~ Sobriety Matters ~

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  • Sinisterbarbie1
    Sinisterbarbie1 Posts: 455 Member
    edited July 23
    @siberiantarragon it sounds like you and @Xellercin have begun to debate something, but I am not entirely sure what…. Looking back at your original posts (and apologies if I am misinterpreting or summarizing too briefly/paraphrasing in a way you would not fully adopt - this is what I personally understood from your narrative) you were curious if people had quit drinking because of medical issues rather than what society terms as addiction, were unhappy about the fact that you were experiencing heartburn and headaches every time you drank so were thinking of quitting even though you don’t drink a lot because you aren’t enjoying it towards the end of the night due to these issues, you mentioned you had been drinking more than was usual for you for a bit when the lockdowns lifted and worried briefly that this could indicate a problem but that was under control now, and you said the only reason you are not quitting is because you are wistful over the idea of letting go of drinking forever, and have a FOMO which you think may in part be caused by the last couple of years of limited socializing.

    First, I wanted to say that these feelings and experiences are so common and very much in line with what I felt when I was deciding not to drink. It is also the kind of “grey area” drinking — the sort that either doesn’t make them feel great, or causes them some worries in the back of their mind for some reason, but hasn’t caused any “real world” problems with family/jobs/friends etc. so they don’t know how to think about it that often leads folks to become sober curious.

    I won’t speak to the advice or opinions others have shared. My view is that people should take what they find valuable from other people’s experiences and opinions and leave the rest. I have gained a lot of valuable insights and perspectives from this thread and also from your recent discussion/debate about how to think about /make future decisions about drinking and I wish someone would have pointed some of these things out to me when I was first thinking about how to come to terms with a decision not to drink, but maybe it doesn’t strike the same chord for you. And honestly, for me it doesn’t matter much anymore either, because I came to my decision differently - just putting a positive outlook on what I was doing. Thinking about it as just another positive health decision (in part associating it with a lot of positive health reforms I made after recovering from breast cancer). I am sure if you talk to a dozen other people who are successfully sober and happy about it you will get a dozen other reasons that are not just white knuckle I power through it because I know the alternative is terrible kind of reasons, but really something that they can get behind happily saying at a cocktail party.

    Yes, A cocktail party. Because you should go to those. You should not have wistfulness about letting go of the idea of parties and having fun, because unless you are addicted to drinking —and you have said you are not —because it somehow totally alters your personality and turns you into some alternate sparkling and bubbly version of you who you are not in real life (and if somebody actually thinks that way I can pretty much guarantee you without having met them that they are wrong and will be embarrassed by all the things they did drunk when they get sober!! ) it is not your continuing to drink that is the key factor at the parties, unless you get annoyed by drunken people when you are sober. Go, have fun, drink some fun non alcoholic beverage - there are a ton of alternatives in the market now - and leave when it starts getting sloppy.

    Anyway, it just sounded like perhaps you felt like you were being pressed to accept advice (or quit drinking for that matter) - and of course you aren’t.
    It’s not like my opinion matters particularly, but as far as I am concerned, if you are enjoying your current lifestyle great, but it sounded like maybe you weren’t. The less alcohol list also has great resources, and might be useful to you, though if you only drink socially and 1-3 drinks a month the folks on that list seem mostly to be cutting back from daily drinking, so may not be a perfect fit. In any event, sorry for the long reply, but I’ve been thinking about your questions and your interactions here and wondering whether we are missing the point of what you are really asking.
    Sending you positive vibes ….
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    I did it ! My first trip away when I stayed 100% sober 😄 I'm totally reaping the benefits. Normally after such a trip the first thing I did was head straight for bed, and wait until the Chinese takeaway was open to stuff myself with hangover recovery food. But instead I feel refreshed and able to crack on with laundry and actually enjoy returning home.

    A few things helped me. This thread was one of them, all the support and encouragement I get here. AA was another, and my sponsor. Lots of support there. Taking away alcohol free beer and wine, having them reduced my FOMO. My sponsor advised against them but I did what felt best for me, as an individual. They did not trigger me at all. My OH was very supportive of me, he didn't buy himself any wine which was always my main drink of choice, he stuck to beer. He didn't drink very much while away. I would remind myself of the benefits of staying dry. I thought about the alternative ~ trembling in the shower feeling fragile and drained longing for bed and feeling sick. Actually being sick. Maybe having an argument or disagreement. Obsessing over alcohol and where my next drink was coming from. Playing the tape forward helped a lot. I chase the buzz, so I rationalised that all one glass of wine would really do, was make me want more and more. Until I become drunk and sloppy. I soaked up being sober and all the benefits. Enjoying going to sleep at night and feeling cosy enjoying the real fire crackling away and the sound of the river outside, rain hitting the roof. Instead of collapsing into bed, with a dread of the hangover to come and passing out. Reading quotes like "Sometimes, sometime becomes never. Do it now." Spurred me on to chase my goals. I know alcohol slows me down, or brings me to a complete halt. Talking to myself in 3rd person, 'You can have a drink in the future, but not now.' Having a clear aim or goal ~ my first trip away sober and wanting to experience that. I thought what's the worst that can happen? There was an element of forcing myself to stop turning to wine to manage anxiety. Or to fill time. When I would sometimes think I was doing 'nothing' when if I was drinking I would be doing 'something' realising its okay to do nothing sometimes. And the fact I want to claim that 2 month sober chip. 🙌 I want to really get to know myself and I can't do that if I keep drinking wine, so it spurred me on. I want to find out what I really enjoy that's not alcohol related.

    We had a fantastic time away. I will post some pictures 📸 we were really off grid in the woods basically!
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    I still have one 'bump' to get over ~ meeting my brother for dinner in town on Saturday.....but I'm feeling confident. I have already booked in for my tattoo, hopefully get it at end of August. Just waiting on a confirmation from the tattoo parlour 🤞

    My sponsor has advised that I avoid 'wet places' while I can understand the logic, I don't want to start doing that. I can't avoid alcohol and wet places forever. These days a lot of wet places stock non alcohol beer and mocktails so I have to get used to ordering them, instead. I was pleasantly surprised at my alcohol free options while away. I will share my findings and post pics of the menus.
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
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    Our cabin in the woods.
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    One of our walks (it was lovely being surrounded by nature, weather wasn't great but we enjoyed a thunder and lightning storm when we were back at the cabin)
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    Our neighbours 🐏
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    View from DuckBay Marina restaurant 😍
    We were close by to Rob Roy's grave but we didn't get a chance to visit, OH had forgot he booked car in for M.O.T so we had to come straight home and didn't make the visit, need to do it next time !
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    The food was delicious at the restaurants we visited (cooked at the cabin on one of the nights) what I like about being sober in a restaurant is that I actually focus on the food, and not my empty wine glass.
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    Chorizo pizza for him, prawn & salmon pasta for me
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    This picture is squint 😆 roast chicken with douphinoise potatoes for me,
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    Chicken fajitas for him.
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    Bit naughty with a few desserts but we were on holiday 😜
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    I will share my alcohol free menus I found. I was rather impressed however one place wanted £45 per bottle of alcohol free wine!
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    ^^ £45 per bottle 😳 but it might be lovely
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    ^^ I opted for the Cinderella it was lush
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    ^^ When they don't have a drinks menu, my safe bet is a ginger beer 😋
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    ^^ impressive choice at DuckBay Marina I had an alcohol free gin. It was tasty and lasted ages !
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    We saved so much money by not buying bottles of wine 🤑🤑🤑
  • RubyRed427
    RubyRed427 Posts: 3,832 Member
    @BeIn2day Congrats! That sounds like a FABULOUS vacation. And you'll remember every minute of it!!
    I loved your pictures. Each one is so pretty. The food looks amazing too. You saved thousands of calories by not drinking wine! Hooray!

    I remember my sponsor saying the very same things to me "avoid wet places" or "don't do AF beer " but I agree, do what is best for you. You know what you're triggers would be.

    I also remember my sponsor telling me that people usually know a few days before that they're going to relapse. It's never a sudden surprise. I think she is right about that. When I relapsed, I started to daydream about alcohol days in advance. So, it did happen.

    I like your philosophy!
    I am day 3 Alcohol free again (for the millionth time).
    I Have to do day 4 and then it will get much easier. Day 3 is usually when I break.

    I am getting COVID booster today so that's a good incentive to be AF.
    I was DD for my daughter last night ; she went to a bar. The funny thing is she only drank one beer. She's not like me! That's good. So, there was no need for me to be DD but she wasn't sure how much she'd drink- it was a party for her friend.
  • RubyRed427
    RubyRed427 Posts: 3,832 Member
    @BeIn2day I like on the menu it says "No sex on the beach" Hahaha. Funny play on words.

    Very impressive array of alcohol free drinks that sounded good!
    I like the Cinderella one too.

    I find alcohol free wine is like grape juice. I have not found a good one yet. $45 is ridiculous for AF wine. That is taking advantage of the obvious.
  • allieberri
    allieberri Posts: 37 Member
    Xellercin wrote: »
    I've done Annie Grace's experiment of drinking in the absence of any positive stimulus, well after having been sober for awhile, and that allowed me to see the primary affect of alcohol without the endorphins.

    That sounds like a correlation != causation question -- if I was going to stare at the wall for a few hours (or whatever avoiding positive stimulus entails), it would make me feel depressed whether I drank or not. Did you try a control trial where you were sober for the same length of time in the absence of having positive stimulus?
    That's where I really understood that alcohol is a depressant. Most people feel good drinking *despite* the primary effects of alcohol, not because of them.

    The main way that alcohol allows people to have more fun is by disinhibition. Being disinhibited in a fun context is likely to make the experience more enjoyable, especially for self conscious people.

    I don't think that's true for everyone -- for me the physical feeling from alcohol is a pleasant sensation (besides the heartburn and headaches of course). I actually don't like feeling disinhibited and I don't drink to the point where that happens.

    I think also you are having some confusion between the classification of a drug as a "depressant" and the mental state of depression. Just because they have the same root word does not mean they are referring to the same thing. "Depressant" refers to a substance that slows the functioning of the central nervous system. Antipsychotics are classified as depressant drugs, but are sometimes used to treat depression! Additionally, researchers say that small amounts of alcohol have a stimulant effect rather than a depressant effect.

    To clarify, I'm not trying to tell people they should go back to alcohol or anything. It just annoys me to see specious reasoning being used.

    Yes, I did simplify what I was saying because I'm speaking more from a personal narrative, but I used to be a neuroscientist before I became a doctor, so I do understand the neuroactivity of various chemicals and how they can have paradoxical effects.

    As for the "experiment", and I only call it that because Annie Grace does, there's a huge difference between being bored and feeling profoundly sad. What hit me was that I had been in a great mood that day and as the effects of alcohol sunk in, I began to feel a profound sadness with no emotional source. It was shocking, since I too had decades of perceiving the affect of alcohol as being enjoyable.

    Reflecting back though, I could actually remember this sadness when I drank, but perceived it as being caused by the stress that I was drinking for. Also, the sadness only sunk in well after the first drink.

    I also distinctly remember the happy feelings I got from drinking and can readily identify those same relaxing, joyful feelings from other sources of endorphins.

    I steadily figured out that the incredibly happy feeling of drinking could be almost identically replicated by a burst of intense cardio exercise. So every time I intensely craved a drink, I would throw on my headphones, blare some fun music, and climb 20 flights of stairs and then feel pretty much exactly like I would from drinking alcohol. That was a HUGE eye opener for me.

    What's very interesting is having studied the neurobiology of addiction, and having trained in addiction counselling, the pattern and sensation of reward for a lot of substances is basically identical.

    What I find most compelling is the response to these substances by non addicts. Once I quit, I started paying close attention to those around me who weren't really drinkers, the kind of people who drank a bit socially, and that's it. None of them described any kind of awesome feeling from drinking. I've informally and clinically interviewed hundreds of folks, and there's a distinct pattern that only people who manifest symptoms of addiction report that alcohol makes them feel great.

    You may point out again correlation, perhaps people who enjoy drinking are more likely to become addicts. That's possible, but not really consistent with the current understanding of addiction. The current medical consensus is that there is some degree of innate predisposition, but that addiction is primarily driven by exposure over time. We've definitely moved away from the concept that most addiction is driven by genetics.

    So the current model, which could change, is that for the most part, people need to be exposed enough to become addicted. And it seems that once they are, that's when the really happy feelings from using start.

    I took a particular interest in the experience of people with harder drug addictions. It was shocking to hear how many cocaine addicts reported that their early experiences using the drug were just "m'eh" and that lead them to an over confidence that they could never become addicted because they didn't even like it that much.

    Over the years, I've heard countless more stories of "m'eh" early use experiences than euphoric ones. Those do happen, but shockingly more sound like their early experiences are basically identical to the very light drinkers I described above.

    Pair that with the very interesting finding that most addicts, regardless of the substance, tend to describe a nearly identical experience of cravings and rush of relief and then an endorphin-like high from using, plus whatever neuroactive action from their substance of choice.

    I've heard opioid addicts describe their experience almost identically to cocaine addicts and cigarette addicts. It's not experimental, no, but it's definitely supportive that a lot of the reward of use is coming from the surges of endogenous chemicals as a feedback for giving the brain the substance it is addicted to.

    I could be absolutely wrong in my conclusions, and I said earlier in this thread, facts aren't necessarily all that important when it comes to quitting. If facts worked, then no one would have trouble quitting.

    So if what I share helps someone, that's great, and if it doesn't, then that makes sense too. Quitting is a remarkably individual process.

    I find this intriguingly interesting...What would your thoughts about food use be? And addictions thereof?
  • SunnyDays930
    SunnyDays930 Posts: 1,214 Member
    Bein, your pictures are gorgeous! The little cottage is enchanting. Indeed, it looks like something from a fairy tale! I am so proud of you for staying sober on your vacation I want to reach through the screen to hug you! Your posts have given me so much hope for myself. I want to get and stay on track. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    @RubyRed427 I took away with me alcohol free Stella artois and I really enjoyed them. As for the wine I took AF Belle & Co Sparkling Rose, it looks like a champagne bottle, Cork to pop and everything! I really enjoyed it. It had a wine taste I thought. I'm still to open the Belle & Co sparkling white also in a champagne style bottle, I will report my findings on that soon ! Im laughing to myself that I have brought an unopened 'bottle' home with me.....that would NEVER be the case had it been filled with actual wine.

    I was laughing while away at the fact 2 small glasses of 'rose' was enough. After a few drinks of anything, you naturally get fed up of the taste, I fooled myself that I drank entire bottles plus cans of beer on top, because I liked the taste. When it's not got alcohol in it, a couple of glasses is more than enough! I think about the amount of liquid I would consume in a few short hours. Its mind blowing.
  • RubyRed427
    RubyRed427 Posts: 3,832 Member
    BeIn2day wrote: »
    @RubyRed427 I took away with me alcohol free Stella artois and I really enjoyed them. As for the wine I took AF Belle & Co Sparkling Rose, it looks like a champagne bottle, Cork to pop and everything! I really enjoyed it. It had a wine taste I thought. I'm still to open the Belle & Co sparkling white also in a champagne style bottle, I will report my findings on that soon ! Im laughing to myself that I have brought an unopened 'bottle' home with me.....that would NEVER be the case had it been filled with actual wine.

    I was laughing while away at the fact 2 small glasses of 'rose' was enough. After a few drinks of anything, you naturally get fed up of the taste, I fooled myself that I drank entire bottles plus cans of beer on top, because I liked the taste. When it's not got alcohol in it, a couple of glasses is more than enough! I think about the amount of liquid I would consume in a few short hours. Its mind blowing.

    I'm a FAST drinker. Even my daughter told me "wow you are drinking slowly because you usually drink so fast." She noticed I guess.

    Yes how unheard of to come home with unopened bottles. LOL
  • RubyRed427
    RubyRed427 Posts: 3,832 Member
    I have a friend who doesn't like to drink; she is quite thin and feels it ruins your looks. So when we go anywhere, she orders one drink and barely drinks it. I marvel at that.

    Now, she has another issue- picking bad guys to date. Guys who are so mean to her. I guess every one has some vice or issue.
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    @BeIn2day what a great way to keep yourself motivated/inspired and also remind yourself after that 2d month chip every day why you are on this journey

    Thank you for the encouragement! 😊💕
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    AR10at50 wrote: »
    @BeIn2day A shooting star- what a wonderful symbol and such great meaning. Have a good time and enjoy life!

    Thanks ☺️ 'Enjoy life' something we should all aim for, thanks for the encouraging words 💜
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    @AR10at50 please, feel free to vent here! What is said on the Sobriety Matters Thread, stays on the thread 😁 we all need to let off steam sometimes. My OH drives me up the wall sometimes, as I'm sure I do to him, as well lol.
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    RubyRed427 wrote: »
    HI friends! I like the shooting star tattoo! @BeIn2day Can't wait to see it!

    I have been reading the posts and welcome our old friends like @AR10at50.
    I also was reading long posts and unable to comment because you're all right, you're all entitled to say what you want, and to reject what you don't like.

    I think dialogue is so important even when we don't relate or agree. This thread is a life line for so many of us. Keep coming and commenting!

    I went to a birthday party at a lake house this weekend. There was a band who played for 4 hours. I watched how energetic they were at my age. BUT I also watched the singer chug and chug beer bottle after beer bottle. I didn't notice a decline in performance but as a drinker- I was definitely more observant of people's behaviors.

    I also saw someone I haven't seen in a few years. A former teacher who opened two bars and is a successful bar owner. He looked awful. He looked like he aged, had a pot belly now, and seems worn. The reason I mention this is because alcohol does affect our looks. I also saw him arrive pretty buzzed and within two hours he was passed out sleeping on a golf cart for the next two hours. His girlfriend looked unfazed and just sat with him. Anyway, I was disturbed because that could be me, that was probably me years ago.... I felt it was so sad. No judgment , just sad that he didn't enjoy the party because of his day drinking.

    I also know I have to get myself together. Eat better, drink water, and manage my anxiety. I am tired. I am drinking more and more , here and there... not a lot but enough for me to know that I do not like this behavior and life I am leading. Sigh. I think I'll find a new therapist. I need a fresh person with new eyes. My therapist I have been seeing for five years and I have run out of things to say.

    So, my August goal is to find a new therapist and eat healthier. I exercise a lot but my face is showing wear and tear of alcohol addiction. Just sharin' - I know what I need to do but just need to do it.

    You have went 9 months sober in the past. I know you can do this. I hope you do find a therapist thats a better fit for you. 💕 I see a Councillor once a week and she is fantastic. I know how important it is that you have a good fit.

    Thanks for sharing that story of that person you know. I think back on how attractive a woman my mother was and how she lost all her beautiful looks through lifestyle. It absolutely devastated her. And my dad was a strapping big guy, very handsome. All the woman fancied him. He looked old and grey and weak at only age 62.

    There is a guy at my work place who is an alcoholic. He is open about it. He is on sickness leave often and his face looks a mix of purple and red. His skin looks awful honestly and he is very thin and struggles to do a lot. Folk say he is lazy which is true. But he obviously is ravaged physically by his addiction to booze. He also struggles to eat a lot. It really is like an illness.
  • BeIn2day
    BeIn2day Posts: 1,674 Member
    RubyRed427 wrote: »
    @BeIn2day Congrats! That sounds like a FABULOUS vacation. And you'll remember every minute of it!!
    I loved your pictures. Each one is so pretty. The food looks amazing too. You saved thousands of calories by not drinking wine! Hooray!

    I remember my sponsor saying the very same things to me "avoid wet places" or "don't do AF beer " but I agree, do what is best for you. You know what you're triggers would be.

    I also remember my sponsor telling me that people usually know a few days before that they're going to relapse. It's never a sudden surprise. I think she is right about that. When I relapsed, I started to daydream about alcohol days in advance. So, it did happen.

    I like your philosophy!
    I am day 3 Alcohol free again (for the millionth time).
    I Have to do day 4 and then it will get much easier. Day 3 is usually when I break.

    I am getting COVID booster today so that's a good incentive to be AF.
    I was DD for my daughter last night ; she went to a bar. The funny thing is she only drank one beer. She's not like me! That's good. So, there was no need for me to be DD but she wasn't sure how much she'd drink- it was a party for her friend.

    I can resonate with the fact a relapse starts days in advance. Its happened to me more than once. Its good to be aware of how a relapse happens. It starts in your mind.

    Kate Bee said that if you go somewhere and tell yourself 'I won't enjoy this without alcohol' then your setting yourself up for not enjoying yourself. My issue is thinking into the future and thinking 'it won't be the same without booze' so that's me starting to relapse ahead of time.

    And yes ! I saved lots of calories didn't I! Never even thought about that. Then again, I ate like a horse 🐎 😅

    Congrats on day 3, at least you are trying. That means everything in my opinion. It is so easy to not try.