Truth and Tough Love #3

This thread contains general stories about my path through addiction and sobriety. It involves truth, tough love, hard work, and going to meetings. This is how I got sober. I know it seems foreign to many of you that something other than sunshine and hugs can get a person sober, but it can. I learned some hard lessons, was told things I didn’t want to hear, and busted my ass to get where I’m at. There’s many different paths to sobriety, and this is mine.

I remember sitting in my third rehab and our group was asked by our counselor:

“What makes you want to get sober?”

Most people answered with family or kids or any of those generic answers. But I knew for me that was a bullshit answer. I had family and friends every time I relapsed, so clearly having a family won’t keep me sober. No, my answer had to be something I hadn’t thought of before.

Finally it dawned on me. I was getting sober for my legacy. I didn’t, and still don’t, want to be remembered as just another junkie, another sack of wasted potential. That’s the reason. Because I knew, somewhere deep down, that I could be better than I was. In the end I can only get sober for myself.

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Yup, that essentially why I got sober too. It took me being one breath, one single hand movement, from ending it all to make me remember that I had once been a different person. I didn’t used to need to sit at a bar to feel worthy or good. I didn’t need to be around people who made me look good to be happy. I didn’t need to compare myself, how much I was drinking or how fucked up I got, to feel like a winner. Once, I could find moments of happiness while clear headed, while not inebriating. In some past life people liked me for who I really was, not how I was when I was shit faced.

It took me one instant to change my life. It was the moment I decided that I was done. Not when I decided I wanted to be done, the moment I decided I AM done.

I never considered myself to relapse, I still consider my story free of them. I tried quiting so many times, but it was never truly quiting. There was always a drink at the end, another xanax to calm my nerves, another klonopin to help me sleep. Every time I quit drinking it was always temporary. It was a “resetting my thinking” before going back. I always went back because I never planned on not. Until this time. Every time I quit drinking my benzos use would soar through the roof. I always thought that would be temporary too. A “little” extra xanax to get through the anxiety, tremors, delusions and hallucinations. It was all going to be fine! I always thought, “hell, I’m a super smart woman, I have a plan, this shit will work out. I can get through a week or two and then I can start drinking like a normal person.” Begin popping benzos like it was my job.

For me, I had to chose dying by my own hand as an option before I could realize that I sincerely had another option. I’ve never looked back. June 17th, 2017 was the night I made that choice. Instead of picking up the entire bottle of xanax and washing it down with a beer I called my boss and said I had to take time off work and get better. I told them I had to get sober. I took 5 months off of work, completely submitted to my recovery and myself, and haven’t touched a damn thing since. I decided I was never going to drink again, nor take any benzos (that weren’t a part of my medically assisted detox). June 19th was the first full day that I spent clean of everything but my psych meds. At this point, the benzos were no longer my psych meds, they were a huge part of my abusing. My detox was brutal as all hell, for which I am grateful. I earned this shit!

That’s my story. Well, part of it anyway. I committed to never again, and that is how I stay.

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What got me sober was being sick to fucking death of not getting anything done. Everything was a wasted effort, I was an arrogant, self-occupied, trashy little piece of shit.

Yeah my parents had a messy divorce at an important age…So fucking what? That’s their business not mine and it was 12 years ago - They’re not using drink or drugs.

My jobs were always in bars, restaurants or surrounding alcohol. So fucking what? I’m being paid to work, not drink and use drugs.

My previous relationships failed and I got screwed over everytime. So fucking what? They were obviously not the one.

I didnt do well in school. So fucking what? I still got a great career and made good money out of it - No-one else is bitching and complaining about it.

Drinking and using drugs is a choice that YOU make. Its no-one else’s fault but you’re own. You got yourself into it, you get yourself out if it and if just 1 person is there to support you, you’re richer than anyone in the world

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Wow what a powerful story. When you made a decision to turn your life and will over, you MADE A DECISION. Thanks for sharing that. You made my recovery just a little better!

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My IOP counselor made it simple, he asked what we need to live. He canned all of our responses of family, kids, significant others, jobs and so forth.

Only thing we need to live is air, water and food. Only thing we need to get sober is to not use drugs and drink.

It’s really that simple.

You can say you need this that and the third to get sober, but it’s all bullshit. You can say you drink or do drugs for this that and the third but it’s all bullshit.

We drink and drug because we are selfish, our feelings and emotions are of greater importance than anything else.

Like you @Englishd I got sober in the rooms, and those rooms helped me live a more selfless, altruistic life. My legacy has become something at this point because there will actually be people who will be sad I have passed, also like you they won’t talk about the sad sack of hot garbage I was as a drunk.

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I’m going to say this here. Been thinking it over for a while and it’s just my view on life. It’s not ment to take away anybody’s personal struggle with anything.
But…
I was bullied at school, I handled it incorrectly, but I didn’t have the tools to deal with it otherwise.
It started with name calling which I reacted to and so it just rolled on from there. I saw a child psychologist who said I had " emotional problems".
At the time you see, mental health didn’t have the same sort of coverage as it does now. ADHD, etc had not been given a name. If you were a disruptive child you were " removed " from the situation. Usually into a class with " slow learners “. ( I’m highlighting these terms because they all obviously now have mental health terms connected to them and are not seen in the same way.) Or to a “special school”. Which is what happened to me. I left school with the bare minimum of exams. I had to lie about maths on job applications because I failed it completely. I got left behind because no one took the time to help me out when it mattered.
The teachers at the time just saw a slow learner.
I did manage to get into the navy, and pub management afterwards. Fast forward 30 years and I’m a successful builder with my own company.
I really don’t know if today, I would have been diagnosed with any of the mental health issues that are around. I really don’t care.
Because I haven’t let anything that happened to me all those years ago define who I am today.
I struggled with shyness for years after school.
Being in the navy helped to bring me out of my shell or " made the man” as a therapist once wrote about me.
My eldest daughter is Asperger’s. And I find myself getting frustrated with her because she is defining herself by it.
I love her to bits but I’ve had to move on and above my problems.
Likewise, yes I’m an alcoholic. I will tell anyone that. Some of you know when I reached a year I posted on Facebook about it.
It’s not something to be scared of. It’s something that has happened. Move on. Don’t let it define you.
As I said I’m not saying any of this to take away anybody’s personal struggles with mental health.
But I do look at some people’s post on here when they quote their mental health as excuses for their addiction and think ok.
Well, get up and get on.
I’d say most of us at some point in our life’s have a mental health issue.
But we can’t spend our life’s living in the past.
I’m hoping, by posting this some one somewhere might see it and think " hell yeah, why am I letting this define who I am."
I’m sorry if I end up upsetting some one. As I said it’s just my take and I haven’t set out to do that.
Live long and sober.:metal:

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Such inspiring stories. I truly am in awe of all of you. Keep doing awesome everyone.

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What made me want to get sober? Wrong question.

What was I willing to do to get sober? All or nothing at all - that’s the answer.

I was not motivated into sobriety - it was finally placed in my heart by a loving vibe in the universe. And my mind was open to do anything at all to get comfortable living without alcohol, so I went back to AA and did what they suggested. All of it.

I am sober today because that is the way I can fit and be useful and whole and happy. And that’s what I want, that wholeness. That’s what I was looking for in a bottle, a sense of peace and wholeness.

Rehab’s a great thing, it’s helped a lot of people. But it’s only a tool. The addict’s heart must be stirred to change and then any tool will work.

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I have a handful of mental health diagnoses and for the longest time I self medicated them. Let me rephrase that. I didn’t want to do the things I should have done to be healthy and I didn’t practice acceptance nor self love. I don’t mean squishy self love, pampering type stuff, I mean true self love where I take care of what I need to take care of to be healthy. I used my anxiety, OCD and sleep disturbances as an excuse to continue getting fucked up for the longest time. And guess what? I still have all those things and I’m sober and in recovery. I’ve spent time, and will continue to spend time, working on myself and learning all kinds of super available things to help me get better. I was only making shit worse anyway, when I was fucked up. I’m not special or unique. I’m a person that struggles daily, and always will, with mental health. But I’m also a person who is turning the coping skills into tools for my recovery, tools for life in general, and tools for being a better person.

Things are so much BIGGER AND BETTER when we do the work. Mental health didn’t make me an addict, I let mental health define me, to make me weaker and more special. That was MY mistake. I’ll never make it again. There aren’t any excuses left for this girl, excuses will just make me dead.

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I guess I’ve got anxiety disorders. Doctor has prescribed me a low dose of Sertraline. I’d forgotten about that.
I consider you to be one of my personal guiding lights on here!

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To be honest I’m not really sure what made me decide to stop drinking. I had a lot of fights at home and that played a part in it of course. Partially it was a decision to give my relationship a final chance.
But I’ve come to think at the subconscious level there was a reason for it that extended the “external reasons”.
Like so many here I simply reached a point where I couldn’t go on the way I used to live anymore.
So deep inside I just wanted to stop because alcohol didn’t serve as a self-medication anymore.
Instead of “fixing” problems, it had become a huge part of the problem.

I think the pursue of happiness is eventually my main reason I wanted to stop. Even if I loose my job, loose my house, loose my family, loose everything, there’s still me. I need to be able to live with mé and that’s the main concern. For all of us.

As so many over here, in the process of getting sober I got to learn I’m one of the many who discover their addicition was a comorbidity with underlying issues.
@Geo, Geoff you did a great job finding your way. And I believe one day we will all do eventually. It may take us time and effort but indeed, as long as we do not take a role of being a victim of our problems, we will overcome them.

Main reason for me working the AA steps is, that I’ve known from day 1 it may be beneficial for more than just our addictions.
Without doing step 4 and 5, I would still be an unguided missile lead by frustrations and angers, ignoring his own parts in situations and avoiding getting to really know myself.

I’m 6 months sober and that’s what it took to get me on my knees and really understand what recovery means. It starts with self-acceptance. And that in itself can be a struggle with mental issues but as long as we are willing to face them, work on them and find our way in them, we can overcome them.
It never is an excuse for a relapse once we decide to face ourselves and work on it.

Like Geoff I’ve been bullied heavily in school. Even switched elementary schools because of it’s severity. In those days we didn’t see psychologists or label kids. I was just a difficult kid, that’s all.
By now I can’t blame them for bullying me, I pretty much asked for it I guess by always making wrong remarks, being a different and weird kid.
It sucks, but part of recovery is looking back at our lives, see the big picture and accept that. From there, we shape the present into a better future.

I’m at the turning point. I need to find my balance in partially accepting my issues and no longer fighting them untill I finally break up again and collapse, and finding ways to deal with them in a more healthy way.
Personally I feel a little bit playing a patient so shortly after my diagnosis (10 days) but know I will find my way. I shouldn’t fight it, nor deny it but use my energy usefull to find meaningfull and succesfull ways to cope with it.
Drinking definately isn’t one of them.

If I ever drink (or use) again to deal with my issues, you all may call me a weak fool without a backbone who’s running away from himself again, like he has always done.
I’m an addict. I’m an autist. But most of all, I’m a man in recovery. I’m mé, regardless of whatever issues, labels or problems. I’m a partner. A son. A brother. A steph father. I’m a lot, but not a victim of the past.

My way : AA, NA, the Minnesota Model, CBT, Mindfullness, Meditation and whatever else comes on my way helping me achieving my goals.

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A final remark to this, for those who dó relapse on their way to recovery and sobriety : I will never blame anyone of you, nor consider you weak or anything. If possible I will support you, be kind and gentle and hope next time you will avoid that first drink.

But before taking that one drink, think… think deeply.

This is our road to recovery. We all may take many wrong turns after which we need to go back and try another turn.
That’s part of our process.
But please, do not take a drink each and every time you find yourself on a closed lane demanding you to take a few steps back and take another turn.
It only slows your progress and eventually it’ll slow you down in finding your way out of your maze.

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I really want to do this maze!

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Geoff, you flatter me too much. However bad I am at taking compliments, I thank you for your faith and confidence. I don’t aim to be a guiding light, but I aim to be heard and understood. With honesty, I find, people will listen and hopefully learn. You, my good sir, are someone I consider some kind of sober kindred soul. Maybe because my soul is old as dirt. :rofl::laughing:

Cary on.

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In thinking about what got me sober, tough truth and love did it for me.

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Always great to read your posts Mushroom! :wink:

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You had to bring up the age thing didn’t you Megan? :joy:

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You would be concerned about my mental state of I didn’t.

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If you approach your addiction with fear, it will win. If you forgive your addiction one night a week, if you keep making excuses as to why you think you can moderate, you’re never going to get sober. If you keep losing your shit everytime you come to a hurdle, you’re never going to get over it.

Stop giving your addiction space to be active and you will be sober.

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If you keep looking for external answers to what is an internal issue, you will remain lost and frustrated, because you are looking in the wrong place.

Would you seek a bird under water, or a fish in a tree? Do your hopes, dreams, fears, wants, and needs reside in the ether, or in your mind?

So why is it we “can’t” get sober, because our mate, friends, or coworker has chosen not to? Why is it that our age, our nationality, our profession is used as a reason why we “can’t” stay sober?

Sobriety is a choice, just as is drinking or using. Yes, it is made more difficult by the physical or mental dependence we have built for our respective DOCs, but using or not using IS a choice. We may not understand the full extent of the risk, but we know the risk exists.

I have chosen sobriety, and doing so has made all the difference.

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