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Finally admitted to myself that I'm an alcoholic. Recovery strategies without AA?
January 5, 2010 4:33 PM   Subscribe

I've finally accepted that I'm an alcoholic, and I need some advice.

After many years of fooling myself and telling myself what I suspect are all the usual things, I've finally accepted that I am an alcoholic.

I don't really have a problem stopping...I've done it with varying lengths of periods of success a few times. My problem is staying stopped...after a few months, I start to think to myself "Self, you've been stopped for this long, I think you can let go for one night." One night leads to the inevitable 3 or 4 months before I get all teary eyed and finally find the courage to once again stop.

I have a few problems, the first two immediate, the third for further down the road a piece:

1-Endless insomnia. And by endless, I mean a week or two of hellishly long nights torturing myself over whatever mess I've most recently made and now have to face. Nothing works...not Advil PM, not weed, not Benadryl. By the end of it, when I start sleeping again, I'm a gibbering mess. Any other people in recovery have advice on this one?

2-I can't do AA. I'm almost totally solid on this....the higher power thing is incredibly unappealing to me. Without the thread turning into "Listen, you really should do AA," any alternatives?

3-I'm hoping that finally admitting to myself that I'm powerless over booze will keep me stopped. If it doesn't, and a few months from now I forget about all the misery I'm in right now and become tempted to start again, what (besides AA) strategies have worked for you? I really, really need and want this to work, finally, once and for all.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (33 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
You might try therapy. You, one-on-one with a therapist, talking about what role drinking plays in your life and how you can become healthier.
posted by decathecting at 4:35 PM on January 5, 2010


Some of what helped me was taking pride in how long I'd been dry. Every time I started to think about drinking again, I'd think about how much of an achievement it had been so far, and how even drinking for one night would mean throwing that all away.

The "score" has to reset if you even take a single drink.

Anyway, 14 years later I'm still dry.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:37 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a drug called Antabuse. It's an antagonist for one of the enzmes which is used to break down alcohol. If you're taking Antabuse and you try to drink, you'll get horribly ill within minutes.

For some people that helps with the will power, keeps them from even trying it, because they know it will not be a fun experience. Taking the pill each morning amounts to making a promise not to drink that day. (Or, in fact, for the next two weeks. That's about how long it takes for Antabuse to fully wash out of your system once you've stopped taking it.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:41 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree hugely with decathecting's advice above, and want to also add that doing some regular form of exercise or physical activity, whatever it is that you might enjoy, could be a nice addition. It would be a positive thing to do for your health and body to replace the harmful behavior of abusing alcohol, plus could likely help your sleep get on track.
posted by so_gracefully at 4:42 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


i do not intend to turn this into a go to AA thing - but you might find some good advice about recovery from Jennie Ketchum (formerly, porn star Penny Flame). she's an atheist that participates in the anonymous programs. she gets around the higher power stuff by replacing God with Gravity. she talks some about it here.

the short answer is if you can't get away from it and you keep going back every few months, you need a support group of some kind. i'd wager that the most important step of your recovery is going to be fully realizing "i can't do this alone". this thread is a good start. now, find yourself some group therapy that focuses on addiction.

in the mean time, in the interest of not forgetting in 3 months how you feel today, tape yourself at your lowest. rewatch that tape when you feel like having a drink, feel like you can handle it. see if that helps you change your patterns.
posted by nadawi at 4:42 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


For a non-religious alternative to AA, how about Secular Organizations for Sobriety? Don't know where you're located, but they seem to have meetings around the country, though not with the ubiquity of AA. They also have some book recommendations on this page that may be helpful for you.

Exercise (and/or yoga), as others have said, might help you get the sleep back on track. Also, it might be worth it to talk to your doctor about it, to see if there's a prescription that he/she might think would be appropriate for you to help you with your insomnia as you're going through the first stage of your recovery.

I wish you well!
posted by scody at 4:46 PM on January 5, 2010


for the sleep, ask you doctor about amitriptyline. There are some world champion insomniacs in my family, and they've found it reliable and non-habit-forming.
posted by Sara Anne at 4:46 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are some addiction anonymous organizations that are more atheist friendly then others.
posted by garlic at 4:47 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Read the EasyWay book, exercise a lot, and get some prescription sleep pills.
posted by xammerboy at 4:50 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Since your insomnia seems to be anxiety-induced, I think the therapy suggestion will do wonders for you. A good therapist can help you face the things that are keeping you up at night (and causing you to self-medicate maybe?). They can also prescribe medication (for sleeping, anxiety, depression; whatever seems an appropriate treatment plan). Best of luck with your journey. It won't be easy but it will be well worth the feeling that comes with taking control of your life (I'm not speaking strictly about sobriety, but battling your demons, whatever they maybe).
posted by JenMarie at 5:15 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been seeing a psychiatrist weekly and getting a shot of Vivitrol (Naltrexone, extended release injection) once per month. It is expensive, but your health insurance may well cover a big chunk of the Vivitrol and there are programs to help pay for it if you can't afford the copay or don't have insurance. On Vivitrol, you stop craving alcohol and it loses its attractiveness. Unlike antabuse, it doesn't feel punitive. Because it's a time-release preparation, you don't have to think about taking a pill every day---which you might choose not to do. It has been a lifesaver for me. If you want any more information, mefi-mail me.
posted by WyoWhy at 5:15 PM on January 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


by endless, I mean a week or two of hellishly long nights torturing myself over whatever mess I've most recently made and now have to face. Nothing works...not Advil PM, not weed, not Benadryl.

I've found the same thing (though not in the context of alcoholism) and for me, the only thing that does work is actually facing the mess and getting the consequences addressed. Not only that, but facing messes sooner rather than later seems to help stop them turning into bigger messes.
posted by flabdablet at 5:21 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a family friend who just absolutely could not deal with the whole AA thing -- he did love the people, knew he drank/drugged like they did and hs life a mess, etc and etc, but for whatever reason couldn't get peace behind it, and couldn't get sober behind it.

He found Recovery International (LOTS of good info on that page) (wikipedia) (Used to be called Recovery INC, just found when searching out this link for this post that they'd changed their name) and found it to be a damn good thing. And he *has* gotten cleaned up behind it.

Founded by a shrink (Abraham Low) who worked with people who had all sorts of emotional problems, they'd get their heads straight and head back out into life, only to find that in short order life got them left-footed and flying backward again and they'd end up back in treatment. Their "meetings" are much more psychologically based than AA is but have the same accountability to others and to yourself.

Bear in mind, this is second-hand, I know only what he's told me, read one or two of their pamphlets and a bit of the intro to one of the books used by this organization, maybe skimmed through it some when visiting -- I don't recall exactly. So I can't give you all the straight dope on it.

But I can tell you that this man has really turned his life around, and not just stopped drinking/drugging but also has turned into a different person in many fundamental ways, much the same as I've seen others do in AA and/or other 12 step programs. Hard to argue with that, right?

I wish you the very best of luck; it sounds hellish.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:21 PM on January 5, 2010


I was just researching alternatives to Al-Anon because I have the same "higher power" issues, so I've been Googling this very subject recently. I've heard very good things about SMART Recovery.

Good luck.
posted by stennieville at 5:26 PM on January 5, 2010


Much good advice here. You will beat this, and no matter how long the journey is, you have taken the first steps in asking for help. Realizing that you don't have to do it alone is a sign of strength and power over yourself, not weakness of character.

Support will be critical. And there will be time for that. But no change is going to happen until a critical paradigm shift happens for you internally. Until something happens that causes you to want to stand...and then accept support in doing so. Some call this hitting bottom. But mostly, it is the moment when your thinking radically changes. Many associate that radical change as something that can only happen with the help of a higher power. But (and forgive me if I am wrong here) if you do not believe in a higher power, than perhaps you can frame your thinking around that fact.

Idea: There is no heaven. There is nothing after this life. Your days here are numbered. by the time tomorrow comes, you will have one less.

The more you drink, the fewer days you are likely to have. Is this how you really want to spend those days. And nights? How many will you waste? You cannot get these days back. Every day is critical. This is your ONE life.

Please understand I am not trying to sound harsh. I understand your pain and frustration. My family has dealt with alcoholism for many years. I am just trying to give you an alternative motivation. Another something in the mix that may spark something inside you. Again, please forgive me if I have offended any religious or spiritual convictions you may have in the course of my remarks.

You can do this.
posted by nickjadlowe at 5:26 PM on January 5, 2010


for insomnia, exercise exercise exercise. And yoga.

AA replacements - my understanding (from reading and friends in AA) is that a key part of AA is the fellowship and accountability. the whole "higher power" thing and the steps and whatnot are almost irrelevant. You could all meet up and hula hoop and it would have the same effect, as long as you really believed in keeping each other sober and provided the constant, regular support. I also think that a lot of the AA sayings and practices (as opposed to the Steps) are really in line with therapeutic approaches to breaking habits -- for example "one day at a time" and "fake it til you make it." Maybe the "replacement" to AA is just to go but do it just for the practical advice, support, and accountability?
posted by yarly at 5:28 PM on January 5, 2010


Check your local paper for support groups.

I know Tucson Arizona has god-free sober meetings at Dry River Collective. There may be something along the same lines near you.
posted by beardlace at 5:35 PM on January 5, 2010


Ah, forgot the insomnia thing -- many people get help from trazedone (IANAD; disregard if you will), an old-line anti-depressant that's mostly ineffective as an anti-depressant but works pretty well for some as a sleep aid, short or longer term. My understanding is that it doesn't have the perils of addiction/dependence that other sleep aids have, fairly innocuous but does this deal well. Never taken it myself so again, second hand info here, but ask your doc.

And hey -- it's not but one or two weeks of hellishness. Come on. You can do that standing on your head. Looking at the long term of your life, it's worth it to deal with short-term misery for longer-term gain, yes? That one or two weeks of pain will perhaps remind you that you don't want to pick the drink back up again. Ben Franklin: That which hurts, instructs.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:39 PM on January 5, 2010


In the meantime, how about starting with just concentrating on keeping your chain of not drinking alive? Use something like Joe's Goals and make a little check in the ticky box to indicate that you didn't drink today. Tomorrow, do the same thing. There are lots of other people in your boat; "no drinking" or "staying dry" are some of the most common goals. All you have to focus on is not breaking the chain.

Many fellow MeFites have been on this road. Not to toot someone else's horn, but netbros, for one, has made some wonderful posts and comments about his own struggles and how he's come out on the other side. Here is one comment from a post in which someone else is asking for help. There are many more.

Even if you don't want to do AA, the "one day at a time" principle is crucial. Be good to yourself. You can do it. There are loads of people out there who can and will help.
posted by Madamina at 5:42 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


You may want to take a look at Rational Recovery.
posted by torquemaniac at 5:58 PM on January 5, 2010


Found a couple of A.A. alternatives (don't know anything about them, though):

Smart Recovery
Rational Recovery
Secular Organizations for Sobriety
Women for Sobriety

In my relatively uninformed opinion, the sense of communal support and mutual understanding that take place in a group of people struggling with the same problem is the most helpful thing about A.A, so maybe these other programs will help as much. But what do I know.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:03 PM on January 5, 2010


When I first started my recovery from alcoholism, stopping the drinking was only half the battle. The rest was with my wits, my emotions, my mental well-being. I had many, many regrets, fears, and resentments. Initially, they kept me from getting sober. Eventually, they kept me from happiness, from joy, and from successful relationships with other people. They kept me awake at night with worry and sadness, and they held me back from reigniting the maturing process that suddenly stopped when I began drinking alcoholically.

There are 12 steps in various addiction recovery programs. Only half of them have to do with the God thing. The rest are designed to help with those regrets, fears, and resentments. This is where support comes in. Frequently this process gets started with some kind of therapy, maybe one on one with a counselor, or in a group environment. Determining where we are physically, mentally and emotionally and following that with where we want to be, helps get us on the path from one to the other.

The amends portion of the 12 steps was very helpful to me. Identifying all the people I had harmed through my life made me identify those regrets and resentments. Making a sincere and honest apology to them helped me escape the fear that surrounded me and kept me from becoming more serene. Like getting the monkey off my back when I quit drinking, I then had the weight of the world off my shoulders when I had resolved so many personal issues I had with important people in my world, and with life in general. I was better able to cope, without alcohol, and to rest and sleep.

It helped me to be more honest with myself about what I was and wasn't, and to be more honest with others in my life. That in itself is so much more relaxing and stress reducing. As many have mentioned above, exercise is important. Keeping a structured order in your day to day existence helps make it easier not to think about drinking. Most of all, working with other alcoholics was, and is, the best thing I've got going in my sobriety.

That is the 12th step. When I'm helping you stay sober, you're helping me stay sober. One of those old-time clichés says, "You have to give it away to keep it." When you have those few months of sobriety under your belt that you can't seem to get over the hump, seek out other recovering alcoholics. They need your wisdom and success stories. You need them to see where you might be if you start drinking again. It's a mutual admiration society. We all want the same thing... simply to live life one day at a time with drinking.

Anonymous, I know you can do this. I know you can get over the hump. You've already told us you want to. That is the first step. That's the hard part. The rest is just a matter of relieving yourself of those fears and regrets. If I can help in any way, my email is in my profile.
posted by netbros at 6:11 PM on January 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I heard a great report on the NPR radio show "The People's Pharmacy" about a drug that helps alcoholics kick the habit. Here's a link:

http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2010/01/02/753-overcoming-alcohol-dependence/

Check it out.
posted by kirst27 at 6:50 PM on January 5, 2010


There are a lot of good ideas here and I hope you find something that works for you. Depending on where you can find plenty of atheists in AA, ie if you are in NYC you can MeMail me and I will introduce you to some, if you are in some small town, maybe not.
posted by shothotbot at 7:38 PM on January 5, 2010


Atheist in AA here. I'm at a meeting once or twice a week. I can tell you that the main thing that is helpful for me is the community of people. I'm not telling you to try AA. Rather that finding some group focused on sobriety might be helpful. For me it is mostly about the people and being able to speak freely about what is bugging me and what is helping me.

It's worth nothing that there are vastly varying meetings within AA. Some groups are very book and god oriented. My regular group not so much. I assume that any organization will have the same kinds of variance from group to group. Depending on the population where you live you may be able to "shop around" for a group of people that you feel comfortable with.

netbros speaks with the voice of experience and I'll add the bit that I have. Stopping using x is not the hardest part for many people. Living without being miserable is the hard part. Most addicts started using to block out some misery or fear. That misery and fear is generated from inside your head. Getting sober doesn't automatically make them go away. Once the physical and logistical aspects of being an addict fade back, you are left with a somewhat clearer mind but the fear, anger, and misery are still being generated inside. The real trick is learning how to adjust your way of thinking to flow with life instead of fighting it.

You've already done the worst bit - realized that life as it stands right now can't be sustained and decided to make a change. Be assured that you can do it but it sure does help to have help from other people doing it too.
posted by Babblesort at 8:08 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Acch. It's worth noting...
posted by Babblesort at 8:12 PM on January 5, 2010


In turn, if you're in LA you can mefimail me.
posted by phaedon at 8:24 PM on January 5, 2010


My father quit drinking after many many years of addiction. He did it cold turkey and without support. He said he stuck to one mantra, based on experience: "Having a drink will only lead to bad things." I don't know if this will help you but the idea is to stick to the knowledge that although it feels like it will make you happier, that first drink will only lead to misery and thankfully you have the choice to not go there.

Oh and find hobbies that will take up your time and distract you from boredom. Exercise is wonderful, considering the effect it has on your 'happy hormones'.
posted by heytch at 12:32 AM on January 6, 2010


Don't worry. You don't have to do this through AA. As others have said there are plenty of other ways to do it. Here's what worked for me:

- I found other people who spoke my language, who I could see part of myself in, who I wanted to be like, and who I enjoyed being around.
- I made sure those people were sober.
- I asked them to teach me what they knew.
- I kept in constant contact with them.
- And I became one of them.

Those are the magic ingredients - not God. (It was just luck and chance that I did that by going to an AA meeting. Had I gone to the wrong meeting, met the wrong people, heard the wrong message... it never would have worked the way it did.) The AA founders, Bill W and Dr. Bob, didn't go to an AA meeting. They followed those steps when the two of them sat down and agreed to help each other. The (very loose) organization that has cropped up? All the books and slogans and retreats and conferences and meetings and pamphlets and steps and traditions? All that is just to make it easier for people to achieve the things I list above. All that just makes staying sober an activity rather than a passive experience.

That first part? That's the most important. It's most important that you find a support network that works for you. If you can't do it in AA (by finding a relatively atheist group, or by finding a good atheist sponsor who can show you the way to look beyond all the God stuff) that's fine! But you deserve sobriety, so keep looking.

-----

This is what I would say to a fellow irreligious person who was having a hard time getting into AA and who asked for my help in deciding whether the divide was too wide to cross:

My grandmother is an atheist, and has been a lifelong practicing Catholic. She is 79 and still attends mass every Sunday. Those of us who rankle at treacly spirituality often have to put up with some of it in order to get what we need out of life. I can't for the life of me figure out what she gets out of attending mass and remaining Catholic, but that's not for me to decide!

I'm not big on the God thing. If there is a God, it is too big for my puny little lizard brain to comprehend and I've got more important things to worry about like feeding myself and passing the bar exam and helping little old ladies cross the street. Worrying about celestial finger-wagging or bowing and scraping for some mythological salvation is not high on my list of priorities. In AA, the word God is (almost) always followed by the phrase "as we understand him." I don't. I don't understand God at all. That means God is just a placeholder.

You say: I'm hoping that finally admitting to myself that I'm powerless over booze will keep me stopped.

That's all AA suggests you do. The higher power that everyone talks about? You just found one. Something else is bigger and better than you are and it's got you beat. That thing is booze. Someday your thinking might evolve to include other higher powers - your friends, family, community, the government, gravity, Hollywood, the economy, MetaFilter... the list goes ever on. The "higher power" bit is just a humility thing. It's just to constantly remind you that you are not the center of the universe, that your actions have consequences (possibly far reaching ones) and, comfortingly, that your problems are small and manageable.

I would only agree to work with someone based on their agreement to get and stay sober through whatever means necessary. I would never limit that to AA, especially if someone was honest enough to admit that they had a problem with some of the features of AA. I want to see people get and stay sober who want to get and stay sober. And in furtherance of that goal, all I can offer is my friendship and support and experience.

And of course, I offer that to you also, Anonymous. My email is in my profile. I wish you the best.
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:20 AM on January 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


stopping in to wish you the best of luck with this. it took me many, many tries before i strung together any length of sobriety. the good news is that it's possible; the better news is that it really is worth whatever you have to go through.

i was pretty much a daily drinker. one of the things that confirmed my alcoholism to me was the inability to sleep when i'd try to quit. i 'only' had 3 nights of hellish demons robbing me of my sleep. all i can remember is tossing & turning, then pacing for what seemed like hours, then tossing & turning some more. warm milk & a tablespoon of peanut butter seemed to help with some of the jitters so i could at least lay still and close my eyes.

regarding 'torturing myself over whatever mess I've most recently made and now have to face,' to whatever extent possible, do NOT do this. instead, drag out a pen & paper & start making a bulleted list of issues surrounding the mess you need to address (pay the bill, apologize to the offended, sweep up broken glass, or whatever); this will give you something tangible. this is MUCH more productive than 'join the foreign legion,' 'jump off a bridge,' or some other hairbrained scheme to make it all go away. (hint: it's NOT going to go away, even as much as you wish it would.) also remember: whatever it is you need to do to clean up the mess, you're pretty much useless until you clean up yourself. the goal here is (if i understand you correctly) to 1) stop drinking, 2) start sleeping, 3) right the wrongs, and 4) stay stopped in regard to drinking. Nos. 1 & 2 go together and as excruciating as that sleepless week might be, it ain't nothing compared to #3. without knowing the nature of your particular mess, i can guess that no amount of money or shame is going to adequately address it. what seems to work for most alkies i know is ... #4: staying sober. chances are that the people who know you & have dealt with the alcoholic you (family, friends, employer, etc.) are not going to blithely accept an apology, and they'll be on the lookout for a repeat episode. that's what makes #4 so damn important.

the staying stopped ... that's the kicker now, ain't it? for me, focusing on my own #3s only went so far--over time those memories fade & the incidents start to look like they weren't so bad as i thought they were. there were 2 things i tried to remember when a drink started to look like a good idea. the first was a woman who attended some of the same early meetings i did. she'd get a week or two or maybe a month or two under her belt & then disappear for a week or so--binging. she'd already lost her husband & kids, and seemed to desperately try to stay sober, but it wouldn't last. one binge weekend she fell down the steps in her apartment & broke her neck. they found her in the foyer a day or two later. r.i.p., annie.

the 2nd is something that was removed from me but made a huge impact: the carrollton, kentucky, bus collision.
The School Bus caught on fire and the children struggled to get out. 27 lost their lives in what has been known as the Worst Drunk Driving Accident in U.S. History.

The School kids were on their way back from a School Field Trip to Kings Island in Cinncinnati when they were hit by drunk driver traveling on the wrong side of Interstate 75.
this incident horrified the world. i understood *exactly* how it happened.
i was no stranger to drinking & driving. i was terrified that i was going to wake up one day in the same position as the driver of the truck that hit the school bus. that fear went a looooong way toward helping me stay away from a drink. still does.

i wish you weren't so seemingly set against a.a. it *does* get tedious, but i firmly believe it saved my life. after i stopped drinking, i didn't know what to do with my time--plus, i was spazzed out about my own #3 and those voices in my head just kept getting louder as each day went by. the beauty of a.a. for me is that i found people my age at roughly my newness in sobriety who i could go have coffee with & talk to about our respective problems. (note: at that point, we were mostly talking to hear ourselves (which helps tremendously) and not necessarily because we gave a damn about anyone else's problems. early sobriety is a pretty self-absorbed time in my experience.) hanging with them kept me from hanging with myself--and i was my own best drinking partner & my own worst enemy. yep. we went to a lot of meetings. a LOT of meetings. and spouted a lot of the platitudes. but given that we were mostly gibbering idiots anyway, it gave us something to focus on besides our own gibberishness.

my suggestion would be to have a good group of friends who are willing to put up with you for a while. i'm a pretty big believer that the power of a.a. lies with the people in it. they certainly helped pull my chestnuts out of the fire.

and if i can harp on it a little more: a.a. is really quite a lot like metafilter. it's a bunch of people you don't know who are drawn together by one common, powerful thing. when you first started posting you had no idea what to think & were probably nervous about how you'd be received. since you've started posting, you're a little more comfortable with it, and you've undoubtedly found at least a few people who you can look at their handle & think, 'self-righteous windbag,' or 'pompous ass!' or '(s)he sounds interesting,' or 'wow! (s)he's pretty cool!' all those same people are figurativelyin a meeting.

sorry this is so long. if you have any questions or ever need to hear that you're not alone, memail me. i'm happy to help, and i'm pretty good at the anonymity thing.
posted by msconduct at 11:52 AM on January 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


My husband is 19 days sober, the longest he's managed in years, and feeling really good about it. He is putting $10 in a savings account for every day of sobriety (representing the money he'd spent on alcohol) and is really happy to see that stacking up. Maybe you could reward yourself in a similar way?

Do you have any good friends who've been through AA or other sobriety programs? Maybe you could talk to them about how you don't want to do the actual meetings/12 steps, but ask them if you can call them when you start getting the cravings to drink again. Sort of an unofficial sponsor. My husband talked to a pal who has 20 years in AA, and who debunked it a bit for him (no, not all meetings are full of flaky assholes who compete with each other to tell horror stories, or of preachy Christians who tell you to get right with God). You might find some good camaraderie there. I know I did when I went to Al-Anon meetings, although the prayer stuff did nothing for me either.

Good luck, and feel free to memail me if I can help.
posted by vickyverky at 12:17 PM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can relate to everything you wrote. I could sometimes manage to stop but could never stay stopped. I blamed partners, my past, my jobs, my family etc etc etc. But I know today the reason is that I am an alcoholic. FWIW, replacing one drug with another did not help my sleeping problems, either, and in the end, for me, lead to becoming dependent on substances other than alcohol. I had to put down all of the mood and mind altering substances first. I thought that would be the hardest part. Turns out it wasn't. Learning how to live life without all of those substances was what was hardest. I had no idea how to just live life. I needed so much help. I needed the help of people who had done it successfully. People who had not been in recovery could only offer so much support. Other recovering alcoholics who have been through it can help so much more. Find some supportive people, if you feel like drinking, call them. Get a good group so that you have people you can call day or night. Try to take it easy on yourself, it's normal to have problems sleeping in the beginning and you don't say when you stopped- the insomnia may be a symptom of some alcohol withdrawals.
posted by heatherly at 12:31 PM on January 6, 2010


You say you want to let go...what strategies do you have for letting go, besides alcohol? I read your description of your self-torment and it doesn't surprise me that you want to escape from yourself. Okay. So what ways can you do that besides drinking? Maybe try meditation, radical acceptance, something that feels bigger than yourself and gives you a sense of being needed, a consuming hobby, maybe spend time with animals, a community that loves you and encourages you to love yourself.
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