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    Default A Not So Perfect High - 5 years later



    A Not So Perfect High - 5 Years Later

    I see myself walking down the same street I’ve walked down many times before. Nothing’s changed. It’s the same street. Same stores. Same liquor store, one that has never interested me before because it’s filled with things I can’t have, or rather, let’s say, things I choose not to have. But something is different this time. I really notice the liquor store. I can almost hear a Scotch bottle whispering my name.

    Well, then, beam me up, Scotty.

    I see myself walking into the store, picking up a couple of bottles of Scotch and two bottles of wine, paying for them and walking back out onto the street. I have been feeling kind of down lately, maybe bored, frustrated, but nothing new has happened that has thrown my life into a more of a tailspin than it’s been in for quite a long time. I was coping with it all until today, but it seems that I’ve suddenly fallen into a trance and decided to get drunk.

    I watch myself go home and take out my favorite Scotch glass and fill it to the brim. I make a toast to the ether and take a small taste. Ah, yes, the familiar warm feeling in the back of my throat. I remember that well. As the sips turn into gulps, a wonderful painless state begins to permeate my body. Free at last. No pain. No fear. No anxiety. Nothing to face. Nothing to work out. Loneliness vanishes. How could I have stayed sober for so many years? Why did I bother? Did I forget how completely perfect it is to get high, to forget, to feel nothing?

    But soon, something begins to eat at me. I’m edgy. Uncomfortable. No, I don’t want to remember my friendships, the hard work I put into changing my life, the years of tears and struggle, the numerous panic attacks I overcame, those peak moments when I conquered my fears. No! I gulp down my drink and quickly pour another and another until I can’t remember how many drinks I’ve had or what it was I was trying to forget.

    I see myself waking up the next morning slumped over the table, nauseated, depressed, scared, lonely. I can’t call anyone. I’m too ashamed. I can’t admit I did this. I open up the bottle of Scotch and quickly gulp down another drink. Yes, I can just keep doing this. I can forget. Please don’t let me remember why I got sober in the first place. Please don’t let me feel the pain of throwing away all those years of sobriety. I can’t face myself. I can’t face anyone else. I’ll just keep drinking until everything disappears. Until I disappear.

    And then this really strange thing happens. I find myself standing outside that same liquor store. It gradually dawns on me that I never did go in. I never bought the booze. I never got drunk. It was all just a fantasy. I was temporarily in the grips of a completely unexpected urge that tried to send me reeling down a slippery slope of temptation. But I didn’t go there.

    What brought on that unexpected urge? I had been thinking about the morning, my beloved partner, David, woke up with a terrible headache. Within a couple of minutes, he lost his balance and fell down because unbeknownst to me, he had just suffered a brain hemorrhage that would kill him in the next 24 hours. We never had a chance to say goodbye to each other. I felt robbed of my life and my love. I felt like David was my main reason to stay alive and I wasn’t sure I could live without him.

    So why didn’t I drink? While I was staring in the window of the liquor store, I used one of the tools I learned at Smart Recovery many years ago from Dawg, an online facilitator. I learned to play the tape all the way to the end of the story. And when I saw the consequences of that ending, I knew it would never be worth it. The only benefit would be a few minutes of feeling numb and then it would all turn into a train wreck. A long and costly train wreck.

    The day David died, I promised him that I would never drink, no matter what happened. Somehow, I would live through this loss and the sorrow it would bring. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but there was one thing I did know – I had a choice. I could choose to drink, or I could choose not to drink.

    Shortly after David died, I contacted a number of people at SMART to let them know about my loss and to ask for their support. Within a couple of months, I became a volunteer at the SMART headquarters in Australia. I needed somewhere to go, and I needed to be with like-minded people that I could be open with about my addictive behavior. Volunteering in the office gave me a perfect opportunity to be useful to other people and to feel that I was in a safe environment. Sometimes I broke down crying while I was helping with the paperwork. My behavior was accepted, and I was supported during those times. I will always be grateful for that.

    I attended SMART face to face meetings in Sydney and that was another thing that helped me put the pieces of my life back together. I began to find a reason to live on my own without a mate. Gradually, by continuing to use the SMART tools, I’ve learned more and more about my addictive behaviors and how to live a fulfilling life without using or drinking. When I came back to the States, I completed the SMART Facilitator training and volunteered as an Online Meeting Helper.

    I never thought I would find living so worthwhile as I do right now. Because of SMART, I have found a way to be responsible for my own actions, to be more loving, and more productive than I have ever been before. I feel healthier and more energetic than I’ve felt for years. Today, I love going to bed sober and I also love waking up without a hangover.

    Nothing can make me drink. I am totally sure of that. And so far, I’ve been right. Despite my numerous losses and a diagnosis of Chronic Leukemia, I haven’t had a drink for over 14 years.

    I tip my hat to you SMART Recovery with the greatest respect for all that you do. I don’t know how I could have come this far without you. I will do everything I can to let the world know about you, about your wonderful tools, your gifted trainers, facilitators and volunteers, and your philosophy that never judges, does not render me powerless and gives me the freedom to determine how I want to manage my own sobriety.

    SMART Recovery, you will always have my deepest gratitude.

    And for those of you who are struggling with your addictive behaviors, I know you can stay clean and sober. It's your choice.

    Sending my heart to all of you
    ❤️


    questor7





    Last edited by Questor7; December 27, 2019 at 8:38 PM.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  2. #2
    Moderator JvB is offline Former SMART Super Moderator
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    Always good to hear from you, questor7.

    JvB

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    (((Questor))) You always have been such an inspiration and this is no less. Beautiful. Kudos to you.

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    JvB....it's always good to hear from you as well. Happy New Year!

    - - - Updated - - -
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    And Yesterdaywas....thank you for you kind words. We have been on the path together for a very long time and hasn't it been wonderful? Happy New Year!
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    It is so lovely to hear from you Questor7 and that insight you wrote into the human condition I found wonderfully touching.

    Congratulations on that gift of 14 years to yourself, those around you, and the memory of dear David.

    Take care

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    Very inspiring! Congrats on 14 years of big and small successes all falling together to create this wonderful life you have now.
    “Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in her”


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon1 View Post
    It is so lovely to hear from you Questor7 and that insight you wrote into the human condition I found wonderfully touching.

    Congratulations on that gift of 14 years to yourself, those around you, and the memory of dear David.

    Take care
    Thank you for your heartwarming words, Gordon. When I hear from people like you in the Smart community, I am reminded that my path feels so much easier to walk down when I'm surrounded by like-minded people like you. Thank you for caring.

    Happy New Year

    Kevagne (aka questor7)
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    Quote Originally Posted by LobsterTank View Post
    Very inspiring! Congrats on 14 years of big and small successes all falling together to create this wonderful life you have now.
    It's good to hear from you LT. And yes, even with so many challenges, it's really a wonderful life.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  10. #10
    AlbertaSam is offline Former SMART Online Facilitator
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    It is so nice to see you back on the message boards. I was worried that you left because Mabb and I were fighting to get you as a meeting helper.
    Just kidding. In case you forgot, I use your blog story as half of my "playing the tape" in the tool time meetings. Nice to see you again and
    have a very happy New Year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaSam View Post
    It is so nice to see you back on the message boards. I was worried that you left because Mabb and I were fighting to get you as a meeting helper.
    Just kidding. In case you forgot, I use your blog story as half of my "playing the tape" in the tool time meetings. Nice to see you again and
    have a very happy New Year.
    lol about fighting to get me as a meeting helper. Wow, that seems like a lifetime ago. And I did forget that you were using my blog story for "playing the tape." That's so heartwarming to hear. Thanks fo reminding me. Maybe I'll come to one of your meetings....I have been concentrating mostly on natural healing protocols that involve a lot of heart-brain meditations and that's been taking up most of my spare time.

    I hope you are doing well.

    Best to you

    Kevagne (aks questor7)
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  12. #12

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    A heart warming share , congratulations for your successful efforts in choosing power of choice . I applaud that and hope I can continue on the same path as well and keep building a life using smart tools and resources that aligns with my values that I discovered here at smart .
    Abc has been an absolutely amazing tool for me along with many others . I started drinking late in my thirties to avoid the discomfort of dealing with the discomfort of yet another failed long term attempt to find relief from my life long binge eating disorder and I am glad I became aware of it within few years and how good I was catching up . The day I started drinking scotch and enjoyed it with my husband , was the day I felt very alarmed and concerned where I was headed . I am so so happy I can chose to not indulge / escape with drinking anymore . Almost two years . I have finally gained some tools to step away from my binge eating disorder as well . That’s been a rough road for me despite my sincere and many attempts . It was only because of my values and clarity on how important they were to me , I was able to choose to let go of the comfort of escaping the discomfort and deal with it .
    Thanks for letting me share my feelings that came up reading your post .
    The secret of change is to focus energy on building the new life . Socrates

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    Quote Originally Posted by geeta View Post
    A heart warming share , congratulations for your successful efforts in choosing power of choice . I applaud that and hope I can continue on the same path as well and keep building a life using smart tools and resources that aligns with my values that I discovered here at smart .
    Abc has been an absolutely amazing tool for me along with many others . I started drinking late in my thirties to avoid the discomfort of dealing with the discomfort of yet another failed long term attempt to find relief from my life long binge eating disorder and I am glad I became aware of it within few years and how good I was catching up . The day I started drinking scotch and enjoyed it with my husband , was the day I felt very alarmed and concerned where I was headed . I am so so happy I can chose to not indulge / escape with drinking anymore . Almost two years . I have finally gained some tools to step away from my binge eating disorder as well . That’s been a rough road for me despite my sincere and many attempts . It was only because of my values and clarity on how important they were to me , I was able to choose to let go of the comfort of escaping the discomfort and deal with it .
    Thanks for letting me share my feelings that came up reading your post .
    Hi Geeta
    Good for you for becoming aware of your behavior and seeing how the drinking was connected to your eating disorder. Sometimes, it's very difficult to stand back and really look at how our behaviors intertwine. It all can be quite complex, can't it? But you obviously rolled up your sleeves and took a dive straight into the tool box and have been not just looking at the tools, but really putting them to use.

    I particularly noticed your saying "The day I started drinking scotch and enjoyed it with my husband , was the day I felt very alarmed and concerned where I was headed." I too sat with my partner and drank Scotch and kept topping up the drinks, so I really lost track of how much I was drinking. If truth be told, I didn't want to keep track of what I was drinking. Unfortunately, I didn't catch on to where I was heading until one night when I drank alone and got so blasted that I was sick all night and I fell over and broke my ankle. Losing jobs and friends, waking up hungover for so many years I couldn't count them, waiting for 5 pm to roll around because somehow that meant I didn't really have a problem if I was drinking every night --- all of that wasn't enough for me to put the brakes on. But walking around on crutches due to something that was drinking-related was my wake up call. My life came to a screeching halt when I laid on the floor crying out in pain. Apparently it was what it took for me to really start taking a hard look at my behavior.

    I can only imagine how rough the road has been for you and all I can say is it's wonderful to hear that you have been sober for almost two years. And by the way, IMHO, you don't have to "hope" that you can continue on the same path. It's about choice, right? You can do this.

    Thank you for acting on the inspiration to share your feelings here. I am constantly learning from what other people share. Sobriety, for me, is full of wonder and exploration.

    Best to you.

    questor7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  14. #14

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    Wow! Just seen this today. Awesome on 14 years abstinent questor7. You were one of the folks here that has helped me on my journey. Best wishes, to a great 2020.

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    Lovely entry, it brought tears to my eyes. Congrats on your success!
    If I quit now, I'll soon be back to where I was when I started. And when I started, I desperately wished to be where I am today.

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    Tank you for sharing this. You give me hope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by komoto View Post
    Wow! Just seen this today. Awesome on 14 years abstinent questor7. You were one of the folks here that has helped me on my journey. Best wishes, to a great 2020.
    It's so good to hear from you komoto. And you were one of the people that has helped me on my journey as well.


    Best to you

    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherrycoke View Post
    Tank you for sharing this. You give me hope.
    Cherrycoke, it makes me feel good to hear that you have gotten hope from what I have shared. I don't know what you are going through, but I think sometimes we just have to get through the day without our favorite doc. That's good enough. And staying clean or sober for me is the foundation of my whole sobriety. It's what has allowed me to live a life that is rich and rewarding, no matter what's going on around me.

    Wishing you the best

    questor7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaSpedMusic View Post
    Lovely entry, it brought tears to my eyes. Congrats on your success!
    Thank you so much for the congrats Donna. Besides the fact that I made a lot of good choices after I got sober and clean, the other thing that has really helped me grow is to stay in touch with the Smart community. I'm so grateful for people like you who are walking this path with me.

    Best to you

    questor7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    Wonderful share.

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    Glad you enjoyed it Pluto29. Take care.

    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  22. #22

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    Questor7, thank you so very much for this inspiring, straightforward and honest post. I remember you from a long time ago, and I feel blessed that I read what you wrote today.

    You have helped me answer a question that has plagued me for the past 7 years: why didn’t I drink? To this day, July 1st, 2021, I still didn’t consciously know. But I had come to believe, and trust, that my body and my mind knew. That still didn’t offer me the peace of mind I have just gained by reading your post. I can now consciously understand that everything I have learned from my REBT-oriented therapist and SMARTRecovery is so much engrained in my life and my behaviour that I never have to doubt myself again.

    My husband Christopher (aka Druid1 in SMART) died on December 15, 2013. Not quite as suddenly as your David, but way too fast for me. On December 1st, he was still working as a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Department of the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Centre, in Ogdensburg, New York. On December 5, he was an emergency patient at the Ottawa Hospital, diagnosed with stage 5 liver cancer. He died at home, in my arms, 10 days later. He had been sober for 10 years, and I had celebrated 25 years of sobriety on July 19 of that year.

    The day after he died, I got up at 5:00 a.m., went to the kitchen to make coffee, and immediately had a thought I am still ashamed of today: I’m alone now, and I can drink, nobody will ever know. If I ever had any doubt I’m an alcoholic, it certainly vanished in the 7 years and six months I have constantly remembered that moment. The love of my life just died, and the first conscious thought that creeps in, even through the shock, is to reach out to the cupboard and drink the few small bottles of wine and Grand Marnier I use to cook.

    Did I play the tape until the end? No. I reached out to the cupboard, took all the little bottles, opened them and dumped the contents in the sink. Ran the water for a few minutes…stuck all the bottles in the recycling bin. Then I moved on to the excruciating task of dealing with the overwhelming and life altering grief I am sure you know yourself as much as I do. On July 19 this year, I will be celebrating 33 years of sobriety.

    Why didn’t I drink? Did I choose to stay sober at the time? No. I chose to quit drinking, but I didn’t choose to stay sober after Christopher died. Amazingly, what I learned in SMART and in therapy just kicked in and I didn’t fight it. I stayed with it, even when I didn’t feel like living without him.

    But today, after reading your post, I finally consciously played the tape to the end. I will never have to play it again. I also now know I will not drink again. And if I ever forget that because of old age, I trust my body will remember!!

    Thank you again for sharing you courageous journey.
    The possibilities are endless...

  23. #23
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    Default A Not So Perfect High



    Thank you Jim Villamor for the picture of the Tree of Life and the beginning of the movie. And thank you David Sheriff for the beautiful and haunting music you played on the tin whistle.


    Please note that views and opinions expressed in this video are my own and not necessarily those of SmartRecovery®.



    Last edited by Questor7; July 1, 2021 at 6:23 PM.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  24. #24
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    Hi Louise1

    Well, now it's two of us that feel blessed. I cried with such compassion when I read your story. I am truly sorry for your loss. And yes, I do know what you were speaking of when you wrote: "Then I moved on to the excruciating task of dealing with the overwhelming and life altering grief I am sure you know yourself as much as I do."

    When David died, we had just sold our house and I was really feeling lost. My next door neighbors offered me their house while they were on vacation. As soon as I walked in alone, the first thing I saw was their bar with enough booze to drown my sours in for a very long time. I hadn't lived with alcohol in the house for a number years and felt frightened about coexisting with all those bottles. I even had the fear that I might sleepwalk in the middle of the night and get drunk. So it was a no brainer. I called my best friend from across the street and asked him to pack up all the booze and keep it at his house until I moved out.

    And I'm like you. I just know I will never drink again no matter what because David's death was my huge test and I passed it with flying colors. I am entering into old age and trust me, my body is definitely looking after me.

    Huge congratulations on your 33 years of sobriety. I can only imagine the trials and tribulations you have been through. And by the way, I will be celebrating 16 years clean and sober on August 4. It really is a wonderful thing to be sober, isn't it?

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt journey. You touched my life and my heart with your story.

    Best to you

    q7

    P.S. I turned "A Not so Perfect High" into a little movie and posted it here in the Success Stories.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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