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Success Stories of MM

So to those of you, .how the hell do you make intelligent seperation decisions, read the 9000 books on the subject, find work, cope with a 5 year old, deal with the emotional stress, and stay sober.. >>


LOL!! I hear ya!

First thing is to take a deep breath!!! Stand back from things & think about 1 or 2 things that you could do that would make the biggest difference in your life. When things look so overwhelming, it can be hard to know where to start because you want to change EVERYTHING....and RIGHT NOW!!! But I'll bet you can think of a few things you could do that would positively impact your life immediately. (Try to spend most of your time working on these things.)

Unfortunately, you can't fix everything in your life at the same time. (I've tried...didn't work. However, you might be surprised how much other things improve once you start changing the things that are having a negative impact on your life.) So, when I decided I had to change my life, I realized that nothing else had a chance of getting better until I addressed the issue of my drinking. That became my #1 priority. I have spent a lot of time working on this (& occasionally have worried that I'm neglecting other things), but I kept reminding myself that nothing else I wanted to achieve would ever happen unless I learned to moderate my drinking.

Now it's been over a year since I found this list. I can't tell you how much I've changed!!!! (In all areas of my life!!! New good habits, new interests, NEW ME!!!) And finally I'm able to start focusing more on other goals. (Not that I feel that I've completely conquered the drinking problem!!! I remain VIGILANT!!!)

So, my advice to you is to find some time when you can be alone, & really ask yourself WHAT DO YOU MOST WANT from life? Do some brainstorming. Then, when you really have a gut feeling of what's most important to you, think some more....what will it take to get that???

This is such a diverse group of people here that I'm sure someone will relate to your life situation & be able to give you more specific ideas, etc. But it will always be your life...you have the opportunity to reinvent as you would like it to be.

 


You asked if the behaviour can be changed.  The answer is simple -
yes it can.  In may case it has changed.  I now have a senior job in
a university, live a fulfilled life with my partner and drink
moderately.  But it has not been easy. It has meant changing a whole
way of regarding and living in the world. Not just changing
behaviour, but mindsets, attitudes, assumptions, friends - in fact,
nearly everything.   Remember I was someone who could drink
constantly night and day for 5/6 days. 2 weeks was the maximum.  Now
it seems no longer a problem.  I can take it or leave it. I drink
about 2 glasses of wine maximum. But, and here is the funny thing, it
is no longer a feat of will power. I have just grown into this kind
of person.

Of course, I realise that things could always take a step backwards.
But I remember years ago in AA, when I was not drinking, I just
thought about the ability to drink all the time.  I suppose now I
realise it is up to me, I just don't bother any more.  I'll be
drinking champagne with friends tonight, maybe even half a bottle,
but I know now I will not get pissed and I'll wake up tomorrow able
to live another day. I could not have said that a couple of years
ago.

XXX, I advise staying with MM, if you want to, you can change. If
you don't, it is your choice in the end. But the road is difficult
but it is worth getting there in the end.  Yes I had the syndrome,
but I don't any longer.

Good luck
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if we don't do the work
during the 30--and AFTER the 30--then we will probably end up back where
we started--well, actually, a little further up the spiral of change.
That's why I, as well as XXX and now XXX and XXX have decided to go
for longer than a 30--however long it takes to get to the point where
alcohol is no longer an obsession, habit, whatever..
************************************

Great list! Last fall I posted something similar. I called it "Saying Yes."
Bottom line is...every time you make a choice to say "yes" to something,
you're saying "no" to something else. OBVIOUS, I know!!! (But it's sometimes
the obvious that we overlook thinking it too simplistic.)
So, this applies to the choices we make about drinking as well. If we say
"yes" to drinking (for those abstaining temporarily or permanently) or
drinking immoderately, what are we saying "no" to?

Here are some of my answers:

1. Accomplishing what I want in life

2. Feeling physically well & my health & appearance in general

3. Having the time or inclination to do those things I used to enjoy
(hangovers are a BITCH!!!)

4. Staying at my desired weight

5. Having energy

6. Being creative

7. Keeping a sense of humor

8. Concentration & focus

9. Self confidence & self esteem


These are a few of the things that come to mind that I'm saying "no" to if I

choose to drink too much.



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I can relate. I don't know who came up with the saying
"angels watch over fools and drunkards" but I thank my
lucky stars its true.

It's all a mind thing. We shouldnt ever feel we are being "deprived"by
not drinking so much, but think of the beautiful  things we go thru when
we dont.

I don't mind being deprived of:

Shame at my lack of control.

Fear of my lack of control.

Anger due to my lack of control.

Falling off the roof while cleaning the gutters.

Crunching thumbs in garage doors.

Band-Aids.

Giving the grass, that oh so chic crew cut look.

Blowing up the BBQ.

Giving a convoy of trucks the finger cause they're going too fast.

Wondering where last weekend went.

Wondering where the weekend before went.

Waking up wondering if my neighbour is still speaking to me.

Waking up wondering if my wife is still speaking to me.

Waking up wondering why my dog is giving me dirty looks.

Waking up wondering where the 100 bucks I had in my wallet went.

Splitting headaches.

Visiting the porcelain king in the morning.

Bloodshot eyes.

Furry tongue.

Painting everything except the wall.

Spending the next day fixing the paint job.

12 hours of sleep per day.

Waking up at 4 in the morning in a cold sweat and having an anxiety attack.

There's more. But lemme start working on what I *do* mind being
deprived of.

************************************


We are often times stronger than we think. I used to play tennis a lot and remember being told to try and hit a ball even if I didn't think I could hit it because sometimes I WOULD hit that "impossible" shot. I was surprised by how true this was. And this can be applied to so many areas of life.

************************************



When this topic came up, it occured to me that I hadn't really "let go"
of excessive drinking yet. Even when moderating or abstaining, it was
still very much with me. So I held my own "memorial service." I wrote
the words "Excessive Drinking" on a slip of paper, lit candles, said a
eulogy. Then "cremated" it. I even put the ashes in an decorative little
box I had received for my birthday, then wrote an obituary for my dear
departed friend "ED". I was going to post it, but chickened out. I know
it sounds really weird and silly, but it was actually kind of fun. It
hasn't made everything easy for me, but I do feel stronger and more in
control of my problem than I have in years.

**********************************

As Fred mentioned, this forum gives one the opportunity to deal with alcohol issues,   it also provides an opportunity to deal with the conflicts of daily life.  By learning that it's okay to disagree, that it's okay to speak you mind is a powerful realization.   It gives us permission to be ourselves, to be human beings and to differ from others.  It also gives us a chance to see that by expressing our angers, irritations, and so forth that, maybe, just maybe, we won't feel like numbing ourselves out with alcohol, food, etc. 

I find that very liberating.

**********************************

I can totally relate to the
difference between intellectual discipline and visceral desire. Ever
since I joined this list over a year ago, I have made slow progress, and
eaten a LOT of dirt, on the journey to moderate drinking. But it wasn't
until last August that something clicked for me and I just didn't want
to drink like that any more. I felt it in my heart and my gut, instead
of just my head. Sure, I've eaten some more dirt since then. But I get
back up much quicker now. And I find that while I enjoy the drinks I do
have these days, if I am tempted to have one more than planned it
doesn't do anything for me, and I don't enjoy it that much.

**********************************

XXXXX wrote to XX: 



I think part of the first step can sometimes be
just that, a repeated thought,

The came SO much later.

I had to do the *stopping* first and the*wanting to* second.

**********************************

Abstinance is easy...it only takes one choice one answer..repeated and
repeated.  Drinking moderately has 200 faces but only one answer....That
answer is yours individually.
I wish you Stamina in your quest

"You cannot run away from a weakness; you must some time fight it out or

perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?"



        --Robert Louis Stevenson



**********************************

There would be no need for this list if everyone simply abstained for 30 days,
followed the "steps" Audrey suggests, & then merrily went on with their lives,
drinking moderately ever after! Breaking this habit is a learning
process...and how are you going to learn if you don't make mistakes????
**********************************

   While I still haven't been perfect at it, i can honestly say that
actively seeking moderation has been working for me. I have to say that I
think abstaining for a month was a huge factor in getting on the right
track, I think it would be an uphill battle for me if I hadn't done that
right at the begining. But that's just me, I think everybody needs to
figure out what they need to do to be able to have sucess at this
moderation business.

     And no, I don't think anybody can sucessfully moderate; some people
seem uncomfortable living in the gray areas of life. Me, I thrive in the
gray zone, I can't imagine living otherwise. I don't believe in "all or
nothing," I believe life is to be enjoyed for all it has to offer,
including a little alcohol buzz once in a while. Just want to make sure I
don't get too attached to it...

**********************************

I,  like XXX,  don't really think about how
much I drink anymore, I seem to stay to the 4 drinks max without counting or
spending  a lot of energy on watching.  I know If I'm really thirsty to
start off with a NA of some sort to guzzle, If I'll be at one spot for a
while I'll alternate drinks...it is just what I do and everybody knows it.
Now it did take me a couple of years to get there and coming off a year of
Ab..it seemed  very special just to drink.  Where I fail is the consequative
days...  I just believe that a glass of wine a day is therapuetic..so I
indulge myself in that pleasurable medicine....maybe it is my own rebellion,
but I'm comfortable that I'm not pushing the limits every day, just having
a glass.  BTW some times I don't even have that...  I have been doing this
for quite a while now and I don't seem to be increasing in amounts, and have
very few days over the 4 alloted.  I think it is possible, I think I've done
it.....Saying that I remember where I've been..and you've been around long
enuf to know that I wasn't a good candidate for moderation.  You new folks,
may not know that I spent 47 days in a pysche hospital as a hopeless alcoholic.

Thanks Audrey for bing the voice of reason.....

**********************************

Success after the 30:

Alot of folks do a 30 and immediately fall right back into old habits. How do you prevent this??? DO THE STEPS!!! The 30 day abstinence is only step 2. If you want the MM program to work, you need to do ALL the steps!

3. Examine how drinking has affected your life.

4. Write down your life priorities.

5. Take a look at how much, how often, and under what circumstances you
used to drink.

6. Learn the MM guidelines and limits for moderate drinking.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to do them before you start drinking again. It is a record of exactly what you were thinking with a clear mind while doing your 30. You will find it an invaluable point of reference post 30.

**********************************

I bet almost everyone here has
experienced that feeling of doing the "forbidden" thing, then just saying
what the hell, might as well go WHOLE HOG.  What I did to solve this problem
was to look at the behavior of a confirmed Moderate Drinker who had never
had a problem...my SO...and write down how her behavior around alcohol was
different from mine.  Then I changed my behavior around drinking to match
hers.  The biggest difference between her and me was that she *pays
attention* to how her body feels during and after each drink, then, based on
that, makes a decision about further drinking.  I had never thought of that!
:^)  Also, she *never* gets drunk "accidentally", as I used to do.   The rare
times when she wants to get drunk, she knows it in advance and she plans for
it (having a driver available, having nothing to do the next morning).  This
was a revelation to me.

**********************************

Sometimes people finish a 30 and expect that they will magically become
expert moderators overnight.  Not so.  The start of moderation is the time
for the greatest vigilance, and the greatest amount of effort to be very
conscious of exactly what, when, and how much you drink.  In time, as these
good habits get more ingrained, less conscious vigilance is required (but
those bad habits will still try to sneak in even then).

**********************************

I always "don't drink" for today...even if my intention is longer. And if I
want to drink really bad....I tell myself I can have it tomorrow if I still
want to...I choose not to drink today. That usually relieves the desire to
drink for me.  When tomorrow comes...I often don't want that drink and when
I do....it's now today and I tell myself (and mean it!) that I can drink
tomorrow if I want to. One day at a time that's the way it works for me. As
well as, if I don't have potato chips in the house...I don't eat them. lol

**********************************

This one really caught me off guard!  I went for my 3
month cleaning at the dentist's today (I've been
fairly comfortable with the precedure for a while
now), and I'd been home half an hour before I realized
that the thought of stopping to get the beer that I
almost ALWAYS have done on the way home from there
HADN'T EVEN ENTERED MY MIND!!!!!  I mean, I'd been
aware of it being a 'trigger/reward' for quite some
time and have in the past 'not' stopped, but with difficulty - usually I just do...   But today for the
very first time, No thought what-so-ever about any of
it came to mind - not of it 'being a trigger' or
needing to 'be alert' about it or anything - today was
a planned abs. day and it just didn't occur to me to
think about it!!!!



I consider each one of these small 'breaks' in habit
(thinking) another piece of progress that makes all
the work & effort worthwhile...  I WILL get to the
point of moderation that I want for myself - all these
steps keep me at it!  After 3 weeks of 'planned'
moderation, I'm not where I want to be yet (at times I
still 'ignore' my plan) - but boy, I'm working at it
and the changes are happening all the time!  This was
a nice encouraging boost - I feel great & wanted to
share it...

To All - Hang in & keep at it - MM Works!!!!  And
thanks for always being there!

**********************************

What I realized this a.m. during an
attempt to write the list, is that I feel like I'm starting over now.  My
priorities in life are mysteries to be discovered or developed now.  Once I
thought of it that way my attitude shifted from "I've been cheated" to "I'm
on an exciting though uncomfortable quest of what life is about for me now." 
That's the best I can do right now.  It may take years or two weeks.  I feel
a beginning rather than an ending with this 30. 

Thanks for listening, supporting and cheering me on.  I wouldn't have done it
without your help. 

**********************************

Understanding the process of change (and dealing with that risk of setting
yourself up for failure) is what the book "Changing for Good" is all about.
It's important to remember that most of the time, change is a process, not an
event.  Sometimes it seems like an event because the changes haven't been
noticable until something happens that makes the changes obvious.

**********************************

Wouldn't it be a great thing to have a "Moment of Affirmation" when every
one on the list (at least those who feel comfortable posting) posted one
negative thought they had and a positive affirmation to replace it?  Think
of the positive energy that would create.

~ The only failure is in not trying ~

**********************************

I have found though that having a couple of beers every night, or
almost every night, rather than going consective days without
drinking works better for me. Less temptation to make up for lost
time I guess.

********************************

I just wanted you to know that you've inspired me
tremendously!!!  It was your calander idea that really
started moving me in the right direction of taking a
patterns.

First I tried keeping one 'to myself' with numbers and
etc. (well actually first I tried just journaling it &
adding in 'moods', things - EXCUSES!)...  After a
while, I'd just give up & stop doing it - like I
knew' how much and all that - but also never wanted
to look back at it - again, thought I 'knew'...
Then you'd post again about your calandar and how
you'd just added everything up and each month were
making more and more progress and I'd begin again...

I went through this 'exercise' about 4 different times
before I finally got to the color coded dots on our
Main kitchen on-the-wall calandar (decided I'm DOING
this & not 'hiding' any of it!!!) and from there I
Finally was able to get and keep the motivation to
actually CHANGE what I was looking at!!!  I didn't
like it one bit and liked even less the fact that I'd
been 'kidding myself' for so long!!!

Well, anyway XXXX - Perfectionist that I too am, I
also tend to feel worse about the 'failures' rather
than good about the 'successes' - but like you said,
it's all right there in front of you to take an
overall look at if you need a bit of a boost!!!  And
sometimes that can work for us because the really
strong 'desire' to see the 'dot of my choice' (I
always mark in the morning for the day before - think
that was also your idea...) has been the last 'hurrah'
for sticking to my guns that day...

Just last night, I had decided that because I had 3
days in a row 'on' (two under limit and one at) that I
wanted at least two days 'off' now...  Then hubby
asked & we decided to go out for dinner.  Their
special' strawberry daquiri seemed like a yummy idea
as I walked in the door.  By the time the waiter came,
I 'pictured' myself getting those 'blue dots' (abs) in
and ordered a rasberry tea instead!!!  I'll have a
daquri on Sat. if I want one...  (such a little thing
- but I REALLY want that what I'd call 'perfect'
week)...

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