Thinking about New Year
My sobriety date should be on the 1st of Jan but like so many others it is not! I can remember promising myself through the Christmas party season that I was definitely going to stop on Jan 1st and I did. I managed a couple of days and then I started again. This process carried on for a while and then I just had enough. I had also been told that I had some liver damage which would get worse. This still did not stop me for a bit, but was a factor. I had stopped before and had managed many periods that ranged from a few days to over a year in my thirties and had even stopped for a month in my twenties, but I always went back. I have now been completely stopped for around eight years.
In my previous attempts I had not dealt with the problems in my lifestyle. I would feel better for a while and get physically healthier, but would do nothing about the things that bothered me or try activities that would bring me new friends. I still went to the pub, and mixed with the old crowd of drinkers. I just drank coke! That was not a good idea. I still smoked, which is also something I stopped shortly after ceasing to drink. I did not work on my fitness, and would often worry about things that might happen or things from the past that I could not change.
I used more resources when I stopped last time. I took it seriously and read everything I could find. After a while I tried AA, and I’m glad I had a bit of sober time before I went there. Although I am often critical of AA and the steps, it did give me a place to go and put me in touch with other people who were in the same position. I became quite competitive with other newcomers, and that helped as well as meeting ex street drinkers, who had really worked hard to overcome major problems in life compared to mine. It put some things in perspective.
I did learn to ask for help in AA and when I faced depression, I saw a Dr and found somebody good to talk to. They were not involved with AA, and gave me fresh ideas. After a while, I felt that AA was holding me back and I compared its members to those people who I admired away from meetings. I kept away from most of the pub crowd this time and viewed them in a different way. I felt sad for many of them. I could feel the benefits of giving up drink and it was not something I missed. I started to view the world in a different way.
Everyone has ups and downs but I seem to have more ups these days. I have a stable lifestyle and am much fitter. This has a positive effect on me mentally. I have built up my self-confidence and changed my self-image. I have never attempted to moderate drinking in spite of having dealt with many of the issues that drove it in the past.
In the last couple of days I have joined this site http://soberistas.com/
It seems to be a really friendly community full of people giving out good advice. It has a forum, a chat room and a good section on books that tend to be non 12 step based. There seem to be a good cross-section of people there, and like any recovery based group there are a lot of newcomers. The site is going to be revamped in some way at the start of the new year, but would be a good place to go if you are interested in recovery and trying different solutions. There seems to be some good general chat and the are interested in all areas of health which is so important in recovery. The healthier you are the less likely you are to want to destroy it with drink. It is a safe place for people to meet and a lot of people offer advice, which can vary depending on their point of view. This gives the person asking the questions, a range of things to think about and is not one-sided like some recovery groups.
I really wanted this site up and running by the new year because it is an important time for many, who make the choice to try to stop at the start of the year. I know that a lot of the site is aimed at people who have left the formal recovery world but it is being found by people looking for alternatives to AA who were drinkers a short while ago and I expected this to happen. A lot of them will not have much support and will not want to join a group. Others will and may not like it. Many will be like me and have a few false starts. I wish them all well. What they are doing is hard. It is important to acknowledge, that most of us had a few false starts. If things go wrong, at least you proved that you could stop for a bit. Next time try to get a bit more time and try to work out what went wrong. It is all a learning process and we all need different approaches. I really like the online groups that are springing up. They are especially important for people who are worried about who they could meet at a meeting or who don’t really want to share in front of a bunch of strangers.Google+