Handling stress

Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober
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Handling stress

Postby PeaceJoy » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:45 am

I met with my sponsor today for step study. I shared with her my anxiety. I found out today that I am officially unemployed. It is a long story but basically I was laid off a week before Christmas with no warning whatsoever. I left my previous job of 4 years to take this job working for an old childhood friend and her husband. I started the job in early October. Turns out old friends aren't necessarily good friends. Who knew??
Anyway, I lost my job and it's a huge blow to my ego as well as stressful. My husband is in meltdown mode over it and I'm trying to keep a positive attitude using the tools I've learned so far in AA. It's not always working! I go in phases. One hour I'm ok, thinking that this is for the best because I had huge reservations as soon as I started the job. The next hour my heart starts thumping and I do a mini-freak out and think it's hopeless. Then I get my #### under control (am I allowed to say that on here? If not, please let me know.) and the next hour I'm depressed. Then the next hour I'm looking on the positive side. It's exhausting! I know that I need to realize that it is out of my hands now. It's beyond my control. That I need to make a gratitude list. That a lot of peopl ehave it a lot worse than me. Problem is......we've been really struggling the past year financially. My previous job kept getting hours cut due to state budget cutbacks. It wasn't a state job but sub-contractor for the state. So the past year has drained us. And to be quite honest, money management (or lack thereof) is one of my many character defects. So..........we live paycheck to paycheck with not two dimes to rub together. This is the first Christmas that my kids are going to really notice "Ummmm Mom and Dad are poor." :roll: I know I'll get another job and it won't take long. But I have to make sure not to grab the wrong job because I'm desperate. And I have to not drink over this...........so tempting.

Thanks for letting me share.


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Postby Dallas » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:56 am

I understand PeaceJoy. Been there and done that more than a few times -- in sobriety, too! The way I looked at it was -- if I'm sober -- I've got a chance to make it through to something better. And, if I'm not sober -- it will just get worse.

It's tough on us when we're new. No doubt about it. But, it's tough on us regardless if we're sober or drinking. Drinking we were able to medicate ourselves to feel better for about 10 minutes. Mine was usually 8! For 8 to 10 minutes everything would seem alright. Seem. It wasn't alright it just seemed all right for 8 minutes. And, after the 8 minutes I had thrown away all the good that I had worked for.

For me, this was why it was critical for me to get through the Steps. When I got through the Steps -- the feeling that God was going to get me through it lasted much longer than the 8 minutes that the drink gave me.

For me -- it was a miracle to be sober 24 hours. I couldn't do it and I quickly recognized that even AA couldn't do it. There was a power that was greater than me and greater than AA that was helping me to get each 24 hours without a drink.

So, one day -- I figured, that if this power could help me stay sober -- when nothing else could -- and the bottom was falling out or fell out in all the areas of my life -- what would it hurt me to try to become willing to make a decision to let that Power take care of me?

I made a decision to turn my will and my life -- over to the care of -- God, as I understood God. I stayed sober and I got through it.

Today, I rarely have problems. Not because God is treating me special -- but because I've spent several years cleaning up the wreckage of my past -- that I had with me when I was new. And, incrementally, slowly, I began to have less and less problems -- because I wasn't out there doing stuff to create more problems.

You mentioned that the job you had before this one was on shaky ground. Maybe -- you were lucky that you found the new job before the old one fell through. And, perhaps -- the economy -- which is something outside all of our ability to control -- had something to do with the loss of the new job. I have a nephew that has a wife and two babies. He and his wife have been out of work for nearly a year. Their kids are 3 and 6. Both of their cars are broken down. Their house payments are behind. Credit payments are past due because they don't have the money to pay. And -- neither one of them are alcoholic -- and they don't even drink. No cable. No Internet. The TV has already been sold. His mom died in 2007. And, anything of value that she left behind has been sold for food money. So, this kind of problem is not unique. It's happening to a lot of people right now.

I got through it. My nephew and his family -- one day at a time -- are getting through it -- even though it doesn't seem like it to them -- they're still alive. So, they have hope. Hope isn't much -- but, sometimes, it seems like it's all we've got.

I wish I could tell you that I got on my knees and asked God for help and puff -- all my problems miraculously went away. But, it didn't happen that way for me. However, as I looked back on it -- I could see that God or something was helping me all along. I choose to believe it was God, because I don't know of any other something that might of cared about me enough to be helping me.

I remember one day thinking to myself "What if -- I simply started to trust that God was going to get me through the tough times?" I figured it certainly would hurt me to do that. And, I had a hard time in the beginning believing that God would help me. Matter of fact -- for a while -- I didn't believe it -- but, I started acting as if I believed it.

Before long -- I began to see some changes happening for the better. The "this too shall pass" was becoming a reality for me. And, today, I really do believe -- that everything is going to be alright because God really is looking out for me. I can't prove it. And, I certainly can't dis-prove it.

Today, I'm grateful and thankful for all the tough times that got dished out my way. Because through those times I really do feel like I developed some sort of faith in God, and belief in God, and it feels like I really do have a relationship with God -- because I was hopeless to help myself.

I don't mean to be sounding religious. I'm not into religion and I don't push it. :lol: I'm just trying to share some of the experience I've been through along my path and how I dealt with them and what my results were. You may or may not want to give it a try. Or, maybe you've already done it.

There are a couple of sentences in the Big Book, as I understand them, it's -- if I stay honest, do the right things, try to figure out what God's will is for me and then do it -- that He's going to provide I get what I need.

For the last 24 years of doing that -- I've always seemed to have all than I needed of what I needed. I had food. I had shelter. I had reasonably good clothes. I had shoes and socks. I wasn't always able to buy presents for my kids or for other people. And, sometimes, I could only give them I.O.U.'s for Christmas and let them know that we'd celebrate Christmas in February, or March, or April -- when times were different and better. And, we did. Sometimes, in June I'd put up a Christmas tree and go get my kids for the week-end and surprize them! :lol: I'd let them know we were celebrating last Christmas late and next Christmas early -- just in case the next Christmas was just as tough as the last one.

You will get through it. And, if you hang on to your sobriety you'll get through it faster and better and you'll be very glad that you did!

Best wishes for you.


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Postby Pebbles » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:01 am

Hello there, I can totally relate to what you had to say. Last March, my husband was hit head on by another vehicle while he was sitting at a stop sign on his motorcycle. He has not been able to work, and my paychecks are basically gone before I know how much they are. When we were both working, we accumulated the things-camp trailer, motorcycles, cars, etc.....that now need payments made, that I cannot pay. So far we've had a pickup repoed, and that isn't the end of it.
What is helping us to get through this, is that God has a plan for us. I(we) try to remember, that when one door closes, another opens. We are provided what we need, not what we want, if we stay close to Him, and do His work well. I am very grateful for the life that I have today. I have to say that because of all of this, I have worked my program even better, because I know that taking a drink wont help me at all....it will only make things much worse than they already are. Working with sponsees keeps me out of myself-my problems seem to disappear when I am helping others.
Last month we had Thanksgiving at our house-we opened our house up to people in the program who don't have families to spend the holidays with-11 people showed up. I have to say, that that Thanksgiving was the very best one I'd ever had. We are going to do the same thing on Christmas Day. I know that if I stay in the solution, my life just gets better and better....

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Postby PeaceJoy » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:05 am

Thanks Dallas. I will take your advice and try to trust in my higher power to lead me to a new job and get through the holidays sober. I have a lot to be grateful for. At least when I'm baking cookies this year I'm sober at the beginning AND the end! And I woke up this morning without a hangover.....without having to try to piece together what I did or said last night. .........without having to check my text message log and see if I sent rude msg. to my ex-boss........ :lol: I didn't spend my last $20 on booze. It's still hidden in my purse. :twisted: There is much to look forward to in 2011. I just know it. Now ask me in an hour and I might be up on the ledge, on the phone with my sponsor, ready to drive to the liquor store. But for now I'm feeling serene. My puppy is into something so I better go do a heimlich. whew!


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Postby Bobby D » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:22 pm

Very stressfull time of year all around..... The one thing that I hang on too is that there is nothing EVER going on in my life that a drink can not make worse !!!

I'm changing jobs after 23 years.. start my new job on the 3rd of January... nervous as hell....But I'm thinking of it as a new start with people who dont know my past indiscretions.... I'm sure there will be sobriety challenging situations but... I think back to just hpow bad it was drinking every day.. not remembering.... being sick.. or a jerk... and the thought quickly passes

Trust your higher power... I'll be praying for you too

God bless


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Postby sunlight » Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:22 pm

Here's my ESH:

I left a job I'd worked at for nearly 4 yrs to take a supervisor position at another company. After a year my position was eliminated ! :evil:

I was devastated! I was obsessed with finding another job, even though my sponsor suggested taking it easy & collecting unemployment. The only job I could find was a part time position at the place I'd left. :oops:

I tried for a year and a half to find something full time.
In the meantime, God provided. I'm not sure how, cuz it sure seemed to me that there wasn't enough money to meet my obligations.

I also doubled up on meetings. They were so tired of hearing me whine about a job! Time to shut up & take action.

So I focused on helping new people & was supremely grateful that I was not drinking, even if I wasn't working full time.

From there I decided to start focusing on what I could pack into the stream of life, insteading of focusing on ME.

I applied at a place I'd tried before & really wanted to work for, & to my amazement I got an interview.
I wasn't too excited since I'd had many interviews & didn't get the job.

At this interview, I was told that the president was a very rich and powerful man and also "very humble."

Those words hit me like a truck. I sent up a quick prayer; "And oh, dear God, I am not! Thank You for this lesson."

I got the job! :shock: I am so grateful.

For me, humility is at the core of my sobriety. From it comes peace, love, joy, service and a daily conscious contact with God. All those good gifts that come with this Christmas season! :D

May you all feel the wonder and merriment that comes with being sober!


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Postby PeaceJoy » Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:03 pm

Thanks Bobby D and Sunlight. To make it even more emotiional today, my patient at said job just called me. She wanted to wish me a merry Christmas and tell me she misses me. Ohhhhhhh that was hard but I was so glad to hear from her, as I didn't think it appropriate for me to call her. My (former) boss requested that I lie to her and her family and not tell them I was laid off. I managed to not lie but not trash my boss either. Though I will say I was tempted. :oops:


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Postby Dallas » Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:17 pm

Sunlight wrote:For me, humility is at the core of my sobriety. From it comes peace, love, joy, service and a daily conscious contact with God. All those good gifts that come with this Christmas season!

Thanks for sharing that! For me, it has been precisely that way! I had such a problem in making an honest appraisal of myself. I was a perfection-ist. And, I made demands upon myself, that I be better and do better than I had the ability to be and do. I had looked at myself as being nearly all-powerful, and nearly-all-in-control of everything! When, my facts of my reality were that I was power-less in many areas of my life, I was in control of nearly nothing, and the more I tried to do and to be better -- the worse I got! :lol:

I grew up from the time I was a kid, leaving home at 13, and not going back -- to rely on myself. Self-reliance. Self-trust. Self-confident. If I couldn't earn it -- I just took it! I thought I was managing my life very well. I was determined to not be dependant on anyone or anything! And, I felt reasonably self-assured that I could perform and out perform to match any calamity that came my way. Some people looked up to me. Some admired me for my successes. And, I admired myself, too! :lol:

It was devastating to me to discover that I couldn't even control my own drinking! And, even more devastating for me to discover that I couldn't even quit drinking on my own!

Then -- when I got help to get sober and stay sober -- I was finally able to make an honest self-appraisal -- and I wasn't really all those things that I thought I was! Heck, my life had been un-manageable all along and I didn't even know it! The things that I thought were successes were often in reality some of the greatest mistakes & failures that I had ever experienced! And, I wasn't as important and as self-contained as I though I was! :lol:

All my life I had needed help and was dependant on something. But, you couldn't have proved that to me -- alcohol had to prove it! And, Life had to prove it to me. :wink:

My facts were that I was a mess! And, if there wasn't a God -- like I had suspected that there wasn't -- I was really screwed!

So, I had a bunch of wreckage of the past and wreckage of the present come tumbling down on me. I was defeated. I was helpless. I was hopeless. A few times again and again, I went broke and lived in my car. I showered in camp grounds -- and shaved in public bathrooms. And, this was sober! :lol: :lol:

But, you know -- it became all right. I finally accepted me and accepted what was going on with me and in my little world. I became alright with being sober and changing clothes in a rented storage unit that held the few things I had that wouldn't fit in my car. I was always able to at least muster up some pocket change to put in AA's basket. I had several good nights sleep in my car! I began to enjoy the 25 cent showers in campgrounds! And, I became less embarrased and ashamed of myself -- when another well dressed guy would walk into the public bathroom and find me shaving or taking a bird bath in the sink! :lol:

Life is really good to me today. Today, I don't have to do those things -- but, once in a while I do some of them anyway -- just to remind myself of where I come from and where I am today. It's nice to know that I don't have to live that way today and that I can put folding money in AA's basket! But, I can honestly say that if I had to live that way again -- today, I could do it cheerfully! Because I learned to do it cheerfully -- when it wasn't a matter of choice.

Thanks for all your sharing above!!! You've really been touching my heart. You've all reminded me of how much I need to be with you. And, reminded me of how much you all help me and have helped me to get to where I am today! And, I am grateful for you!


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Postby PeaceJoy » Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:34 pm

Dallas wrote: It's nice to know that I don't have to live that way today and that I can put folding money in AA's basket! But, I can honestly say that if I had to live that way again -- today, I could do it cheerfully! Because I learned to do it cheerfully -- when it wasn't a matter of choice.

That's exactly the attitude I need to have. I have to be cheerful about my circumstances and be thankful that they aren't a lot worse. I just need to abstain from the $5 lattes I buy all the time.......us Seattleites are spointe brats. LOL. And the fast, easy, convenient frozen dinners, etc. I can cut back on my fabric shopping and all this will damn near cover my salary. I am being humbled by the fact that due to my horrid money management skills I didn't shop earlier for the kids Christmas and plan better. I always wait till the last minute and then spend too much on crap they don't need (or sometimes just plain don't deserve!) and put ourselves in deeper debt. Self-discipline???? Hmmm........where do I get some of that? Do they sell it on Ebay? Craigslist? Freecycle? :lol: I have a feeling it's given freely in the lessons taught in AA.

Thanks for keeping me sober you guys!

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Postby Toast » Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:25 pm

Enjoyed all the comments, been there and its torture. i'll pray for you Peacejoy.

Fortunately i'm still in a job. This one was only a 4 month contract, and that was over 3 years ago. Why i'm still there i dont know but the contract keeps being renewed. It's just been renewed until March 2011.

But it does puzzle me why some people in the office who have been there over 20 years have recently been made redundant and i'm still there? This teaches me to take things a day at a time. And not to question that someone really is looking after me.

Then again the moneys better on a short term contract but it means they dont have to pay me other benefits the long timers get.

Saying that i've been let go 3 times in my soberiety and each time i've moved onto a better job. It was worrying at the time but now i can see there was a better plan for me all along.

This job is in a small town where i sponsor a couple of guys so i now have the opportunity to meet them at lunchtime and let them empty out all there garbage face to face. I dont know what the job's done for my career but its sure made me a much better sponsor. And for that i'm truely grateful :lol:

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