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Complex 03-17-2015 09:51 AM

New member
Well hi all.

Today was day 4 for me.

Pretty hard day really, getting lots of feelings and I don't like them!

I've been in recovery for about 7 years, and most time I've had up is 18 months, which was good, using AA, but very much over it - with busting I have experienced much abusive, questioning, "why did you do it?" type behaviour, I suppose because I am a really nice guy, everyone likes me, I have a great job, and sometimes I sound like I really am getting it, so when I drink some people get frustrated.

I understand them but to be honest, that rigid, self-righteous and "I know what is right for you" attitude really just doesn't help me stay around.

At the moment I'm just recently back to attending NA meetings, which in my area are very gentle and accepting of any addictions, and I'm more interested in recovery than war stories, so that is feeling very good.

However today I was feeling a bit shitty.

I'm a binger so four days to a week is often when I'll just go and drink, smoke tobacco and gamble, often seeking sex too - wow, what a cocktail of escape from oneself.

Recently deleted my online dating accounts and profiles because I realised that was very unhelpful, and in many ways was attempting to get out of myself by seeking a relationship, so that all feels good, but also suddenly leaves me with a lot of time.

Time I would fill in not always by drinking, but sometimes by browsing for the love of my life - interesting how I (and possibly others on dating sites) was trying to somehow control who, how, and when I met "the one" - by dint of writing the most interesting and honest profile, and then going hunting online.

I'm sure this behaviour and the inevitable frustrations when it didn't happen in my time was something I was doing to escape feelings, and eventually when I'd had enough of that I could drink to really escape (and gamble, smoke etc).

Then I'd recover for a few days with guilt, shame and remorse, then eventually do it again, despite knowing full well that this was something I hated doing and did not want to do with my life.

Now, with all this time on my hands I'm feeling a bit lost. Probably need to find a sponsor and I actually have someone in mind, not so much to rigidly guide me through the steps but to just be there for me, and gently help me while I do this.

I can't change my feelings just by thinking pure thoughts, or gratitude, or prayer. Well I probably can, and I will, but it is going to take time, and right now I've just got some small periods of suffering some feelings to get through, with bright spots smattered here and there that hopefully will become longer as I get further away from my last drink.

This afternoon I just felt bad - lots of stuff catching up with me that I've suppressed for a long time, and my feeling of acceptance, and desire to actually make some effort around not acting out has meant that I'm facing these feelings, or sitting with them in a way I've not done for ages.

They revolve around that feeling of an immense void that I feel I'm suspended in, where I can't touch anybody, where love is not available for me (and it feels like this is forever), where the future seems bleak and empty, and where today seems boring and empty.

But, it is not all bad in truth!

I have a great dog, I walk him, he gives me lots of "love" (well, doggy companionship and pack bonding that humans call love); my job is fun, pays well, has me working with nice people usually; my Dad is living with me, which is great - we play scrabble, talk, and.......he has the television on all day!


So here is a feeling moment. I feel annoyed because I don't like to allow the TV, especially the news, to subconsciously be filling my head with shit - that is what I believe it does, and I know for me it affects my mood greatly - it's very important to me to do something quieter like read a book, play my guitar, go for a walk, or talk with someone than have this mindless, noisy thing babbling away in the corner - I've got some feelings about that, and I don't like them but I don't want to drink, hence my reason for getting on this forum!

Dad has COPD (chronic obstructionary pulmonary disease) - emphysema caused by a lifetime of smoking. He nearly died about two months ago from a chest cold, but at least that episode stopped him smoking plus got him on permanent oxygen which he's needed for years, but he's living in my house, so I suppose this affects me too!

I say suppose, because due to my avoiding feelings by looking for stuff outside myself (alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, sex, relationships, holidays) I've become an expert at running from feelings and just getting involved with something else to divert myself from unpleasant things, but now I'm not running away, and boy, do those feelings seem bad!

Haha, just writing all this is actually making me smile - when I started writing I was feeling so down, like I wanted to cry, but I also just felt so dry and empty that I couldn't even do that, but this writing has reinvigorated my humour, which actually is there a lot of the time, and it remember (now that my crappy mood is passing) that today I walked down the street with my dog and felt very happy, and smiled at people, and dimpled inside and felt gratitude for.....just being!

So isn't it funny, how gloom can turn to sunshine so quickly.

As far as Dad goes, he's actually very grateful to be living with me, and I'm sure if I get the courage to just gently discuss my feelings about the TV he will moderate it's use - mostly he's not even watching and if I ask "would it be ok if we turn it off?" he happily obliges, so clearly today was me just feeling frazzled due to it only being day four, and I just wasn't able to sensibly discuss my feelings, so I retreated to my bedroom - yes, I was a bit petulant too, so I need to get over that and just be kind to my Dad who is just a sick old man who is stuck in the house most of the time and actually not too bad at dealing with that!

Of course there's family reactions sometimes due to old ways of behaviour we both have, but if I take care of my stuff, it's amazing how easily Dad (and others) don't need to continue with their reactiveness either.

And my other empty feelings are about past marriages and relationships, and many other potential ones that at least I've had the sense to avoid, knowing that not only was I not ready, but also, for the first time in my life, actually seeing how incompatible we were and making a choice to not go there.

Despite drinking, I was actually changing my attitude towards relationships in some way and though I was desperately wanting one, I wasn't prepared to start a sick one, so that behavioural change will hopefully grow as I get more time up.

And having that unconditional love and support from others who find joy in things other than drinking, smoking, manic relationships, shopping, television, and fearful gossip about some of the bad things in the world is very important to my recovery.

Luckily the groups where I live, AA, and especially NA, smart recovery and one other support group I'm in are full of people who are into that type of joy, so I'm feeling pretty lucky, positive, and ready to embrace this recovery fully.

Good luck to all, hope you find your moments of joy too!


Tryntryagain 03-17-2015 10:18 AM

Good afternoon Complex. Bright blessings to you.

Well ...................what an astonishing post....thank you!

Welcome Complex, you have stumbled on a great big mound of good luck.

From what time i have to take in what you have brilliant eloquised, i intially would suggest "relationships" and your uinderstanding of them, (person>person, you > alcohol, all relationships) are important for you.

I have to say that if it comes to being an expert at "running away from feelings", i run very reasonably priced classes for those that wish to "leg it".....they are called "cant run fast enough eh?" classes. They are extremely popular, although no one turns up funnily enough....apparently the funders dont expect anyone to turn up.....too busy running!


Be peaceful, be healthy and be strong. Loveness to you Complex

Complex 03-17-2015 10:40 AM

Yes, interesting concept - "relationship with alcohol" - on reflection I agree with you.

I developed a relationship with alcohol and other things to substitute for some of the ones I felt I didn't have (mother abandonment stuff too, or inconsistent parenting, lol, probably no surprise there).

I've got some awareness around these issues, but it's only when I don't drink that I get any power to change, accept, grow, and then discover new awarenesses and then more acceptance, change and growth.

Thanks for your kind reply.

SecretTiger 03-17-2015 10:44 AM

Welcome, Complex.

I agree about the TV. I've been so busy recently that I haven't had time to watch it and I haven't missed it one bit. It's also been nice to avoid a lot of the crappy news and pointless shows.

Good luck. There's a load of good advice here.

Complex 03-17-2015 10:52 AM

And another thing......


Yes, it's at the heart of most of my dysfunctional behaviours.

Fear about what might happen, about the uncontrollable and unknowable future, which by my daily poor, or misguided behaviours I inevitably cause to be gloomy.

However if I live in the moment, and don't keep worrying about the future, the future takes care of itself.

Example: I have holidays coming up in two months' time, and I kept worrying about what I will do, where I will go, will I have enough money, will I drink, gamble etc?

So to cope with the worry, I'd drink, smoke, gamble, and therefore when holiday time comes, have no money for a holiday.

The last few days I've changed my thinking and decided to not worry about my holidays, to deal with them when I get there, and suddenly I can see that by holiday time I will have plenty of money to go on holiday.

If I wish. Probably just staying home, doing some local things, sticking close to recovery, and just enjoying the moment will be just as much fun as a geographic holiday, because a geographic holiday is likely to see me alone, bored, lonely, feeling sorry for myself, and then acting out.

A holiday at home can be full of recovery, plus small trips over a few days to visit loved ones, and I can simply alter my perception of holiday to one where I take a holiday from the old me.

That is feeling a lot safer and healthier, but it's two months away so for now is of no concern.

Complex 03-17-2015 10:54 AM

Thanks secret tiger, I read your earlier thread, and your small lapse encouraged me to write some of my experiences with lapses.

Good luck to you too and thankyou for the encouraging words. It's nice to have somewhere to reach out to when others are not available.

SecretTiger 03-17-2015 11:00 AM

I think that's a brilliant way to think, Complex. I always used to focus on the future, which would then become something huge and daunting, so then I'd go and get drunk and smoke myself hoarse.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that spending a huge chunk of money on booze isn't a great way to go about dealing with financial or health concerns, but that's what I did time after time.

Now I just focus on small things and deal with them as they come.

SecretTiger 03-17-2015 11:06 AM

Our posts crossed!

Yeah, the lapse wasn't great, but - as you say - I need to live in the now and not look back or look too far forward.

Some things that I've picked up from the great people here that are really helping me are:

Take it one day at a time, and a moment at a time when needed.

Think through the first drink. I think about how crappy I'll feel the next day, how I'll let people down, the general arse I'll make of myself, the time and money I'll waste, etc.

We're never really cured. This one stung me at first and I thought, what's the bloody point of trying to stop drinking if I'm never going to be cured? I didn't like that thought, but I now see the positive side of it. It helps with taking it one day at a time and I now kind of see it as empowering (not a word I use often).

R. Lee 03-17-2015 11:29 AM

Complex, Welcome to this site. Think through that 1st drink & stay in today. I could not get sober on my own. I use a support group of recovering alcoholics & this sit to stay sober 24 hrs. at a time. It has worked for me.

iamtrying 03-17-2015 11:57 AM

Hi Complex,

Welcome to the group....Like Rlee mentioned...

Take one day at a time...just for today don't focused...

Congrats on day 4....

Have a great day ...

Millie 03-17-2015 03:17 PM

Hi Complex. Welcome.

You said, "I've got some awareness around these issues, but it's only when I don't drink that I get any power to change, accept, grow, and then discover new awarenesses and then more acceptance, change and growth."

That is it, right there. That's the long-term consequence of thinking through that first drink. Growth, acceptance, awareness, and ultimately evenness and happiness. I too am an expert at running from feelings, and was shocked to find that once alcohol was out of my system and my neurotransmitters all evened out (took a few weeks of sustained abstinence), the feelings I was so afraid of weren't really as dramatic as I'd feared they would be. Even the Big Ones. They were there, and they could be unpleasant, but nothing was unbearable.

Keep going, one day at a time. :)

lostdog 03-17-2015 07:34 PM

Welcome, keep posting and much support to you. This is a nice group with no judgement and they help you along.

gmasusie 03-17-2015 07:54 PM

Welcome, Complex

Aren't we all! Sharing here helps all of us to stay stober. Thanks

Complex 03-17-2015 09:33 PM

Thanks all.

Isn't it interesting how last night I felt bad, but now after some sleep it's a new day and the world is shiny!?

When I get in a mood I often find it hard to remember the sunshine even though I know it's there, but then when it's sunny I forget that it ever was dark!

Oh well, whatever, I'm alive and 5 days of not picking up now, so no matter what else, that is good.

I've got a couple of meetings on today, an NA one and another autonomous support group so that's great!

SecretTiger 03-18-2015 08:52 AM

Congratulations on five days!

In know exactly what you mean. Today, for example, I had a monumentally crappy day! All I wanted to do was go and get hammered. Instead, I got on my bike and rode for a bit, giving some thought to what had happened and how I wanted to deal with it.

After a bit of time and space, it turns out that things are really pretty bloody good.

Have a great day!

R. Lee 03-18-2015 09:59 AM

Complex, Yes this is a new day. I just have to worry about today.

Congratulations on 5 days.

gmasusie 03-18-2015 10:40 AM


Congrats on 5 days! Great attitude! You, too, ST. Keep it up.

Millie 03-18-2015 02:36 PM

Yay Complex! :)

iamtrying 03-18-2015 03:13 PM

Great Job Complex...keep it going day at time...

Have a good day....

Complex 03-19-2015 04:51 PM

Thanks for the support guys, today is day 7, so I'm ok about that (not overly ecstatic, just calmly ok, lol)

It's been a good week really, helped my father have a wash yesterday - bit scary! Me? A man? Helping another man to bathe?

It was no trouble actually, like most things I'm scared of - they are never as bad as my imagination makes them seem.

And Dad was very grateful - he said at least I scrubbed his back a bit, unlike nurses who just wipe a bit of water on, then wipe it off, so it was nice that he appreciated it.

Then took him to the doctor and found out his swollen feet are most likely caused by partial heart failure due to COPD (emphysema), so that's a bit scary, especially for selfish me!

What I mean is I can have a lot of fear about how much of MY time and MY life will be taken up with having to be around for Dad, but the truth is - just for today I can do something that if I had to do it forever would seem impossible, but just for today I can do it.

And the reality is Dad won't be around forever, the opportunity to just be around and do small things will only be there for a short time, so helping him does not cause me any problems, in fact in early recovery it's good to just not be looking for lots of stuff "to do", when just keeping the focus of simple things like meetings, recovery, eating and exercising, and doing what I can for Dad and my dog fulfils me, and in time other things will develop when the time is right.

Off to work now for two days - away from home, so Dad is sorted - he can feed himself and use the toilet and has a carer come in today to just help with cleaning etc, and he has a phone and emergency numbers, so all is well, and I'm really quite lucky.

All the best to all, thanks for reading and for messages of support.

Millie 03-19-2015 05:05 PM

Good for you on 7 days!

It sounds like you have a pretty healthy attitude about all of it being one day at a time and staying focused. Have a great couple of days away, and stay safe.

gmasusie 03-19-2015 05:50 PM

Good work! Service to others helps us avoid the bottle!

lostdog 03-20-2015 04:43 PM

7 days is a long time and that is great, keep going and come here for support as you need. Have a peaceful day.

Tryntryagain 03-20-2015 04:54 PM

Good evening Complex. Bright blessings to you.

A week holds a whole lifetime of change and possibilities. The next 7 days are even better!!

Keep doing what you are doing.

Be peaceful, be healthy and be strong. Loveness to you Complex

Nicole0909 03-23-2015 03:18 PM

Keep up the hard work and God bless

DianeC 03-24-2015 10:04 AM

Congrats on seven days! Continue each day at a time...

gmasusie 03-24-2015 07:19 PM

Now is when it starts to get easier, and you start to feel better. At least it was for me.

lostdog 04-15-2015 05:38 PM

Hi Diane, I hope when you read this post you are at peace and doing fabulous. Love to hear from you and hope all is well.

gmasusie 04-16-2015 01:13 AM


I went back and read your intro. I agree with you about the AA members being judgmental! We here actively work to avoid that.

I have the same problem with my husband who likes to watch auto races full volume. We got him fancy headphones ... problem solved! Of course, I have to hit him over the head to get his attention! It's all good...gets some of my aggression out at the same time!

Seriously. What we do here is collectively problem solve!. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

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