Monday, April 18, 2016

Coping With Urges on Day 592

Dear Readers,
On Friday, I woke up with strong urges. I was surprised at first, as I haven't had any strong urges about drinking for many months. 
We were packing, getting ready to drive down to Wisconsin to bury my FIL, and celebrate my mother's birthday. She turned 91, and still plays her violin!

On the car ride down, I was still upset about these urges and pulled out all my tools to help me.
Here is what helped:
1. I talked to my hubs, voicing my feelings.
2. I "urge surfed", something I learned in treatment, by just breathing and riding them out.
3. I let myself feel my feelings, and I let myself feel sorry for myself for a little while.
4. I distracted myself with games on my phone, and took a nap in the car.
5. I looked for the triggers, and I realized there were many. We were dealing with many weekends of traveling, eating out a lot, and socializing both happy and sad times. 

The urges soon went away, and I had none for the rest of the weekend.

When I looked closer at the triggers, what stood out the most is the amount of socialization time where everyone except myself and hubs were drinking. Most were drinking a lot. 

I find it interesting to look at people drinking, and see the changes in personality and their faces. Most people start to get flushed in the face. They get more animated, sometimes silly, sometimes more opinionated. Definitely they get more talkative.
I know when I drank too much, I talked a lot more and much louder. In fact some of my friends would tell me to quiet down.

I also saw one woman I know get very drunk. It was so obvious, and I was sad for her. I don't think she knew what she looked like to the rest of the group. She was "sappy", couldn't hold a conversation, and had a hard time standing. I noticed she was the one who kept getting drinks for her husband. 

I just wonder how we got to a place where in everything we do, everyplace we go, people drink. Alcohol is tied to every social event I go to. I wonder how soon before it is offered at fast food places! 

All I know is, I am happy I am not drinking. 

With Love,
Wendy

42 comments:

  1. Wendy, this is such a helpful post! Thank you. It's good to read a clear description of what you actually did in the face or drinking urges, and how it worked. I so much agree with you about socializing with a lot of drinking going on. On the one hand it helps me see clearly what people are like (and how they smell!) when they drink a lot, and I know I was like that a lot. Ick! But still, after a few of those I start getting an urge to drink, too. It's good to see that that's probably normal (though I wish I understood it better) and very good to see what helps you through. It really is shocking how alcohol is part of so many events. (I hear that even Starbuck's, that oasis for non-drinkers, is planning to introduce beer and wine into some of their locations to extend their evening hours!) I'm just glad to be part of the resistance to all that, and I'm glad you're here, too! Hope you have a great week! xo

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    1. Thank you, Thirsty!
      (You are right about the smell, too!)
      Starbucks now too?
      Yikes!
      I hope you have a great week, too!
      xo
      Wendy

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  2. I used to live in St. Thomas, which actually does have alcohol in the fast food places. Good Lord. What is excruciating is to see yourself on video while drinking. You know ... when the cameraperson goes around the room and interviews everybody about the couple? It really let me see that I am not funnier, more vivacious, or wittier when I drink. Also, that I appear tipsy much sooner than I think I do.

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    1. Really?
      Booze in fast food places?
      I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
      Oh, I once had a friend show me a photo of myself at a staff Christmas party. Ugh.
      I have never seen myself in a video, though. That would be hard.
      xo

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  3. I had a similar experience a couple Saturdays ago at a 50th birthday party. I was around a good friend that I had not seen since I had quit drinking. I actually haven't even been able to bring myself to tell her about my decision yet. The party started at 7 but she had been drinking at another party since noon. She told me of her previous evening and then her day leading up to the moment we were talking. She re-told me the same story two more times with in the hour we were there. I had such a hard time with it but I could't place why. I knew it wasn't judgement, it couldn't be, it could have just as easily been me only a handful of months ago. I had a horrible nights sleep but then sometime on Sunday I decided to just sit with the feeling and figure it out...it was just this deep feeling of sadness. I was sad for her. Sad in realizing this really is who she is. Sad for what this may mean for our friendship. I was just sad. Besides a little prayer I said for my friend, I really am not sure what else one can do. What I do know is that I am grateful beyond measure for where I am.

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    1. Hi Codette,
      In the past, I would have been drinking just as much as she was.
      There is nothing I can do to help her, just as there wasn't much people could do to help me until I was ready to quit.
      But I was sad.
      Thank you for your comment.
      xo

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  4. Oh and I got so caught up in the final part of your post, I forgot to say - good job pulling out your "tool box"! I think that is a hard thing to do sometimes. Admitting we have the tools and actually using them vs just taking the "easy way out". I'm glad you got through it! Hopefully you enjoyed some nice weather as well. I know southern WI was quite lovely all weekend and it seems to be bleeding into the week - Yay!!

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    1. Yay! And here in Minneapolis it got to 80 today!!
      xo

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  5. Glad to finally make it to your blog! Great post and very helpful for those of us still new to sobriety. The toolbox part was especially helpful. It helps me to know that someone in sobriety much longer than me still struggles with cravings from time to time and that they can certainly still be overcome. I haven't been too bad with people drinking around me but it has been in large groups where many people are also -not- drinking. I think it would be much harder in a small group where everyone but me is drinking. Hopefully I'll have much more sober time in before I find myself in that situation.

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    1. Hi B!
      I'm glad you found me here!
      I went to my first dinner party with small group of close friends early in my sobriety and it was very hard.
      My sponsor who is 6 years sober, still has urges once in awhile.
      I also find some tools work at different times.
      xo

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  6. I love the "toolbox." I have to make sure mine is loaded up! Thank you!

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    1. Hi Sober at 53!
      I first heard about sober tools on Women For Sobriety web site!
      xo

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  7. I was at an event recently and I was the sober driver so I didn't touch a drop. I watched my friend get quite drunk and I was quite shocked, usually I would be keeping up with her and I was horrified that I would usually sound, look and act in the same way. Quite an eye opener. Take care of yourself at this difficult time x

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    1. Thank you, KB.
      We are very tired, but doing well.
      xo

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  8. Wow, I had some urges, too, on Saturday! Completely surprised and a little scared by them, actually felt a little sick for a while--it seems like alcohol is everywhere, doesn't it? Did it seem that way to us when we were drinking, I wonder? I have found I get a little impatient when I get around others who are drinking, not really judging them, just don't want to be around it. So happy you dug into the toolbox! Thank Heaven for the toolbox! Happy 91st to your Mom--wonderful! xx

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    1. Lori,
      When I was drinking, I would be happy there was alcohol, that's for sure!
      My mom is awesome!
      I hope she lets me use a picture of her to post here!
      I am very glad we didn't drink!!
      xo

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  9. I am glad you shared your toolbox. Something for me to think about and use when I need. Social events almost always cause my downfall. And stress.
    Drunk people don't look pretty. Except they don't know it. I personally thought I am much more funier and beautiful and amazing when drunk. Except that photos of me drunk told a very different stories. :)

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    1. Hi Time!
      I always thought I was funnier and cuter, too.
      I never believed my hubs when he told me that wasn't true.
      Seeing myself in another person showed me the real picture.
      xo

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  10. Interesting I read somewhere recently that actually in England the percentage of young people who drink at social occasions is going down. Hopefully this will increase the acceptance and availability of non alcoholic alternatives at that kind of thing so that the opposite to the situation you fear comes about? However I fear that is a long long way off.

    Personally I do avoid those situations now even after nearly 12 years of sobriety. I'm only somewhere like that if I really have to be, if there is no alternative and then I'll normally appear and disappear as soon as I can.

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    1. Hi Graham,
      In Wisconsin and Minnesota, drinking is still a big social thing, for people of all ages. People in these states go by the rule "work hard, play hard", often binging on the weekend.
      The one thing I still must learn is to come late, leave early to the small dinner parties.
      Thank you!
      xo

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  11. Valuable insight Wendy thank you! :) xx

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  12. I love this post. I'm just now starting to deal with urges at Day 9. Figuring out how to move through them. Your advice is really good! Congratulations on your huge amount of days sober!! I look forward to being just like you someday :-)

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    1. Hi Ripleybelle,
      The other things I did in early sobriety was keeping a list of all the "icky" things I never wanted again because of my drinking, like throwing up.
      That also helps me.
      Thank you! You can do it, too!
      xo

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  13. Sorry to hear you experienced this but sounds as if you handled it really well.

    Your post made me think of something that was said on my Headspace meditation this morning:

    "Don't feed an emotion with your thoughts."

    I certainly have a tendency to do this - eg when I feel angry with someone, I allow angry thoughts to crash around inside my head, feeding that feeling further. I will be trying to monitor my thoughts and reduce this in future...

    Have a huge hug from me! Prim xx

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    1. Hi Prim!
      That is SO true!
      And I also need to add to my toolkit, that I can acknowledge my thoughts and feelings, but I don't need to act on them.
      Thank you!
      xo

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  14. you kicked ass Wendy, urges well handled with an awesome tool box to call upon.
    Urges are quite common, unwelcome but common and I love the way you faced them head on. I think the best thing we can do with those situations is to acknowledge them, even welcome them and address them without judgement. It disempowers the urge and empowers us. Thanks for sharing Wendy.
    Love Gael

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    1. Oh, Thank you Gael!
      "Address them without judgement"!
      Yes, urges are a part of most of our recovery, so it's good to be prepared!
      xo

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  15. Hi Wendy,
    Thank you for such a helpful post. It's good to know what other people do when they get urges. I will definitely be putting your techniques into my toolbox. It must be hard having so many social events to attend. One here and there is not so bad, but when there are so many close together it must be exhausting! I watched a friend drink a whole bottle of wine at a bbq recently and she was slurring her words by the end of the night. Was I like? I must have been. SO much better not drinking. A x

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    1. Hi Angie!
      I know I sure was like that at times when I was drinking!
      I am glad things are back to "normal" in terms of social times.
      xo

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  16. Hey there Wendy,
    I'm not surprised that you were feeling a little vulnerable and in need of a crutch, but your self reflection and insight are so clear.
    I've been wishing you well, and i'm sure Mr Un-Tipsy is so grateful that he has his sober wife supporting him.

    I always notice how other people drink too... I''m hoping that one day it won't phase me at all but all too often I can't help watching the drunk one's.

    Anyway, you're doing wonderfully
    Big hug xxx Claire

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    1. Hi Claire!
      Thank you!
      I hope you are well, too!
      xo

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  17. Toolbox = good! It is nice to read how you deal/dealt with this. Thank you for sharing.
    xx, Feeling

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  18. I had some weird urges the other day home alone.
    I always drank when I was alone.
    It was a hard, deep pull.
    I ended up painting the bathroom cabinet. And life went on.

    Good list. I will use it next time!

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    1. A physical activity can help, too!
      And you are right...life went on.
      xo

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  19. This is good, Wendy. I think deaths are going to be some of the hardest times for us. I recall my uncle's funeral last summer. It was the biggest urge I have had to date and the closest I have come to breaking my sobriety. Had I not relapsed once already, I might have caved in. I had to keep reminding myself that he wouldn't want me to throw away all I have accomplished. Great work by you! XO

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    1. Thank you, Laura!
      It certainly is a hard time.
      My hubs is doing ok, but it is a super emotional time!
      xo

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  20. Alchol is the dirtiest drug I've ever known. It turns people into monsters where as some other drugs can make you harmless and happy. I honestly think the government is full of hypocrisy, if they treated alchol the way they do all the other drugs, it would be a class A. I really can't see the benefit of it, as I only seem to feel worse off from drinking.

    Hugs,
    Francis

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    1. It does, Francis.
      People get mean, nasty, drive dangerously, and so many ugly things.
      It gives us headaches, hangovers, and more.
      Even if you don't drink too much!
      It's a crazy drug!!
      xo

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  21. I think I have posted just about the exact same post on my blog. You and I sound so similar. I am also so loud, and annoying, when I drink, and also find it fascinating that all of these people (including myself) are addicted to this drug that is so socially accepted.

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    1. I can still get loud and annoying! LOL
      Especially when I get excited!
      xo

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