New to AA - family still active

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New to AA - family still active

Postby essgee » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:28 pm

Hello all,
I had hit a "bottom" so to speak a while ago and began attending Al Anon. That brought me to attending ACOA (adult children) meetings, then finally realizing my own alcoholism and now my focus is on AA.

I am grateful for the other programs because they allowed me to take the focus off of blaming others and put it square on myself. I don't think I would have ever taken a look at my addiction otherwise.. it was everyone else's fault I drank. Right? :)

Anyway, I haven't drank for 4 days now and I'm doing ok. Attending meetings and hiding in my house over the holidays helps.
I work for the family business and very shortly I will be in close contact with them again.
I know I will have to fight a lot harder not to drink when I am around them, they even drink on premises.
I will have to answer questions and maybe even feel closed off.

How have those of you with family members in active addiction held yourselves together in early sobriety?
My concern isn't about them it's about me and my ability to stay sober.
Will I get angry, or feel left out... and want to join in?

I do have faith in myself... guess I'm just looking for some guidance or success stories from those who have been there.
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Re: New to AA - family still active

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:10 pm

essgee wrote:My concern isn't about them it's about me and my ability to stay sober.
Will I get angry, or feel left out... and want to join in?


At times, yes I would think so. The question is not "how will I feel?", but "what will I do?" I always go into any uncertain situation with an exit-strategy. "Failing to plan is planning to fail". I suggest to keep close to the fellowship, your network, meetings, etc. For many of us, including me, it helped to obtain a bunch of AA speaker tapes / CDs / audio files. I would play them on a loop in the car, when walking around, while doing dishes, etc.
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Re: New to AA - family still active

Postby LarryTateUK » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:19 am

Also remember the letters H.A.L.T - Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If you are feeling any of these emotions especially more than one, try to address them eg - Lonely? - Talk to someone. These negative emotions put us at higher risk of picking up a drink. Good luck. Larry.
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Re: New to AA - family still active

Postby Noels » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:55 am

Heya Essgee :D congratulations on your sobriety and welcome to e-aa :D

Anyway, I haven't drank for 4 days now and I'm doing ok. Attending meetings and hiding in my house over the holidays helps.
Oh yes, I relate. When I made the choice not to drink I didn't go near anyone or anyplace where alcohol was served or could be obtained.

I work for the family business and very shortly I will be in close contact with them again.
In our business I was the one who instigated the drinking. My sister is a normal drinker but did have a glass or two of wine with me whenever I opened the bottle so I was honest with her (and the rest of my family) from day 1. I told them I had a problem and that I was attending AA as I no longer wished to drink. I asked them to please support me by understanding if I didn't attend family functions until I feel more comfortable and to understand that we would possibly not have functions for birthdays, etc last year. To my amazement they actually welcomed the idea so they clearly knew before I was ready to acknowledge it that I was an alcoholic. My sister, told me a few times that she really doesn't think I have a problem, that everyone occasionally go overboard and whether I was sure I wanted to do this. After explaining doctor's opinion (as per AA big book) and the workings of alcohol in our system vs a normal drinker's system, I actually did get irate at one time with her. I told her "okay, lets say I don't have a problem and its normal for everyone to go overboard sometimes. Tell me - how many times in your life have you gone overboard - to the extent that you smashed your TV on another occasion loaded all your husband's clothes in black bags and dropped it off at the orphanage, had 3 different phones meet with a concrete wall on 3 different occasions and been in clinics? She then understood and never ever questioned me about my alcoholism ever again. My one brother is an alcoholic. If there were levels in alcoholism I would be an infant and him the great grandpa :D He left me alone for the first few months. Thereafter he occasionally would make remarks like "can you do this or must you phone a friend first?" At those times I simply ignored his message and didn't respond to him. Hubby's family was awesome. Being normal drinkers, the few times I did go to them they would put their drinks away immediately.

I know I will have to fight a lot harder not to drink when I am around them, they even drink on premises.
I thought this myself right in the beginning but pushed through with being honest and asking for their assistance. As per my response above you may be surprised at their reaction. Just try the honesty thing and then USE the tools you already have from your AA and ACOA meetings. Apart from that id (if I may) suggest to get to your place of work just on time, go for a walk if you have tea break or lunch and leave immediately when your work day is finished. While youre at home go back into your memory and identify the times the drinking started etc, and try to " arrange " an escape plan for those times in your mind until you feel more comfortable in and with your sobriety.

I will have to answer questions and maybe even feel closed off.
Choosing to become sober was for me not just about not drinking. Looking back it was actually a time of rediscovering and re-creating myself so if I really want to be honest with myself I will tell you that it was actually not that hard. I had the insanity that the craving was intense right after a meeting or whenever I was speaking to someone about alcohol. (please don't crucify me for saying this. All my experiences have been the other way around compared to others' experiences). Having made the choice myself to stop drinking however, empowered me to also choose to listen to and follow the advice of the members at my group - to attend the meetings, get active in the group, attend whatever socials / functions our group had and to bond with the members at the group. This ensured that I still felt that I was a part of something so even though I didn't see or speak to the family much I didn't particularly miss it. (shameful I know :P :wink: )
Answering questions - I was honest and open from day one. I set my boundaries from day one and stuck to it this time. I do however have a personal belief that I don't need to do anything unless I really want to so that is entirely up to you.

Lastly, I was a bit scared to go away on a ten day holiday with hubby's family in December as they are normal drinkers, I was already 15 months sober and could not possibly expect of them not to drink around me. I noticed for the first few days that whenever they went out and I stayed someone removed the wine from the fridge and that got quite a giggle out of me as the want to drink left me at around 7 months sober. So by the third day I had an honest and open chat with my mother in law about this. I told her that they need not worry. Wine is as appealing to me as a Coke now - I don't drink coke. At all. Ever. After that we all relaxed and it was the best holiday ever.
Okay, now its lastly :lol: something that helped me when I had a really intense craving was
(I) I closed my eyes and remembered one of the last moments while I was still drinking where someone very dear to me who never gave me any problems said something hurtful to me about my drinking or behavior. This person was my son. The only thing he used to say was "mom please try not to drink so much today". This particular day he needed my help with an Afrikaans essay (we're English, I'm both). When he came home from school I was already on a roll. When he entered the dining room he looked at me, stopped in the middle of the room, desperation and disappointment on his face and in the hang of his shoulders clearly visible said " I can never ask you to help me because whenever I need you, you're drunk!". He then simply turned and went to his room. God. When I remembered this scene the urge to drink was history.

Good luck and let us know how its going. Have an awesome evening.

Lotsa Love and Light,
Noels xxx
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Re: New to AA - family still active

Postby essgee » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:44 am

Thank you all so much for your replies. I am taking the advice to heart.
This week I was once again able to stay sober by the grace of god.
The only time I really have difficulty is at night before bed (habit) and when I am around my family. My mom brings bottles into my workplace and offers me drinks. Then offers to leave the bottles to me.
I've said no each time and not had questions yet, I'm sure eventually someone is going to ask.
I've been going to meetings as often as possible.

This is the longest I have stayed sober (10 days) . I'm eager to have more time under my belt, but humbling myself & focusing on each hour.
Thank you again for welcoming me.

Being a single mom of 3, 90 in 90 is almost impossible. I'm making 4-5 meetings a week and want to keep this board close as a way to remain engaged when I can't make it to meetings.

Blessings to all.
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Re: New to AA - family still active

Postby Lali » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:25 pm

Congrats on 10 days!
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Re: New to AA - family still active

Postby Noels » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:39 am

Hi Essgee :D well done so far! Just keep doing what you've been doing for the past 10 days - 1 day at a time and very soon it's going to be a full month! :D
If I could make it this far you can too.
Lotsa love mwah xxx Noels
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