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Thread: The Line

  1. #1
    Registered User. tumadre's Avatar

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    The Line

    Can I be a thread starter, or am I too new? I would really like to hear what ya'll have to say about habits vs. cravings/addictions. If you think your drinking is sometimes a habit (after you've tried meds, etc.), how have you tried to break those habits? Did the changes work for you? If not, was it because it is really an addiction? Were you able to identify where the line was between habit and addiction?

  2. #2
    Registered User. tumadre's Avatar

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    The Line

    November 2nd, 2006, Thursday

    Where is the line drawn between habit, and craving? Even with all the supps, meds and tapes, I still feel the pull towards the bottle...Is it habit, or addiction? You can answer that while I go and get a refill.

  3. #3
    Registered User. Allie's Avatar

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    The Line

    Excellent Question ---
    For me, it is totally a "habit" or "mental" addiction. At about 7 p.m., life is just not "complete" without that glass of wine. I feel much better physically when I do not drink. So go figure... I am sure others can explain better!

    Allie

  4. #4
    Registered User. lilyluvr56's Avatar

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    The Line

    Wondering the same thing. Maybe pouring the first or second one is a habit...but by the 5th or 6th, i think we are for sure past that thin line of addiction. i am a binge drinker, and that's how it gets for me.

  5. #5
    Registered User. Quiescent's Avatar

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    The Line

    Oh my.....I'm just not sure when my habit ends and my addiction takes over.

    I do know this, when I am not drinking and I get really grumpy/bitch like. That is just not me... It is a monster that lives inside of me and the only time it comes out is when I don't feed it. I call it my addiction and I hate it. I wish I could capture it and squeeze the breath out of it until it lives no more.

  6. #6
    Registered User. dilayne's Avatar

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    The Line

    Mornin' all..great question. My relationship with alcohol is definitely related to addiction..I've actually controlled more drinking so much that I don't think it ever had a chance to become a habit..the first time I realized that I was abusing it back in 1986, I was the first to note it..having been aware of the problems of alcoholism before I ever drank..I took myself to an AA meeting and quit for about 17 years..I can't remember exactly...when I resumed my drinking a few years ago..I would do it when I was away for a weekend, or when I thought I was safe and could get away from it..when my husband and I decided (with my urging) that now that the kids were grown that we could let our hair down and have some fun...we did..but then I would start having my binge times...each time, pushing me into the need to control it..this was during an intense emotional time, so I was abusing it..I was self medicating..it wasn't a physical addiction, but an emotional one...it could have been any other drug as far as I'm concerned...it could have been pain killers, or could be food..I've seen the pattern emerge in different forms at different times..especially during my previous years of being abstinent. I definitely have an addictive nature..but I don't discriminate a lot about what the substance is..that is why I don't claim myself to be an 'alcoholic'..for me, it isn't about the alcohol, it goes much deeper than that..and I'm addressing it on the deeper level...because it just happens to be the level that I'm drawn to..if I were not drawn to that level, then I would deal with it on the level that I could relate to..that may be on the 'habit' level, or I may choose to deal with it on the 'substance' level. I for one don't think it really matters what level we deal with it..it is personal because we are all on different levels on our journey in life..for me, it is a spiritual issue, it is a spiritual matter that I address on a spiritual level...in 1986, I embarked on that spiritual journey consciously..thanks to AAs influence, and I dealt with it on the substance level as well because that is where I was and that is what needed to happen then...I'm 20 years older now..and as things go, we get to deal with our personal issues in cycles...each time, on a different level. This time I chose MWO..I've said it here before, but I think it's worth stating again, because of the holistic approach. The appeal for me personally was that it didn't focus on just one level, and it didn't prescribe to a single conclusion about the abuse of alcohol..it leaves space for me to deal with the whole instead of just a part. I also need to say, while I am putting MHOs out there that I don't label myself as an alcoholic because I am coming to know who my true self is and I know that I am vulnerable at this point in time (as I was 20 years ago) of attaching my identity to something outside of my true nature..and I don't want to create an identity around something so vague as an 'alcoholic'..that is not who I am on the deepest level..I don't want my identity as a child of God to be deducted to any ism, or any label..even as an artist..another label that I inadvertently attached my identity to...one that I feel I need to discard as well in order to be my truest self..I'm a human being who creates art first...just as I'm a human being who abuses alcohol because it's available..I abuse it when the feelings I have on a core level are intolerable to me...

    OK, so you got me started again...this is just my take on it for me...this doesn't mean that I am opposed to anyone else's philosophies..this is only my own account of my own personal relationship with alcohol..just want to make that clear. Sometimes people get scared and see a different perspective as an attack on their own..this is not that. I believe AA works for many people..it is an amazing institution that has saved many thousands of lives...and some of the finest people I've ever known have been lifetime AA members. I love and respect it...as do I all the churches of all the religions..they all speak to someone where they are..who am I to judge that? I'm no one, and I don't.
    Namaste

  7. #7
    Registered User. dilayne's Avatar

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    The Line

    oops..typing without editing again..first few lines, I said I would drink when I went away for the weekend or when I thought I could get away 'from' it...I meant to say..when I thought I could get away 'with' it...another freudian slip, heh?

  8. #8
    Registered User. Mighty Mouse II's Avatar

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    The Line

    It is both and it is neither. When dealing with a chemical substance, it is impossible to tell where behavior- induced consumption begins and the addiction ends, they are intertwined. Typically, alcohol and drug addictions begin through behavioral exchange, a socilaization event that triggers the initial interaction with the chemical substance. We are then given positive feedback from those around us, and as a society we seek those activities that generate positive responses. Therefore, from the onset we are encouraged to drink by those around us who are also indulging. So from the very beginning, it is both a chemically-addictive substance and a social interchange.

    In determining where you are now and whether behavioral modification can help you, first analyze what you are consuming. Some are easier than others to control For example, it is unlikely that a person taking controlled substances like heroine or coccaine would be successful in a behavioral modification program alone. Similarly, those who indulge in what has come to be known as "hard liquer" are also going to have a difficult time with a behavioral modification program alone. However, unlike the former, the latter can be quite successful if coupled with a detox and chemical-treatment program. People who limit their consumption to wine and beer, depending on the severity of their consumption, can be quite successful in a behavioral modification program. Also, if it can be controlled, wine and beer, but particularly wine, actually has some healthful benefits (According to the American Medical Association and The French Medical Society). How do I know all of this about these programs? I have studied this material all my life because I have been surrounded by addicts forever of every kind. Of everyone, I am the least addicted and limit my consumption to wine. For a behavioral modification to work, even if you couple it with a chemical/therapeutic program, there are some ground basics that must be in place:

    (1) You must really want to quit. A good exercise to prepare yourself is to write an essay of whether or not you really want to quit. Some people think that they do, but when it comes right down to it, they do not. Their reaction is a "knee-jerk" one prompted by a hangover, a bad social interaction, or some fleeting bad experience that was sufficient enough to prompt a desired change. When writing your essay, if you decide that want to quit, discuss why in great detail. You will be able to refer back to it when you are struggling with your decision to quit. Keep in mind that statistics show that the only way people can really quit on behanvioral modification programs is if they want to quit FOR THEMSELVES. People who try to quit for the benefit of others only have a statistically lower probability of success (although there are always exceptions and certainly a desire to preserve our relationship with loved ones can help. But it is important to also think of some personal reason to quit for yourself).

    (2) Secondly, you must set realistic goals, little baby steps along the way. The tricky thing with this part is that you have to immediately cut back enough so that you don't experience that chemical imbalance (a "high") so that you can maintain control, but yet decrease your alcohol consumption over time to a reasonable level (or total abstinence if that is your goal). Otherwise, it is difficult to maintain control enough to remember your goals and keep track of your drinking. On of the best ways that I found to do that when I first startted was to space out the drinking intermittently over several hours.

    (3) Your goals should be DAILY goals, that is, you set the same behavioral pattern for every single day! Many people fail because they torture themselves, depriving themselves for days, and then release. Again, there are exceptions. There are many people on this site who have been successful doing this. But, I'm strictly speaking from a behavioral modification program perspective and what is working for me. It is easier to change via behavioral modification if your pattern is the same everyday. If you have a day that you normally drink excessively (more than typical), then you SLOWLY change it to bring it into the same behavioral pattern as the rest of the time (e.g., weekend drinking). But again, don't make your goal on that day so loose that you don't want to go back. Make it difficult, but achievable.

    (4) Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate - you will succeed and you will fail along the way. When you succeed, ask yourself why and think about how you can assimilate it into other circumstances. When you fail, ask yourself what prompted it, and begin to think about how you can change it.

    (5) Finally, plan as much as you can. Envision you goal. Think about what you are going to do, where you are going be. Take yourself away from environments where you are most likely to drink. Everywhere you know you are going to be, see in your mind's eye how you are going to behave there relative to what you are going to be drinking.

    Another words, the process for behavioral modificaton relative to drinking is no different than it is for any other personal change. The PROCESS is the same, but it may be more difficult depending on the severity of the chemical dependency that exists within your body. But behavioral modification is: plan, envision, do, and evaluate.

    I am not a doctor, I am not giving you medical advice. I have been a person who has relied on behavioral modification all my life to achieve my goals. It is only recently that I decided I wanted to cut back to a more reasonable level; I wanted to control the alcohol, I didn't want it to control me. So, I am attempting to do it on behavioral modification alone, keeping open the option that I will move to the next level if unsuccessful. I started on 10/20, joined here 10/21, and it has been successful for me. The support group here is phenomenal and I couldn't have made it without them. I have discussed my goals in detail with the group, so if you need some help in learning how behavioral modification works or samples of goal setting and feedback evaluation, I invite you to look at my posts. It has worked for me so far!! I am very excited and very grateful to everyone here. They have helped me more than words can express.

    Good luck, Tumadre. I hope in some small way I have helped you because sooooooooo many people here have helped me to work through my confusion. We are all in this together learning from each other. Hope you find your solutions.

    With kindest regards,
    MM

  9. #9
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    The Line

    Di,
    I am envious of your ability to articulate your feelings so well. You have obviously put a lot of time, energy, and effort (and journalling!) into your thought processes and emotions. That must be a large part of the reason you are doing so well right now. Congrats again! The grandspooks are adorable!

    Sorry I didn't post here yesterday. I started my post, but had it half finished, minimized the screen, shut the laptop, and when I turned it back on, my toolbar was gone! grrrr. Just didn't retype it. All is going well with my plan over here! Sun: 4, Mon: 0, Tues: 3, Wed: 0. That leaves my 1, 2, and 5 "cards" left to play, or 8 drinks for the week. I've got a dinner party with hubby's boss and an important doctor client where I'm supposed to "turn on the charm" tonight. I asked hubby "does that mean sputtering sentence fragments and lighting things on fire?". (courtesy Tommy Boy!). He requested I not do that:H . Also have a wedding to go to Saturday night. We shall see how this goes. I'm thinking I'll split up the cards (I'm allowed, MY GAME! hee hee). 3-4 tonight, and the same at the wedding ... I've never had 3-4 at a wedding! Several before, wine with dinner, drink all night, go back to hotel room, order pizza and drink more. I'll uberdose the Kudzu and LGlut.

    Everyone seems like they are working through significant issues regarding important questions these day. It's great to see. As far as the habit/addiction for me, I just don't know. I don't have the physical addiction anymore, but the mental habit/addiction? is still there every day. Like Allie said, my day does not feel complete without wine sometimes. Other times it does, but in a social situation or if I feel any sort of stress, happiness, ....... I'm still wanting a drink. BUT so does the rest of my family. And many of my friends. This is something my counsellor and I talked about. It's just all I've ever known.
    Celebrate=drink
    Mourn=drink
    stress=drink
    bored=drink
    vacation=drink
    weekends=drink

    ok, you get the picture. When I go to my parents or any of my family members, or most of our friend's places, it's usually one of the first 3 questions out of their mouths. "Can I get you something to drink?" They don't mean tea.
    So now I've just taken it a TAD too far, to the point of drinking by myself, too much. That's where the problem was mostly. And drinking to oblivion WAY too early when we were with family and friends. That's the nonsense I've been cutting out and has saved my relationships and gotten people (and myself) to stop worrying about me!

    Judie, haven't perfected the brawiththestraw yet. It's because Fan still has my bra. Maybe that was his plan... he's on the engineering team:H .

    Allie, are you feeling better?
    How are SM Mary and Gypsi's husbands doing?
    Mighty mouse, you are doing great!
    iia Brian, how did it go the other night? I signed up for a jingle bell 5K in Dec. You wear bells on your shoes! It's to benefit the Arthritis foundation. Should be kinda fun. (and cold!)
    Lush, how you feeling? day 2 will be great!!!!! c'mon girlie. Jen, bust out the pom poms.

    I haven't mentioned a bunch of people again and will be gone this afternoon... I'll try to keep up as much as possible. Cold is finally letting up a smidge. It was awful. yuck.

    have a great thurs, everyone!

  10. #10
    Registered User. Mighty Mouse II's Avatar

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    The Line

    Becca:

    Thanks for the feedback. Really appreciate it! I see that you are from Ohio. My father is from Cincinnati. I just returned from Deerpark, Ohio, outside of Columbus, where I had attended a continuing education class for my work. During the training I feel into Reblican Run stream. I also wound up at Ohio State when I got lost on my way to the airport.

    I like Ohio!

    MM

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