The difference between forced abstinence and post-extinction abstinence.

a broken wine glass symbolizing success over alcohol

The following was written by Seth R and used with permission for Global Sinclair Method Awareness Day. The original appeared in a TSM peer-support Facebook page called Your Life, Your Recovery on May 4, 2019.

Happy Saturday everyone.
Since I haven’t started a topic in a while I thought it being Mental Health Awareness month I’d lead with this observation. The difference between forced abstinence and post-extinction abstinence.

I spent 8 years abstaining and going to AA meetings from Sept 2000 to late 2008. The reality is I always thought about drinking, or not drinking, or AA. Never in the entire 8 years do I ever remember my thoughts being quiet except in a Buddhist meditation. It was a constant chronic chaotic riot in my brain for 8 years. I’d say 90% of my thoughts were alcohol related. The only difference was I became numb to the triggering, but this also numbed me to the good behaviors, everything was hard work.

Coming up in July I will have 3 years on the other side of extinction. I rarely think of alcohol, never obsess about it, never am I hit with a stress trigger and get hit with a craving. Sometimes I’ll think oh, this used to set me off, lets explore it and I can go for a 15 minute meditation on that trigger which lead me to drink.

After I’m fine, I walk past liquor stores all the time and I think maybe I’ll go in and see what’s new. I don’t it’s just a fleeting thought and I’m more interested in getting fried chicken or a cookie than spending $10 on a six pack of something quality. That’s the other thing, I’ll only think of buying top shelf, where as before it was, get me drunk cheap swill.

It’s been 2 years since I drank half a beer and poured the rest out. This is how it feels after extinction with TSM, thoughts about drinking are maybe 2% of the time, and they have no weight on my behavior, not even a little grumble in my tummy.

Even now thinking about it, knowing all the other times I wrote extensively on my drinking I think maybe I’ll go get a six of something. I know in 20 minutes I’ll be lost in other things doing good things for myself and booze isn’t even involved anymore.
May the 4th be with you. Oh, and take your Nal 1 hour before and party on.

<3 Seth