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!
  • @scwerl ahhh, that's wonderful! proud of you for reaching out to that lady... that can be a huge help along your recovery path.... remember, you're GAINING a wonderfully freeing life... the pros are so much greater than the cons... so proud of you and congrats on ONE WEEK free from the monster :)
  • Congrats on your one week of sobriety, @scwerl! That's AWESOME!!! And reaching out to the woman from your group was a fabulous thing to do! I'm glad she had some helpful suggestions for how to get through the cravings.

    You ARE making progress, my friend! And I'm super proud of you! Keep up the phenomenal work!!! :)
  • @scwerl... Give yourself a pat on the back, too!
  • So, my update. I asked the woman I called to be my sponser and she agreed to do that. She has been giving me homework to do so that I can work the steps. Not just read them and say 'ya, i agree with that' or whatever. She really has me thinking about things. Found out that we have a lot in common as well and we have gotten together a few times to talk and expand on things. Really happy that I have done all of this. And really glad to you have this place to come and be able to read things and see I'm not alone.
    I opened up to a couple of friends who I know that i have put through the wringer over the last few months especially, but even the last years. They were both very supportive, they told me that I am strong - though I appear on the outside, i am not on the inside. But I'll work toward it. And I know that I cannot do it alone. I accept that I need help. And I accept that this is my future, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel I am walking through.
    I know there are going to be ups and downs and good days and bad days, but right now I am feeling pretty good about things and I want to open myself up to the feeling. I think I can even feel it, I've been numb for so long... its good to at least try to feel it.
    Again, thanks to you guys too for supporting me through this. I'll keep coming back.
  • @scwerl Thanks for the update. It is ever better that it carries good news.It is great that you are building a network to help support you. You are correct; chances are good that you can't do it alone. Not because of any failing or weakness on your part, just that it is so damned tough at times to get through certain things. Great that you have not just here, but the sponsor, as well as some friends that know you well. Those support elements will get you through the tough times.

    Keep the optimism, but also remain grounded in reality. It might an easy, smooth sailing process, but more than likely it will be that twisty turny path that is mentioned from time to time. As long as you stay focused, and learn from everything, you will eventually become the person YOU want to be.

    Keep the faith!
  • @scwerl that's wonderful! thanks so much for the update! sponsorship can be a valuable tool in recovery, and building your support network can work wonders!

    very happy to hear your optimism and enthusiasm. and, b/c you're sharing here, you get to inspire the many that read these threads, so thank you for that.

    i agree with @Leaker about the twisty, turny road... life isn't the rose garden we want it to be, and struggles and circumstances will occur. painful times will come.... so really building this firm foundation can help you get through them without self-medicating... and know that we are always here!
  • Such a beautiful and hopeful update, @scwerl! I am so proud of you! It is a process, and it's not a straight line. Just know that we are here to help, support, and encourage you however we can. You are NOT alone!! <3
  • Well, today i feel set back. I went to my meeting last night, afterward I know people stand outside and have a cigarette and I thought I should stay and just be part of the group. (I quit smoking a year ago.) Being around the cigs doesn't bother me anymore, so it makes sense. Yet, when i walked out the door, I kept walking. I always feel so awkward with groups of people. Even if I know the people, I'm the awkward one.
    Ok, so I know that about myself. But how can I work myself out of that, because that doesn't help me to make friends and leaves me on that lonely road I've been on. Iknow there isn't a fast solution, but there has to be something that I can do to help me not feel so anxious in groups and like I'm the oddball in groups. The trying feels futal, like I'm a fraud.
    Other than that, my sponser has me working step 3, and said to take my time with it and really look at what it means. So I am doing that. And I still have this internal battle that I am bothering her, though its nothing she's said or done. I am always like this with people.
    I'm not giving up hope, not by any means. But i just need some help figuring out what action i can take here.
    Any ideas or suggestions? Your support has been so great! I'm 2 weeks sober! :smiley:
  • @scwerl... First of all, congratulations on your 2 WEEKS of sobriety! That's AWESOME! Keep doing what you're doing, my friend!

    And as far as feeling awkward in groups of people... Try not to let that get you down. I can relate to what you're talking about, because I have issues with social anxiety, too. I struggle a lot around people I don't know very well. If there's a group of people I don't know very well, that's even worse. But, as hard as it is, I try to gradually mingle with people and get acclimated. I've found if I interact for a short period of time, and then try to extend that time a bit during future encounters, I can successfully integrate myself into the group. It's a process.

    After the next meeting, instead of walking past the group, try to stop and at least say a few words. Or just hang out a bit and listen. Ease your way into it. I know it's a challenge, but give it a shot.

    Also, please know that being socially awkward is not anything to get down on yourself about. Everyone is different, my friend. If we were all the same, what fun would that be??

    Congrats again on your 2 weeks. You're a rock star!
  • @scwerl congrats on 2 weeks sober! that's awesome! also great you have a sponsor and are working the steps...making meetings, etc. kudos!

    i can relate to social anxiety... i've done the same thing, exiting quickly b/c i don't want to engage. i think over time you just get more familiar with the people and then it's easier to stop on the way out and start a conversation... or even just say something simple like, "Hey, what you were talking about tonight i could really relate to." or "Thanks for sharing tonight. Totally helped me". (Of course, say that to someone who actually shared haha)

    Or, "What a great meeting!"

    the bothering someone with your presence or conversation... can relate to that too. I used to be that way and it can still creep in at times. the more i got in touch with me, and liked myself...the more worthy i felt. the more i felt like i mattered and i wasn't taking too much from another. i was so good at giving, but had to learn how to receive.... all part of the recovery process... :)

    you're progressing, and that's great. be gentle with yourself... you're doing it!
  • Thanks @DeanD I will try to do that. I meant to last night but just didn't work out. Now I'm more aware of the potential ofe doing that so I can nip it before I walk outside.
    I'm happy with the two weeks myself! TY
  • @dominica Thanks, your words really open my eyes. I will try some of that as well!
  • @scwerl hey there! how are you doing? just thinking of you and wanted to let you know if you need and hope you are doing alright! :)
  • @dominica Sorry I haven't been around so much. I am doing quite well. My sponsor is helping me to get a start on step 4 and we've had some pretty good talks lately. On top of that I have been doing some online classes and working a lot of hours. But I am staying sober and taking it a day at a time. Thank you for the thoughts, that is very nice.
  • @scwerl that's wonderful to hear! so happy for you!! sounds like you're creating a great life for yourself, sober and free. congrats! and thanks for sharing!
  • Hey, good for you, @scwerl! Happy to hear you're working with your sponsor and staying sober! Proud of you, my friend!

    One day at a time!!!
  • I hadn't realized just how long its been since i checked in here so here I am again.
    I've been sober for 8 weeks today, and last week I did step 5 with my sponsor. At the meeting last night we went over step 5 from the 12 and 12 book. People talked about how they had this feeling of ease, like a weight was lifted from them afterward. They felt an enlightenment.
    I haven't had that. In fact, I have had some pretty wild and crazy feelings of depression and anger. I felt a dark cloud over me for most of the time since then. My sponsor kept asking me questions when i asked her a question. I know this is her way to get me to figure things out for myself. But whenever i feel like I want to scream and just need a nudge, she doesn't give me that nudge. I told her today that she frustrates me and she replied with a meme that said: If you don't get mad at your sponsor at least once then you aren't really being sponsored. Well, crap on a cracker that made me more irritated.
    I have so much going on in my head lately. And she knows most of that, even though I have only known her for as long as i have been sober. Maybe I have reached a point where i am supposed to spread my wings more or something. That is fine, i know i need growth. But sometimes I just need to be angry for a while, and she doesn't really let me do that.
    I understand she is doing what she needs to to help me, and I appreciate it. I just wish that sometimes it could be a little bit softer.
    Anyway, I am still doing well, hanging in there and doing things a day at a time. I'm sorting through my pile of character defects and wondering how the hell I am supposed to change them without help. Am I supposed to figure it out all on my own? Then why do I need someone else if they can't help me? I'm sorry if this is wrong and I am not seeing what I need to. But it feels sometimes like I am supposed to always have the right answer and be in the right frame of mind.
  • @scwerl - great to meet you! I think the point may be that sometimes there are no easy answers, if someone else makes the decision for you, then you will not have made the ‘solidification’ of making that step on your own terms. It isn’t there there is a correct choice, but that you own whatever choice is made. Learn from it, and move forward. Or sideways, and sometimes backwards...

    I don’t know what step 5 is, so I am sorry you’re not feeling the relief you had expected, but what’s the reason? If you can determine that, then you can make whatever the next move needs to be. No one can answer that question for you though, because the answer is yours to find - for you.

    Best of luck and congrats on 8 weeks! I am at day 18 and checking in here helps me recall why I decided it was definitely the time to move beyond drinking, for me. Even though the weather and the frustration of today was saying I might as well kick back a fifth of the high octane...

    Keep up the good fight!
  • I know I need to find the answers myself. I do understand that, and my sponsor is fabulous. She doesn't make it easy, but then again easy doesn't teach me much.
    You are right @HulkZmash that only I can answer the questions. Thanks for reminding me.
    Congrats on 18 days! Don't fool yourself that it gets really easy right away, but its worth the fight, so keep up that fight!
  • @HulkZmash... Just for clarity, Step 5 is:

    "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."
  • @scwerl... I'm sorry that you've been depressed and angry, but it's damn terrific that you've been sober for 8 WEEKS. Congratulations on that!!

    I think your sponsor is just trying to make you think and work. I think a tough sponsor is way better than a soft sponsor, but that's just my opinion. Others may disagree. I guess I would try to look at your sponsor's actions as constructive, and try to understand that she is working to help you...not bring you down.

    Question: Have you tried therapy yet? Because I think it would really help you sort through your character defects, feelings, etc. A good therapist can be life-changing, for sure.

    Also, know that it's okay to be angry from time to time. I would just advise you to not take your anger out on your sponsor, and maybe look for some healthy ways to cope with your anger; things like exercise, deep-breathing, mediation, yoga, or just going in a private room and screaming as loud as you can for a minute or so.

    The bottom line is that you've been sober for 2 months. Wow. That's quite an accomplishment, and I'm really proud of you. You should be proud of yourself, too.

    We're here for you, my friend. I'm glad you checked in with us. Hope you have a great day.
  • @DeanD - thanks! I’ll get these steps down with enough exposure. Read through them several years ago, but haven’t refreshed myself on them since. Step 5 seems to require a full understanding of one’s ‘wrongs’ before one could admit to the exact nature of them. If the exact nature is defined by the one doing the admitting, rather than people that have felt wronged, then it seems probable than Step 5 is loaded with potential need to revisit it over time. I don’t know that I’d feel huge relief at Step 5 because I’d be continually concerned I left something out....hmmm?

    What’s the general concept usually addressed in Step 5? Self-recognition of patterned behavior leading to arriving at an undesirable place in life???
  • @scwerl - yes, two months!!! That’s impressive without doubt!
  • @scwerl hey you! good to hear from you! so proud of you! 8 weeks! woohoo!

    that's something to shout about!

    i giggled at the meme your sponsor sent you. makes sense. we have the tendency to want things and want them FAST... this life journey doesn't quite work that way...

    i remember sharing step 5 with my sponsor. i was nervous, b/c i wasn't used to talking to anyone about ME. i could barely even handle my "feelings" at the time, having little knowledge of how to cope with them in healthy ways.... but i did it. i sat there and shared.... and afterwards, i was EXHAUSTED.

    not sure i experienced bliss and all that, but i can look back and see how it was a pivotal point in my emotional healing. it stretched me. it helped me become more aware of some of the ways i deceived myself, my destructive thought patterns/actions, and helped me begin formulating just who i was without all the baggage...

    it also helped me begin to see that the person i was (character defects, faulty beliefs, faulty programming, etc.) was not REALLY who i was... doing that step was like light shining on the darkness (my shadow)... and i began to get a bit more clarity about my authentic self. (spirit, whatever you want to call it)

    regarding the anger... FEEL IT! but only momentarily... @DeanD gave some great tips on managing or getting rid of it! :)

    again, thanks for the update. we are always here for you!
  • @dominica @DeanD @HulkZmash
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Dean, I am in therapy. Its just difficult to get appointments sometimes because she has so many clients. But overall it is worth the wait. I just feel kind of lost right now and I know I can't get in with her atm.
    I know my sponsor is helping, and it is my messed up perception that has me feeling this way. I just feel...alone, and defeated, and broken. I would love to talk to her about it, but I am just not sure if I should. I just hate to bother people, and i have this forum, and i wont drink. I guess I just need to process things myself and find my answers. That is what she is trying to help me with, right? Because I have a habit of getting kind of needy and dependent and she knows that after my 5th step.
    Thanks again you guys. I really appreciate your words and I will check back very soon again!
  • @scwerl just came upon your journey and wanted to say congrats for being a warrior! That’s what I think we all are who are fighting this thing and getting up everyday and taking another step... warriors!
  • @scwerl you're gaining some good insight into your life... and things you are trying to keep in check. that's great!

    and of course, feel free to come share here anytime!
  • @dominica
    I am here again because I am confused about something. Last week I did my 5th step and things have really only gotten worse since. I feel more alone and a bigger loser than ever. And my sponsor seems to be giving me the cold shoulder, but at the same time I know she has some stuff going on in her life. I don't want to bother her or anyone else. I've been direct with questions, and if I did something wrong. She said "no, lol".
    I have a problem with validation, needing others to acknowlege me somehow. I dont know. One of my other character defects is self pity, and I have a good grasp on that. I've been trying to refocus my thoughts, to concentrate on acutal issues I should be facing. But my mind goes back to thinking about what I did to make her put me off. It's a crazy stupid cycle and I am so stuck in it. I've wanted to drink for the last few days, but I've been resisting. It just feels sometimes like there is nothing to lose if I do.
    How can I get my head on straight, and learn to be like other people. I struggle with feeling like I am always being watched, judged, even though I know that isn't true.
    I feel so lost, so broken, and so damn alone.
    Any advice or direction?
  • @dominica
    I am here again because I am confused about something. Last week I did my 5th step and things have really only gotten worse since. I feel more alone and a bigger loser than ever. And my sponsor seems to be giving me the cold shoulder, but at the same time I know she has some stuff going on in her life. I don't want to bother her or anyone else. I've been direct with questions, and if I did something wrong. She said "no, lol".
    I have a problem with validation, needing others to acknowlege me somehow. I dont know. One of my other character defects is self pity, and I have a good grasp on that. I've been trying to refocus my thoughts, to concentrate on acutal issues I should be facing. But my mind goes back to thinking about what I did to make her put me off. It's a crazy stupid cycle and I am so stuck in it. I've wanted to drink for the last few days, but I've been resisting. It just feels sometimes like there is nothing to lose if I do.
    How can I get my head on straight, and learn to be like other people. I struggle with feeling like I am always being watched, judged, even though I know that isn't true.
    I feel so lost, so broken, and so damn alone.
    Any advice or direction?
  • Hi @scwerl, I’ve just read your thread and you’ve made it so far, it’s amazing and awesome, and you ARE strong! Even if you don’t always believe it. Congratulations to you on your journey of sobriety!
    I’m sorry you’re having thoughts about drinking.
    Don’t do it. You’ll regret it. It won’t be great. You’ve made it so far!
    But if you do, don’t be mean to yourself.
    I appreciate your story and experience and honesty in sharing. It’s making me think about self awareness. I work from home, and just spent last week at the actual office, with work people in person. Tomorrow is 21 days sober. My head is all over the place on the self awareness topic right now. I could totally drive myself nuts over whether or not I made a fool of myself here or there, how rude was it that I walked in the restaurant ahead of the dawdling family, how I assume certain people don’t like me, how I mostly have a good self perception, but maybe not, how I really want to stop nagging my kids...
    All those things and more. But my point is that you’re doing the hard stuff, and you’re rumbling with it. And honest about it. I think that’s pretty darn impressive. I’m sorry it’s a struggle at times. You’re certainly not alone.
    You inspire me to dig a bit deeper. Ok, a lot. A lot deeper.
    Keep up the fight!
  • @SalTheGalFromCal
    Well, I did talk to my sponsor last night. I didn't accuse her of blowing me off, I sort of used a different similar situation. But she pointed out that it's not all about me. How arrogant of me to think that is my bottom line. It's hard to admit, but it's true. So I have another thing to actively work on changing.
    Thanks for your words Sal, you're right, I'd feel shitty if I'd drink.
    Today is a new day so I can start fresh.
    Glad to be sober, still, and didn't give in to that beast - alcohol.
  • @scwerl hey there. it's understandable you'd feel a bit more vulnerable after sharing last week.... not easy to let others see our shadow side...

    you're on this journey of self-discovery... for sure. it's a life long journey, and there are always layers of self to contend with. unless you become enlightened, but that's a whole other topic heehee

    i used to walk around as a victim and needed validation and approval. i was unconscious of it for many years, then became conscious of it. so becoming aware of it IS a good thing. means you are progressing on the self-discovery, consciousness journey...

    keep "doing the work"'ll grow. for me, it helped me to read books on the topic, get a therapist and do some inner child healing work, go to workshops, meditation, and so on.

    you may be seeking validation for people to accept you at your worst... your ego or shadow... those that can love you unconditionally (without any condition)... that's what you deserve, but you first deserve it from YOU...

    you're not your defects... you're not even who you think you are... b/c many think they are their ego/defects/carnal nature/shadow... but the 'REAL' us... is spirit or soul or whatever you want to call it... it's deeper than thoughts.

    helped me to become more of an observer of my thoughts. anyway, it's the spiritual journey that has helped me go from someone who was very codependent, stuck in a victim mentality, afraid of what people thought, afraid of being abandoned and alone, a more confident woman who identifies with that quiet space in me rooted in God or Universe or Spirit, etc. who takes things less personal (most of the time) and can look right past others' defects/shadow/ego to their amazing, beautiful spirit...and love them there.

    so, stay on your journey. ease up on yourself. you're doing the work..and it's a necessary process...a life long process of digging layer after layer... it's an adventure!!!!

    hope this makes sense.
  • @scwerl —- Good job on all fronts!! Really!
    Hope you have a good Sunday
  • @dominica
    It does make sense.
    Do you have any suggestions for sites or books to look to for some help on this?
    Thank you. Again.
  • @scwerl i can give you some things that helped me, but everyone is different, so not sure they'll resonate with you. if not, you just look around till you see something that does...

    for codependency, anything by melody beattie or pia melody was good. pia has some youtube videos. for self-worth, love brene brown. for inner child healing, i loved anything written by john bradshaw. he has some powerful youtube videos too. for spirituality... i took up meditation... learned about it and practiced it daily. The Presence Process by Michael Brown helped me... people like Matt Kahn, Abraham Hicks (note these are new age spiritual...not everyone is into that and that's ok) Joyce Meyer has a lot of good things too from a Christian perspective.

    i also just learned about things like "victim mentality", "codependency", "emotional healing", "spiritual growth", "spiritual recovery"... things like that.

    i know there's more, but just start somewhere and ask to be led. keep working the 12 steps too... b/c they are helping you.

    granted, book learning isn't everything... but it can help. trust the healing process... you're on the healing path! :)
  • @dominica
    I ask so I can get direction to find what can help me. So I really appreciate your input. I'll check these out and continue on my road.
    It's a much clearer day today. I got a lot of truth yesterday and hard as it may be yo hear, I needed that.
  • @scwerl great!! glad you are feeling a bit more clear today!! :) keep on rolling on your recovery path!
  • @scwerl... Glad you're doing better. Sometimes the truth hurts a little, but it almost always ends up making us a better person in the long run.
  • Today started out good. Within two hours of being awake I had an emotional melt down. That was another two hours and finally I got myself back on track.
    I am trying to figure out how to deal with one of my 'issues' right now. Fear of abandonment. I didn't really get it before, but now that I have done some research its not that people neccesarliy leave my life, not physcially. But emotionally and stuff. I think this is a root of a lot of my problems that led to my drinnking.
    Sober living can be exhausting, but it will be so worth it when i make some progress I can see/feel/experience.
  • @scwerl hey you! i know it's rough, but it is sort of a good thing you're dealing with it, because it gives you an opportunity to start HEALING that wound.... granted, this is my take, but i think that fear of abandonment can go all the way back to somewhere in early childhood... for me, it just really helped me to go at this with the inner child healing work. the guided image meditations helped me, and just helped me begin to learn that i feared others abandoning me b/c at some point, i abandoned myself. my true self. i put on a mask at a very early age - leaving my real self, and that was a big thing for me to heal.

    professional counseling helped me through this. and reading books. and remember, it is a process.

    oh, and having a sponsor helped me too. i would call her an emotional mess often in the beginning. bless her heart.

    so, for now. come here. vent. cry if you need to.
    it's ok.

    i just knew that if i drank to cope (and oh, i wanted to)... it would stunt my emotional and spiritual growth. it would prolong me from every experiencing happiness just because... and that helped me a lot.

    glad you're here.
  • Sending you lots of love and hugs, @scwerl. Take things a day at a time and know that things will get better the further along you get on the journey.

    I'm glad you're here, too.
  • I totally can relate @scwerl regarding abandonment fears. I didn’t understand for a very long time how much it affected me, the way I was with my parents & my choosing to stay with abusive bfs. The more I do inner work the more I recognize how powerful my intimacy fear related to abandonment affects me on a daily basis... it goes with my feelings of inadequacy & how self love has been very difficult for me... which is also part of my issues with addiction. I’m excited for my first day of counselling tomorrow as I am optimistic it will truly help me along my recent journey.
    Also, if your “emotional meltdown” is at all related to anxiety attack, I wanted to mention that the only thing that truly worked to reduce them for me was allowing myself to actually feel and honour my feelings. It was tough at first because I couldn’t quite recognize what I was feeling. When I would let myself relax, close my eyes and just focus on how I was feeling physically (the shallow quick breaths, tight chest, heart pain, stomach in knots feeling like I needed to puke), then I felt what I was trying to suppress. Not sure if this is similar for you or not but if so I hope my words can help even a little :) counselling really has helped me in the past and I highly recommend it along with yoga &/or meditation.
  • Scwerl I hope you are doing well. I live in Wisconsin too and also drink to self medicate and also was taking copious amounts of Tramadol for 3 years. I am 60 hours sober from alcohol and Tramadol. It’s hell and it’s painful but I need to stop. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m here for you and rooting for you!
  • @KellyJ Where around are you in Wisconsin? Im on the north end of Dodge County.
    @blueorchid @DeanD @dominica
    Every day is like a new adventure in emotions I haven't had to deal with in years. :neutral: I always thought i was over emotional, but it was mostly the same emotions on different levels: self pity, anger, grief. Its so much more intense these days.
    My melt down wasn't really so much a panic attack (I've had them before, but its always good to hear how someone else handles them, that is a good way to deal with it) as feeling a whole hearted despair. Who knew i could live through it? But here I am on the other side. I am going to do some research on things we've talked about here and work on the inner child healing and moving on.
    I keep talking, and i really need to start doing more. Moving forward...
    And thanks again for sticking with me and walking with me through all this stuff.
  • @KellyJ, how goes it??
    @scwerl, you too, how’s it going??
    I hope today was ok for both of you.
    @blueorchid how was your first day of therapy??
    Sending everyone some big love.
    I was a raving mad woman yesterday. Today, a goo ball of mush. My goal for the weekend is family meditation. We’ll see....
  • @SalTheGalFromCal Hey Sal! Sounds like good plan for your weekend. I'm working a lot of the weekend, but I'm going to be able to have some downtime to sort somethings out.
    Have a great weekend!
  • @KellyJ thanks for your input and welcome to the forum! glad you've quit alcohol and Tramadol! good for you!

    we are here to support you however we can.

    @scwerl you are progressing, and that's wonderful.... so glad to be part of your journey! have a blessed weekend.
  • Hi @scwerl it’s definitely tough working through our pasts and the emotions that come up when we are sober are overwhelming and hard to deal with. I think it’s great you are working on you. :) keep posting on here too, it’s definitely been helping me.
    My counselling went well, maybe it is something you might consider to help you as well?
  • @scwerl hey there! i hope you had a good week and hope you have a good weekend.

    just wanted to let you know i was thinking about you!

  • @dominica I am doing well. On vacation with my sister in Florida. My neice took us on the tour of Disney! Wednesday and Thrusday were exhausting, but awesome! Today and tomorrow we are relaxing, (I hope).
    Before the trip, I mentioned to my sister that I had quit drinking, and during some of the talking with her and my neice I had said I wasn't drinking right now. I didn't really tell my neice anything specific. But they both keep bringing up things on menu's with my favorfite drink mixed in it. I'm not sure what to make of it, or how to exactly handle it. I just sort of laugh or smile and say it sounds good, then I avoid the idea of it. Last night we ate at an Irish Pub and they brought some soda bread to dip in a mixture that I later learnend had Guiness in it. So, I don't know if that counts as something against what I am doing. I've never tried Guiness, so it not like my go to drink in away way. My go to is Irish Cream which they seem to put in all soerts of coffees and ice creams. lol. Anyway, I kn ow they don"t mean anything by it so its not like it upsets me, and it doesn't tempt me either. I think they just don't get the point of me not drinking. But then again it seems no one does. Everyone who knows me who I've told I quit drinking says they didn't think I drak that much or that it was a problem for me.
    Anyway, I am doing fine yet. But thanks for checking on me!
  • @scwerl hey! great that you are vacationing and that you're not drinking!

    good for you!

    many people don't get it when people give up drinking.... some just don't have any problem social drinking once in a while, and can't understand those that can't keep it to that... others may have a problem themselves, and might not even know it!

    stick to your commitment to yourself.... no one has to understand :)

    and, people just aren't used to it... the idea is new to them... so i wouldn't think too much of it (like you're doing)

    don't worry about the dip with guiness in it. isn't that a dark beer? if it is, i tried it once and thought it very disgusting ;)

    enjoy your vacation! hope your weather is perfect!

    hugs to you!
  • @dominica thanks for the reassurance and support. Sticking to my promise to myself and having a good vacation. You're so right, no one needs to understand it.
  • @scwerl - sounds like you’re doing great facing novel challenges! Good going! The Guinness doesn’t count - no more than a ‘rum cake’ or the tequila my mother in law added to the salad dressing to give it a zingy flavoring...

    And for others not understanding - that’s bound to happen, and it shouldn’t affect your decision one way or the other. Not drinking is the right choice, and we understand why!

    Have a great weekend!
  • Hi @scwerl lots of food has some type of alcohol in it (like some of the best fish & chips fish batter has beer in it). This shouldn’t make you feel you had indulged with alcohol, so don’t worry :)

    Some people have a hard time getting used to others quitting something (like alcohol). It might be out of habit them pointing out (not sure age of your niece but that could also be an innocent thing). If you think it was intentional, You could mention to your sister that this decision is important to you so you would appreciate in the future her not pointing out when there’s liqueur and other booze in food. If that wouldn’t be something that would go well for you then just try to ignore it knowing some people either are oblivious (or sometimes insensitive) to others when they don’t understand or can’t relate.

    Have a great weekend!
  • @blueorchid @HulkZmash thanks for that. I won't worry about the on food stuff.
    And I don't think it's intentional by either of them. My neice is 21 so it's a new things to her I'm sure. I'm.still on board though and doing what's right for me.
  • Good for you @scwerl! Vacation sounds nice.

    I was visiting extended family a few weeks ago, told them I stopped drinking, and my very own dear Aunt tried to peer pressure me into tasting a home made alcohol. The strong crap that one sip would have warmed me right up and lit the fuse to wanting half the bottle. I laugh about it now, I don’t think she was trying to harm me, she has no clue what’s really going on. But holy crap! The point being, people are nutty. Even the ones we love. They probably just don’t understand, as @blueorchid said. For this reason, I still haven’t told my parents or in laws what’s going on with us. Now who’s nutty??

    Enjoy your vacation!!!! Happy Saturday to everyone!
  • @dominica
    I'm having a little crisis here. So I hope you can help me.
    I am home from vacation and I am back to dealing with my life, so i feel kind of crappy and fragile. I 'talked' to my sponser (its all on texts because of some stuff with her home life she prefers to do it that way) and I told her I feel blue, and that I keep hoping for things I never get. I asked her if she is tired of my drama and maybe its better to cut losses before its all worse.
    Her response: I think you probalby need to ask yourself what you're trying to achieve with that statement.
    My response: Did I push to hard and you are better things to deal with? Did I do it again? Cause I do this. (She knows that I mean push people too hard, expect too much and stuff.)
    Her response is then stop. But I dont know how to just stop this. I have been trying to figure that out.
    Her last response was: Well, I guess you have to decide how much more pain you want and make a choise.
    I honestly dont want this pain, I want to be a better person. But I just need someone who can say that I'm doing things alright, and help me figure out what I need to do.
    I've prayed, and I started meditating. But I dont know how to stop this. And I dont know why she can't just help me. Instead she always asks me these ame questions. I know i have to find answers for myself. And I am willing to do that. I just feel so lost, and need somoene to hold me up a little bit.
    Am I wrong? Honestly, what is my head telling me here that I need to make changes for.
  • @scwerl hey there!! thanks for reaching out. re-integrating after a vacation can be rough.... it's not always wonderful to "get back to the norm, every day life stuff". :neutral:

    i know you don't want to feel pain.... and it can't get outta there soon enough!! but emotional healing is a process, and even though you might not see your progress, you are progressing....

    i'm not sure what your question is about you and your sponsor. you maybe try to sabotage the relationship? you want to feel more support from her?

    you feel lost. i understand... been there and still feel lost at times. (maybe we all do????)

    you're not drinking. that's a great thing! you've gone from being scared to go to AA to going! (and you even talked!) you are working the steps! (are you on step 6 or 7 now?) you have a therapist... (next appt?) you told your husband, even though you were afraid. you busted out those character defects! ha. that wasn't easy, and then telling your sponsor! wha what?? that's courageous.

    you've made it through the tough days... you called someone in AA when you had cravings.... you come here and share.....


    listen, i'd love to see MORE people willing to "do the work" like you're doing. for real....

    underneath the drinking is "stuff". emotional stuff, and it might take a while to sift and sort through it. meditation and prayer can be helpful. kudos for that. if there is something in particular you struggle with, maybe find a good book on it and dive in. AND, don't forget to have some fun too. :)

    you mentioned you need validation... i understand. i used to have an emotional meltdown if my ex looked at me weird or for some reason wasn't happy with me. i mean MELTDOWN. hot....mess. i had to go through A LOT of emo drama in order to wake up and begin healing... so, i say that to inspire you to just keep going. today i am a totally different person; more authentic, and you will get there too. (not that we are ever really done growing lol)

    if your'e really struggling, consider getting to your counselor. reallly start working it there at a deeper level. that face-to-face with a professional can really do wonders.

    does this help?

    really appreciate you being here. for being real, raw, and so willing.

    i'm reminded of this quote:

    "The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anaïs Nin

    You're on the "blossom" path, beautiful soul.
  • @dominica
    I do wonder if I sabotage that relationship. I want to absolutely say that I dont want to, but i wonder if there is something deeper within me that does this?
    Having you list out this stuff really makes me realize that I have done things right. Its a roller coaster and sometimes i go backwards.
    I am so very grateful that I can come here for guidance. I'm not sure where I would be without you and the others here! When my group here is busy, I know I can come here.
    I am going to keep working on it, I am my own worst enemy. I really need to get back to working harder I think. And maybe I need to talk to my sponsor to make sure of how I respond to things. Maybe we are not a good fit? I know she has a lot on her plate, and maybe before one of us resents the other it would be better for me to find someone else?
    I am not drinking, but today was probably the closest I came. That was hard to get past, but I did it.
  • @scwerl, are you thinking of a new sponsor so that you have an excuse to keep up a wall? Do you really want to start over with a new person?

    Good for you for not drinking today!
  • @Salthegalfromcal
    I'm not sure. I'll have to do some serious searching here in the next few days. Thanks for the insight.
  • @scwerl at the root of sabotage is the feeling of unworthiness. that you're not worthy to have good things, including healthy relationships or unconditional love. or you're afraid people will see you if you take off your mask, and run like the dickens. :)

    but who you think you are.... you're not. i mean, the "worst enemy" you talk about. that's not who you REALLY are... not at your core. but it's a process of unfolding, unraveling, and removing the mask one piece at a time to really begin to discover your inherent beauty, goodness, love.

    i'd stick with your sponsor for now. people oftentimes mirror things back to us that WE need to work on. so when you're feeling a negative emotion when you're conversing with someone, instead of projecting (pointing fingers)... stop..

    ask yourself what this could be about IN YOU. fear? lack of control? low self-worth? etc.... it's not fun, but it gives you the opp. to grow.

    make sense?

    i used to write affirmations and recite them out loud daily. that' helped me some...started to get my mind in a healthier state. plenty of great affirmations online.

    and yes, we're here anytime. we are all learning and growing and working on our "stuff" here :)
  • @dominica @SalTheGalFromCal
    Well, my sponsor let me stop over and talk with her. I say she let me, because as it turns out she is angry with me. But, it have us a chance to get some truths out in the open. She told me how she perceives some of my behavior, and it was really hard to hear. But I needed to hear it so I can keep working on things.
    I have perceived myself as someone who drives people away with neediness and lack of confidence and things of that nature. But the truth of it is that i use manipulation to get someone to feel sorry for me, and then get angry when they dont jump to help me.
    Its really hard to say that, to admit it. But when she said it to me, I could see it. I could see how I have done this in the past, and how it alienates me from people. It allows me to blame someone else for hurting me, or abandoning me. But really, its up to me. And I have to identify the behaviors that take me down that road so that I don't keep repeating them.
    I have a meeting in a little while. I am going, and going to face her even though I feel like such a jerk. But if i dont go, I think it would be worse. I'm not sure I can talk at the meeting. Or if I should even bring up that I had this experience (in a very vague manner) and what I need to do.
    I second guess myself. So I dont know if me saying anything would be thought of as manipulation, even if I dont direct anything toward anyone in the group. I dont know if that makes sense.
    Anyway, I will probably be using this forum more often in the future. I have to figure things out for myself, that is what she tells me. That I have to stand on my own two feet. So I suppose I have to not rely on her so much. But still needing answers, I will come here. I'm doing this for myself, but I just don't want to make things worse with her and I. I dont really want to make it worse so that down the road she still doesn't want anything to do with me.
    Thanks for listening. I just need some help sometimes. I did look up some ways to not do manipulative things, so I have a basis of where to start.
  • @scwerl good morning. i think it's great your sponsor was straight up with you about how she perceives your behavior. i'd rather someone be honest with me, so i can learn and work on things. of course, i would rather someone be honest, with compassion. lol i heard once that honesty without compassion is simply meanness. haha. true.

    it's great you're being raw and real with yourself and others. having a victim mentality is common...but it's something you can learn to heal...manipulation, etc. all things that one can learn to change... so that's good news. the 12 steps can help with that process, and there are other ways to heal and grow too (spiritual path, religious path, therapy, etc.)

    consider yourself in the "fire", where you're not getting burned to a crisp, but rather (b/c of your intent), you're getting refined....purified.

    i had the victim mentality. i was also very dependent on what others thought of me. was oblivious to it for so many years, but when i saw it, i really started working on it. it's easier to play the victim. easier to feel we are entitled to being rescued by others. but it keeps one in a self-imposed prison too, and well, that sucks.

    i had to learn how to step into my powerful self... and i assure you taking full responsibility for all of my life was not easy. but little by little, i did. have you read the book codependent no more? learning about codependency helped me a lot, and getting involved in a community of like-minded people helped too. but it took time... years...trial and error...vulnerability... and so on, AND i still struggle in certain areas, so it's a life long process.

    you're re-training your brain, and that takes time. healing old wounds...takes time. think of it like a broken CD playing in your brain... though it's faulty, it's still playing, but you don't wanna hear that CD anymore. your sick of that old, faulty CD... so you're removing it piece by piece as you "do the work".... and as you do the work, those pieces are replaced by better sounding parts of a CD... with a better message!!! and maybe you'll someday have a whole new CD in there, and as a result, life will just be sweeter... or maybe you'll never fully have a new CD, but much of it will be new, or most of it (who knows?)... but the point is YOU'RE DOING THE WORK and that's progress.

    hope this helps. keep on keeping on.
  • Hi @scwerl, good work. Good hard work my friend.
    I think the concept of being our worst enemy and our own worst critic is a strong common thread for people working on recovery. I know I feel it. But, I also think that the addictions leading to bad situations and bad health and mental health, leading to recovery, at its root, it’s a gift. Maybe hard as hell to see it that way at times. But, doing the work and getting to a place of overcoming the things that, at our roots, sent us astray from ourselves to begin with is an amazing gift. We totally train ourselves that we don’t deserve the gift. And the cycles are so easy to repeat. I feel like the decision to really quit drinking throws us off the cycle wheel and into a new trajectory that is totally foreign. We’re learning about this person we buried and treated so badly, learning a new language, how to cope. Instead of the wheel, we’re now going from peaks to valleys. Or points on a chart going super high and super low. I find it maddening, but that’s just my lack of coping. When I stop coping, I become that honest person without compassion Dominica mentioned. Totally me. Mean to myself, self righteous, harsh to coworkers, impatient with my kids. I justify my wicked behavior by being right. I’m right, therefore you deserve this treatment from me world. Gosh, I’m such a bit@$. Own worst critic.
    When I’m being mindful, I cope much better. But, crap happens, and the triggers that would have been my excuse to drink, are now my excuse to be a self righteous bit@$.
    We all have hard work to do.
    I’m super proud of you for sticking with your sponsor and doing the 12 steps. I say that with genuine admiration and no condescension. If it’s any consolation, what you’re doing and willing to say here is helpful to me.
  • Ps—search Addiction on Pinterest. It sounds silly, but for positivity and affirmations, there’s a lot of quick simple good reminders out there.

    Whatever helps!!!
  • @dominica @SalTheGalFromCal
    Thanks again. It's good to hear these things right now. I am just trying to give my sponsor some time to "cool off" right now.
    Do either of you know of an app for Android that will speak affirmations to you? The one I found that will speak requires me to record my voice, but I can't figure out how to do that. It would be nice to sort of play a loop of some of these phrases as I go about other things.
    I went to the meeting, but she wasn't there. And I'm not going to read into that, it just is what it is. It's not about me.
    Again, thank you. I can't do it alone, but I can do it.
  • @scwerl... I'd say you're pretty lucky to have a sponsor who is completely honest with you and doesn't sugarcoat anything. I think it will help you a lot in the long run. Keep going to meetings. Keep coming back to this forum. And keep working on you, because you're worth it!

    You're right: You CAN do it!! And we will help you find your way!
  • @scwerl, I'm not an Android user, so I don't know. But, there may be somewhere in settings or apps for managing recordings and you might find how to record somewhere in there....
    OK, so about 'it's not about you' and her not being at the meeting.... Making assumptions and taking things personally is the HARDEST. For more on this, check out the book The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's really good. It's one of those that you don't have to read cover to cover. And it's all stuff we should all be reminded of daily. You can even find a lot of the point to it by googling it and not even getting the whole book.

    @DeanD ---You're back, YAY!!!!! We missed you. Hope you're feeling good!!
  • I'm feeling better, @SalTheGalFromCal. Thanks for missing me. :)
  • @DeanD
    I agree with you Dean. That brutal honesty is what I needed to sort of shock me into the right frame of mind.
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