1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014

BasilSeal

Kingfisher
Catholic
Gold Member
Thank you. I was thinking not of an equivalence, but simply a better way to drink while remembering God and not being self-destructive.

How about simply making an effort to recall my sins, giving thanks and then making the sign of the cross before drinking? Also, taking it with bread? This is what I usually do, and it helps avoid continued, random and mindless drinking.

Maybe looking at it in a religious context would be wrong. Either way, some kind of blessing and making an effort to remember God probably cannot hurt.

If you're trying to stop drinking, I feel success can be achieved only with repentance and prayer, so on that point I agree.

However, I wouldn't mix prayer with vice and assume that makes it any less so.
 

Akaky Akakievitch

Woodpecker
Orthodox Catechumen
I ended up having a few drinks last night but I am doing the classic stupid drunkard's move of pushing the misery as far as I can to force me into sobering up. I am almost scared to get a few days of sobriety going because I know that will force me to reflect on my already stupid recent behaviour, which I would rather just keep going . It's childish really.

Cry out to God more often, throughout the day, mornings and evenings, after you wake up and before going to bed, as often as you can remember. The Name of our Lord is a tonic to the soul. By saying out loud "Lord Jesus Christ" - this is very powerful.

You can extend that to the full Jesus Prayer as well - "O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on me, A Sinner" - repeat this a few times and observe any thoughts or emotions.

If we rely on Him for all our strength, then it is very pleasing to God. This is a profound lesson that only comes about through these kinds of trials that you and me are going through, and it reveals the limitless mercy of God, that He is always so forgiving and never turns His back on us, despite our many many betrayals - just like any Good Father would do. Truly the Lord is good and He is the lover of mankind!

As much as I am telling you this, I am also talking to myself as a reminder. I fall very short of this too and often forget to pray and call out to God when I'm struggling. So all this will be seen as a blessing eventually though it feels like hell at the moment - He chastens those whom He loves the most (Hebrews 12:6)

I will pray for you and if you can, keep me in your prayers also. With God's help, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
 

Tippy

Kingfisher
Other Christian
First day sober for me in a while today as I am visiting my mother.

It is clear to me living alone in an apartment is a huge trigger...

Family can trigger all kinds of negative emotions as well. It's just I simply cannot start boozing it up around them due to the social stigma and I am not about to start sneak drinking today (which I have done in the past).

I will try to stay here a couple of days to get the beginnings of it under my belt but don't know if I can start the 1 year challenge in earnest yet.
 

etwsake

Woodpecker
Catholic
Gold Member
Keep it up Tippy.

I hate to throw the word "alcoholic" around casually because I do think it gets used when it's not applicable, but you kind of sound like you just might be an alcoholic.

There's no shame in that. Some people are, and some people aren't. I won't pretend to know the whys or reasons, whether it's genetic or just a habit, etc. All I know is that I would fall under that same umbrella, and your drinking habits sound just like mine.

I haven't had a drink in over seven years now and I miss it every day. The only reason I haven't fallen off the wagon is cause I know it will kill me if I do.

You're almost at the one week mark. That's good. You don't want to ruin it and go back to zero again, do you? No. You're gonna make it through this week, and then you'll make it through next week, and you'll keep on going.

But don't even think about that. Big picture stuff tends to stress me out. Just get through the week.


You know you can do it cause you've done it before. Keep checking in with us and we'll support you.
 

Tippy

Kingfisher
Other Christian
Keep it up Tippy.

I hate to throw the word "alcoholic" around casually because I do think it gets used when it's not applicable, but you kind of sound like you just might be an alcoholic.

There's no shame in that. Some people are, and some people aren't. I won't pretend to know the whys or reasons, whether it's genetic or just a habit, etc. All I know is that I would fall under that same umbrella, and your drinking habits sound just like mine.

I haven't had a drink in over seven years now and I miss it every day. The only reason I haven't fallen off the wagon is cause I know it will kill me if I do.

You're almost at the one week mark. That's good. You don't want to ruin it and go back to zero again, do you? No. You're gonna make it through this week, and then you'll make it through next week, and you'll keep on going.

But don't even think about that. Big picture stuff tends to stress me out. Just get through the week.


You know you can do it cause you've done it before. Keep checking in with us and we'll support you.

Thanks mate.

I made it through day 5 and I had every opportunity to relapse.

I ended up doing something very regrettable following lustful urges which I deeply regret. I don't feel like posting all the details but I shall say I replaced the relief of booze with a different kind. Typical me. I don't feel like I am fully alive unless I am indulging in some sort of vice. What is this sickness?
 

etwsake

Woodpecker
Catholic
Gold Member
Don't feel bad. Focus on one vice at a time. It's really hard to deal with addictions/habits. Trying to tackle more than one at once just makes it harder.

Glad you're still on the wagon, man.....keep it up!
 

Tippy

Kingfisher
Other Christian
Made it through day 6 and now begin day 7.

I am at my mum's house. There are several tempting beers in the fridge.

I am a bit annoyed because I texted 3 or 4 friends proudly telling them I was off the booze and their reactions were things like, 'well maybe you can just drink socially' or 'I think you can drink a few tonight' etc...

It just makes me think, is all of this in my head? Am I REALLY an alcoholic or am I just dramatizing myself as one to feel more 'interesting' ?

Classic clown world thing of thinking that being more of a mess of a human being is an achievement.
 

Gnasher

Pigeon
Catholic
I went off the sauce for 5 years a while ago. After being arrested and kept in police cells overnight for second time for drunk and disorderly. It nearly ruined my life and I was very fortunate it did not derail an immigration issue I had in process. I was a ticking timebomb and it would have blown up sooner or later. Every one reacts different to booze. My findings after 5 years are that I actually became louder when sober. I.e. my sober self morphed to be somewhat more like my drunken sense. I did not miss waking up with paranoia and thinking had screwed stuff up. Also- we often think booze is a way to stuff i.e. like fun, relaxation, females and good times. In many ways it actually gets in the way. The life you build gets you those without the sauce. However, you also miss booze i.e. you miss the buzz and you miss the highs and lows. You miss drinking with buddies and having a blast. Everything has pros and cons. It is like that bible verse. There is a time for everything, reaping and sowing and also for drinking and for being sober.. be sober when you want to be and drink when you feel it is right. As with everything there is no catch up right or wrong answer.
 

SeaFM

Pelican
Just dropping in to see what’s going on. I’m still healthy and sober. Coming up to year #4, in October.

I barely think of drinking these days. Hard to believe that a guy that would put down ≈60 beers a week would be where I am now, but here I am.

If anyone is struggling, we’ve all been there. This is a ride you can get off of.

Hope everyone is well.
 

rainy

Pelican
Other Christian
Made it through day 6 and now begin day 7.

I am at my mum's house. There are several tempting beers in the fridge.

I am a bit annoyed because I texted 3 or 4 friends proudly telling them I was off the booze and their reactions were things like, 'well maybe you can just drink socially' or 'I think you can drink a few tonight' etc...

It just makes me think, is all of this in my head? Am I REALLY an alcoholic or am I just dramatizing myself as one to feel more 'interesting' ?

Classic clown world thing of thinking that being more of a mess of a human being is an achievement.
Not drinking really opens your eyes to how many people need it as a crutch.

Remember, as you get stronger it will magnify the weakness you see in others.

It's similar to eating clean. No one says a thing if you stuff your face with pizza. But decline to eat the crap and eat healthy instead, and everyone suddenly has an opinion.

In the end, develop your own path and have the conviction to stick with it. A tough lesson I have learned is when you hit the toughest points in life, there is no one to help you aside from yourself and God. It's you, a mirror and the man upstairs. Your wife may offer support. Family may offer encouragement. But it is on you to dig yourself out and no nobody else.

So don't let anyone else take you off your path and distract from your purpose.
 

rainy

Pelican
Other Christian
BTW, while I don't drink them, if someone trying to quit drinking at first needs help replacing the actual action and habit of drinking, non-ALC beers would be an option.

Might keep some in the fridge just in case.
 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
Great going, Tippy.



So I might as well share my testimony here. Here goes: I have a lengthy history of alcohol abuse and have been hospitalized a few times. After getting out of the Army in 2007, I got depressed about the lack of brotherhood in normal life. I drank every day and became homeless in 2011. I threatened suicide on Facebook and my National Guard unit (I was no longer active but still Guard) tracked down me down and forced me to go into a kind of suicide watch program.

As soon as I got out, I drank heavier than ever. Turns out 2017 was my real rock bottom. By then I was a shell of a man. I was constantly cold (or numb) in the hands and legs, my muscles had atrophied to a gross extent. I had old sports injuries that I had neglected to address. I was only 33 but had major spinal issues so I walked hunched over like a 100 year old lady. Constant headaches, dental problems.

I wound up at a long-term VA homeless shelter in 2018 where I began the long process of getting my life back. I knew the alcohol was just a symptom of my brokenness, spiritually and physically.

Outside of a few slips I've got four years sober. I became a Christian in 2019 and am trying to live for him more and more. I'm still pretty broken, but in better shape. I see a chiropractor once a week. I try to exercise six days a week, even if it's just stretching. People I meet think I'm in really good shape today. I do look much better. I'm thin with improved muscular function. My skin is healthier but I still wear gloves even when it's slightly cold out

In 2017 my overall spiritual and physical condition was honestly a 1 or 2 out 10. I'm up to about a 5 or 6 now. After years living on disability I am working again. God takes care of me as long as I just keep trying.
The best news is that the desire to drink goes away and mostly stays away (cravings sometimes still occur) The first few days or few weeks can be hard, but eventually it's just, you don't care for it anymore.

Pray a lot, go to church and make friends there, maybe go to AA meetings as well if only to pass the time. Get regular exercise. Maybe get a dog (it's a lot of responsibility but I'm blessed with a good one). Maybe above all: forgive everyone who ever wronged you. Practice blanket forgiveness. God says we will be forgiven as we forgive others, so just forgive. Let it go. The childhood stuff on. Anger is like swallowing poison hoping the other person dies. God is good.
 

Akaky Akakievitch

Woodpecker
Orthodox Catechumen
Made it through day 6 and now begin day 7.

I am at my mum's house. There are several tempting beers in the fridge.

I am a bit annoyed because I texted 3 or 4 friends proudly telling them I was off the booze and their reactions were things like, 'well maybe you can just drink socially' or 'I think you can drink a few tonight' etc...

It just makes me think, is all of this in my head? Am I REALLY an alcoholic or am I just dramatizing myself as one to feel more 'interesting' ?

Classic clown world thing of thinking that being more of a mess of a human being is an achievement.

I'm on Day 4 now myself, after a really rough couple of weeks. I feel like I'm back to "normal", mostly resuming my routine from before this episode. I learned a lot from this struggle however, and I believe God allowed my fall to bring about a greater good. Only the Lord can take evil and turn it into a force for good in our lives, glory to God.

I had the exact same scenario you described this past weekend with some old mates: "oh but, why cant you just learn to drink socially? just avoid drinking alone and everything will be fine?" - they are so blind to the struggle and how difficult it actually is. I went out with some friends, in a trendy hipster part of the city, everyone drinking, smoking up, general party atmosphere etc. and i resisted completely. A huge victory. I survived on variations of 0% alcohol beers or soft drink. I was surprised how easy it was, I think my main struggles with alcohol come from too much isolation, leading to thoughts rebounding off the walls, then sending myself into a bingeing frenzy. We all have unique triggers.

Keep going, Tippy. As someone else said, tackle one vice at a time if you can. I know some vices like to come in pairs - for me I had a PMO habit simultaneously running next to the alcohol binge, but when I removed the alcohol, the PMO habit largely subsided as well. Once you get a decent streak going, you can build confidence and focus on exercise/building muscle, activities, getting out of the comfort zone, more prayer, reading Holy Scripture, making new friends etc. there are many things we can do to alleviate the despair caused by abstaining from alcohol.

Also, if you are asking yourself the question "Am I REALLY an alcoholic?" - then yes, you are. I had the same dilemma, and concluded that if I am asking that question of myself, then I already am one. Non-alcoholics never arrive at that suspicion. If they do, then it's usually the beginning of a steady decline into addiction, before they realise they need to quit.

Also, if you've already made a commitment to quit in the past, but you betrayed your own promise (which is what I have done countless times, even pouring expensive drinks down the drain or throwing away nice bottles of liquor), then there is no going back to "normal" in terms of alcohol. I've permanently stained my relationship with alcohol. It is different with PMO or food addiction, because they are natural biological functions so we must learn moderation and temperance, but we don't need alcohol, so we can live without it. As I say to myself, "it has to go".

If you need anything @Tippy , reach out or DM me.
 

prisonplanet

Robin
Other Christian
I'm on Day 4 now myself, after a really rough couple of weeks. I feel like I'm back to "normal", mostly resuming my routine from before this episode. I learned a lot from this struggle however, and I believe God allowed my fall to bring about a greater good. Only the Lord can take evil and turn it into a force for good in our lives, glory to God.

I had the exact same scenario you described this past weekend with some old mates: "oh but, why cant you just learn to drink socially? just avoid drinking alone and everything will be fine?" - they are so blind to the struggle and how difficult it actually is. I went out with some friends, in a trendy hipster part of the city, everyone drinking, smoking up, general party atmosphere etc. and i resisted completely. A huge victory. I survived on variations of 0% alcohol beers or soft drink. I was surprised how easy it was, I think my main struggles with alcohol come from too much isolation, leading to thoughts rebounding off the walls, then sending myself into a bingeing frenzy. We all have unique triggers.

Keep going, Tippy. As someone else said, tackle one vice at a time if you can. I know some vices like to come in pairs - for me I had a PMO habit simultaneously running next to the alcohol binge, but when I removed the alcohol, the PMO habit largely subsided as well. Once you get a decent streak going, you can build confidence and focus on exercise/building muscle, activities, getting out of the comfort zone, more prayer, reading Holy Scripture, making new friends etc. there are many things we can do to alleviate the despair caused by abstaining from alcohol.

Also, if you are asking yourself the question "Am I REALLY an alcoholic?" - then yes, you are. I had the same dilemma, and concluded that if I am asking that question of myself, then I already am one. Non-alcoholics never arrive at that suspicion. If they do, then it's usually the beginning of a steady decline into addiction, before they realise they need to quit.

Also, if you've already made a commitment to quit in the past, but you betrayed your own promise (which is what I have done countless times, even pouring expensive drinks down the drain or throwing away nice bottles of liquor), then there is no going back to "normal" in terms of alcohol. I've permanently stained my relationship with alcohol. It is different with PMO or food addiction, because they are natural biological functions so we must learn moderation and temperance, but we don't need alcohol, so we can live without it. As I say to myself, "it has to go".

If you need anything @Tippy , reach out or DM me.

Yeah, for me it was, what is even the point of drinking just a few? I'm just teasing myself. Some of us have that all or nothing demeanor. I used to think it was a flaw, but I don't think so anymore. It can be channeled into doing good things.

I completely agree with focusing on one vice at a time. Along with alcohol I was addicted to porn, video games and cigarettes. I've shed the first three over a four year slan but still working on quitting smoking.

While it's nice to do things like meetings and exercise and such, in early sobriety also don't be afraid to do nothing productive at all. Curling up on the couch in front of the TV helped me a lot in the first months (still does sometimes). I also consumed a lot of sugary beverages (alcohol has a ton of sugar, and so it's a good idea to not shock your system too much and instead have a replacement like soda or Gatorade, etc).
Before I finally got my current stretch I tried over and over and over to stop drinking. You just keep trying. Don't get discouraged.
And yeah, even though AA/NA meetings are not a replacement for church, they really help fill those times when you're lonely or bored.
Either of you can DM me as well. God bless.
 

SeaFM

Pelican
BTW, while I don't drink them, if someone trying to quit drinking at first needs help replacing the actual action and habit of drinking, non-ALC beers would be an option.

Might keep some in the fridge just in case.
Personally, I wouldn’t go that route.

What I did do was drink Perrier / club soda on the few occasions that I went anywhere.

I was a habitual drinker, not a true alcoholic, in my opinion, so breaking habits was the key in my experience.

Maybe dealcoholized beer wouldn’t hurt physically, but I see it as playing with matches.
 

Tippy

Kingfisher
Other Christian
I am still sober. I guess this is day 8?

I haven't really put myself to the test recently. As in, tried going out to a bar or doing a social event. I do like the non-alcoholic beer though. It gives the chance to drink something not so common to drink at home.

I feel like just kicking back with a few bud lights and enjoying myself but I realise that I never really enjoy myself, I just want to continue drinking and then feel awful the next day.
 

BasilSeal

Kingfisher
Catholic
Gold Member
There is something to be said for "avoiding the near occasion of sin". You do not need to tempt yourself to prove your commitment. Until the day comes when you're not even entertaining such random thoughts, consciously put your focus elsewhere.

Why not calculate what you save by not going out or spending money on alcohol on a weekly basis, and do something charitable with it?

And this:

Here is one of my favorite passages from the Enchiridion by Epictetus, which is great to recall whenever you are being tempted by vice of any kind:

If you are dazzled by the semblance of any promised pleasure, guard yourself against being bewildered by it; but let the affair wait your leisure, and procure yourself some delay. Then bring to your mind both points of time, -that in which you shall enjoy the pleasure, and that in which you will repent and reproach yourself, after you have enjoyed it, - and set before you, in opposition to these, how you will rejoice and applaud yourself, if you abstain. And even though it should appear to you a seasonable gratification, take heed that its enticements and allurements and seductions may not subdue you; but set in opposition to this, how much better it is to be conscious of having gained so great a victory.
 
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