Staying Sober By S. Long

by S.Long
(USA)

Story Of A Man Fighting Addiciton After A Termination

Story Of A Man Fighting Addiciton After A Termination

Day 1


Today I made the biggest decision of my life - to stop drinking. To stop drinking totally and for good. I won't pretend it's been easy, even though I am only 18 hours into my sobriety. In fact, it's been hell. I shake, am tearful and have sunken into a depression through my craving for Alcohol already. I wasn't always an Alcoholic.


I used to be like most people and be able to have a social drink or maybe even go weeks without one without a care in the world. But then something terrible happened to me last July. I won't re-hash it here but to sum up an ex aborted our Baby without telling me, and it nearly killed me. Then she dumped me in unison.


For a few weeks now I have been attending support groups aimed at reducing my intake and avoided the usual step towards AA. I don't really believe in religion and the 12 steps and the "Higher Power" thing just didn't get my attention, and besides, it was only a few weeks ago I realised I had become an Alcoholic. Now I know, I can start to address it. First I switched from drinking half a bottle of Vodka a day to drinking beer, which immediately cut my ABV (units) down by a third.


That was a good start. I was advised that going "Cold Turkey" was not a good thing as my body had become so used to Alcohol that if I cut it out completely it could lead to fits and all sorts of health problems - go figure... but these people do know what they are talking about. I was advised to drink 8 cans of low strength lager per day and try to gradually cut that down to 6, then 4 and so on.


It was my eternal wish that I could once again join the masses and become a "social drinker" but after weeks of struggling with that idea I have decided today that will never be possible again. I have crossed the line of no return and I know it. I did switch to an Alcoholic drink, then a Becks Blue (Alcohol free beer) then a proper beer and so on, but from now on it will be ONLY ALCOHOL FREE beer or soft juices.


As a man, staying sober is a lot harder than for a woman I feel. After all, whenever guys get together it's usually around a bar in a pub or the cans come out in front of the TV to enjoy some fine sporting event about to begin. Drinking copious amounts of Alcohol is often (quite wrongly) seen as "manly" and if you can't handle your beer then you must be some kind of "faggot" or "wuss" etc. etc.


This in turn has led to me realizing that I will have to let a lot of my "friends" go, as being around them and going out with them will be far too much of a temptation. But this leads to the question "are they my friends or just drinking acquaintances?" I guess I am about to find out... and I shall keep you informed. The thoughts of my enforced isolation after the pain and suffering I have endured for the past 9 months scares me to death, for I have in that time already become something of a recluse. Now that I will no longer be seeing the people I know in my local I feel that is going to get even worse.


When I look back over my life I can trace every single bad decision I have ever made to Alcohol, and there have been quite a few over the years. At times it has cost me my job, relationships, friendships and even more importantly, my self-respect and dignity. I am also undergoing counselling for bereavement and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and have stopped smoking so I am taking on a lot at the same time


Today, immediately after finishing one of my "reduction workshops" I decided to take the drastic step of actually attending an AA meeting in the town where I live. I arrived late and thought they would turn me away but I was welcomed in with open arms. I sat and listened to the few speakers I arrived in time to catch and every single word of what I heard inspired me.


As the meeting drew to a close, the leader asked if anyone else had anything else to say? I was nervous as it was my first ever meeting but seeing as I had made the effort to go there, and late at that, I slowly raised to my feet and uttered those words you never imagine will come out of your mouth. "My name is Shelly and I am an Alcoholic"..... I explained I had been in a different kind of program to theirs (in AA, abstinence is the only way) but I told them it was my first ever meeting and got a round of applause, which made me cry in front of them all.


As the meeting came to a close, I was surrounded by all the attendees whom all gave me their phone numbers on the spot. Suddenly I had about 10 sponsors and was surrounded by support and love, which made me cry again.


So dear readers, I am embarking on a journey that I have no idea when or where it will end. I have no idea if I am strong enough to see this through, but I have taken the first step, which is to admit that I am indeed an alcoholic. And it is therefore the biggest step. I intend to update this blog daily and keep you informed of my progress, or my failures as I am sure there will be relapses along the way.


But if I do fall off the wagon, I will try with every atom of will I still have left to get straight back on it. And if along the way I can inspire others with the same problem then I will have done something even better than helping myself - and that is helping others.


In about 1 hour my favourite team are playing the biggest game of their season, a massive game, and one I would usually already be drunk by now in anticipation. Some friends are coming over and they will all be drinking so my first test is about to start.

Wish me luck.

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Apr 09, 2012
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Shelly - comment part 2
by: Rae

It's clear that you realize how damaging alcohol has been to your life, and as much as it hurts, I think that's a good thing. If you really want to stay sober, which it sounds like you do, I know that you can do it.


I think you will also find that if you continue to attend meetings, you will find a lot of good people who will be there for you and will support you. My friends now are people I met through AA. I still keep in touch with old friends, but for the first year or so I didn't really get together with any of them. That was my own decision - not everyone follows this. I just knew that it was best for me. That's something you will just have to gauge for yourself.

Again, you should be very proud of yourself for deciding to quit drinking and taking the step to go to a meeting! I also want to say - don't expect a relapse. Not everyone relapses. I know a lot of people who have been sober for many years, and decades even, and they have never relapsed. I had 10 months sober and then relapsed - it was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. I thought I could just go back to doing what I wanted, and then go back to meetings and get sober again when I wanted to. When I relapsed, I almost died. I don't take my sobriety for granted anymore, and relapsing is not something that everyone must do!

Congratulations and good luck in everything! Keep us posted!

Rae

Apr 09, 2012
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To Shelly
by: Rae

Hi Shelly,
Thanks for writing in and sharing with us. First of all, I want to say that it is an amazing thing that you have decided to quit drinking. You are right - once you can admit you are an alcoholic, you become open to accepting help and dealing with the problem. That's not to say it's going to be easy, but it's great that you are open to help.


You should be really proud of yourself! 1 day or 1000 days - every day you stay sober is something to be proud of.


I can relate a lot to what you are saying about religion and a higher power. I was hesitant to attend AA meetings as well, for that exact reason. What I needed to realize was that there was a lot more to AA than the talk of higher power or God. The truth is, I still don't know exactly what I believe in. I do know that AA and the people that I met through AA helped me stay sober and made my life a lot less miserable while doing it as well. I met a lot of really great people through AA and they have been there for me through all of my problems, whether it was related to drinking or just life in general.


I wished for a long time that I could go back to being a normal drinker and wished that I wouldn't have to stay sober and go to AA meetings anymore. What I realized though is that I never really drank normally, and I didn't want to. I needed to find a way to embrace sobriety, and for me, this was through AA. I can't say that AA is the only way to stay sober, but it is something that I think can be incredibly helpful. It sounds like your first meeting was a good experience so I hope you continue to give it a chance!


I don't know if it's harder for men or women to stay sober - I don't think it really matters. It's hard for everyone, but it's also possible for everyone. Every part of my life was filled with people and activities that revolved around alcohol. I knew that if I wanted to stay sober, I had to change this. It can be hard to change all of your friends and the people you hang out with. It is hard to find new things to do and it is hard to stay sober. But it is possible, and it's something that I wouldn't change. I don't miss drinking - I don't miss the way it made me feel and the things it made me do.

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