Many of my dear friends here at DS wanted to know how I have maintained 13 years of alcohol free and 14 years of drug free sobriety with no slips. What i've been thru, etc. So i have tried to think of how to put it in words and without having to tell the story over and over - a way i can share with all you at one time. Well, first off, I wake knowing each day I CAN slip and I make a daily effort not too. I had 10 years of sobriety when i started attending drug adn alcohol education and relapse classes, with my now ex-husband, as these classes were part of his conditions for parole. I actually learned at that time, that i had been on "dry drunk" that I had only sustained abstince from drinking and drugging but never addressed the issues of "why" talk about a freaking bombshell and blow to my pride of sobriety- in fact I almost started drinking, even bought a beer opened it and said what the "f" if's it's all been for naught - then what's the purpose? I didn't drink it though, i poured it out, continued to attend the classes - even after my now ex- was no longer required to go and I really listened and did the work and it was HARD - i couldn't believe what i was hearing, i learned so much about myself and my addictions. i never did attend AA, but in this classes and understanding my sobriety, i did learn i was co-dependent and i did attend ala non for a while as my now ex never really did stop drinking, sorta stopped drugging, but never stopped drinking (do you have any idea how hard it is to stay sober when your significant other is also an addict and an active addict at that) Over the years I really learned about myself, my weaknesses, my pains, my anger, friends, triggers and enviroments. I had to learn to remove myself from a circle of friends, to change the enviroments which i put myself in and recognize triggers, face reality of pains and learn to manage my anger. For me TRIGGERS were everything. Since i began drinking at 15 my whole life was a trigger. But I truly found, that triggers for me were as noticable as the food i ate, tv shows i watched, things i drank (such as soft drinks - i still don't drink today, as when i drink a coke, i want crown to go with it, when I drink seven up i want seagrams to go with it) so i changed EVERYTHING i did. i still do NOT go to parties where alcohol is served - believe it or not i know my weaknesses. i can smell alcohol a mile away now. i do attend church and I do take communion and in the Lutheran Church it's real wine - nothing different even for alcoholics - i pray to God each time before i take communion as this is VERY VERY HARD - for me - but with God's grace, I've never stopped by the beer store on the way home from church. Most of the people i used to hang with know i don't drink and over time,they've grown to respect that. Now, i can be around people who drink, i don't like to be, but i can, about a month ago i actually walked into a bar for the 1st time in 13 years and drank water all night - that was a very creepy feeling for me, even after 13 years - that is NOT something i can do or want to do frequently - i just can't, it won't be long before i change from water to wine to beer to tequila i know myself too well. i am just now starting to listen to my favorite rock music again, as for years i could not - as it was a trigger - Country music for me is a trigger - Food, such as chili is a trigger as when i eat chili i want beer - it took me a while to learn about my triggers and changing my entire lifestyle, but i have. Before i was self-employed, i would not go out with co-workers after work, i would not attend company parties and if the boss didn't like - then fire my ass, i didn't care, i am not putting myself in an enviroment where i am weak! If an old "friend" doesn't want to accept it then so be it, my sobriety is more important to me than their so-called friendship. Enviroment are also a trigger for me, I can attend events such as rodeos, carnivals and fairs i can do that, but small social gatherings at people's homes, including holiday visits with family (well they are all dead now, but in the past) I can't and WON'T do, i am to the point that i am not WORRIED aboutwhat others think, i am only concerned with what God thinks and i feel about myself. i haven't been to a rock concert in 13 years, well for a while i did work security at teh concerts but you can't drink when you are working so it wasn't the same as "attending" for me in fact, i have my doctors flagged in my medical records to be very cautious about prescribing any pain medication - as i wasnt' a pill head i was a coke user and many other drugs - but pain pills are a trigger for me - so i am very very cautious about pain medications or any other medications i take - i will not drink Nyquil as that's alcohol with it's on personal shot glass, i am very leary about what cough syrups i do take, i would rather use cough drops when possible - I am truly a very weak person when it comes to my addictions - i just have learned about my triggers, changed my enviroment, changed my habits, changed my friends - changed me and all in all it's helped me maintain sobriety - in all this, i've made a HUGE spiritual journey - even though i had been a christian all my life (yes, in my teen years i challenged God and dabbled with the occult, but i knew better and let it be after a few months). Being sober brought a lot of reality into my life and with that reality came anger, so in addition to my steps for sobriety, i found myself, smack dab in the middle of anger management classes - and boy i never knew how much anger and addiction go hand in hand. I am not a Bible thumper but i am very spiritual and the spiritual journey i will say has actually been harder than the sobriety or anger management - for me - patience, understanding, learning to forgive, not only others but myself, learning to let go and let God, learning to accept and not want, learning to follow my purpose and not be something I want to be, but to be who God wants me to be this has been hard, but it's finally making sense. So to you all my DS friends and those not on my friends list, I am sharing with you in a nut shell about my struggles and battles with sobriety. i truly wish you all the greatest triumphs in your sobriety, I know the pains, struggles the difficulites you each face and that i continue to face on a daily basis. i truly hope with this, i have not offended anyone i am not hear to hurt anyone's feelings or to give the impression that i think i am better a than anyone out there - that's not the case, i just want to share with you my journey and my continuing journey - FYI for the ones of you that don't know, i finally quit smoking pot last october after 28 years of being a daily smoker - i actually have had no problems with this - if it was legal i would be smoking i promise you that - lol, but i made the decision 10-20-07 to stop and i threw everything associated with it away - and haven't looked back - pot is not a weakness for me, but alcohol is, alcohol leads me to cocaine, cocaine leads me to crystal and hydro - when cocaine can't be found (those were names back when i used to use), i was more of alky and coke user than anything and so it's just a domino effect for me. Bless you and and may sobriety bring you a feeling of peace and happiness.
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