Friday, September 7, 2012

Twelve Days Sober - Seeking Advice

***Submitted by Searching Mom

I’m 12 days into not drinking and really could use some insights from those of you who have gone before me. 

I’m mid-50s, successful professional, wife of a teacher,  mom of a son and daughter. Have had scattered incidents of drinking too much for years, but really started using alcohol as a crutch in the past few years after a family trauma. 

In recent months--even though, with counseling, the trauma was receding and its fallout was becoming manageable--my drinking was becoming unmanageable.

Finally, on a recent family vacation where I tried to keep pace drinking with a 20-something and totally embarrassed myself, I have admitted that I am not able to control myself if I drink at all, and concluded that I must be a non-drinker from now on. 

I have talked to my wonderful (female) pastor about this, to the counselors my family still sees, and to some sober friends who are being wonderful guides.



I am asking friends about various AA meetings in my area to see if one sounds like a good fit, and in the meantime am doing reading on my own about recovery. 

I am feeling such relief that I have begun this, and I think I am not kidding myself that this will be easy every day – but so far, I have generally felt calm and well able to resist drinking. 

I am finding positive things to add to life now that alcohol has been subtracted – e.g., joined a gym where I can work out with a friend. 

A dear friend who is 3 years sober tells me I’m on “the pink cloud” and should be prepared for this not to last, and I THINK I understand that and am prepared, at least intellectually. 

But at this point, I’d really value hearing from others who have passed through some of these dynamics and can tell me what to expect and what has helped them persevere. 

Thanks and godspeed.


34 comments:

  1. Welcome to the sober journey, it's such a sweet ride although bumpy at times. The pink cloud is very real but if you keep your perspective on the positive around you today you'll find it seems to last longer.....

    I'm always here if you want me, you can find more sober articles on my blog here as well: She is 12 days sober and seeking advice. Please come offer words of support and empathy to this mom: http://www.cryingoutnow.com/2012/09/twelve-days-sober-seeking-advice.html

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  2. Sorry wrong link to my blog lol http://www.soberjulie.com/category/soberdoesntsuck/

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    1. Julie, thank you for your encouragement and for the link, I will definitely add your blog to my list of places to go for help...Searching Mom

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  3. Hello sister ~

    Congratulations on your decision and being able to successfully not drink for twelve days! Pink cloud or no, feeling better feels better.

    I have not found it necessary to pick up a drink or a substitute for more than 28 years. I can still remember a time that being away from a drink for a year seemed impossible.

    Initially I looked for an AA meeting that was a "good fit" but there was a problem: I didn't fit. I couldn't safely drink any more and I didn't know how to live sober. The places I felt comfortable were pretty crazy.

    So, if you're asking for advice? Just go to meetings. Go every day. Make not drinking the most important thing.... for a long time. Don't worry about feeling comfortable: sometimes you will and sometimes you won't but the things you'll find out about yourself are almost as miraculous as being able to not drink.

    Love,

    anonymous

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    1. It is so heartening to read someone who has succeeded at this for so long! Profound thanks for sharing; talking online has been my "meeting" so far but I am going to attend as well. Much thanks for your help, sister.
      --Searching Mom

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    2. I have to agree on the power of Aa meetns, I wouldn't be clean for the 49 days I have in if it weren't for those.

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  4. OMG where to start. I'm 8 months sober so I'm pretty new too. I remember the pink cloud, where everything clicked and everything I heard at a meeting was an epiphany.. Yes, it does go away as your brain gets used to working as it once did (before alcohol) you will go through lots of stages. I was told somewhere around a year before I should trust my own thinking. Right now I'm in a stage of "This AA stuff is annoying me.." But, I'm not going to drink over it...Before? I would have walked out and got a drink. The thing is I know the information available through those rooms is worth the world, but sometimes certain people or experiences can taint your view. When you come down from the pink cloud just keep going, have an open mind and after you've worked the steps you can make your own decisions. The value to me out weighs the way I was.

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    1. This is very helpful and wise and I thank you for it...that whole notion of "I'm not going to drink over annoyance' (or stress or feeling fat or arguing w/ spouse or any of a million things) is my chief focus right now and your reinforcement is most appreciated. Bravo on your eight months, I am overjoyed for you...Searching Mom

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  5. I will have a year of sobriety in six days and my pink cloud is still hanging around. I think it has lingered longer for me because I suffered with this damned debilitating disease for so long, that now even normal life, with all it's foibles, still looks pretty rosy to me in comparison to my 30 years of drinking.

    I did not attend AA, at first I just wasn't strong enough to take that step and now I'm pretty satisfied with the recovery I fashioned for myself by reading blogs, participating on message boards, and getting back in touch with my higher power.

    There are a great group of people out there blogging about their recovery, and you will find some that are just starting out and some that have been sober for years. You're going to find out you're not alone and you're not unique and that there are lots of people out there that care about you and want to share with you, and you'll find you have a lot to give back.

    My blog is http://godwalkedintothisbar.blogspot.com/, there are links to other blogs on my site and when you visit the other blogs you'll find more links and pretty soon you'll be so busy reading blogs you won't have time to drink. ;)
    Best Wishes Kary

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    1. Kary, I SO understand this and am so grateful for your thoughts. And I love the name of your blog, which I will be visiting. I will think of you six days from now and rejoice for you and take strength from what you have achieved. Thank you so much for sharing...Searching Mom

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  6. I'm 52...over 2 years sober. AA helped alot...and a great book called LIVING SOBER gave me some very practical advice about how to physically get healthier, how to safely get through social situations, family changes, etc. I found an AA meeting that I really liked, and everyone's journey or recovery is different - do what works best for you, and be careful not to lie to yourself! Journaling helps you to work through things. GOOD LUCK! I never thought that I could honestly be happy, and actually relieved that I am sober and WANT to live this way!!!

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    1. I am glad to read this, I've begun an e-journal just to write everything down and try to be sure I'm holding myself to account. This is so valuable, coming from someone with your success; thanks for sharing...Searching Mom

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  7. Hi there.
    A year ago, almost precisely, I was on my knees literally, with the blunt end of a screwdriver. I hit the side of my eye again and again because the pain felt better than one more day of failed attempts to quit drinking.
    It took a long time to get to that state of desperation. I didn't go to meetings, nor listen to suggestions because I refused to accept that I am an alcoholic, plain and simple.

    It begins with surrender. If that seems intangible, do the footwork: meetings, home group if applicable, sponsor, service (I find speaking in detoxes to be particularly helpful. It shows me where I came from and it is a miracle that I can walk out the doors.)

    These things are suggested so many times that I now repeat them like a weirdo zombie. But I had to fight and fight until it became: surrender or die.
    You can reach your "bottom" or as low as you have to go, when you stop digging.
    Not much can stop a runaway train, so I strongly suggest that you do all the fancy footwork when you feel good. That way it is more natural to use tools when you feel out of control.

    Feel free to reach out to me. I am here to help!

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    1. Catherine, this is so powerful. Thank you. The "surrender" is what feels different to me now, compared to the other times I was trying to rationalize that I didn't have to stop entirely but just needed to manage the drinking better. I'm done telling myself that story and it really does feel very different. Also very much appreciate the idea of getting plenty of supports in place now for when the darker days arrive. You are wise and kind to share, thank you...Searching Mom

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    2. It is a miracle when it "feels different," as you say. It is like staring at a 3D painting with all those messy dots and all of a sudden the picture pops out and.....Oooooh! Have you seen those?
      I am so relieved for you that you are having that experience.

      I have a thing with my sponsor. Sometimes when one day at a time (ODAAT) seems too long, I can take it one hour at a time (OHAAT), or my favorite, which makes me snicker, is one 15 min at a time (OFAAT).

      You are doing amazing things. :)

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  8. A few things that may help....One, remind yourself frequently that cravings are time limited - you can and will get through to the other side without drinking. This too shall pass. Stay the course.
    Two, I have a mantra, "I don't drink, no matter what". Bring your awareness to the present moment, as best you can. That's the only time and place you don't drink, the here and now. I believe there is a difference that can matter between "I don't drink" and "I will not drink".

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    1. Zentient, this is great. I'm trying to be aware and mindful and have been doing some meditating and reading Radical Acceptance: Embracing your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, by Tara Brach. You probably know of it but maybe others don't: it's really just about treating oneself gently, flaws (and addictions) and all. I have highlighted this passage: "Over the years we each develop a particular blend of strategies diesigned to hide our flaws and compensate for what we believe is wrong with us." Drinking was one of mine...and I am so grateful for your help in taking it out of that position of power in my life.
      Searching Mom

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  9. Hi there
    I have not had a drink for nearly 4 months - huge for me, if only on the starting blocks in terms of where others are. the blog world has been wonderful. Have a visit http://www.mylifeacttwo.com You will find all my wonderful blog friends there too - who I am more than happy to share. Good luck

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    1. Cleo, four months IS huge, if you relied on alcohol as much as I did. I am thrilled for you and inspired. I will go to that blog and be very grateful to join the circle. Thanks... Searching Mom

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  10. Wow, you have received some fabulous replies here!!

    The pink cloud - absolutely! The thing to be aware of when learning to understand this period of recovery is that this turns into a place of complacency where our vigilence wains and we may even subconsciously believe, "I've got this thing beat"
    So, its really just a matter of AWARENESS.

    The big book of alcoholics anonymous will tell us 'how' to get sober and as AA does so often, it is translated into an acronymn. HOW = Honesty, Open-minded, Willing - if you can embrace these three tenets, you're off to a great start; which, btw, you already are!! wtg girlfriend, twelve days is a solid start!!!!!

    If I may, I wish to comment on one more thing, you wrote about how you still drank despite positive efforts with counseling and the subsequent improvements with your situation. This may have been so hard at the time for you to understand as your drinking escalated as a result of a truama - one would think that it would subside when healing had taken place. Here's the thing on that - and I share this because I'm your age and my alcoholism did not really manifest and take off until my 40's - if we are truly plagued with this disease it doesn't matter our age or even season of life. Alcoholism is a patient evil beast and it often lies under the surface just waiting to attack. Many of us have triggers where drinking becomes a temptation when things are going well. We're all different in that regard. The thing to understand is that we have a terminal disease and it does require rigorous work and gosh it sounds like you are tapping into a number of resources.

    So, good for you, cheers!!! And keep coming back. The blogging community is, for me, an integral part of my sober program.
    God Bless you, dawn. http://dawnredefined.blogspot.com/

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    1. Dawn, God bless you, too -- I am thankful for your encouragement and even moreso for the cautionary statements. It's so weird, I have said out loud for a whole lot of years that there is alcoholism in my family tree and yet I have assumed I could drink and not be ensnared by it; so your "beast lying in wait" image is exactly right for me. Thank you so much, and I will visit you at your blog...Searching Mom

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    2. Dawn, God bless you too. I am thankful for your encouragement but even moreso for the cautionary statements. For a lot of years I have talked openly about the alcoholism in my family tree and yet I something believed it would not ensnare me or mayit more dangerous for me to drink than for others to do so; so your image of the "evil beast lying in wait" is exactly right for me. Thanks so much and I look forward to seeing you on your blog... Searching Mom

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  11. I, too, am sober 28 years - have been active in AA all that time. Go to any meeting you can (and more than one a day) plan your day around meetings and being in safe places as long as you need to -listen to what the people suggest you do and do it. You have a lot in your life to change and AA will do that for you. I also had no reservations about being able to drink successfujlly again -

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    1. I hope someday I can say I have been sober this long; you are kind to write and share this and I really appreciate it. I do have a lot to change and not ashamed to say it. THANK YOU....Searching Mom

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  12. I am so glad you are reaching out....I cannot tell you how many times texting for help has gotten me thru a rough spot. I read just today that it is best to have more than one safe person to reach out to, so that if they are busy there is still some one else. I have three in my inmost circle and then others, in varying degrees that I reach out to. Next week will be 45 months of sobriety from alcohol for me, tho as I wrote about today, the disease of addiction can rear its head with other ways.... offhersauce.blogspot.com

    Hang in there.
    there IS hope!

    Oh and @Catherine, I LOVE OFAAT!!

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    1. Ha ha!! I am really loving this thread so much. Just caught your mutual appreciation of the acronym. 45 months is so wonderful. Off to read about the ugly rearing ways on offhersauce. :)

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    2. Mommaof3, I just read your Sept. 98 post at OFFHERSAUCE, with great gratitude for you and all the others who are sending mesupportive words in these early days. I LOVE the lyric your post ends with...I am copying my favorite posts and now have words from you, from Catherine, from Ellie and more fellow travelers with and without names, and I use it as a kind of prayer book to consult as needed. Truly cannot thank you all enough...Searching Mom

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  13. I have gone the route of AA and for good reason. My history with relapse in the past was enough of an indicator to me that I can't quit drinking on my own. AA is a community that is always available, will ask nothing of you, and is anonymous. All that they ask is that you pass it on.

    Regardless of which route of recovery you take, all you have in front of you is 'now.' And at the far end, 24 hours. Projecting into the future will set you up for failure and resentment and is a saboteur of recovery.

    I wish you well on this journey. Its so worth it.

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    1. Kristin, many thanks for this. I have left a voicemail with a friend's friend who has offered to counsel me about meetings that she has found a good fit, so I'm guessing that in the next few days, I'll attend my first meeting! Every time I "talk" to one of you folks on this board, I feel less intimidated about going. MUCH gratitude to you.
      Searching Mom

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  14. Struggling to stay soberSeptember 10, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    I have been reading and really enjoying all the posts here. I can only say that I am just 44 days into recovery and it took me 30 days to attend my first AA meeting. I was scared to death but had the support of a family friend to help me and meet me at the meeting. I have since attended 2 more meetings so far and have been equally nervous but know I need to be there. The people in those rooms 'get it' like no other people in my life do. I was unable to attend a meeting this past week and feel the weakening of my spirit and will so I know it's helping me to go. My advice is to just face the fear, reach out to someone who may want to go with you, and give it a try. You are worth it! It's not going to be easy but with the community of support, I think we can both make it in sobriety just like so many who have gone before us!!!!! I'll be praying for you.

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  15. Hi, Struggling -- I am so grateful to you for sharing this! Today marks one month for me :-) and I have been to a couple of meetings and you're right -- it's unnerving to take the first steps to get there, but so worth it! I hope you are getting more support at meetings and this and other blogs, and anywhere and everywhere you can. Know that my prayers go with you, and I thank you so much for saying yours for me. We can do this today! Or, more precisely, we can turn this over today to The One through whom all things are possible. All best!

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  16. Searching Mom,
    I'm 3 days sober, definitely no "pink cloud" for me, every day is quite a struggle. I'm doing a lot of reading and research online and these blogs are helping a ton! I'm going to my first AA meeting tomorrow night. I just wanted to say thanks to you; your post and your request for help and suggestions from the blog community have gotten such a great response, and all of these comments here have helped me a great deal as I take my first tentative steps into sobriety. So thank you for your bravery and honesty, you've inadvertently helped me a lot, and thanks to all the commenters here. Wishing you the best.

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    1. Hi, I am 4 days sober. I am a functioning alcoholic, and just have had enough. I haven't had any withdrawls yet? I know I can do this. I don't want to hurt my family or myself anymore. It will be a struggle for me. I am very social and alcohol is always around. I really don't miss it yet. Thank you for your posts.

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  17. I too struggle with not drinking-in the last few years,I don't get pass 3-5 days. I have decided to attend AA-again. Haven't been going regaurly since 2008,when I was trying to stop crack,now I have 2yrs-8mos off crack. But the alcohol must be deleted from my life. THANKS FOR ALL THE POSTS & HAPPY SOBER HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

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