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Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:32 am
by gaftech
Day 44 here. I am taking care of my sugar cravings mostly by drinking grape-flavored Gatorade mixed with Sprite (no caffeine). I almost always have a 30 ounce mug of it at my elbow, kinda like I did with the beer. I can also relate to the need for perfectionism, although I have tended in that direction for most of my life.

I have definitely been "...straining every nerve to make up for lost time." too. In my first few weeks of sobriety I made plans to go back to school, get those things done around the house I've been ignoring, get back out in my shop and learn how to make furniture, etc.. I finally came to the realization that, although I'm 60 years old, I still have plenty of time to accomplish a lot of those things, but I have to slow my mind down and figure out how to do them without killing myself in the process. "Slow and steady wins the race", as they say.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:08 am
by Atchafalaya
The first two days I was just struggling to get by. But I know what you guys are all talking about. Now there are so many things I want to do and I am writing them all down. I am going to be a grandmother in May and that's one of the reasons why I knew I had to do something now about my drinking. So I will pick up my crocheting again. I am 55 so I'm no spring chicken either. But I agree but there's still a lot of time to get things done and make up for lost time.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:23 am
by clouds
Honestly coffee, tea, chocolate, sweets, icecream never replaced alcohol for me or took cravings away. I have them sometimes. I have seen so many people sober in AA then take meds, marijuana or some other drugs and pretty soon they vanished from the rooms that I stay away from that stuff like the plague. I have heard diet pills can cause a lot of nervousness and bad health, so maybe those are not so good for you.

Funny thing about perfectionism and alcoholics though. Lots of AA's used to talk about hidding their bottles. I didn't have to do that because everybody I knew and all my surrounding relatives were hard drinkers or alkies too. So I had another way of trying to hide my alcoholism:) I was obsessed on keeping up appearances, especially the housework. I was motivated to keep the house looking really clean and ordered thinking that a clean house was hiding my alcoholism, as if no body would suspect anything was wrong with me if my house was spotless.
Then, after coming into AA, doing the steps, and settling into my sober life I have had to work very very hard at getting any motivation whatsoever to keep up appearances and keeping the house work up to snuff. :lol: The deceitful motives I had in the old days were stronger in that case than just the normal ones I have now in my sober days!

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:22 am
by positrac
As a reminder and suggestion regarding your mind, expectations and just day to day sobriety survival is not to over extend, make promises and or think you have to get everything accomplished now! As you will hear in the rooms of those who failed and relapsed because of the perceived perfection that is required to make up for all those lost opportunities. Many of you have to learn the hard way and I am one of those who learns by stubbornness and so you aren't alone. Took me 7 years to finally quit smoking as smoking was my default if I thought about drinking and then the additional years was I wasn't serious about quitting and then once I was sick and tired of being sick and tired I quit in November 1995. Pace yourself and it all answers out in time.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:36 am
by gaftech
I forgot about smoking! I thought I smoked a lot when I drank but it's nothing compared to how much I smoke now that I'm newly sober. However, I have set a quit date of the beginning of 2018 to quit (I have COPD so quitting is not an option). I purposefully planned it this way so that I would have close to 90 days sober before I quit. I also read somewhere that alcoholics that quit smoking fairly soon after they quit drinking have a higher rate of staying sober than those who continue smoking after they've become sober. Personally, I find that kind of hard to believe because smoking is more of a physical addiction than a mental one whereas with alcohol I believe it's the opposite.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:12 am
by Atchafalaya
That's how I failed 20 years ago when I quit drinking for 2 years. I pushed myself too hard. To do everything I hadn't done in my early life. I drank for the next 20 years every weekend and then lately, every day. :P
As for smoking, I quit smoking 2 years ago August. However, I do vape. I know it's still "bad" for you, but my lung function test last month was better than the one I had in 2009. I'll quit the vaping once I get a year of sobriety under my belt. One day at a time. One thing at a time.
Today is day 6 for me. Yippie!

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:01 pm
by Brock
gaftech wrote: However, I have set a quit date of the beginning of 2018 to quit (I have COPD so quitting is not an option).

I also found that smoking, like drinking, was something I had to be sick enough doing, to run out of excuses not to stop. About six months before stopping drinking I lost my voice, and it was diagnosed throat cancer. I prayed to God get me through this I will be a good boy, will stop drinking as well. Two weeks after a successful operation, voice good again and shouting for more rum at my local bar. I think God smiled and made the drinking get so bad, I had no choice in that one either.

I found the patches were helpful, but unlike alcoholism, where I have reached a stage of never really thinking of a drink, the urge for a smoke comes on quite strongly now and then. Others who stopped have said the same thing, but it is an expensive and stupid habit, one that I am very pleased to have kicked, and wish you the best of luck in doing so as well.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:10 am
by Mike O
Strangely enough, I found it easy to quit smoking once I stopped drinking. The two went hand-in-hand for me. My last drink, almost ten years ago, was accompanied by my last ciggie.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:25 pm
by BrendaChenowyth
When we start spinning all these different "what if I'm not perfect" scenarios, we're setting ourselves up for failure in recovery.

No, you have not relapsed if you use mouthwash that is alcohol based. You are not consuming it to get drunk. You are using it as directed, not with the purpose with which you once drank. It is a totally different thing, and NO you do not have to put yourself back at day one because you used mouthwash.

Really, get over. It's not the same thing, and you know it.

If you don't know it, you might be in denial of what the problem actually is. It's not alcohol. It's what you do with it and what you allow it to do to you.

I am not going to beat myself up if I smoke a cigarette. I enjoy one sometimes on the drive home from work. It produces a nice feeling but when I throw my butt out the window, I don't crave another one. So I'm not hindering my recovery from alcoholism if I smoke because I'm not addicted to cigarettes. My morning coffee is a habit, but it makes me feel energized to start my day, it does not prevent me from getting out of bed and keeping my commitments, it does not make me do regrettable things and question my own character.

Just sharing my thoughts on why other substances may not necessarily reflect on how strong we are in our recovery from alcoholism.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:23 am
by gaftech
BrendaChenowyth,

I think it's great that you can have one cigarette and not get the craving to have another one 30 seconds after you finish the first. I also applaud those people that can kick the 20,30,40-year-old habit in an instant without ever looking back, but I suggest that those people had a "Habit" and not an "Addiction". I have an addiction to cigarettes, an addiction that is every bit as powerful as my addiction to alcohol.

While it's true that my addiction to cigarettes doesn't "prevent me from getting out of bed and keeping my commitments", it does "make me do regrettable things and question my own character". It does screw up my life in ways that are extremely unhealthy for me, such as affecting the people around me, makes me sneak a cigarette (drink) in places I shouldn't be smoking (drinking), alters my behavior when I can't have a cigarette (drink) when I want one, and on and on. Just as with alcohol, I sometimes question my own character as to why I continue to smoke despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that it's destroying my life, quite literally.

An addiction is an addiction, whether it be to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sex, gambling, overeaters, whatever. Each addiction has it's own unique character, it's own issues and problems, and it's own solutions. They also have groups similar to AA and built upon AA principles to help people overcome their addictions. To imply that any addiction other than alcohol isn't as serious as an alcohol addiction is to belittle the people that suffer from those addictions. Even Bill W., in the 1958 pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol", acknowledged that "Compared with the [drug] addict and his woes, we alcoholics are pikers."

So while I've beaten my alcohol addiction for today (82 days and 2 hours...this time around), I still have to face my nicotine addiction. I will take on this addiction with the same determination I have taken on my alcohol addiction and use the same tools to do so. One of those tools is acknowledging the fact that "I am not perfect", because to do otherwise is to set myself up for failure.

While my nicotine addiction recovery doesn't necessarily reflect on how strong I am in my recovery from alcohol addiction, it is every bit the same thing...

and you know it.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:48 am
by BrendaChenowyth
That is exactly what I am saying, that there IS a difference. I wasn't talking about having other addictions, I was talking about not taking things too seriously when we don't have to. If you do have other addictions, that is not what I was referring to.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:19 pm
by Brock
To imply that any addiction other than alcohol isn't as serious as an alcohol addiction is to belittle the people that suffer from those addictions. Even Bill W., in the 1958 pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol", acknowledged that "Compared with the [drug] addict and his woes, we alcoholics are pikers."

I think that is absolutely right, drug addicts have as hard or harder a time kicking their addiction as alcoholics do. But the other addictions mentioned like over-eaters, sex or cigarettes, I really can’t see being in the same class. Not to belittle them and I believe nicotine is hard as hell to quit, something I only managed late in life after getting throat cancer. But never did I find cigarettes or anything else, having the power to take my problems away, and boost my confidence and feelings of well being, as drugs and booze do.

I have found the 12 step program as applied to alcohol, gives a method by which I am no longer troubled by the challenges of life, which had me reaching for a drink to relieve, be it lack of confidence, boredom, anxiety or to loose my inhibitions enough to dance, etc. And at first it does seem like a one day at a time battle, but with the steps it really becomes a problem that no longer exists. And since the steps should not take very long to complete, I always suggest that newcomers get the drink problem settled before they tackle the smoking.

Re: am I still sober if?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:50 am
by gaftech
BrendaChenowyth,

OK, I agree that we shouldn't take most things too seriously and that if we do, it could get us into a lot of trouble. I apologize if I came off too strong, but what you meant and what I read were two different things, something that can easily be done with the written word versus FTF.

Living in the present, in the here and now, is hard enough without worrying about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. For me, not getting upset about things that are out of my control is an everyday battle. My alcoholic tendency would have me getting pretty angry sometimes when things don't go my way. Worrying over small things can exaggerate that out-of-control feeling to the point that could threaten my sobriety. So I try to let things unfold in my life one day at a time so that I don't fly off the rails and start drinking again.