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  1. #1
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    Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Hi everyone,

    I apologise for the long post, this is a really difficult post to write, and it will be the first time I have openly spoken about my issues with substance, so I am understandably a bit anxious.

    I am now coming into my thirties, and Iíve only begun to accept I have a problem with substance abuse. I lost several family members to alcoholism, including my father when he was barely 50. This affected me considerably.

    I was doing really well in cutting down my alcohol intake recently - I was really proud of myself, having several days of sobriety for nearly two weeks. However, I received some good news, a few days ago which then triggered me to drink.

    I feel my problem is elation; alcohol is the last thing I want to drink when I am sad, but when I feel happy or excited, itís almost like I want to further that feeling my ítoppingí it up. I feel like once I receive that buzz, my brain demands more and I then reach for cigarettes, or also in the past, drugs.

    I feel like I need to un-train my brain to crave the next push of happiness that it seems to have linked to substance because in reality, Iím not getting the happiness from it anymore. Now I can hardly get drunk without at least two bottles of wine in a night, and I donít get a Ďbuzzí if at all - I just feel sad to be drinking again.

    I have decided I would like to quit drinking until Christmas time, remaining sober until Christmas Day where I would like to have a few drinks with my family at dinner. This will total 50 days of sobriety, and the longest time I will have stayed sober in 6 years. I feel this is a realistic goal, as I am considering my alcohol intake to be restricted to special occasions rather than my primary form of socialising. I feel like doing a re-set like this can further assist with my decision as to what kind of relationship I want to have with alcohol, as I can gauge if I can stop myself after a few drinks - which is my problem.

    Even though all substance doesnít give me a íhighí anymore, and the nights Iíve enjoyed the most Iíve been pretty much sober - I feel apprehensive of my decision turning out to be that I need to move over to being alcohol-free. Iím sort of sad Iíll never have that change in consciousness that I have done when Iíve taken substance, even though I always 100% of the time wake up regretting it.

    I also worry that Iíll be able to moderate my drinking after this period of sobriety, and then Iíll be around my friends who I know are heavy drinkers, and Iíll go right back to the way I was and the cycle will start all over again. Iím just really aware that heavy drinking is all my friends and I do, and this is a problem.

    My question to all of you far more experienced in this journey than I am: is it normal to feel a sort of grief and anxiety that youíve made a decision to change your life? Have any of you been able to moderate your drinking to going out once every few months rather than drinking being your only social activity? How did you do this?

    Have any of you tried The Sinclair Method, and if so do you have to take naltrexone every day, or only on drinking days?

    I am so scared I will not be able to moderate my drinking to the point I can just enjoy it within limits.

    Any help would be appreciated, thank you in advance for reading my post

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  3. #2
    Registered User. mollyka's Avatar

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    Re: Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Quote Originally Posted by strawberryyou View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I apologise for the long post, this is a really difficult post to write, and it will be the first time I have openly spoken about my issues with substance, so I am understandably a bit anxious.

    I am now coming into my thirties, and Iíve only begun to accept I have a problem with substance abuse. I lost several family members to alcoholism, including my father when he was barely 50. This affected me considerably.

    I was doing really well in cutting down my alcohol intake recently - I was really proud of myself, having several days of sobriety for nearly two weeks. However, I received some good news, a few days ago which then triggered me to drink.

    I feel my problem is elation; alcohol is the last thing I want to drink when I am sad, but when I feel happy or excited, itís almost like I want to further that feeling my ítoppingí it up. I feel like once I receive that buzz, my brain demands more and I then reach for cigarettes, or also in the past, drugs.

    I feel like I need to un-train my brain to crave the next push of happiness that it seems to have linked to substance because in reality, Iím not getting the happiness from it anymore. Now I can hardly get drunk without at least two bottles of wine in a night, and I donít get a Ďbuzzí if at all - I just feel sad to be drinking again.

    I have decided I would like to quit drinking until Christmas time, remaining sober until Christmas Day where I would like to have a few drinks with my family at dinner. This will total 50 days of sobriety, and the longest time I will have stayed sober in 6 years. I feel this is a realistic goal, as I am considering my alcohol intake to be restricted to special occasions rather than my primary form of socialising. I feel like doing a re-set like this can further assist with my decision as to what kind of relationship I want to have with alcohol, as I can gauge if I can stop myself after a few drinks - which is my problem.

    Even though all substance doesnít give me a íhighí anymore, and the nights Iíve enjoyed the most Iíve been pretty much sober - I feel apprehensive of my decision turning out to be that I need to move over to being alcohol-free. Iím sort of sad Iíll never have that change in consciousness that I have done when Iíve taken substance, even though I always 100% of the time wake up regretting it.

    I also worry that Iíll be able to moderate my drinking after this period of sobriety, and then Iíll be around my friends who I know are heavy drinkers, and Iíll go right back to the way I was and the cycle will start all over again. Iím just really aware that heavy drinking is all my friends and I do, and this is a problem.

    My question to all of you far more experienced in this journey than I am: is it normal to feel a sort of grief and anxiety that youíve made a decision to change your life? Have any of you been able to moderate your drinking to going out once every few months rather than drinking being your only social activity? How did you do this?

    Have any of you tried The Sinclair Method, and if so do you have to take naltrexone every day, or only on drinking days?

    I am so scared I will not be able to moderate my drinking to the point I can just enjoy it within limits.

    Any help would be appreciated, thank you in advance for reading my post
    Hi and welcome Strawberry! - I've highlighted the bit of your post that I would like to address for what it's worth --- I've been sober a while and believe you me it is PERFECTLY normal to feel grief and anxiety when contemplating 'giving up' alcohol altogether - for me it was like my closest friend - it was my family - it was my pleasure - it was what made me 'fun' to be with etc etc... you may not believe this but quite early in my sobriety I realised that far from my closest friend it was my worst enemy -- and still is. It made me 'nothing' -- it took EVERYTHING from me -- it made me a pathetic waste of space - and to the outside world -- I was probably grand - one of those 'functioning alcoholics' -- nah - it made me a sad excuse of a person.

    you say 'I feel my problem is elation' -- you know we all have blamed people places and things -- and to be honest - by the time we reach a forum like this -- really the problem is the substance - and our relationship with it.. I drank because I was an alcoholic - no other reason - anything else was an excuse. I drank because I was sad or happy - lonely or surrounded by love - nervous or confident - broke or rich - morning or night in the end... but that's a big one to face....

    Not to fill you too full of facts -- of course it's better to not drink from now till Christmas than to drink... but I would say to you - by Christmas you will probably be beginning to truly enjoy the sober life - there are so many advantages to it - but.... Christmas will come and because you've given yourself 'permission' to drink - you will... and therein may lie the problem -- my first quit -- I was so strong - I loved being sober -- but I went on holidays when I had preplanned to drink - it was a few months in -- I thought if it was this easy I can just pick up where I left off after the holiday and quit again..... it took me THREE years to find sobriety properly again -- each subsequent quit gets harder -- I WISH someone had told me that - but - if they had - I probably wouldn't have listened..... addiction is very very tricky.

    Nope never tried the Sinclair method - or any other -- in my opinion we need to want to get sober - rules don't work - you can't bargain with alcohol - it will always win.... but -- I had to find all these things out myself the hard way -- just passing it on for what it's worth

    Talk on here on these boards - it's good support - try the Newbies Nest -- it's full of people in early sobriety and folks with years of experience -- great place.. post anywhere you want - we have all started out so you will find everyone understands most everything you are feeling and will feel --

    welcome again

    Molly
    Last edited by mollyka; November 6th, 2020 at 02:02 PM.
    Contentedly sober since 27/12/2011
    contentedly NF since 8/04/14

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    Re: Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Hi Strawberry, I just wanted to say a big welcome. Well done on taking the first step, having the courage and honesty to post here. It is only natural to feel as you do, this is a big step but one I have never heard anyone saying they regretted after the fog of abusive drinking finally lifts.
    Ethanol is a toxic chemical, why would I drink it?

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    Re: Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Hi Strawberry, do check in today if you are browsing here. I always found the weekends the most difficult.
    Ethanol is a toxic chemical, why would I drink it?

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    Re: Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Hi all,

    The past few days have been strange. I've had a lot of work to do over the weekend, so drinking is a big nono regardless.

    However, as I have set a strict boundary to not drink for x period of time in order to gauge my relationship with alcohol, I am very acutely aware that if I break this boundary it is a clear indicator I have an issue. I'm almost feeling ashamed of taking a period of sobriety, I don't know why - maybe because of the idea that breaking it will prove something to myself I do not want to accept.

    I am not physically feeling the need to drink (I am luckily not at the stage yet to induce a physical reaction, shakes etc) but my head has been buzzing with thoughts of times when I was drinking, asking myself what sort of enjoyment it gave me. Having these sorts of thoughts are a relief, as I feel beginning to break down where the attachment is coming from, to form a new understanding of myself.

    The support on here is lovely, I thank you both for your contribution to my post

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  11. #6
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    Re: Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Welcome strawberry

    Molly nailed it with her post. You cannot bargain with AL and you cannot win.

    My brother died at 46, i told myself i would never be like him even though then i had an issue and BOOM, 6 years later i looked in the mirror and reaslised i was like him but still alive.

    I gave up drinking on the 1st December 2013 and said to myself i would drink on my 50th birthday in April. I didnt drink, i thought about it seriously but i knew if i drank again i would never stop. I had horrendous anxiety before i stopped drinking and now it is controllable, there is no one i would ever drink AT and i am the healthiest and most content i have ever been in my life. I hate alcohol with a vengeance, it destroys so much and it takes and takes and takes.

    The best thing about this site is that people understand everything you have been through and everything you will go through to stop. No one understands an alcoholic like a fellow alcoholic. I have vague memories of my drinking days and the embarrassment and guilt, shame and remorse but they are in the past, i now have better, happier memories that i actually remember. My children are proud of me and i am proud of me.

    I decided i would drink on my 80th birthday, that was when i gave myself permission. I had to wait 30 years for that drink but as its now nearly been 7 years i dont have any desire to take myself up on that offer. Losing al was the hardest decision i ever made but not having it in my life has been the best. I lost my best friend at the time but i gained so much more.

    Take care and you can do this, your al brain will try and make you feel a lot of things until you shut it up and off. Alcohol hates not winning.
    AF free 1st December 2013 - 1st December 2019 - 6 years of living the way i should have always done

    Ava is a SHPFFFDU ! (Special, honest, practical, fantastic friend from downunder) - thank you NS

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    Re: Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Hi, Strawberry:

    I think Molly perfectly summed it up here:

    Quote Originally Posted by mollyka View Post
    in my opinion we need to want to get sober - rules don't work - you can't bargain with alcohol - it will always win....
    I used to quit for a month at a time, or even more, really to "prove" to myself I wasn't an alcoholic. See? I can go 30 days! I'm ok! The problem with that method is that you look ahead and white knuckle, use will power, whatever it takes to get to that day, and you will just pick up where you left off. There is no starting from ground zero with alcohol. A common truism in the sober world is that your disease is doing pushups while you're not drinking.

    Another alarm for me in your post is that you don't have a stop mechanism once you start. That was 100% my problem - I kept trying over and over to find a stop button, but I never could. I would time my drinks, have my husband time my drinks, count, promise, etc., but eventually I ended up going over. I don't know if you can fix a stop button once it is broken.

    I was SO SO afraid to quit drinking. It had been what I considered the center of my personality for so long. I was the fun, funny one who was always the last to leave! I LOVED drinking to celebrate, anything and everything. The most common word in my journal for the year before I quit is FEAR. Who would I be? Would my friends like me any more? Would my whole life be one awkward moment of sipping on a fizzy water? Would I be funny? Would I have fun?

    Well, I can attest to the fact that all of that FEAR was for nothing. The first year was a bit strange and there were certainly some awkward moments. To get myself on the dance floor I had to exert a little extra effort because I hadn't doused my inhibition with booze, but once there I still had a blast. Live music is infinitely better - I can fully enjoy the music without worrying about my next drink or going to the bathroom all the time. My relationships are stronger, I am healthier (stopped taking high blood pressure medicine), and I took risks and gained rewards in my work that I never would have taken otherwise.

    For me to truly quit, to commit to a fuller life, I had to accept that I could never drink again. That was a ROUGH acceptance. But once I did, everything else came more easily. I had to learn to develop other ideas of what a celebration looked like, other ways to wash out a rough day, other ways to feel warm and giddy. And they exist - that's the good news. Long walks, hugs, dancing, music, good food, good friends - none of that went away.

    You will never regret one sober hour, one sober day. Feel free to join the Newbies Nest or another more active thread to hear more. YOU GOT THIS!

    Pav

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  14. #8
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    Re: Anxiety Surrounding Sober Life

    Hello Strawberry,

    I just wanted to send you some support. It hurts (in a good way) to be honest about this. I know it takes a lot of guts to post here for the first time.

    We all ended up here because we desperately searched for help with our problem with alcohol.

    What worked for me was thinking about this site as TOOLS and SUPPORT. Tools are the tricks and techniques. Support is the community. They are so powerful and you can learn how to get through the anxiety and difficulty at first.

    I played the game of thinking I could moderate for years. The reality was that it was the drinking, just stringing me along as the blurry months turned into blurry years. Of course I broke the ¬ďrules¬Ē and forgave and indulged myself but I wasn¬ít really counting.

    Your post really hit me because it has been a while since I really remembered those feelings. So I thank you for that support. Alcohol free (AF) life is wonderful, authentic, real and clear. We are humans and life is tough sometimes but I know that alcohol has nothing to offer me but misery. I have never, not once, ever, ever, ever regretted quitting drinking. Not once, ever. You won’t either.
    "When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them." Analects of Confucius
    AF 11/12/11

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