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.
Hi - I am starting out with LifeRing and in the process of making a plan to quit alcohol in the next couple of days. Working on what I'll do during that 4pm - 8pm window that is my usual drink time. Walking and gardening get me out of the house and I don't crave a drink when I'm outside. I definitely get cravings when I'm home reading or watching tv, so I want to avoid that space. I have quit previously, sometimes for a year or more, but I keep going back to it, so I'd love to break that pattern, live sober and be free of the addiction.
Anyway, thanks for being here!
I'm in the same place. Good luck to you!
Welcome to the Forum Maggie. You're going about it the right way, trying to find alternative things you can do to get your mind of drinking. I do found mild physical activity a big help, sometimes just walking around the block a time or two. Many of us struggled to stop, there is no getting around that it is hard for some of us. I stopped many times only to start again until I finally stopped for good. You just have to keep plugging away at it. There is nothing special about those of us who stopped, except maybe perseverance. So good luck and keep letting us know how you are doing.
Hi Kurt, see my post to Maggie - just keep working at it.
Thanks so much to you both. I keep reminding myself that I do have the strength to stop; I've stopped drinking before and decades ago stopped smoking and that took a year (!) before I was free of craving tobacco. I know this will not be easy, but your reminder Brian "to keep plugging away" brings home that that is truly what it takes. I can do this. I know there will be very hard times and knowing that, recognizing the fact this will be hard and there will be very difficult days, helps me, in a way, to prepare for those times.
Welcome, Maggie. Yes, persistence is key and finding out what works for you -- I do a lot of gardening, I also found it helpful to remind myself in early years when battling with urges and cravings that most sudden cravings only last a short while and I just had to sit them out. They would come back and then go away and over time I just distracted myself with other tasks or posting on forums and gradually the urges weakened and I could just get on with daily life.
Thanks ML, I appreciate the info; all good tools to keep me on track. Yesterday was my first day without any alcohol and right now I'm enjoying the great feeling of a solid night's sleep, feeling good about myself not having had a drink. To remember that the urges pass will help me, I expect, to not fear the urges so much. One of the biggest challenges to quitting, in my view, is the pattern of thinking I can't resist those urges...that they are too powerful and I have to give in to ease the discomfort of the urge. So, very useful advice to remember they will pass and I just need to distract myself. It's when I sit down at the computer or TV or with a group of friends and neighbors that the urge to drink will be strong, so those are the times I have to prepare to either sit with the urge or distract myself.
Hi Maggie, yes the negative self-talk about being unable to resist or overcome cravings can be a drawback in itself. The more you say no and stay sober through cravings and urges, the easier it will get and the more sense of empowerment you will feel.
I would remind myself that the self-doubting and feelings of helplessness were also functioning as excuses that gave me a reason to give in and drink. What i really wanted was a new life free of addiction and the same-old same-old and to get that long-term goal I had to give up short-term gratification. The habit of drinking was just a habit. It was aa big part of my life then but not as big as the desire to live differently.
If you are with friends who drink, the inward resolve will be sapped by those around you who drink -- in early days are you able to find someone who can help you say no when you're in a group? I would take along a small bottle of mineral water and tell everyone I wasn't able to drink right away.
And when I was alone, I found new rituals for the evening, staying on the Internet to post and chat with sober friends or making myself supper earlier, having treats of fruit or even ice cream instead of a drink. It took persistence, Maggie, and at first I struggled a lot. I did feel I was within a community of sober-minded friends though and that is always a help.
Take care and hang in there
Hi ML -
There are actually several people in my groups that don't drink at all, so some of those I could probably recruit to help me say no. The nice thing about all these groups is that no one ever pushes a drink, so if I have a coke or water with me they likely will never even offer.
I also have a doctor that has told me in no uncertain terms that I must not have more than 1 or 2 glasses of wine a week because of the meds I'm on and he will follow up regularly to ensure I'm not drinking more that that. Since limiting myself to 1 glass of wine, once I open a bottle, is beyond unlikely I opt to abstain. So, he is providing support in a more general way.
The meds are a compelling argument, but truly the biggest driver for me is that I want to leave it behind and change my life. I'm tired to death of the habit of drinking and all the nasty issues it brings with it. So far, so good and I'm trying not to look too far ahead, just don't drink today is my motto currently.
Glad to hear you've been successful. I enjoy your posts here.