Trying to quit alcohol after ten years.

Wow. I'm here. I know I've had a problem for quite some time, hid it from my wife, kids, everyone. My stepdad was a raging, abusive alcoholic and I swore I would never drink, but here I am nearly out of control. There's so much to tell, but I want to keep this brief. I never knew my biological father. He died of cancer when I was less than one year old. My mom married an abusive alcoholic, pedophile, asshole a few years later. I swore I would never become an alcoholic because of him, but here I am - I am an alcoholic (despite several years of denial). My mother died shortly before the birth of my first daughter. I started drinking more heavily after that. My wife noticed and, out of concern, brought it up with me. "I think you're drinking too much." But, I'm too stubborn to let someone "control" me, so I started to hide bottles of wine. We had our first beautiful daughter, and I told myself I would quit. I didn't. We had our second precious daughter and I told myself I would quit. My tolerance grew and I was drinking nearly two bottles of 14% alcohol wine per night. I would never drink during the day, but I had to have alcohol at night to fall asleep. My hands would shake at work, trying to sign documents or write in my lab book. I hated myself. It was clearly getting out of hand. I had quit a few times in the past and getting to sleep has always been a problem. But I always fell back into my old habits. I quit two weeks ago and I will lay awake until 4AM unable to fall asleep. I know and accept that I won't sleep a wink (it's part of the withdrawal), but it's torture laying awake for 8 hours, getting a slight three hours of sleep and then going to work. Even after two weeks, I still can not sleep. When will it end? I want to do right, but going night after night with only 2-3 hours sleep is taking its toll.

I want to do this, for my wife, my daughters, for a better job and for myself. I posted here as an introduction and to get this off my chest as I've kept this bottled up in myself for years. I feel ashamed, guilty, yet hopeful. I know that this is a habit. I can quit if I WANT to. It's a choice.

That's the short of it. Hello! Welcome! I didn't think it would be this difficult, but it is - for me.
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  • Hello @StrengthOfWill and welcome. Thank you for posting all that. I know it can be difficult to put that sort of thing out to a bunch of random strangers on the internet, but hopefully in doing so it helped you think through where you are, why, and most importantly, where you want to go.

    Being free for 2 weeks is a good start. So is stopping by here. There are lots of people, myself included, that realized they were lost on the Dark Path and took the actions needed to fix themselves. In another thread I detailed my family lineage that meant I was aware of the risks, and alcoholism still got me too, so don't beat yourself up too much over it, if you are. It happens. Rich, poor; post doctorate degree, 6th grade dropout; CEO or assistant night shift fry cook; alcoholism doesn't care care whose life it ruins. Making it 2 weeks is a great, but I would say to reinforce that with some other actions. Learn about addiction, and alcoholism, maybe even some psychology. You mentioned a lab book, so it is likely that you don't mind readin' & book lernin' & stuf. It might also help to try some established methods. Sure there is AA, with its pros and cons, as well as SMART, and a dump truck full of books and writings and methods. I used one such method and it took me from an abusive alcoholic drinking 2-3 bottles of wine most nights to now 6+ years 100% sober with no cravings or looking back. So, the answer for you is out there. You just need to find it.

    It is a long and at times painful journey, as you are finding out. Aside from the physical symptoms, you will have multiple uncomfortable conversations with yourself. I remember sobbing into the mirror a couple of times as I had to look myself in the eye and admit what I had become. You might even have to have some conversations with people like your doctor (if you aren't sleeping after a few days, it might be time to ask the Doc if they got any advice), or even a therapist of some sort to try and get to a root cause if you are having problems with stopping for good. Sometimes the alcoholism is a symptom of another issue.

    Ultimately, recovery is about you and what YOU want to do. You said you want to stop for your family, and you are tired of the lies, the hiding, and I am sure in some way the worries about the physical harm you are doing to yourself. Those are great motivations to see you through some of the tough spots. But, at the core, right now you aren't the person YOU want to be. So, start the journey, battle the monsters along the way, and on the other side, I promise that you will be a lot closer to the person YOU want to be.
  • @StrengthOfWill... Welcome to the community and thanks for sharing with us. I'm so glad you're here, and that you are working on bettering your life by ridding it of alcohol. Congratulations on your two weeks! It's nice that you've already received some wonderful advice and insight from @Leaker, too.

    You said that you want to quit drinking for your wife, your daughters, for a better job, and for yourself. But I think you have that order wrong. Like Leaker, I believe you have to do this first and foremost for YOU. If you stay sober and live a life in recovery, that will make YOUR life better. And good things will come to you and others as a result of it.

    Getting and staying sober isn't easy. In fact, it can be one of the most difficult things a person ever does. But it's worth the hard work, my friend. I can guarantee that.

    See a doctor is the sleep issue persists. Definitely think about seeing a therapist. Go to a support group meeting, even if it's just to check it out. Read books and watch videos about recovery. All of these things are tools for your recovery tool box. And it never hurts to have a lot of tools when you're trying to fix something.

    We're here to help and support you however we can. If you have questions, want advice, or just need to vent, you can come here anytime. We will always listen without judgment, so you are completely safe here.

    I'm sending you a mega dose of positive juju, and lots of sober vibes, hope, and encouragement. Take things a day at a time, or even an hour or minute at a time...whatever it takes to keep you moving forward.

    I'm super proud of you.
  • @StrengthOfWill Hello and welcome! Soooooo glad you are here. First, I want to say I'm sorry you had to endure the pain and trauma of growing up in a dysfunctional home and losing your dad so early. Wow. That's a lot for a little boy to handle...and it makes sense you'd reach for booze to not feel all those feelings you stuffed since you were tiny, tiny.....

    Two weeks is a great start!! Congrats... @Leaker has given great advice. I agree that taking the time to PLAN your recovery path is helpful. Just saying "I want to quit" is like a sail boat trying to sail with no sail.

    Think of your recovery in a holistic fashion... Treatment for your mind (thoughts), body, and spirit. Find out what works for you. There's all sorts of things, and like a carpenter has a tool belt full of tools, and starts off with a firm foundation, so you want some "recovery tools" to hang on your belt and start building a firm foundation.

    There's inpatient or outpatient rehab, 12 step group AA, There's SMART Recovery, There's online video AA meetings (

    There's churches, spiritual centers, counselors, coaches, books, YouTube videos galore.... There's meditation, prayer, a resolve to become educated in addiction, yoga, (body) and so much more.

    Find your path.

    NO sleep is an issue.... Your brain takes time to re-wire. What do you do when you lie awake all night? Maybe try guided meditations with some headphones. Or put an audiobook on and listen... that sometimes puts me to sleep. At the very least, you could listen to some encouraging words while you lie there :)

    Let us know how to best support you here.

    And, I want to speak to those negative thoughts and feelings you have toward yourself (I hate me. I'm a failure, etc.)

    You came here innocent and pure... and began a life journey. You picked up some faulty programming along your path... (childhood). You were swimming in pain and didn't know what to do. You didn't want to feel. So, self-medicating yourself felt good...but your brain really loves that dopamine hit when you drink. In fact, the part of the brain it hits is the survival part....the booze hijacks THAT part and it literally thinks it will die without more booze. That's the MONSTER Leaker talks about... It's the LIES of your brain... It's not you.

    You are not defective. You are not a loser. You are not destined to a life of misery.

    You, at your core, underneath years of pain and layers of ego/shadow, are a beautiful soul. You are good, kind, loving. You have dreams. And, without having to do one single thing, you are worthy.

    You are enough.

    It's this journey now... it's calling you... to wake up... to shake up those things that you've maybe not dealt with... to face this with a resolve like you've never had before.

    draw that line in the sand and say, "No effing more". No matter WHAT, I never have to pick up a drink ever again! Even when it gets tough. Even when things don't go as planned (that will happen)... You don't have to pick up. You learn to face life without any alcohol.... and it can be good. Life can be good again.

    Early recovery is the toughest. Get as much support as you can.... and know that we are here...

    I know this is long... just felt necessary to write.

    Big hug!
  • Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone. Sorry to say I'm back to zero days. The days without sleep just got to be too much and I really, REALLY, wanted to sleep. I didn't go overboard, though, at least. Kept it to just a few drinks. I know, it's a dangerous game to play. When I did it, I thought to myself "What the hell are you doing?" The sleep is torture - it's one of the things that kept me from trying to quit in the first place. But, unlike in the past when I had tried to quit, I knew it was coming and I just accepted it. I've read it's different for everyone. For some people, they develop regular sleep after a few days and some people it takes months. Even before I started drinking, I had problems falling asleep, so it's already a problem under normal circumstances. Lately, I have been reading more about recovery and the changes in the brain. Also, there have been more shows on NPR (I'm an avid public radio listener) about the subject. Recently, I guess I became aware enough of what my mind was doing and I would catch "my brain" (like in third person) making excuses for why I should stop at the store and get some wine. "You have a stressful meeting tomorrow, you need to have something to help take the edge off." Always something. But, it's like it's not me coming up with the excuses, it's like the proverbial devil sitting on my shoulder telling me to do it.

    One thing I believe about doing anything - you won't succeed unless you truly *WANT* to. To be honest, I like the feeling and some part of me doesn't want to quit. It wasn't until recently, I developed some pretty serious health issues as side effects from the continual heavy drinking. It was not pleasant to say the least, and it was enough to push me into the "I really want to quit" realm, rather than go through that again. Plus, an opportunity has come my way for me to get a better job, which is motivating me to quit. (Well, not "better", but one I'd be more happy with) I'm in a technical profession, so mental acuity is required, especially when interviewing. I'm hoping staying sober (still sounds strange saying that), and a new job can combine to be a new beginning of sorts.

    Things to motivate me, i.e. good things I noticed about the two and a half weeks I went without drinking.

    1. It was way easier to get out of bed in the morning.
    2. I was in a much better mood. One day after coming home from work, I felt truly happy for the first time in years. I picked up my youngest daughter and gave her a big kiss on the cheek.
    3. I had more energy, despite not getting any sleep. Drinking makes you lay-zeee! I was more motivated to get things done.
    4. I could focus a lot better at work.
    5. My appetite was better. I didn't feel sick every time I ate food.

    Time to put my oldest daughter to bed. Thanks everyone. Just being able to vent helps a lot. I have my wife and kids and other than that, I don't have any friends. I have not talked to or told anyone about this - my wife doesn't even know. I do plan to talk to my doctor about getting therapy again. It has helped me in the past.
  • hello everyone, i think engaging in sports will help a lot to overcome
      addiction to alcohol. have a good day,
  • @StrengthOfWill, Don't worry about going back to 0. It happens. But as long as you learn from it, and move forward a little stronger, you are making progress. That "brain in third person" is exactly the monster that I talk about. A big part of my recovery was recognizing what were my thoughts, and what was the monster. I, the rational side, needed and wanted to stop drinking, so anything that said differently wasn't the rational me, it was the monster. Even after 6 years, he is still with me, but now he is just an easily scoffable whisper as opposed to the raging hurricane you are probably dealing with. You discovered some really positive things during your fantastic 2 week effort. Now compare that to how you felt mentally and physically after drinking again. Probably a difference, right?

    If sleep is an issue, I would definitely say to talk to the Doc about it. It is an easy hole in your fortress that the monster will attack again and again and again, "You need to sleep buddy. You haven't had a good night's sleep in a while". You know the script.

    Also, @Vuary25 had a great tip about pairing sports/exercise with recovery. I started distance running early in my recovery. It helped fill the hours that I wasn't drinking, and gave me a lot of time to think and get my brain in order. I signed up for a marathon, so the training requirements kept me focused ("gotta get up tomorrow and run") and the shiny medal at the end was a tangible reward for not just the run, but the efforts it took to get to that point. Plus, if you do things right, exercise should help with your sleeping, right?
  • @StrengthOfWill hey there! @Leaker has given some great advice... learning to distinguish the "monster" from your true self... i like that.

    not everyone is into exercise, but it can help! even something like yoga or qi gong if you're not into harder exercise, can help...

    how are you doing today?
  • @StrengthOfWill... No need to apologize, my friend. It's about progress, not perfection. And, like @Leaker said, you're making progress.

    I think it's terrific that you made a list of things to motivate you. All of the things on your list are positives you can use to your benefit. You might even want to print out that list and stick it in your wallet or something. It would be a good thing to refer to when you're starting to feel like going off track.

    We're here for you, no matter what. Don't ever be sorry or ashamed to come here and be honest with us. That's what we're here for.

    Sending you lots of positive juju and hoping you have a fabulous weekend!
  • @dominica I try to do what I can with exercise. I'm somewhat limited by some some recent injuries and side effects of age. I've got a torn rotator cuff muscle in my left shoulder, and arthritis and a herniated disc in my neck (C6-C7) that is protruding into my spinal cord and pinching a nerve feeding my right arm. But I walk about 30 minutes a day, as well as do 30 minutes on an exercise bike daily. I'm supposed to be doing strength training exercises for my shoulder, but I'm not at the moment. Excuses, excuses.

    Just a random thought - I've been scouring the web reading various blogs and articles about recovery. I was surprised how many women are drinkers, too. I didn't do a scientific survey, but it felt like it was pretty much 50/50 men to women. In my own personal experiences growing up, I've only known men to be alcoholics. I do not know a single female who has a drinking problem. My wife, sisters, cousins and in-law female relatives, not one. My step-dad, three brothers-in-law and male cousin - all alcoholics. No point here, just thought it was curious. :-) But as a result, I've always seen women as the role models and feared men. The women were the ones who took care of me. I remember as a kid, between 5 and 10 years old, I was TERRIFIED of other kids' fathers. I thought they were all like my own stepdad, who threatened to kill us all several times. When I moved away from home to go to college, I made a friend in my dorm, very intelligent person, whose father met him and took him out to lunch. I remember thinking, "You do things with your dad?" The concept was totally foreign to me. I'm still in contact with him to this day, but not as close as we used to be. But he opened my eyes to a lot of things that I had messed up in my head. With one sentence, he changed my entire life. I won't go into it - it's a whole other story in itself. It got me to rethink many of the ideas I had cemented in my head from the way I grew up, and caused a change for the better. Not too long ago, I told him about the experience and how it affected me. Funny thing is, he didn't even remember saying it. I guess it goes to show your words can have a significant impact on another person's life, even if it doesn't seem like it when you say it.

    But, major falling off the wagon last night. I've been working almost until midnight most of the week, worked through the last two weekends to try to meet a deadline for work coming up Monday. I'm a software engineer in the medical industry and despite my drinking problem I have I am still able to do my job. But this week was particularly stressful because I was tasked with a project that I am not particularly suited for - so on top of the extremely short time frame to implement the code, I had a very short amount of time to learn concepts that are foreign to me, while my team lead is riding me like a race horse telling me "It has to be done by Monday". I told the team in a status meeting yesterday I would not recommend including my work in the release because, even if I could get the code implemented by then, it needs a lot of testing. It was a major rewrite with advanced mathematical analysis of EEG wave forms. It takes time to implement and test to make sure the data are correct because doctors will use it for medical diagnosis. But they wouldn't have it. I was told to just work the entire weekend and "get it done". So, Friday night came around, I felt stressed, tired, up against a wall, and defeated, and I stopped at the store and after my family went to bed I helped myself to "escape". And now I feel even worse than I did yesterday. This is why I'm looking for a new job. I know I'm a good programmer and my current place of employment is just not a healthy environment. It's a sweatshop. I wish alcohol wasn't everywhere. In commercials, spread out all through the grocery store, billboards, etc. Which leads me to a question for any of you who have the problem.

    When you see ads for alcohol on TV, the internet or displays in the grocery store, how do you deal with it? Also, in times of extreme stress, what's your coping mechanism? Stress and anxiety are my Achilles heel. Even before drinking I had problems with anxiety and panic attacks, so self-medicating with alcohol provided an escape, and eventually, led me to addiction. *sigh*

    Oh my gosh, I can't believe I just typed that much. I have so much bottled up because I don't talk to anyone about this. Sorry for the novel - I'll have to try to provide a tl;dr version in the future. ;-) If you made it this far, thanks for listening. Now, back to work.
  • @StrengthOfWill... You can type as much as you want here anytime.

    I'm sorry you fell off the wagon the other night. But remember: That does not make you a failure. It just means you have to pick yourself up and get back on the right path again. It doesn't matter how many times you just have to keep getting up. Think of the Japanese proverb "Nana korobi ya oki," which means "fall down seven times, get up eight."

    Also, I think looking for a new job is probably a very good idea. It sounds like your current job is incredibly stressful, and that kind of stress is not a good thing for someone who is trying to overcome an addiction. Stress takes a toll on you, physically and emotionally, and is definitely a trigger for wanting to "escape."

    As far as how I deal with alcohol ads and displays...I think in time I just learned to tune it all out. The longer I went without drinking, the more confident and comfortable I felt without alcohol. And as far as dealing with stress...I do all kinds of things, including exercise (even simple stuff like just walking around the block), meditation, deep-breathing exercises, listening to music, journaling, etc.

    If you want to try a deep-breathing exercise that's really helped me, check this one out. It's called the 4-7-8 breathing technique:

  • I read another post about a technique called "playing the tape". It's interesting, kind of like knowing what will happen if you engage in certain behavior, playing it out in your head and then [hopefully] deciding not to engage. My behavior is strange to me. Any time during the day, I will not drink. It's like I have iron will and I will just have a glass of water. But, at night, I have anxiety about the thought of not drinking before bed. It's almost like my mind is telling me something bad will happen if I don't. (It's the demon :-)

    I admire my wife for her ability to just have a small 4oz glass and be done. And, I feel guilty about hiding how much I actually had been drinking from her. Should I come clean? There was one time she found some wine I had been hiding and she assumed the worst. She thought I was drinking all day, having booze at work, and that I was an out of control drunk. But I wasn't. I would never drink during the day or at work and I would never get behind the wheel of a car if I had been drinking. I am such a recluse and I feel like I can do this all myself. But maybe I need to include my wife in this? I don't want to disappoint her, or make her feel less of me.

    Just anything would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.
  • @StrengthOfWill I had that same problem of not drinking all day, but as soon as work was done, most days there was that voice telling me to start drinking, that would get worse and worse as the night progressed. I think the key is both playing the tape as you said, as well as proving to yourself you don't need the alcohol the way the monster thinks. I had to prove to myself that not only I could live without alcohol, but also, more importantly, I could resist the monster. Once that happened, I realized the monster had no power over me, and I was that much closer to freedom.

    I would say come clean with the wife. She got over the situation when she assumed you were drunk all day. Hiding things usually makes them more stressful, and that isn't what you want right now. Additionally, what you DO need is as much help as support and you deem necessary. Your wife can be part of the support network, but she needs to know the whole story to be effective, as well as what your goals are, I think.

    Keep the faith!
  • @StrengthOfWill... Definitely be 100 percent honest with your wife. She is someone you want on your side, for sure. But, like @Leaker said, she needs to know the WHOLE story in order to be supportive.
  • @StrengthOfWill hey there. i'm glad you are here sharing your journey with us. know that you're not alone... :) and we really do care.

    recovery is not a straight line... it's a squiggly wiggly line with ups and downs too. think progress; not perfection.

    curious if you've ever gone to counseling? some people find it helpful to go for a season to work through issues, some childhood issues (sounds like you had a rough one)... might help to get to some root issues going on...

    i'd be honest with your wife... let her know you are trying to quit all together... and just keep trying. find out what works for you... if it's before bed that's the toughest, try to think of a different nightly routine. hmm, maybe a guided meditation before bed... a new project... something.

    playing the tape through works for me... when i hit a very stressful time, i will crave alchohol. i will want to numb out... but i play the tape through...and don't do it. i am learning to sit with those yucky emotions and not freak out... they pass in time... i don't like to feel strong emotion, so learning how to and cope in healthy way is a process.

    you can come on here every day too! we are glad to journey with you!!

    hope this helps!
  • Oh geez. This is tough. Joining this forum has forced me to be brutally honest with myself about a couple of things. One, is the fact that I haven't confessed to my wife tells me that I'm not 100% on board with quitting yet. I *NEED* to be, but the fact I'm keeping her at arm's length means I'm leaving myself that "out" if I start to feel weak. If she doesn't know I'm hiding, then I can still sneak some in if I feel the "need". And I know from some of our conversations that she senses it, but doesn't know what is going on. I hate using that word "need" - I know I don't need it, but it feels like it sometimes.

    @dominica Yes, I saw a therapist for about two and a half years. It literally saved my life. I wasn't involved in any substance abuse at that time, but I was in college, away from home for the first time, and because of my childhood experiences, I started to experience debilitating panic attacks. So severe I would lose consciousness. I didn't know what was happening to me - I literally thought I was dying and I became suicidal. I had a plan and was literally a week from "executing my plan". I have a very close relationship with my siblings, especially with my closest brother and sister. I had seen an MD about my panic attacks (I didn't know what they were at the time) and my sister wrote him a letter - to this day I don't know what she said, but he called me at my apartment, asked me to come in again, and referred me to a couple other specialists, which led me to seeing a psychologist. My psychologist was very good and led me through a discovery process of realizing this was a psychological issue. I admit, I was stubborn, but once I was able to come to the conclusion myself, that this was psychological, I could start to recover. This was all at the time I was trying to switch careers. I had a Chemical Engineering degree, but I knew my heart was programming. That was about the time I met my wife for the first time. It was a week before my 26th birthday and we met at a pizza place. I remember offering to buy her a slice and we sat at the same booth and I remember looking at her thinking "Yes. I could spend my life with her." Six years later we were married. So, that was a huge positive. Got me through the worst of it.

    I still struggle immensely with anxiety. I was diagnosed mostly with social anxiety - I have trouble interacting with people. Having a messed up example of how a "loving couple" interact doesn't help. I feel like I could write a book. (So many times being rushed out of the house at 2AM on a school night to stay with a friend because my stepdad was going to kill us, high speed car chases at night, etc.) It wasn't just my first step dad. My second stepdad had a son who took a certain liking to me. I was 11 and he was 26. It was like out of the pot and into the frying pan. It took me almost 10 years before I could talk about it. My mom and my [2nd] stepdad just blew it off when they were told. To this day, that is what hurts the most. I felt abandoned and betrayed. I still feel like they didn't care at all. My sister was the one that told them after I told her. She told me my stepdad just said "I had a feeling he didn't like girls" and my mom didn't say anything. I know my mom had her share of abuse from my first stepfather, but I thought she would at least stick up for her children. [Stab to the heart] I really needed her to at the time. Still hurts after all these years, my mom has passed, my stepdad doesn't want anything to do with us any more. My brothers and sisters are still close as ever - we endured a lot together.

    Back to therapy - so yes. It has helped me in the past and I feel like I need it again. So, I am going to talk to my primary physician about how to get that without spending a fortune if my insurance doesn't cover it. Alcohol is not my only demon. My childhood demons are very present and still affect me.

    I really want to say how much I appreciate @dominica , @DeanD and @Leaker for your responses. There is an echo in the night. It means a lot that someone is reading this. I love my daughters (age 6 and 9) so much and I want so much to give them what I didn't have. Love and understanding. I want to be a good example to them, but I'm still learning how to do that.
  • Hello everyone how are you today?
  • @StrengthOfWill It is good that you are having those conversations now. The pain is part of it, but it will get better, I promise. Besides, as tough as it is, you are learning a lot about yourself in the process, and that is a good thing. The thought of never drinking again can be intimidating, it was for me at least. But, with the right tools and outlook, you will be able to make the changes you need to and never miss what you kicked to the curb.

    Sounds like you also have a good plan with the therapy. You've got experience with it, and some horrible things from you past that it will be good to sort through. Therapy will be another tool in your belt for turning yourself in the person you want to.

    Keep the faith.

  • @StrengthOfWill... I'm glad you're finding some help here in the forums. That's what we're here for! And I agree with @Leaker that it's good you're having the conversations you're having now. It would be great if you could get back into therapy, too, so definitely check into that.

    We're here for you, my friend. You can lean on us anytime.
  • @StrengthOfWill hey there! just thinking about you and wondering how you're doing.... when you get a chance, we'd love to hear from you! :)
  • Just an update. I've been off the wagon for a while. I'm trying to gather the emotional strength to just stop. Work has been tough and very stressful. I had a long chat with our HR manager today about the poor management and unreasonable expectations of the programming staff. I have literally not had a day off since January 3rd. I'm burned out. So, yes, I "checked out" and had some alcohol tonight. I am looking for another job, but still trying to meet the expectations of the deadlines placed on me. This past Sunday my oldest daughter asked me "Did you finish your project because I hardly see you any more." I had to struggle not to cry. I don't have any faith that my conversation with HR will result in any real changes, so I'm hoping a new job will help alleviate the stress of deadline pressure.

    My daughters are so precious. Both different in their needs and talents. I want to do the best I can to become the best they can be. But here I am, an addict not able to give 100% until I can just give it up! What is so strange is that my personality is very logical, so quitting would be so obvious and easy. But, it's not. A quagmire. *sigh*
  • @StrengthOfWill, sorry you are going through a rough patch. Especially tough when you don't have much of a safe zone. Work is terrible, home it tough, and even that little space just for you in your brain sounds like it isn't very welcoming.

    Now, it might just be semantics, or dodging the real issues, but what helped me was replacing some key verbs, and taking a new outlook. I wasn't "giving up" anything. That implies sacrifice or one is losing something. What are you losing by moving beyond drinking? Nothing. What are you gaining? A whole lot. So, I starting thinking of it not as, "giving up alcohol", but "earning my freedom from alcohol". Because that's what it is. Taking your life back, regaining control, and not being beholden to that next bottle. I also try not to use the word "quit". To me at least, that has negative connotations. Who wants to be a quitter? However, "stopping", that is something good. Stop for pedestrians. Stop child abuse. Stop [insert whatever cause du jour people are screaming about]. You are stopping the physical and mental destruction alcohol is having on your life. Look at other verbs you use and the connotation behind them. Deliberately choosing others might help encourage your outlook on the recovery.

    Don't worry about falling off the wagon. In fact, it can be good for your overall recovery. After that period of sobriety, followed by drinking again, how do you feel? More relaxed? More at ease? Better able to tackle the problems you face? More optimistic about life in general? You might already know the answer to those questions through the lens of frustration, but I'd recommend you still ponder them with a calm, open, and non-judgemental mind, if you can find such a state. More importantly, whatever the answer, ask yourself "why?" as many times as it takes to get a real good feeling for what is driving whatever answer you give.

    Keep the faith!
  • @StrengthOfWill hi there. i do hope you can get a different job that allows you to be home more with your family... less stressed!

    @Leaker has given some great advice... can make a big difference how we view no more drinking... being the logical thinker, how about reading "The Easy Way to Stop Drinking" or "This Naked Mind" (Annie Grace wrote that one. It's sort of like Easy Way) I think either or both would do you good....

    Learn from this....dust yourself off... start again... working toward gaining freedom.
  • @StrengthOfWill... It's okay to not be okay. We are here for you no matter what. I'm glad that you are recognizing that your job is having a negative impact on your life. And that your daughters are so important to you. That is excellent information and will help you shape your life going forward.

    To piggyback off of what @Leaker was talking about, I'd like to share a quote from one of my favorite musical artists, Ryan Adams. He's been in recovery for a number of years now, but back when he first got sober he said something that I found to be quite profound:

    "The idea wasn't to stop anything. It was to start everything."

    Try to think of sobriety that way. You're not giving up or sacrificing alcohol; you're starting a new, better life.

    Sending you loads of encouragement today. We've got your back, my friend.
  • @StrengthOfWill A career change will help you if it's bringing you down to stay where you are, but remember to take care of YOU in between.
    I was just like you. Not wanting to admit it, putting it off, hiding the bottles as a safety net. and the sleepless nights... don't get me started.
    You have a whole menu of options in front of you. See it as a menu... but the currency is sobriety.... because you cannot possibly order anything from the menu stuck in the rut you're in. Short term sobriety will get you a starter... nibbles.... then you'll want to move on to a main course... and I dunno about you, but I'm aiming for the big cut of steak, or the lobster, and then some pretty delicious cake of some kind... but we can't afford it if we don't have the currency.
    Also, if you can get melatonin, maybe in a pharmacy, depending on where you are, do.. it'll really help with those sleepless nights. I used to go by the mantra "better to wake up tired than to wake up hung-over".

  • Wow! You guys/gals are amazing! I just want you to know it does really help to hear your advice and mostly, share your own experiences. I don't know anyone else with an alcohol problem. (Excluding my stepfather and my brothers in law - but they never even thought of trying to quit.) So, it's captivating to hear what you all have been through and had to endure to get through it. I just don't have anyone in my life right now that I can relate to in that way.

    What is keeping me moving forward is when I quit for two weeks and I saw and felt the benefits of it. Yes, I was not sleeping, but I still felt better in the morning than passing out for 6 hours and waking up (if you can call it that) feeling like crap. I was also in a better mood, felt more relaxed, and could concentrate better.

    I'm the kind of person who is extremely hard on myself, and when I fall off the wagon, I punish myself mentally for "failing". It does help to hear that I shouldn't think of it as failing - just get back up and try again. It's amazing that after 48 years of being me, I still don't understand myself and why I do the things I do and how I react to my own actions. You've all given such great advice and I have a lot to take in and process. And I will. I'm still open minded enough I feel I can change my thought patterns.

    So, I have a question for everyone: Is there any single thing/thought/event that really motivated you to quit once and for all?
  • @zozzie I'm not looking for a career change. I did that back in the 90's. ;-) I'm looking for a job change, same career. I've loved programming since I was in high school. In 1985 our school got our first computers - Apple IIs. I would finish my homework in study hall and check out books from the library on how to program BASIC. I would come in early to school, and over lunch spend time in the computer lab teaching myself how to program. I taught myself how to type on a manual typewriter so I could write code faster. Later, I got into chemistry, physics, math and got a degree in Chemical Engineering in college. But, I still loved programming. I switched careers from Chemical to Software Engineering in my own time by learning to program and eventually got a job doing that. Problem now is, I still like programming, but I don't like my employer. So, I am looking for another programming job, but with a healthier management style. I was working late tonight and I don't think my manager thought I was still there. I overheard him talking to another manager saying "Just keep pushing your team. Push them hard. We can't miss this deadline and we can't compromise on quality." To me, that was heart breaking. It's such a heartless way to treat your employees. Programming complex software is difficult and it takes time. You can't get quality and meet deadlines without some compromises. To be blunt, "It takes as long as it takes". In a way, my current employer had turned something I love into something I hate by standing on my shoulders and cracking the whip.

    Sorry, I'm venting a bit. Didn't mean to go off on a tangent on a technical thing. Your post was great - makes a lot of sense and I understand. Thank you for your feedback.
  • @StrengthOfWill No worries on the venting, that helps at times too. Plus, by writing, you put those nebulous feelings into actual words, which can help. I am working through some stuff in my office now with higher management pushing for stuff too. Fortunately, my boss is on the same page as me, "want it bad, get it bad".

    In terms of what motivated me to stop, I fought alcoholism for a long time. I knew I had a problem for years. I even tried to stop after a drunken New Years Party episode that contributed to a break-up with my at the time girlfriend. But, the Monster was strong, so it was a never ending cycle of stopping for 2 weeks, then drinking for a weekend. Finally, I lost complete control. I previously never drank on a weeknight, but that all went out the window, and I was drinking heavy most nights. Most mornings I'd wake up, take some aspirin, chug some coffee, paint a smile on my face, and trudge through the day. Finally, I showed up to work one morning visibly hung over. It was then made clear to me that either I fix my problem, or I find a new career. That was the motivation to start. I read The Easy Way to Stop Drinking, and was starting to have those conversations with myself I needed to have. However, I drank 2 more times after that incident, again on that 2 week cycle, the second time resulting in me entering a more formalized treatment. Turns out I was already on the path to freedom, and I didn't need the treatment, and certainly not the problems that came with it, but looking back, eh, it's all good.

    I think everyone has that point where they say, "enough!". It be something huge like a DUI or a black-out induced injury, or it could be something emotionally traumatic like seeing their child pick up one of their beer bottles and throw it "just like you do mommy/daddy". The trick is to take that initial spark of motivation, and apply it to a actionable plan to reach their goal, be it cutting the drinking back, or cutting the drinking out.
  • I got kind of a break at work today. We had a meeting this morning to discuss the state of the project I was tasked with. To my surprise, someone I didn't have a good opinion of stuck up for me twice in the meeting. He said I did a good job, I did what I was tasked to do and what I did worked and that the problems were not of my doing. And another time, the lead was going to throw an impossible task at me and he intervened and said "No! It is not fair to him to throw this at him and expect him to do it in a few days." I was overjoyed! To have support from a team member on that level. The main project was assigned back to the original developer who implemented it and who did things incorrectly the first time. So 75% of the load is off my back. But, I still have a lot to do and have a major role, but most of the pressure is off. Also, my manager (huge surprise to me) presented me with an employee recognition award of achievement and a monetary bonus for my work. Another esteem boost. But, I felt like I didn't deserve it. With my drinking I know I could do so much better. (Another story)

    @DeanD thanks for the video. Never thought of it like that. I do tend to be black&white and feel like I can do everything myself. A bit of background about my personality - I tend push things to the limit and then beyond. When studying in college, if 40 hours was good, 50 hours was better, heck, why not 80 hours. I was only 3.75 gpa, I should be 4.0. In martial arts, I didn't take one class, I took one, practiced between classes and then took another class. Two glasses of wine? Why not three, or four? One bottle? I can handle two! I just always push things. And I have a tendency toward OCD and always feel I should be able to control everything. To say, "Well, I slipped up and that's OK" is a difficult thing for me to accept. Logically, I know it makes sense, and I would say that to anyone else, but for me. In my mind, I would probably say "I messed up, it's my fault and it's not OK."

    I have a feeling that didn't come out as I was expecting. I'm not a controlling jerk - I don't extend it to others (at least I don't think I do), but I punish myself a lot. I know this about myself, but I lack balance. By that I mean, working harder is not always better. I've had a difficult time knowing when to stop, take a break, give myself a rest and get back to it. It's always push, push, push. So when my managers apply that to me, because it's in my nature, I comply. To be honest, I don't even know how I can do my job with my addiction. I'm so tired, can't think straight, yet somehow manage to get the work done. I know I could do so much better if I could free myself of this burden. And you are all helping! I know I will get there. So, thank you all for that. You've given me a solid platform to stand on.
  • @StrengthOfWill i'm so glad you were recognized for your hard work at work... that must feel wonderful!

    i've seen black and white or extreme thinking in action... it seems to be a coping mechanism picked up in childhood... be it an irrational one. a friend of mine has same tendencies.... she works with her thoughts and has been in therapy trying to get a better grip on it.

    here is an interesting article on that topic... gives some suggestions at the end.

    here's to your progress so far!!! so glad you are here journeying with us. hope you have a wonderful weekend!
  • @StrengthOfWill... It's nice that someone felt compelled to stand up for you in that meeting. I'm sure that made you feel better. And getting an employee recognition award--and bonus--is awesome, too! Try to accept the fact that you DO deserve these things! Even though you may think you can do better--and it's quite possible that you can--try to accept the fact that you've still done a fabulous job, and let people recognize that fact!

    That article @dominica shared is interesting. Definitely give it a read.

    You're making progress, my friend. And we're all behind you 100 percent.
  • @StrengthOfWill hey you! thinking of you and hope all is well!
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