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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Four Years into a Different Life

    Four years is a long time and a short time all at once...

    When I first joined SMART July 16, 2015; I was so hopeless and felt so helpless that I didn't think I could make it home from work without making my usual stop for booze. But after signing up here, reading through some of the toolbox articles and forums, and doing my first CBA, HOV, and ABC; I did make it home!

    That was an amazing feeling!

    During my 30+ year over-imbibing career...(I call it a career because it really was a full-time occupation)...

    -I drove drunk hundreds of times
    -I earned 3 DUIs
    -I had two terrible wrecks, one of which involved a pregnant woman...another in which I earned a brain injury that took months to recover from
    -I ruined friendships and relationships
    -I lost jobs and squandered opportunities
    -I awoke from blackouts in strange places with strange injuries
    -I feel through our glass coffee table and then just went to bed even though I suffered cuts that required 2 dozed stitches and my blood ruined our nice pillowtop mattress
    -I was too drunk to take Lobster to the ER when she was having chest pains and someone else had to take her
    -I made ALOT of mistakes in my current career that fortunately didn't cost anyone their life
    -I earned myself an enlarged liver and an ascending aortic aneurysm
    -I piled up about 1100 failed quits along the way. Yep, you read that one right...1100
    -I wasted many years just existing when I could have been striving toward my potential
    -I lived in a constant state of shame, guilt, regret, paranoia, hopelessness, helplessness, and perceived powerlessness.
    -And countless other actions that I will never remember I did...

    For those of you who read my list and your bullsh\tter says, 'Hey, you aren't as bad as LobsterTank have ALOT more drinking you could do before you settle down into this abstinence business.'...

    Have no fear!

    I guarantee becoming the Drunk Me is a completely attainable goal for each of you. You can do it! You and your bullsh\tter have what it takes to get you further down that road of misery and periodic horrors.

    BUT if you want to be like the SMART me, the one with 4 years of abstinence, self-respect, self-control, and periods of peace and satisfaction, I am here to tell you even louder...THIS IS ME TYPING LOUDER...This is a MORE attainable goal.

    You can do it!

    You have what it takes to regain control of your life, relegate your bullsh\tter to the back seat where it belongs, and live the life you wish to live and become the person you wish to be.

    You can totally be like me with 4 years, Melliemoo with 6 years, Dee with 16 years, JVB with 35 years of abstinence and the many, many, many other Smarties who have found freedom.

    Seeing those folks and How they got where they wanted to be inspired me forward on my own success path. I hope you find some Smarties in here to 'follow' as well.

    SMARTies and the REBT tools, articles & essays, the handbook, chatroom, podcasts, the success stories forum, daily check-in threads, the journal section, and online & F2F meetings are all here to help you make the change you require in your life.

    USE the tools, figure out where you want to be and Create a Plan to get there. Be Accountable to yourself and maybe an online group here on SROL. Decide that you are Willing to be uncomfortable. Learn Why you do the things you do, think the things you think, and How to Change that.

    Put AT LEAST the same time, effort, and energy into your abstinence as you did your BOC/DOC.

    Commit to yourself and your abstinence first... No Matter What.

    The three commitments I made that I attribute the success of my abstinence to were and are:

    -Learning as much as I could about myself through REBT and practicing the techniques
    -Knowing deeply that no person, situation, or feeling ever had the power to MAKE me drink
    -Remembering even on the difficult days that I am not abstinent to be happy; I am abstinent because I did not want to be a drunk another day of my life

    Everybody has good days and bad days. Everybody experiences success and failure. Everybody has love and loss in their lives. This is the ebb and flow of every life. I CHOOSE abstinence because I want to be present for that, every moment, even the painful ones.

    These changes don't happen without You making the Choice to change. Often these changes don't happen without discomfort. And these changes definitely do not happen without Work.

    Notice the first part of the SMART acronym is Self-Management...

    That Work is up to You. That CHOICE is Yours. And consequently, that Success is Yours as well.

    I have complete faith in each and every one of you to accomplish this. I know you have what it takes to make ANY change you require in yourselves and your lives. I believe in you even if at this moment or the next, you might not believe in yourself.

    It is dam hard work being a drunk or a junkie or a binge eater or a gambler, et. al. If you can maintain that, you literally can do ANYTHING.

    From one 30+ year career drunk who four years ago couldn't even make it home without stopping for booze...

    You Got This.

    Have a great day or at least a crappy sober one!
    “Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in her”

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Vancouver, Canada


    I've loved all the work you've done with the "7- dayers" during your time here.

    LOVE & HUGS, James
    I can't always make it better but I don't have to make it any worse.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Upstate NY


    Huge congrats to you, LT! I am happy to be walking the SMART path with you!

  4. #4


    Awesome indeed!! Also, thanks Lobster for all you do here at SROL. I know you have helped me. Sending much love + positive energy.

  5. #5
    SlappShot's Avatar
    SlappShot is offline SMART Message Board Volunteer
    SMART Chat Volunteer
    Join Date
    Jun 2019


    I really enjoyed reading this because it is honest, to the point, and hopeful. This gives me motivation and commitment to my recovery. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Two Things I can control today are my attitude and effort.

  6. #6


    Thanks for sharing this! You have been an inspiration to me over the past year and I especially love your no nonsense, down to earth style. And after many many false starts I celebrated my one year of not drinking yesterday. Life is so much better now. Thanks for being part of my recovery!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015


    Nayana... WOW! Congrats on 1 year!!! . Find something (in line with your goals) to treat yourself with! Keep being awesome!
    “Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in her”

  8. #8


    Oh LobsterTank,
    What an amazing and inspiring post! Thanks for the reminder that the Beast is always there, lurking. . .
    Thanks for the reminder that we are not being abstinent in order to be happy. . . .

    Every day we choose to live or to die. For years I was choosing to die with alcohol my weapon of choice. Thanks for reminding me that I want to live - the good and the bad - all of it.

  9. #9


    Great points. As I continue in my life, as well, I find the work of boundary setting is legit as ever. I come to smart in 'different ways' , depending on how I progress... I admit that. As well as how I use my senses with how well it serves. Great points.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Saint-Petersburg, Russia


    Congrats, LobsterTank! What you've achieved is unbelievable) This is a very inspiring post, and you've been an insiration to me since or exchanges of messages on the 7 days check in thread. You and your commitment to SMART and sobriety are an inspiration!

    I managed to quit alcohol about 6 months ago, I don't think it was SMART, but rather there were no benefits from drinking booze anymore; but now I'm struggling with caffeine addication. And I guess all that you'd written applies to quitting caffeine (it's even less safer to drive under the influence of caffeine as well), a toxic addictive chemical and drug. I'm doing my work now and I think that I'll be able to conquery this terrible (terrible for me) affliction soon.

    Happy celebrating!

    P.S. If you don't mind, I'll share a link to your post on the 7 days check in thread, your alma-mater as a volunteer

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2015


    First of all, the highest of fives on getting 6 months!

    Remember Smart starts with Self-Management so we have control over HOW we achieve our goals. I am glad you cobbled together a plan and toolbox that helped you make that change with booze.

    I have absolute faith that you can change your behaviors regarding caffeine. I found, and you may as well, that although each behaviors is somewhat different, they all have the bullsh\tter in common and the endless prattle of illogics and excuses will seem very familiar to you.

    A Known enemy. AND one you recently defeatedly on another battlefield.

    So, you beat that nonsense once with booze. Now you will beat it with caffeine. You are the hardest working Smartie I know and I have complete confidence in you.

    As for the link, we Smarties are all in this together. I get so much from others and their posts so if it will help, you can definitely add this to your 7 day thread post.

    Keep up the great work! I am very, very glad you are my friend.

    Have a great day or at least a crappy sober one!
    “Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in her”

  12. #12


    That is terribly impressive and hopes me get through the long weeks. Thank you for this.

  13. #13


    I hear catwalk. I respect that there is a process of change , in life. Stopping smb for me has been levels.and yes, it's a difference between slipping, or even "treating" oneself..vs the beliefs that drive addiction.

    ABC Cba, and LSB/HOV/CBA/COP tools apply to rounding out my opposed to over emphasis on addiction. To me it's about finding the IB or other unhelpful belief, even if its life...not just "addiction "

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Awesome post, LT.

    Congratulations and thank you for years of inspiring posts/journals like this one!

    “If you want to change your life......change your mind"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    LT, I smiled and laughed and said, "oh, yeah, I've been there" when I read your truly awe inspiring post. Huge belated congrats on your 4 years and may you walk sober on your path for many many more years. Isn't it marvelous that we can choose to stay sober for as long as want? I'm truly happy for you.

    Happy New Year! Or like you say, have a sober New Year, even if some of it is crappy. (-:
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2015


    Thank you, Questor. Your words mean a lot.
    “Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in her”

  17. #17


    What a beautiful success story , LT !
    I absolutely love this self management program , so empowering .
    You go girl .......
    The secret of change is to focus energy on building the new life . Socrates

  18. #18
    Gordon1's Avatar
    Gordon1 is offline SMART Online Moderator
    SMART MB Liaison
    SMART Online Facilitator
    Former SMART Face to Face Facilitator
    Former SMART Online Meeting Liaison
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Melbourne, Australia


    So many gems in there LT!

    So very well done on that gift of 4 years to yourself, Lobster, your community and SROL - through the support, love and encouragement you bring to others, and to me.

    Go, you good thing!
    What got me sober was trying to get sober. Often when I lapsed, picked up, drank, I FELT thoroughly beaten. I thought at that time "there is no hope for me" Yet, when I had recovered from that thought just a little, I thought "I'll have another go!" It was a few little sparks, rather than a flame, that got me here!

  19. #19


    That made me smile, right on!

  20. #20


    Really nice and inspiring post!! Thanks!!

  21. #21


    I am 50 now and I was like you - working hard (I am a programmer / software architect at a Bank) and work was never done. I neglected my wife and son. Around 45 I made a conscious change: go home at 5 (I start at 7 am anyway), spend time with the wife and son, do NOT take any work home.

    Last edited by Admin Yesterdaywas; November 5, 2020 at 6:58 AM. Reason: removed link to for-profit sites

  22. #22


    Great post, thank you so much!
    You may trod me down in the very dirt, And still like the dust I'll rise. --Ben Harper/M.Angelou

  23. #23


    Thank you! I am feeling inspired by your post! I am 6 months abstinent from my DOC and I trust that I can stay abstinent if I continue my learning of Smart tools and become involved as a volunteer. Thanks for your perspective and light!

  24. #24


    Wow!! I wish I could fit your entire post to use as my lock screen wallpaper!! Some of the most inspiring words I’ve ever read and your sincerity is very heartwarming! You’ve really lifted my spirits and given me a great sense of hope! Thank you and I look forward to future posts and I’m so thankful that I found Smart!

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