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Hi everybody....So I'm currently in a very strict COVID lockdown and as I feared I started to get heavy on drinking the bottles of wine. I feel really ashamed because I was in this Zoom SMART Recovery meeting two days ago and it was a good meeting. The facilitator was nice and the people were mostly older than myself but they said some very relatable things. In SMART Recovery you set week to week goals. My goal was not to drink alcohol for one week but pretty quickly I failed it. I drank a bottle of wine last night and also drinking one now.

I do get help for my drinking the last 14 years so I know at least I try. My drug and alcohol counsellor sometimes did point out that we've been working together for six years and I haven't made a large amount of progress. By that she meant I didn't actually stop drinking. Recently I tried my third anti craving medication but just like the first two it had really bad side effects. The sad part is for cravings I think it actually worked.

It's interesting because in the past when I went to AA there were people there who had been sober for like 20-30 years. To me that concept just seemed so foreign. How did they do it??!

It's a really bad feeling to be addicted to something and know that it's deep inside you, you know? It's part of you and you need to be fighting against it all the time.

Has anyone here been addicted to anything? Or is? Is there anything that helped you?

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Yeah, I'm addicted to sugar. Sometimes I eat more, other times, less. It's so hard to NOT eat sugary foods. 

About a year ago, I started fasting because I put on weight. That helped A LOT. But I had to be super strict with myself. I did that for a solid 8 months. It got boring, painful and tiring because I constantly had to literally starve to keep myself 10 lbs lighter than what I'm at now. I used an app and that helped A LOT. Perhaps try using an app? It's childish but it really worked for me to see my progress. 

Have you tried non alcoholic beverages? 

 

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7 minutes ago, Tonight.majestic said:

Yeah, I'm addicted to sugar. Sometimes I eat more, other times, less. It's so hard to NOT eat sugary foods. 

About a year ago, I started fasting because I put on weight. That helped A LOT. But I had to be super strict with myself. I did that for a solid 8 months. It got boring, painful and tiring because I constantly had to literally starve to keep myself 10 lbs lighter than what I'm at now. I used an app and that helped A LOT. Perhaps try using an app? It's childish but it really worked for me to see my progress. 

Have you tried non alcoholic beverages? 

 

Yes I've actually tried intermittent fasting also but it didn't work great because I fasted after dinner until lunch the next day but in the evening I got so hungry! And just ate the same amount as normal basically. Yes trying to use a couple of phone apps but not using them enough maybe? Alcoholic drinks I like are coffee and yes I am addicted to it also lol I also like kombucha..Actually I don't drink any soft drinks or juice ever because I'm a chubby woman and the wine gains weight so I try to cut back in other ways.

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1 minute ago, Tonight.majestic said:

Well, self discipline is very hard and it's normal to fall off the wagon once in a while as long as you keep moving forward. 

Thank you 🙂 Yeah it's a struggle! Do you think there's such a thing as addictive personality?

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33 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

Thank you 🙂 Yeah it's a struggle! Do you think there's such a thing as addictive personality?

I think we are all addicted to something or someone to a degree. Some moreso than others. 

I literally cannot go a single day without eating something sugary. So I guess I'm addicted. 

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2 hours ago, Tinydance said:

I do get help for my drinking the last 14 years so I know at least I try. My drug and alcohol counsellor sometimes did point out that we've been working together for six years and I haven't made a large amount of progress. By that she meant I didn't actually stop drinking.

I remember your last thread on this topic where you stated:  "My counsellor has said to me a number of times though that she doesn't think I truly want to stop drinking and I'm not making enough effort. I suppose that's true".

^ That's where your problem lies.  The reality is that you really don't want to stop drinking. You even said that you suppose that's true.  As long as you aren't truly ready to give up the booze, then you will forever carry on drinking.

"I went to AA there were people there who had been sober for like 20-30 years. To me that concept just seemed so foreign. How did they do it??!"

They finally hit rock bottom and faced reality that they really needed outside help.  It seems you are nowhere near ready to stop.

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Tiny, I also do IF.  You have to be doing very clean fasting (only water and black coffee) for it to work.  It also takes a month of absolutely no cheating for your body to adapt. Also, wine is basically sugar, so essentially you have an addiction to sugar and perhaps the buzz you get from alcohol.

Have you ever thought of switching your fasting window to have breakfast and lunch instead of dinner? This really worked for me in the beginning.  This will also improve your sleep. Also, cutting back on exercise makes fasting much easier. I am unable to exercise for the next few weeks and really noticed I am much less hangry and can increase my fasting time by a few hours. 

Wine is a horrible thing for your body (unless it is perhaps organic) It dries/ages your skin, erodes your stomach lining messes with your brain and is just overall bad for you. While you may have an addictive personality, I question why and am pained by the damage you are inflicting on your body.

Could you try ditching sugar/wine for 4-5 days?  It will be challenging but will hopefully undo the cravings. In the last week or so I have avoided pastries, soda and sweets (‘cause I can’t exercise) and am amazed I have dropped 5 lbs and no longer crave sugar.

Like one of the other folks mentioned, only you can change you and you have to want to change. 

Good luck with this. I see your posts frequently on ENA and wish you the best of health.

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You have to WANT TO. I gave up binge drinking and codeine. But I wanted to . I wanted to keep my husband who was my boyfriend at the time. I just decided enough was enough The first little while was rough, but I did it . 
 

You have to want to though. Really want to. 

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I agree with others. Your 'want to stop' has to be strong. I am a former daily binge drinker.

I drank everyday for many years.. It was my lifestyle. 

On the weekends, all my friends, we partied all weekend. During the week, I went to dinners and drinks with colleagues and business contacts. All you can eat & drink.  All on the company dime.

It was no big deal to wake up drunk. Go to the office, push thru and be back at it by 5. Sometimes we would drink at lunch. All part of just part of my life... no big deal. I didn't have any kids. 

I never had a negative impact from the drinking.. no run in with the law, no problems at work, no personal problems associated to drinking.

I was probably late 30s when I started thinking, I don't want to do this anymore. I was chubby and feeling my age.  It all seemed so meaningless.. like what I am going to do? be some old lady drunk? with bad skin and poor health?

I think that's a major component of wanting to quit. What do you want your life to be? I reached a point where I realized if I didn't stop, I was going to be someone I didn't like or want to be.

Right now you're in a bad situation with covid... but it's not always going to be this way.

Stop making excuses for your behavior. if it's not lockdown, then it is something else.  it's always something else. 

What are some things you can do that don't involve drinking? 

Maybe you need a new counsellor. Not blaming anyone else but maybe another approach will help. 

Think about why do you do you drink? Make a list of the reasons why and when you are likely to drink. Use that to identify strategies to change.

I've done IF, too.  I thought I was losing at first.  I found skipping breakfast made we eat later into the evening. 

If I had some wine I'd definitely snack late night. 

The late evening (not even late night) eating disturbed my sleep. It is worse with drinking and eating. 

Poor sleep is a much bigger deal then we make it. It majorly impacts your health. Abusing alcohol also causes anxiety. I have known several people that claim to "never get hungover" but their anxiety level is extreme. and probably because they drink.

Alcohol is legalized poison. We don't think it's bad cause we all drink it. But it is bad. You're killing yourself... slowly, but surely. 

I'd start eating a lot of fruit. It can help with the sugar cravings & hydration.  when I first started eating a plant based diet, I felt so good! I wanted to continue and when I eat junk, I feel like junk. That's how I keep going.  You have to find what works for you. ❤

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Tinydance said:

I went to AA there were people there who had been sober for like 20-30 years. To me that concept just seemed so foreign. How did they do it?

They went to AA to get and stay sober.

Have you considered rehab? Does your insurance cover that?

Maybe you need something you can relate to or at least start the ball rolling?

Edited by Wiseman2
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I don't think it's helpful to compare an addiction to sugar where the person eats something sugary every day (me too - am I addicted -I guess it's possible) because unless you have a specific health condition eating something sugary every day doesn't have to have any significant negative effect on your health.  I'm an example of that and I have no interest in stopping the amount of sugar I eat in a day because even if I'm addicted I feel in complete control over the amount I eat in a day (moderate) and when I do a fast for medical or religious reasons I don't feel worse because I eat sugar and drink coffee. So yes a person can have various addictions but the point is the level of control the person has, whether it's an addiction that requires cold turkey (to me sugar doesn't, including honey glazed turkey breast LOL), and the effect on health.  

For you, your specific addiction is negatively affecting your health (and safety potentially), and while we don't need sugar we all have to eat food so I could see leeway in permitting an amount of sugar as part of food intake.  You don't need alcohol at all.  So if you're addicted cold turkey is probably the best way.

I'm a layperson but have you tried replacing with healthful habits - meaning if you like sipping a drink, then sipping a non-alcoholic drink? I have two examples.  I smoked a lot of cigarettes for one year as a teenager then quit cold turkey.  For awhile I had to "smoke" my pen in class to replace the feeling.  And, I basically quit all diet soda a couple of years ago.  (I stopped drinking real soda a bout 40 years ago).  I replaced it with water and also found a water bottle (refillable) that I really liked so it was sort of a "bribe" to myself for switching to water.  It's also helped with my sugar cravings because I don't have the sugar cravings that diet soda trigger plus drinking all day from my water bottle gives me something to do that approximates mindless nibbling - something to do with my hands, it rewards me with energy very often when I drink, so I eat less overall, including sugar.  Just little changes (I bet you've tried similar, just trying to add something useful).

I hope you get good professional help and find good professional resources.  I have a friend who's been dry well over 20 years.  She partied all over Manhattan back in the 70s and 80s so it probably was easy enough to fall into a drinking routine.   I actually met her (in person a number of times) through a forum like this one.

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After that many years of unsuccessful trying, I'd try in-house treatment or at least outpatient. On one side of my family, alcoholism runs rampant. One cousin went through detox and he's been sober for about 8 years. He and another relative went to AA. At least 4 of my relatives who have been sober for many years are all a million times happier. There are usually hotlines wherever you live to direct you to treatment centers. I'd begin with some research on what's available in your area. Take care. 

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10 hours ago, Tinydance said:

Do you think there's such a thing as addictive personality?

I couldn't say, Tiny. But I have read that there is such a thing. And if so it could indeed mean it is easier to become addicted.

No, I am not addicted to anything. Indeed I never smoked (tobacco) in my life. I enjoy a drink socially, but if I have more than two glasses of whatever, with food,  I get shocking nausea. 

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What consequence of drinking would scare you?

My grandfather died alone in a hospital as a result of his drinking (no wife or children at his side). My friend died at age 40 because his liver failed. 

Does either of those scenarios scare you? If not, what does?

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18 hours ago, sadchick83 said:

Tiny, I also do IF.  You have to be doing very clean fasting (only water and black coffee) for it to work.  It also takes a month of absolutely no cheating for your body to adapt. Also, wine is basically sugar, so essentially you have an addiction to sugar and perhaps the buzz you get from alcohol.

Have you ever thought of switching your fasting window to have breakfast and lunch instead of dinner? This really worked for me in the beginning.  This will also improve your sleep. Also, cutting back on exercise makes fasting much easier. I am unable to exercise for the next few weeks and really noticed I am much less hangry and can increase my fasting time by a few hours. 

Wine is a horrible thing for your body (unless it is perhaps organic) It dries/ages your skin, erodes your stomach lining messes with your brain and is just overall bad for you. While you may have an addictive personality, I question why and am pained by the damage you are inflicting on your body.

Could you try ditching sugar/wine for 4-5 days?  It will be challenging but will hopefully undo the cravings. In the last week or so I have avoided pastries, soda and sweets (‘cause I can’t exercise) and am amazed I have dropped 5 lbs and no longer crave sugar.

Like one of the other folks mentioned, only you can change you and you have to want to change. 

Good luck with this. I see your posts frequently on ENA and wish you the best of health.

Actually I don't have an addiction to sugar itself because I don't eat that many sugary things or junk food in general. I don't get too many sugar cravings and thankfully no savoury cravings especially like for pizza and chips. The addiction to the wine is actually largely psychological so the physical withdrawal doesn't actually help unfortunately. I actually do go for a few days or sometimes even a week drinking no alcohol at all. But I think about drinking a lot, it's always on my mind and I really have to fight those cravings really hard. But the addiction isn't physical as there are no withdrawal symptoms or anything. Then I give in to the cravings and drunk 1-2 bottles of wine in one go. So it's binge drinking which is very bad for your body and I've gained weight as well. 

The intermittent fasting is a good idea, thank you for that suggestion. I'll try to give it another go but I think you're right that it's better to skip dinner. Not eating breakfast makes me so hungry later in the day when I did fasting. I ended up eating more at night and it's not good to eat a lot at night so I didn't really lose any weight.

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17 hours ago, Seraphim said:

You have to WANT TO. I gave up binge drinking and codeine. But I wanted to . I wanted to keep my husband who was my boyfriend at the time. I just decided enough was enough The first little while was rough, but I did it . 
 

You have to want to though. Really want to. 

Yes I think a part of me wants to quit, but the other part doesn't. So it's only a 50% wanting to quit and it's obviously not enough. But now I'm beginning to feel helpless because I feel like I'm wasting my counsellor's time. I know she works in an addictions service and in the waiting room there I did see many people who were visibly heroin or ice users. Like with scabs on their body and track marks and stuff. So I know she probably has clients who also can't quit, especially extremely physically addictive drugs like ice. But I just feel ashamed that I can't stop drinking and I'm not succeeding. I'm even ashamed to go into that Zoom support meeting because I failed my goal. And the goal wasn't huge, it was to not drink just for 7 days until the next meeting.

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16 hours ago, Lambert said:

I agree with others. Your 'want to stop' has to be strong. I am a former daily binge drinker.

I drank everyday for many years.. It was my lifestyle. 

On the weekends, all my friends, we partied all weekend. During the week, I went to dinners and drinks with colleagues and business contacts. All you can eat & drink.  All on the company dime.

It was no big deal to wake up drunk. Go to the office, push thru and be back at it by 5. Sometimes we would drink at lunch. All part of just part of my life... no big deal. I didn't have any kids. 

I never had a negative impact from the drinking.. no run in with the law, no problems at work, no personal problems associated to drinking.

I was probably late 30s when I started thinking, I don't want to do this anymore. I was chubby and feeling my age.  It all seemed so meaningless.. like what I am going to do? be some old lady drunk? with bad skin and poor health?

I think that's a major component of wanting to quit. What do you want your life to be? I reached a point where I realized if I didn't stop, I was going to be someone I didn't like or want to be.

Right now you're in a bad situation with covid... but it's not always going to be this way.

Stop making excuses for your behavior. if it's not lockdown, then it is something else.  it's always something else. 

What are some things you can do that don't involve drinking? 

Maybe you need a new counsellor. Not blaming anyone else but maybe another approach will help. 

Think about why do you do you drink? Make a list of the reasons why and when you are likely to drink. Use that to identify strategies to change.

I've done IF, too.  I thought I was losing at first.  I found skipping breakfast made we eat later into the evening. 

If I had some wine I'd definitely snack late night. 

The late evening (not even late night) eating disturbed my sleep. It is worse with drinking and eating. 

Poor sleep is a much bigger deal then we make it. It majorly impacts your health. Abusing alcohol also causes anxiety. I have known several people that claim to "never get hungover" but their anxiety level is extreme. and probably because they drink.

Alcohol is legalized poison. We don't think it's bad cause we all drink it. But it is bad. You're killing yourself... slowly, but surely. 

I'd start eating a lot of fruit. It can help with the sugar cravings & hydration.  when I first started eating a plant based diet, I felt so good! I wanted to continue and when I eat junk, I feel like junk. That's how I keep going.  You have to find what works for you. ❤

 

Yes, I think it is excuses. I mean, genuinely lockdown had been really bad for me because I have a super social personality. I've always been an alcoholic I mean in the sense that I just know that I am one. Like those people in AA who haven't drunk for 20 years but they know they're an alcoholic.

But I sort of go through periods of time where I get better or worse. Depending on what's happening in my life. Prior to COVID the drinking wasn't as bad. You're right though that I can't just use bad things happening as an excuse. Because bad things will always happen in life. It's not like they won't.

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16 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I don't think it's helpful to compare an addiction to sugar where the person eats something sugary every day (me too - am I addicted -I guess it's possible) because unless you have a specific health condition eating something sugary every day doesn't have to have any significant negative effect on your health.  I'm an example of that and I have no interest in stopping the amount of sugar I eat in a day because even if I'm addicted I feel in complete control over the amount I eat in a day (moderate) and when I do a fast for medical or religious reasons I don't feel worse because I eat sugar and drink coffee. So yes a person can have various addictions but the point is the level of control the person has, whether it's an addiction that requires cold turkey (to me sugar doesn't, including honey glazed turkey breast LOL), and the effect on health.  

For you, your specific addiction is negatively affecting your health (and safety potentially), and while we don't need sugar we all have to eat food so I could see leeway in permitting an amount of sugar as part of food intake.  You don't need alcohol at all.  So if you're addicted cold turkey is probably the best way.

I'm a layperson but have you tried replacing with healthful habits - meaning if you like sipping a drink, then sipping a non-alcoholic drink? I have two examples.  I smoked a lot of cigarettes for one year as a teenager then quit cold turkey.  For awhile I had to "smoke" my pen in class to replace the feeling.  And, I basically quit all diet soda a couple of years ago.  (I stopped drinking real soda a bout 40 years ago).  I replaced it with water and also found a water bottle (refillable) that I really liked so it was sort of a "bribe" to myself for switching to water.  It's also helped with my sugar cravings because I don't have the sugar cravings that diet soda trigger plus drinking all day from my water bottle gives me something to do that approximates mindless nibbling - something to do with my hands, it rewards me with energy very often when I drink, so I eat less overall, including sugar.  Just little changes (I bet you've tried similar, just trying to add something useful).

I hope you get good professional help and find good professional resources.  I have a friend who's been dry well over 20 years.  She partied all over Manhattan back in the 70s and 80s so it probably was easy enough to fall into a drinking routine.   I actually met her (in person a number of times) through a forum like this one.

I'm actually not really addicted to sugar, just to wine because of that good feeling it gives me. Usually I use it to block out bad events or negative emotions. It's largely escapism. I suppose I have both these psychological and physical cravings which do become very strong. But I'm not sure that the addiction is completely physical, I think it's more mind addiction. I've been drinking for like 20 years so it's very difficult to break the habit.

Actually in the Zoom support meeting people were talking about replacing your addiction with something else that's not as bad. I do have some sugar free sparking waters in cans at home at the moment so maybe I can try those. 

I think one part of me drinking currently is I'm just not happy. I'm 36 years old and I really want to have a partner and have kids, to have a family. My best friend has been with her husband for 13 years and they have two kids. My other best friend found a serious boyfriend a year ago and they're going to move in together very soon. It just really upsets me that it hasn't happened for me. Not yet anyway.

I do realise though that the drinking would be jeopardising my relationship even if I was in one because nobody likes to date an alcoholic.

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16 hours ago, Andrina said:

After that many years of unsuccessful trying, I'd try in-house treatment or at least outpatient. On one side of my family, alcoholism runs rampant. One cousin went through detox and he's been sober for about 8 years. He and another relative went to AA. At least 4 of my relatives who have been sober for many years are all a million times happier. There are usually hotlines wherever you live to direct you to treatment centers. I'd begin with some research on what's available in your area. Take care. 

Yes I think rehab might be the next step for me as well actually. I did discuss that with my counselor.

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13 hours ago, boltnrun said:

What consequence of drinking would scare you?

My grandfather died alone in a hospital as a result of his drinking (no wife or children at his side). My friend died at age 40 because his liver failed. 

Does either of those scenarios scare you? If not, what does?

Yes that does scare me what you said. I wouldn't want to push my family and friends away if I got to the point that I was a pretty bad alcoholic and drank all the time. I would hate to end up all alone.

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6 hours ago, Tinydance said:

Yes, I think it is excuses. I mean, genuinely lockdown had been really bad for me because I have a super social personality. I've always been an alcoholic I mean in the sense that I just know that I am one. Like those people in AA who haven't drunk for 20 years but they know they're an alcoholic.

But I sort of go through periods of time where I get better or worse. Depending on what's happening in my life. Prior to COVID the drinking wasn't as bad. You're right though that I can't just use bad things happening as an excuse. Because bad things will always happen in life. It's not like they won't.

That's exactly it.  At some point, the reason for doing something whether understandable or justifiable won't save you from the negative impact.

We see it with covid, too.  We see people justifying getting together.  Saying things like, "it's Christmas I am not going to miss seeing my family".  And yeah, in a normal situation, Christmas is special.  But the magic of Christmas won't block a virus.  It's immature and illogical. 

I know what you mean about being super social and it's really hard.  But maybe that's the other thing you need to work on.  Sometimes you just have to accept your comfort level is not going to be met.  And you have to deal with it in healthy ways.

And I know what you mean about being better or worse depending on what is happening in your life.  I think we all do that, too.  Different vices.  Different coping mechanisms. But that's also allowing things to control you.  

We all do things to cope.  But the most successful people find ways to cope in a way that benefits them.  Or at least not adding to the discomfort.  

I guess what I am trying to say is, your situation is completely understandable.  But only you can fix it.  

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Better now than later since your goal is to marry and have children. I believe that AA recommends you not enter into new romantic relationships while attempting sobriety and have achieved that for at least a year. And then you'll want some years of sobriety under your belt to know you won't relapse during pregnancy, and you shouldn't drink when being a mother as you will want to be 100 percent mentally present with your children, possessing all your faculties. It's a challenge but one many have achieved. Take care.

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On 6/3/2021 at 11:44 PM, Tinydance said:

I do get help for my drinking the last 14 years so I know at least I try.

With addiction, "trying" is the equivalent of "doing nothing." 

On 6/3/2021 at 11:44 PM, Tinydance said:

I went to AA there were people there who had been sober for like 20-30 years. To me that concept just seemed so foreign. How did they do it??!

They stopped "trying." They made a decision to be sober, and they continue to make that decision every single day. There's no autopilot with this. No "try."

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35 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

With addiction, "trying" is the equivalent of "doing nothing." 

I agree with this and have self-talked not about addiction but on things I have to change -bad habits, etc.  I have to actually do it not try.  And I'd rather know I "did" something and failed then promise myself to "try" or "try harder".  Meaning even a baby step means I took an action and didn't just "try".  

I agree also with the person who reminded you that the challenges happen - and so coming up with healthful ways to react to challenges instead of rationalizing "I did it because my friend found a boyfriend and I want one!" to me is much more effective.  I have a habit that is hard to control because of covid - and there are times I "indulge" but in a very meaningful and measured way.  For example if it's my birthday, or a holiday like that. But I actually consider first "if I give in because it's my birthday will that cascade into "well I had a hard day so I'll have the extra treat".  I decide if I think I can stay strong -not just try -and not use the 'well it's not my birthday but I had such a hard day so...." 

Because I know -and you know -the hard days will recur and the excuses will get easier.  Yes I'm talking about some extra sweet or chocolate not a bottle of wine but the thought process is similar.  I told certain people who did all sorts of things to ward off side effects post-covid vaccine that "oh well after each one I had a favorite treat (truffle after shot 1, dark chocolate peanut butter cup after shot 2)" -they actually didn't know I was half-joking because I think people are so intense about finding a way to keep control right now, a way to make it all better.  But there is no way.  The alcohol will be a temporary fix at most.  And honestly when I drink plain water it's a temporary placebo fix -relaxes me, helps my body -but it's a placebo that's only going to benefit my body so after I drink water I don't have to worry about what I just did to my body.  

In 2004 I went to a professional event at a fancy hotel for lunch.  I was 38.  Single and unhappy in my on again /off again relationship with my boyfriend.  Biological clock ticking nonstop.  First person I encountered -a grad school classmate I hadn't seen in close to ten years. She was vile to me back then.  I chatted politely and then she flings her hand in front of me to show me her wedding band.  "Can you believe it????? I'm MARRIED!!!!" She literally tittered about it and laughed, totally showing off.  I walked away. 

Then my ex boyfriend from 1995 comes over (I knew he'd married) and he was kind enough but it was obvious he knew I was single or it felt that way.  I hadn't seen him in years either. 

A couple of minutes later I made the huge mistake of telling a former colleague I was hoping to be a mom someday.  He announces like it's news to me "just do it in your own!!! women do this all the time" (also hadn't seen him in years.  In those next few days I learned that one friend just had her first child (married) and another had just had her first child (my age, single mom by choice and went on to have 3 more kids with the same anonymous sperm donor). 

So ---- I was like rock bottom.  It was too much.  I wanted to tell you I relate.  It feels crappy to have it in your face -the smug married, the unsolicited advice, the having to be happy for your new-mom friends. I get it.  I wish I'd known that about 9 months later I'd start dating my future husband.  And that 4 years later I'd be pregnant.  But life it's just not like that - when it comes to finding love/marriage or knowing if you're going to be fortunate enough to have or adopt a child - it's out of our control. So hard.  I get it.  

I think you seem to have some good plans and approaches here going forward.  Good luck!

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