newly sober ramblings

One week sober today. The funny thing is that I still don’t consider myself sober. It’s like I still want to leave the option to drink open. So stupid.

I sat with a drink in hand yesterday, staring at it for ten minutes. I poured it down the sink. I don’t even know where these small victories are coming from. Stubbornness? I’ve never been good at saying no to myself but for some reason, somehow, I am doing it.

Already I am sleeping better. Everything seems so quiet now. It’s like the noise is gone from my brain. Life seems pretty mundane right now. Trying to find some happiness in the little things.

A week is not a long time but it’s more than I’ve had for over a year. Every night for the past week, I’ve changed my mind dozens of times on whether or not I would have a drink. At least “no” has won out so far.

Late last week,I found out I was refused for the March 31st session of day treatment. This should have sent me into a tear but it didn’t. Now I have to wait for the May session. Everything was in place. My family doc had filled out the short term disability forms, I had spoken to my employer about needing to take a “medical leave” etc. It’s my own fault. Instead of preparing myself for treatment and doing what was required, I was drinking right up until the last minute. I couldn’t let go. I was 3 days sober when I was refused. I quit cold turkey and thankfully, really didn’t experience any withdrawal.

I’m still being stubborn about meetings. I know that is where I need to be, but time away from my family seems so painful. I only get to see my kids for around 2 hours a day. Seems so hard to take any time away from them, and yet I know that a sober, present mom would be a gift to them.

Thanks for “listening” to me ramble.

Treatment can be a great thing, however, from my personal experience the most important thing will be having a support system in place after treatment. For most folks, that is A.A.

A lot of people have issues with A.A. I did but I finally got over it. My advice is to go to as many A.A. meetings as you can. You will hate some, there will be assholes. However, you will find some that fit for you. It may take some time but stick it out. ’

And remember, one of the reasons you are doing this is your family. So consider the time spent at meetings as a requirement to have a good family life. Don’t look at it like the meetings are taking away time from your family. Look at it like the meetings are what will allow you to keep your family in your life.

Slee

Best of luck to you. There are a lot of had-to-get-sober folks here on the SDMB so it’s a really good place to ramble.

One question…why are you at a place where you can pour yourself a drink? Is that not making things harder for yourself or do you think it helps?

Zipper, I had a 1/2 bottle of vodka left at home. I know I should have thrown that shit away, but part of me stubbornly still thinks I am going to have “one last go” before treatment.

It’s gone now.

Good for you! For throwing it away, and for the week.

Your comment about family reminds me of Tokyo Bayer’s (then Tokyo Player) post here:

He went on to say:

I don’t know that pouring a small drink and dumping it is the right answer for you, but the comment about the kids may resonate a bit.
Good luck, and best wishes.

More support from me, baileygrrrl. We’re all in this together.

The days get easier, mostly, but the right bitches will come along.
It will be good if you have a plan and a backup plan ready for those days. When life really seems to suck, remember that you can always make it worse by drinking.

When I was drinking I could reason that alcohol was my problem. Emotionally, though, alcohol was my solution.

I found when I quit without any help that anxiety and stress would build up and in a few weeks (rarely months) I would face the choice of drinking or killing. For whatever reason AA has allowed me to stay dry AND reasonably sane. Two years come June.

The religion angle puts folks like me off AA. It is worth putting up with the God botherers to get my life back.

I have a problem with the God aspect too. Not sure how that will work for me.

Also my belief system of what a sober person is. My experience with some of the recovering people in my life is 12 steps/oversharing/manic positivity/navel gazing meme posting and I don’t think I can ever be that person.

My sister has been sober five years now, and she isn’t that person.

A lot of people in AA pay lip service to the higher power thing - some people define it as the universe, or just the laws of reality.

But even if you were to become that person - a navel gazing God botherer - it would probably be a healthier person for you and your kids than being an active alcoholic.

I’ve found that it’s easier if you just think of the higher power as something other than yourself. After all, how many times have you tried quitting through sheer willpower and not been able to? So, for you, it might just mean latching onto some people in the program that you admire and asking them for support and advice. That’s really what meetings and working with a sponsor are all about, especially at first.

I’m lucky enough to live in area with a wide choice of meetings, though. Some are full of God-botherers and AA Nazis and some are not. I choose to stick with the ones that aren’t.

The Left Half is the Best Half!

A couple thoughts. I am an atheist (or agnostic, depends on which day you catch me). One saying you are likely to hear in A.A. is ‘Take what you need and leave the rest’. In other words, if something is helpful, use it. If it isn’t, like god for example, don’t worry about it. FTR, I used a dislike of god talk as a reason to not go to A.A. for a long time. In reality, it was just an excuse to keep drinking. For the vast majority of meetings I go to god is not the major focus. At most you get some folks saying things like ‘I had an urge to drink, so I asked god and then went to a meeting.’.

Second, how well has your belief system worked for you in regards to alcohol so far? If you are like me, it didn’t end up working at all. If it did work we wouldn’t need A.A. or therapy or any of that kind of thing. However, since our life didn’t work when we did it our way, maybe it is time to try it someone else’s way. And the best way to do that is to find someone who has what you want and then do what they do.

My best thinking turned me into a raging alkie with no job, no life, no friends and nearly cost me my family. During all this I was a stubborn idiot and insisted that I stop drinking my way. Of course, my way was an utter failure. So I had to learn to ignore my best thinking and let others help me think in better ways.

If you find that the people in A.A. meetings aren’t helping you, go to another meeting. I’ve been in hundreds of meetings. I’ve been in biker meetings, meetings where everyone looks like a C.E.O, meetings with prisoners, meetings with gang members, meetings with very famous and very rich people (two of whom you’d know instantly if I were to divulge their names). Some meetings are awesome, some suck. Find the ones that work for you and GO.

The statement “My experience with some of the recovering people in my life is 12 steps/oversharing/manic positivity/navel gazing meme posting and I don’t think I can ever be that person.” is a sentiment I’ve heard many times. Sadly, just about everyone I’ve heard it from never quit drinking. A.A. isn’t going to turn you into something you aren’t. A.A. will give you the tools, should you choose to use them, to turn you into what you *ought *to be. You ought to be happy, health and clean. You ought to wake up every morning relishing a new day. You ought to find joy and peace. You ought to love life. You ought to live honestly, with yourself and with others. You ought to share what you’ve learned with others.

Slee

I am sober 17 years, and I am still working on Step Two.

One of the most difficult things in AA is resisting the temptation to work the other guy’s program. Right Slee?

If that came across as trying to work another persons program, I apologize as that wasn’t my point or intention. The point I was trying to get across, however ineptly it was done, is to not let what you think you know about the program turn you away from what can help you in the program.

Slee

You don’t need to believe in God to make AA work for you. You just need to be able to tolerate other people talking about God. That has helped me immensely in my 12 years in the program.

As to the “12 steps/oversharing/manic positivity/navel gazing meme posting,” you will likely go through many phases during your sobriety. Most of what you describe happens during a person’s first few months, when rapid physiological and emotional peaks and valleys can occur. Many people level out after a while. But experiencing these changes can be tremendously exciting, and many people find themselves expressing this excitement a bit unskillfully. One of AA’s stock phrases is “More will be revealed.” At this point, you don’t really know what long-term sobriety will bring you, what you will value, what will move you, what you will be passionate about. You do know, however, pretty much exactly what will happen if you keep drinking.

Good luck in this journey.

Best of luck to you, Baileygrrrl. I’m 14 months sober myself, and AA has been a big help, but not because I worked the steps. I didn’t. I just showed up every day and listened to everyone talk about how my life could be better without alcohol. And it is. I’m not afraid of something I can’t control anymore, and that is a wonderful gift.

AA helped me pull through, and I never worked any steps, and I never believed in God, and I never had to fake to the group that I did. Even here in ultra conservative Texas, no one made me do any of that. Sometimes just talking and listening helps.

Congratulations on taking the first step! It’s unfortunate you can’t get in to the program now, but I’m glad you’re on the books for the next round. I did a three-week outpatient treatment program and it made a HUGE difference for me.

I don’t do AA, really. I’ve gone a few times, mostly to satisfy my husband and demonstrate that I was making a change, but it did feel good to tell my story. The best ones for me were those that were small groups (~10 or 12 people) and all women (I’m female).

While you may decide not to go to AA, you do need someone to help. I go to an addictions psychologist regularly. Right now, it’s every three weeks, but in the beginning it was once a week. We are trying to get to the source of my addiction (I also enjoy prescription narcotics on occasion) so we can work on that instead of just the substance abuse. I think getting to the root cause is essential to addressing addiction long term, where I feel like programs like AA just address the addiction (which is many cases is a coping mechanism), not the cause of it.

YMMV, and everyone deals with their addictions differently. Find the one that works for you. I should also say that I have failed numerous times, including my most recent relapse last October. Luckily, each one is less and less severe (which isn’t always the case - often it’s the reverse), and I address it immediately.

Good luck!

Good for you, baileygrrrl. I think you have been getting some very good advice here; I only have one question, though. Have you ever had to convince your kids to try something new?
I know when my boys were staring down at the bok choy on their plate or resisting going to Hap Ki Do for the first day my answer was always the same, “You can’t say you won’t like it if you never tried it.”
You have demonstrated great courage, keep doing that and even if you don’t feel it, fake it until you do.

A week ago I was planning on when I would have another drink. Today I am planning how I am going to enjoy my future. A month ago I didn’t think there was a future for me. People are starting to notice the change in me already. My smile is genuine now instead of forced. It’s nice to not have to hate myself anymore.

If you aren’t, keep a journal. Write down these thoughts (you could use this thread, but a journal would be better just in case someday we disappear). Sometime there will be a period where you forget that life sucked as a drunk - or at least it wasn’t that bad. And maybe you’ll need to go back and remind yourself that 1) quitting is HARD - its much easier to just never start again and 2) you really do feel better.

(Being a lazy person, #1 has really been the motivation for me when I am tempted to change life habits for the worse - I’m not an addict, but starting an exercise program is HARD, maintaining one, not so hard. Getting the house clean when its a disaster is HARD, doing a little work on it every day is not so hard. Getting a garden into shape after its been ignored is HARD, doing a little weeding three times a week is actually pleasant.)

Congrats.