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Abstaining from alcohol.

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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby hench on Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:11 am

mrcancelled wrote:Image


solid gold...
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby offal on Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:19 am

Fuck yeah, Hench!

I’m about three weeks in to a break from alcohol. Started as a “why not?” experiment to kind of check in on some things, with no other goal than to dry out for a month to see what happens. It’s been really interesting.

    The easy days have been easier than I thought.

    The “Well today sucked – I’m having a beer” nights have occurred, but holding off wasn’t as difficult as I thought.

    I’ve lost 10 pounds.

    I am generally feeling cleaner and clearer.

    I am a bit less lazy.

    I’ve actually picked up a guitar to noodle around for the first time in a long while.

    The main question I was trying to answer -- to determine how much booze might be exacerbating my depression or not – suggests I might have been onto something. I was skeptical how much difference this would make, since I’ve cut way back on drinking since becoming a parent. But even modest amounts of alcohol affect things differently now that I’m in my early 40s.

    Eliminating one vice has made me focus on others, and I have been more aware of when I am seeking distractions or some form of numbing behavior to deal with stress. I am realizing that drinking per se probably isn’t THE problem, but is one method of many I have used to deal with shit in ways that are not serving things well. So I have a lot more work to do.

Not sure where this will go. The experiment ends next week, and I am debating having a drink over Labor Day weekend to evaluate drink from a new perspective. I know I can easily have a few beers and walk away, but I’m not sure yet if I want to. We’ll see. Kind of taking it day by day. But I’ve seen enough at this point to know that even if I do return to drink, it’s going to be scaled back even further, like once a month, or birthdays and anniversaries or something.

Very grateful for this thread. You folks are top-notch.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby offal on Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:22 am

Following up: Went dry for a month, as mentioned above. Felt really positive about the whole thing. Had a couple beers over Labor Day, and ended up not really enjoying it. Tried another the next day, got about halfway through one beer and stopped. Last week I had a beer at home, and was pretty underwhelmed.

So yeah. Something has shifted. Even a hint of an alcohol buzz feels uncomfortable now. Dry feels right for the time being.

Onward!
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby n.c. on Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:54 am

just passed 5 years. no big thing at this point. still, 5 years is a hell of a landmark. the big V.

getting my shit together in my studio, balancing a kid, work, recording, the grow, i'd be melting down if i was still drinking, strike that, i'd be dead by now.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby garthplinko on Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:34 pm

5475 days into this sobriety thing.

I've been through
- two marriages
- one divorce
- two whole house moves, the most recent one more hellish than the last
- the death of the most beloved pet
- completing my degree (after almost washing out due to inability drag my ass to class in the morning)
- job switching
- Ten years of student loan payments

None of the above would have been any easier had I continued to try to maintain my drinking/drug use. I'm lucky. I had a lot of help. I'm in love with my wife and have good people in my life along with the support, love, and trust of my family. It hasn't always been easy but for me I don't feel like I had any other choice.

I constantly see people who are suffering and not able to see how maybe drinking/drugs are not the cause of their problems, but they certainly severely hamper their ability to deal with them at their best. Not just money and material problems but things like depression and anxiety.

If I could say anything to any of those people, I'd just say "maybe try taking a break for a while and see how it goes" or "if the idea of going an entire day without a drink seems impossible (or even just awful), it might be time to examine this as a potential problem" or "can you have one drink in a day and just be ok with that or does it take 'white-knuckles' to get through?"

Instead, I just do my own thing and try my best not to be an asshole as well as be available so I can help others if they want it.

I dunno, it's a good life. I'm lucky and grateful to have it - especially when way, way too many of the people I used to run around with are miserable or dead.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby jbar on Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:42 am

Went sober for like 7 months last year, picked back up after a pretty terrible breakup. After the death of my grandmother, I've really been hitting it hard. Last night was really rough for whatever reason. I called "the" hotline and stuff. Ithink it's time to give it up for good. Not sure what a concentrated effort looks like there. Help?
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Riff Magnum on Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:34 pm

jbar wrote:Went sober for like 7 months last year, picked back up after a pretty terrible breakup. After the death of my grandmother, I've really been hitting it hard. Last night was really rough for whatever reason. I called "the" hotline and stuff. Ithink it's time to give it up for good. Not sure what a concentrated effort looks like there. Help?



You got anyone if your life you can talk to about it? Doesn't have to be someone in recovery, but that really helps. I was really tempted the other day, but called my bassist instead and talked it through. Bought a bag of peanut m&ms instead. Food........the final frontier.
Anyways, besides talking to someone, I've found meditation, exercise, and diet(did i mention M&Ms?) to be huge. Not just for quitting drinking, but for basically helping everything in life. If you start to feel weak, just do a quick 10 minute mediation session and then go for a long run/walk, or whatever activity you enjoy. By the time you get home and clean up, maybe eat something, you'll be ready to go to bed. Works for me, but of course everyones different.
Don't rule out going to a meeting. They work.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Boombats on Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:21 pm

jbar wrote:Went sober for like 7 months last year, picked back up after a pretty terrible breakup. After the death of my grandmother, I've really been hitting it hard. Last night was really rough for whatever reason. I called "the" hotline and stuff. Ithink it's time to give it up for good. Not sure what a concentrated effort looks like there. Help?

Gonna post some major things that helped me, everyone else feel free to add to this list.

1. Tell the important people in your life that you want to quit. This will both make it harder for you to backslide, and will put your support system on watch. It also helps those around you to be more patient with you if you get irritable and/or are struggling with anything non-sobriety-related.

2. Tell the party pals that you are taking a vacation from that life. Don't worry about their reactions; the good ones will support you and the shitty ones can fuck off.

3. Pick a day, ideally one with a significance or at least an easy-to-remember date. That's not super important but some day you will look at that date with pride, so it's worth considering. I'm not suggesting putting it off, but if you haven't quit yet then you have to set a deadline. I was going to quit on the 4th of July, but by the 2nd I was ready and didn't want to wait a couple of days, especially since the 4th is such a drinky day that I was afraid I might kill the brain cells needed to maintain my resolution. I exited gently instead of having a dramatic last huzzah, and I think I benefited from that.

4. Stop for real. If you are deep in the chemical dependency then you will need to wean yourself off to avoid bad withdrawal symptoms. As I said above, having one last blast might not be a good idea. Do what's best for your body, because after all this is all happening TO it. Your body doesn't get a fair say in the decision making process, and now is the time to rectify that.

5. Have appropriate expectations of yourself. This means not making things harder than they need to be. We do that because we want to fail and confirm that we are weak shitty people. If you try to go to a bar just to hang out, or even try to walk down the beer aisle of the supermarket too soon, then you're setting yourself up to lose. Only enter battles you think you can win, at least at this stage of the game. Losing means relapsing, so if you don't want to lose then don't take unnecessary risks.

6. Remember that friends and social circles do not always have your best interests in mind. Other people may get jealous of your newfound freedom, or just feel rejected by you because you can't afford to hang out. They want you to reinforce their beliefs, affirm their social status, and justify their own behavior. That's not your job. Your job is to stay alive, nurture your body, and find true happiness. Real friends will still be there once you're ready to socialize in a hostile environment again, and there is no official deadline for you to do that.

7. This is related to #6: BOUNDARIES. You will have to learn to assert yourself to maintain boundaries. Acquaintances will try to push through them; "Just have one drink with me mate!" "Come to my show at the brewpub, I'm DJing!" Fuck that shit. Avoid people who do not respect your boundaries. When we immerse ourselves in drinking culture, we tend to forget the importance of boundaries because alcohol dissolves them. Boundaries are healthy. This also goes back to #5, which means that you have to limit your exposure to those people and those situations where boundaries get trampled.

8. Reconnect with anything from your childhood that you found happiness in. We tend to put that stuff in storage when we get older, partly because we think we're too cool for it. Sobriety is fruitless without joy. Music is the best, but we get so goal-oriented that if we don't get the success we desire then we can use that as an excuse to backslide. Just seek play for play's sake. This can be hard to do around our current peers, but if you can't stand being alone then find some nerds or other goofy but genuine people who do social activities that don't involve ritual self-abuse.

I'm sure there is a lot more but I gotta head out of the office now. Good luck!
Last edited by Boombats on Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby jbar on Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:21 pm

Thanks everyone. First night without a beer or six is pretty ok.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby offal on Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:54 am

Salut, on that post, Boombats. Solid advice.

One pretty simple thing I've found that helps is to recognize how much I enjoyed the "ritual" of drinking sometimes more than the drinking itself. Things like having drinks while cooking, or after band practice, meals with friends -- you'll have no problem finding your own examples. Anyway, I indulge the "ritual" with fizzy water, near beer (I know some folks here might disagree with me on this one, and I absolutely respect that), coffee, tea, whatever -- and for me it goes a long way.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Riff Magnum on Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:55 am

offal wrote:Salut, on that post, Boombats. Solid advice.

One pretty simple thing I've found that helps is to recognize how much I enjoyed the "ritual" of drinking sometimes more than the drinking itself. Things like having drinks while cooking, or after band practice, meals with friends -- you'll have no problem finding your own examples. Anyway, I indulge the "ritual" with fizzy water, near beer (I know some folks here might disagree with me on this one, and I absolutely respect that), coffee, tea, whatever -- and for me it goes a long way.



The ritual is pretty much half the battle with me too. I've had to employ the perrier and O'douls "hack" on a few early occasions: concerts, PPV's, baseball games, my bands gigs. That was like the first 6 months of sobriety, but since then I haven't had to do that. I think some people on here disagreed with me about that, but I honestly don't think it's a big deal to do some "substitution" when you're really feeling weak. I mean that's pretty much what everyone is doing every minute of the day right? Half the people I knew at AA were smoking pot, so if I'm using exercise and meditation as a "crutch" then so be it. As an addict I can totally get addicted to anything, even super positive productive things. I say whatever it takes to keep from falling off the wagon as long as you keep your eye on the long term goal of a balanced and honest approach to your life.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby jbar on Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:45 pm

Two really rough weeks. Another death in the family, drama with my shithead of a roommate, lot of disappointment at work.

I don't remember being this uncomfortable every second of the day.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby Boombats on Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:57 pm

jbar wrote:Two really rough weeks. Another death in the family, drama with my shithead of a roommate, lot of disappointment at work.

I don't remember being this uncomfortable every second of the day.

Well you may not have been numbing all those feelings with alcohol, I don't know your personal habits. But just not having it as a fallback, coping mechanism can itself lead to more intense and raw feelings.

You will eventually develop greater tolerance for emotional pain, but you have to give it a lot of time and go easy on yourself in the meantime, especially since life is clearly not going easy on you.

Good luck and take care
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby jbar on Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:04 pm

Thanks 'Bats. I'm trying!
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby the finger genius on Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:26 pm

Someone in my wife's direct family who had many years of sobriety (or had the whole family completely fooled, which is entirely possible) has recently fallen on very hard times, and no longer seems to want to stay clean. This has sucked hard for my wife and her family, and she's handled it like a fucking champ. It's also been a constant reminder that my own sobriety (and probably everyone's) is more fragile than I realize, and should not be taken for granted.

On that note, I went to an annual social / alumni gathering tonight which I have not done since 2004, I think. On that occasion I got so trashed that my then girlfriend / now wife gave me a bit of an ultimatum, and I mostly stopped drinking (took a few more years 'til I really decided on my own that it was not for me, and I haven't had a drink since 2011.)

I sometimes take for granted how much better my life has gotten since I've stopped drinking. Tonight was a nice reminder that things are good, and could be really shitty.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby bumble on Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:00 am

What up, Day 7.

Moderation just always accelerates into a rolling trash can fire without me noticing it. Raccoons are hanging off of it, screeching, while wildebeest charge away from it in terror.

Some of the research I've read says dopamine just keeps wanting and wanting its reward, regardless of receiving it or not. Which makes sense to me.


I gave up caffeinated coffee a few months ago and my stress is a lot better. Though it may seem odd, I feel like coffee and alcohol go hand in hand with my weirdo spaz brain.

Also, I just got into a very challenging Master's program (oh shiiiiiit) and need to set myself up for success.

Okay!
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby jbar on Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:17 pm

First week was hard for me Bumble. Glad you made it. You ever need to talk, GAMYF.

I'm at something like 5 weeks now. I'm sort of an emotional wreck for a lot of reasons, but it's nice to have a clear head through all of it.

I find myself chugging La Croix like there is no tomorrow. Seriously, it completely replaces the mouth feel of beer for me. My last beer was a Montucky Cold Snack. I feel like the transition to La Croix was facilitated by this.

Big, big fuckin THANKS to those of you who have stepped in to lend a hand or ear.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby bumble on Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:43 am

Yesterday, I was feeling anxious, as though a dense fog was inhabiting my chest. All day.

Shocker, I know, that spazzy me is anxious and weird. QUIET.

I'm supposed to be drafting this Big Deal Paper for my boss and I feel inadequate and/or intimidated or something. Avoidant? All of the above? Beats me.

Then The Orange Child was being herself (reincarnated Bette Davis) and I felt really overwhelmed.

Anyway, this is the exact sort of moment a glass of wine or three would have been my usual. Alcohol affects GABA just as Xanax does, reducing anxiety.

So instead I handed off Ms. Diva Thing to her dad, listened to a really stupid spy book, and fell asleep at like 8 god damn pee emm while listening to a guided meditation on the Calm app.

I'm *really* going to need some better options, especially when March rolls around and my new Master's program starts. And I'm going to a conference for a week.

March is going to suck.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby andyman on Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:52 pm

You might hate hearing this, but exercise is the only way I know of to wipe stress without drinking...

Apart from eating a kilogram of chocolate, of course.
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Re: Abstaining from alcohol.

Postby matt_stevens on Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:47 pm

Hey Bumble, I'll second the exercise recommendation - after I stopped drinking my anxiety went off the deep end and it took me a few months to get things under control. I found that yoga helped a lot as it was both physically exhausting and meditative. I've not been doing that for a while but I still feel much better when I'm active, I've been doing more swimming recently.

My other coping mechanism was to keep the freezer well stocked with large quantities of ice cream.
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