Whatever you have in your mind – forget it;
Whatever you have in your hand – give it;
Whatever is to be your fate – face it!
~ One Sufi`s saying
So it’s not exactly news but I’m taking a step back from “Social Media”, with the exception of my blog that is of course 🙂
Less of a step back, more of a big jump!
No friends to show…
I think I’ve had my feet in the past for too long, and it was very weird ‘unfriending’ everyone, including my family on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I suppose in the real world I wouldn’t call most of those people. None of them were there helping me when I first decided to quit drinking and get sober.
The people who I do talk to either aren’t on Facebook or it won’t matter that I’m no longer there.
In the past I’d spend maybe 20 minutes a day on Facebook 5-7 days a week, browsing updates and occasionally following links to recommended articles. Occasionally I’d comment on status updates or links but most of my Facebook time was passive surfing of photos and updates about weekend antics of others. Harmless enough, right?
No, not any more. My time is valuable to me and the more I thought about what I was getting out of Facebook the more I realised it was a one-sided conversation. Or I’d post something to massage my ego, not connecting in the real world, not sharing just wasting time keeping up with people I would never call on the phone or invite over for a coffee.
I want more from my friends than status updates. I want to give my friends more than status updates.
My social life is still a mess. I haven’t carved out a new sober social life yet, it will come, I have to believe that. But it isn’t going to magic up itself and it certainly isn’t going to turn up via Facebook.
Facebook wasn’t enriching my life. The photos of people’s pets were nice to see but they didn’t replace petting them for real; seeing what my Ex’s were up to was interesting, but not helping anyone and if I reflect on it, none of my business any more. Twenty ‘likes’ on a photo of me and my son rang false. Not one of them called me to find out how I’m coping with not seeing him every day.
I’d post a cryptic number…my days sober so far, a couple of question marks in comments but nothing more. So I’ve given up all Facebook friends, the majority of whom I don’t have or want the phone number of, to focus on the people in the real world I want to talk to but never do.
The 20 minutes a day, or roughly 2 hours a week, or over 4 days a year, I spent on Facebook can now be used for better connections.
Part of me is still thinking “What have I done”!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I want a real life, in the real world, with real people. Being sober is just my first huge step towards a new life, but I do think this little step, is definitely in the right direction and it will force me to engage with people I want to know about. Likewise it will be interesting to see if anyone even notices I’m gone!
Time past is gone forever, and we can never go back to it.
We cannot expect to control addiction by a return to measures which may have worked for a time in the past. Those methods eventually failed, and trying them again will only bring us to the same point of failure.
The only way to avoid repetitious failure is to move forward creatively.
Each day is a new creation, and each day brings new lessons and opportunities. We build on what is past, but we do not need to repeat it.
Moving forward involves risking what is unknown. The old, familiar rut, depressing as it is, is a known quantity. Moving out of it requires that we have courage and that we trust in One who knows and cares.
To move on, we must act. Insights do not produce growth until they are accompanied by specific actions.
I’ve been quiet for a while now, just “getting on with it”, but the last couple of days I’ve been struggling again. I guess it’s to be expected, ups and downs, times when I don’t think about drinking, to times like tonight when I want a drink, a large glass of red and a spiff, or something stronger.
I need to work out why. Today I should be ok…nothing bad happened. I went for a run…my longest run yet and I’m doing a half marathon in 4 weeks today. Something I never thought I could do. All god eh. All positive strides. But tonight it’s hard. So I was looking for inspiration and the Internet.
In the past I used to watch “21” which is awesome. And whilst it helps me to remember, and helps me to maintain my sobriety it doesn’t make me feel better tonight.
I want to run away, to escape, but not tonight. I can’t and then I found another video…I guess the story here is to never give up and that’s what I need to hear right now.
AA didn’t cut it for me yesterday, it wasn’t a great meeting and whilst I tried to connect, to find similarities in the Chair and shares, I couldn’t. Somehow I feel blocked and unable to connect with anyone or anything at the moment.
I think travelling alone with work has isolated me and made me too self-reliant. And when I have moments of gloom and doom such as now that isolation haunts me. The irony there is how I used to isolate myself drinking.
It seems I have a long way to go yet, and a lot more to learn. For now I am just happy that there are others out there posing, blogging, making videos, writing poetry. All of it is there to inspire and change my mood. I used to look to booze to change my mood, to dull life and now that has gone I either have to face up to those demons or find a different way.
Tomorrow I’ll self-analyse, work out what’s gong on, and what to do about it. But for now it’s the Internet of Things for me …and an early night.
Sober. Abstinent. No booze, no drugs, no medication of any kind. I feel this way for a reason and the only way forward is to accept it, ride it out and learn from it.
SOBER // Short Documentary
For years I was a member of ‘MM‘. Looking back it was a time when I knew I probably drank too much, but never thought I was an alcoholic. Not me, never me…no way was I THAT bad….I just liked a few, nothing wrong with that…
But the mere fact I was a member of Moderation Management, or MM as it’s members refer to it speaks volumes. But there are now detractors, and there are advocates.
I sit in the middle. As a previous member I experienced first hand how it helped many people, many individuals who wanted help and support, but like me at the time preferred the anonymity of online support, the 25/7 availability of someone to chat to…and it worked. Up to a point.
It’s funny, just as I am writing this I have logged back in and some familiar names are still there on the forums, posting good advice. But for me, and many like me it wasn’t enough. I used to think it was but I could never figure out why I found moderation so hard. I failed miserably for years to moderate happily.
I did 30’s…well ok, I did one once about 5 years ago, the month my son was born. But that was the last time I didn’t drink for any length of time until I stopped completely. So, does MM work?
Not for me. But I was saddened to read of the founders suicide. And whatever is written about peiople who try to moderate, or stop completely; I don’t think it’s right to say one way works, and another doesn’t. Or that every drinker should moderate, or someone who can, or is trying to moderate is fooling themselves. In my mind Audrey was just someone who tried to help people who drank to much.
For her and others like her I am grateful. Without her, and MM I’d never have gotr to where I am today. Maybe I would actually…but it would have been because I hit rock bottom hard, not because of a slow gradual awareness that later became a spiral.
So here is an article from http://www.substance.com/ about her…read it and judge for yourself:
The untimely passing of Audrey Conn (formerly Kishline), who took her own life last month, prompts some troubling questions about why our culture promotes fear of “addicts” who attempt moderation.
Conn founded the Moderation Managementprogram in 1994, wishing to start a group that did not differentiate between an “alcoholic” and a problem drinker. Yet after media scrutiny and questions about her motives, she eventually changed to believing there was such a difference. In January 2000 she declared that moderation wasn’t the best goal for her, and that she would instead begin attending abstinence-based programs including Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery. In March of that year, she crashed her car after driving the wrong way down a highway in Washington state while three times over the drunk driving limit, killing a man and his 12-year-old daughter.
Media condemnation ensued, and the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) pronounced it “a harsh lesson for all of society, especially those individuals who collude with the media to continually question abstinence-based treatment.” Conn served three and a half years in prison.
Many people feel a need to confront the “denial” of people like Conn (even though at the time of her crash, she was attempting abstinence, not moderation), to make them “see the light.”
Yet evidence ranging from the recent NESARC study back to the work of the Sobells in the early ‘70s indicates that moderation isn’t just possible, but often probable. People who drank problematically in college, for example, frequently find that family fulfillment and career opportunities lead them down a long-term path of reduced, safer drinking—we all know people whose lives fit such patterns.
Extreme binge drinking in college is often regarded indulgently. But for people who have instead been labeled, at any point in life, with the diagnostic moniker of “alcoholic,” “addict” or “chemically dependent,” a moderation outcome is often not seen as permissible. Our culture finds it necessary to confront and sometimes even ridicule diagnosed people like Audrey Conn who try moderation. Why is this?
A clear delineation between “addict” and “normie” can be comforting. Blurred, nuanced differences in behavior, on the other hand, pose a worrying question.
I believe that when diagnosed people show themselves capable of moderation, it blurs the line we draw between “normal” and addicted, between society and the marginalized. And this frightens a lot of people who need to see themselves as “normal.”
A clear delineation between “addict” and “normie” can be comforting. I’m not one of them, we tell ourselves, so I must be fine. Blurred, nuanced differences in behavior, on the other hand, pose a worrying question: Is what I’m doing OK?
In this way, the “addict” concept is a representation of society’s own denial—the idea of the diseased and abnormal addict shields most of us from having to explore our own relationships with addictive behaviors.
The French philosopher and social researcher René Girardposited that the scapegoat is the end result of a cultural “mimesis,” or imitation, of what is considered “good” (or desirable). What others show us is “good,” becomes “good” to us. Yet if we all went for the same thing, violence would break out and community survival would be threatened. To explain why everyone cannot have the “good,” society creates the scapegoat, refocusing its members’ hostility against one another onto something or someone else. And the “addict”—incarcerated in huge numbers, blamed for crime, the spread of disease, constant lying and much more—is certainly one kind of scapegoat in our society.
This is not to say that addiction does not exist and cause great harm, or is simply a matter of insufficient willpower. It is, however, something we all get caught up in. You find something (or, sometimes, someone) that makes you feel instantly better, and you want that feeling again. So you repeat whatever it is you did before, again and again and again. But is this really a disease? Something only a few people are capable of? Addictive behaviors manifest themselves in our lives as a response to something that we all face: an existence that often feels overwhelming and absurd.
The belief in an all-or-nothing version of addiction is a crutch that allows us to feel like we can deal with our world, that we can control things that deep down we know we have no control over. Just as we dehumanize people who commit terrible crimes, despite evidence that they’re more like the rest of us than we think, to avoid having to place ourselves in the same category as them, we also carry on marginalizing, separating “addicts” from the rest of us.
DSM-5, the 2013 edition of the psychiatrists’ bible, has finally come to regard substance use disorders as existing on a spectrum, with a range of different levels of severity. But wider society is still not ready for the truth that there is no definitive difference between “addicts” and everyone else, that addiction is just an extreme form of normality.
Until that changes, our attempts to help people who are experiencing addiction will remain fraught with difficulty. And many more people like Audrey Conn will feel our anger for denying us our crutch.
It’s fair to say the last few days have to be really tough for me but I’ve got through them and haven’t had a drink, so it is possible!
And these last few weeks have been tough, it’s also exactly this time last year I hit my ‘rock bottom’ moment so actually I’m pleased I have come through it. It’s been worse than the obvious challenge of Christmas and New Tear (deliberate spelling).
It’s not been easy and some might say I’ve kind of cheated. I took tranquillisers (Diazepam), devoured packets of biscuits, chocolates, fizzy drinks, you name it. And when it got really bad I just went to bed!
I took two days off work sick and I got up late and when it hit me, I just went to bed at lunchtime and slept and I got through it.
Today is another day and it’s encouraged me to make some changes but not in a New Years resolution way, but in additions to the ones I’ve already outlined before.
I’m going to start looking for a new job, and move out of this town that has so many memories. Maybe even move out of this country. Maybe it wont happen, but it definitely wont happen if I don’t look.
New beginnings sometimes need drastic changes and although I am wary of rushing in to anything; I have a whole new sober life ahead of me, why not shed off the past completely.
Profanity alert throughout this post…..
As if I wasn’t having a hard enough time, I have just had some extra tough news piled on me. Again.
Not news that is about health, illness, death…no. Worse. To me.
I know about perspective, I know there is an awful lot of heartache, shit, sickness and pain and suffering in this world and I should count my blessings. Except the worlds pain doesn’t hurt right now. Mine does.
If I was ill, if I had suffered a bereavement it would be easier. I apologise to others who might be offended by that. But I have just heard that access to my four year old son is now going to be restricted, by his mother who is moving in with another man. And ‘it’s no longer convenient’ for me to visit to see him as much.
Now I don’t post much about my personal situation, preferring instead to maintain careful anonymity, but fuck it. I need to write this down. Not because I need an answer from anyone. I just need to vent.
I live in the UK, and my baby boy was taken away to another country, and I still visit about 10 times a year. He has been a huge motivation for my drinking…..and my decision to stop drinking. It’s an emotional roller-coaster I’m just not equipped to cope with. I never have been able to cope with emotions…lots of old history and shit there…but fuck the past. It’s now I am working on, and it’s just taken a turn for the worse…big time.
Two Diazepam in, and I still can’t find perspective with which to view this.
That is now ‘inconvenient’ to the mother. I am not angry at her…I probably should be, but I can’t change her life decisions. I’m hurt and angry at life and I can’t dull that by getting fucking smashed… And I really want to. Again.
Emotional fucking torture, or at least it feels like it right now. Fuck, fuck, fuck and fuck.
And that means the end of our visits to the playgrounds down the road from the flat his mum lives in, that I can crash in with him. I buy food and pay my way, and cook and clean and make a real effort to ‘keep the peace’ with all; biting my tongue when needed, being accommodating to my hosts wishes but it’s the end…of the sweet routines me and my son have built up over the last 3 years…the happy things we could do like cooking together, …too many things to mention.
I’ve done this before…having to rock up in a foreign country with a rucksack, with a few small meagre toys with me and a couple of books; he deserves so much more and I can offer so much more. But I can’t afford hotels, the best I can do is a hostel and that’s no place I want to take my boy for time with his Dad.
I can do it…but it’s a huge step back in what we can do together. And there is more. Of course there is more.
But I’m not drinking, I’m not drinking, I’m not drinking…
I’m sitting alone in a hotel on my own having just said goodbye to my boy…I’m in a hotel as I’m now travelling for work. Alone, miserable and yes there is a free mini bar available.
But fear not, I will not drink tonight. I will use everything else in my power not to succumb tonight
- Coke (Cola type)
- Avoiding thinking (not doing so well on that one)
No AA meetings are possible until Friday, no counselling until Wednesday eve…but I can do this…I can do this sober.
Eight months abstinent and I’m struggling. I’ve come up against a series of ‘situations’ for want of a better word, that individually wouldn’t shake my resolution to remain abstinent.
But all together they have. I have found myself fantasising about how great it would be just to walk into a pub and get absolutely hammered. And do that day after day until ‘someone’ (there is no-one) rescues me.
Except no-one will. It wont happen like that.
So why do I fantasise about it. Why does that complete abandonment to staying abstinent hold a fascination and temptation for me? I’ve been through so much…why do I feel like I want to forget all this hard work and give in to temptation.
Like I say…I’m struggling. But I’m aware….and I’m not giving up just yet.
Ok, so first off this is not my post but is from ‘A Girl Called Jack‘ who I follow for foodie tips normally. She’s not in recovery…but is doing a ‘dry January’ and so wrote this post. I tried it and it’s lovely!
p.s. I’m going through triggers, triggers, triggers moments right now and it’s the anniversary of the alcoholic meltdown which prompted me onto this path…so more posts about me and my recovery once “I’m through”. I can’t write about it now. Long story..too hard. Will do in about a week…
So, to the non-alcoholic drink:
As a new year has rolled in, one of my resolutions was to try to be a little healthier – starting with Dry January, or no booze for a month! Seeing we spent the new year on a very pretty holiday exploring Up North and the Lake District, my Dry Jan didn’t start until yesterday. That also means no booze in cooking for me for 30 days too, so maybe holding off the casseroles and risottos for a bit – waa!
One of my favourite restaurants in London to grab a spot of lunch at, take friends, or have meetings these days is Duck Soup in Soho, on Dean Street. Their sister restaurant, RawDuck, in Hoxton, has a VERY interesting drinks menu comprising ‘vinegar sodas’. I remembered this this morning, casting around for something interesting to drink and landing on the vinegar shelf in the kitchen (my Mrs is a chef, what can I say, our vinegar collection is frankly ridiculous. Yours needn’t be quite so frivolous, a simple red or cider will do most jobs for you.)
Anyway, eyes landed on the vinegar shelf, vague memory of RawDuck bonkers drinks enu came back to me, and remembering how PACKED the place was when I popped my head in, I figured they were onto a good thing. Various friends tell me that it’s good for digestion, glowing skin, all round gut health – (don’t we all hear a bit too much about our ‘gut health’ this time of year? Sorry to come over all Gillian McKeith on you…) – and so I gave it a go. And really, really liked it. So here’s a brief not-really-a-recipe recipe if I’ve just about talked you into trying it…
10ml (2 tsp) cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, 2p*
300ml soda water, 3p*
First measure your vinegar into a glass – I like a nice tall one, but any will do. Add a little ice, if liked, and top up with sparkling water. And that’s it! You can vary your vinegars if you like, our abundant shelf of exotic and wonderful vinegars includes a damson vinegar from the Lake District and a Georgia Peach and White Balsamic from Los Angeles – but start with a cider, a white, or a red if you’re on a budget, or go mad in the vinegar aisle if you’re not…
Later in the day we tried it with tonic water instead of soda water, which gives it a bit more of an edge, but also a happy replacement for a gin and tonic… “Fancy a V&T, love?”
We know that a totally new life can begin on any day of a year, at any hour of the day, or at any moment of an hour. That new life began the moment we decided to surrender and admit to powerlessness over a substance or an impulse. It began when we accepted the fact that we needed help and could receive it simply by asking.
Many of us used to choose New Year’s Day as a time for making good resolutions and swearing off bad habits. When we failed, we simply shrugged and said, “Maybe I can start tomorrow, next week – or next New Year’s Day.” We were always going to “turn over a new leaf.”
Now, in recovery, we no longer depend on doing it all alone. We know we can stay abstinent only by sharing with fellow members.
Let me remember, each day in recovery is another milestone. I no longer have to use a calendar.
by H. Jackson