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Grief and trigger for drinking


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Hey. I lost my Dad earlier this week after a long battle with illness and I was present when he died. I have been sober for 14 months and as you can imagine this has caused so many triggers. I haven't touched a drop but in all honesty scared that I do. 

I just want these feelings to stop but know that I need to feel them in order to deal with my grief. Only problem is I know alcohol will stop them for a while. 

I do have a good support network around me e.g. husband, younger sister, friends but dreading the funeral. I won't bore you with the dynamics of family but I have a strained relationship with my mum and older sister so it makes this more challenging. 

I know the funeral will be a massive trigger and of course where we are having the wake there will be a bar. But to be honest this whole situation is a trigger. I've even started smoking again. 

Anyone been in this situation or have advice? 

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Oh, my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry for your loss.

What help did you reach for to get sober, and can you make that reach again now?

If you did not reach for help, but rather you white-knuckled yourself away from drinking, now can be the perfect time to reach for help in any form to assist you through this time.

The quickest option might be a local AA program and a sponsor, at very least to help you manage your way through the most stressful time. Visit their website and use the contact information to tell them of your urgency.

Another option is to contact your local hospital and ask for an emergency referral to an addictions counselor or a peer counselor.

I'd avoid telling myself that drinking could stop your feelings. This is a unique loss, and it's likely to amplify them instead--plus make a mess of all your hard work.

Consider drawing on your pride in your accomplishment and WHY you needed to get sober, and why you don't want to drill yourself a tougher hole to climb out of than before.

I hope you will write more if it helps. Sometimes it can get you past impulses and allow you to work through your own thoughts and feelings.

(((We are here for you.)))

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You're right.  Drinking will medicate yourself and dull the feelings.  Unfortunately, they will still be there waiting for you.   You deal with them straight on or they will deal with you.  There are no shortcuts.

I am so sorry for the loss of your father.  No doubt the feelings feel so overwhelming and facing them feels terrifying.  Congratulations on being sober for 14 years.  Did you find support through AA?  This may be a great time to go to a meeting or find a grief counseling service to support you through this difficult time.

Remember, numbing yourself isn't the answer.   It's only a temporary bandaid to a hurt that doesn't heal unless it's processed properly.

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Ohh so sorry to hear of your loss 😞 .

THIS is where you need to be strong, for sure.  There are other ways to 'cope' as you deal with all of this..right?  Did you learn of some other ways during your sobriety?

Did you or do do therapy/counselling?  I am not an alcy, but I did, at one time turn to the bottle- but because I do not have the addiction it only lasted a few short months, then one day I woke up & was just done with all of that. YOU do not want this, I know that....

So..what else can you do?  Keep re-assuring yourself that you CAN do this.  How about journaling?  I find this helps me a lot!  Every time I;m having issue's w/ someone I 'vent' it out on paper or wordpad on my pc.  I also go for walks with my pooch 🙂 .  I 'work through the moment'. I fight through my emotions constantly.  I know, it sucks to have these struggles 😞 .. This is just another test.

Keep yourself busy if you can.  Keep mind busy.. It IS okay to 'feel'  It is okay to cry and feel these emotions.. it can help you through this.

But stay strong and FIGHT any urge you may have on reaching for the bottle!  You know this is your real challenge.

Every time you want to 'give in' you get up and go do something else.  Change your thought process.  And keep reminding yourself, this will NOT help.

One day at a time ❤️ 

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18 hours ago, CrazyWife said:

Hey. I lost my Dad earlier this week after a long battle with illness and I was present when he died. I have been sober for 14 months and as you can imagine this has caused so many triggers. I haven't touched a drop but in all honesty scared that I do. 

I just want these feelings to stop but know that I need to feel them in order to deal with my grief. Only problem is I know alcohol will stop them for a while. 

I do have a good support network around me e.g. husband, younger sister, friends but dreading the funeral. I won't bore you with the dynamics of family but I have a strained relationship with my mum and older sister so it makes this more challenging. 

I know the funeral will be a massive trigger and of course where we are having the wake there will be a bar. But to be honest this whole situation is a trigger. I've even started smoking again. 

Anyone been in this situation or have advice? 

Sorry this happened. Condolences. Reach out to AA. Even online. Also there is a new national mental health number you can call 988 in the US. People say the oddest things without meaning to be obtuse or insensitive, they are just at a loss for words. However their intentions are kind in that they show up and stand by you.  I am not a drinker, so I can't speak to that. I poured myself into work and academics. Take care of yourself. 

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I'm so sorry for your loss.  

Reading through this thread I was thinking about how being sober is difficult, especially when times get tough or something bad happens. it would be the first reaction to want to drink. 

But maybe getting through something like this without alcohol will empower you for the rest of your life. 

You've come so far and your sobriety is the key to that success.  I don't mean this as callous as it sounds, but people will die on you. It really hurts. Nothing can change that. It's kinda like that thing everyone says, we never get over the loss. We just get used to it. 

Maybe the other thing to consider is what a gift is to your loved ones, yourself and the memory of your dad to not let this be an excuse to give up your fight. 

It's going to feel bad for awhile no matter what.  You have to be really strong with the self love and parenting to yourself.  

Do you go to AA meetings? Do you have a sponsor?

 

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Condolences on your loss. 

As I recall you are a DIY kind of sobriety alcoholic and want to do it without any groups or organizations.   I totally get it as my dad was the same way until rock bottom.  When he finally accepted help he really flourished.

  Smoking and drinking go hand in hand as you know so please try to limit the smoking as much as possible and quit again when you feel strong enough.

 I have found that there are two kinds of alcoholics that fall off the wagon.  Situational where they are somewhere and there is booze and they convince themselves just one drink won't hurt.

Then there are the alone alcoholics that actually go to a bar or liquor store and hide away to numb themselves.

 In the end how it happens matters little because as you know once the tap is turned back on it is hard to turn off.

 Reducing your stress is key but only you know what causes you the most stress and makes you weak enough to take a drink.  Can you tell us what your top 3 stressors are?

You mentioned your mom.  What about her causes these feelings?

What else about this loss has you worried about drinking again?

 Lost

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I'm sorry for your loss.  My father passed away years ago and my FIL (father-in-law) passed away several months ago after illness. 

I agree with others about joining AA.

I also agree with others regarding busyness.  Whenever I'm super busy doing whatever I need to do plus take care of my health, I don't have brain space nor energy for anything else.  I hope this holds true for you as well. 

There are other ways of relieving stress such as exercise, eating well, getting adequate sleep, taking good care of yourself and your family.  It's what your beloved father would've wanted.  He wouldn't have wanted you to self-destruct.  He would've wanted you to soldier on, carry on and live a good life. 

Shortly after my late FIL's funeral this year, it was a terrible time.  You'll get through this.  I hope you'll find AA support and focus on good health which in turn will make you mentally healthier.  I hope you'll find outlets by doing what you enjoy because your Dad would've wanted you to find joy in life.  I know it's what my late FIL would've wanted so we're trying our best to do as he would've wanted not only his sake but for our sake, too. 

Pain is acute now.  Over time, the pain will still be there but the tears will become less and it won't hurt as bad as it does now.  Hang in there and take care.

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Thank you all for your responses. I have been back in touch with my therapist and seeing them next week. 

Right now it is my little girl who is keeping me going. I don't want her growing up seeing her mother drinking and I certainly wouldn't want her to think that's how you deal with your feelings. 

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7 hours ago, CrazyWife said:

Right now it is my little girl who is keeping me going.

Yes! Good job. Your sobriety positions you to be cognizant of impacts on a loved one, and you're smart to run with that.

Therapists call this a healthy form of 'sublimation' whenever we are hurting the most, yet we opt to put caring for someone else's pain in front of our own. It's a form of healing that you can actually transfer onto the people who upset you the most.

For instance, when owe can overlook insult during a funeral day for the sake of keeping the peace FOR the people who are present that we love, it actually heals US and builds confidence in our resilience.

(((Holding you and your daughter in my thoughts.)))

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On 8/26/2022 at 10:02 PM, lostandhurt said:

Condolences on your loss. 

As I recall you are a DIY kind of sobriety alcoholic and want to do it without any groups or organizations.   I totally get it as my dad was the same way until rock bottom.  When he finally accepted help he really flourished.

  Smoking and drinking go hand in hand as you know so please try to limit the smoking as much as possible and quit again when you feel strong enough.

 I have found that there are two kinds of alcoholics that fall off the wagon.  Situational where they are somewhere and there is booze and they convince themselves just one drink won't hurt.

Then there are the alone alcoholics that actually go to a bar or liquor store and hide away to numb themselves.

 In the end how it happens matters little because as you know once the tap is turned back on it is hard to turn off.

 Reducing your stress is key but only you know what causes you the most stress and makes you weak enough to take a drink.  Can you tell us what your top 3 stressors are?

You mentioned your mom.  What about her causes these feelings?

What else about this loss has you worried about drinking again?

 Lost

My mother and I have always had a strained relationship and i know this may come across as selfish considering she has lost her husband, i'm scared of dealing with her a lot more and I have some anger at being left in this situation. But i think i do need to see her more but still keep a safe distance for my own mental health. She's a narcissist (i know that word gets thrown around a lot but it's true). 

What worries me most about this loss affecting my drinking is that i have always ran to alcohol in the past to numb feelings. But i really don't want to as I have my husband and young daughter to think about. 

I have signed up to the gym again and i'm considering going tomorrow. I have also been looking up meditation classes at my local buddhist centre so i can give my mind a break. I just want to try anything to stop me picking up that drink.

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34 minutes ago, CrazyWife said:

I have signed up to the gym again and i'm considering going tomorrow.

Is there a compelling reason why you're only "considering" going?  Do you have another commitment that is preventing you from going?

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20 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Is there a compelling reason why you're only "considering" going?  Do you have another commitment that is preventing you from going?

Bits and bobs around the house but yeah doesn't sold like i am totally sold on the idea! 

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Don't face your mother alone.  Make sure someone (anyone) is with you so she will stay on her best behavior. 

Many people try the frontal attack on these types of problems and stress but if you out smart it you will find yourself in a way better state of mind.

You are not going to change your mother so if you cannot change something what do you do?  Read my signature below for some insights.

Since you know how she is and there is no changing her then acceptance is the key.  You see you keep your expectations higher about her than you should.  Deep down you want her to be a loving kind mother like we all want so when she isn't you are hurt and disappointed and may even feel like you are unloved or unlovable.  You don't need our permission to protect your emotional self from your mother.

Think of your mother like a wild animal.  If you are alone with it and get to close bad things could happen but if you are not alone it is less likely to strike.  People are who they are just like animals and it only becomes your fault when you get to close. 

Totally accept that she is a narcissist and take appropriate measures to protect yourself.  

I disowned my mother when I was 22 years old.  She was an evil bitter alcoholic that refused any notion that she was one and did and said the most hurtful things to the people she was supposed to love.  She was not allowed to contact any of her children directly and had to go through me for their protection. This was who she was and I wasn't about to let her drag us under with her disease.

Protect yourself, keep your husband and daughter close and you will weather this just fine.

Keep posting

 Lost

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20 minutes ago, CrazyWife said:

Bits and bobs around the house but yeah doesn't sold like i am totally sold on the idea! 

You can find all sorts of excuses not to go, but then how does that benefit you?

As Yoda says, Do or Do Not. There is no "try".

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11 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

You can find all sorts of excuses not to go, but then how does that benefit you?

As Yoda says, Do or Do Not. There is no "try".

Very true. There are either excuses or results. So i will post here tomorrow that i went to the gym 😀

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I hear about the mother thing. I’d attend with expectations that she’ll likely behave intolerably, and I will be proud of my own self control in depersonalizing that rather than reacting to it. 

Given that you’ll be modeling how to handle stress for your daughter, you can chalk mother’s behavior as speaking for itself and not a reflection on you.

Your husband will be proud of you, and depending on your beliefs, so might your Dad.

 I hope you’ll enjoy the gym, or at least get acclimated.

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