Friday, November 16, 2012

16 Days Sober and Needs Help With Drinking Pressure

***Submitted by Anonymous

Hello and thank you for this honest helpful site. 

After 16 days l have been very grateful to read the stories of women who seem very much like me.

I am 53, a mom, wife and teacher. I don't know if I am a true alcoholic or not ...

I do know it was interfering with my daily life and I feel better each day. 

I have never had a honest conversation about this. 

I think l was so busy trying to hide it and pretend that my drinking was normal.

I just returned from a getaway with girlfriends where drinking was the focal point for many. I was very worried but went in with a plan and was successful :)

At one point l had a shooter put up to my lips and had a group chanting my name. I was very polite and handled it....but l think the 'jig is up'.

I need tips on how to handle these social situations without drawing attention to this change l have made. 

I never realized what an alcohol centered world I live in. 

I also would appreciate any information on timelines for this journey. I know it is a very individual experience, but I thought there might be more info out there on what to expect or what is ahead. 

Also PINK CLOUD??? I am only guessing that is like a honeymoon period. 

I have been tired and grumpy to my family over the last few days. Also not sleeping. I did take a sleeping pill to help. Will that interfere with my recovery?  

I have used them over a few years and they haven't presented a problem. 

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

16 comments:

  1. Well first off welcome, the life that sobriety has given me is so much richer than the one I'd experience before. It's a journey, one that's often uncomfortable but so worth it!

    I'd recommend you find a 12 step meeting nearby, for me this was the key. I learned how to cope, how to get to know myself and even love myself. In the early days I didn't go to social events where booze was the focus and frankly that was almost all events. But as I've grown in sobriety I've found because my interests have change I'm naturally not attending those kinds of events.

    You can do this, sober doesn't suck....it's a beautiful way to see the world. This community of people is wonderful....

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  2. Welcome! I, too, lived in an alcohol-centered life when I was drinking and finally chose to get sober. Just about all, but one of my friends (an acquaintance really) drank, most of them heavily. These are the people I surrounded myself with so I wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb and I could drink the way I wanted.

    When I got sober, I had to take some distance from them; not because of them, but because of me. It was simply too scary and too painful to be around alcohol when I was trying so hard to get sober.

    I told a few of them I was getting sober. They didn't see a problem, but they agreed to support me. Party/happy hour/let's drink while we [fill in the blank] invitations still rolled in. I declined. I just wasn't ready and I KNEW in my heart I had to go into an alcohol-free cocoon for however long it took in order to do what was needed to have the obsession and desire to drink removed.

    What I did do was begin to meet other sober people and accept their invitations to sober events. A 40th birthday party. A crawfish boil. Movies with the girls. Coffee after a support group meeeting, dinner before a meeting. Lots of phone calls with other alcoholics who were sober and who could identify with EXACTLY what I was feeling. I had to begin to feel a "part-of". I was embraced with love, tolerance, empathy, laughter, and open arms.

    My suggestion would be to try to connect with people who are doing what you are doing. Find people who have what you want in terms of contented sobriety and stay in the middle of the herd.

    As far as what to tell your friends, I was just honest with a few of them. Eventually, word got around. After enough declined invitations to boozy events, they slowed to a trickle. At first I was in fear that I would lose my friends. But what happened was I still had those friends, we just did things differently. More breakfast, brunches, and lunches. And I did more with the sober folks. Now I can't keep up with all the wonderful people and opportunities in my life. What a gift.

    In order to be open to change on the inside, I had to change some things on the outside. Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness were the keys to those changes.

    I didn't have a pink cloud this time getting sober. I was a sloppy, weepy, raging, tired, bitchy mess. But I was assured by many who came before me that it was completely normal and it would pass. Cut yourself a break. Let your family know what you're going through and what you need to care for yourself during this tender time. You are RECOVERING from years of drinking and this is painful and uncomfortable at first. It's okay. You are exactly where you're supposed to be.

    Stay close. You are safe and welcome here. Sending prayers of peace and blessings of love. xoxo

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    1. §uch kind and helpful words. I will start telling more family as l know who will truly understand. I am 22 days sober and haw done 6 of the 12 steps on my own. Am l kidding myself or can it be done without going to a support group? I will do what l have to. This is much bigger than l thought. I cant believe the support you get when you reach out in the right direction. Thanks for the help and guidance....:)

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  3. Hi, and congratulations on your 16 days! Good for you for posting here. I know it is difficult to reach out for help, trust me - I've been there!

    Very wise to go into your getaway with a plan. That is exactly what I would do. I will tell you as I've been sober for a while (almost 2 years), my interests have changed such that I wouldn't enjoy attending something drinking-centered anymore. I went to a friend's birthday party a few months back which ended up being alcohol-centered, to the point that every birthday gift was some form of alcohol! My friends know I'm sober, so there wasn't pressure on me to drink, but it was all around me. It just isn't my thing anymore, and I'm OK with that.

    If I have a social situation that worries me, I first evaluate whether I really need to be there. If I do, then I make a plan, just like you did. I'm big on accountability, so I either make plans to call someone or take someone with me. When I was around 3 weeks sober, I had my office Christmas party. I was terrified, because no one at work knew I had gotten sober, and I thought they would have expectations. I ended up telling my best work friend about it, because I knew if I told him, I wouldn't be tempted to drink in front of him. It worked.

    Timelines? It's really hard to say, as everyone has their own path, I believe. I think the first 30 days are the most difficult. Being tired and grumpy are really typical. So is insomnia. My recommendation is to talk to your doctor about it, and do what he/she says. In my opinion, sleeping pills are not an issue as long as you're taking them as prescribed.

    Pink clouds come and go for me. At first, it is like a honeymoon period, yes. But as I've worked my steps (I'm in AA), they have come and gone. Most of the time now, I operate at a pretty even keel, which I never did before I got sober.

    I hope this helped. Best to you. :)

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    1. §uch kind and truthful words. I had no idea l was in need of all this wisdom. I so appreciate all the wonderful tips. I am 22 days in and have reached out to some family and friends. Ño one was surprised and some were very honest about my drinking. I really thought l was fooling everyone. I here the slured speech in friends that call drunk and now realize that l was drunk many times on the phone. I like the honesty but you do open youself up to comments that are hard to hear. I am very reflective after l hear something that is hard to hear. l know it is meant to be helpful and l will try to be receptive. l am so greatful for this support.

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  4. Welcome! I have to echo what Lisa said. In early sobriety I thought long and hard about whether or not going to an event that featured lots of drinking was good for me. I had to be willing to do whatever made it easier for me to stay sober. I learned a few things in the process. One, it turns out I was the big drinker -- who knew?! I would go to book group where I loved to have many glasses of red wine and watch other people contentedly sipping a single glass. Two, big parties that centered on alcohol were just not very fun sober, so I stopped trying to make them fun. Three, I made sure I had an escape route and I checked in before and after (sometimes during) with my support network. I strongly suggest getting a sobriety network.

    Tired and grumpy is normal. Give yourself lots of time and patience to not be the person you are used to being. The good news is, on the other side of this, the sober person you're becoming is stronger, clearer, more present. It really truly is worth it.

    What I found was that drinking was the symptom of a bigger "problem" that I needed help with so I got involved with a 12 step program.

    This is BIG so let it be big. If it means napping in the middle of the day, calling in for take-out most nights, eating a bag of m&ms, go ahead and do it -- just don;t drink. It will get easier and easier the farther you get from that last drink.

    Sending a big, sober hug -- I am not drinking right along with you today. xxoo

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    1. Thanks for the very clear and heartfelt advice. Treating myself like a queen this weekend...lots of pampering. I cant do meetings in my town as l am very well known and have taught half the community. My youngest son in grade11 at the local highschool on most sports teams where l now it would be a lifechanging issuue. I can go to a bigger town that is 40K away where l am unknown. My concern is...can l do a 12 step program on my own. After reading info on the AA web site l have begun on my own. I an 22 days in and on step six. Is this realistic? Is there an alternative way to do this or must it be in person? I so appreciate this advice and support. I had no idea this was available....l feel like this is a gift.

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  5. I'm the friend of someone who drinks (I posted on here about a year ago I think) but after she had some health scares she stopped (I guess gushing nose bleeds are a good thing...) Her friends that were her true friends kept seeing her, we just did different stuff, and were frankly glad to! She started coming running with us, we signed up for obstacle course races, her husband actually remarked at one of them "This is the first thing we've done as a couple that didn't involve drinking."

    Her friends that were her bar friends, some of them gave the side eye to her seltzers, tried to buy her drinks, mocked her running. And she realized they weren't her friends. When she first needed to say why she wasn't drinking, she'd say "I'm training for a race." Later it became easier to say "I just don't want to."

    Her friends who'd been waiting for her to get here, we couldn't be happier. And my guess is you'll find that fewer of your friends are drinking as heavily as you thought they were when you were all in a big group. And that some of them are really really glad you've stopped.

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  6. Hi There and thanks so much for your reply. Your last paragraph rings very true. As I have been reflecting on this for 3 weeks now (day 21:) I do believe that most of the time, I always drank way more than anyone else and was always keeping up with the people who were drinking the most. I have really been aware of who is drinking now as there is such a change in voice, tone, comments, laughter and of course inappropriate behaviour. I can't believe I still have a husband let alone any friends left. Not really doing the 12 step thing as I am a well known teacher in a small town and if I went to an AA group it would get out very quickly. I don't really think I need it and I hope I'm not kidding myself. I really should get back into running or at this point fast walking/slow running. I will check into that in my town. Great advice from the other perspective. Thanks

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  7. Welcome! and congratulations! It doesn't matter whether or not you are a "true" alcoholic. What matters is that you recognized it is causing problems in your daily life and you are taking responsibility for changing that... That takes courage and strength.

    We do live in an alcohol dependent culture but you will connect with those who don't drink more and more as time goes on. 12-step meetings are a great place to start.

    Getting sober is a major lifestyle change. There can be lots of ups and downs, everyone's process is different. Learning to be with your emotions and let them run their course without attaching to them gets easier with time and experience.

    Living sober is a lifelong process. My advice at this point, be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Take it slow, eat healthy, get plenty of rest, move your body (walk, dance, run, etc.), make time for yourself.

    Stay connected, we're all here to help...

    Barbara

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  8. Congratulations, you're beating this, aren't you ?~! Great work; stay the course. I quit without going to AA and have done well. I don't know the steps or how to work them or if they can be done in solitude or if one needs a group to make it work right.

    Staying away from drinking is the most important and you are doing fine with that-way to go, Anon, that's the worrisome-est part and you seem to be handling it well. It will get easier and someday it will be second nature--for now, let it be very important and in your frontal lobe all the time. Sleep when you get overwhelmed; you are Recovering and sleep allows our body to do its repair work better.

    Eat well, exercise, rest, read... Reach out, we're here.

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  9. Thanks Lynda for the great advice. Day23and going strong. I am glad to hear you managed without AA. I would go if it was doable but l cant in
    town. I feel great but do need to sleep more. I should make that my next goal that ans exercise. Food has never tasted better. I am focusing on being well not counting calories.

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  10. I'm enlightened with your posts, I admit I was a heavy drinker before. But it seemed that my problem just worsened, I stopped drinking and consulted with alcohol rehab new york.

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  11. A strange coincidence...I am 53, a teacher, and also have a son who is a junior involved in sports. I, too, have taught most of the community in my 32 years. When I started reading your post I could so relate. I've had problems with alcohol since high school and have quit several times, but then I start thinking that I'm not really an alcoholic and go back to it. I do the girl trips and go to the teacher parties. You are right that so much is centered around alcohol. I am thinking that some of my current problems are stemming from alcohol use. It is very insidious and deceptive. I am toying with quitting, but socially I don't know if I can do it. Who would think we would still be experiencing peer pressure at 53?

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  12. I am 8 months sober and did not do AA or any other group meetings. I read A LOT of books and have had terrific support from my husband. I had to medically quit drinking (liver enzymes over 900 and amonnia level was sky high) I am 56 and have never felt better. This was my first Thanksgiving sober in a long time! I pamper myself, when needed, and am in close contact with my Dr. I do take Ativan for anxiety attacks and a lot of vitamins and minerals. I hope this helps - I also have started reading the bible and am in love with Joyce Meyer. I found strength to do it myself - but am not sure where I found it. It is possible tho - good luck -

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  13. Hello! Welcome to the club :) I started my journey by "accidentally" finding this page (I believe 100% that God led me here!!). It helped me gain the courage to walk into AA with a friend. Thankfully he already had 2 months under his belt so I went along with him to a meeting and I've been sober ever since!! Next month will make 2 years and 4 months! I went almost daily at first and LOVE it! I don't go as much now because my life has filled up with school and work, but whenever I get a craving I go. I have met my best friend and sponsor there and it is wonderful to walk into those rooms and be surrounded by people who are just like me! It's amazing! I used to travel a lot for work and have been to some terrible meetings but I kept trying and have a great meeting in the town next to mine. They call it Alcoholics Anonymous for a reason, people keep your anonymity as well as their own. The steps are great and finding a sponsor was a wonderful thing. I have someone who believes in me 100% and I an call her whenever and talk to her about anything and it's wonderful. I don't go everyday anymore but I do go whenever I need a boost. I use twitter to talk to other people in recovery as well. You would be amazed at how many people are in recovery and they understand how hard it is but also how worth it it is! People won't blow your cover but I understand your feelings. Be proud to be in recovery! There is nothing to be ashamed of when you're trying to make yourself a better person!!

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