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Gus Aug 07, 2017 (04:36 PM)  

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Thanks Herval Gal and Julie, these comments really mean a lot to me. The supporters like you on this site have really helped me a lot over the last few years. Take care guys! 

Herval Gal, don't be too hard on yourself. You want to stop drinking, and now your just working through how to succeed. If you relapsed, that's ok. Consider it one step closer to quitting long term. If you keep searching, you'll find what works for you. 




Julie Aug 04, 2017 (12:28 PM)  

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Gus, 


I totally agree. This website and the wonderful people on here have been a lifesaver for me.  Such support and no judgement which I so needed to heal. Hugs to you Gus, my friend!

herval gal Aug 03, 2017 (08:17 PM)  

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Hi Gus!

Fantastic work and congrats on two years AF. What a beautiful heartfelt share. I remember when you first came to this site and am so impressed with your determination and ultimate success.  I also refuse to let anyone get too close to me as I'm very much down on myself for getting to this point. After my last relapse I've decided to avoid any social engagements where the possibility of alcohol exists. Just keep doing what your doing Gus and I look forward to learning how to emulate your success.

Gus Jul 07, 2017 (10:07 PM)  

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Hey guys,

Thanks for the responses. Both your responses make a lot of sense. 

I do have the inner voice that can go quite negative when I allow it. When I was really struggling at my lowest point, self loathing was at its highest. Thoughts like worrying about dying were always on my mind. I haven't had those thoughts in a long long time, and I am now not so hard on myself. I guess the self compassion is kicking in - I just haven't recognized it. 

And for the self care, I am doing that as well. I walk outside a lot; I exercise; I try to relax more. 
 
Looking back, I don't know how I let drinking get so out of hand. It's like it crept up on me in increments over years. It really almost ruined my life. 

I'm glad I have this forum here so that I can be honest with someone. I am too ashamed to tell anyone around me about how bad my drinking actually got. I suspect that people around me notice that I don't drink anymore, but honestly I can't talk to them about it. I don't know what to say. I'm afraid it will make me look weak. I'm afraid they will think less of me if I tell them how bad I was. When I was at my lowest point, I couldn't didn't have the courage to reach out to anyone around me for help. Although I did have this forum. If I didn't have this forum, I don't know where I would have turned. So thank god for this forum, and thank god for the people on here. 

Thanks again Julie and Ashley
Gus

Ashley-Health Educator Jul 07, 2017 (04:15 PM)  

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Hi everyone!


Thanks for all your thoughts and insight into this discussion. You all make very good points.

Gus, 

Self-compassion is essential for mental health especially when struggling with an addiction. It basically means watching your self-talk (the mind chatter that goes on day to day). Many people have very negative and harsh self-talk and this causes guilt, shame, low self-esteem, etc. These feelings can often make quitting more difficult as they can become self-fulfilling prophecies in a way. So when you catch yourself being hard on yourself stop and reflect. What would you say to a friend you really care about in your position? Use the same compassion you have for other people for yourself. Self-compassion can also mean allowing yourself to feel whatever emotions come up - validate those emotions and process them through discussion, counselling, journalling, art work, mindfulness, etc. 

Self-care is all the activities we do to take care of ourselves: healthy eating, exercise, proper sleep socializing, time outside, relaxation techniques, pleasurable activities, interesting hobbies, etc.

I hope that we answered your questions. If you have any more please feel free to share your thoughts and/or questions.


Ashley, Health Educator

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Julie Jul 06, 2017 (11:58 AM)  

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Gus, I guess what I meant was that "for me" self compassion and self care were essential.  I had a very critical inner voice that I self medicated away with alcohol.  I have come to understand that came from my childhood. Also I have realized that I have taken care of others without taking care of myself.  Really, for me, it has been a journey of discovering my needs, wants, and how to manage those; also, accepting myself as I am.  For me, it has been the realization that I must attend to myself and my needs.  Alcohol used to quiet the chaos in my brain that escalated as I disregarded what I really needed.  I am learning how to set boundaries and how to take care of myself.  It is really never too late I think to make changes in our lives.  I feel much more balanced emotionally, and that is without alcohol, which for me exacerbated the negative feelings, there is no doubt.

foxman Jul 01, 2017 (10:00 AM)  

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People think they had a choice in the way the acted. That leads to lot of guilt remorse. The moment we realize that we actually didn't, we stage a recovery. Thats were compassion and forgiveness comes for ourselves and others. Books like A new earth, delve more on the esoteric aspects. There is a zen story that Eckhart uses to illustrate how the mind hangs on to old instances and keeps it alive:
 
The inability or rather unwillingness of the human mind to let go of the past is beautifully illustrated in the story of two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country road that had become extremely
muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and
carried her to the other side. The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn't restrain himself any longer.
 
“Why did you carry that girl across the road?” he asked. “We monks are not supposed to do things like that.”
 
“I put the girl down hours ago,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”
 
Now imagine what life would be like for someone who lived like Ekido all the time, unable or unwilling to let go internally of situations, accumulating more and more “stuff' inside, and you get a sense of what life
is like for the majority of people on our planet. What a heavy burden of past they carry around with them in their minds.
 
The past lives in you as memories, but memories in themselves are not a problem. in fact, it is through memory that we learn from the past and from past mistakes. It is only when memories, that is to say, thoughts about the
past, take you over completely that they turn into a burden, turn problematic, and become part of your sense of self. Your personality, which is conditioned by the past, then becomes your prison. Your memories are invested with a
sense of self, and your story becomes who you perceive yourself to be. This “little me” is an illusion that obscures your true identity as timeless and formless Presence.

Gus Jun 30, 2017 (12:42 AM)  

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Hi Ashley and Julie,

I need to ask a question. What do you mean when you say self compassion and self care are essential to recovery? I'm not certain what you mean in this context? 

Julie Jun 29, 2017 (10:30 AM)  

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Thanks Ashley!  I try to meditate regularly and one of my meditations is Kristin Neff's self compassion meditation on Insight Timer.   I know that I have a very strong critical inner voice and I am beginning to recognize it when it kicks in and to challenge it. I show kindness to others and am seeing the ultimate value and importance of showing myself the same. I am beginning to trust myself and value the struggles I have come through to get where I am now.

Ashley-Health Educator Jun 16, 2017 (02:49 PM)  

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Wow! Congratulations.


I can't believe how quickly two years flies by. Thank you for sharing your success with us. It is clear you have put a lot of hard work into this and you are now reaping the rewards. 

Self-compassion and self-care are essential to recovery. How do you remind yourself to practice self-compassion?


Ashley, Health Educator

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Julie Jun 14, 2017 (11:22 PM)  

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Thank you Foxman and Cryptmaker for the kind words.   Gus, it is great to hear from you and to know that all is well!  Congratulations on your over two years with no alcohol. You were a huge help to me as I started out and you continue to be a welcomed support. Thank you and keep up the great work!

Cryptkeeper Jun 14, 2017 (08:48 PM)  

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Thank you all for sharing your success over this disease. Foxman, as usual, you are always here for support and so modest. If my memory serves me correctly you have been sober now for seven or eight years...maybe longer and yet you respond to each and every person who comes to this forum, even if it is only sharing a few words as you have below. The world direly needs more kind and selfless people like you.

Cryptkeeper (a.k.a. David)

foxman Jun 13, 2017 (07:10 AM)  

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Nice work.

Gus Jun 12, 2017 (10:56 PM)  

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Hey Julie,

Awesome to hear your update! You are a great example for those of us who struggle with alcohol  of what is possible. 

I am over two years alcohol free myself. Slowly but surely, things improve, like Julie says. If I had to list the positives of being free of alcohol abuse, I'd be writing for a week. The number one positive - I am available and in the moments. I wasn't when alcohol had control. 

Julie Jun 12, 2017 (09:38 PM)  

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Today marks my two years of sobriety and it is a good place to be.  Slowly but surely, my life is improving and I am becoming a person I can be proud of, a person I can trust and a person I like.  Good things are happening and opportunities are arising, but I think they were always there, I just wasn't open and brave enough to recognize them. Counselling has helped me to become aware of the things that I tried to numb by drinking, and to begin to heal those areas.  I am learning about self compassion and self care, essential aspects to my recovery. Daily exercise and meditation have proven to be essential to me, as well as online support (forums, podcasts and blogs) and books.  


I hope that these words can offer encouragement to others to keep trying  and that there is a way through to the other side.  Keep adding tools to your toolbox until you get the support you need to carry you through.  Try to go without alcohol for 90 days and see where it takes you.  You will find that it takes you to a better place.

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