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Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2022 8:30 pm
by PnorkelPW
I had a pretty introspective weekend. It was a massive week at work and I'd underestimated the mental drain it had on me..........until I woke up on Saturday morning. That's when I took the time to just chill and watch some Netflix. I hate wasting the day though so it was up for a swim and sauna around lunchtime which helped kickstart me. Some shops and life admin followed and then it was a night binging a new series..............if you haven't watched The Bear yet I recommend you get on it. Sunday was another swim/sauna and a Bunnings trip to get some more stuff around the house done. I got a beach walk in during the afternoon too.

Other than people at the shops I didn't talk to anyone or spend time with anyone. Sometimes I just need weekends like that to give my mind the chance to settle. To let the energy levels of my body reset..............and I feel a whole lot better for it.

How did you look after yourself on the weekend?

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2022 8:06 pm
by PnorkelPW
Hi All…………I hope you’re alright.

So I thought I’d change approach a bit and try to bring a different subject/theme to each Monday. If you’d like to share on it please do or if you’d like to share about anything else then feel free to do so.

Maybe you just want to talk about your week or your weekend?

Maybe you’d like to suggest a topic for the next week???

So tonight I thought we’d start with change. I’ll write a separate post with my thoughts but I’d love to hear yours. When you read the word change, what thoughts come to mind???

Welcome to the forums @Coconuts , @Charhugowin , @LongLivePuffy , @Mumbles , @kimma

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2022 8:28 pm
by PnorkelPW
Change means a lot to me. I wanted change sooo much for soooo long but could never seem to make it last. I’d always just keep falling back into the same patterns and make the same mistakes. I got to the point where I just gave up and thought it would never be possible. There was something that happened when I gave up though………….I started to fight for change.

Change didn’t just involve stopping using and drinking. It involved changing my behaviour, my attitude, and my outlook on life. It involved letting go of the past, getting honest with myself and those around me…….but most importantly, myself……and setting new goals.

I wrote on my wall a while ago in paint pen. One of the things I wrote was “Change requires discomfort”. I need to remind myself of that every day or else I’ll start looking for the easy way out again and if I’m looking for the easy way I’m setting myself up for trouble. I’m not sitting here saying that change is easy. For me it took years and years of trying. Of making mistakes. Of hurting myself and others. But of never giving up on trying to make change.

It wasn’t a particular moment but over a period of time I was able to put together all the little changes I’d attempted over the years and start to carve out my new lifestyle……….the one without drink and drugs.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2022 8:17 pm
by PnorkelPW
Hi's your Monday??

I thought I'd throw the topic of goals out there tonight and see if anyone has anything to say?

Goals can be great when trying to make changes to your substance use. Maybe it's setting the goal not to use for an hour and building from there. You might set a goal not to use until lunchtime for a day or a few days and then move that goal to the afternoon and then to to dinnertime. From there it's to get through to bedtime and then maybe a whole day??? You can decide on your timeframe and that process might be set at a week, a month, a few months..........whatever.

What's important is that you're trying and you can learn from what works and what doesn't and make mistakes and keep learning...........but somehow you'll make progress...........even if you don't realise it at the time.

So what are your goals??

It would be great to hear from you.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 8:09 pm
by PnorkelPW
Hi All………..I hope your week has been orright.

Is there anything about your week you’d like to share? Whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in the middle sharing might help in some way and if it doesn’t help you then it may just help someone else.

If you don’t want to share about your week I thought as a topic this week we could think about why what you’re looking for on here and why. Doesn’t matter if you write one word, a hundred words, or more………….it would be great to hear from you.

I’m going to write about the 5 stages of change in a post below this and see if it sets any thoughts off for you. Hopefully you can let us know.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 8:54 pm
by qboln

Came here to openly express in an understanding environment...helps others can possibly relate with one another too. Dont really have such a place in person atm

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 9:20 pm
by ScorpionPW
I'm really glad you decided to post on here @qboln and that you feel you can share openly here.

I remember having a support group around me of people who were going through similar things as me where I didn't feel judged and felt understood was vital for me to get recovery in my life.

I'm wondering if there's anything else that's helping you along the way on your journey that you'd like to share with us? :)

The five stages of change are great @PnorkelPW, such a good way to gauge what the next step may be in discovering what help you may need based on where you're at.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 9:23 pm
by qboln
Having a toddler helps a lot lol though not sure everyone can relate to that
Me the missus and our daughter ended up moving in with missus' mum and brother.. that's been a help i suppose too. Less to do with having support and more to do with knowing it's there and not wanting to smoke around them (lol)
Plus ended up studying and starting a career after i got things under control.. keeping things in check for that has helped also

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 9:32 pm
by ScorpionPW
I can definitely relate @qboln, I have a little boy who is 9 now and I've had him full time since he was 18 months old.

It has definitely helped me in some pretty dark moments to make the right choices, thinking of him and how much he relies on me.

Haha, well what ever helps you keep it under wraps is a good thing I reckon :lol:

That's great to hear you've started building something new for yourself. Once we get some ground with new possibilities it can definitely help a lot to have something to look forward to, to front up to and not wanting to mess that up. I know it has for me anyway.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 9:35 pm
by qboln
Pretty much lol
Love is a pretty good antidote to fear it seems... When one can get it ..heh

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 9:51 pm
by PnorkelPW
The 5 stages of change are spoken about a lot when it comes to substance use and addiction but what are they? What do they mean? And what stage do you think you’re at?

So the 5 stages of change are: Pre-contemplative, Contemplative, Preparing, Action, and Maintenance.

I want to put this out there at the start……… don’t necessarily just go from one stage to the next. There’s no set time to be on one stage before moving. It might be quick. It might be slow. It might be quick the first time but slow the next. You may go forward a stage and then back two or three stages. As I say quite often, this is an individual journey and no two stories are the same. I know my story involved a whole lot of back and forth and a whole lot of time in the pre-contemplative stage and contemplative stages. I’m sitting in maintenance at the moment but that could change and if I don’t stay realistic about that then I’m putting myself at risk.

Pre-contemplative is when people don’t believe they need change, have no intention of changing, don’t think there is a problem, and will often defend their behaviour. They don’t see their substance use as an issue and think everything is fine. They are sometimes referred to as being unmotivated, resistant, or in denial. I don’t really like labels but if I’m being completely honest, this described me for about 15 years. I was definitely in denial for a looooong time.

This stage can be extremely frustrating for the family, partners, and friends of substance users because although they see a problem, the substance user does not. This is what will cause most friction and often result in arguments. I know I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time the words ‘Just leave me alone and let me live my life the way I want to” and “I can stop whenever I want” came out of my mouth over the years. Still, at that stage, nothing anyone said would have got me to change my mind. I thought everything was ‘fine’.

Contemplative is when you’re starting to think that some changes might be needed. The consequences are becoming more apparent. You might be starting to think there’s a better way to live your life. Maybe there’s things starting to go wrong and you can see that drugs and alcohol are playing a part. Maybe you start to realise that you’re using more often than you want to, you’re trying to stop but can’t, and it’s costing a fortune. Maybe you’re doing things you wish you weren’t. People might be saying things and you’re starting to see that they might be right. I reckon I spent about 5 years or more in the contemplative space. I just wasn’t ready.

Preparation is when you’re starting to look at what help is out there. You might be searching for counselling services, checking out detox or rehabs, or talking to people about wanting help to make change. You may have started trying to eat better, do some exercise, and you might even be having some substance free days where possible. I’ve had so many gym memberships in my time I’ve lost count. Sometimes it was this preparation stage where I’d trip up because I’d be able to get a day or two or even a week without drinking or using and I’d think I was in control and things weren’t as bad as I thought. It was just part of the merry-go-round. I remember the first time I rang a rehab and asked some questions……….it was another few years before I ended up going.

Action is when you’ve made some big decisions and are actively focused on change. You’ll be making decisions aimed at not using drugs or alcohol and may be going to counselling, detox, or rehab. Periods of abstinence will be longer and more often. You’ll have made changes to your lifestyle as well and will more than likely be eating better, sleeping better, exercising, seeing friends, maybe even working or studying. You’ll be working on your self-care and generally feeling better about yourself. Every time I got to action stage I never had the intention of maintaining it. My aim was to just sort myself out and when I felt ‘ready’ I would go back to drinking and using. I thought I’d be able to control it because I’d proven I could go without for months at a time………7 months at one stage……….but every time I went back things would get worse than the time before. Even in action stage I was still in denial and didn’t want to believe that I was an alcoholic and an addict.

Maintenance is when your focus is purely on not drinking or using again. Every decision is about maintaining your abstinence. You might be attending support groups such as SMART Recovery, AA or NA, still seeing a counsellor, and continuing to do everything that has been working for you up until now. Maintenance stage is a good place to be but it takes commitment. Lapse or relapse are still possible if you don’t stay focused. It’s important not to become complacent.

I want to add this. I mentioned that I spent time in different stages throughout the explanations above but I spent a long time going back and forth too. There are times I got to maintenance stage for a few months but ended back at pre-contemplative and contemplative while drinking and using again. I couldn’t actually tell you how many times I made it part-way through the cycle but never quite to maintenance stage and ended ups back to the pre-contemplative or contemplative stages again. My substance use and addiction history was one long battle………it swung back and forth like a yo-yo.

I’m now in maintenance stage and am just over 7 years substance free but I still have thoughts that apply to all 5 stages at times. I wonder if I could drink and use again at times. I wonder if it would be different this time. I wonder if I could do it safely this time. I start to think about how I could make that happen and what I could do differently. I think about what I’d need to do if I needed to stop again or how I could try to minimise the damage. I have thoughts about what it would be like to go to counselling again or go through rehab again. I ask myself if I’d ever be lucky enough to get to the maintenance stage again or whether I’d stay trapped again forever.

The thought of getting trapped again scares me like nothing else. Life is easier in maintenance stage but it still takes work.

What stage do you think you’re at right now and have you ever been in any other stages?

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2022 12:08 pm
by Judas
Pre-contemplative for me being pre-contemplative was a feeling of hopelessness. I felt like I couldn't change. I felt like my life was a rushing torrent of water and the drugs I was using was the floatation device keeping me afloat. All of my family used drugs or alcohol so I felt condemned to lead a similar life.

Contemplative. My contemplative phase was really cut short. I had some times where I tried to cut back on my use. But for the most part, I didn't really see it as a big problem or felt powerless to make change.

Preparation began for me after being picked up DUI. I had to prepare for the upcoming court attendance. I really didn't want to go to gaol or have some other strict sentencing. I followed the officer who picked me up's recommendation by visiting my GP firstly and from there they were able to refer me to various local drug and alcohol services. Although I was still kind of torn between wanting to change and wanting to keep using (there was still things which I enjoyed about it), I knew that if I sought help it would look good when I attended court.

Action was when I first started counselling at my local hospital. I went back and forth between wanting to change and still wanting to use. I knew that I had done my duty in terms of engaging with the drug and alcohol service to look good in my court appearance, but after all of the education they had given me and the hope that they instilled in me I actually wanted to make the changes in my life that I originally thought I couldn't. My mindset started to shift from a feeling of hopelessness, to you know what I can do this if it's what I really want to do.

Maintenance is an ongoing battle for me. Sometimes I have a slip up but I always try to see that as an opportunity to learn what put me in that situation and how in the future I can do better. I am enjoying my life sober now much more than I thought I would. I don't have to use drugs to give myself a false sense of satisfaction anymore. I've got lots of great hobbies and relationships in my life now that I've built up over the past couple of years that give me real authentic satisfaction. I know that using drugs threatens those things and makes it so that I can't properly enjoy them like I should, so that's one of my main driving motivators to maintain my abstinence.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2022 12:14 pm
by Lhiver
@Judas I really admire the insight you have in regards to your recovery journey. I can really hear how much growth you've had. Being able to reflect on this process and recognise where you were at in relation to these stages is so important as it will enable you to recognise if things start to go backwards or you're falling back into old habits.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2022 9:39 pm
by ScorpionPW
Absolutely @qboln, I love that one. Another one is the opposite of fear is faith.

I loved reading this @PnorkelPW and @Judas.

It just goes to show how resilient we are and how important the idea of being "in recovery" as opposed to being "recovered" is to me.

Maintaining a recovery that is stronger than my addiction is so important no matter how much distance I have from the last time I used because it's the only chance I have to not end up in the same place again.

Some days maintenance is harder than others but all in all my worst day in recovery is better than my best day using. Today I am free and although there is challenges in life, those challenges are only the result of having been fortunate enough to get freedom from my addiction and build a life worth living.

Re: Monday Meetup - Join us weekly!

Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2022 8:15 pm
by PnorkelPW
Hi @qboln, it's great to see you putting up a few posts. I really enjoy the anonymity on here, it makes it easier for me to really open up. I find myself typing things that I never intended to share sometimes.

have you tried NA ,AA or SMART Recovery meetings at all?

I found my place to share and be understood in the rooms of AA.. After I realised that it was mostly me judging me and judging other people I opened my ears and listened. I finally understood that I was in an open and supportive environment with people trying to achieve the same thing I was. The best part was that some of them had achieved what I wanted and were there to help pass on that knowledge.

I don't go to meetings anymore but they gave me a foundation early on and I wouldn't be where I am without it............but it's not for everyone.

It sounds like you've got some good support around you.........not sure I could ever have lived my my mother-in-law! :lol: :lol: :lol: