Beardy’s Rambling Trail

I mostly wanted to create a thread where I could check in on a semi-regular basis and write out what’s happening with life and sobriety. A thread where I have my personal posts all in one place. A journal that’s specifically about alcohol recovery and something that’s interactive, as well. I write a lot in my personal journal, but having an outlet where I can receive responses to some of it, I think is also beneficial.

I’m back to 5 days of sobriety. I’ve been all over the place with my approaches and I can’t seem to find what works. Well more accurately, I don’t utilize and access what works, when the urges are running high. I’ve yet to be able to find a voice of reason when my emotions are peaking and topped out. When I say emotions, I pretty much mean anger and an overwhelming feeling of sadness. Those are my only two real triggers. I don’t miss partying. I don’t get triggered by seeing other people drink. I get triggered by overwhelming feelings and a need to run and hide from them and life. A need to check out mentally, emotionally, and physically. Every single time I drink now, it’s a multi-day or even multi-week long bender. I become suicidal every time.

I’ve found some programs that have really helped me in the past, such as AA or Recovery Dharma, but there still seems to come a time, when my emotions overrun my logical brain. I’m thinking a component of mental health also needs to be addressed. It’s not always a choice of just simply being strong enough, or having enough will power, or asking God for help. For me, It seems bigger than that, but at least I’m now recognizing it and know I need additional professional help with regulating my moods. I’ve been diagnosed as bipolar a couple of times in the past, but I didn’t really take the diagnosis to heart. I thought it was just easy for them to assess me as bipolar and give me some pills. I’m going to investigate the whole mental health aspect a lot more. Not currently having insurance, I’m not really sure what’s available, but I’ll be looking into it.

I have a lot in life that I want to pursue and hopefully achieve. I’m capable of a lot when I’m sober, but I’m not capable of being sober long enough to really make much headway. I’ve been doing this up and down dance for years now. I dig myself out, stay sober for a few months, and then bury myself again.

For some reason, my old job that I worked at for all of last year (before subsequently walking off of) is wanting to hire me back.
It’s a great job and great pay. It’s something I’m capable of excelling at, if I can just keep myself together. Other than that, my home life is a mess and completely up in the air.

This post is rambling, all over the place, and scatter brained. But I guess, I am too right now.

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I was thinking of messaging you later and poof, here is your post. I am glad to see you here and sober. I understand about being all over the place and also in a cycle of not being able to ‘figure out sobriety’ (the term I used for my process)…I spent some years trying to crack that code as well. So I feel you there. I know it is debilitating and soul and confidence sucking. And I also deeply relate to being suicidal when drinking…that I get 100% and I am sorry you are in that dark place.

I do like the idea of checking out medications, I had some success with them in the past. It can take some time to find what truly works for your own unique body chemistry, so it takes some trial and error, patience is key. I believe meds, coupled with talk therapy can be very helpful for some people. :heart:

You have lots of people here for support and community, that is also a good thing in my book. I admire your tenacity and
willingness to try so many different approaches…and your continued honesty and fight. We all travel our own paths, keep at it and have faith in yourself. :heart:

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Glad you’re here and fighting the good fight. 🙋

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I don’t feel tenacious. Haha. I feel like I have barely any hope. “Soul Crushing” is an accurate description, especially after having some levels of success in this. I figure I can try and fail again, or just fail. At least the first option has some kind of hope.

I struggle terribly with patience in any process. Expectations as well. I usually jump in all “gung-ho” and want instant results. When I don’t get them right away, or don’t immediately feel drastically better, it just fuels my frustrations. I know it’s not the right way to go about it, but it takes some time to undo that default mode of thinking and feeling.

Thanks for this, Sassy. :pray:t2: I’m glad we’re buddies now.

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I think the mental health support would be a good call. I know it’s all different in the US, but in the UK the Samaritans are a really good first point of call for mental health struggles. As well as listening to what’s going on they can advise on other local mental health services/ charities.

While this might feel like an objective or accurate description to you, I see this as beating yourself up. An alternative narrative - we spend years conditioning ourselves that drinking is the response to our anger, sadness, frustrations, whatever. It is not unreasonable that we reach to these deeply ingrained responses when things get tough.

There is a lot in what you post that I relate to, a lot of the time. Try and be kind to yourself (easier said than done I know!), there is no right or wrong way. And just because things feel like they’ve worked before, if they aren’t working for you now it’s ok to try something else.

This is something that has been giving me a lot of cognitive dissonance recently. Trying to work out what I actually want to achieve, Vs what I am doing, what I feel like I should be doing and what I am actually able to do. Sobriety hasn’t fixed that… In fact it makes me aware of it in a way I never was before. Sometimes it is really shit but I do believe that being sober is where I have the best chance of moving through these challenges and finding the answers.

On cognitive dissonance with drinking (we know all the reasons why not, but do it anyway)… Have you read This Naked Mind and/ or Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Quit Drinking? They are both written to address this. I only read TNM, believe Easy Way came first.

I’m sorry to hear about your home life - I don’t think I’ve really seen you post about that before (although I’m sure I miss a lot of what is posted!).

Sounds like you’ve got a lot going on, hope you can recognise that and be kind to yourself when it gets hard :pray::sparkling_heart:

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Another day 5er here. I certainly hear u about going to a dark(er?) place when drinking. My last relapse I sh again. And too damn hot for short sleeves. What do u get angry and sad about? Are there any patterns? I know u know this, but there is no sobriety until u have a) a life with fewer emotional triggers, and b) a response to triggers that is less angry and sad. I am no expert, but there is a definite up and down to ur posts that lends credibility to bipolar being a possibility. I definitely think u should check it out more if u can. If I may be so bold the “I am capable of a lot”, “excell” sounds like a lot of pressure. It is ok to just live ur life, trying to find ur happiness. U shouldn’t settle, but u shouldn’t put crazy pressure to do amazing things if it unbalances u.

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Yes - this! It is something that came up in my first round of CBT. It was suggested to me that I reframe the things I think I have/ should/ need to do. So rather than something like: I should be able to handle this… I am struggling with this right now, it is ok to have emotions, it doesn’t mean I am a total failure at everything.

@Beardy_McTallman Have you come across the idea of thinking traps? It was something from CBT that helped me and I imagine it would be relevant to bipolar as well. https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/UnhelpfulThinkingHabitsWithAlternatives.pdf

There are lots of resources about that online but here is a UK website which is more for friends/ family of someone with bipolar, may also be useful for you? https://reacttoolkit.uk/toolkit/

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Good to hear you’re taking that diagnosis to heart now Chris. Which is not easy, but certainly needed to work things out.
Guess you know your root cause now, alcoholism is just a symptom, a by-product.

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For me what clicked in my mind is that drinking just doesn’t help with my problems. With nothing. I’m not sure how I reached that conclusion and how that intellectual realisation also got through to a basic emotional level but it did. The only thing drinking will bring me is a black pit of despair and suicidal ideations.
It did take time and longer sobriety to reach this point, but now I’m there my mental health problems (depression and personality disorders) have become much more to the fore and need to be addressed. Urgently. And I am. I started medication a couple of weeks ago to fight depression and I’m hopeful it’s having some result. I’m on a waiting list to start therapy for my personality disorder. Life still is a struggle but at least I have the possibility to do something about it.
I’m not a MD and I only know you from your writings but I do work in mental health as a nurse and bipolar seems to me like a good working hypothesis for what’s going on inside you. Medication might be a good start. Put a lot of work and effort into finding further help too. I’m not sure where or how if you don’t have the right insurance but there might be peer to peer support with that too. There’s a huge body of information freely available on the web I am sure. Work your mental health. It’s the only way to a better life and the only way towards a life free of substances. Good you’re here Beardy. You’re not alone.

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I’ve got a number I can call tomorrow. It sounds like they can assess my situation and refer me to some places.

I haven’t read those books yet, but I see them recommended a lot.

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Anger is a tricky one for me. I feel like I’ll turn a lot of feelings and emotions into anger. If I’m stressed, I’ll get angry at the stressor. If I’m feeling insecure and inadequate, I’ll get self righteously angry as a way of falsely building myself up. The list goes on. Being mad gives me that “justified” feeling to go drink.

The overwhelming sadness is one I have a harder time finding a particular reason for. It just comes and goes with no particular catalyst, as far as I can tell. I can only describe it as feeling like nothing in life matters and everything is pointless. “I’m just going to die anyway. Who cares what happens along the way.” type of thinking. It’s not all the time, it just hits me at different periods.

You’re not the only one who thinks the bipolar might be a valid diagnosis. My family has wanted me to address this for years. The “ups” aren’t too crazy, I just get really productive and motivated, but the “downs” are a mess and way too destructive. We’ll see. I’m definitely committed to pursuing it with a medical professional.

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Wow, I can identify so much with this text right now.

I had some super strong emotions the other day and I just couldn’t bring myself to regulate them. I tried reaching out to people in here and elsewhere, and while I appreciate people’s help, in that moment it didn’t do anything to me. So even when I do utilize the new skills, they don’t always help. I guess it takes time.

Same here. My behaviors such as drinking, drugging, self harming, over eating are all ways of numbing down those strong emotions. Seeing people drink do nothing to me, unless I am in a bad headspace. Then I want all the drinks, whether other people are drinking or not.

Same. I’ve ended up in the hospital twice after slashing my wrists open for the stupidest things while drunk, and even if I wasn’t drunk, the emotions are too strong. If I couldn’t drink, I would want to self harm.

For sure. I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and it really needs to be adressed - not drinking is not enough. I experience anxiety almost every single day, and drinking makes it worse. Part of bpd includes emotions that are too strong to handle and the need to regulate them in any ways that I can. And those regulations are drinking, drugging, self harming and overeating. What happens when I can’t regulate them in a way I have always done it? I disassociate.
I am also impulsive, I push people away, sometimes even in cruel ways. My identity keeps on shifting and I take impulsive decisions. Stopping drinking makes it easier to adress these other parts, but the worst case can be strong suicidal ideation… So stopping drinking isn’t the only thing. I need to adress my mental health problems. And while recovery programs might help with my addiction and some other problematic behaviors, they aren’t the answer to my personality disorder.

I don’t have bipolar disease, but I know sometimes people call borderline personality disorder “bipolar but faster” :rofl: I hope you will be able to adress your mental health issues sooner than later :slight_smile: You’re worth it!

Thank you for sharing, it truly helped me this noon. I wish you well!

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I guess when I say “I’m capable of” or “I can excel” I’m talking about things I’ve done in the past, so I know I can accomplish them. For instance, I know I can excel at the job I’ll be starting soon, because I did it for all of last year and I did excel at it. Last year, I hardly drank. I drank maybe a few weeks out of the whole year and I was able to perform at a high level, because I was sober most of the time. I was also able to accomplish a lot of my personal running goals. I struggle with seeing how that’s a negative mindset. I’m not trying to be combative, I just don’t “get it” possibly? Knowing what I’m capable of sober, doesn’t feel like pressure to me. Taking on bigger and more ambitious goals, especially right off the bat, does feel like pressure and I need to be wary of that. I just mean, I want to get back to being a good contributor at work and back on track with my running goals, for now.

This really resonates. I’m always telling myself “You should handle this better.” Why can’t you just deal with this?” Those types of thoughts plague me and I do often feel like I’m failing at things I shouldn’t be failing at. Because I should never fail at anything, right? :man_facepalming:t2:I appreciate the links, I will definitely read them over tomorrow.

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Anger and sadness are not that different Chris. The way I experienced them, both resulted from frustrations and disappointments. Anger bevame it’s external projection, sadness it’s internal component.
For that reason, I added a second counter. I need to stay focussed at being kind towards myself.

As long asI reckognise my frustrations, disappointments and it’s origins, there isn’t anger or overwhelming sadness.

Dig into your diagnosis. It may explain most of your issues.

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I appreciate it, Menno. I know that drinking only leads to despair and nothing good will come of it, but I still get to a point where I just don’t care. I know the consequences and I do it anyway because I feel like my life is pointless. I know that’s abnormal and it’s led me to want to seek out this additional help. My logical brain, can’t seem to override my impulsive emotional brain when things get hairy.

I’m glad you’ve been so proactive in addressing your needs and it does help me to see someone else taking on a similar issue. I always look forward to your check ins, my friend.

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Sure. But if achieving that success meant you swung in the other direction afterwards, is it worth it? Maybe a different thing, but I have disordered eating, in the past I have been a lot thinner than now, and I sometimes beat myself up about how I have “let myself go” and “I could be that thin again if I just tried”. But in fact maintaining that thinness caused stress, poor coping strategies and in the end rebound. I have to find a happy medium. And so do u. Achieving less than u did in the past, if it gives u more balance, may be a good thing. Of course, only u can possibly know ur limits and possibilities. The only sure thing is to find what is good balance for u is sobriety.

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From the outside looking in (and this could be something I’m projecting from myself and/ or basing on incomplete information) - I wonder if the knowledge of what you have achieved is part of what feeds the ideas of what you should be able to do.

I don’t want to come across as harsh or rude at all, but if you have been successful for a few months or a even a year at a time, is that really success? I still consider myself in early sobriety, I’ve been sober a lot less time than I was drinking. I’m not saying that it isn’t worthy of any sense of accomplishment, but this idea that you’ve got it nailed, you know what to do if only you apply it… Every time you don’t meet that expectation then it fundamentally shakes how you see yourself.

I have been so capable and now I struggle. And the more I think about how easy I used to find life (or that’s how I perceive it anyway, I reckon there is some rose tinting going on there) the harder it feels now. Then I crawl into my pit of despair and when I’m there it feels like I will never climb out.

I get the productivity spurts followed by big crashes. Boom and bust. When I was first told about this boom and bust thing I was really sceptical. I like my booms, I feel almost euphoric when I have them, it’s not putting pressure on. But the more I have been aware of it, the more I see it. YMMV of course, but being open to the fact that your perception of the situation is just that, perception and not observable fact, might help?

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I started a thread when I first found this place and kept adding to it. Its been good for me, and others benefit from it too.

It wasnt meant to be a journal type thread, but ended up being that way.

Reading my past post and seeing where my thinking was and where it is now and all the ups and downs had been good for me.

It always seems to boil down to the same thing.

My thinking is my biggest enemy or my best defense. Sometimes its both at the same time.

Having people in my corner, supporting my recovery in my thread has helped me.

Even though I have never met anyone from here, i have made friendships in my thread.

My last relapse which I like to call my final relapse. I came here as I was coming out of a blackout drunk. The support I recieved in my thread helped me stop drinking, and I havent had a drop since.

Emotional distress is my biggest cause for relapse too. Life on lifes terms gets overwhelming and my brain prefers to cope with it by checking out. Numbing out.

Ive been able to process my feelings sober, and grow as a result. Its not fun.

Its worth it though. I get a natural high when I make it through those feelings sober. The pink cloud of recovery. Sometimes it lasts for a week or two. Other times its an hour or two.

Its my thinking that takes me off of my pink cloud. Im recognizing that, and I work on it.

I recently got involved in AA again. Covid has prevented that until now. I spent the last two days going to meetings, hanging out with sober alcholics, doing service work. I even got a sponsor which is something I havent been willing to do.

He asked me if I was willing to go to any lengths for my sobriety. I said yes. Then he said yes, i will be your sponsor, and then he gave me some homework. Which im not really happy about, but Im going to do it.

I picked up my nine month sobriety coin and shared. My story is very similar to his, and he introduced himself to me after the meeting.

I asked him to be my temporary sponsor while im in SLC Utah. I asked him because our stories are so similar. I felt he was qualified.

He said he would consider it. Then he invited me to an recovery event yesterday and I showed up. After the event he asked me if I was willing to go to to any length for my sobriety. He accepted after I said yes.

I showed up. I helped serve lunch and clean up. I met hundreds of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. It was a great day!

Friday I was craving a drink. Today a drink feels far away.

The message I have been hearing the most lately is that drinking and drugging is just a symptom of my condition. Quitting that is only part of the solution. Once that is done the real work begins. Fixing my emotional damage, and broken thinking is where real recovery begins.

I still have alot of work to do

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I think you and @Misokatsu are getting at the same idea and I do see what you’re saying. It’s not just been the year prior to this one, that I’d found some success. I’d done really well at work, and with some other goals, for years until my drinking got so bad I couldn’t maintain much of anything. I don’t think 8-10 years of being an adult capable of different things, can or should be diminished because my other issues elevated to a point where I couldn’t really function “normally” any more. I could say that those external factors caused me to drink, or I could say that my lack of coping skills did. It’s more likely the latter and I don’t think I need to shy away from any type of challenge. I do need to be measured in what I decide to put my energy into though at first and have some grace with myself though the process.

I’d like to believe I can get back to that point. I understand that I could have a skewed perception of “better days” and it definitely wasn’t all perfect, but certain aspects were better and show me that I can be capable.
Maybe just because it was that way then, doesn’t mean it will be that way now, but I still have to work. I don’t see what the other option is. If I’m going to work I’m always going to try to do my best. I can’t just sit around being sober and tell myself that, that’s enough. That feels like a cop out and like I’m babying myself too much. I’m simply talking about gettimg back to work and running. I don’t need to try and be a CEO in a year, but I do need to have some ambition. At the least,I need to try to do my best at work. I don’t think having a standard is a bad thing, but it’s definitely very tricky finding the balance and not being too rigid in those standards.

My running is something I genuinely enjoy. It brings me a lot of happiness and a stress relief. I always set goals with that, but the process is much more important to me than the actual goal. The goal is usually just a marker for me to create a training plan around. The actual outcome of a race has never shook me, whether it went well or not. The only thing that bums me out about running is when I’m not doing it consistently. I miss it.

I really appreciate this though, from both of you. A lot of it is what I need to hear and keep in mind. I do often try to do too much at once, or feel a need to master EVERYTHING at once. I definitely need to try to keep perspective.

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I guess this is what we all need to work out, why it gets to that point. It’s certainly a journey! Keeping an open mind and being connected to a support network along the way can’t be a bad thing, that’s what we’re all here for after all.

Patience, acceptance, one foot in front of the other. We will get there in the end :blush:

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