I just wanted to ask those with "clean time" over 1 year to comment and offer suggestions on how to keep the demons at bay. How do you cope? How do you deal with the depression/anxiety? How do you maintain "serenity"? I think that more "coping skills" should be kept on the front page here for those who have beaten the "physical part" of the ordeal and who need help with the "mental part". For me it is meetings, some step work, some behavior modification, some prayer, and some meditation. I've got a Buddhist friend who has years of meditation practice. I plan to meet with him and his Lama for some instruction. Reading Jung helps me also. I've gotta have conversations with that little guy in my head often...or else he gets ****** and starts whining.
Fast approaching 2 years of goodness. Every day is a battle. There is not a day that goes by where I don't think about the drugs. When I say think I refer to my memories of how bad it was when I was in the clutches of opiates. Also, each day I think how wonderful life has been and is each day since reclaiming my life and how I'm not going to ever allow myself to revisit the dark chapter of my life. I won the battles and I continue to wage war is the way I look at it, I can't ever let my guard down.
So, in a round about way I'm saying I focus in on all the positives in my life now, I don't EVER forget the hell I went through and I'm absolutely determined to not loose the war. Call me stubborn, call me competitive or whatever you want to call it but I was beat down to many times to let it happen again. Especially when I'm having the best time of my life these days.
I forgot to add when I went through my worst times during tapering off the opiates I would see an MSW. That worked for me as AA or NA wasnít my cup of tea so to speak. I would always recommend some line of support or therapist. Whether itís AA or NA or MSW or some support group I think itís important to not go it alone. Once I got by the withdrawal I have not used any level of support other then whatís within me, again I would not recommend this. Reading these forums seems to be good support and therapy for me, reminds me of my struggles and where I will never go again. So in general my belief is you have to find the form of support thatís fits your situation and personal make-up and as I always say you are far stronger then you would ever believe yourself to be!
with just over a year, i try to maintain my level of serenity by hitting at least 5 meetings a week, talking to my sponsor every day and another alcoholic, praying, staying involved with my home group (chairing meetings). basically just doing the same things that have gotten me here. that is not to say, i don't have bad days. the difference is, when i am in a bad spot, instead of picking up a drink, i use the tools that have been given to me. a positive attitude goes a very long way and i am not a glass half full person. today i know that god didn't bring me this far to drop me on my ***. i also know that all i have to do each day is not drink no matter what. i am truly grateful for the gift i have been given. A real life.
Hey windysan, I have been clean of pot, alcohol and cigarettes for 2years now, because i got rid of my negative friends. now i have no friends. all i have is a boyfriend now, thats religious and he never touched a drug in his life or a cigarette.!!! the first thing is have faith and pray to god. without faith you cant get through this hard time. another thing is get rid of those negative friends. another thing is for the anxiety, i take psychiatric medication for that and it helps me. or you can work out in the gym and eat healthy. that gets rid of the anxiety and makes you healthy. i deal with anxiety every night. its hard for me to go to sleep at night. but i rather be clean than be a drug addict. i am doing great now. my parents trust me. i dont have to steal, and get arreseted for stealing for my drug habit, so my life is much better. have FAITH!!! WRITE BACK YOUR FRIEND CHRISTINA
The way I look at it is "whatever works". Whatever gets you to sobriety and keeps you there is "the way". A buddy of mine went to a Pentecostal treatment center. He became a Pentecostal and it has been working for him. Some people find serenity via AA or NA. Some find Jesus. Some become Muslim. Some do the Scientology route. Some use *************. I'm for whatever gets you off the dope and keeps you off the dope. I use a variety of tools. For those still on the dope.....use everything you can to get clean and everything you can to stay clean. It is a better way to live....I promise.
Such a good idea to have a thread like this. And, as a poster hoping to be on this "other side" soon, it is so encouraging--and so important--for me to read how you all found strength to continue, afterwards....when the first "high" of getting clean wears off...and you're left with "okay, what do I do next?" How do you go from a lifestyle, where every four or five hours, you've waited for that "surge" of productivity, creativity..and....eventually...HELL to structure your days--to a more, even and monotone life, where it must come from within YOU to add the color.
I read more from posters, who at first feel "flat", "blah", "dreary", than I do from those who just cannot handle a life without the high of drugs. But, I also read stories of real depression setting in. That's why it's so important for us to learn how others tackle these reactions.
There is also a clear difference amongst posters as to their sense of well-being. Philster sounds genuinely "happy" in his new life. Others sound happy to be drug-free....but not at all "high on life." Of course, it is our own individual psychiatric make-ups....and our life experiences...and the support around us....that contribute to our responses. So, it is important that we hear a variety of coping mechanisms, as there is great comfort in learning how someone similar to us, dealt with the aftermath!
Thanks, Windy for starting an excellent thread...this should be a permanent one! Maybe it should be "bumped up" from time to time, so it doesn't get too far down the list.
I have been clean and sober for 15 years and my husband 21 years. I will tell you the first 5 years were the hardest. My suggestions: meetings, meetings and more meetings. After treatment I was told to go to 90 meetings in 90 days and then 5 meetings a week for the next 5 years. I thought this a tall order, but I wanted to to stay clean. I did it. Women, stick with the women, I don't know if they say this anymore but they told me "The men will look at your *** but it is the women who will save it" . Get a sponser and communicate often and honestly. There isn't anything you have done or thought or felt they hasn't already been done, thought or felt. Do the steps and attend at least one step meeting faithfully. Share at meetings, share your hopes, disappointments, fears, anger, whatever it going on. As far as serenity, that is easy when things are going your way, it is an all together different story when things are not. Pray alot. Get on your knees and ask for help. Live your life. Set yourself goals and go after them. Be kind to your fellow alcoholic or drug addict. Stay away from negative people. Keep your chin up and never be ashamed of what you are and what you are doing. I have lived by these. It has worked. And of course my husband's favorite saying "Just don't f****** drink no matter what" There is no solution to what ever problem you are having in a bottle or a drug. Good luck to all of you and pray for all of us. Thank God for everyday you have sober. Each day you wake up is a new day and a chance for a new beginning.
they still say all that! when i first got sober, i decided that i would work theprogram my way. hahaha! i finally got serious, got a great sponsor and have the greatest friends i could ever ask for! each day, i thank god for saving my butt and not letting me die while i was out there. it is so much easier today. don't you just love in the promises where it says, financial insecurity will slip away? unless i hit the lottery, that comes up. hahaha! i know i am okay today and that's what counts! it is great to see someone with so much time posting!
I had ten years clean and sober, then relapsed for a few months. Then put together a year, and relapsed again for two months. Now I have been clean and sober for seven months.
I know what doesn't work -- avoiding meetings (whether 12 step or Smart Recovery), and not working a program of recovery.
Recovery of course includes working with others to help them get clean as well. KEEP COMING BACK -- a tired adage you hear at all the meetings is so true. As a result of adhering to that slogan I have been clean and sober 95% of the past twelve years or so.
My relapses looking back were no surprise. They always occurred after doing it my way without a Program.
On the positive side living clean and sober is very satisfying. The urges do subside over time and are overpowered by feelings of serenity and the knowledge that you are "being all that you can be" -- mentally, spiritually and physically.
Last edited by CromeYellow; 10-08-2004 at 03:16 AM.
Being a new member and recently been off opiates (day 9 today), I can sincerely say that I am grateful to see people sharing their techniques in staying clean and how one can fall back to the dirty ways.
I'm sure these experience in your life have made you a stronger person and everytime you fall you get the courage to get up and stay up knowing that your "opponent" is just waiting to give you another jab, right/left hook and upper cut combination to knock you down. But we have the protective shield that is made of: attending meetings, sponsorship, behavior-lifestyle modification, etc.
It gives me such great hope and therapy just listening to you folks. Thanks!
You are doing well, Van. Just remember to call your sponsor BEFORE you even think about picking up a drug. You've heard the old saying...."my worst day clean is far better than my best day using". This is so true. After the "pink clouds" are over you really need to watch out for the depression. The depression is that little demon in your head that wants the dope. Make sure to make lots of meetings the first year. I'm not a Big Book Thumper but meetings sure helped me. Some AA/NA things I disagree with (allergy to alcohol is one---pretty dated stuff) but overall I think the Big Book has a lot of good things in it. The group therapy of the meetings is a HUGE plus. Your 9 days will turn into 1 year very quickly. I wish you well.
Something wonderful happened today. A lady came in to my office with her 10-yr-old girl. The lady had to pick up some reports I prepared. Her daughter was nice and outgoing. The girl asked me for a piece of paper. I spoke with her mom and they left. On the other desk in my office there was a note that the girl wrote to me....it said, "Just wanted to see you smile".
Little things like that I'd never have paid attention to before.
Really Cool........Sobriety is really, really cool !!!
Gratitude. I want to thank my higher power (whoever he/she may be?) for giving me the ability to control my anger. When you get some clean time and your head starts to clear then you'll see people(sober people) who definitely need some serious therapy! After throwing a temper tantrum at a job the other day, I asked if the guy was finished with his tantrum and then I said, "You are so very right. Thank you. See you later, gator". He was completely baffled by it all. I said my mantras on the way home to keep my anger at bay. The fellow thought that he would insult me but I looked at him with a wondering look and then the guy felt really, really embarrased. His ears were red. I used to obsess for months over silly things. I held my resentments in and they destroyed me. Thanks to god(s) I don't have to do that anymore. I have come to know the word serenity. I am grateful today.