Growth (Guest post from @prudence)

Friday 22 Jul, 2016, 3:18pm by Mrs D 36 comments

Our beloved and very clever community member @prudence has just celebrated her 2-year soberversary! It has been such a pleasure watching her journey in recovery and lately she has been really on point with her writing and sharing in the Members Feed. With her permission I am sharing some of her recent words of inspiration….

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@prudence: There are always those of us who after a while of being alcohol-free start to second guess our decision to live sober. Maybe we should try moderating again? A perfectly normal reaction that happens to the best of us, I assure you.

I, like many of us old timers, go on about how much there is to gain when we get sober. That’s absolutely true, but I do “get” that there is quite a lot to lose as well; like fun & laughter, anticipation of a good night out, loose dancing when you’re right in the groove, a bit of stupidity, camaraderie, a cafe at the beach with a winey lunch, all the social aspects.

So now we are here because we’ve made the decision to let it go, but we are still left with looking at it all in the face, and feeling torn knowing it was all such a big part of our lives. Why stick to our resolve when faced with losing all those ‘fun’ aspects of drinking…? And why struggle trying to get used to ourselves?

Well the word that I woke up with in the middle of the night was GROWTH.

I do feel that if you can take two years out of your drinking life to really give this a shot, you will experience such amazing growth. You will really know who you are, what you need, and how to give others what they need. You will learn patience and calmness. You will face big things that still hurt and you will heal.

Not only will you be fitter and healthier, more motivated and energetic on the outside, but the inner deeper parts of you will become strong and intuitive and you will be fully in touch with yourselves at all times. Please all be wise and strong and get over that calling to jump back into the cauldron.

When we take alcohol right out of the equation, although it takes some time and feels alien at first, we end up in a life where we are not bored, living in a space where we are just ourselves. We are normal. We do not swallow mind altering stuff every day or night to block out our true selves and escape into a lesser and more idiotic version of ourselves.

For me, I can see so clearly now that even if I could actually moderate, (and stick to just having a drink on weekends or something) it would change the shape of my life completely. Every other day would be spent thinking about the day I would drink. I would  probably feel a bit deprived on all the days that I didn’t.

The moment we try to moderate again, we have convinced ourselves that drinking is actually a nice idea and we will be very good and only have a wee bit here and there, and there begins the contradiction and the fight we will have within ourselves. There begins the different shape we just gave our lives. We gave the power back to the alcohol. And in doing so we give ourselves the eternal struggle to stay in control, and we take away the massive freedom of knowing we do not need alcohol in our lives any more.

We can get used to our lives without it and find so much richness, contentment and growth in our own hidden depths, and a much better appreciation for life the way we were born to live it.

Stay brave.

Power to you all.

xoxo @prudence
Happy daze everyone xoxo

36 comments

  1. Hi Prudence, thanks for a wonderful post. I just joined this community, and your wise words couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

    I was sober for 23 years then decided I could moderate — “I’ve gotten my life together, now I’ll be able to drink normally…”

    So I struggled for five years to moderate and finally let go of alcohol this past June. But I keep thinking lately “can’t I just have wine on my trip to France in September, and then I promise I’ll stop for good?”

    You and everyone else in their comments hit it right on the mark when you talk about the obsession, about how trying to moderate would just lead to thinking constantly on our “sober” days about when we could drink again.

    I think I’ll find that there’s a whole lot more to enjoy in France than just the wine!

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  2. Hi Prudence, wow you seem to have a good grip on things and many wise words which I can identify with totally. I’m 488 days sober and trying to teach myself to keep my thoughts in the here and now and not worry about having the strength for tomorrow in case some cravings come back. I do fall in to the trap of thinking I could do moderation (Not a chance).But who wants the obsession that comes with that , constantly planning my next drinks. Knowing once I’ve opened the door I might not get it shut again. I’m getting better one day at a time . Thanks again for your words.

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  3. Thanks for the post ! Day 21 for me, first thought that I had quit on May 1 but picked up a few times with some rather dire consequences… Now going better and aiming for that 1 month and keeping it in sight ! really good to hear about the madness of moderation – and that really hits home and reminds me about the mental obsession alcohol stirs in my brain – my partner drinks moderately at home – mostly beer but sometimes wine. That was a struggle at first having it around but am learning to ignore it – about to have a behappy tea….

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  4. I really needed to hear this today thank you! Sometimes I still find myself yearning to drink again..normally or not I know I too what be obsessing and thinking that I am missing out if I started again. 8 months and counting and the growth is exponential but I still need some tools to help me relax. I still have days when I want to hide from the growing to do lists with kids and life..I love the comment about accepting the thoughts and not seeing them as the enemy..just common thieves trying to trip me up and then let it go..I can get very angry when the urge to drink becomes big for me. Some people in AA claim this is not spiritual fitness a terms I don’t care for either. Any tips on the acceptance of a craving and seeing it for what it is without judgment greatly appreciated..this site is helping me enormously thank you!

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    1. Hi Cherita. Not sure if I can help with any tips or not. We are going to get cravings whether we are at 8 months or 2 years. So I seem to find lately that it’s best to just be quite flippant about them. So our body or mind or both has decided momentarlity that it would like a drink. So what? Good try! It is just a moment. Just a thought. No need to give it any power. Best to feel gently accepting of it maybe like you would an old boyfriend who’s finding it a bit hard to let go and keeps texting every now and again to see if you’ll do lunch. Eventually after saying no over and over again he will go away.
      If you mind about the cravings and get upset by them, you give power to them. The cravings are part of you, part of your body and/or mind’s memory, but the brain re-training is pushing them back further each time you causually bat them away. Just quickly shove something in your mouth, smile to yourself at how you are winning every step of the way, and get on with you day xo

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  5. I really needed to read this today.. I am 8 months sober this week..the summer is winding down here and my kids are starting school soon..the to do list is growing and there is some part of me that wants to escape ..go to a beach and have a drink with friends. But like many of us here i never end up having a drink..i have several and the fatigue sets in..the hangover..the anger at myself and I am right back in the pit. I have grown so much in the last year and a half i have been on this journey..I am meditating but still need another creative outlet I think for myself. My oldest of three girls is moving to college in a few short weeks..two others are in their teens and growing up quickly. I ask myself who am I? what kind of mom do I want to be? sobriety gives me a much greater chance of discovering my true self and being emotionally intelligent for the kids..but i still have days when I wish I could sit on the deck and have “that one drink”..when really what I need may just be a good chat with a friend, a bath and a nap. I love this site and have found so much wisdom and encouragement here..thank you for being brave and sharing your stories!

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    1. Cherita I can honestly say that the greatest thing about my sobriety is the example I am setting for my two grown children, 25 and 28 years. It might have been a long time coming, but I wasn’t a total disaster anyway, one of those high functioning little pissheads! haha. The greatest reward I have received for not drinking is also from my children. My son, 28, at New Year gave up alcohol, and even bigger for him, smoking weed. I am so proud of him, and to know that I planted that seed gives me such satisfaction and joy. Our children need us sober even more as they get older and wiser themselves I think, and we need to keep our dignity and cause them to admire us rather than feel some sort of shame, ever. Stay the course Cherit and you will never have any regrets xoxo

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      1. thank you this helps so much..really want this connection with my kids and needed to read your post today thanks for reaching out!

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  6. Loved this post. I’ve been on again off again for awhile now. Today is Day 1 for me and your post hit home for me and for all I hope for in the future.

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  7. Yes, Prudence…I’m right behind you at 54! No more time to waste!! I’ve talked to everyone and asked that they take the wine along with them…it doesn’t usually bother me but why have the temptation?? I’m not ashamed to let them know I am feeling vulnerable….just keeping it real !! Thank you so much for letting me vent… :)

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    1. You are welcome. Wise to keep tempation at bay. Be prepared for some of those friends to become a bit more distant. It can be hurtful, but it is not really you, it is them……….sometimes people don’t really know how to deal with us sober, so if you live by yourself it can become quite lonely, and different to what you are used to. Go well xo

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  8. Thank you for such words of wisdom Prudence. As much as last night was pretty lovely for me, tonight has been a bit tougher and I find myself pretty emotional. But, you are right about the blocking out of our true selves,,that is what alcohol does, it may temporarily dampen the sad stuff, but it will also steal your joy and your authenticity. Love that there are some “old timers” (Said affectionately) on here who stay the course and encourage us who are just starting out on this path!

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    1. There will always be those tough days BackwoodsGal, but they do come around less often as time goes by. One day for no reason at all, in my early days, I cried for hours and hours, nearly all day, I didn’t even get up, I was a mess. I posted about it and got a wonderful response from @Mrs-D who then wrote a blog about Letting our Tears Flow, and how healing it is. I think that once we accept that melacholy is a necessary state of our being, just as happiness and joy are, then when we have a sad or emotional day it is easier to just gently accept and even embrace that “this is how I feel today” and go with it. Try to identify the sadness but even if you can’t then just accept it, and it won’t last and will just be part of richness that is you. Part of the rawness of becoming who you really are. Hugs xox

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  9. Love this post! You are such a smart cookie! I just love the new life you are building, it matches your new home, bold, bright, and full of promise and possibility!

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  10. Brilliant ITG yes I think we might have even started on the same day, 20th July 2014? You sound really strong and committed and to KNOW is a beautiful thing, you can sail through your life knowing you are being your best self xox

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  11. This post is right on time! Today is day 180 and I’ve been having those thoughts again. Even started to Google Moderation Success Stories! NO NO NOPE! Next weekend my family will be going to the beach….leaving me ALONE with the dog… hmmm…alone. I could pull it off because I leave the day they get back to go on a beach vacation for a couple weeks with a friend in AA. I’d have to jump right back into sobriety!!!. This is the sick alcoholic mind at work! The battle will never be won…the compulsion is always there. I will keep on my path though because after 9 years of sobriety in the past…I remember that it was no longer in my thoughts after time. I sort of forgot why I didn’t drink…I though I surely could moderate after all that time. New marriage new life…all was well. That was 20 years ago that I made that decision. 20 years…rehab..DUIs … failed marriage….ugggh. NO NO NOPE!!! Not this time….life is good!!!

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    1. Hi Timeto. Wow 9 years sobriety then a 20 year gap and now off it again. Take a bow! I do think the battle will be won, and I do not think of cravings or compulsions to drink as my enemy. I think quite calmly of them in an accepting way, as part of me that I have let go. I do not drink now so they can come along and try to trip me up any time they like, but I know them for what they are, common thieves really, trying to rob me of the life I have been strong enough to create for myself. So would I let them in to wreak havoc on my efforts to better myself? Nah. I just let those stupid thoughts have a bout 3 seconds of my time and bat them away.
      If I try to moderate it would probably take me 20 years to get back on track too, and I’m 60 now so I’d probably be dead by the time I straightened out again haahaa xo

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  12. Great, great post wise one. I said wise, not “experienced” lol.

    I’ve read it 3-4 times. I’m at 110 days and I can’t drink due to my family situation/ there is simply too much to lose right now (everything)

    However, in a few years the situation will change and all the kids will be out of the house and I will have to face these thoughts of moderation. The goblin sometimes whispers, “what about if they are all gone for the night, surely then”, “what about while you are fishing, no one will know….”

    I will know. thanks for reaffirming my path @prudence!

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    1. And reaffirming my own at the same time Wvlheel, we all have those thoughts, probably always will. Best thing is getting good at just batting them away…..boof! gone! When that time comes (which is here now for me, kids gone, here alone, no one would know) but I would and soon everyone would because I would be obesessed by it i think. Let’s not give the future any power. Let’s empower ourselves by living and enjoying our lives and who and how we are right now. Hey….. “The power of now” haha. You are doing mighty fine and your family can look up to you and depend on you and that’s how it should be. Trust yourself always xo

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  13. Thank you Thank you @Prudence That was so awesome. I so needed to read that. It rings so true with me and my struggle. Had painful kidney stones then , my kidney was not functioning, then spend time in hospital and had large intestine prolapsing, I get all that sorted out then I had precancerous area surgically removed. Now hoping all is going to turn out well, You think I would read the signs yeh? I’ve quit again for the millionth time but this time with all LS help I feel different …I’m fed up and I want sobriety for life. Your posts seem to always be there for me when I need them the most. You…(believe it or not) …have helped me in so many ways,through so much, and with so much great advice. You always have the just the right things to say when it was needed. Thank you again. Congratulations on the 2 year mark Thank you again, Your a very special person :)

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    1. Oh Deede, I feel I have hardly helped you at all, so I am so glad if I actually have. What you might keep in mind about me is that I didn’t have the gumption to give it up until I was 58. I know myself pretty well and I knew that if I tripped up I’d be the type never to try again, or not for many years anyway. So the difference is while I had many, many years feeling bad, guilty, sort of sinking feelings about booze, giving up for shortish periods sometimes, that was all private. You are far more courageous, by being here and stuffing up in front of us all, and trying againand again. Keep trying, and I think this time you might have it. Really, if you just decide this is it, you are over it, you will not drink……that is all it takes. By making a strong “decision” the decision is then made and that’s it. No matter what happens you know you don’t drink, so you don’t. Sounds so simple but it is that simple. I know it is hard but it can be made way less hard by how we think about it, and I think you are really getting that now. Hope your nasty health issues arenot causing too much grief and you are all better soon. Look after yourself please xoxo

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  14. I love this and thanks so much for sharing your words of wisdom. I am nearly at 100 days again and know that when I tried to moderate I just became obsessed with the thought of when, where , who, how much and so lost my own power!!! I am just beginning to feel the benefits I took for granted last round and this time I will not be tricked into thinking having the occasional drink is worth it as it is totally worthless in the long run..Thanks @prudence x

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    1. Yes I so know that is how it would be for me Janet, I might as well be a moderater who drinks every day if I’m going to be one at all, because I would be thinking about it every day and obsessing about it just like you say, and all this hard won freedom would be gone. Wooosh!! Over!!! No way, not me, not now, not ever I fricken hope xoxo

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  15. Living in a space where we are just ourselves, you got it, I love reading things that hit the spot and you go yeah that’s the truth right there, two amazing years, every day present and accounted for, legend, star, bloody beauty xxx

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  16. This post was exactly what I needed today. On day 33, but while out last night started thinking about moderation, but I know 1 glass of wine would have been 2 bottles. Also, after only 33 days, my kids not seeing me with wine in hand has been great. They are older, and when they would look at me, I felt they were also looking at my glass and felt their disappointment

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    1. I know that feeling Sfran, it’s like they are so used to it so it is not a surprise to them, and you know they still love you and think you are awesome, but you yourself know you could be so much better, for them, for you, for everyone who matters. Doing great on 33 days, it is long enough to really start feeling the difference, but still a short enough time to be still doing it tough and second guessing yourself. I think we will always think about what it would be like to have one, but you become more and more detached from it, it gets quite interesting really. Just keep going xox

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  17. I got more out of your post reading it again. I have been thinking that it would be s nice idea to maybe have a drink or 2 on my holiday. Your post has helped me realise that it’s not a nice idea it’s a stupid dum idea and I will not give my power back to alcohol. I don’t need a glass of wine to have s great holiday. You rock Lady !

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  18. Loved this. Thankyou so much prudence for being such an amazing part of our site. I always look forward to reading your posts and your replies to members posts, you always know the right words to say, are thoughtful and wise when need be, but also throw in a healthy dollop of humour. Hugs to you xx

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      1. Hi Prudence. Brilliant post. So proud of you. We both quit at about the same time, after Mrs D’s Tv appearance I think? I was doing so well, until I fell into the Pit Of Moderation. You are so, so right. We cannot, absolutely cannot, moderate. I have learnt that lesson this time around, day 151, and all good. Don’t ask me how, but I know, I just 100% absolutely KNOW, that I’m never going to drink again. And it’s thanks to lovely people like yourself, that I have made this committment. xx Neil

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