Making recovery easer 

by knowing about the natural process of recovery

I found that early in my recovery, I was missing lots of information.

I went to a detox treatment center where I assumed I would be given all the info I needed.

I found it difficult to sleep and went several nights with very little sleep. I thought there was something wrong with me but I was going through a very natural process of relearning how to sleep.

So why wasn’t I told about it sooner?  

Why did I have to go through it and then find out it was a natural part of the recovery process?

I decided to put together a web page to address things that most of us already know or should know.

On this web page are SOS Members thoughts and links to articles from SOS websites and outside sources.  

These are our thoughts and feelings and should not be taken without question.  I hope you don't take any thing  that may affect your life without question.

You are the one in charge of your life, it's up to you to do some of the research needed to make it the best that it can be.

We can only offer suggestions, information and what worked for some of us, the largest part of the burden lays on you. 

Relearning to think for your self is a process.  

Duaine & All... I too felt that I was missing early recovery info....which reminds me of one of a Members post where he pointed out by stating, "so what the f*** does this have to do with sobriety or keeping sober, or ways to start being sober (for the new folks)." anyhow...

That is what I took his point to mean and I have meant to reply to it and it slipped away until now. I know for me... when I was first mandated to AA...

I wanted alcohol related FACTS and it was very stressful when I was not provided that info. At the time... I did not have a PC... nor did I even know how to use one. About a year into my sobriety... with the encouragement from my son telling me how beneficial one would be for my sobriety... I worked my butt of for the money to buy one and then ... I didn't have to rely on court ordered counseling and AA for my info. The Internet research & Internet groups have played a fantastic role in my sobriety.

All I knew at the beginning of my sobriety is that I had my sources for religion... I too didn't care to hear the details of whether someone was religious or not. I was at a very frustrating time in my sobriety and I wanted black & white alcohol related info... and I just wasn't getting it.

I wanted knowledge about addiction... physical and mental symptoms and how to handle it. I wanted to know about health related issues. I wanted to know about life style, foods... vitamins... etc. etc. Healthy things to focus on. Changing the thought process...


I was starved for that sort of info. So... this is a great idea of yours. A website with the basic alcohol info for newbies or those that just may have missed the info or needs to be re-reminded. I have little time this morning but I am so looking forward to participating in this. GREAT idea for your website...

Shirley

Your Input 

This page is not done yet.  we are still waiting for more input.  In the mean time we are putting it up in it's incomplete form in hopes that you can get some benefit from it.

SOS and this web page welcomes your input.  This is how SOS works.  We share with each other what works for us and things we have learned along the way.

We put it all out for you to choose what might work for you.  We don't think for you.  We encourage you to start the process of thinking for yourself.

Anger

Amino acid Balance
Cravings Depression Fighting Cravings 
Forever Fun Looking through the buzz
Pain  Rewards Reading
Sleep Smoking Sponsors
Stress Thinking for myself Using drugs to help with quitting
Visual Imaging Yes it can be done Sobriety Tools

Thinking for Myself 

I think for me this was the most important part of my getting and staying alcohol/drug free.  

Sure I had to listen to lots of stuff along the way but for me to stay sober meant (for me) I had to take charge of my life.  I had to make decisions that affected my life from day one.

I know there are programs that don't want me to think.  I know because I had a very difficult time freeing myself from this kind of thinking.  I fought from the beginning to take back control of my life that I had lost to alcohol/drugs.

I remember hearing my best thinking got me here.  What a load of crap.  It was my alcohol/drug thinking that got me here.  Now I'm alcohol/drug free, so now I have access to my best thinking.

I ask questions --I seek advice --then I start making decisions that affect my life.  

I have a lifetime ahead of me.  I want to live it.  I don't want to get sober so someone else lives my life and makes my life decisions.

My decision to take back my life has made staying sober a very easy thing for me to do.  I know I can make life decisions that will keep me on course.  I have confidence in myself.  I can live out my life with the struggles of daily life without looking over my shoulder for fear of going back to that old discarded life. 

I am where I want to be.  I am in charge of me life.  I make my own life decisions.  I am strong enough to stay in charge of my life.  I'm not dependent on others to think for me.  I'm self empowered and free. 

I know I'm at a place where I will never be tempted to sneak a peak at the life I left behind.  

That life is gone.  Today I am a person who will live out his life in the real world alcohol/drug free.

Sponsors

SOS does not use sponsorship. I believe that this is a good thing.

I have always had a concern and skepticism about "sponsorship". I have certainly seen some benefits, but I have also seen some very poor results and people who are not moving forward because of the subservient attitude they adopt towards the sponsor.

Sponsorship is an unequal relationship .

In SOS we share our ideas on what has worked for us based on the sobriety priority and sustainable, rational beliefs.

My view is that sponsorship, as such is risky business.

It also worries me about trying to undertake some form of self-help and treatment with an untrained individual.

The other issue is that of trust. Can you really "trust" these so-called sponsors, even those with the best and most noble intentions? What about the ethics involved? I've kept clear of it and I would caution people about it.

So its a question of honesty to yourself and those with whom you work.

Of course, if a sponsor were professionally trained then this ethical dimension is answered in their code of conduct. But why would a professional be wanting to do, "freelance" or "ad hoc" work?

The concern is that sponsors are most often "self-appointed" with few skills to meet the specific needs of those help.

Maybe the concept of a "critical friend" to provide some short term direction could be useful. But I suspect that that happens in any case without the need to pressure people into a formal arrangement (no matter now loose)

Overall I see the whole process of sponsorship of moving away from the fundamental principle of self-empowerment.

I congratulate SOS for not adopting any form of sponsorship.

Des
From Sydney

Sleep

Sleep is something that's learned.

If I sleep in a different bed it will take time to adjust to this new sleep environment.  

If I move and there are different sounds or the lighting is different I will have to adjust or relearn to sleep in this new environment.

If I stop taking alcohol/drugs my body is different and I will need to relearn sleep without the alcohol/drugs. 

This is a normal reaction of the body.

Realizing this is normal and to be expected is a big part of the solution.

I now know there are temporary things I can do to ease the transition time.

Whatever I do should be temporary to get past the ruff part.

If I rely on other drugs to sleep there will come a time I'll need start over and relearn sleep once again without them.

Here are some suggestions to help with sleep from SOS members.

Melatonin --I prefer the sublingual type -- I put it under my tongue just as I'm laying down.  It works very fast and if I let go I can fall asleep right away.

This should be stopped at some point by using less or going through a few restless nights.

Melatonin  is also a great travel aid.

This is only a temporary aid and not to be used every night.

Tea --  Sleepy Time 

Foods  --Diet plays a major role in our sleep.  Our sugar level...protein and carbohydrates, caffeine intake... all effect of sleep.-- Eating Turkey-- Drinking milk--

Herbs -- Hops--  Skullcap--  Valerian-- Kava Kava Root--

Supplements --L-Tryptophan: Anti-depressant, reduces anxiety, tension and promotes sleep. Lowers pain sensitivity, also aids in the control of alcoholism. 

Calcium supplement that includes magnesium and vitamin D also helps with sleep.

Strategies --Have a set sleep schedule--Make sure the room is VERY dark. Darkness may provide a natural response for *Melatonin* in our brain to help-- --It's also important not to have too much physical or mental stimulation just before sleep.--play some music (like meditation type stuff) and the other is count backwards from 100. For some reason these things help stop the "thinking" sometimes--

Smoking

To Much To soon -- This is often said to new people in recovery.  "Don't quite smoking yet it's to hard to quite two things at once.  Smoking never got you high or caused you to do dumb things." 

This is what I ran across when I started my new life in sobriety.

I found quitting smoking helped me in my recovery.  

Quitting smoking gave such a boost in my self confidence and self worth.  

If you want to read a well written article from a long time SOS member please read

Too Much, Too Soon?
Ending Nicotine Dependence in Recovery

by Valerie White, Esq.

There is some research that suggests that smoking may cause cravings and urges to drink or drug.  Could that be part of the reason some of us who quit smoking find we have less cravings and sobriety is easy?

Please check it out for your self.   

Alcohol and nicotine: A deadly duo

Stress

Stress may be a physical trickier to causing cravings.  

I have heard to avoid stress in early recovery but wasn't given much info why. 

Now there may be a physical reason for this.  It may be that stress causes the release of chemicals that are similar to those that cause cravings.  

ALCOHOL, COCAINE, amphetamines, morphine and nicotine all affect brain cells in this area and leave them hypersensitive, according to this article 
STRESS CAUSES SIMILAR EFFECT

Cravings

Cravings have an end.  They don't last forever.  Many come in waves.  We all know waves peak, so do cravings.  When cravings take a hold is usually when I leave an opening.  It doesn't have to be big.  Just enough to plant a seed that if the cravings get strong enough I'll give in to them.

If that opening isn't there the craving will go away.

It can be just that easy.  

Fighting Cravings 

I found "luckily" early on that I didn't need to waste my time fighting cravings.  I found out that using a tool of looking ahead and not behind things got better.  I found I couldn't look ahead at my new life and give it my full focus if I was thinking about drugs or alcohol.

I chose to be pulled into this great adventure.  I awaited with great expectation what I would find around the next corner.

When things were bad ( which was more often than I would have liked ) I looked forward to me coming out the other side clean and sober.

I wanted all life had to offer me.  All of it good & bad, fantastic & terrible.  

I didn't want to waste this fantastic new time sober thinking about fighting cravings.

My solution was to look ahead. 

To be pulled into a new life.  Being pulled took very little effort.

Not wasting my time thinking about going backward.  Not spending my time fighting and pushing cravings away I could live my life.

I could use the same tool I was using that was keeping me from living my life.  

I used the tool of focusing on being able to live in a world of alcohol/drugs and it took very little or no effort to keep on that course.  As destructive as that course was.

I now use the tool of focusing on living in the real world and it takes very little or no effort to keep on course.  With very positive results.

I have been told that I can't just go on auto pilot to stay sober.  I have to work on it all my life.

I wonder how true that really is?   I've "worked" very little on it so far and less as time goes on.

Maybe it's just that its different for each of us.

Looking through the buzz

Looking through the buzz is a way of conditioning myself to see the drug/alcohol as it really is.

If I burn myself on a flame I know full well what will happen if I touch that flame.  I know it with out thinking about it because the pain is on the front side of the flame.

If drinking or drugging cause me pain I don't see it on the front side.  On the front side I see pleasure.  The pain doesn't come until latter.

By looking through the drug I will see it all.  The front side --Pleasure-- the middle--lost in the drug & cravings for more--the end --pain the price can be slight or terrible, so terrible I will pay the rest of my life in some way or another.

I don't see looking through the buzz as a temporary tool to not pick up a drug or drink in a time of stress but a tool that is so powerful that if I use it daily in the beginning it can last through out my life and make living without cravings easy.

A small amount of work in the beginning can make life very easy latter on.

Living life clean and sober doesn't have to be hard work --Painful or Difficult with enough work done at the beginning it can be one of the easiest things you've ever done.

visual imaging

Here is a very weird and quite gross strategy for cravings in social situations.  

If I am with someone who is drinking and I feel the pull, I (mentally, of course) spit in their drink.

There is some odd research that indicates that people are reluctant to drink something that they themselves, and themselves alone, have spit in.  Even their own drink.  I find that the desire to share in the festivities is much reduced by this strategy, although I doubt I would be very welcome at the party if my friends were able to share this visual image.

The evolutionary impetus to this impulse is unclear to me, since we might be very willing to kiss the drinker, but, nonetheless, it does make the drink seem less desirable, as does imagining one taking a sip and then gagging.  That seems to bring back negative reinforcement cues and contradict the "wouldn't  just one be fun" set of associations.

 sean o'n.

One little ritual I have performed this week is to stand in front of a big mirror in my workout room and announce to myself every morning,

"I'm Mary, and admit that I am an alcoholic. I do not drink, no matter WHAT! Sobriety is my priority for today" 

I have picture of my late father tucked in the corner of the mirror. HIS father was a  face-down- in-the-gutter alcoholic, and I swear I can see Dad grinning back at me. 

This ritual will become my talisman, I can tell.

Mary E.

Using Drugs 

Drugs to fight drugs.  Yes there are drugs that can be of help some in recovery.  Depending on the person would depend on the drug or non-drug. 

Antabuse --This is a very helpful drug to help in building up recovery time.  I found it very useful not only for my self but also for my family.  Taking it first thing in the morning in front of my family and saying I won't drink today, I got back the trust that was missing.  If I had not taken Antabuse in front of my family it would have taken months or longer to do what was done in weeks.

I also found that I didn't have to worry about giving into cravings so I could move on with my life.  I could focus on this new life and not spend my time fighting off urges to drink.

Warning the reason this works it because if you drink on it you will get violently sick and need to go into the hospital to get your stomach pumped.

Once you take the pill there is no going back.  Which may take several days or more to be able to drink again.

There are some out their who have told me by taking Antabuse I wasn't doing it on my own.  Fuie on them I went to the effort to take it.  I gave myself time to adjust to this new life.  I built trust with my family.  And with 20 + years I would take it again in a hart beat if I need it.

I found it to be a great tool and also made it easier.  So what's wrong with easier.

http://www.doctordeluca.com/Documents/SobrietyMeds_11-1.htm 

Naltrexone

I’d like to join Duaine in suggesting that a lot more people should be investigating the use of medications for help in early recovery. It’s not as if there is a whole lot to investigate: in the U.S. there are only two drugs on the market for treating alcoholism. These medications aren’t a "cure in a pill," but they go a long way to helping you stay on the straight and narrow during early recovery. Duaine already said something about Antabuse, so I’ll give it a shot on the other available med: Naltrexone.

I’d stopped drinking several times, but had always returned to it after a break of a few months. The pattern was always the same: after a period of feeling great about having stopped the initial glow would wear off and the urges and thinking about drinking/not-drinking would start, what I call my recovery "background noise." I would become convinced that that was it: recovery meant living for the rest of my life with that "noise." Simply put I decided if that was "recovery," then I’d rather be drinking.

I had heard that there was a medication that had had success getting rid of cravings/urges in early recovery. I was interested; did the research; saw my doctor and was on Naltrexone for four months and haven’t looked back since. Naltrexone worked for me as advertised and I was free of the background noise for the next four months and ever since. I think what really made the difference was that the Naltrexone allowed me to see that there was a better life beyond early recovery.

The Naltrexone treatment has changed somewhat over time: more doctors are suggesting that the treatment be extended from four to six month, and the general dosage has been upped. What hasn’t changed is that it’s still seen as a short term aid for helping people follow through on a long term commitment to quit. Again, unless you’re the sort of person that thinks that there is some virtue in being uncomfortable, or think that you deserve to be punished a bit more for your past drinking, I would suggest looking into the use of Naltrexone.

The best article that I've found that discusses Antabuse and Naltrexone is: http://www.doctordeluca.com/Documents/SobrietyMeds_11-1.htm 

Eric

My successes in stopping drinking have been slow so I have to toot my horn over the small triumphs. I'm going to talk about my experience with Naltrexone and Antabuse it might help someone.

I started out taking Naltrexone with lots of high expectations. It delivered as promised, cutting my cravings and reducing the high I felt when drinking but it wasn't quite enough. I continued to drink
although not quite as much as before.

I started thinking about taking Antabuse, but I couldn't force myself to ask my doctor about it. In my mind Antabuse was only for the worst, sickest drunks on earth. Its hard to believe the stigma attached to this drug but I think I picked it up from my indoctrination in AA.
Antabuse was only for spineless lowlife with no will power.

I finally forced myself to ask my doctor for it. He quickly wrote a prescription for Antabuse AND Naltrexone! Jeez did I feel like a loser. I took it to my regular pharmacy to get it filled and felt
totally embarrassed facing the people there, wondering what they were thinking about me.

Taking the first pill by myself at home held some personal drama too. That little pill felt soooo heavy. You'd think I was taking cyanide or something.

Here's where some of those thoughts about side-effects came in. I was really worried about side-effects as well as what I'd heard about the damage it could do to my liver. In retrospect I don't think
it was quite that important and I was actually worrying about the commitment. After swallowing the the pill there wasn't any turning back. I couldn't drink under any circumstances without becoming very ill.

The Antabuse has worked for me and I plan to be on it for about a year. I'm only taking half a dose and have stopped taking the Naltrexone. I haven't tried to test how effective Antabuse is at making me sick (by drinking) I've just taken people's word on that. I might try moving into some other regiment like some other people I know; 2 days on, 2 days off etc.

There aren't any people telling me Antabuse is a crutch, I'm pretty at good at doing that myself. There are still some little voices in my head saying "this isn't really me, its the drug" (memories of the old voices in AA). I haven't told anyone I'm using it outside of this group and people from my CD (chemical dependency) clinic, and haven't said much to anyone about my drinking,, thinking they'll ask how I stopped.

Gosh, stigmas can be powerful,, and I'm working on getting over it. I'm trying to give myself credit for making some big changes. I'M the one who decided to take the drug. I'M the one who keeps taking it every morning. I'm also working on changing enough other things in my life to make sure the improvements will be permanent. Right now the Antabuse is a little insurance policy and motivator.

I wish there weren't so many moral judgments attached to the drug. I probably would have decided to take it much sooner. I'm trying to believe there isn't much difference between an antibiotic and
antabuse. They're both temporary, should be used wisely,,, and I deserve some credit for getting myself to the doctor in time to get some.

Stephan

Depression 

Hi All
Norm Here:
First let me say I am not a doctor and the following is only my humble opinion. I know of 3 types of depression clinical, situational and depression from coming off of drugs. 

I am personally in favor of taking anti-depressants for myself. The doctors are unsure of which type of depression I have but probably have a touch of all three, due to taking street drugs for most of my life (I
started drinking when I was 6 years old) having situational depression due to my Hep C which they tell me if I wasn't depressed over it they would be concerned and not sure of the third because of my long drug taking history. 

I am not looking for the magically pill that will cure me of my depression, I am looking for help in dealing with it so that I can look at my problems though a rational approach and work on them what ever they may be. I may or may not be on anti-depressants the rest of my life it would depend on which type of depression I have. But I know that if I was depressed to the point I was before the meds I would not be able to work on the problems because I would be in a self destructive and suicidal state. 

I know a person in a 12 step program that thinks all of the answers to life problems can be found in the basic text of NA, it is people like him that are dangerous to newcomers because he has 13 years and they believe him. 

I think that any newcomer should visit a doctor explain there situation to them and then make a informed decision about meds. I also know that the first set of meds might not work. There no blood test that can be done to find out which chemicals in the brain need adjusting to bring balance back and its mostly trail and error which is bad because then it takes time to find one that works. 

I am not suggesting that every newcomer start on anti-depressants but they helped me get to a point where I could face my problems and to start to work on them. If you are depressed and are worried about seek out help from you doctors and inform yourself of the alternatives and then make an informed choice with your doctor about what's best for you.


Only you and your doctor can make these decisions no one else has the right or
is qualified to do it.
Norm SOS Member

A SOS members reply to a post on the SOS International E- Support Group

Blanket warnings about psychiatrists and meds concern me, especially for a newcomer who may be dealing with depression.

In my experience with depression and shrinks, I have found that they "generally" do whip out the prescription pads too quickly. They are medical doctors with some training in psychiatry and prescriptions are what doctors tend to give.

There are all kinds of other avenues for dealing with depression, in addition to the meds. I would not encourage anyone to NOT give the meds a chance while investigating the other avenues. There are support groups (DBSA-Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance), counselors and psychologists (talk therapy),
cognitive behavior therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, books on dealing with depression, etc.

I have taken Paxil for 5 years for my depression and it seemed to work until I had to start some new meds, for other health reasons, about 6 months ago. These new meds can cause depression, so my anti-depressants had to be modified...it beats lying in bed in a fetal position accomplishing nothing or drinking around the clock! I am also trying the other avenues I mentioned above.


Do a web search. Take your health into your own hands, just as you are your sobriety by coming to SOS. There are all kinds of things you can do for your depression, without leaving yourself at the mercy of some person with a prescription pad.
 Rick -redneck from hooterville!!

Hi Rick:
Duaine M here:

Thanks for standing up.

I belong to other groups and have heard stories of people going off their meds and terrible things happening to them, some committed suicide.

I know in AA there are far to many people telling members to get off all meds. These are people with no medical training. And if they did have training they had no right making such a sweeping statement.

In AA I only hear of criticism of members who give medical advice from outside the group.

I think SOS should be very up front and take a firm stand on this issue.

I can tell you what happened to me using a certain med but must stop there. I can't tell others in the group to stop or start using a med that may or may not save their life. I'm not qualified to do that.

No member of this group can expect to escape criticism when they give a sweeping statement that can cause harm.

If it's in a face to face meeting or on line SOS members hopefully will stop the meeting in it's tracks and address this issue.

Thanks again for standing up Rick.

I'd get soooo desperate for a break from that depression even for a moment that I'd be willing to give up my six months clean time. (It was always about six months.) 

Medication has helped with that this time around. 

That and having non-AA people to converse with. People that don't reply from rote memory. 
Ray S

Professional care may or may not be needed for depression.  It depends on many factors.  The most important thing is (in my opinion) don't let someone who isn't qualified make that choice for you.

Often depression can be life threatening.  Or life destroying by making life miserable.  

Remember meds to treat depression aren't used to get high on.  I believe someone who needs to be on antidepressants is just as sober as someone who is able to live without them.

This is a matter that each member hast to come to grips with and it's their choice not mine.

I hope this group is up to the challenge of standing up to protect each others right to make that choice for themselves.

Duaine M from Dallas.

Amino Acid

I have read research on Amino Acid mainly by Professor Kenneth Blum and heard him speak on a number of occasions.

What I got from what I heard an read was that the brain could change and add more receptors to take in dopamine by taking some of the Amino Acids that we have access to and these changes can become permanent over time.

Now that is my take on it.

Amino Acids are readily available and the side affects can be read about and checked out as well as the warnings that some of them have.

If you decide to give Amino Acids a trial then it's up to you do some research to see if they could be harmful to you.  You should also check with your doctor before starting to use any of them.

What I have found for myself to be of the most benefit are 5-HTP "the coated kind".  Taken according to directions I have found I needed less as time went by.  Now I'm taking it in the morning a few times a week.

It has taken away my underling depression and my inability to function on some days.

I also found GABA (gamma-aminobutyic acid) "the Sublingual form" to be very effective in calming myself down at night.  It chasses away any depression an relaxes me so sleep comes easy.  I find that I don't have to take a whole pill.  I can break it up an only take part of it under my tongue for it to work and it seems to work very quickly.

There are other kinds of Amino Acids that may or may not be of help.  

L-Tyrosine 

L-Theanine 

Vincamine 

This information is to present opinions that you may or may not want to explore.  It's not medical advice.  It's information and I believe we have the right to lots of information.

I have found for myself that I prefer to take one Amino Acid at a time to check it out and see if there is any benefit or drawback from using it.  If I take lots at a time I don't know what's working and what's not.  This is my personal choice and not intended to be portrayed as anything other than that.

Duaine M

Nutritional Gene Therapy: Natural Healing in Recovery
By Kenneth Blum, PhD, with Julia Ross, MA,
Carolyn Reuben, LAC, Daniel Gastelu, MSC,
David K. Miller, MA, SCAC II

We believe that the core of impulsive, addictive and compulsive behaviors is biological in nature, although it is influenced by psychological and spiritual factors. Over the last three decades we have learned a lot about the brain and the physiology of personality. We have learned that at least one-third of Americans are hard wired to become addicted. The “addictive brain” is the result of a simple molecular genetic rearrangement of DNA. In simple terms, the part of the brain that brings about feelings of well-being and provides comfort and stress reduction is compromised in some individuals. In fact, addiction begins and ends in the brain.

http://www.counselormagazine.com/display_article.asp?aid=Nutritional_Gene_Theraphy.asp 

 L-Tryptophan Returns http://www.thecompounder.com/LTryptophanReturns.html


Forever 

I heard from the very beginning this was forever.  I had to live with cravings forever.  I  was just one drink or drug away from being lost back into the world I left.

I know I don't want to drink or drug again that's no problem for me.  I did have a problem with having to suffer the rest of my life fighting cravings and in a moment of weakness be carried off to the world I left behind.

Well I found people who after a time found living sober was as easy as breathing.  And to go back would be just as hard to do as to quite breathing.

I found that place. 

Duaine Metevia

Fun

Hand Work -- Will Power  -- Yes there are places that require lots of work and it is a very serious thing you are doing that takes a lot of effort.  

Does that mean that you cant have some fun doing it?  I don't think so.

Finding fun things to do can be very beneficial.  It can take your focus off the difficulties of quitting something and focus on the joys of living life.

Should I spend all my time talking to people who are in recovery?  I wonder if that's wise?  I wonder if it wouldn't be wise to get a broader picture of the world.  There is more to life than going to meetings about recovery all the time.

There are focus groups on almost anything.  There are clubs with all kinds of  interests.  

Sober I can find people to do things with that have similar interests.  I can start enjoying the company of people who are not in recovery.  I can take back my life and actually start living it.  

I think it's good to be around people who are living life.

One Year Celebration 

Thanks Duaine and Norm and any other congrats.  I would like to say a year ago I did not think it possible I would be at this first milestone.

It seems amazing a year has gone by so quickly. It just didn't seem possible that a normal fun loving man could live his life without drinking. 

Now, when I look back, I think why would a normal fun loving person want to blur their perception, Why would you want to waste your precious few days off work lying around with a hangover. 
Why would you want to fall asleep in the chair every time you sit down for more than ten minutes. Why would you put up with becoming short or angry with your kids just because they wanted to have some fun with you and you wanted to just sit around numbing your mind and blurring your senses even more. 

If I ever even think about taking a drink all I have to do is look back and see how much life I was missing. 

Now I know, alcohol doesn't help you enjoy life more, alcohol takes the enjoyment out of life. Thanks again for the support. I really enjoy the SOS sites and appreciate the good you guys are
doing, Keep up the good work.
Your friend in sobriety, Jim

Pain 

Pain from recovery.

Yes there are some who like pain.  The more the better.

If you think pain is the way of recovery maybe this isn't one of the best groups to be in.  

If you look around I'm sure you can find someone who believes that the road to recovery is filled with misery and discomfort.  May be you need to punish yourself and would like others to join in and help you self mutilate yourself.

There is enough pain in life without any group adding to it.  

Physical pain 

Pain is real and many of us suffer from it. Physical pain can be a real problem in recovery.  Dealing with it can be a challenge to say the least.

Great personal questions have to be answered in finding ways to deal with pain.  Do I take a drug that may get me high to deal with it, search for something that I know won't get me high or tuff it out?  These are personal questions that are between you, your doctor and your circumstances.  Your the one who has to make the final choices.  I think we would all choose the middle one (search for something that I know won't get me high) if possible. 

Often in recovery there are no easy answers that will please everyone.  

I would suggest to think, reason, weigh the pros and cons and come up with an answer that you can live with because it's your life.

Another suggestion is that whatever decision you make that it can be changed as needed to meet life's changes. 

Physiological pain

The first thing that comes to mind is a professional and then someone caring to talk to.  

Life presents some tuff stuff at times and the last thing many of us want to hear is some silly quote.  Answers are complex,  many times and a thinking caring response that isn't judgmental is what we need to hear.

A human response not a quote.

Rewards

Treats, rewards and  gifts to ones self can be a tool in recovery.  

It can also be very rewarding and filled with pleasure.  

Imagine going without the harmful affects of alcohol/drugs for a period of time.  Your healthier.  Your living your life.  Your not spending your time or money on alcohol/drugs.  Your doing what you should be doing with a added bonus you now have an excuse to give yourself a reword for doing what you should have been doing all along.

And you can do it without guilt.  After all you aren't spending your money on alcohol/drugs so why not take a small part of that money saved and buy yourself a gift?

This is one of the happy tools.  

Use it often.

Balance

Learning balance is important in recovery as well as all aspics of life. 

The other extreme would be to say the only reason I'm sober is because I'm having fun and if I wasn't having fun I'd go back to drinking or drugging.  

We all know we can't have fun all the time.  

We also don't need to be glum all the time.  

If there is no happiness in your life please take the time and effort to find out why.  If you need to talk to a professional please do so.

Anger

Yes anger can be a positive force for change.  We live in a imperfect world that could be made better.  

Anger about injustice can be use to make changes.

I have the right to feel anger.  Its a natural feeling.  It would be unnatural to not feel it once an a while.

The trick is to learn to use it creatively.  Anger focused inward or held on to long can be destructive.  

So we're back to balance.

We're also back to thinking and not taking others opinions about anger being something we should avoid at all costs as necessarily being true all the time.

If I've been wronged, shouldn't I do something to protect myself, like taking that person to court?  

Yes It can be done

This is perhaps the hardest to understand of all the recovery tools.  Maybe because it sounds so easy.

If I believe something can't be done then I'm not very likely to attempt it.  If I do attempt it I would probably do it half hearted.

If I truly believe something can be done and know I have all the tools to accomplish it then I will give it my best shot.

If I'm told over and over I'm powerless and believe it then I'm not likely to attempt to take charge of my life.

If on the other hand I not only believe I'm not powerless and have support of others who believe they are also not powerless then I can truly take back my life.

I will be supported by people who have taken back their life and those in the process of taking their life back.

It can is just that easy for many.   Knowing it can be done and being around people who support their efforts.

This is what I call a support group and I believe SOS is a Support group.

Duaine M from Dallas

Sobriety Tools

Welcome!  I'm new here too and find myself welcoming everybody new because I know what it feels like.  Did you quit today?  Yesterday?

Here's a list of some stuff I wrote down in a journal to make a plan for sobriety.  Maybe some of it will help you too.

1) Made a list of everything I love doing other than drinking. If I get a craving, I can look at the list and pick something.  For example, go for a walk, do some gardening, read a book, play the guitar, write in my journal, have a bubble bath, take a nap, do yoga, eat some ice cream, etc, etc.  List things to distract myself.

 2) Joined this group for a support system. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sossaveourselves

 3) Listed all the reasons I wanted to quit drinking.

 4) Listed all the reasons I like drinking.  Compared this list to #3.

 5) Signed a contract with myself and had my husband witness it.
(Choose a witness that I can be open and up front with, someone I respect and who respects me.)

 6) Wrote down all the arguments that "little voice" in my head uses to convince me it's okay to drink.  Then wrote down a rebuttal for each of these arguments.

 7) Last time I was hung-over, I wrote down how terrible it felt, so when I started to get a craving again, I could refer to it and remember.

 8) Meditate on the new alcohol-free me.  Visualize myself being healthy and happy.

 9) Said a prayer asking God to help me beat this.

 10) Decided what I would buy with the money I'll save from not drinking.

 11) Make a collage of a healthy, alcohol-free me.  Glue a picture of my head on a healthy, happy body.  Put my most inspirational thoughts on it, all the things I love.

 12) Listed my drinking patterns.  When did I start drinking?  Did I have a ritual?

 13) Listed my drinking triggers.  Why do I start drinking?

 14) Read books on alcoholism.  Knowledge is power.  My favorite so is far, "Pathways to Sobriety Workbook".

 15) Gave myself permission to be angry or sad instead of drowning out the emotions. (Warned my husband!)

 16) And lastly, if I "slip", I won't  beat myself up about it.  We're all human and that means we will make mistakes.  Don't won't dwell on the guilt.

 This is my plan.  If you find anything in it that appeals to you, please use it.  Ignore anything that doesn't feel right to you.

 Good luck!
 Marj

Disclaimer from Marj

You must realize that these are not all original ideas that came from my own head.  They are some of the ideas that appealed to me from reading books about alcoholism over the last year.  Some came from articles on dieting, AA books, the contract idea comes from the Pathways to Sobriety Workbook, visualization and collage idea from spirituality books by Sylvia Browne, and comparing why I like drinking to why I don't like drinking from the Smart Recovery Web Site.

Marj



Duaine M here:

I think that's a big part of SOS.  Having the freedom to use lots of other resources and not be afraid to talk about them or share them in this group.

Sweets

Exercise

Reading

book cover

by Jim Christopher (SOS Founder)

"Recovery Without Religion"
The book that started an international grass movement ! 
James Christopher describes his own « recovery without religion », 
focuses on practical aspects of his triumph over alcoholism and includes guidelines for the formation of SOS groups.

book cover

Unhooked : "Staying Sober and Drug Free"
James Christopher recounts the evolution of SOS and details cases of recovery through the SOS approach. He invites the reader to sit in on a fictional SOS meeting, 
and offers further strategies for maintaining sobriety and self-respect.

 

book cover

SOS Sobriety :
"The Proven Alternative to 12-Step Programes"


This book makes a stinging critique of « controlled drinking » programmes, as well as the drink industry and AA’s insistence that alcoholism is a behavioural problem. Shows the truth that addiction is rooted in physiology and genetics. Focuses on the limitations of AA/NA recovery programmes and the success of 
the SOS alternative, which is documented by two scientific studies, backed up by interviews with addiction experts and legal professionals and separate moving, individual, recovery stories.
All available for $15.95(plus $2.00 postage and handling) each from
SOS, Box 5, Buffalo, NY 14215.


Escape from Nicotine County
How to Stop Smoking Painlessly

Although Jim Christopher fervently asserts that
alcohol or drug addiction cannot be slowly reduced 
and has to be stopped abruptly, in this new book on nicotine addiction, 
Certified Addictions Specialist, James Christopher explains one possible gradual method 
of quitting cigarettes, which worked for him.
Prometheus Books 59, John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York NY 14228-2197

www.prometheusbooks.com

Building Recovery
By Duaine Metevia

A guide to SOS meetings
The philosophy of SOS, Save Our Selves.
The nuts and bolts of SOS support meetings for the new member, longstanding member, counselors and care providers in the field of addictions.
Save Our Selves
An SOS member puts together information on
holding SOS meetings in jails, prisons,
treatment/detox centers and public meetings.
You get answers to questions from his personal experiences. 
There is lots of information in this book on SOS. 
Questions and answers. Internet information with a list of SOS Web Sites. Information on how to find an SOS Meeting or Contacts. International E-Support groups.

Contact; itsachoice@gmail.com
Web Site www.itsachoicepublishing.com

 

"At Last"
Now Almost Anyone can hold an SOS Meeting
Using this easy to follow Book.

It also has useful information for long time SOS Members who have lots of experience holding SOS Meetings.

Information on holding an SOS Meeting, and information on the philosophy of SOS, in an easy to understand presentation.

Save Our Selves is sometimes misunderstood because of second hand information that is not accurate or presented by someone with an agenda to purposely distort .

There is very little that isn't addressed in "Building Recovery" about this unique one of kind support group, SOS, Save Our Selves.

It's not just a manual on holding an SOS meeting.  It's also  about the nature of SOS, the thinking that holds it together and makes it so successful.

This Idea (SOS) that was presented by James Christopher has helped Thousands upon Thousands develop their own "Personal Recovery Plan", an become the Captain of their Ship, living Alcohol/Drug free and taking full credit for it.

Find out for yourself,  the number one Non-Step support group where you can take back your life.

More Information on "Building Recovery"

Duaine Metevia
Duane Metevia
Duaine Metevia

Other support groups

 

 

 

 

 


Women For Sobriety, Inc.
is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women overcome alcoholism and other addictions. Our "New Life" program helps achieve sobriety and sustain ongoing recovery.
 

 

This site is dedicated to presenting information and resources about the 16 Steps of Discovery and Empowerment developed by Charlotte Kasl, PHD. These Steps are featured in her book "Many Roads, One Journey - Moving Beyond the 12 Steps". 

 

Inside SOS Index

SOS International Web Site

SOS International E-Support List