12 Days - new phase

Working on Day 12 today. Have had a couple days with extreme sadness recently that can’t be ascribed to any real reason, so I am hoping it is still just chemical fallout that is similar to the remorse and regret one feels after a hard binge. I know it will pass, but it’s a dark cloud and it sucks. I am also experiencing what I call ‘throat burn’, and some would call it ‘reflux’, but I am pretty sure it’s simply my esophagus having suffered many years of cell death due to alcohol working on repair in the aftermath.

Regardless, I feel like I am in for the long haul this time and have been having lots of thoughts about alcohol, but none that suggest I want, or am going, to drink. I have been digging around the site and found posts about people going to the liquor store and coming out without getting anything for themselves or drinking afterward. I am not there yet. In early March, we decided to drink after a two week break from it and I went into a liquor store to get our tools of destruction, and it was a mind-bending experience- I could not quite bring myself to cease and desist from the purchase, but I knew it was soon to be a thing of our past. It was surreal, scary, and disorienting. We drank that night and the next, took another 5 nights off, and then had an 8-day binge leading up to our current 12-day run of sobriety.

I really hope to make it a month...last time I can recall a full month without drinking was 1998 and that was in the month preceding a life-insurance physical screening for a term policy with a low rate that was to last 20years. That policy rate expired in February, meaning it has been 20 years since I can recall with certainty a month of sobriety.

This is my first actual discussion thread in the recovery community. I didn’t want to be another 1-3 day contributor that disappeared. Now I am shooting for more...
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  • @HulkZmash good morning! congrats on 12 days! really, that is something to be proud of!

    i'm sorry you're struggling with some depression. i'm sure it does suck...and i'm glad your'e here reaching out. having some solid support folks can be helpful.

    it's not uncommon to go through such emotional feelings upon quitting drinking. i sometimes think of this like an iceberg....and you've identified so long with the tip of the iceberg....and once you stop drinking, the larger part of the iceberg becomes more real...starts to surface (or you start digging and become conscious to its existence) and along with some good things you realize (more clarity, more freedom, more money :) etc.) you can also feel some feelings you've been numbing or stuffing for years.... and that can be uncomfortable and/or scary.

    i found counseling to be so helpful for me to really get through some of those feelings, old wounds, trauma, etc. for me, the practice of meditation helped me too... not everyone is into that, but helped me .

    anyway, just know that we are here for you, for better, for worse! you're not alone and just give a shout out when you need some support!

    sending positive mojo your way!
  • @dominica Thanks for the kind words and support. Today has been better than the last two. It’s interesting to see what goes on in this community daily and weekly, some patterns that repeat and some people that persist while some just make one stop. There’s a heck of a lot of misery in this world, and if we’re not hurting each other, we’re hurting ourselves...but there’s great solace in the simple fact that we’re not alone and our pain isn’t absolutely unique nor unheard of.

    I guess that old saying, “misery loves company” is correct in more ways than one.

    Glad to be here, glad to be sharing, and glad to be recovering. How’s about I send some positive mojo back your way this evening - - - :wink:
  • @HulkZmash i'll certainly take some posi mojo! thanks!!

    yes, great that we are not alone facing our trials, pain, suffering, angst, etc. pain is inevitable, suffering is optional... i like that saying.

    we all want to "belong" regardless of history, beliefs, actions, etc.

    “There is a reason the word belonging has a synonym for want at its center; it is the human condition.”
    ― Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts
  • Hey, @HulkZmash... Congrats on Day 13 (because I know you made it through Day 12 yesterday, right?)!!! Keep taking things one day at a time and know that we're here for you. :)
  • @DeanD - yessir, made it through Day12, no problemo. Slept hard and the healing continues. Can tell I’m changing daily still, but can see how easy it would be to slip up and think I’m all clear to have a drink. Have no desire to, but potential pitfalls keep popping up unexpectedly.

    My parents texted me a picture of them enjoying a margarita at a restaurant last night that we all four went to (my wife and they) to celebrate our two wedding anniversaries last summer. I just about wanted to chew my arm off!!! Could imagine the taste of the marg and feels my monster roar with jealousy that it wasn’t being fed it’s own steady stream of alcohol nectar....arrrggghhhh!

    Gotta co-exist with the ever presence of it. My wife is going on a week long work trip for their annual spring meetings next week and will be faced with multiple gatherings that will have drinking opportunities with people that know us as drinking pals since @ 2005. It will be very difficult for her, and for me being at home wondering.

    If we both get through that week, we will have made a huge step in our recoveries. And, I’ll be darned, I just realized it is Friday night tonight. That was a tough one last week, but doesn’t seem like it will be yet today. 3:30pm Central time though, and my monster usually starts in about 4pm until after 8pm when it finally gives up for the day.
  • @HulkZmash... You accidentally typed "If" instead of "When." You mean WHEN you get through that week, my brother. Because I know both of you can do it! One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. Whatever it takes!

    And tell your parents to keep their pictures of alcoholic beverages to themselves!!!

    Happy Friday, my friend. Just pretend it's Monday if you have to. Go forward, be brave, and keep the faith!! And know that we're here for you...always!

  • Thanks for the point of view and the confidence DeanD!
  • @HulkZmash so glad to see your post! Congrats to you! You should feel incredibly proud of your awesomeness!!!

    I have been thinking ahead to each week and thinking about all the obstacles in front of me also. It can feel overwhelming at times. I have been reading Eckhart Tolle and it has completely changed my perspective. Not sure if you have heard of him... but he teaches about being fully present in the moment. Without creating anxiety about the future or feeling depressed about the past-just being fully present and thankful in the present moment. Sounds a little simplistic, but I have found it incredibly challenging (but beyond rewarding) to practice.

    “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.” ETolle

  • @DeanD Yep, when not if. This Friday was A-OK.
  • @Orlean81 - living in the present is extremely difficult for me. Always has been, but I agree that it greatly alters the way one perceives and thinks about where we are in life and decisions that need to be made.

    Letting go of the past is a challenge, but the daunting feeling of what comes next week, next month, next year, etc. gives me greater pause and can be anxiety-inducing and paralyzing. Gotta toss those thoughts and just get something done right now, even if that something is doing something besides drinking!
  • @SalTheGalFromCal... How did your weekend go? If you get a chance, stop by and let us know.
  • @Orlean81... Eckhart Tolle is awesome! :)
  • Today is Day 17 and things are steadily changing. Mostly improvements, but many challenges await, and I expect they will until I’ve faced the full gamut of settings where drinking used to be the norm. This far, avoidance has been my go to strategy, but the days are coming where I’ll need to participate in the social engagements and face the full presence of alcohol in its varied roles in our rituals and societal contexts.
  • @HulkZmash congrats on 17 days!! that's wonderful! so grateful for you and your presence here!
  • @HulkZmash congrats to you! Avoidance is completely my strategy for now... it will build up our strength until we are ready to take on the big bad world again;) I am starting to feel stronger every day, but I know there are going to be tough days ahead. Here’s to us! We can do this!
  • @HulkZmash... You are doing wonderful things for yourself! Keep it up!!
  • @HulkZmash hey you!!! just reading through this post again... you're on what, like day 24 now??

    just want you to know i appreciate you being here in the forum! and super proud of you for stepping up and reclaiming your life from the "monster".
  • @dominica - thanks for being there and I don’t know how you cover so much ground in these forums! But it means a lot to lots of people.

    I can only figure out the days now by going to a calendar, but I do know that Sunday will mark the beginning of week 5, so that will be day 29. Soon, I’ll be counting in months...it’s kinda like having a newborn. First each day is monumental, then you keep track of months until you can say they’re 1.5yrs old...well my sober baby is almost a full 4 weeks old, this Saturday!
  • @HulkZmash Great job! One month is right around the corner. I know it has been a struggle, but by now you should be seeing that it is worth it. I encourage you to look back at some of your older posts. Not to dwell on the past, but to compare then to now. What has changed? How? Most importantly, why?

    Keep the faith!
  • @HulkZmash "sober baby" :D

    love it.

    yes, you're doing it. and @Leaker gives some great advice. i was watching something on SMART Recovery today and the guy had people write down what they got out of drinking (the usual responses....a buzz, stress relief, dance groove lol, liquid courage, etc.) then, write down the negatives (feeling shame, out of control, hangovers, loss of relationships, money, job, bad health, DWI, etc.)

    so, people had the COST of drinking on one hand and the perceived benefits on the other. but what i loved about it was that the list of perceived benefits....

    were all things we can learn. sober.

    stress relief
    release of endorphins or dopamine naturally (doing things that make us feel happy. hobbies, etc.)
    self-esteem, confidence

    all things we can learn. i just thought that really spoke volumes. at least to me.


  • Great job, @HulkZmash! And great suggestion, @Leaker. The one about having Hulk read over some of his older posts. I occasionally look back on my old blog posts about my son's addiction. I always tell people I that I don't do it to see how bad things were, but instead to see how far I've come. :)

  • Congrats @HulkZmash! Really happy for you!
  • Oh jeez Hulk, all day and you never told me about your sober baby! I guess that means we’re the proud parents of twins!
  • Oh yes, and great advice from you guys too. @DeanD, is your blog private?
  • @SalTheGalFromCal... My blog is totally public. If you're interested in reading it, you can find it at this link:

    My Life as 3D

    Happy Friday!
  • 33 days today. Another new phase seems to be occurring. Less raw cravings and more general frustration that doesn’t necessarily have an easily designated cause. Feeling better physically, but also dealing with bronchitis and a sinus infection that is adding a layer of ‘yuck’ and tiredness to everything. Drinking doesn’t seem to be something that I am likely to do, but it is also not a distant memory.

    Still in need of some new habits that are entertaining, enjoyable, and improve my existence instead of detracting from it. My eczema is steadily improving and my bouts of anxiety are still daily, but diminished in duration and severity (most of the time - some are still insanely overwhelming even if shorter in length).

    Keep on truckin’ folks! Can’t wait to count months sober instead of days!
  • @HulkZmash congrats on 33 days! that is a very big deal! i'm glad less raw cravings are coming...

    i do hope you will heal up soon! i know it can be rotten to try to enjoy things when you're feeling lousy and have low energy. been dealing with the sinus stuff for a month...

    the underlying frustration.. could be due to not feeling well. could be other things. sit with your body...listen... it's telling you something :) (ok, maybe it is)

    oftentimes underlying my frustration is some type of fear.

    yes, we shall all keep on truckin! @SalTheGalFromCal how are you doing?

    hopefully wherever you are, spring is warming everything up!
  • Thanks Dominica! Ready for spring warming...current cool weather will likely turn extremely hot all at once!
  • @HulkZmash glad you’re still rocking it buddy! I am here riding it out with you too. Crazy coincidence, but I have been trying to kick some sinus throat stuff too. I have been completely exhausted from sobriety. Who knew how draining this sober work was!? I think for me, my frustration and fatigue is from the onslaught of emotions that seem to be riding shot-gun with sobriety. I didn’t have to FEEL this much when I was drunk all the time!
  • Lots of stuff to deal with, but we can do it!
  • @Orlean81 - I know, right!?! Why the exhaustion??? I cannot sleep enough to catch up - it doesn’t make sense. I think it means the healing is much deeper and more extended than anticipated - especially for the ole brain. Those changes are probably much greater and will take longer than I could have believed while drinking. And, I agree with you about FEELING so many more times and quantities throughout a day than when numbed with booze. It’s intense!
  • @dominica, I’m good, thanks for asking. Lots of similarities with Hulk and Orlean, but no sinus cold. Waking up tired, sometimes feeling like I could burst into tears over the smallest things. Getting overly frustrated over the dumbest things. I’m a worrier by nature, have been forever. I blame my mom, ha!! It’s funny bc it’s true, and cliche. She admits it too. But, I’m doing less of it these days. I’m trying hard, and often failing, at being more patient with my kids. I’ll get there. I like your comment to Hulk to sit and listen. We all need more of that. I don’t want to drink, think about it less. But I drove my cart passed the booze aisle at Walmart today and felt a tinge of sadness. That’s still the hardest part for me, accepting the permanence even though I know it’s best for my health and for everything. I know that will continue to fade, and I don’t feel that way often, but it’s my most prevalent hang up on the topic currently. I do like doing more activities that drinking prevented, and the promise of that increasing. I like the promise of my kids growing up in a healthier, less resentful environment. The positive stuff keeps me going and far outweighs the hang ups. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really good, or hanging in by a thread and just refuse to admit it. And then, I turn into a rage monster of mean. Are peaks and valleys, aka self diagnosing bipolar disorder, normal in recovery? Surely! Staying even is one of my most recent goals.
    Sorry you’re fighting the sinus crap too @dominica.
    @DeanD —you’ve been awfully quiet lately, you doing ok??
    I’m grateful for you both, and this community. ❤️
  • @SalTheGalFromCal i do think peaks and valleys are pretty normal, especially in early recovery. and, sometimes just in life in general... recovery peeps and non-recovery peeps. life if full of so many things....emotions, job, chores, responsiblitiy, kids, lovers, family, health issues, fears, driving through mega traffic, and you know i could go on and on... the build up of stress is HUGE and the number one complaint at dr. offices..... chronic stress.

    so yeah, i get it. and, due to my sinus stuff, i've been on the edge more, feeling frustrated at times, and that's unlike me... so i'm taking my own advice lately. listening......breathing... and being open about this with my partner and having the support to just "be"....

    be where you are... up. down. all around.

    how old are your children? just curious. mine are all grown... and yes, that's great you want to raise them in an alcohol-free zone.

    have a blessed day!
  • @SalTheGalFromCal... I was in the hospital for a few days with a bad intestinal infection. Just got out yesterday afternoon and am still on the mend. I'll be back in full force ASAP. Thanks for noticing my absence and asking if I was alright. It's nice to know someone is thinking about me. <3
  • @DeanD ahhh, be healed soon!!

    sending you healing vibes!! o:)
  • Heck yeah, I’m sure many noticed! @DeanD, holy cow, sorry you were so ill!! Glad to hear you’re out of the hospital and hope you’re feeling better real soon. Sending you good healing energy!! ❤️❤️

    @dominica, our boys are 6 and almost 9. They’re awseome little turkeys! Thanks for your comments. I agree. Hope you’re feeling better too!!
  • @SalTheGalFromCal aw, wonderful ages. enjoy the weekend with your family!
  • @HulkZmash how are you doing my friend?
  • What a positively fantastic post!! You guys rock @HulkZmash @Orlean81 @SalTheGalFromCal @dominica @DeanD
  • Ummmm.... YOU rock, too, @blueorchid! Just sayin'. :)
  • Thanks @blueorchid! Glad to meet you:)
  • Hiya! Orlean81 - been busy busy. Doing well without the hooch. Some hard days, mostly just facing situations that I’m still most familiar with while drinking, but that’s just about every situation for the time being.

    The last 2-3 weeks I have been sleeping 11-12 hrs per night. It is really weird. Going to bed at 7:30 and sleeping hard all night. Tonight is the first night I have been up past 9pm since the first two weeks of no drinking. Maybe I am finally past some major healing...been dealing with a rough cold/cough, and my wife is wondering if I’m sleeping so much due to depression- we laughed thinking that I’m just now sober enough to exhibit excessive sleeping from depression. I wrestle with, and have since childhood, some dark depressive symptoms at times, but this sleep phase is definitely related to healing and growth. I can’t tell how much of it is physical and how much is my mind and nervous system repairing, but it feels both necessary and good...It just seems to be soooooo much. Tonight is a good sign that I am coming out on the other side of some of the first big longer-term changes associated with sobriety.

    Hope your week is going well at work on the road @Orlean81! And everyone else fighting the good fight with recovery!
  • Day 60. Five times the original post. The new phases of sobriety are coming slower now. The perspective is different. Lots more seems possible now and sobriety doesn’t seem so fragile. I wish I felt better, slept better, ate better, and just stopping drinking is apparently a beginning step to make those others possible with further changes to my habits and daily/weekly choices.

    It feels good. And a long road of uncertainty ahead, but that’s better than the certainty of drinking.
  • You are a badass, @HulkZmash! Congrats on 60 days! I’m glad things are feeling clearer and less fragile. Things will continue to get better, too! Thanks for being a part of this community, and for inspiring others!
  • @HulkZmash wow, so happy for you! a new and better phase of life for you and your family! HAPPY 60 DAYS!!

    and yes, in gratitude for your presence here.... we all are.

    happy almost weekend!
  • Hope your Memorial Day weekend is going splendidly, @HulkZmash!
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