rationale brain. And no matter how wrong it really is, we feel like we have to drink alcohol. It no longer is to feel good, but to feel less awful and when we're really over the edge, not to die.

    When you start craving in the afternoon, just keep in mind that what you are feeling doesn't reflect what is really going on. It won't kill you or even hurt you and over time it will pass. Most people have witching hour(s) - once you make it past those, you'll be ok until the next day. And the good news is, it doesn't take all that many days for the confused brain to figure out, Hey, I'm not going to die if I don't drink alcohol!

    You can do it again, Nursie. Get on here and read and post like Lunatic Linda ( @available ) anytime you're feeling overwhelmed. We know what you're going through and feel your pain, fear, and frustration but we also know it will pass and you'll be ok as long as you don't drink.

    I hope the sad feelings pass soon. xx, NS


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  9. #695
    Forum Subscriber. Rahulthesweet's Avatar

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    Re: Tool box

    Hello Freinds,

    YIPIEEEEE !!!!!!!

    Today is my Sober Birthday ... I dont know if this is the right word ... but today I completed 6 YEARS of Sobriety !! WOHOOOOOOO !!!!

    About 6.5 years ago I was sitting in a hotel room after gulping 6 bottles of BIG Bottles of high strength BEER .. and work up at 3 AM with a dry throat, loads of guilt and logged on to MWO ...

    I came here saw so many posts and people struggling. and THANK GOD that I made an account on MWO and committed by self to read everyday. I got so much here ... I got life ....

    I would like to share today is a special day for me. Exactly 6 year ago today I committed myself to change the path of my life to a totally new direction. I decided to embark on a journey which would lead to a personal victory. We all have deamons and bad habits to conquer. We all know about something we know we do is not good for us or makes us less than what we are ... It was today I committed myself to change, re invent my life towards a new path. The path i chose was to change my life style and embrace sobriety as a way of life. For me it was not "giving up" it was not "will power" it was wanted a change for good. Its been 6 years since I have not have any alcohol in any nor have had a smoke. This brought about a significant change in me which I cant describe. My food habits improved, I started eating heather food. Started reading, starting spending time with people whom I really enjoyed and not just because I enjoyed a drink with. I became an early riser. Tremendous health benefits : 4 year about I started cycling. I became an athlete. Did 3 x 21K run (Marathon). Started cycling. As per STRAVA I have ridden 11,103 Kms since last 4 year with longest distance of 178 KM non stop.
    As i think of each of these destination I go back in time when i chose the fitness activity over hanging out at *Bar or eating food* hence going back in time.
    I have biked in following places (X= number of times):
    *USA*: Chicago (2x), New York (6x) ,
    *Germany*: Dusseldorf(6x), Colonge(3X), Bonn(3X), Mainz, Krefeld, Koblenz, Berlin, Munich(2X), Hamburg (2X)
    *Holland*: Amsterdam(3X)
    *Italy*: Milan
    *Switzerland*: Zurich(3X), Ruti(3x), Rapperswil(3x), Montreux(3x) Laussane(3x), Nyon(3x), Geneva(3x),
    *Croatia*: BOL(2x)
    *Denmark*: Copenhagen
    *Spain*: Madrid
    *Middle East*: Dubai
    *Singapore*
    *France*: Evian - Len - Bains
    *England*: Southampton
    *Goa* (5x).
    *Delhi* (Cant count !)
    *Hiked* almost 10 peaks in Switzerland.
    -------------------
    *Ran or Swim*:
    *Spain*: Madrid, Barcelona
    *Americas*: Phoenix, New York, Chicago, Mexico City, Penn State, Las Vegas,
    *Switzerland* : Zurich, Rapperswil, Montreux, Laussane, Vevey, Lucerne, Interlaken, Wengen, St Gallen, Zermatt,
    *England*: SouthHampton
    *Germany*: Colonge, Dusseldorf, Bonn, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Aachen,
    *India* : Delhi,Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Goa, Banglore, Mumbai, Vadodara,
    *Sri Lanka*: Colombo, Negambo
    *Singapore*
    *Thailand*: Phuket, Samui, Bangkok, Hua Hin
    *Malaysia*: Kaula Lampur
    *South Korea*: Seoul
    *Nigeria* : Lagos
    *Middle East*: Dubai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi
    *Italy*: Milan, Genoa, Florence,
    *Holland*: Amsterdam,
    *Belgium*: Brussels, Antwerp, Leuven
    *Taiwan*: Taichung, Tainan
    *Korea*: Seoul, Anyang
    *Denmark*: Copenhagen
    *Croatia*: Spilt, Bol
    *Greece*: Athens, Mikanos
    ---------------------------------
    I was on to Cholesterol reduction meds, borderline diabetic, sinus issue, chest congestion all gone !

    Embraced Gratitude & started noticing + appreciating small things : Smell, sound, rain drops, blue sky, flowers, beauty (not just pretty women), kids, family, bed time stories!

    It was not will power at all but genuine desire to be more .. to get a kick from REAL stuff in life : be it sports, travel, work, family, meeting interesting people and not artificial substances which gives superficial high : food or drinks. I didnt give up anything just opened eyes to SEE so much MORE ! I cant explain it by words but I feel found and super grateful to have you all around and also being able to share.

    I late so cant sleep with feeling of joy as I went past each and every place in my mind I have been in last 6 years. The Life as a journey goes on .....
    Rahul
    --------------------------------------------
    Rewiring my brain ... done ...
    Updating brain "attitude" firmware ... done ...
    Rebooting ... done ...
    Restarted program called "Life" ... started successfully ...

  10. #696
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    Re: Tool box

    This is perfect - thank you!

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  12. #697
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    Re: Tool box

    I will have to re-read this tonight, in a safe place and I will read it over and over again until my witching hour(s) pass. This is my goal for today. Thank you for posting.
    Now I will write a sticky note on my computer to remind me to re-read. This is my promise to myself because I am worth so much more than how I am treating myself. As someone said - if you met your 8 year old self, would you be proud? I would be proud of everything except the drinking, so that's got to go.

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  14. #698
    Registered User. wagmor's Avatar

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    Re: Tool box

    Over in the Newbies Nest, one member asked folks to share how they took al off the table -- how they made it so that drinking wasn't an option. That concept was truly the key for me, and it still helps from time to time. A few Nesters asked me to share this here, and so I am!

    Here are two things I did to really get my head around the "non-negotiable" aspect of al:

    1) I made a list of several other things that are totally and clearly non-negotiable for me that I have very strong feelings about, like I would NEVER EVER hit my dog or my wife, even if I'm extremely frustrated with them, I would NEVER light firecrackers or drop a cigarette or build a campfire for that matter in a forest during a drought/fire ban, I would never shoot heroin or smoke crack, and I would NEVER let someone else get blamed/punished/fired/etc for something that was actually my fault. There were 5-6 things on the list to start with and I think I added 3-4 more over the first year or so. But the last thing on the initial list was drink. I noticed two things about my list of non-negotiables: they were all things I felt an almost visceral aversion to, and they were all things I wouldn't do because someone might get harmed. I decided I should include myself in that list of someones and treat myself with the same respect and value as I gave to others. I picked things I felt strongly about because I wanted to associate drinking with other things I felt solid about never doing.

    2) I made a second list that grew gradually over time, and this list was of things that I could do instead of drinking when I was angry, sad, lonely, bored, celebratory, depressed, etc etc. I did NOT put drink on the list obviously. Listen to music, exercise, post or read here in the Nest, play with my pup, reach out to a friend, write in a journal, have a treat, etc. This one wasn't actually a regular list -- instead, I put each idea on a small slip of paper and then I folded each slip so it was small. I put all of the folded slips in a fancy jar and kept it on a window sill. Every time I felt the need or urge to drink, I stopped myself to first identify what I was feeling and to remind myself that the relevant non-negotiable responses were off the table. Then I chose one slip of paper from the jar and considered it as an alternative way to celebrate, or lift my mood, or address my loneliness or boredom, etc. If the first draw wasn't a good fit then I'd draw again until I got one that felt right. Notice that drinking was never going to be chosen. Then all the slips went back into the jar for the next time.


    These two activities might both sound like overkill but they really helped me a lot and from different angles. Sometimes one helped me more, sometimes the other, often they worked in tandem. I will say I think they worked. Now, 5 years later, I have an almost visceral aversion to the thought of drinking, and one of the ideas in the jar is almost always my first thought when I'm looking to celebrate, relieve stress, or change my mood.

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  16. #699
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    Re: Tool box

    Today is my 4 year soberversary! Nothing huge has happened in that time, like changing jobs, moving, divorcing, etc., yet EVERYTHING has changed and it ALL feels huge. My relationships are so much more authentic and meaningful - because I'm no longer lying about alcohol or sneaking around or focusing more on the next drink than what my kids are saying. I still own my business, but it has blossomed into more than I thought it could be. And my clear mind and new priorities have allowed me to allocate my increased energy in the right places to thrive and balance work and family. I feel genuinely at peace and happy most days, and even during the hard times (and there ARE still hard times), I focus more on what I'm grateful for, and appreciate the ride of life for what it is instead of trying to numb it. In the early days of becoming sober, I was forced to find other ways to cope with uncomfortable feelings, and I still use these new skills every day - it has become my new normal to fill my cup other ways. I've developed boundaries with how others can treat me, because I respect myself more. I've (mostly) hung up my superwoman cape and am realistic about what I can actually accomplish. I tend to actually dream bigger about my future, but don't expect myself to work 14 hour days into the early morning. I don't have booze breath when saying good night to my kids, and I'm more present when talking with them. My 12 yr old daughter recently said to me, "Mom, I remember when you used to sneak into your office closet and drink from the bottles you kept there. You're so much happier and nicer now." Say no more my sweet daughter, that is worth the world. And though that could be enough - it is only the beginning of how much better my life is all around. I know who I am, what I want, and I am able to approach each day with a grounded optimism and appreciation for my life that I no longer numb, but live with all of my heart. If you are wondering if you have a problem with alcohol, you probably do. If you are wondering if you can stop, you can. If you are wondering how you will ever get through it, just take one day at a time, and re-wire your coping skills one moment at a time and trust that feeling the discomfort for a bit of time will open up a whole other life you never imagined was possible. The only way out is through, and we all CAN and DESERVE TO get to the other side. You will never regret it. Thanks to everyone here who have created a safe environment to be real and honest and alcohol-free!
    Kensho

    Done. Moving on to life.

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  18. #700
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    Re: Tool box

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm just getting started with this; I had actually heard of the hypnosis recordings before. Unfortunately, I can no longer find the hypnotictapes.com site and the health store link on the MWO site is no longer working. Any suggestions on how to acquire the recordings? Thanks.

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