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  1. #1
    Registered User. Doggygirl's Avatar

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    My NEW Story Starts Here...

    I wanted to post this in case it helps someone else, and also to document my journey for myself. I will start with a summary of the past - nothing new there. The unknowns are all in the future. I'm so excited!! I hope to add thoughts to this thread about this incredible journey as times moves ahead.

    My 10 Day Alcohol Free Babble

    July 20, 2007

    I have been a hard core drinker literally all of my adult life. I am 49 years old. My drinking problem escalated as I entered my 40’s, married Mr. Doggy, and my ladder climbing rat race of a corporate life started winding down. Rather than enjoy my less stressful life and find some new hobbies and interests for my extra time, I started drinking more, drinking earlier, and drinking alone. Every day. I reached a point in the last couple of years where probably 95% of my drinking was at home, and not even around Mr. Doggy that much. He only rarely drinks the occasional beer when “the guys” are around. He can nurse one or two all day. Drinking became a very lonely sport.

    I quit smoking almost 5 months ago. That was difficult – the first month I didn’t even know myself – who the heck is this crazy shrew with the wildest mood swings I’ve ever seen? But I toughed it out and with time, saying “no” to lighting up became easier. The down side was that my desire for alcohol actually increased – which is hard to believe considering how much I was already drinking. I was literally pouring drinks as early as 7AM regularly as of a few months ago. “Noon Somewhere” was clearly way WAY out of control, and I had no real life of freedom at all.

    I knew I needed to quit drinking. I expected it would not be easy – especially on the heels of quitting smoking too. I knew I wanted support and a good plan – I’m not sure if I could have kept my smoking quit without all of my now good friends in the 40-Plus Quitters Club at Quit Smoking All Together with QuitNet.com - Stop Smoking Help and Cessation Support. I went in search of a web site that offered similar good discussion forum support, and a good program to go with it. While I respect AA, and applaud AA for the people who have successfully given up alcohol through that program, research quickly confirmed that it was not going to be the right program for me. Please nobody get offended by that OK? I’m not anti-AA. Mean time, in my internet searching, I just didn’t come up with anything that felt quite right. I did learn a lot of things I had not heard about before. The SMART program seemed interesting and even though I hadn’t solidified a plan at the time, I did several of the writing exercises that are part of that program – writing out the pros and cons (to me) of drinking, and the pros and cons I could see in NOT drinking. That was a VERY good exercise for me and helped me bring clarity to the notion that alcohol really wasn’t doing ANYTHING positive for me at this stage in my life.

    I started reading Seven Weeks to Sobriety and the concepts of the physical issues with addiction – similar to MWO – correcting nutritional imbalances as part of the puzzle made a lot of sense. The author of “Potatoes Not Prozac” also makes a nutritional connection. I still hadn’t found quite the right combination of program + support that just “felt right” to me. But I became hopeful…I felt I was getting closer to a solution.

    A woman I call my “Angel” saw my cries for help across the waves of the internet – on a Low Carb Diet discussion board of all places!! (although now that makes perfect sense to me!!) Low and behold, my Angel sent me a private message and said “you might want to check out //www.mywayout.org.”">www.mywayout.org.” Now you know why I call her my angel. **waving to my Angel as I know you watch over me once in awhile, and I thank you for that!!**

    If memory serves me right, it was July 1 when I saw my Angel’s message and I started reading and lurking and reading and lurking here at the MWO site. I downloaded RJ’s book, which I recommend to anyone considering this site as a support resource. Check out the actual program in its full and complete form – then decide what approach you will take personally. Well worth the $12 or so! I spent a whole day reading the book, highlighting sections, and then re-reading lots of the book. I then ordered the full range of recommended supplements from MWO, along with the full set of hypnosis CD’s for Abstinence. Part of the baseline program of course is the prescription medication component. I read a lot about that here too. I would like to thank Paddy for his very detailed journaling of his experiences with Topomax. I already knew I would not seek a doctor visit for this – don’t get me started on Health Insurance issues in the US for small business owners. Reading Paddy’s journal made me comfortable enough to order on-line. I also appreciate everyone here who took time to report their experiences with various on-line pharmacies.

    I knew the MWO products would arrive more quickly than that Topomax would from out of the country. My initial plan was to wait and start the whole program once the Topomax arrived. When the MWO shipment got here, I changed my mind. In the continued reading, of course I found many people tailoring the program for themselves, and NOT using any prescription meds. I was anxious to get moving, so on July 11 my new alcohol free life began.

    I was hoping upon hope that this wouldn’t be as horrible as the first month without nicotine was. I have been AMAZED at how the supplements and hypnosis CD’s have worked. WOW. Yes, I think of drinking from time to time. But my cravings are not intense at all compared to what the nicotine cravings were like at first. I have found it reasonably easy to say “no” to each thought of drinking – especially this early in the game. WOW WOW WOW!!! The Topomax did arrive EARLY! I had a good shopping experience with River Pharmacy. But by then I was on day 3 or so of AF, and things were going so well that I didn’t see the need to add a prescription drug to my personal program. My Topomax is still here if I feel I need to add it someday. I hope I don’t – but that goes back to the insurance thing and “freelancing” without a doctor than it does anything else.

    I feel like I am peeling layers back on an onion. (Well, I hope I don’t smell as bad as an onion but I think you get my drift…) Cleaning up the smoking act led to a desire to clean up the drinking act. That led to cleaning up my house – which is a huge mental thing for me. I hate housework…but a dirty house was a prison for me almost like nicotine and alcohol. I didn’t want to clean it, but felt guilty enjoying anything else while the house was a mess. I gave Flylady an effort, but finally decided to treat myself to a cleaning lady every other week. I’m saving a lot of money every month on booze and cigarettes, and I deserve to treat myself to even more freedom!! My cleaning lady started yesterday and I can’t even describe the relief and the uplifting mind set that a clean house has brought to me. When I was wallowing around in my two big addictions – all kinds of things got dusty and dirty – both literally and figuratively. I describe this housework thing only because I am truly amazed at how a clean house has improved my positive mental attitude even more!! Maybe that will help someone else – whether you do it yourself in your own way, do it the Flylady way (FlyLady.net: Your personal online coach to help you gain control of your house and home) or do it the Hire-A-Flylady way. I WILL be Flyladying between times now – just to keep things up. NOW 15 minutes a day will be wonderful.

    More on PMA - Positive Mental Attitude. Each of us is unique in our own way. For me, I can’t accomplish anything in life without some PMA to go with my goals. There are really rough times in life where our cups may be very close to empty. People who are dealing with the death of a loved one, or a very sick child are in a very tough situation. Each time my heart goes out to a person struggling with a truly difficult situation, I try to remind myself that most of the stuff I allow to drag my mood down day in and day out isn’t really very important in the grand scheme of things. I try to see every Full Cup that surrounds me in life. And for those cups that are partials, I choose to see them as Half Full rather than Half Empty. If I step out of bed in the morning straight into something one of my dogs puked up, I can either let that negatively affect the way I start my day, or I can find a way to laugh it off and forget it.

    I believe laughter is good medicine.

    I also respond favorably to reward systems, and I am not afraid to reward myself! Sometimes actual, real life awards are nice – like hiring the cleaning lady. But I’m easily excited, and an imaginary gold star for another AF day works for me too. I hope I’m not annoying too many people by signing most of my posts:

    DG
    Day X AF * * * * * * * * * *(my gold stars)

    I don’t do this to brag. This is a reinforcement technique for ME that I learned from my quit smoking support source. Every time I type out that daily success, my AF days are drawn closer to me, and they become more a part of me if that makes any sense. I take the view for myself that drinking again will mean giving up these days of freedom I am working so hard for. I realize that as an absolute, my days of AF won’t REALLY change in number if I fall off the wagon. My AF days in the past will always be AF days. But in my little personal mind game, I choose to view it as “drinking in my future will be send me back to square one.” That is certainly an absolute truth for me with smoking. Not sure how absolute of a truth it is or isn’t for me with drinking – but I'd rather not find out. If it helps me solidify my AF decision each day, it’s my “game” and nobody else’s, right?  I realize everyone is motivated by different things, and that silly rewards may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for anyone out there who has fun with silly rewards, you are not alone!!

    I try very hard not to let my past failings dictate my future. I want to learn from my past experiences, but I refuse to accept a life sentence to the Jail of Misery as penance for my past mistakes. Yes, I believe in doing my best to make things right with people I have hurt through my lousy choices. But I do not think life in the Jail of Misery helps with that. Guilt and shame today about things I have done or neglected to do in the past will not help me stop drinking for good, and will not help me be a better wife, friend and daughter to my loved ones. And it won’t right any wrongs I’ve committed. Freedom from alcohol is a significant thing that will make me a better wife, friend and daughter.

    How I became house bound…. Thankfully the risks I took drinking and driving in way past years did not result in tragedy. And thankfully I stopped taking risks with that quite some time ago. BUT…as my drinking day got started earlier and earlier, I became “house bound” by noon or often before noon. That is very limiting! Yesterday, for the first time in a VERY long time, I got in my vehicle after 5PM to go run some errands and do a little shopping. That was cool just because it had been so very long since I was able to do that. I did discover that evening shopping can be….well…..a little crazy. Scratch that…a LOT crazy compared to morning shopping. Since my home/work life allows me this flexibility, I will go back to getting my shopping and errands in early in the day. No longer will errands be done in the AM because I am limited to only driving first thing in the morning. They will be done in the AM because I CHOOSE to do my errands early in the day. WHEE!! It is also comforting to know that if there is ever an emergency involving Mr. Doggy or one of our dogs, I will be fit to drive at any time, day or night, if needed.

    The way that people are treated when deciding to quit smoking v. how they are treated when deciding to quit drinking is an appalling problem in our society, in my ever not humble opinion. When I quit smoking, it was thrilling to announce the news loud and proud to anyone and everyone in my life. I received many standing ovations, and many gold stars. I was a wonderful, smart, strong person taking charge and taking a stand against the evil tobacco companies. I think the vast majority of people who quit smoking probably get that sort of positive treatment.

    It’s clear that it doesn’t work that way for people who decide to quit drinking. “EWW….that person has THAT…PRO-blem……” Too many people in my ever not so humble opinion are treated like lepers. Some day, some way, I have the seed of a goal in my head to speak out about this.

    Another bugaboo of mine is the pervasive “AA in the only way” approach that I have encountered SO much of as I was searching for a good plan for ME. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places – this is just my personal observation. I said it before, but I will say it again. I have no issue with AA in a broader sense, or with the many people that have successfully quit drinking, smoking, using drugs, etc. in the AA model. I’m spiritually confused on a personal level. I like to believe God is really out there, but anyone wanting to know for sure - I’m not the one to ask. In case God is real, I do pray about things. I prayed and prayed and prayed night after night after night for countless nights over the last few years for God to take these addictions off of my shoulders. If God is indeed real, which I accept as a possibility, then the answer to my prayers was clear. God gave me a healthy mind and free will for a reason, and I need to take responsibility for these problems that I brought on myself. Frankly I hope God will end terrorism, which is an example of something I believe I AM powerless over personally. I’m willing to take responsibility for those things I CAN change – and I do believe I am capable of quitting drinking with a good plan and a little help from my friends. I hope I have not offended anyone as I respect the choices other people make for themselves 100%. I wanted to write this part on the off chance that even one other person might read it who is searching for the same sort of solution I was searching for.

    I have promised myself that once I reach 1 year of AF, whether that’s 7/11/08 or at some point after that, I am going out into my community. I will somehow find a forum to help make people more aware that there are options available today in addition to the AA model. I will also try to change at least one mind about alcohol problems being seemingly equivalent to leperacy. Maybe someday people who choose to quit drinking will getting the same Standing Ovation and Five Gold Stars that people get when they quit smoking.

    The icing on the cake of the MWO program to me, is this wonderful support community. I love reading about everyone’s experiences – I learn so much from that. I love knowing that the people ahead of me on the path are succeeding – that proves to me that I can succeed too. I love the knowledge that when I inevitably hit a rough patch in the road – someone, and probably many someones will be right beside me offering a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, or a kick in the seat of the pants if I need one (or several!). I try to “give back” as much as I am able to as a “Newbie.” I don’t always know the right words. I hope to get better at supporting others as we move further down this wonderful path together.

    I feel like my future is so bright I gotta wear shades!!! What a dramatic change in outlook. Thank you RJ and the MWO team, and everyone here in the support forum for your help making this possible!

    If you have made it this far, please reward yourself with a big glass of water and a sandwich or something before you pass out. Thank you for listening.

    DG
    3 hours into Day 11 AF ***********(my gold stars)

  2. Thanks darlenewilliams756, sothankful thanked for this post
  3. #2
    Registered User. trixietrack's Avatar

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    very well done DG. you are beaming congratulations!!!!

  4. #3
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    Hi Doggy Girl. . . Very well done! Most of what you said resonated with me. Just wanted you to know I appreciate your struggle. . . I hope to add more tomorrow after I've had some sleep (very long day), but I wanted you to know that your story is inspirational, as I think I'm now in the place you were. Thanks for sharing.


  5. #4
    Registered User. OverIt2007's Avatar

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    I read it all. Congrats on your sobriety and best wishes for your continued success!

  6. #5
    Registered User. Beaches's Avatar

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    I think I will have a big sandwich! Thank you for posting that! Good luck to you with achieving all your goals, you are so motivated which can only be encouraging to all who read this

  7. #6
    Registered User. diamond's Avatar

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    Well done- you are an inspiration to all of us.

    Thank you for telling us your story xx

  8. #7
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    well done DG

    Great story DG! Can so relate to the house being in shape,and the nice feeling it brings.You sound that you are in shape too.Well done on the cigs now the booze-Truley commendable.xx

  9. #8
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    Thank you DG, just what I need to hear today. You've got me back on track girl. Janicexxx

  10. #9
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    Wow! I am so glad I read that DG. I am going to have my daughter read it when she gets home from work. I have a feeling you and her have similar personalities. She is also very intelligent and has a messy room.....haha

  11. #10
    Registered User. n2itiv's Avatar

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    DG,

    Way cool 'ramblings' (with a purpose). You're on the right track and most definately should continue to treat yourself to cleaning ladies or whatever else gives you a healthy positive attitude.

    xox

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