Getting used to sobriety

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Getting used to sobriety

Postby Sadge » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:12 pm

I've been sober for 6 weeks. Don't think I've ever been sober that long since I was 16, 13 if you count nicotine (28 now). It's weird! Very weird. I come from English binge drinking culture and was into the rave scene for many years, I didn't think smoking weed and taking benzos was really drug taking :-\ This new life is weird. That's all I have to say.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Hickersonia » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:19 pm

Sadge wrote:I've been sober for 6 weeks. Don't think I've ever been sober that long since I was 16, 13 if you count nicotine (28 now). It's weird! Very weird. I come from English binge drinking culture and was into the rave scene for many years, I didn't think smoking weed and taking benzos was really drug taking :-\ This new life is weird. That's all I have to say.


This is awesome news, friend. :)

I drank until about 15 months ago and I can attest that it only gets stranger -- but good strange. It can be amazing to live without fuzz on the brain, if you want it to be.

Be well being sober!
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:00 pm

Sobering up and coming to the Dhmma were the two best decisions I've ever made. I wish you every success! :anjali: :heart:
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby manas » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:20 pm

Sadge wrote:I've been sober for 6 weeks. Don't think I've ever been sober that long since I was 16, 13 if you count nicotine (28 now). It's weird! Very weird. I come from English binge drinking culture and was into the rave scene for many years, I didn't think smoking weed and taking benzos was really drug taking :-\ This new life is weird. That's all I have to say.


Firstly, well done on your achievement of 6 weeks of sobriety. :thumbsup: This is something to feel good about, to take satisfaction in. Now, try to steady & maintain it, so it can continue into the future.

Regarding that perception of 'weirdness', that's the label your mind is putting on it today. But sometime in the future, it might put a different label on the experience. You might perceive this new state as 'clarity' or 'increased peace of mind'. Now this is not to judge your current reaction; indeed I can relate to a 'coming down' effect, where after a period of taking a particular intoxicant, if one suddenly stops, one can feel a bit strange for a while. This will pass. Remember that not only your mind, but your body also would still be doing some 'house cleaning' at present. When we actually stop putting a particular toxin into the body, the body shifts from coping, to cleansing mode. This period can be a little uncomfortable, but there are definitely brighter times ahead, don't worry. :smile:

Others here might be able to offer more specific advice, I actually never did intoxicants for years at at time, it was more for a few months here and there; however I still can attest to an uncomfortable stage of detox. That's pretty universal, differing only by degree, afaik.

Long-term, to stay clear of them, you have to find ways to feel good without them, and by 'feel good' I refer to the kinds of things that relieve the monotony of mundane existence for a while. Things like exercise, certain endorphin-stimulating natural foods, and even laughter and friendship (though you might need to watch in what situations you look for that now), can take us out of the ordinary, and give us a natural 'high' that is healthy and produced by our own body, not by any external agent. And finally, meditation, to whatever extent you can cultivate it, will begin to give your mind more and more clarity, to the point that one day, the temptation to indulge will not even arise anymore - because you will then perceive intoxicants as leading to stress and suffering, and will naturally wish to avoid them.

Keep up the good work,

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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:37 am

:clap:

Congrats on your 6 weeks !
I know a little about where you are, after decades of drug and alcohol use i remember the first few months to a year being very interesting :) All the emotions and fear of life in general that i used to medicate now had to be faced. You dont have to do it alone tho. Find an AA group in your area and you will find other people who have gone through exactly what is going on with you now, they will be your best allies in staying clean. Also do the steps, they work. Good Luck :heart:
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Digity » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:02 am

Congrats! Keep it up! The biggest challenge I've found with giving up alcohol is how others react. Those who drink don't like to hear that you don't drink and they take it personally like you're judging them for drinking. :|
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Sadge » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:27 am

Morlock, thanks for your kind reply. Just want to point out that I don't need to go to AA meetings! I was never an alcoholic, pothead yes, but I have not smoked weed for 6 months. I think my situation is quite a lot like growing up too *rolls eyes*, getting towards my 30's, I want a more stable life.



Thanks for saying 6 weeks is half decent, the mind is judging this as 'not being long enough' silly brain. Your all right though it is a good start.

Also glad people can relate to others judging them. Most people have said well done, others have judged and said it is strange (jealously perhaps)

Manas! Clearly my new dhamma buddy :-) your right the weirdness is a label imposed by the mind and I am looking forward to it changing to clarity of mind or something like that. That would be good for that to happen. Guess we can all get used to the most strange of situations.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Sorry, my mistake. I thot if you hadnt been sober for more than 6 weeks at a time in the last 12 years you might have a problem.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Sadge » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:57 pm

No no real dependency apart from weed. I've taken a lot of different drugs, so quite hard to become dependant on one when you mix and match.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:21 pm

Sadge wrote:No no real dependency apart from weed. I've taken a lot of different drugs, so quite hard to become dependant on one when you mix and match.


Doesn't really matter if it's ten or one - as long as one is dependent on drugs as such ...
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Sadge » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:11 pm

Sorry binocular I don't really understand your post. Internet can be a bit like that eh.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:24 pm

One might not be dependent on a particular drug, and that may give one the impression that one isn't dependent at all.
But if one has the tendency to use drugs, even if one consumes a great variety of them, that is still dependency.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Sadge » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:57 pm

Oh I see. Yeah you could argue I was dependant on drugs generally. Thankfully not anymore.

It is surprising how much calmer my mind is now. Plus the thought of the taste of alcohol feels a bit disgusting. Result.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Sadge » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:49 pm

Still going, getting used to it more now. Just watching thoughts of 'one won't hurt'. Minds also saying 'wish it was longer' just noticing the desire for a longer time sober.

Why does nicotine count as an intoxicating substance? It doesn't have any recreational value (as in it doesn't get you high, drunk, euphoric, sleepy)..
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Coyote » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:01 pm

Sadge wrote:Still going, getting used to it more now. Just watching thoughts of 'one won't hurt'. Minds also saying 'wish it was longer' just noticing the desire for a longer time sober.

Why does nicotine count as an intoxicating substance? It doesn't have any recreational value (as in it doesn't get you high, drunk, euphoric, sleepy)..


I'm pretty sure It doesn't, as far as keeping the 5 precepts is concerned.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Digity » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:55 am

I keep the five precepts, but I'll smoke a cigar once in a blue moon...didn't think it broke the precepts.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby D.T.Coyle » Wed May 01, 2013 2:05 pm

Congratulations Sadge.

I'm dipping my toes back into the stream for similar reasons. My alcohol consumption is getting out of hand. I drink nearly everyday, and drink heavily on the weekends. I'm certainly addicted, as I feel a physical craving to drink, especially when distressed in some manner. Aside from being ashamed that I feel a need for a substance, I'm also concerned about my health. With as much as I drink, and for as long as I've been at it, health is a valid concern.

I was talking to a guy at work the other night near the end of the shift. I said "well, almost beer:30!", he replied, "yeah, wish I could have one, but I've had to quit since the seizures started". He went on to explain that due the amounts he use to drink, and a pre-existing condition, he started having seizures. He later revealed that his brother had died at 35 due to liver damage caused by heavy consumption. This little exchange really shook something lose in me, and made me realize that I was being reckless, even when knowing that I was being reckless. I'm grateful for this experience, it's given me motivation to do something about it. I believe the thing to do about it, is get back into practice, and get support from others.

I'm off on the right foot. I bypassed the gas station this morning on my way home from work, where I'd normally stop to pick up a six pack. It wasn't as much of a battle as I feared it would be, though when I got home, it was a bit more difficult because my routine is to crack one open and hop online... and drink for several hours... then stay up longer then I should... then not get as much sleep as I should, waking up feeling like crap... not having any energy for exercise or hobbies... rinse/repeat. It really is a bad way of living.
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby kirk5a » Wed May 01, 2013 5:47 pm

Congratulations to those choosing the way of sobriety. I used to be a heavy drinker myself. I would like to share something from my experience. Abstain from drinking, but do not rely solely upon the willpower to abstain. It's too gritty. Giving up the pleasures of alcohol, you will need to find an inner source of satisfaction to replace that. So - discover the satisfaction and pleasure which arises from putting effort into wakefulness. Just remember - quality of result depends upon quality of effort. Right effort - not too tight, not too loose. :anjali:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby Sadge » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:40 pm

5 months sober apart from nicotine. 3 days 100% sober.... And fell off the wagon. Giving up nicotine creates SO much anger. I gave in to dukkha and had some beers. They were horrible! I felt a million times worse! More anger, more frustration. Very useful lesson to learn.... Alcohol makes you think it will be better with it but it just makes worse. Do I feel stupid now *sigh*
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Re: Getting used to sobriety

Postby manas » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:30 am

Sadge wrote:5 months sober apart from nicotine. 3 days 100% sober.... And fell off the wagon. Giving up nicotine creates SO much anger. I gave in to dukkha and had some beers. They were horrible! I felt a million times worse! More anger, more frustration. Very useful lesson to learn.... Alcohol makes you think it will be better with it but it just makes worse. Do I feel stupid now *sigh*


Hi Sadge,

nicotine isn't a 'drug that leads to heedlessness', so I would say that if you were only smoking you could count that at being '100% sober'. While I'm also trying to cut down on smoking, I don't regard it as intoxication. It doesn't give me either a high or a trip, just a brief head rush, which is a purely physical phenomenon. And while smoking tobacco long term can harm your body, it won't harm your mind in the way that alcohol does. So maybe try giving up the tobacco more gradually, seeing it as the lesser of two evils? It is still within the five lay precepts to smoke tobacco. Do what you have to do to stay off the grog, that's my advice, yes even if that means giving yourself a smoke now and then.

Take heart Sadge, you will succeed ultimately, just keep striving in the right direction. Every time you make a resolve and then keep it, you strengthen the mind in that direction. You already achieved much with the three-month stint of abstinence. If you get back on the wagon now, it won't be quite so hard to do it again (stay off the grog).

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