Tag Archives: sobriety

Day 9 – still sober thanks to LifeRing

Today is day 9 of being sober. This is the longest I have been sober for a long time. It feels great. It feels like a fog has lifted and I can breathe freely once again. In fact the very air around me smells different. The world around me seems different, a better place. Every day I notice things that I have not noticed in a long time. The first few days were difficult and my struggle is far from over, but now I know I can do it. There is hope.

A major factor in my sobriety has been an email list I stumbled upon a few days ago – the LifeRing Safe List or LSRSafe. It’s an email list with very nice people who really care without being judgemental or condescending. After struggling for so long with alcoholism I have finally realised that I cannot do this alone. I need to reach out to other people, people like me, people who have gone through what I have gone though, people who understand. The people on this list welcomed me into the group and listened to me. Thier replies proved that they really care and understand my pain. I am lucky to have found them. They are my support group. My LifeRing.

What I like best about LifeRing is that, it’s secular. There is no Big Book thumping, 12 steps, higher power and God. I have nothing against the AA, and in fact for the last couple days I have been attending AA meetings. Attending the AA meetings reinforced something that I already knew, that the AA program is not for me. The people I met in the AA meetings were nice but there is too much insistence on God and higher power. I just don’t agree with the AA philosophy that we are totally powerless and we cannot be sober unless we surrender ourselves completely to God.

Having made the decision to be sober and come through the hell of the first few days alone, I just can’t accept the fact that I am powerless. Someone in the LifeRing email list posted in one of his emails: “I can say I’m powerless over alcohol once I take the first drink, but I have the power not to do that, provided I participate with others and stay continually reminded of the misery that awaits me should I do so.” These words say it better than I can say it myself.

Being sober for 9 days does not make me an authority on sobriety but I have been trying to be sober for several months now and I think this has taught me a bit about failure and relapse. I think alcoholics relapse because they do not have a support structure. They do not have a group of people rooting for them. Having a support group makes me accountable. It is not just me alone. There are people counting on me. I do not want to drink that first drink because I do not want to let them down.

One of the many things I liked about the LifeRing email group is that they encourage you to post as often as you need to. I have been on email groups before (not alcohol recovery groups, but other ones) and frequent posting is usually discouraged. On this group, they encourage people to post frequently. They understand that the first days, weeks and even months of sobriety are difficult and recovering alcoholics need to reach out and share thier problems. Another thing I like about this group is that conflict of any sort is discouraged. Recovering alcoholics are fragile and conflict can be disastrous. The list is lightly moderated but flame wars and negative comments are not tolerated.

I probably won’t go to the AA meetings anymore. I have found something better for me. AA doesn’t work for me.


Day 5 of sobriety – feeling better

It is the evening of day 5, and I feel much better.

The morning was bad. I did not sleep well last night. I lay awake till 2am, thinking about how badly I had screwed up my life. I know these kind of thoughts are counter productive and they lead to relapse, but I could not help it.

When I did fall asleep, I saw a really weird dream. I do not remember what the dream was but I remember that it was really weird.

In the morning I had to wake up early to get my son ready for school. It almost felt like I had a hangover but it was different. There was no nausea. Most important of all – there was no guilt.

The cravings were strong so I spent the morning playing a video game. I discovered that the video game was a good distraction. It kept me from thinking about alcohol.

In the evening I had to go pick up my wife from the train station. I was worried about this. There are several wine shops on the way and I know every one of them 😉

I had to fight the temptation to stop the car and buy a bottle. My sneaky manipulative mind kept telling me that I had been sober for 5 days already and one drink would not matter. I put on some loud rock music and sang along to Bruce Springsteen and the Beatles. It felt good. I had not done that for a long time.

I survived day 5 without a drink. In the evening when I met my wife she told me that I seem different in a good way. I feel better too. More relaxed.

There is one thing about being sober that I did not anticipate. I have a lot of time on my hands and I do not know what to do with it. I know I should be getting back to programing (I am a web designer), but I can not seem to concentrate. Maybe I will be able to get back to programming in a few more days. Till then I will play video games and watch movies online 😉

The comments on this blog have helped in a big way. It means a lot to me, that there are people out there who care. The support I have received has helped me remain sober. So please leave your comments.

Day 4 of sobriety – getting easier

Today is day 4 of staying sober and it’s getting easier. The cravings are not so severe. This is the longest I have stayed sober for a long time. In the past I haven’t been sober for longer than 3 days. This time I have not been smoking weed either. I haven’t smoked weed for a few weeks now and I won’t smoke it ever again.

I read on the internet that the metabolites of alcohol stay in the body for 4 days to 1 week. Maybe my body is getting rid of the junk.

The tingling sensation in the back of my head is still there and my hands are still shaking. I keep thinking of booze, but it’s getting easier to resist the temptation.

My mind keeps making excuses, that I am not really an alcoholic, that I can control myself, that it’s okay to have a drink. I know that this is denial. I know I am an alcoholic and if I go out and get a drink, I won’t be able to control myself. I’ll just spiral back into the same old routine.

I’ve locked myself at home and haven’t gone out for the past four days. I don’t know whether I will be able to control myself if I see a wine shop. Avoiding is easier and safer. But I will have to go out eventually. I don’t know how I’ll deal with that but for now I’m taking things one day at a time. I’ll worry about it when I come to it.

The anxiety and irritability is still there. So are the mood swings. I keep telling myself these are not my true feelings. That they are a result of my craving for alcohol. I have to keep reminding myself but it seems to be working.

The muscle cramps are gone too. I read that alcohol affects calcium absorption and this causes cramps. I’ve been having over the counter calcium tablets as well as tablets that my doctor prescribed for blood pressure. Apart for these and cigarettes I am totally clean.

I’ve been keeping myself busy watching movies online. These past few days, I’ve watched several movies. It’s a distraction and helps keep me occupied. I know it’s a waste of time. I should be out looking for a job or freelance projects. But somewhere inside me I know that it is too early. I need to give it a few more days. It’s not safe right now.

I’ve given myself 1 week. After that I will go out and try to pick up the pieces of my life.

Things that make the alcohol cravings worse

I was in an online support chatroom and someone told me about the things that I should avoid during my quest to get sober. They can be remembered by the acronym H.A.L.T. which stands for Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tiredness. Someone else added Boredom too, but that doesn’t sound right as a part of the acronym.

I have been trying to avoid these and it’s working. In my case, I think the more dangerous ones are Anger, Loneliness and Boredom.

To overcome Boredom, I can find something to do, some hobby. However it’s been so long that I have associated alcohol to every pastime of mine, I don’t know how long it will be before I can enjoy anything without alcohol. I cant think of a trip, or a party or even watching a movie without getting drunk. I will need to re-learn how to enjoy simple things in life, without depending on Alcohol. Knowing that alcohol has just been a crutch and in the last few years it has not given me any real pleasure, will probably help.

Loneliness will be more difficult. I have driven away everyone from my life except for my immediate family – my wife and two sons. I have no friends or extended family left. I will have to start with my family and build up my circle of friends once again.

Anger will probably be my worst enemy. I need to stop being angry with the world. After all I have not been the most likeable person. I have done terrible things and hurt a lot of people, so why should the world be nice to me? I need to keep telling myself that I am in control of my anger and not others. I allow myself to get angry and I can control it.

Someone once told me that there are three factors which make us  Angry. Expectation, Aversion and Ignorance. Expectation is when we expect something from others and these expectations are not met. Aversion is when we dislike something in others. Ignorance is when we are not aware of all the facts and we let our biases and life experiences to overcome our self control.

I think the first two are the worst – Expectation and Aversion. If I can understand why I get angry, I can avoid anger. I hope this works.

Sobriety is tough but what’s the alternative

I have given up drinking. I know I have done so many times before but I have always slipped back. But this time I will make it work. I don’t have a choice. This time I will not “try” – I will make it happen. The alternative is death. A slow, shameful death where I destroy myself and everyone around me.

I have been sober for an entire day now and I can already feel the withdrawal symptoms. For the past week I have been binge drinking. Vodka mostly. My wife is away. Her mom is seriously ill. Since she is not around to nag me, I have been drinking almost continuously. I start in the morning. It helps with the hangover and by night I black out. This can’t go on.

When I black out, I lash out at my mother. She does not live with us, but she lives in the flat downstairs. We have had a very strained relationship and aren’t on talking terms. It’s a long story, but the basic reason is that she does not like my wife. I don’t blame her. My wife is quite manipulative and always tries to turn me against my mother.

Anyways, I will write about my fight with my mother some other time. Today I need to write about my decision to be sober.

One of the many reasons I need to get sober is that when I black out, which is almost every day nowadays, I end up doing hurtful and malicious things, directed at my mother, like breaking things and verbally abusing her. My mother never responds. She just tries to avoid confrontation. I am scared that some day I will do something foolish which will end with me murdering her and going to prison.

Alcohol makes me angry and violent. I take it out on the family members around me. I am ashamed of what I have become, but it feels like I am trapped in a vicious cycle. I have to come out of it.

Pray for me. I have fallen so low that I cannot pray for myself.

Relapse & on day 3 again

This is getting repetitive. I relapse for a few days and then I count days of sobriety. So far the count has not gone too high. Somehow or the other I trick myself into drinking again.
This time the relapse was really bad. I did some things that I never should have done. I don’t want to talk about it now. Maybe I will be ready later.
So here I am. On day 3 of sobriety. Each time I have a thought of alcohol, I feel my mind pushing me to go out and get a bottle. Sometimes the craving is very strong. When I am angry or happy or in some emotional mood, I can’t control myself. Again I relapse.
Here I am at day 3. I hope this time it lasts. I don’t want to go on like this anymore.

Another day of sobriety

Today was my second day of sobriety. In ways the craving for alcohol was worse than yesterday. I was feeling irritated at every small thing. The craving starts in the afternoon and gets worse in the evening. I have always been a evening drinker. Thats probably why my body starts craving for alcohol in the evening.

I feel quite different now that I am sober. I feel less depressed. More at peace with the world, except for the times that I am craving. It feels good to be sober and I really hope I can make this last. I want to live a normal life.