LifeRing Recovery: a self-help alternative for recovery from alcoholism and other chemical dependency. Group support for abstinence from alcohol and “drugs” by empowering the sober self within you. Completely secular: no prayers, Higher Powers or Steps.
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Brian, you posted something I want to read again, can't find it. You were talking to, I think, Daisy. You explained those ridiculous, illogical, tormenting sudden cravings in a manner that helped me understand them better. Can you repost that please ?
I'm still sober. Its only one part of the day when I struggle, from noon til late afternoon. Morning and evening are easy. And its not exactly a direct need to drink, its really plain old anxiety, maybe a precursor to an urge more compelling. I'm changing my daily routine, doing it slowly as I adjust, spending those tough hours engaged in something else.
I reluctantly connected with AA again. Haven't been to a meeting yet but a couple of local ladies call me every day. I like them. They don't preach or lecture and they both like gardens and dogs. They seem to understand that a friendly chat about a shared interest can keep me sober that day more than promoting AA dogma. And they do say 'take what you like and leave the rest'.
ML, I was thinking about you last night, and your aging addled dog. It reminded me of Narly, the chihuahua I cared for. I knew he was old when he came here. First he went blind and then he went deaf. We adjusted fine to that. But then there was this additional something he was lacking. He was getting dementia, behaviors that blindness and deafness didn't explain. So I wonder how your little guy is managing.
Off I go to tend to plants and watch the US impeachment trial.
Hi cookly (Rae)
Conversations about gardens and dogs always welcome here!
If Brian doesn't pop in, I shall try to find the post you mention, I remember it well.
I've been out of down for a few days and I can't do the forum on my phone. We need to get Margit back to find old posts. But here's what I think I probably said - or something like it.
We all started drinking for some reason. It relaxed us after a hard days work, to make us fit in in social settings, to relieve stress, to help with depression, any number of reasons. Many people drink for these reasons and never run into serious problems. But for those of us who become alcoholics, something else happens. It's almost like some sort of switch gets toggled in our brains. Drinking becomes what one psychiatrist called "a bare want." There is no longer any reason we want to drink for, we just want to drink. It is totally irrational. This is what people who aren't alcoholics just can't understand and what makes it so difficult to explain to other people. It's also what happens when alcoholics who have gone for months or even years without drinking suddenly start drinking again. That switch is still on. All of a sudden having a drink just seems like a good idea. How can you explain that? You can't, it is just totally irrational.
Triggers were never a problem for me. Being around other people drinking never tempted me. After a while, seeing an open bottle of wine when no one was around stopped bothering me. I remember watching an English spy movie and at one point they all have a glass of scotch - my favorite drink. What I remember thinking was - wasn't it funny that they only poured a third of a glass - that's not what I would have done. But it was not a temptation. But then I'd be driving up to West Virginia and my mind would be wandering and, out of the blue, I would think I could get a bottle of scotch. Where did that come from? I have no idea. Many relapses started this way.
Over time these temptations have weakened - I hardly ever have them now and when I do it's easy to resist them. I find facing them directly, not trying to ignore them or repress them seems to be the best way of dealing with them. I think that switch is still on, but it doesn't seem so powerful now. When I make spaghetti I'll open a bottle of wine and put some in and the bottle will sit on the counter for a month until I make spaghetti again.
I also think this is why it helps so much to be around other alcoholics when you are first trying to stop drinking - they are the only people who can understand the irrationality of what is going on. No alcoholic would ever say "just say no." They may not know exactly what does work, but they know for sure that doesn't. I think this is one of those times that just being there for someone, even if you don't have anything especially helpful to say, really does help.
Hope this is close to what I think I said.
I think is was probably this one - Msg 2 of 5 to
Yeah that was it, the 'bare want'. Denying that when it rears up is almost but not quite impossible for me. I try to ward it off before it takes hold. A prior mistake was ignoring it, denying it was there which leads to wrong thinking ie helplessness. It seems to be proof we are helpless. So I shifted my thinking and so far so good. Not powerless.
I need spring to come. Once I can go outside and garden, those danger hours of noon til late afternoon will leave or at least ease. I'm won't be wandering around looking for things to do, I'll have the garden to show me exactly what to do. Then I can establish a healthy routine around work and eating and resting. I might even find some joy there.
Saw you in NYC ! Jealous. Chinese New Year is celebrated here by a little parade and everyone going to the Sunday smorg at our one and only chinese restaurant. Good thing they have good food. Chinese farmers settled in the valley and had huge veg farms way back in our history, a few families stayed here and continued the legacy and the restaurant owners are among them. Everyone knows everyone.
Born in the year of the Dragon. Sounds about right.
Yes, that is my experience too. It doesn't work to try to ignore it or deny these urges - you just have to face it and get through it. Fortunately, for me at least, they don't last long, so if I can just face it down for a while it will go away just as suddenly as it appeared. Brains are strange.
I'm looking forward to spring too- more so I can start welding again than working in the garden. The problem with gardens is that they are really a lot of work - and you can't just ignore them for a week or so. I'm having a real problem with bind weed - I pull it out and pull it out, but it just keeps coming back smothering everything. I've looked for a selective pesticide that would just get it, but I haven't been able to find one.
The Chinese New Year was an added bonus to our trip to New York for my birthday. The dim sum restaurant was packed with Chinese families and when we came out there were dragon parades on several blocks. The police seemed to look the other way at the firecrackers and the light rain didn't seem to discourage anyone.
Things are shifting rapidly in my mind which is easing the anxiety in my body. I don't feel any anxiety at all right now and its mid afternoon, usually a restless time. Making a deliberate decision to drink seems very remote.
Interesting to see the cycle..drink to reduce existing anxiety, which then increases because stuff gets neglected and those consequences cause even more distress. I have my finances all in good order now. Next is to file income tax. Last year I didn't bother, couldn't find all the paperwork..But this year I'm on top of it; I have a file with all the docs and appt with tax accountant to file for both years. I expect to get a nice refund.
I'm struggling a bit with guilt for wasted years.. I friend I've known for years and has visited me often came by the other day while I was playing the piano. He said " I didn't know you could play that thing!". Sure enough, one more loss through drinking. I caught myself in a lie. I told myself I didn't play because I didn't like this new piano, it was out of tune, but it isn't ! its still not the greatest instrument but its perfectly in tune and the sound isn't bad.
Yes, that's the problem, You drink to reduce stress and it just makes everything more stressful. I remember checking my work over and over again because I was so worried I had made a mistake. You stop drinking and the stress fades away - maybe not all of it, but lots of it. Why is it so hard to see that while your drinking?
And yes, they your life startss coming back, you start doing all the things you stopped doing while you were drinking.
As for the guilt - I don't think it should be guilt we feel - it's not like we chose to become alcoholics. Regret is more what I feel - for all the lost time that I can never get back. But there is nothing I can do about that.
Great to hear about your piano playing.
Got some welding done yesterday - this bizarre weather, 60 degrees in February. More normal today - high 30s and raining, but I have a fire going in the barn and I'll be able to get some things done - but I love working outside when I can.
Rae, what matters for me is the time reclaimed from the lost years. My life didn't change that much when I sobered up but I was present and 'there' so it felt quite different and all my old enthusiasms and interest in the garden, cooking, music, books came aback along with renewed friendships.
Friendly greetings to all, just checking in and saying hi.
I'm doing very well, better every day. So pleased at the timing of it all.. a winter to rest and heal, and now spring is very near. Those anxious afternoon hours are pretty well replaced now with activity. My growing room is in the basement. I used to dash up and down those stairs a hundred times a day, bringing plants up, taking supplies down.. I can't do that anymore, or at least not until my muscles come back ! So I do it very slowly and carefully. I plan ahead more. My broken arm still gives me trouble and the weakness can cause balance problems on the stairs. Having a black cat doesn't help either.
Still quite a bit of snow but I believe the Big Melt is underway.
All for now, love Rae