here i am

I'm scwerl. I live in Wisconsin. And I am having a hard time with a lot of things. I guess the reason that I am here is because I am having a hard time with drinking. I think i have always used it to self medicate, but its getting to the point where I think about it throughout the day when I am at work. I so look forward to getting home so I can mix myself one of my drinks. But I don't get the buzz I used to after the small amount of drinks I'd have (Irish Cream with 1/4 almond milk). I don't really get the comfort I did before. There is so much inside me that cannot find its way out, I don't know how to open up to anyone and tell them what I really have going on, except for my therapist. But she is out of work for a month so I need to find someone to talk to. I hope its ok that I came here.
I dont think I need to go to treatment or anything like that, but I do need to find a way to get past those cravings. I quit smoking a year ago (through hypnosis) and done pretty good. A couple of slips, but i got so sick that I know to steer clear.
I am rambling, I am sorry. I just dont know what my next step is. I drink too much. I self medicate... I feel so lost, and I have no one in my life that I can talk to about this. I want to see the bright side, and I am sure there is something there. I am just having a really hard time with it right now.
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  • @scwerl Hello and welcome. You came to a good place, and it is great that you are opening up. It is also good that you are talking to a therapist, so you already have a little bit of a network going, perhaps this place will help and become another one.

    So, what's the next step? I'd say educating yourself is a good next step. You already know about addiction from your success with smoking, but alcohol can be a whole different beast. Or it can exactly the same. The method that I used to stop drinking was originally developed to stop smoking. So, take a look around. Learn about alcohol and alcoholism. You should see some things that resonate with you. Follow those sorts of things and see where they lead. That should start moving you off the dark path you find yourself on, and towards a brighter one. There are the obvious other steps like checking out AA, or SMART, or some other more structured group. Some people find great success and comfort from those. Others, like me, not so much.

    You don't sound like you are very happy with the state you are in right now. So, spend some time thinking about where you want to go, and after the research, how you want to get there. Make the choice about what YOU want to be, and then start tackling that monster that is convincing you that alcohol is a valid medication. You know that it will be tough, but the journey will be worth it.
  • @Leaker thank you for the response. You give me things to consider and I appreciate it very much. Sometimes the obvious is in front of me but I don't see it. So I think finding this site will really be helpful.
    When I was in my 20's I went through treatment but didn't take it seriously at all. And now I'm in the quandary of trying to not make this something my family needs to go through again. Hoping they can be silent support.
    Thanks again.
  • @scwerl hello and welcome. glad you are here and glad you are doing some things to quit self-medicating. therapy is a wonderful step.. it may take time, but there you'll be able to share openly and possibly work through some core issues... get to the root of some things...good for you for taking that step.

    we are here as well. having a support network can help so much. just know you're not alone...

    Leaker has given great advice. learning about alcoholism can help... you'll never get that initial buzz feeling again... alcoholism is a progressive disease... it'll have you drinking more and more over time... be it months or years...and along with that will come more negative feelings...and possibly negative consequences. it's a monster for sure...

    i read the book "The Easy Way to Stop Drinking" by Allen Carr. Good book.. but not everyone loves to read. Think he's got some videos on YouTube...and that reminds me, there are so many things you can read or watch on the internet... to educate yourself. and yes, if you're needing face-to-face support, give an 12 Step meeting a try.

    when cravings come, try "playing the tape through"... this means, before you drink... or take one step in that direction, in your mind see yourself taking that drink...and drinking..and then finishing...and how you'll feel ok for a minute, but then you'll feel crappy and you'll wake up disappointed in yourself, and nothing will have gotten better. life wouldn't be better. you wouldn't be better. you'll feel like crap.

    think about that before you decide to drink, or as i say "play the tape through"...and that can help you realize "oh, yeah. drinking is not for me anymore. i don't want to feel like crap anymore."

    it's helped many resist the temptation or craving...


    we are here for you anytime.
  • @scwerl, I learned in my recovery that a lot of the key things, I already knew. I had heard them a million times. But, I needed to be told them with a clear mind and without my prejudices and assumptions. So, there is no such thing as something too obvious during your recovery. Challenge your assumptions, question why you think something, and force yourself to explain it to yourself. Chances are the arguments are pretty weak when you think about them. I mean, if humans need alcohol to sleep, how on earth do kids do it?

    I'll also say that a huge benefit to the research phase, and places like this, is learning that you aren't alone. Sorry, you aren't unique, at least in this regard. No matter your situation or station in life, there is someone who has been in a similar spot, and gotten free. Your thoughts and feelings are yours, but chances are, someone else has gone through them or something similar as well. I never thought a simple book written by some old dude from England could address things that I considered my deepest, most unique thoughts and effects from alcohol. Really? Thinking music sounds better drunk is a common thing? Yep. It sure is. Apparently.

    Keep the faith!
  • @dominica Thanks, that is also a lot of great advice!
    I guess I have a question here. Do I tell my husband that I am doing this? I am afraid to say I am going to do then, then if i fail i have to face that guilt and his reaction. We are not having the best of times right now.
    I know that i need to do a lot to fix my own situation, and make decisions that others can't make for me. And I am sort of on my own for most of it. The way I see it is that since i have to make the decisions, why burden others with the details?
    So, I don't know if I should get his hopes up and then let him down. Because there are times that I don't care if I let him down. Like I said... some issues.
  • @Leaker I seem to need to drink to be at home. If I am at work or out with someone else I am alright. But if I need to be home, I seem to think I need to drink. If I know that I am going home after my normal shift, I start to think about it about 2 hours before the end of my shift. But there are about 2 - 3 days a week that I have to work another 8 hours shift and then I am fine. I get home after the 16 hours, I take a shower, go to bed and get up the next day and I am fine. Until the 2 hours before the end of my shift... if I am going home. Then the thoughts are there again.
    I don't really want to go to an in person AA meeting. I've been to them, and I just don't feel that comfortable. I'd be better with a one on one situation or maybe just a few people... no more than like 4 or 5. I'm a serious introvert and very anit social.
  • So @scwerl, I had a similar issue during the worst of my alcoholism. I lived alone, and when I got done with work, and I didn't need to do anything "important" the next day. I've got HOURS to fill. Why not have a drink? It was even worse on the weekend. Two WHOLE days of not being accountable to anyone for anything. Not needing to be anywhere. Why not have a drink? I think @dominica's suggestion about "playing the tape" can help with that one. Why not have a drink? Because 1 turns into ten so easily. Then what?

    I also advocate finding things that are truly enjoyable, as opposed to an enabler. If you can't watch TV without a drink, for example, then TV might just be an excuse to drink. You might need to change how you think about TV time, or even cut that out, at least at the start. I also suggest finding things that you want to do BECAUSE you didn't drink, as opposed to instead of drinking. A simple substitution of "instead" only lasts as long as the will power, but when doing things you truly enjoy, the thoughts of drinking just don't come up. Eventually. That one takes time.

    There's no need to force yourself to go to an in person meeting. If it isn't for you, then it isn't for you. If you commit to making the changes you want, you can have a successful recovery without meetings. I'd say to keep an open mind though. You might, at some point down the road, think that a meeting might be a good addition to your recovery strategy. Or not.
  • I decided to push myself and I went to a meeting last night. I also pushed myself to talk. I am not a talker, so this was kind of a big step. It went well, and lasted much longer than usual. There were two women there who had anniversaries, one year and eleven years. I think that really had some influence on me too. I know that I have to do something. And I am not saying I am going to go crazy going to meetings, but I think this was small enough group that I could be comfortable with them.
    @Leaker I know I need to adjust my activities, but when everything I enjoy coincides somehow with my drinking patterns, do you have suggestions on helping myself to change that? Like, I have a little hobby wood shop I putter around in. But I've had a drink on the workbench for so long, I just need to know what I can try to do to change my cravings. I plan on drinking more water, and I know that wont be an issue. My problem is the damn obsessive thoughts that over take my mind. I am willing to try just about anything. I have actually been avoiding finishing a project I have started there because of this whole drinking thing. I need to get that done her pretty soon. Maybe I can listen to different music in the shop or something. Any other thoughts you have?
  • @scwerl congrats on going to a meeting... so glad you got something out of it. this is a tool that you can hang on your tool belt as you build a strong recovery foundation.

    not sure about how to approach your shop... if it were me...i'd probably listen to some sort of motivational video... (youtube) or yeah, a different type of music. for now, maybe put on something that will foster your recovery... there are many videos to listen too...or an audio book. that may sound boring to some people... but just a thought.

    it is a battle of the mind... so feed your mind some good soul food regularly.

    just my two cents :)
  • @dominica That sounds like a good idea. I could stream some videos, maybe some how to's on my projects! Thanks! I hadn't thought of that!
  • Hay @scwerl, you seem to making lots of progress.....
    Did you end up telling your husband in the end? It's a tough decision to take, but here's the way I look at it... once you've announced your intention, it brings accountability. You MUSt consider him everytime you are faced with the urge to take a drink... and believe it or not.. it can help.
    Of cours,e you'd need to educate him on the whole process and be sure that he will be supportive. Also, to know that relapses can and do happen, it's not the end of the world, but that your progress means something.
    I only actually got my sh1t together when I finally stood in front of a good friend and said "I am going to stop drinking, and you're going to be there to witness it".
    It's something to think about it, but if you might be lacking resolve, or not fully get the "why".. it's a lot of pressure.
  • @scwerl i agree that telling your husband is a good idea. i think open communication is healthy. not always easy, but healthy. not that you necessarily have to answer to him (accountability), but it puts it out there...
  • @scwerl, @zozzie and @dominica are spot on. Be honest with the husband. They can be a critical support element and motivation factor. Also, if you change up the routine, maybe with music, maybe with videos, you might be able to get into the shop without the normal alcohol accompaniment. Water can help, or get some other exotic soda or something taht helps further break with the old routine.

    In terms of the obsessive thoughts, that is what I call the Monster. It IS the addiction. It's a tricky, annoying, persistent bastard. A big step for me was identifying what was Me, and what was the Monster. I made the choice to stop drinking. The rational part of me knew it was bad, and it was time to stop. Everything that said otherwise was the Monster. I had a lot of thought about this; it didn't come easy. Also with those internal debates was the concept of control. Who controlled my life? Me? Or the Monster? Who do I want to control my life? Me? Or the Monster? With practice it got easier to not only see the Monster for what it was, but to defeat it. It took a lot of effort. There were a lot of arguments I had to find solutions for, but ultimately I beat the Monster. It's still with me, and still pops up every now and then, but it has no power over me.

    For working in the shop, a key that was discussed in the previously mentioned Easy Way to Stop Drinking, is that thirst happens. It's natural. The body says, "I am thirsty". When the Monster is in control, it quickly pipes up with, "A beer sounds great, right?" and when unprepared, one quickly agrees, and there is Drink #1 of 10(ish). But, with practice, one can say, "I am thirsty", the Monster can suggest a drink, but the rational side can say, "Actually, thirsty just means water. Or soda. Or juice". Case in point, at about my 1 year sober mark I was at a Renaissance Fair (don't laugh, it was fun and the turkey leg was fantastic). It was a hot fall day, and someone walked by with a big ol' pint of frothy beer. The Monster instantly said, "THAT'S WHAT WE NEEDS BOY!", and it caught me off guard. But, I paused, thought for a moment, made the connection, and had the best tasting water (and a Coke Zero) that I can remember having.

    It takes work, and practice, but you can get there. Keep the faith!
  • @zozzie @dominica I did tell him. It wasn't easy but he was supportive. He doesn't understand a lot stuff with me, so this is just one more to figure out. I am definitely a puzzle for him to work on.
    I did the whole treatment thing a long time ago, but then i didn't take it seriously. But, I can admit this is out of hand and I have to get myself back on track. So the progress I am making, I hope it continues. And I hope I make the right decisions. Being able to come here has already helped.
  • @scwerl... Super proud of you for the progress you're making! I hope you're proud of yourself, too!
  • @DeanD Thanks, a day at a time I guess... ya i am kinda proud of myself. Still difficult day to day, but if it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing.
  • @scwerl good morning! glad you told him and it went well. helps to feel supported!

    also glad coming here is helping... some great posts to read here, and great people who will be supportive. keep the positive helps!

    here if you need.
  • I have been doing things in the shop, using different music and clobbering the beast... Monster as you say. I guess I call all of this mess inside me the beast. Working on taming my dragons. Lots of cliches. I'm a writer and read a lot of them.
    Hit another meeting Friday night, but I'm back to being afraid to talk. Stupid social anxiety stuff. And a big topic was anxiety. Well I know I'm not alone with it.
    Again, thanks. Looking around the site is a good way to occupy some of my time and get control of my thoughts again.
  • Beast, monster, demon, evil clown, urges, compelling desires, cravings; there are many names, and in the end, it doesn't really matter. Whatever concept resonates and works for you is all that is important. The same is true for every facet of your recovery.
  • @scwerl that's great you're changing things up! you're doing it!! glad you're hitting a meeting too... one day at a time... the journey will be better without monsters tagging along :)
  • @scwerl, good to hear that you're making little changes in the shop. My wife bought me a soda stream, because I was unable to watch a movie at night without a beer in my hand.... I still make myself a bottle of fizzy water before movie nights now, and to hell with the beer. I never remembered the end ofany movies I watched, either! bummer.
  • @zozzie I am going to be happy with Choco milk on occasion since I drank Irish cream like water. Went through a big bottle in 2-3 days. Wonder what the people at the liquor store thought about someone going through that much IC, lol. But it never slowed me down. I had my ways to switch it up.
    Anyway, I am doing better, but the thoughts still scream in my head. Day at a time!
  • Definitely take things a day at a time, @scwerl. Or even an hour or minute at a time, if necessary. Whatever keeps you moving in the right direction. And don't worry about not talking at the AA meeting. There's no obligation to talk. And maybe you'll get more comfortable over time.

    We're here for you, my friend. And we're all behind you 100 percent!
  • @Scwerl, I'm Irish, so Irish cream was never my thing, lol. The lady in the store must have wondered about me, though, because we have our own hens, grow all our own veg, and buy our meat and dairy from local producers, so my daily trips to the supermarket consisted of packs of beer and bottles of wine. I would buy toilet paper and shampoo now and then, but I got some funny looks.
    Chocco milk is soo good. I think I'mm gonna make one.
  • @scwerl glad you're doing alright... the screams will get lower and less frequent over time. just remember... you're not your thoughts... you're an observer of them. let them scream... smile and keep it moving doing what the real YOU... wants and needs... sobriety. peace. joy. love.

    sending big love your way.
  • @dominica thanks for the love! it really helps!
    I took a huge step for me on Sunday and made a call to one of the ladies in the group I've been going to. She really helped me find some ways to keep my mind busy through the cravings.
    Its been a week since I had a drink. She tells me i've made some big progress... I hope so. You have all been great help for me as well and I want to say thanks!
    Big love back!
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