When is it over?

Those of you who have had discussions with me have probably heard me say I am a "former alcoholic" and that I am "recovered" rather than "in recovery". I've been clean & sober 6+ years, and consider my drinking days, and even my relapse danger, behind me (as arrogant as that probably sounds). But, I had an incident last night that I thought I would share, especially for those that are just starting out on their journey.

Last night my wife & I made steak in a pan. Travesty, but it was literally freezing outside, so no grilling. I made a sauce for the steak using butter to deglaze the pan. The sauce went well on the steak, as well as the asparagus and taters. The wife liked the meal so much that she said we should do it more often.

As I was laying in bed going to sleep, I thought of the next time, and ways to improve the meal. One moment I was thinking of deglazing with white wine. Like lightning, as fast as the thoughts could form, it went from white to red wine, then a glass of wine with the meal, then drinking the whole bottle, then taking shots, then getting drunk. I was somewhat surprised by how fast it all happened. But, since my recovery journey took me to a higher understanding of my self, and I am well practiced at what is me, and what is the monster, I quickly just chuckled, said, "I guess no wine with deglazing" and then decided I should share this with everyone here the next day.

So, based on this, am I still a "former alcoholic" like I claim? Obviously I still can't drink, and even cooking with alcohol might be risky. But, is there more to it? The definition I use is that an alcoholic can't COPE with their level of intake. This has some important subtlety. It means that in theory, someone can have an intake of 0, and still be an alcoholic. If they are agitated, stressed, constantly fearing relapse, or having to actively work to abstain, then they aren't coping too well, I think. With this in mind, what about me? This episode proved, to me at least, that I can't drink, but I'm ok with it. So I can't use some ingredients in cooking. Oh well. In my recovery I learned that I don't really like the flavor of alcohol anyways (a well meaning friend got me some fancy BBQ sauce with whiskey in it, and I think it tastes terrible). But, I should mention that my wife had wine with her steak, and even had to have me uncork the bottle, and the thought of taking a swig never crossed my mind. Half the bottle is still in the fridge; it's not for me, and I am perfectly fine with it.

So, what's the point? I think the point depends on your perspective. The answer to my question of if I am still an alcoholic is obviously debatable. Even the topic question can be debated with some interesting points. I'd say one thing to take away is for those new to recovery, don't worry; even those that are far along get shaken up at times too. The difference is having the tool set to manage the situation. I think one can also see that being "recovered" vs "recovering" is largely in the eye of the beholder. There is no test that can say, "yep, you are cured. Congrats, champ!" And, I think the big thing is, being the person YOU want to be doesn't just happen. While it might not always be a desperate struggle, it does take a lifetime of commitment and vigilance, whether it is keeping an addiction in check, graduating from somewhere, getting a promotion, making eleventy-billion dollars, or being a great friend/father/mother/son/aunt/whatever, to accomplish the goals that really matter in your life.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to the conversation this has the potential to generate.

Keep the faith!
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  • @Leaker thank you so much for sharing... great insight and take aways for anyone reading. sounds like a wonderful dinner, and yes, how fast the mind can take something and run with it.... the science lover that i am... the brain's neuro-connections still not quite far enough away from each other... they remember how much dopamine was released when you drank alcohol... maybe it's a faint memory, but it's there, and like you said, time is of the essence in so many things.

    i love how conscious you are. you've educated yourself on the matter, and the way you refer to it as "the monster".... very helpful. i think of the fly in the sticky goo in The Easy Way. was great at first..yeah, i'll have some more, until it's so far in it cannot get out... well, i'm glad you got out!

    recovered v. recovering... very good insight on having a set of tools. without tools, we're more apt to turn back to what we used to do to cope. or NOT to feel.

    6 years is wonderful! life still comes your way, but you've learned better coping skills and realize booze will not help. and, a glass may not be safe for you... or many people.

    thanks again for sharing. appreciate you thinking of us and those that are struggling.

  • @Leaker... What a great post, my friend. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. You are a wise human and it's so awesome to have you as a part of our community.

    Oh, and your 6+ years of sobriety is totally badass!!!
  • @dominica, thanks for the insight! As I was thinking about what happened, in order to learn from it and convince myself that I am still ok, your explanation of the little dopamine squirt makes perfect sense. I mean, I can sit here right now and think, "ice cold beer" or "glass of wine", and it does nothing for me. But, for some reason, Monday night something got a response. Maybe it was because I was in that hazy awake/asleep mindset. Maybe because I was exhausted. Maybe because I was a content fat kid with a belly full of steak and a happy wife.

    I did a full diagnostic yesterday based on what happened. Easy question, "am I still ok?" Tough to answer though. Think about various drinks. Any response? No? Good. Any increase in activity from the monster? No? Good. Any greater thoughts on drinking? Or a desire to return to "the old days"? No? Good. Any unexplained changes in mood? Happier? Sadder? More apprehensive? More agitated? No? Good. Guess it was just a one off. Continue monitoring and remain vigilant.

    If any of those questions turned out to be yes, I would have to move on to the next step, which would be rereading sections of The Easy Way, or perhaps talking to someone about it.

    Thanks @DeanD. 6 years and counting feels good. What is even better is being able to tell people, "No thanks, I stopped drinking". Even if someone is only a few months sober, if they truly believe those words, it is a very liberating feeling.
  • @Leaker ,
    I think your story is pretty harmless in terms of risk factor . And I don't think it is arrogant to assume you can say no to the drink . For me , the danger is what happens if I don't say no .
    You mention the toolbox . That's as safe as we get I think . I'm past the compulsion . So as long as I don't take that first sip , I'll die sober . But past relapses have proven to me that I can't have 1 and call it quits . So I think we can get cured from the urge , compulsion , even obsession for the first drink . I think we are safe to be around other people who are drinking . ( Though they aren't as cute as they once were). My wife has a glass of rather pleasant smelling wine every night while sitting beside me on the sofa . (Yes , I admit it smells great ) But I don't believe that a true alcoholic can ever fully learn to drink the way normal folks do , If there even exists such a thing as "Normal".
    So keep the tool box open and grab 6 more years ! Good work !
  • @TWSJ hey you! good to hear from you... so happy you have such a wonderful attitude and the compulsion is no longer there... i hear you on staying away from the first sip.... you're right; some people can't social drink.... so recognizing this is helpful.

  • @TWSJ great points. I am not too concerned about it. As I said, these sorts of things crop up, just part of life. I was mostly just using it as a teachable example and conversation starter. In my opinion, there lots of talk about how to get started on a recovery, but few examples of what the "steady state" end looks like. Plus, getting your and other people's perspective has been great for me, and probably other folks as well.

    Sounds like you and I are in perfect agreement with what the "end state" is. No more compulsions, endless cravings, or obsessions, and being able to be around people drinking, and having alcohol in one's house. But there is the understanding that even a single glass might undo all that work and effort, and that it might takes months or more get back in the right mindset to successfully stop again.
  • @Leaker great post! Haven’t gotten to the whole thread yet, but it brings up a relevant reference point for me. My grandad didn’t drink responsibly, so at a very early age, I swore that I would avoid that same road because of a very likely genetic connection to his obviously perilous struggle. I was a determined ‘good wholesome kid’ and derided and condemned people’s choices to drink and smoke at what seemed in my youth a very easy pitfall to avoid. My 21yr old cousin, when I was 15, came home from college for a weekend and arranged an evening out with her 17yr old sister and friend and me. We were going to go to a football scrimmage and she could reflect on high school while we all got to know each other better. Looking back, and knowing her much better now than then, I suspect it was a well-calculated test to see if I was as squeaky-clean as I preached. It was not 5 minutes into the evening before the 3 girls break out a six pack of Coor’s light. I was peer-pressured with ease and in the next 10 minutes we had finished the 6pk and were at the football field. I had not had a drink before, but I was already an alcoholic by genetic makeup and association to my family’s past and the experimental exploration I would engage in later in life has taught me much about what @Leaker raised in the original post above. We found we had to empty our bladders and quickly left the scrimmage to buy a 15pk (a common size of Coors case in those days) and before we went home that evening 5 hours after we had left, we had consumed another 6pk on top of that and sobered up enough to fool our parents. Those 31 beers, shared among 4 people ages 15-21 over a 5hr window should have left us in much worse shape. I didn’t know it that night, but my experiences since then suggest that I was already an alcoholic without drinking, and some of my inherent traits that are a part of me include: extreme tolerance to alcohol’s effects even without prior exposure, very high capacity to remain ‘functioning’ even after exposure, and a natural ability to not experience otherwise ‘normal’ hangover symptoms following high levels of alcohol exposure. I’m not saying my experience with alcohol was inevitable, but certain traits that make me susceptible to abusing alcohol are ones that my genetic heritage have given me that diminish its otherwise noxious and poisonous effects. Later in that same year, at just under 16, I indulged in a fifth of Bacardi 151 with an 18yr old on a bus trip. We finished the bottle in under 3hrs, he was drinking regularly by then, and that was my 2nd time. I could talk, stand on a bus, walk, pick him up over and over while he made amazing messes and many enemies for us on the bus, yet I had no blackout, no hangover the next day, and a new found certainty that alcohol could not hurt me, so I need not fear it. Three years later, my first weeks in college were my next experiences with alcohol and it was a Friday-night binge and then live to the next week to repeat kind of first year - my craving monster was awake then, but laws made it hard for me to gain access and everyone around me was reinforcing the notion that this was how we should behave at our age and life stage, so I jumped right in and grabbed that dragon by the tail without fear. I was an unexpecting youth going all-in with a demon I am trying to move beyond now, and still, 27 years later.
  • @HulkZmash Thanks for sharing. So let me get this straight, you started drinking young, and based on some early "positive" experiences, you thought you were special? You thought you were different? Despite all the warnings and evidence from those around you, you thought you were immune? That you were too smart? Too aware? Too clever? That even when there were indications otherwise, your monster kept saying, "What? I'm just here for you! I'm just here to help you relax like you deserve, and when you decide to cut loose, I'm here to help you get the most out of your fun. You're still running the show, champ", and you believed it?

    Yeah, I was the same way too. I think a lot of people are. That is the insidious trap of alcoholism.

    But, now you are seeing the trap, and taking the steps to get out of it. It is good to reflect on how it all started, to help you see how you got to this point. With that understanding, you can start to get yourself out of it. With work, you will.

    Keep the faith!
  • @leaker - love your comments and perspectives. I’ve been trying to get out of the trap since I was 18, but never this week, this day, this moment. And, for me, there was never any safe level of alcohol - that’s why your original post grabbed me, with the question of whether one has to be consuming alcohol to be an alcoholic? If not, it means recovery never ends, and it actually began prior to the first drink.
  • @HulkZmash there's so much research and theories on it all... and it really does vary for each person... the slippery slope and the recovery... just glad you're on the path :)
  • @HulkZmash, concur with @dominica, there are so many perspectives and ways of looking at things. There isn't one right answer, and no way to evaluate all of them, so the best thing is to find something that resonates and keep working with that. If one tries something, and it doesn't work, figure out where the shortfall was and either modify the approach, or start with a new one.

    Interesting perspective. So what you are saying is that the 14 year old that wants to drink SOOOOOO bad, but has never had a sip of alcohol is an alcoholic by the definition I use? You know what, yeah, I can support that. They are obviously craving it, thinking about it, desiring it, so sure, they can be considered an alcoholic, from a certain point of view. Then the critical moment is what they do after that first drink. Do they go, "Meh, that wasn't anything special", or do they go, "I need more!"? The second is the fast track deep down the Dark Path of addiction, the other one might be that slow festering creep along the Path.
  • @dominica thanks for the comment and support you share with everyone here. It makes a difference.

    @leaker I am thinking that in my case, I was so far goodie two shoes and was certain I’d never touch the stuff that I avoided many opportunities to try booze when my peers took part in during high school...it wasn’t in my system, and I did not know the cravings for it, but all it took was a couple of my first weekends in college and I thought about alcohol and craved it all the days in between, and have ever since. I was ‘an alcoholic in dormancy’ by naivety (maybe a pre-alcoholic, or an asymptomatic alcoholic)... dunk me in the sauce, and Boom! I do not think now that I ever had any chance of being able to drink responsibly. Perhaps if my first exposures to it were in some extremely controlled environment and family security with training over many years, but I really don’t know. Those cravings were awoken and very real from the very first few times of my early adulthood.

    So, there would be no real way to know if an asymptomatic alcoholic is truly an alcoholic if symptoms are necessary for definition. To turn your original post observation and question on its head a little, ‘would someone that has overdrank for 30 years and considers themselves an alcoholic, then stops drinking for 30 years and has not craved, or struggled with the concept of drinking in the last 28 of those years be ‘safe’ to drink again? I think I was never safe to drink in the first place, but somehow had the audacity to think I ought to try, even when definable symptoms of incredible cravings reared their heads at the first chance.
  • @HulkZmash, great points, and a good conversation, I am liking it!

    I think you are getting into the nature vs nurture portion of alcoholism, which is a debate for the larger condition of humanity. Are we the way we are due to genetics, or due to upbringing and culture? The answer is probably both, with the contributions from each changing from person to person and culture to culture. Are people more vulnerable to the chemical reactions that cause alcoholism, or is to due to a cultural upbringing that they fall victim? Good luck answering that one!

    To answer the question about the longtime sober person trying alcohol again, personally, I don't think that person would be "safe" to drink again. First off, if they were comfortably stopped for that length of time, I would argue that they wouldn't want to anyway. They would have found a sober lifestyle, and been happy with it. But, let's assume they try anyways. Hey, curiosity happens, right? Since we don't know if they have a brain chemistry predisposed to alcoholism, even if their culture has changed to not be supportive of drinking, they are still at risk for going right back to the alcoholism.

    In your case, it sounds like you had no symptoms until after that first drink. However, with hindsight, you can see that after that first drink there were already warning signs. I was the same way. Growing up my parents always said, "be very careful, this disease runs heavy in the family", yet I still didn't care, started drinking, and STILL lost myself. So far there is no preemptive test for alcoholism. We can't screen 5th graders for it, and with the pervasive nature of alcohol in most cultures, seems to me the only thing is to try it, and be aware enough to recognize the effects. Again, good luck on a 15 year old sneaking their first 5 pack under the bleachers of a football stadium to be aware enough of themselves at all, let alone aware enough to say, "oh, crap. That wasn't good. I need to stop drinking all together before I lose myself". At least for me, there was a point where I was saying, "Eh, practice makes perfect", thinking that I could learn to drink responsibly as opposed to full throttle till blackout.

    Again, great conversation so far. Thanks!
  • @Leaker @HulkZmash very good conversation. after many years of research, scientists still don't have definitive answers on the topic... and that's alright i suppose... it WOULD be nice to be able to test kids..and those that have the markers for "alcoholism" could get some sort of "vaccination" so-to-speak, so if and when they pick up that six pack as a teen, they'll be able to drink without triggering whatever happens in the brain to make them get the "compulsion" to keep drinking...

    ah, maybe one day...

    we may not know the "whys", but i value the various forms of treatment. as far as the person drinking for years, stopping for years... that was me. drank like an alcoholic from 16 to 20. didn't drink at all from 20 to 42. then social drinker (of course, it was at a time when i was getting out of a toxic relationship...was stressed and depressed) not a great time to social drink... i did alright, but there were times i drank to numb for sure...drank to cope. i also knew enough about addiction to keep myself in check....

    i know enough about me to know that i "could" have the tendency to "over-drink"...especially if i'm struggling in life... so i never drink alone (anymore). i very rarely ever drink..mainly b/c i am highly conscious of the negative side of alcohol. b/c i've educated myself so much on it, and i see the misery it brings the world. so for me, it's a choice to abstain... could i be a social drinker and drink a couple times a week with friends? um, probably not....
  • @Leaker Yep, those were pretty much my thoughts and a similar line of family history plus warning, followed up by getting trapped in the attempt to work out some coexistence with alcohol that isn’t harmful. I am finally at the point that I can admit that it is never going to happen for me, so my coexistence has to be one of recognition, and respect for the prevalence, of alcohol in our society while no longer imbibing. I know temptations lie ahead, but mentally I am in a place I have never been before in my journey with recovery. This community is brand new to me, but so far, it’s made a huge difference and I am not in agony over recovery. I find great power in being able to reflect upon these things in new ways with people that have had similar experiences and know similar pain.

    I’m working on another thought experiment for you —- will check in when I have more time. Back to work!
  • @HulkZmash "Coexistence". That's a fantastic way to look at the situation. I'm probably going to steal it too. Alcohol is there, well, everywhere, but it has no major pull on me. Sure, there is the little incident that started this thread, but that was more on me and my brain than alcohol. No ad or other stimulation instigated things. Alcohol's there, doing it's thing, you know, burning up people and blasting away lives, I'm over here doing my thing. And that, I think, is the steady state for a sustainable and permanent recovery.

    @dominica, thanks for sharing too. You obviously have a commanding knowledge of your Self, and that is supported by the knowledge you have about alcohol. You don't think you are immune, or too smart. You know the risks, and that allows you just kinda hang out and watch as others go charging down the Dark Path, further reinforcing your awareness of what can happen (while working to drag some of those over eager folks back to where they want to be...). That's impressive. I know I could never be like that, or at least don't think I could, and certainly don't want to try it out.
  • @dominica thanks for your responses. I didn’t see them earlier when I had just enough time to read the tail end of the thread and respond before a bit more work this evening. Pretty amazing that you’ve got command enough to dabble, recognize the signs, and extract yourself before getting trapped again.

    I graduated college with a cigarette smoking habit from rolling my own loose tobacco for a couple years. My solution to quit was to buy a pack when I had an insane nic fit, smoke one down 1/2 way and throw away the entire remainder of the pack. About 6 weeks of that loss of money and the diminishing nicotine dependence and I was able to quit. I have tried that trick with booze a million times, and it has never worked. Social only drinking, no dice. The smallest amount just loosens the rationale for me to go one step further.
  • One of the best things about this community for me thus far, just a few days I guess, is the chance to reflect upon small things I’d never really shared with anyone before . Here’s one:

    How many times have you found yourself being asked about your hobbies, or things you enjoy doing in your free time, only to think, ‘Well, I really like getting to the bottom of a bottle of fine tequila on a scorching 2pm Tucson mid-June Thursday afternoon and sweating it through to an altered reality like no other”, but responding with a litany of activities that you used to absolutely enjoy, but have no feeling about one way or the other currently?

    The loss of basic pleasures. Gone. Didn’t even notice it happen. Don’t really care now.

    Then some time later, after enough sobriety: a simple breeze with a hint of flower fragrance on it results in pure joy.

    WHAMMY! Where have I been??? What happened??? And the realization that I want to find myself, for myself, and somehow I have to stop despising myself to get there...well, it took a while to get here, might expect it will take a while to leave this torqued mental space behind.

    Better get started. Better try again. Can’t get there without tryin’...
  • Someone: What do you like to do for fun?
    My thoughts: "Don't say get blacked out drunk. Don't say get blacked out drunk. Don't say get blacked out drunk"
    What I say: Oh, you know, listen to music, watch movies. Typical, normal, I'm totally not an alcoholic sort of things.

    Yeah, the loss of the basic pleasures is something the disease takes away when one is pretty far down the Dark Path. Everything is about that next drink, or hit, or whatever. And the terrible part is, one usually doesn't realize it until after they have started to recover, and they look back on it. Otherwise, the monster is in control, and the person can just sit in that phase until everything collapses around them.

    I am glad that you are finding this place useful for reflecting. I am a firm believer that that kind of reflection is required to get to the bottom of each person's alcoholism. Or at least get to a point where they can talk to a professional at a level above, "I don't know what's wrong with me doc".
  • @HulkZmash good points.. getting to the point where you recognize and appreciate basic pleasures (or even just sitting quietly, doing nothing except breathing...and feeling amazing) is wonderful. we all want that!

    while you and @Leaker have dealt with addiction to alcohol, my drug of choice was people. maybe they didn't' make me black out... but still, lost my self on a dark path, exp. withdrawal plenty of times when conflict or break up came, hurt loved ones, and when asked what i enjoyed doing? um, wrapping my entire world around another person, at their back and call, basing my every emotion on theirs..." so my recovery is more about "no more codependency"... and yeah, it feels really freaking good to crush the "monster" of addiction...

    so loving the conversation and this family!!
  • Love this discussion, @HulkZmash and @Leaker! It's what this community is all about! Thanks to both of you for being here and sharing so openly! :)
  • @dominica thanks for the insight, I didn’t know that about your background yet. I am still learning to navigate this interface through a smartphone (@SalTheGalFromCal tells me it is much more user-friendly on a desktop), so I lose threads and haven’t been able to read what individuals have posted very far back yet. But. That gives me a good conceptual picture, thanks!
  • @DeanD glad to be here. Tonight is most probably the first Friday night since our kids were born (oldest is almost 9) and they’re staying with grandparents, leaving @SalTheGalFromCal and me home alone that we are not drinking. I say most probably because I can’t remember one, and such a significant combination of things is something I would probably remember.

    I still haven’t had any craving for alcohol today, and I keep expecting it. I can’t put my finger on why. It usually happens within 36hrs of my last driink, but my last drink was last Saturday. Today, I walked into our bathroom, and we often keep some Nat’l Geo magazines on the toilet tank, but one I had not seen was facedown and the backside advertisement was a full page spread of one of my favorite bourbons.

    Normally that would have been a sign from above and I’d hear music and feel full justification that the universe was telling me to drink...and off I’d go!

    But today, when I saw that awful surprise, I stepped backward as if I’d seen a snake and felt a tremor of fear that things were going to crater, but I steadied myself, smiled, picked up the magazine and admired how stunningly attractive the image of the bottle, full as it was, appeared.

    I considered if it meant I was destined to drink today, and wondered if I’d face the typical rationalizations and internal deliberations only to choose ‘one more drink’, one more time, that lasts at least all weekend. I looked deep into myself, and saw no reason why that should be. None at all.

    I don’t know why. Right now, I am not too concerned about why I don’t know why. I will be, and in time maybe I’ll figure it out. Maybe Leaker already knows and will tell me (secretly, I hope he’ll save me some footwork on this one). :| But for now, I am just going to be happy that it is. And be glad that I can share this small story with some folks that will find it of inherent value as well.
  • @HulkZmash i'm super glad you are not feeling the urge to drink, and that magazine didn't make you want to pick up. good for you and good for you for a friday evening sober :) you've caught a glimpse of life not dependent upon alcohol...and that feels pretty good...

    love it!

    happy sober weekend!!
  • @dominica thank you! Looking forward to it and on top of it all, my youngest turns 6 on the first time his April Fool’s birthday collides with Easter on the same day. Gonna be a blast - he is hilarious!
  • @HulkZmash ah, that's awesome! happy birthday to your little one! I bet he is hilarious! :)
  • @HulkZmash I think @dominica hit the nail on the nugget for the reason why things played out. You are starting to see that there is life beyond alcohol. A good life too. You see folks on here that are living beyond alcohol and they are not the stereotypical sad sots bemoaning their situation, clutching literal or metaphorical tokens trying to ward away their monsters. They are happy and vibrant people, leading full and fulfilling lives. They share their success, and work to correct their faults.

    You are also seeing that one drink is never just one drink. It's the bait for the trap. Just one drink. You stopped for a while. One drink is all. Just to take the edge off. Just because it is on sale. Just because the monster told you to instead of you deciding.

    If you take every alcohol advertisement, even just the ones for your "favorite", as a sign that it is time to drink, then chances are, every 3 or 4 days you'd be grabbing a bottle. It's almost like they do it on purpose... An attitude of coexisting means they can publish all the ads they want. But, they aren't for you.

    Or I am completely wrong and there are other reasons that you will come up with (and please do share!) as you think about the situation and what you did, and what it means to you. Every recovery is different, and thankfully no one can read minds. As you sober up, if your recovery is like mine, you will start to realize why you are thinking things with a lot more clarity, which helps reinforce those early successes.
  • @Leaker @HulkZmash there is so much good beyond ethanol... yes, ethanol, alcohol, same thing... poison that trips up our neurochemicals in the brain, so that the brain actually forgets how to produce positive feelings without MORE of that ethanol hit.... such a better life without it!! ;0

    alcohol is not my drug of choice....but still, it's not always easy to turn down. last night, good friday get together at my partner's family...crawfish boil (that's an interesting thing here in louisiana)...

    dominica, want a margarita?? sure, i say, but can i have it virgin? and i get the strange look, lol. but it's something something rum (petron?) you sure you don't want one?

    hahah, i know nothing about alcohol...but it was EXPENSIVE so it must be good right?

    no thanks. so i had a few sips of a virgin margarita, and it tasted yuck...

    and passed up the beer, which i might say did look good. i had water.

    thankfully, i was around people who are true social drinkers and rarely drink... but still, i noticed it isn't always easy to be the only one NOT drinking...

    and i noticed one person asking an older woman...you want a margarita? and the woman said "no thanks". and the woman said, are you sure? it's really good and it has patron (???) rum in it???? (as if you just cannot pass up that brand) and i was observing. finally, the woman caved and said ok.

    people don't like to drink alone, or feel bad if someone doesn't drink with them?

    nah, not me. i'll say no thank you, i'm good. b/c life can be fun and peaceful without it :)

    but i felt great coming home and being able to be in my right mind... :) no buzz, no tired feeling, and of course, no drunkenness or hangover.

    we don't have to drink. i had fun without it (but the crawfish... bless their hearts)

    happy sober weekend everyone.
  • @Leaker great points, even if I'm late to the party. I think there's no "age", or "length of time sober" limit for redifining what an alcoholic is or isn't. I know people that have been dry for 30 years that simply think an alcoholic is someone that is always drunk, or someone that drinks every day. Some would even dismiss a wino like me because I "was able to keep a job, alcoholicas can't keep jobs".
    It's hard to get the point across that not all addicts and alcoholics live under a bridge out of a plastic bag.
    as for cooking with alcohol. i do it.... I just remember to actually range the bottle away in it's "place" as soon as I've used it. I often pour beer over a roast chicken, for example. I use the rest as bait in my slug traps in the strawberry patch. Three years I couldn't do that, but progress, no matter how slow, is progress. keep the good side out, my friend.
  • @Leaker I think you’re pretty spot on and appreciate the rendition! You and the gang give me great strength to do the same and come here to let my ‘argh’ off with thoughts and sharing instead of slugging it down into suppression with a fifth of 80proof. Today was a world of temptations and stimulation and first time at a party with friends and family drinking when I had an entirely different set of plans.

    @dominica - alcohol isn’t my drug of choice either, but my monster thinks it’s not about choice. Patron is tequila, and it is expensive, but it really isn’t one of the best...and if you’re gonna be drinking an expensive alcohol, then why bury its complexities in a bunch of sugar and random flavors? Never understood that, if straight is too overpowering, dilute with pure water, and if that doesn’t help, well then stop idiot ‘cause it’s either rotgut or you’re not cutout for it in the first place.

    Ah, but I digress. I really enjoyed your story, and I’m going to have to get more out of observing people in their natural habitat without getting back to the wild myself!

    Louisiana Saturday Night is one of my family’s favorite foot-stompin’, rump shakin’ songs!

    @zozzie - nice to meet you! How do you define ‘wino’, as it applies to yourself, and in general? It’s a term I don’t use or encounter much, and I have an idea of what it means to me, and it brings to mind gallon bottles of Riunite, but it could just as well mean a six pack of Cabernet 750mls from Paso Robles each day. I also have run across some Thunderbird and/or Mad Dog 20/20 folks that I might ascribe the label to...but I don’t think I’ve ever placed myself into that column.
  • Hi @HulkZmash , I guess the term is cultural... as well as the actual drink. I grew up in Ireland, so it was a term used often to describe people mostly living on the street, but in the 90s, it seemed to spill over to anyone that drank a lot of wine. In some parts, it even can be used to describe someone that just drinks... be it wine, or beer or anything.
    I drank two bottles of red wine a night. just to get to sleep. Then I'd wake up, go to work, manage a hotel, and go home at the end of dinner service to do it all again.
    I live in France now, and it was the same before I quit, except instead of bottles, we'd buy those 5l boxes, or 10 litre boxes. they never lasted long. A 5litre box wouldn't last the full two nights. Still always managed to get up and go to work, manage a team, look after customers, handle stock, money, the whole lot. Never drank on the job, but when you think about it, I was always drunk.
    I guess we all have our own personal meaning.
  • @zozzie - informative! Thanks for your perspective. I could get into wine, but never for more than a few days. It seems like it hurt me worse than straight liquor. Bad throat burn, throbbing headaches, and it would tear up my skin pretty quickly too. So, I don’t understand long-term wine drinking as I do for hard liquor. Reading posts across the community though, it seems like wine drinking is every bit as associated with alcoholism as any other substance addiction. Strange that I find that one difficult to conceptualize, isn’t it? It is not much of a stretch, but seems somehow less likely simply because that’s not my experience. After posing the question to you about ‘wino’, I’ve been wondering how I’d label myself in the same context. I can’t come up with anything that isn’t vague (drunk, alkie, boozehound, drinker, boozer, etc.), but it seems likely a terminology exists for one who mainly drinking liquor, and maybe by type (whisky drinker?, vodka, rum, etc.).

    My particular alcohol line is sour mash bourbons, but starting about 2008ish, I found that brown liquors hurt my skin and mental stability much sooner and more severely than clear vodkas. So, most of the past decade has been a vodka decade for me, not out of preference, but out of drinking-longevity-management... if I drink brown booze for 3 days in a row, I get increasingly delusional, depressed, foul-breathing with skin inflammation, itching and bleeding. The toxicity is evident from my lungs, skin, and joints - I haven’t yet brought up the good ‘ole gout battle I’ve been through.

    So, yeah, what the hell? What in the world have I been doing to myself....and under the guise that it is something I enjoy.

    Extremely perplexing. I am at a loss for Leaker’s ‘when is it over?’, but also for ‘why has it been?’, and ‘why has it continued?’
  • @HulkZmash it's simple. Because you're hurting. Deep down inside, there's something eating at you. Putting the lid back on the bottle will never be enough, and there'll be relapse after relapse till you get to to bottom of it. Find that frickin demon, and stare him straight in the face. A real showdown. No picnic, but it's the only way. That's why it continues.

    The French are funny, they thinnk alcoholism isn't alcoholism if it's wine. lol. They'll drink a bottle of 2003 montrachet, wrap their car around a lamp-post going home, and complain at the hospital that the worst of their problems is the blood on their shirt.
    As for tipple choice. I love whiskey. Irish Whiskey. But if I drank it like i drank wine or beer, I'd be dead already. I always steered clear of all strong alcohols, because I drank them at the same pace as beer, or wine, or lemonade.
  • @zozzie and @HulkZmash Great conversation. I love the definition of wino. I always thought it was mostly in reference to someone who drank wine too much, but also as a catch all for any kind of alcoholic.

    Hulk, I will say that maybe you started drinking out of hurt, but you didn't necessarily get to this point with it. For me, my social situation was largely the same before, during, and after my alcoholism really got out of control. There were some things that pushed me initially to drink, but they were more situational, and I got sober without addressing those things. For me, my alcoholism was caused by arrogance and apathy. To beat it, I had to learn and accept that I wasn't better than everyone, and I wasn't immune, and I had to learn to care about those facts, care that I was destroying my life, and care that I needed to fix it. Maybe there is something similar with you. Recognizing the problem is a good first step, then caring enough about it to do something is the next one I think.

    That story about the car wreck is an interesting one too. My parents grew up in the 60s and 70s in rural New York, and they own stories about not remembering how they drove home, or getting pulled over, puking on the cop's shoes, and the cop just following them home to make sure they stayed safe. I know other people of the older generation with stories of opening the car door, leaning out, and looking at the lines in the road that way because they were too drunk to keep their car straight looking out the windshield. Everyone just said, "No one thought they had a problem; that's how it was!" My, how times change. In this instance, for the better.
  • @zozzie - you may be right about the demon, I don’t know what might be hurting me unless perhaps it’s my own ill-conceived notions about inadequacies that aren’t really failings at all, but just the reality of life never really following one’s best laid plans. However, I do know I’ve tried multiple times to exhaust and extinguish some poorly-defined internal manifestation, monster or demon or whatever, with excessive alcohol consumption. I feel like I’ve come to terms with the fact that the only way that works is by killing myself in the process, and I’d kind of like to avoid that while I still have time to enjoy life for a bit.

    @Leaker, “arrogance and apathy”...hmm ...kinda has a ring to it. Sounds like it means a whole lot and nothing at all, all at the same time. Yeah, maybe there is something similar with me. Most certainly, there is.

    I appreciate your words, both of you. You’ve got my thought wheels spinning again. I’m glad. They were stuck in neutral for a couple of days.
  • @HulkZmash "sounds like it means a whole lot and nothing at all". Valid. It's overly broad brush and not detailed. But then again, statements with impact are supposed to be short and the point. https://topnonprofits.com/examples/vision-statements.

    For me, I never sat and thought, "I'm so stressed, I need a drink", or "I can't handle this" or "I need to relax" or anything like that. For me, I always thought, "I'm in control", "It's not that bad", "I'm immune", "I'm choosing to do this", and similar notions. For the apathy part, even when I was hurting, I didn't care. Not about the situation, and certainly not enough to do something about it. There were times when I would alternate even in the same drinking session between the arrogance and apathy. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't care. Then I'd shrug and say I was still in control and I wasn't any worse than anyone else. Not included in those two words is the overarching fear that was driving the addiction. Fear of sobriety. Fear of a life without alcohol. Fear of what the process to stop would be.

    Sounds to me in your initial post that your situation touches on both the arrogance and apathy. How exactly it applies to you is something to take a look at. Maybe they don't apply at all. Maybe they do. Fear probably also plays into it.

    You being here and working on your problem touch on all of those aspects, in the way that has meaning for you, and I am happy for that. Not to mention the great philosophical chat we've been having. Quite intellectually engaging, at least for me.
  • @Leaker - I think you’re onto something and I’m trying to explore it further, but I keep getting derailed, stuck, or am in denial in such a way that I can’t see past it. I think there’s something you can help me with.

    This is gonna sound horrible.

    Ok, here goes, in good faith and openness, I’m gonna share it in hopes that (this sounds like fear) folks here won’t hold it against me...

    Looking across the discussion threads I’ve had time to dig through over the past two weeks, there are tons of 1-3 or 5 days sober lifelines of trepidation about looking for a way to keep the run going.

    There are fewer, but still many, 2-3 weeks statements about sobriety and the new challenges that have surfaced. Some at a few months, some at a year, some at annual anniversaries, etc.

    Aside from it feeling like there is a huge gap in number between those of 1-5 days and those of 8-14 days (and likely that perception is tainted by where I am at in this journey myself, at 14 days today), which gives me both pause and concern that most don’t make that leap, but there’s a selfish and nasty streak in me beyond arrogance and apathy:

    When someone posts about sobriety, and they have made it longer than me, I am happy for them, proud of them, encouraged it can and has been done, but...

    then, my competivitive nature leads to the realization that I’ll never be sober as long as they have been...

    And here’s the rabbit hole, “unless they muck it up and have a night of bingeing!!!”


    What in the world leads me to that thought!?!?! Whew- that is messed up, wrong, and counterproductive, but I think it’s the same monster that has lead me to try to outdrink anyone in my orbit and remain standing.

    What’re your thoughts on that one, O wise and helpful one?


    I know this is likely to hurt, but lay it on me...
  • @HulkZmash Bah, there is no judgement here. We are all human, with our own motivations and drives. I myself have a drive to be the best, and it pushes me at times to hope that others falter, giving me the leg up.

    BUT, that is the easy way. Am I really that great because someone else faltered? In my heart of hearts, I know that that isn't the case. I need to earn my place at the top through my own deeds and actions, not because someone else faltered.

    To your point about the gaps; noted. I see it too. But, there might be more to the story. It takes will and drive to log on here and post. Maybe those folks at the 4 month mark just don't want to log on and post. Alls well and so forth. They are busy living their sober lives and don't need to come back here just to report that all is well. It goes along with the theme of this post, "When is it over?" One can't expect to post here indefinitely. I myself had to do an online recovery thing as part of my work related aftercare supervision. The moment I didn't need to anymore, I stopped. And I stayed stopped for 3 years until I decided the time was right to come back here and try and drag some other people up to where I am.

    The fear of a life without alcohol was one of the things that kept me from seeking treatment for a very long time. It just seemed so daunting. I have an uncle with a 30 year AA chip, and I always thought, that is so long. 30 years of not drinking, and still carrying that chip around to ward off the cravings. But, once I learned and believed that I don't need alcohol, I realized 30 years, and even the rest of my life, is nothing, because I moved beyond the alcohol. It is like carrying a chip for 30 years out of diapers. So what? I moved beyond "needing" alcohol, and I don't need to look back.

    In the end, it doesn't matter if you have been sober for 20 days or 20 years. What matters is that for one day, you are the person you want to be, and tomorrow looks that much brighter because of it. As one of my favorite motivation songs says, "Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself".

    Keep the faith!
  • @Leaker -

    “But trust me on the sunscreen. Wear sunscreen.”

    Got to be one of the best songs ever...at least truest to humanity’s modern tendencies.

    Thanks for the perspectives. I’m glad you’re here to drag some other people along with you. I’m not using diapers anymore, but I do have some fear about crapping my pants still...

    I look forward to the day I’ve been through all the temptations where I’ve historically gone along with the arrogance and apathy and instead have succeeded at being beyond alcohol. With certainty and confidence that I won’t go back...that’s what I hope to achieve.

    Currently, I am experiencing bouts of extreme sadness that last for hours to a full day. They may be simple brain chemistry readjustments, they may be self-pity, or maybe even self-loathing, or plain old boredom, but the dark cloud suggests more than just boredom. Do you have any insight or recollection on days like that in the early periods or your time beyond alcohol??? The mood can turn around as quickly as it comes on, and I hope it’s just my monster dying, but I dunno - it bites.
  • @HulkZmash, well, my situation was somewhat different because I didn't get into legal trouble, but my job was in jeopardy due to some policies in my office. Plus, it seemed like the rules were always changing, and what one person told me, someone else said was different, and I was required to go on further restrictions, or more oversight, or another level of review to keep my job. There was one point where I came back from such a meeting, and I had been sober for 2 months, and told a coworker, "If they're going to treat me like a f--king alcoholic, I might as well be one and just drink myself to death!". I wasn't serious about drinking, but I was super frustrated at the situation. There were bouts of sadness, depression, and a host of other things, but I kept thinking that it was better than staying drunk, and I needed to keep my job, etc. Plus, after a little bit, once I started feeling and looking better, the sadness went away. Why be sad that I don't want up a splitting headache and wondering what I did the night prior? Or those nights without drinking where one just can't get to sleep, or they wake up drenched in sweat?

    I guess I can say that there is no "fast forward" through this. There is no way to just wake up and be sober for 5 years, minus a coma or something. The only way out is through. Yeah, there will be days when you are feeling down, or bored, or a host of other emotions. The support net helps with depression, having the drive to go out and do new things helps with the boredom, that sort of thing. For me, I started running regularly, then after about 4 months of that. I signed up for a marathon. I didn't even think about drinking then because I was always training, or recovering from training, and before I knew it, one year was passed. Maybe take up a musical instrument or something if the running isn't appealing? Or painting, cooking, table top gaming, volunteering somewhere, or something. I'd say if you are trying to keep everything in your life exactly the same, minus alcohol, there will be a large 3 hour gap in your day, so having something constructive to put in that time block will take away the time spent staring at the TV or computer and trying to shut the monster up.
  • @HulkZmash first of all, congrats on your two weeks sobriety! that is wonderful!

    i think it's great you're taking some time to question things in your life... even your thought life... that's part of the journey, the recovery journey and well, the human condition journey.

    i'm glad you shared your "darker" thoughts about your competitive nature. I spent much of my life ignoring my inner life; my thought life. Ignoring and denying and covering up. But life has a way of giving us opportunities to go within and begin a journey toward what i call awakening. I went around for so many years numbing that existential angst i felt at my core. The fear. The emptiness. Those things don’t feel good...i assumed my value as a human was zero, b/c of so many things...and yes, even thoughts. Horrible thoughts. Dark thoughts. Stupid thoughts. And actions as a result.

    It’s not easy to understand the human condition! Am i good? Or am i bad? Am i worthy? Am i enough? Am i good enough?

    But through my spiritual awakening...my individual journey… i’m finding that the more i learn, the less i understand, and that is ok. When all is stripped away, and i face the “nothing-ness”...or emptiness, and i can sit there in peace and not DO anything… when there’s a gap in my thoughts….compassion arises. Love arises. Peace arises. And that’s the beauty… my shadow is not ME. (love carl jung) my thoughts are not ME… i am good. I am good enough. I am worthy.

    Ok, well, not sure if that says anything to you, but want you to know you’re not alone in thinking thoughts that seem monstrous. But...AND.. you are not your thoughts.
    Reminds me of a song by sleeping at last. You (or others reading this who struggle with self-worth, brokenness, etc.)

  • @Leaker - thanks again for sharing and your perspectives. It helps - gonna go through this, and there’s no fast forward past it - good to hear, cause that’s exactly what my mind typically does, find the shortest route and go for it.

    @dominica - thank you for your reflections. They add another dimension to what I generally think about and that helps to gain another way of viewing the challenges I am currently confronting.

    I am starting to believe that I’ll actually pull this ‘beyond alcohol’ thing off this time - when I’m sure of it, I’ll let y’all know! Until then, communicating in this forum is really helping and I am amazed at the difference it makes every time I visit!
  • @HulkZmash Yeah, no fast forward. If you pay attention to the ads for those stop smoking pills or no drinky drink pills, they all have in the fine print, "As part of a treatment program". Plus, you know, the side effects like suicidal thoughts, nausea, and probably leaky anus or some other terrible thing that makes it not worth the $100 a pill (which is, at least in my mind, equal to about one (1) steak dinner with the Mrs., definitely a huge opportunity cost for the pills). Nope, not even science can help speed this along.

    One thing I will remind you of is, "Want it bad, get it bad". There is no shortcut, and don't be looking for one either. One might be tempted to go to meetings for a month, or read 3 books, not drink for the 20 days they say it takes to make/break a habit (rubbish!) and say, "I'm good now, that wasn't too bad!". I think that part of a permanent, sustainable recovery is taking the time and effort to really go through one's thoughts and life and dig down to the core of who they are, who they WANT to be, and all the steps in between. One might be able to skip all that, but I think it just sets someone up for a relapse, or for picking up another vice in place of the current one. Just my 2 cents.

    Keep the faith!
  • @Leaker totally agree about the digging deep... re-discovering "self"... working through things that may need processed, healed, etc. kind of like the hero's journey joseph campbell talks of. some cool videos on that topic should anyone want to check them out :)

    keeping the faith!
  • @HulkZmash... I'm glad you are starting to believe you'll pull this off. For what it's worth, I believe in you, my friend. Big time.

    @Leaker... Yes, digging deep is so necessary! And once you do that, it becomes easier to do it again. And again. And again. Which reminds me of an Anne Lamott quote I like:

    "Even a moment’s transcendence changes us. Everything is different afterward because we deep-dove, were there in downward, inward, higher places. So we know now. We remember."

    Hulk...can I call you Hulk?...You got this, dude. I know you do. Keep working hard, every single day. It will be soooooo worth it!
  • Thanks much you all! It really helps to have experienced company on this journey.

    @DeanD - ‘Hulk’ is fine, there are lots of hulks in the online gaming world, so the rest of the name sets mine apart while staying true to character. And I share many traits that parallel the character: complex emotions that I struggle to communicate; instead of learning how to do something before trying to do whatever it is, I have a tendency to blunder around breaking things before gaining proficiency at it; I have historically had some rage issues in moments of frustration; and I’m a big guy that gets mistaken as scary and/or mean even though I wouldn’t hurt a fly.

  • @DeanD you make me smile... and love your anne quotes...

    @HulkZmash HULK! you do have some insight into YOU.... and this is good. communicating emotions... it's a learning process. and then, there will still be times it's tough... just kind of how it is.

  • ;) Have a great tomorrow! I’m falling asleep...zzzzzzzzzz
  • Ugh, another gamer...those people are weird. And I'm not kidding @HulkZmash .

    But it's ok because I'm one too, and certainly have no problems embracing the weird.
  • Hahahaha! - fair enough.

    Got a weekend wondering for you Leaker:

    So, I don’t know the full story yet, but your situation of moving beyond drinking was partially driven by circumstances surrounding terms to retain a job position? And you seem like a rebellious type, so what led to the decision to go ahead with moving beyond drinking in line with those requirements instead of just telling the whole world to shove off and move another step toward life in your own comfy hermitage?
  • @HulkZmash, yeah, I have a little bit of lightning running through me. Just enough to keep things interesting, but not enough to really get out of hand, most of the time.

    The short answer to your question is, "Because I knew it was the right thing to do".

    Regardless of job, or anything else, I knew I had a problem, and I knew that I couldn't keep things up. I mentioned before that I saw the signs of a problem, but I didn't care enough to address it. When I was in the decision to keep the career and life I had built going, or keep the monster of addiction running my life, I knew that if I left the monster in charge, I would probably end up homeless and broken in a few years. I had worked too hard surviving school and starting a career to let it all go over a bottle of $4 wine. Sure, I could have given the world the finger, and sided with the monster, but I was smart enough to know that the world owed me nothing, and it held all the power. I could try and fight it, but I would just end up dying tired.

    There is a time and a place for rebelling and bucking the system. There is even a time for good natured snark or mocking of decisions. But, there is also a time to shut up, realize when one is wrong, admit one is in the wrong and that others are correct, to ask for forgiveness, and work to meet the standards one knows are the right standards to uphold. I got to that point, and I made the decision. I think it was the right one.
  • @Leaker - great post! Just now had the chance to read it (I save this thread for my deepest ponderings on recovery), and I’m sure I will refer back to read it many times. There are several layers of valuable perspective to revisit, especially those related to decision time. I have been waiting and wondering for years when decision time will occur for me and drinking. It seems to finally be here. Driving home for lunch I was asking myself, “how in the world did you find time to drink and heal from it repeatedly?”. My days are incredibly busy - I just don’t know. I guess there were many things that just didn’t get done...
  • @HulkZmash, despite all the advances in science, medicine, technology, and the human elements that go along with them, there are still certain times when the best humanity can do is shrug and go, "when the time is right, you will know". Getting married, settling on a career, and buying a house are common ones. I'd say that deciding it is time to stop with addiction is the same thing. One might have known it's been bad for a long time, or one has half halfheartedly said, "yeah, I'll work on it", but there comes a time when it all just clicks.

    And you are right, "there are things that just didn't get done" would be my guess. It was like that with me. Non-vital chores were skipped, any efforts towards self improvement were neglected, even the simple things like spending time with friends or loved ones just didn't happen. That is why I say it is important to have a plan for how one spends their time. There will be hours of the week that one will get back. Filling them with meaningful things is important to both take the mind off the monster begging for a relapse, as well as reinforcing the positives of not drinking and helping the positives, as well as the whole person, grow. Even if one just says, "20 minutes a day, I am not going to do anything but sit on the couch or the floor, or stretch, or try and remember all the names of my childhood pets", if that is meaningful, by all means make sure it happens.

    Keep the faith!
  • @Leaker - Amen and Hallelujah! :) Well said - I’ll post another pondering in here when I come up with another doozie that needs a long perspective. Appreciate your contributions to the community!
  • I love your posts, @Leaker. I'm so glad you're a part of this community. <3
  • @Leaker - so, I’m still not very far into this recovery thing, and having good success with any daily battles that arise. Longer periods of time are passing without a mental confrontation with my monster (like 18-36 hrs instead of 4-12 hrs), and I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything. I’m also winning the rationalization war of why drinking at ‘this’ moment is not a good idea, and I’m feeling mostly ‘ok’ / resigned to the fact I can’t drink any without an outsized response to crave more.

    Although I wonder....I know better and I’ve tried every which way, but I’m finding myself wondering....is there a way?

    What do you do in those moments? That’s gotta be the arrogance talking...

    And, I like drinking in any kind of weather...a change in weather can be a reason for me to justify it any time of day or year. But, I am today more worried about the association memories of summer weather and activities and booze more so than social situations/people and booze. Maybe just because I have now had a few social situations without drinking and they’ve gone well.

    Maybe that’s all it will take with the weather thing too. But today was gorgeous and historically glorious weather for a boozy evening watching the sun go down. We didn’t, but so many cues were indicating we ought to.

    Thoughts ???
  • I was thinking about that Sunscreen song 2 nights ago. I was at a friend’s place reminiscing through old songs from late 90s early 2000s and it popped into my head but I couldn’t quite remember enough to search for it.
    @HulkZmash your “is there a way?”, is that regarding moderation and being able to stop and/or the having a drink cuz the weather is nice? It was gorgeous for us yesterday and I found myself craving a Corona with a lime slice in it. I am more a social drinker as I tend to have more of an impulse control problem with drugs instead of alcohol however as soon as it feels like summer I can’t help but have mini cravings for beer... seems to be common with many of my friends and people I know in general. Even on Facebook there was a post that had been reposted and originally pulled off Twitter: “the slightest bit of sun turns me into a full blown alcoholic”. I would think as more time passes your wondering if “there’s a way” will become less as the cravings have been between each other... as the time passes you will remember how it has been a long time since you could answer “yes” truthfully to yourself.
    Yay for sobriety!!!!! :)
  • @HulkZmash is there a way? that question will come up every so often... but let history answer it for you.

    summer....and drinking. those neural connections are strong aren't they? i used to enjoy having a couple beers while working in the yard or artwork, but then i always hated feeling tired and bloated... i talked to a therapist about this... i would think, "wow, what a beautiful day!" and feel so happy and think having a couple beers would make it even better? but what i discovered is that the joy i felt about the nice day and wanting to do some woodworking or art... that joy IS sufficient in and of itself... why did i NEED to boost it with booze? (esp when the booze would wear off and i'd feel tired and lousy)...

    so, i started paying attention to what i call "the gap"... the moment when my thoughts turn from "wow, what a gorgeous day" to "ooooh, a beer would taste so good right now!" the gap between those thoughts i started paying attention to the thoughts... slowing them down, and analyzing them. would beer really make the joy better? the day better? me feel better?

    or could i enjoy the day without the alcohol?

    turns out i could, and do. but it took time for me to get out of the habit and do those things without alcohol. took time to re-work those neural pathways in the brain, ya know?

    hope this helps... and hope you have a great weekend.
  • @HulkZmash, @dominica beat me to what I was going to post. The association of summer and drinking a beer can be tough, but so can the association of winter and hot cider or spiked eggnog, or a million other combinations. I'll add, back when you were young, when it started getting warm, you started looking forward to that nice long 2-3 month summer vacation. Does your mind still do that? Probably not. The mind wandering to summer/drinking is just another trick from the monster, or, those neuro-connector-mication-thingies. You are aware of it, and that is great, because now you can do something about it instead of it just eating away at you.

    A key word that I picked up on was, "resigned" in your outlook on not drinking again. Using a word like that implies there is still some regret, some kind of notion that you are missing out on something by not drinking. You might know in your main brain that you are doing the right thing, but that little word indicates there is some part of you that is still thinking you gain something from drinking, or that it is somehow worth it. Might be something to explore. Why are you "resigned" to never drinking again instead of "resolved", "determined", "excited", or even "optimistic"? That might be an interesting thing to ponder while mowing the grass.

    @blueorchid had some good advice too. With time and success, the idea of "finding a way" will diminish. There might be no other way around this one right now than brute force crushing the ideas when they come up though. "No, there is no way. Why? Because, shut up. That's why". I'll also say that the more you live sober, and have fun doing it, then more you will prove that you don't need the alcohol to have a good time. It is hard to believe, and sounds unbelievable, but it is something to prove to one's self. I got to the point where it wasn't that I was having "just as good a time" without alcohol, I was having a BETTER time. No pressure to drink, no fear about blacking out, no worry about running out of booze and being stuck too drunk to do anything, but not drunk enough to feel "accomplished", no worry about saying or doing something stupid. That is a great feeling of freedom, and when I realized what was going on, it really helped crush any notion of going back or seeking some kind of "moderation".

    Keep the faith!
  • Baz Luhrmann - Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)

  • @Leaker - I hear ya. For now though, I’m resigned that I’m not drinking, and that’s progress from ‘it’s inevitable that Ima gonna drink.”
  • For me, summer = lemonade. Or a nice, cold can of LaCroix. B)
  • @HulkZmash, you are right. That's progress in and of itself. There's the old 5 stages of grief model that I think is applicable: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Best illustrated here with the help of Mr. Giraffe!

    The good news is, if you are "resigned", it sounds like you are working on the "depression" part and maybe turning the corner to "acceptance". Of course, with the "is there a way?", you might still be working on "bargaining". Thinking, "Listen, I'll only drink a little bit, but no more sloppy drunk drinky time, ok? Just two, ok?" or something. I wouldn't recommend that line of thinking, but that's just my recommendation.

    @deand, lemonade might be good, but everyone knows that the true drink of the enlightened is iced tea. And not sweet tea. Ain't nothing good about tea with so much sugar it becomes crunchy. And with that, I anger not only ol' Dean-O, but also everyone in the South. Go me!
  • @Leaker... Can we compromise on occasion and have an Arnold Palmer?
  • @DeanD, that sounds delightful actually. Great idea!
  • Hahaha! I love seltzer waters with or without flavors, and been drinking more of them in the past month than usual ;)

    I also don’t know why anyone would muck up tea with sweetener and I like loads of ice tea in the summer.

    And. I think the ‘resigned’ I meant was within the ‘acceptance’ category...I give. I cry uncle. I am resigned to that reality. But I still get the creeping thoughts that are working on a ‘bargain’ that I would regret. And I am sure I will have those for a while to come....likely a long while.
  • The battle with the monster was on again today Big Time. Didn’t really get that close to actually drinking, but had an extremely difficult time deciding what should be done instead. Major angst in the face of so many triggers.

    We won. The beast resigned today, not me. Next round should be a bit easier yet, but man, it is tough - like pulling my own teeth. If I had to, I could, and here I am - it’s gotta be done.

  • Yayyyyy @HulkZmash congrats!
    I too had to fight my other self today... much stress and the word « triggered » feels like an understatement to how I felt.
    I pushed it away, and made it through the day... and the best part is knowing the next 2 days I will also stay clean, no exception :)
    Up here Celebrating our wins with pride n hopefulness
  • HOLY CRAP!!! I didnt even realize yesterday was Cinco de Mayo too!!!

    Thank goodness - or I would’ve had an even tougher time....I used to walk around with a bandolier full of limes, a metal shot glass, and more tequila in me than you’d need to kill a horse on May 5th - and it was on a Saturday this year!!!

    Whew- I don’t feel remiss in that I overlooked the justification for debauchery...let’s call that progress.
  • @HulkZmash definitely progress. And, another learning point and opportunity for reflection. What happened this year? Why did you not realize it was the 5th? Is it because in the past you forced yourself into the character of Don Lime? Did any of your "friends" ask where the Mad Mexican was or why you weren't, "celebrating"? Did you enjoy that persona, or did it get to be a little much (especially the next day)? What were you able to accomplish instead of spending all day drunk? What didn't happen since you are able to remember all of yesterday, as opposed to "bits and pieces starting at around 4, anything after 7 is just gone"? You don't have to answer here, those are just things to think about over a few days. The results one way or another will be enlightening.
  • Hey, @HulkZmash... When you said in another thread that Saturday was a trigger day for you, I was assuming it was because of Cinco de Mayo. But apparently you just meant Saturdays in general? Regardless, you made it through the day and I'm proud of you.
  • @DeanD - I am a university professor and Saturday was commencement. There are few reasons to drink as strong as graduation day for a prof (more so than for a graduate, I tell ya whut)....

    Just completed the last grade entries to the registrar, and it is simply amazing...the laziest, most-absent, do-as-little-as-possible and can-never-be-found students IMMEDIATELY come out of the woodwork when the grades are turned in and they JUST BARELY (in their minds at least) fall short of the next grade break. BEGGING, COMPLAINING, WHINING - what can be done to raise my grade???!!!

    ARGHHHH - it’s enough to drive one insane...and it is an immense source of stress and anxiety for me.
  • Well, I'm glad you got through it, @HulkZmash. And thanks for teaching our young people. I have mad respect for people like you. You are under-appreciated and under-paid.
  • Thanks Dean. I’m glad too.

    And I have great respect for the resiliency and kindness with which you approach and encourage the people participating in this online community.
  • Thanks, @HulkZmash. Just trying to help people navigate through their storms, ya know? :)
  • I appreciate both of you @HulkZmash & @DeanD (and many others of course) :wink:
  • I appreciate you guys, too! That's what this community is all about! <3
  • @Leaker - thank you so much for these invaluable insights. They are tremendously useful to us baby sobers.
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