Today I Celebrate 2 Years Sober

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Nobody

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Today marks a day I honestly never thought I would ever see - 2 years of total sobriety. To me, it's a much bigger deal than others might see it as, and I truly believe without it, I was on my way down the ****ter in a hurry.

I was born into a family of Irish, German and Italian ancestry, so I was genetically screwed from the start probably. It also doesn't help that I come from a long line of alcoholics. My father is the only person in my family that isn't and never was an alcoholic.

I started drinking when I was 16. I would go over to my buddy Paul's house, because his parents were drunks, and pretty slack on minors drinking. We'd get tore up, act like fools, etc. every weekend while we were in high school, and damn near every day during the Summer for years. By the time I turned 21, the thrill of being able to drink wasn't that special, because I had been an alcoholic for 5 years at that point, this just made it easier to acquire. I spent my 21st birthday at a raw bar getting ****ty, followed by some rock n bowl with my brother in law and a few pitchers.

During my early drinking days, I was a stupid drunk. I would drink until I was drunk, plain and simple. I knew my limit, I just didn't care. I'm only 5'7" and 192lbs, and once got so drunk that I bare knuckle boxed my 320lb 6'2" friend until my face was practically hamburger and we both passed out. Another time, I was getting hammered at a party and woke up in a house full of strangers not knowing where the hell I was or how I got there.

I drank myself into oblivion on numerous occasions when I was younger, but by the time I was 21, I was practically immune. I was never a beer drinker, it was almost exclusively hard liquor for me. I drank mostly tequila and bourbon, with the occasional case of Guinness for good measure. After I turned 21, something strange happened. It seemed like no matter how much I drank, I couldn't get drunk. I could get a good buzz, but drunk was an impossibility. I won 2 straight drinking contests the year I turned 21. Obviously not a smart thing to do, but I knew I couldn't lose. The first contest was sponsored by a radio station as a St. Patrick's Day gag. I drank 15 shots of tequila in 15 minutes without puking or passing out, and the next closest guy got 15 down, but puked his guts up violently, so I won free Busch Gardens season tickets. The next contest, I was at a frat party with my buddies and won $100 when some guys bet me that I couldn't drink a case of beer by myself in one night. I did it, it was stupid, but I had $100.

All this time, I never got a hangover. I don't know if it was some strange ability I had, or if I just did something right unknowingly or what, but I never got hungover.

After my daughter was born 10 years ago, the partying stopped completely. I never went out to drink again, and only did it at home after she was in bed. I drank a lot less during this time, because I wouldn't touch a drink until she was in bed - around 8ish - but I still drank a lot every single night. Then 2 years ago, something changed. I started to notice that for no reason at all, I started to become super sensitive to alcohol. I went from being the guy who could pound over a dozen shots no problem, to being stumbling drunk from one drink. I switched to beer at that point, but could never finish an entire beer without being fall down drunk. It scared the hell out of me, and nobody I talked to knew what it could be.

On July 4th, 2009, I decided to quit drinking and quit doing drugs while I was at it. I was terrified that I had damaged my liver so severely that it was killing me, that that was my original motivation to quit cold turkey. 6 months after I quit, I decided to get my liver checked out by a specialist. To my shock and relief, it was fine. He told me that sometimes for no reason at all, people can become hypersensitive to alcohol or caffeine, and apparently I had become one of those people.

Oddly enough, after quitting, I never went through detox. Well, I might have, but not in the manner you think of when you think of detox. I never got the shakes or anything, and never got sick. I just had a 3 days headache with occasional profuse sweating, but it went away fast.

In the past 2 years, I have only craved alcohol and drugs a few times. I am proud to be able to say that I never slipped. 2 years sober with no relapse is something I love to be able to brag about, because from what I've read and heard, it's nearly impossible. Oddly enough, although this proves I have some decent willpower, I have still not been able to quit smoking. Wtf? Definitely my next goal though :D

I am proud of where I am and how I got here, and I am proud to be drug and alcohol free.
 

Neophyte

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Needing a "Like" button for this one. :)

Great job, sir. Congratulations.
 

Elephant

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Congratulations Extreme.
 

Sarge

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Way to go dude. Like they say "One day at a time"
 

Skinfan13

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That's great! My father is a dry alcoholic and alcoholism runs in my family (my uncle recently drank himself to death), so I can relate to the problems alcohol can cause. I myself am not an alcoholic, but I am mindful that I am genetically predisposed. I think its great that you've been clean for so long cold turkey, that's really hard to do! I quit smoking cold turkey when I first went to VMI, and honestly without the military environment, I don't know if I would have been able to anywhere else.

anyways, congrats!
 

Nobody

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Thank you to everybody for the comments. It definitely isn't always easy, but when you have witnessed losing relatives to alcoholism, then you feel its effects on your own body, it gives you that added motivation you need.

I promise you all, if you want to quit drinking (which I didn't want to at first, but glad I did) I assure you that if someone that drinks the way I did can do it, anybody can. It's never a cakewalk, but it's worth doing.
 

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Good for you. Nothing is tougher than changing what we've gotten into the habit of doing every day. When you really think about it, what you're describing is changing your life. Anytime someone is truly able to do that, I think it's impressive.
 

Nobody

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Good for you. Nothing is tougher than changing what we've gotten into the habit of doing every day. When you really think about it, what you're describing is changing your life. Anytime someone is truly able to do that, I think it's impressive.
Thank you buddy, it means a lot. I've been telling my family and friends all day that it's not the cakewalk it might appear to be on the surface.

I've said before, I'm not the extrovert or big personality I might appear to be around here. In real life, I am the polar opposite. I still say what's on my mind, but I'm not an emotional guy, I have endless amounts of patience, and I generally keep to myself for the most part unless I'm with friends or family.

But even though I never outwardly expressed how hard it has been to deal with at times, it doesn't mean it was as easy as it appeared. I sat up many nights sweating profusely and just trying to keep my mind occupied, because all I wanted to do was slam a few shots. It was even more difficult the first 6 months, because my alcoholic brother was living with us, and he was the type that respects nothing and almost went out of his way to tempt me. But I got through it, and I only get a craving once or twice every 6 months or so now, so it's getting better.

I don't think the urges will ever go away completely, but I'm confident that the longer I go, the easier it will be to deal with. I went with my wife and sister and a bunch of friends out to a karaoke bar last weekend. That was the first time I had to be around a bunch of people drinking since I quit, and I was surprised at the fact that the only time I had any urge to drink was when it came my turn to sing and the nerves hit :laugh:
 

Ax

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Good job. Having a real "want to" is essential. Just saying you want to, doesn't cut it.
 

Nobody

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Good job. Having a real "want to" is essential. Just saying you want to, doesn't cut it.
I couldn't agree more. I said several times over the years that I wanted to quit. It was mostly because I knew I needed to.

The problem is, I loved drinking, and never really suffered any ill effects from it outside of the first few years. I was more fun when I would drink, I had more fun when I'd drink, and I didn't have to take high blood pressure meds until I quit drinking. I am a firm believer that living a very high stress life due to a brutal job and financial stress can be cured by having a drink or 12 to unwind :laugh: I will never know if my hypertension was kept in check all them years from the alcohol, but I'll be damned if it didn't spike immediately the day I quit drinking.

As far as smoking goes, I think it's more than willpower. I know it's more than willpower. I will never believe that I could have the ability to quit drugs and alcohol cold turkey after years of abuse, and I can't even give up a stupid cigarette if willpower and the real want is all it takes.

A few years ago, I was having breathing problems a lot. I wanted to quit smoking, and I needed to quit smoking. So I threw away my cigarettes. For 4 days, I was fine. Days 5-7 were a different story. I woke up with the worst headache I had ever had in my life. I was so intensely dizzy that it made me vomit on several occasions. My heart rate was in the 105-120 range, when my normal is in the 60-65 range. I couldn't stop sweating, I couldn't sleep, and I felt like I could feel my heart stopping. After 3 days of this, I thought I had a heart condition and was convinced I was dying.

On the 3rd day of this, I was walking out of the bathroom and collapsed to the ground. When I got back up, I felt like my legs weighed a thousand pounds. I panicked, my wife panicked, and she rushed me to the ER.

They ran several blood tests, did a CT scan, did a urinalysis, and an EEG. After spending several hours in the ER running test after test, the doctor came in and started asking dozens of questions to try and pinpoint the root cause. His last question, which completely caught me off guard, was when he asked me if I had recently quit smoking.

When I answered yes, he said I was detoxing from the nicotine, and it would likely continue to get worse before it got better. He told me that in extreme cases, some people come off of nicotine worse than a heroin addict comes down from heroin. All of my symptoms were real, and they were all physical. The EEG showed an irregular heartbeat, which he says was likely caused by the lacking stimulant altering my brain and heart rhythm. This was also the cause of the intense headaches. These all caused the profuse sweating, sleeplessness and rapid heart rate. He didn't really know what to tell me about the feeling of intense heaviness, but he said the dizziness was due to my body taking in a lot more oxygen than it was accustomed to for the last decade plus.

So what did I do? I went and bought a pack of cigarettes. I smoked one, it made me high as a kite, and my symptoms disappeared in about 7 minutes. Now, it is my fear of having to deal with that again that is keeping me from quitting. I have proven with the ability to quit drugs and alcohol, that it is absolutely not a mental thing with me, it is a physical dependency. I refuse to try drugs to quit smoking, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna spend $60 on each stage of a patch or gum that won't work, when I could get a few cartons for that price, so I need to find a different way to quit.
 

Ax

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Now, it is my fear of having to deal with that again that is keeping me from quitting.
Typical cop out.

I have proven with the ability to quit drugs and alcohol, that it is absolutely not a mental thing with me, it is a physical dependency.
No, you've only demonstrated how powerful the mind can be, in creating physical reactions to to support it's predispositions.

I refuse to try drugs to quit smoking, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna spend $60 on each stage of a patch or gum that won't work, when I could get a few cartons for that price, so I need to find a different way to quit.
Well damn. How 'bout this. You're killing yourself by smoking. You THINK you'll die if you quit. Either way, you're going to die. So, just quit. Any reactions after a week or two can't be anything but mental.

If you die before that, then, you will have been right.

Which is right up your alley.;)
 

Ax

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Ok coach, whatever you say :insane:
No bait. The last paragraph was obviously tongue in cheek. But the other was factual, straight talk.

You will never be able to quit smoking, with your current mindset.
 

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